Beauty Sleep

Mom with child.jxr

Pulled forward through the night,

So heavy in sleep.

Let me sleep in peace!

 

Pulled upwards into waking,

Slow is the mind,

And so is my patience.

 

Pulled up to clasp the neck.

Let me sleep you little shit!

Finally pulled back under into dream.

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Until the End, I’ll Follow

Owl Watches Intently Illuminated By Full Moon On Halloween Night

I grin,

She cowers,

We start the chase.

Running, running, running each other down.

She hides in the night sky,

Peaceful,

Or so she thinks.

I flare in brightness,

I will hunt her,

Find her,

And there will be no solace in night.

The Dog Went to the Farm

Corgi

“So…Skye had to go away to a farm.”
“You can’t tell her that, she’ll see right through it.”
“Skye…found her real parents?”
“She’s nine not two.”
“Fine! She ran away because we were terrible owners!”
“You said it not me.”
“Well what can I tell her? I can’t tell her we ran over our own dog!”
“What!?”
“…”
“Oh shit.”

Isn’t that the Thing with Siblings?

Siblings

She was always the pretty one. Isn’t that the thing with siblings: one is the pretty one while the other is the smart one. But see, she was both.

She got the uni place, I got minimum wage. She got the friends, I got the bullies, she got the husband, I got the therapist.

I laugh standing on the edge of the stool. But she can’t get everything. Isn’t that the thing with sibling: the dead one always has to be the favourite.

I jump letting the rope around my neck pull taught.

Writing: How to write more

Introduction

You may have everything set out perfectly for writing, but are you actually doing any?

Writer’s block affects us all, but this isn’t the time to turn away from your writing and just have a day off. No, no, no this isn’t like a cold, you won’t get better tomorrow and it’s you that’s the problem, not the writing. And only you can cure it.

 

Make time

We have all procrastinated at some point and we know it is easy to make excuses for ourselves. But when it comes to writing, you’ve got to slap yourself in the face (figuratively) and make time. You always have time, even if you try to convince yourself you don’t: perhaps on your commute, commit to waking up 30 minutes early and use a little notebook to write wherever you go. You have to make time or else you’re just making excuses.

 

You don’t have write in order

It is better to write the scenes your fingers are itching to write rather than the next scene chronologically which you can’t figure out the words for. Always good to reach your writing goal, no matter in which order you reach it so you have something to be proud of.

 

Do you know where your story is going?

It could be just a matter of the unknown. If you don’t know what needs to happen next, then how do you know which words to write? This is common for writers who do not plan before writing (which I advise against). You need take a step back from the writing and plan instead. Even if you have plan, maybe you need to plot out the scene beat for beat before you know what to watch.

 

Just bored.

This is a simple truth: If you’re not excited by what your writing, why is your reader going to be? Perhaps if you find yourself falling asleep when writing something, it’s time to go back to the drawing board rather than trying to plough ahead.

 

You don’t have to write for long

I think what puts people off starting to write is how time consuming it is, which it is, but that doesn’t mean it needs to take much time out of every day. Writing for twenty minutes is better than not writing at all and the further you get into your novel, the more you can write in one sitting without even realising it.

writing (1)

Get a writer friend

Writer friends are great: they are in the same boat as you and any problems you have, they probably have already gone through. And they are also good at poking you into doing your writing, they can keep on top of your writing targets as much as you do.

 

Goals, small but meaningful

It’s easy to want to write 5000 words a day than to actually achieve it. And this begins the endless cycle of putting off writing instead of having to try and fail to reach your goal. Stick to smaller goals that you are perhaps able to surpass them.

 

Short hand writing

Remember not having to write in order? Of course you do, it was barely half a page ago. But you don’t have to write in full either. Snippets of scenes and stage directions at the very least are the foundation for words to come.

 

Reward Yourself

Positive reinforcements works both with dogs and humans. Giving yourself a reward for reaching a target is a great way of motivating yourself.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully now you will realise how to tackle writer’s block but also that there is no such thing as a day off in the life of a writer. Good luck Xx

 

Further Reading

https://www.copyblogger.com/effortless-writing/

https://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/12-ways-to-write-more/

 

 

Planning: Planning Methods (Part 2)

Introduction

I’ve talked about planning before and for many people you may already have your own personal methods. And that’s the beauty of it, you’ll learn as you go what works for you. Here are just a couple of starting ideas:

Draft zero, or the pantser’s compromise

You know it may be shocking, but you don’t actually need to plan. I know it’s odd but for some not planning is much better than trying to.

You can write a rough draft zero, it won’t be as coherent as a first draft as you’ll be doing it blind, but it will be more extensive and detailed than any plan could be.

You should try to write it quickly and in as few sitting as possible so you are less likely to forget the subplots and ideas you have branching off. Of course, given it isn’t an actual draft, ideas can be written only in notes if this helps you plan it out better.

 

Beat Sheet

Write down each beat of your story in every scene. This is a very in-depth way of planning: it’s essentially writing your story out without writing it.

 

Character Arcs

We focused on scenes, chapters and structure plans but planning by your main character’s arc almost helps to plot your story, (the main events should surround them). They go from A to Z and you need to plot what happens in between.

writing (4).png

Story Bible

This…this is a long one. I would never trust myself to write a story bible as I’d probably would procrastinate by planning it forever. If you feel the same, then this isn’t for you. But a story bible contains everything from the plot to character descriptions and worldbuilding. It can become larger than your own novel, but with it at your side you’ll be properly prepared.

 

The synopsis

The synopsis is essentially a mini first draft. If you don’t feel confident to separate your story plan into scenes or even chapters, then this is the planning method for you.

Now some say you just need to do the synopsis that you would send off to any agent or publisher (which of course you will need). However, I believe you need much more than this, you need the little in-betweens and the subplots that are not important enough to mention in a query letter but are very important for planning out your story.

And remember, with any of these planning methods it is perfectly fine, to leave plotlines half finished with notes to come back to later and to try out little experiments in your plan that you are unsure if you’ll keep or not.

 

Index Cards

My dad uses index cards for everything when it comes to planning books. Everything from listing characters to pinning scenes to corkboards and identifying emotional shifts. It is why my childhood was spent finding random index cards saying things like blended elf smoothie and attic accordion death.

 

Plan As You Go

You don’t have to plan everything before you write everything. You can write a scene and then plan the next.

 

Further Reading

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/09/14/25-ways-to-plot-plan-and-prep-your-story/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/7-ways-write-plot-outline/

 

The Beginning of a New Era of Reading: Ember in the Ashes Review

Ember in the Ashes

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

 It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

 But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

 There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

***

It’s been a while since I’ve started a new book series, I have heard nothing but good things about this series, but still I am hesitant to get my hopes up about anything, always wary that another YA cliques might be around the corner. Boy oh boy was I wrong. I’m already reading the sequel, I’m that excited. This book had me on tether hooks!!

I love this book, half the time I didn’t know what’s going on or who was being killed and I’m pretty sure nothing is really achieved at the end of but this book is so determined to tell a story that I applaud it.

That isn’t to say to any extent this is bad writing either in plot or story. It more feels to me like Sabaa Tahir wrote her story and then cut it apart to make the more readable books of the trilogy, at least that’s how the first book feels. This is the first third of this epic adventure and it will not entice me with cheap tricks to read on, only deep characterisation and a twisting plot line. I must this is not the kind of book to read with anxiety. I kept having to put it down because I was becoming too invested in the characters struggles and everything they were doing was just too dangerous for me to process.

 

Where to start? Probably the beginning.

First chapter really drew me in, it was intense and quickly sets the universe up and its stakes: big evil empire that enslaves people who want to be free (pretty simple). But it’s also been done, I’ve read plenty of books with this premise, hell my own book is a take on it.

And I really should be taking notes

This a rich tapestry of different cultures, not just people but ideologies, laws, music and religion. It draws you in with the different people and cultures all colliding together and clashing. It comes swooping in and out of this to make of us aware of the much wider world but doesn’t bother to bog down the reader with details that aren’t necessary. Because this story is about the characters.

I do think there is a healthy balance between the two plot lines of Elias and Laia because it takes a long time for them to intersect and I care about both of them. I feel like I know these characters. I’ve walked beside them and understand them better than they have yet to understand themselves. Laia is so pure and has the more active plot lines than Elias. Elias…is an idiot. I love him…but he’s an idiot. But I think that was the intention.

But there is something I will call now. Helene, Elias’s childhood friend, who is meant to be a powerful warrior, spends the majority of the book being defended by men and requiring Elias to save her. That doesn’t mean I don’t like her character, but I worry that it’s just another story where I’m being told the girl is strong when she’s constantly having to be saved.

I’m shocked that it didn’t fall into the normal romance subplot tropes. It nearly does, but there enough sensibleness for the characters to share that it didn’t affect my enjoyment. What I’m glad for is all the characters’ motivation are based on their own beliefs rather than them thinking with their junk.

Worldbuilding: Lands

Introduction

Within any story told, a world is created. Even set on Earth, your book needs to show the world around it from the smallest creature to the society and culture of your main characters.

One of the importance aspects of this is the geography in your book and how it can enhance your writing.

 

What’s important to the plot?

It is easy to be bogged down by worldbuilding fever.

It’s okay, I know how much you want to write about this world you have in that big old head of yours, but let me tell you: no one will read fifty pages of geography. It’s the balance of keeping it short and to the point while opening up the reader’s mind to world that surrounds the plot.

First, where are your characters? If they never move from their home town why would they know what the sea on the other side of the world is called. Are they a pirate on a boat? Then why would know what mountains would look like? Remember to style the geography around what your own character would know.

 

WHERE is it?

Where is the story located? Is it on Earth, somewhere similar or in a completely different world? If it’s on a different planet, what makes it different? How do things look or how do the laws of physics change, especially if magic is involved? Whatever you decide remember to keep consistent rules to make your world feel more concrete and real, even if it is filled with dragons.

 

WHEN is it?

If it’s on Earth is it in the present day or the past or future? History and technology are probably the two main things that will affect how your world is shaped. Are there any historical events that effect the story? What kind of technology are the characters using? If it is a historical setting, make sure to research properly as to not look like an idiot.

Crossed out words

WHAT is there?

The People

How does the land shape the people? In what ways have the people adapted to life in these conditions? Do they have boats? Do they wear thick furs or sleep in open tents? The land shapes how people learn to live.

The Animals

This is important. The amount of domesticated animals that your society has usually correlates with its technological advances. Of course no science should ever hold you back from writing what you want, but remember that history is what makes stories.

 

Research, research, research

It’s a piece of advice that you should always be aware of. It’s honestly the best way to tackle writer’s block on any subject.

Research.

Research damn it!

The internet is a pleather of lists of ideas if you know where to look. And I know you know this, but it’s about understanding when to use the internet instead of just not bothering to write.

ngfjg

Making maps

Some authors love to make physical maps to plot everything out in accordance with everything else, as well as where physical features are like mountains and rivers. But just making notes works just as well if maps aren’t your thing.

 

Conclusion

If you get this down in the planning stage, you’ll have the setting of the stage your characters will play upon. Good luck Xx

 

Further Reading

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/10-questions-ask-fantasy-world/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-create-a-fantasy-world/

https://www.bustle.com/p/10-tips-for-building-a-fictional-world-46836

https://thewritelife.com/worldbuilding/