Tips for getting out of the insulated writing bubble (and be filled with creative ideas)

When you start on your writers’ journey it’s easy to envelop yourself in a bubble. You want to churn out as many words as you possibly can. You focus on story planning, word count and the dreaded edit.
This is all good and necessary to grow as a writer, but the problem with living in the writer’s bubble is that nothing new and exciting can enter. Which, to keep things on topic of writing, means your ideas start to resemble each other more and more until you’ve regurgitated the same idea so many times you only have one story to tell.

 

To avoid the insulating bubble is easy considering how serious a problem this can cause in your writing. All you have to do is observe and question the world around you. (I’ll admit that sounds phony, but it’s true.)
I have three simple ideas that can help you with this, and I hope you try them not only when you’re in an idea rut, but that you make it part of your writing habits.

 
1. Go to public places and play the “who are they?” game.
“The who are they?” game is basically when you pick a stranger and sketch a character around them. Come up with a history, an occupation and a dilemma for your new character. If you can’t go into a public place, then use stock images to gather characters.
To take the game a step further, create a second character and write a piece of flash fiction in which they have to interact.

 

2. Make note of people’s behavior.
A big part of writing involves characters, so it’s fun to write down odd things about human behavior that you notice. You never know if it might become a detail to be added to a story later.
Some observations I’ve made recently (just to give you an idea) include: people always take the window seat by the library. Culture effects a person’s walking pace. People who exercise regularly are over enthusiastic when greeting others.
Obviously not all of this is fact, but it can be used as a character’s opinion or for some interesting narrative.

 

3. Research random stuff to death.
Before you can write you need a pile of knowledge to work with, so pick a topic and study it.
Some good topics include psychology, legends, geographical areas, anything about how stuff in the industrial industries are made etc.
All of this can spark ideas. So, if you can, try to learn one new thing every week.

 
I hope this inspires you to get out of your bubble and take a look into the world around you. It could enhance your very way of living, and help you reach your potential happiness. And if it doesn’t, at least, it’ll give you something new to write about 😉

 

Some background for why I’m writing this topic: I have been attending university for four weeks now and my subjects include, creative writing, communication and philosophy (to name only three of the five.) In all three these classes a resounding lesson has been pushed onto the students. Observe the world around you and ask questions. It’s been part of my homework and I must say the influence of this lesson can be seen in my writing.

 
Now I hope you have a good day, and don’t forget to like and share this post. It means a lot when you do so because, it reaffirms that despite my horrible posting schedule there are people helped by my posts.

Grammarly: The best tool for the writer who’s not a native English speaker

I write a lot of English content. I write emails, blog posts and books all in English – but here’s my not so secret weakness. I’m not a native English speaker. I’m Afrikaans.

This causes a problem for me. Mainly one of grammar and sentence structure. Basically what I do wrong is I use English words to write Afrikaans sentences.

When revising my book people noticed this and pointed it out to me, so I realized that I need some help. Now me, I’m constantly reading up on how to use commas, I’m learning new words every day and generally, I just try to better my skills a little every week. It’s not enough.

 

So, on the prompting of the writing community, I opened a free Grammarly account and that is what I want to write about today.

Copy of Add heading
First, let’s cover some basics

What is Grammarly?

Some would call it a spellcheck, but it’s honestly much more than that. It’s a grammar tool.

Grammarly scans your text for errors such as misused words, misplaced comas misused modifiers and more. Then it points it out to you, explains what is wrong and then gives you the decision to fix it.

 

I love this not just because it helps me fix my text but because it teaches me about language.
It is like a gentle teacher that not only points out mistakes but uses it as a learning moment. That’s how I choose to see it anyway XD

 

I’m not going to lie, I’m a complete noob when it comes to Grammarly because not only am I using the free version but I’ve also only been using for a couple of weeks.

I do think that it’s made a difference in my content though and honestly the fact that it caught the stupid mistakes that I would have missed otherwise already has me impressed. I do want to give you a fair evaluation of it though. At least for the version that I’m using. (since I know nothing about the premium version aside that it’s supposed to be even cooler)

So let’s do pros and cons.

 

Pros.

1. It doesn’t only check spelling but Grammar too.
2. It is a learning opportunity if you are bi-lingual like me.
3. You can edit and personalize your dictionary
4. You can use it on your phone too as well as a firefox plugin, so it checks everything you write on social media.

Cons.

1. There seems to be a size limit on files you can load to be checked. So you can’t load a whole book onto the free version and just run through it. You’ll have to make a plan like go chapter by chapter.
2. The free version only checks for specific problems not all. So you’ll need the premium version to get the whole experience.
3. The premium version costs money.
This is not a real problem to most, just to broke people like me who can’t afford anything that you have to pay in dollars for (conversion rates suck)

 

My favorite feature would be that it spellchecks everything across my social media automatically. Because I have severe anxiety when it comes to social media, and this helps to ease that. To know that I’m not going to make a massive idiot out of myself by misspelling something really helps me.

 
I know this is a short review but I hope it helps you make your decision of if you want to use Grammarly. If you do decide to get it, I ask that you use the link in the banner below because that way I get commision – even if you only sign up for the free version.


Correct all grammar errors with Grammarly!

This post is sponsored by Grammarly, but I hope you can see that I am unbiased about my opinion and I promise I would never recommend anything that I don’t honestly think will help people.
With this said, thank you for reading, and enjoy your writing 🙂

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.

The quill pot writing contest #1

All right guys, so I want to try something new/ retry something old.

Quill POt

A long time ago, when I was a new and enthusiastic writer, I started a writing contest that I held bi-weekly. In the end, it crashed and burned because I honestly just couldn’t keep up with writing, school, and life all at the same time.
I was overwhelmed and I lost interest.

It’s about three years later and I want to give this another shot for multiple reasons.
1. I really love reading other people’s writing.
2. I really love prompts
3. I want to get reacquainted with my community.

It’s no secret that I have been MIA for a long time – with sporadic and sparse content here and there for the past couple of years. I have my reasons, which I might properly get into another time but for now the basic is this – I want to blog again. I want to follow that passion that drove me when I was 15 again.

So with this background info given, it’s time to reveal my true intentions of today.
I want to start a new writing contest on here!

It will be called ‘The Quil Pot Writing Contest.’

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Okay, so this new contest will work as follows.

I’m going to give a prompt each week along with a maximum word goal. (I don’t mind short things I just don’t have the time to read long things)

Then you get to write something based on this prompt.
I want to see creativity. I want to see the passion. I want to see skill.

You can get your entry to me in two ways.
  1. If you have your own blog, you can make it a post and link it to me – making sure that I can find it.
  2. The second method would be to simply send it to me through this box.

I’m going to read through all the entries and at the end of the week, I’ll pick a favorite.
If you win, your response will be made a post on my blog – for the world to see. I’ll be sure to give you all the credit as I share it across my platforms.

So what are we waiting for? Let’s start.

Today’s prompt is:

Twisted fairy tale
Choose your favorite fairy tale and write a piece about the villain’s point of view.

Do they see themselves as the hero of their own story, or do they know they’re the villain?
Could there be an ulterior motive behind their actions?
The word limit is… 2 000

You can make it shorter but you can’t make it longer. You can do flash fiction or poetry. I love both so I won’t mind to see it.

Good luck writing!

Xoxo

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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)

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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.)

The last enigma

Author’s note: Story time! I don’t share my writing on here very often (ironic since this blog is about my writing) but I decided that since I’ve been writing a lot I might as well start sharing some of it. So here is a sneak peak into what I wrote last week. It’s currently called “The last enigma” but I’ll probably change that eventually so if you have any name suggestions let me know 🙂

A shadow's enigma

Tiana gasped for air as she woke up. She was in a glass tube, liquid draining away past her knees. Her hands reached for the skin tight suit that clung to her body and tried pulling it away from her chest as she gasped for air. It was too tight.
“Good morning,” an old woman asked from were she was standing in front of the glass tube. Tiana recognized the lady’s eyes but wasn’t sure why. Finally breathing became less painful and Tiana let go of her skin tight clothes and instead reached out to put her hands against the glass that separated her from the woman. Behind the woman was a dark room with some green and red lights blinking against the far wall.
The woman smiled at Tiana, a kind warm smile and just like that anger made Tiana go stiff. She glared at the woman, she couldn’t remember this old lady but she knew she hated her.
Tiana formed her hand into a fist and sent it swinging into the glass.
The woman’s smile widened a little.
“I see you are as feisty as ever. I’m glad about that, because it means you and I can play. I hope you don’t mind if I pick the game,” the old lady said taking a step away from the glass. Tiana glared at the lady wondering where Kale was. These people had taken her from him, her brother, but he was on his way to save her. She knew it. She wasn’t sure how she knew it but she did.
“I’m not playing with you,” Tiana growled out, her voice sounded odd to her own ears. Not quite as high pitched as it was supposed to be.
“Oh yes you are,” the old woman said walking over to the far side of the room where a little black box with blinking lights was stuck to the wall. “Before we do, tell me how do you feel?”
Tiana glared at the woman bracing her body inside the glass tube.
“My brother is coming for me,” Tiana said.
The old lady gave light laugh.
“I know, you’ve told me this a hundred times before.”
“You should be scared, he’ll kill you if he finds you.”
”How do you feel Tiana?” she asked leaning against the wall.
“Let me go. I’m not telling you anything.”
The woman pressed a button and Tiana’s eyes went wide as pain ran up her legs and through the rest of her body. She fell forward, her forearms catching her against the glass tube to keep her from hitting the ground. She ground her teeth to keep in her cry.
Just as sudden as it appeared the pain went away and the old lady smiled at her again.
“How do you feel?”
“Oh kick yourself,” Tiana growled out, her gray eyes turning cold. “My brother will murder you.”
”Honey, it’s been ten years, I doubt your brother is still searching,” the woman said with a kind smile before pressing the button again. This time the pain was worse.
Tiana’s knees collapsed beneath her as she screamed.

 

 


 

Author’s note: alright, so this is the introduction to the story. I hope got your interest.

I have only finished the first act of this story, but I will be sharing chapter one next week. This is simply a little teaser. As I said leave name ideas in the bottom, and any comments you make I’ll try to respond to as soon as I can.

Thank you for reading xox

My Kindle scout campaign is launched

I’ve got news!

I was watching YouTube videos on my phone when a email notification popped up. When I opened it it spoke about Kindle Scout which I did not know was a thing (if you don’t know don’t worry I’ll tell you in a minute) and it highlighted how you can sign up for it.
It’s a great opportunity for writers to get a publishing contract with kindle so I signed up.  But now I need your help to succeed.

Kindle scout launch

First, what exactly is Kindle Scout?

Kindle Scout is an opportunity for writers to get a publishing contract from kindle (as already stated)
It works on a reader driven system which means that you the readers get to vote for your favorite books – and then they are considered for publication by kindle.
I got to upload the first couple of chapters from my novel onto kindle scout so now you can go read it. If you like it, you vote for it and increase my chances of getting chosen by Kindle.

 

To vote for me you can go through this link to find “Falling for Pink” and then click on the vote button beneath the excerpt.

 

What is falling for Pink about?

Well here’s my little blurb.

The monster in this story has pink hair and lots of anxiety.
Peggy McCarthy is a monster straight out of mythology.
Used to being hated and hunted she avoids people – or at least everyone except Benjamin, the boy who works in the coffee shop down the block.
When an accident strikes Benjamin gets hurt and Peggy is faced with a choice, either she stays with the boy who makes her happy or run away like her instincts tell her to.
But is she ready for the consequences of her decision?

By Benjamin’s side Peggy is invited to join his family for Christmas on the farm. It’s a warm South-African December in a big family house and very very different from what Peggy is used to.
By meeting his parents, sister, aunt and cousin – Peggy is forced to practice her social skills. She hopes that by doing so she can become someone worthy of the title girlfriend.
But will her being a monster effect the holiday?
With Benjamin’s aunt close to figuring out what she is and a mysterious person looking for her, it seems as if the holiday will come crashing down around her. But at least she has a little bit of time and she plans to make the most of it.

So picture a girl with bright pink hair clinging to the one person in the world who doesn’t make her feel like a monster, because that’s what Peggy is doing.
Despite the problems and the odds she and Benjamin start a relationship – and hold on to each other through it all.

 

Falling for Pink

Are you interested? I hope so since I loved writing it!

 

 

Your reward for voting

If you vote for me then you will receive an email at the end of the month to tell you if I’ve been chose to by published by kindle or not. If they do choose me you will get a free advanced reader copy (e-book) of Falling for Pink.

 

Now that I have all the details out of the way I want to ask you person to person to please go vote for “Falling for Pink” and support my career by doing so.

Vote for falling for pink.