4 books every writers should read

Read a lot, write a lot, and of course stick your nose into a writing manual on occasion – that might help too. -Enette Venter

I taught myself how to write over the years, and have used many resources to do so. Specifically I used books. So here is another recommendation post…

(Links are in the titles)

Writer book recomedations

 

1.On writing – Stephen King.

Once again (just like in last week’s recommendation post) I’m going to cut through all the suspense and start with the best.
This book is very famous in writing circles and I’m pretty sure most of my followers have read it already, but I will recommend it anyway.

This book is a mix between the biography and writing advice from Stephen King.
It contains:
Childhood stories, analogies, romance, lots of swearing, failures, success, origin stories, writing tips and lots of motivation.
In it King explains how he became the successful author he is. He gives writing advice and life lessons all while complaining that he is doing so.
I recommend this book not because of the literary advice it can give you but because it explains the heart behind writing. Sure we don’t all write for the same reasons but in the end writing is as much part of life as breathing, and I think this book captures that really well.

Thank you to my parents for buying me this book for Christmas. It’s really one of the best books you can read if you are a writer in need of inspiration.

Quote: It starts with this: put your writing desk in the corner and ever time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.

2.One Year Adventure Novel textbook -Daniel Schwabauer

Back in 2013 when I had just taken an interest in writing, my parents decided to buy me a package that’s supposed to coach me into writing a novel in a year. I failed miserably but learned a lot.
This package contained two books, a work book and a text book that explained the basics of story telling. Specifically adventure.

This course doesn’t cover things such as magic systems or clauses in a sentence but it does cover essential characters, the heroic journey, suspense, character goals, villain creation, theme, dialog and much more.

If you happen to be a younger writer or a new writer I can’t begin to recommend this packet enough. It teaches all the basics, and to be honest sometimes when I feel like I can’t remember how to write I still go back to that package and I refresh my knowledge of story telling.

This package focuses on adventure novels, but I think that that is still useful since most of the principals in adventure flow through to other genres as well. In my experience if you know these basics adventure the other genre’s comes easier.

 

3.Creative writing course – Chris Sykes

This is the book that actually inspired a lot of my first blog posts back in 2015 .
Where “On Writing” would teach you about the hart of writing and “OYAN” would teach you the basics of writing, this book will teach you more in depth techniques to help you refine your writing. It is this book that taught me about using the five sense and rhythm in writing.

What I really love about this book is that it’s very concise and after explaining a concept it give lots of practices specifically designed to help you master the concept.
I have filled about two notebooks just because of this book, and a lot of my great ideas such as this one (insert link to the battle of taste) comes directly from something I read in this book.

This book was actually one of the first investments I made into my writing since I bought it with my own money one holiday. (Some kids buy beach balls, I buy writing manuals XD)

 

 

3.5 The writer’s idea workshop – Jack Heffron

This one is similar to “creative writing course” in the fact that it’s more about technique and it give lots of prompts. It does focus more on where ideas come from and how to bring them to life. The reason this is only half a recommendation is because I haven’t finished reading it yet. It was a gift from a friend that I misplaced on a pile until I tried gathering my books for this post. I will tell you more about it once I actually finish it.

 

4. We call this writing – wattpad user KeriHalfacre

This is one that I just started on, but I already like it.
It focuses on less known writing advice – and shares recommendations such as these for writers to use. The writer of this book is a complete writing nerd, which means I already love her – and you will too.
If you’re not a wattpad user you will struggle to get to this one, but it’s really worth signing up for (plus all the free books)

 
Aaaannd… Done.
All these books are really worth reading, so if you’re not afraid of a little homework these will improve your writing.
Goodluck reading, writing and of course living – may you prosper where you’re planted.

My 5 favorite writing resources

Okay so I’ve been writing a lot again recently which means, I’ve been making use of my fave resources again and since I have a lot of writers following me, I figured it’s my duty to share these things with you.

So without any further introduction let’s jump into it.

(Links are in the titles)

Copy of Blog Title – Untitled Design(1)

My top five writer resources

 

1.Bibisco.

This is by far the most important one on the list. See that it’s on top? That’s because I’m not messing around when I recommend this.
This program gives a couple of tips, sure, but what I love about it is it’s in depth character questionnaires. Normally I don’t even like questionnaires – but this program has helped me out of multiple story ruts, including the one I had with “Falling for Pink” two years ago.
It’s really a great program to help you get to know your characters and their dynamics.
5 out of 5 would recommend.

 

2.Brandon Sanderson lectures at BYU

Am I one of the lucky people who get to go to the classes that Brandon Sanderson (aka my favorite Fantasy author) is a lecturer at? No. It’s a good thing the classes are taped and put on YouTube because I’m not even in the right country for these things.
My obsession with everything Brandon Sanderson started at the age of 13 when my mum said my story reminded her of his books. Since then I have scoured the internet for advice given by him – because obviously he’s great and I want to be just like him. Lucky for me, my dad found these classes and they are awesome.
He can explain everything from characters to plotting and it’s kind of more an objective view point into writing. My fave lesson on his would be the one on magic systems – you definitely have to watch it.

 

3.Belly Balot

This is a baby naming site that I have saved in my tabs. It’s made my friends look at me weird multiple times.
Like no, I’m not pregnant, just a writer.
This site is great because you can search for names based on the letter they start with, ethnicity, time frame and gender. There is also the editors choice which gives you names from categories such as cowboy names, bad boy names and aristocrat names.
Each name is accompanied by the name meaning.

 

3.5. Behind the name

After I picked a name from Belly Balot I normally go search it in Behind the name, because there you get more information such as the origins of the name and similar names from different languages. I specifically do this, because I don’t always trust Belly Balot’s facts – so Behind the name gives a more in detailed explanation of the name’s meaning and origin.

 

4.Fantasy name generator.

This is also one that I use often. This site is masterfully made and I’m honestly a little in love with it, because it has such a wide variety of name generators.
This site has over 1200 different name generators. These are things such as elf names, fantasy surname, clan name etc. Any kind of name you need for your story, this site can generate for you. Obviously I don’t use it for character names, but I use it for book titles, surnames and a lot more.

 

5.Pacemaker

This is a new one, that I’m just now starting to use. But it looks cool so far so I have to share!
If you’ve ever participated in NaNoWriMo then you’ll have seen that they provide these cool charts to help you keep track of how much you’ve written and how much more you should write.
Well Pacemaker is basically that on steroids.
On this site your project can be anything from a novel to a blog posts. You can use it any time of the year, not just during November. You can decide how intense you want to work and if you want to skip weekends.
It’s really looks cool – but like I said I just started using it, so you’ll have to try it for yourself to be sure 😛

 

 

All right, those are my top five resources today.
There are more, but we can get into those another time. For now, I hope that some of these recommendations prove useful to you and that you write as easy as you breathe in the coming weeks. (unless you have asthma – then I wish for you to write easier than you breath.)

How to tackle a writing session (when your project is done)

writing session

All writers have that moment where you’re not technically busy with a big project anymore but you still have the urge to write (after all it’s addictive) or perhaps you simply want to keep the habit of writing regularly from slipping from you.
Whatever your reason is; now you’re sitting there in front of your computer (or notebook) but you have no clue what to write.
So I gathered the ways that I handle these days in the hopes that they help you.

 

First I would like to set some form of goal for myself to work towards for the day. That way I am focused and less likely to abandon my writing in the middle of a session.
There are two ways in which I can set my writing goal.

 

The first is a timed goal.

Back when I was still starting out with my writing and I still typed slowly I would give myself the goal of writing for an hour. This worked because it’s easy enough to just set a timer on my phone and then no matter how badly I write, or how slowly, I will still have given attention to my writing.

 

The second is a word count goal.

These days, whenever I sit down to write I give myself the goal of typing 1500 words which is approximately one scene from a story. These 1500 words can be achieved through any method.
It can be three flash fiction pieces or one long scene. Anything goes as long as I meet my goal.

 

Once I have my goal I need to figure out what I want to write (obviously)

I’ve got three exercises that I prefer to use for this.

Turn a melody into fiction.

When I was little I had an art instructor who would put crayons in front of us and turn on some music. We were then expected to listen to the music and start drawing lines that we feel represented it. A happy song was bright colour and a sad song was cold colours.
So essentially you have to represent the song in a different medium. You still with me?

Now, what you can try is to put on a song (perhaps one without lyrics) and then listen to it. You must pick up on the tone of the music and let it inspire your creativity. If this music was describing a place what place would it be? If it was describing a person how would they look? If this song was a scene from a story what events would take place?
Play around with it and write as much as you can.
This is one of my favourite exercises.

Use a prompt.

They are all over the internet.
My favourite prompts come from the fake red head. Her prompts are a lot more creative and witty than most prompts on the internet. I feel like the prompts honestly set my imagination on fire and that is why they work well for me.
Again just basically pick a prompt and roll with it. Try to get as much words down as possible.

 

Lastly – read through your old scrap writing and see if anything inspires you.

If you don’t already know – I am a big believer in the principle of saving all your old writing because no matter how bad the writing is you never know what a good idea is.
So if you are like me with a bunch of half ideas scribbled down somewhere or pieces of flash fiction saved on your computer then go read through it and see if anything jumps out at you.
Ask yourself if you can continue with this piece or if it connects to something else you’ve written.
Perhaps you had a cool magic system in one piece but the character wasn’t so great; then go right ahead and write a different version with the right character.
Play around with your old ideas because they might just spark some new ones.

 

Those are my favourite exercises and I promise you that I do not recommend anything that I don’t personally think will benefit you.
With that said I suggest that if you have a time sensitive goal you know where your recourses are beforehand so you don’t have to start googling things during your precious writing time. If the internet distracts you too much it’s better to just turn it off and stumble along on your own.

I hope this helped and as always if you liked this post please share it or comment. I would love to hear your favourite method of tackling a writing session.

My top 3 resources for writers.

3 writing resources

The only things a writer truly needs to write is an idea, some basic language skills and something to write on.
Yet if you do some digging you’ll find dozens of resources on the internet designed to make writing easier for us. Some resources are to inspire us while others are to help as plan or write faster.
I figured that since I’ve been writing for a couple of years now I might as well share with you my favourite resources so you can benefit from them as well.

The first one is obvious and you probably already know it exists.

 

Pinterest…

I tell people about the magic of Pinterest all the time and I still stick to it. Pinterest is an image based social media where you can see other people’s ideas, creations, thoughts and more. I use it throughout my writing process.
It has helped me pick names and faces for characters and I’ve even formed entire plots around some of the opinions that are shared on pinterest. So I suggest you open your Pinterest account and start searching. Look for photos and quotes.

 

Bibisco.

This one you probably haven’t heard of yet but it’s one of my favourite things ever.
It’s a computer program that helps you organise your planning. I specifically use it to help me shape my characters because it has built in character questionares (that actually work)
My experience is that it’s easy to use, it helps motivate and it’s just generally well rounded.
You can even write your story on it but I prefer not to because it just doesn’t compare to word’s Spelcheck.
I used this last year when I got stuck with Pink and it helped me slide past the probable very easily.

 

Finally Hemingway.

Hemingway is the ultimate spellchecker site.
You can copy and paste entire pieces of your writing into it and it will tell you which sentences are confusing. Which sentences are written with a passive voice and which words can be replaced.
It helps you trim your work and round off all the edges.

 

I hope that you try at least one of these things because they have helped me as a writer a whole lot and I wish for them to help you as well.
If you like this post and found it helpful please share it or comment.
I want to know what resources you would recommend. (I’m always looking for new stuff)

(Please know I only recommend things that I honestly feel you would benefit from)

Time to make a scene.

scene
Sorry for not posting a proper post last week I was sick. It seems to be a bug that is going around the area and I still cough on occasion but all in all I’m feeling much better. I might even try to convince my parents that I’m well enough to go on a Poke run (I’ve got Pokemon go and it’s great!)

Today I would like to give you the ultimate guide to planning and writing a scene.

A scene is one of the most basic things in writing and probably not something you need explained to you, but since I write my novels scene by scene I figured I might as well take a look at how I plan these.

A scene is not a chapter by the way, it is the smaller bits that a chapter is made out of. A scene is a single time and place in a story and a good way to see when a scene ends is when the character changes location.

A scene, like every other part of writing is made out of different elements but in this case we’ll look at the two main elements.

 
1. The first element to a scene is the sense of time and place.
In each scene you want to paint a picture to your reader so they can know where your character is. Even if your character is in pitch-black darkness you need to show this to your reader.
2. The second element is that something needs to happen.
The general idea is that if a scene does not further the story then it’s not worth having in the story and you might as well take it out. Have you ever read a story where they take nearly three pages just to describe grass and in the mean time the characters aren’t doing anything? These kind of books are boring and quickly makes the reader lose interest.

So those are the basic elements of a scene.
Setting and plot.

Now you can take it further when planning a scene and ask yourself a couple of questions before you start writing.
Questions such as what needs to happen? Where does this scene take place? Who is in this scene? What conflict is in this scene?

Here is a list of questions that I made.

5 scene questions

 

The thing I want to close off with is scene structure.
You get many different types of scene from 6000 word monstrosities to 500 words. (the rule of thumb is 1500)

All scenes have a sense of structure though which is something you probably learned in high school. Before writing a scene you are encouraged to structure it.

The most common structure looks like this.

  • Show character and their goal
  • Give them a problem.
  • Make your character get passed the problem for a resolution.
  • Repeat for the next scene.

 

If you do it right then something has changed for your character and your story has furthered.

This might not work for all scenes but is a good guideline to keep in mind.

 

This is not my longest writing post but I hope it helped anyway and that I won’t wait too long to write another one. If you have any specific topic you’d like me to write about feel free to mention it in the comments.

The right way to use subplots

subplots

I didn’t really plot the novel, which I’m busy with, before I started writing it. I just sat down and wrote.
This means that every now and then I have to pause in my writing and revaluate what I’ve written and then go figure out what I have to write next. While I wish I had taken a couple of days to just plot before I started writing, the process is working and I’m making great progress.
I mention this because recently I’ve had to stop in my writing again and take a look at my subplots. I had to decide what they are doing in my story and how exactly they will affect the end result.
After doing research and working out my own novel’s problems I’ve decided to share with you all I now know about subplots.

First let’s take a look at what a subplot is.
A subplot is a strand of plot that supports the main plot.
If you consider the plot of your novel to be a braid then a subplot would be a single strand in that braid. It is a sequence of events that is part of the story but stands on its own aside from the main plot.
Now I’d like to underline a word in my definition and that is “supports.”
The thing about a subplot is that it has to somehow be relevant to the main plot. It has to support the main plot and there has to be a reason for the subplot to be in the story.
Whatever you do, don’t just create a subplot to be filler. Instead use your subplots to strengthen your main plot and ending.
There are a whole bunch of different kinds of subplots, so here I want to share with you the most often used half dozen.

1. The romance subplot.
This is by far the most common subplot. It consists of the main character overcoming obstacles to be with the love interest.
2. Character arch.
The character arch can count as a subplot. Often how the character changes affect the end of the story and of course it has obstacles and revelations that lead your character to changing.
3. Proving themselves.
I’m simply calling this category “proving themselves” but it covers both redemption and revenge. This is when your character feels like they need to make up for something that happened in the past.
4. Non romantic relationship subplot.
You can have a subplot for relationships such as child parent relationships or friendly relationships.
5. Side character subplot.
If one of your side characters has their own separate goal from the main character than this can be a subplot as long as there are obstacles to overcome and it helps with the story’s end.
6. Other goal subplot.
I’m using this one for my story. My character’s main goal is to get the villain to stop hunting her. But there is a second goal and that is to help an injured friend.
Your character can have two goals which both lead to strengthening the end.

Now I just want to share with you a little about mixing the subplots.
First, let’s talk about where a subplot begins. The importance of the beginning of a story is to introduce your protagonist, antagonist and the main plot or goal. That means that the best place to introduce a subplot is after you’ve laid the ground for those three things.
But how do you close a subplot?
You might have noticed that I mentioned quite a few times that the subplot should strengthen the end of the novel. Keep in mind what closing each subplot looks like.
The most common and normally best suited place to close a subplot is in the third quarter of your story. Before the main plot closed so it can help give that ending some strength.
There is an exception for the romantic subplot though. For some reason we as readers and watchers of movies like to see the romantic subplot closed last. After the final battle we want to see the main character kiss the love interest. We want that subplot to be resolved at the end.
I’m basically done but one last thing you might want to keep in mind is that too many subplots can crowd your story and make it feel confusing, so unless you are writing a 500 page epic stick to less than four subplots.


I hope this will help you with your writing and that you’ll share this post.
If you are busy with camp NaNoWriMo, then good luck to you from me.

What are your story’s subplots? What do you think is most important to keep in mind about subplots?

Setting myself and my writing free

This changing plan thing is getting stupid.

Setting writing free

It’s simple, after struggling with writer’s block for six months I have now decided to quit on the project that I promised just last week to write.
There are quite a few things that lead to this decision and these are.
1. An inability to write more than 400 words before getting distracted.
2. Rereading my work and wanting to throw up.
3. Literary feeling empty when I have to sit down and write.

 

Of course I hate giving up on anything, especially a project. It makes me feel like a hypocrite and in part, a failure. So I didn’t quit on my own. Instead I wandered over to my parent’s room, crashed onto their bed and gave an melodramatic sigh.
My parents noticed I was there and glanced away from their phones. I explained to them my dilemma and so in turn they gave some solid advice.

I’m not going to be quoting them but I will totally paraphrase it into my own words.

 

This is the great thing I want other young or aspiring writers to know.

If you don’t want to write something then don’t. Every piece of writing has a time and place to be written and if you and your piece of writing aren’t ready yet then there’s no point in trying to force it. Also there is still plenty of time to write that story, even if you don’t write it today you can write it another day.

If you are a writer pay attention to those words because they might just help you out of a ditch.

 

So I quit what now?

Do you expect me to just sit around now and not write anything? If so then I’ll have to snort and shake my head at you because that’s simply not the kind of person I am.
A day after deciding to quit on my novel Felix vs. Aida I gathered an idea that had been crawling around in my head and started putting it on paper.
Here’s the thing. Between Friday, Saturday and Sunday I have written 4000 words. That’s more than my aimed for 1000 words a day.

 

In the past few months I’ve started to worry that I can’t ever be a good writer and I wondered if I even should try to be one. Since writing again though I’ve been reminded how much I love writing because I really do. My goal to become a published author has been solidified again and I’m overjoyed about it.

 

Long and short of it is this.
I have been struggling to write, my mind wandered and my fingers felt slow, but now I quit on the project that I had been writing without any form of passion. At first I was miserable and felt like a failure but now that I’m writing again I don’t mind the fact that I had to quit one project to get me here. Right now I’m writing again, with passion and joy in each word. Maybe I won’t get published and maybe no one will ever read my books but right now just writing is good enough for me.

As you can guess I’ll soon start sharing about my new project I just first have to decide how. I was thinking I could publish each chapter as I’m done with it so keep your eyes open there’s a chance you’ll be seeing the first chapters of PINK soon.