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Writing Fiction: Details, Details

Very insightful examples of the effect of detail in fiction. Do you slip details unconsciously or mull over its specific effect before penning it?

paulgapper

Apparently, at the microscopic level it is possible to see that print rests on top of the page.  Similarly, I can read a whole chapter without ever quite getting absorbed by it.  But this is what I hope for: the point when it becomes immaterial whether I am reading a book or a Kindle.

One of the ways in which writers achieve this is in their use of detail.  In the discussion of character I quoted from Lisbeth Salander’s trip to Ikea.  The full list of what she buys is, ‘Two Karlanda sofas with sand coloured upholstery, five Poang armchairs, two round side tables of clear lacquered birch, a Svansbo coffee table, and several Lack occasional tables.’  It would have been easier to tell us that she went to Ikea and bought some furniture, but it doesn’t engage in the same way, the list somehow adds to character and…

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Focusing Inspiration

Good old tips to find inspiration. The ten random objects method sounds pretty fun!

Professional Writer: Zack Palm

Originally I wanted to share about how to discover inspiration. Before doing so I misunderstood what exactly inspiration is. It’s everywhere. You could get it from a spoon hanging at a certain direction. From the way your fingers sound as they type away at the keyboard. Running water that you happen to hear when you’re driving nearby a river in your car. Inspiration is everywhere, that all depends on you. What’s the next step? Using it. Focusing that inspiration is something some writers have trouble with. They have an idea of what they want, but what next?

Here are a few things that you could do to help use it properly –

Find a sticky note:

Sticky notes are extremely useful if you have a break down of ideas. If you want to build off it later, you can create a tree like brainstorming session. Have the main idea in…

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7 Great Online Research Resources for Writers

We may have a love/hate relationship with research, but no one says no to research resources! Who knows when you’ll need to research the shell patterns of the earth’s first living turtles?

Editing Addict, LLC

[found on dailywritingtips.com by Mark Nichol]

“Doing research to strengthen a current story or article, or to get ideas for a new one? You can google all you want and hope for a productive return, but to engage in a focused search, try one of these mediated experiences instead:

1. Infoplease

From current events to reference-desk resources to features about history, this site puts a remarkable array of information within reach. Guides to the nations of the world, timelines of political, social, and cultural developments, special quantitative and qualitative features like “The World’s Most Corrupt Nations” and “Color Psychology,” and more cover just about anything you could think of.

2. The Internet Public Library

Unlike the other reference centers on this list, the IPL is a portal to other Web sites, brimming with directories of links in topics like Arts & Humanities. (Dictionary of Symbolism? Check. Ask Philosophers? Right. Legendary Lighthouses?…

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10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People

You know, I always thought I would be hard to psychoanalyse. Like I’m a perfectly normal person, just with something a little… off. Too unruffled, too lazy, too unconventional, too boring, too curious, too sentimental. Like I’m everything at once and nothing particular at the same time.

But somehow, I’m always nodding my head to the articles, pictures and whatnots that float around the writing community. The ones like #youknowyouareawriterwhen, and stuff like 10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People. A quick glance had me blinking. And blinking. And blinking.

Well, damn! Does my own mother know all of this?

Are you one of those creative people? Take a read of the article and see if what’s on the screen matches up with what’s up there.

Happy creating!

10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People

Guest Post: How Properly Structured Beginnings and Endings Hold Your Book Together

Everyone loves novel structuring advice from the experts!

50 Ways to Say ‘Villain’

Perfect list! I’ve been using ‘thug’ far too often lately…

Writers Write

by Mark Nichol from Daily Writing Tips

1. Baddie: a bad person, especially a villain or a villain’s underling in a novel, a film, or a television program (usually lighthearted)
2. Beast: a reprehensible person, especially one with coarse, violent habits
3. Black sheep: an amoral, dishonorable person
3. Blackguard: a reprehensible person
4. Brute: a violent person
5. Bully: a violent person, especially one who intimidates or hurts weaker people
6. Cad: a thoughtless, uncaring man
7. Caitiff: a coward or a reprehensible person
8. Cutthroat: a vicious person
9. Dastard: a coward, or a deceitful or treacherous person
10. Desperado: a criminal, especially in the Old West
11. Devil: an evil person
12. Evildoer: a person who commits evil acts
13. Fiend: a malicious or wicked person; alternatively, an addict, a fanatic, or a…

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Writing Characters of the Opposite Sex

A quick writer’s psychology crash course on writing characters of the opposite gender. An interesting read and definitely something to consider during the writing process.

Editing Addict, LLC

[storymind.com by Melanie Anne Phillips, creator StoryWeaver, co-creator Dramatica]

“Perhaps the most fundamental error made by authors, whether novice or experienced, is that all their characters, male and female, tend to reflect the gender of the author. This is hardly surprising, since recent research finally proves that men and women use their brains in different ways. So how can an author overcome this gap to write characters of the opposite sex that are both accurate and believable to their own gender?

In this Dramatica Tip, we’ll explore the nature of male and female minds and provide techniques for crafting characters that are true to their gender.

At first, it might seem that being male or female is an easily definable thing, and therefore easy to convey in one’s writing. But as we all know, the differences between the sexes have historically been a mysterious quality, easily felt, but in fact…

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How To Get In (And Stay In) The Writer’s Mentality…

Some tips on activating that elusive writer’s mode. I’m a fan of reading what I’ve already written, but too often I get carried away with the editing and don’t get any new material down. I have much to learn!

J.E. Tankersley

If you think about a professional athlete, they always have some sort of method to getting ready for their game or event. They stretch, they run a bit, they warm up, etc. They may even play a practice game before they go out for the real one. Do you think a professional boxer is just sitting in a McDonalds, eatin’ a hamburger, and then gets up and walks over to the stadium, tosses on the gloves, and says, “Alright. Let’s do it”? Probably not. Whatever it is, they do something to get into the mindset that they need to be in. Right?

Well, writing is the same way. You can’t, or at least shouldn’t, just be going about your day, decide to write, pop open the old laptop, and pick up your chapter where you left off. Now why is that Mr. Tankersley? Good question, my inquisitive and handsome reader!…

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15 Things Every Writer Knows

Just finished doing #5 and feel amazing about it. When I was little, I’d get in equal amounts of trouble with Mum for playing too much gameboy or reading into my bed time. On to a new book!

Thought Catalog

1. That language is a maze. It is an art and a calculation that when even slightly off is glaring to even the most blasé of readers– or at least, that’s what we fear. There are a thousand different ways to craft what you want to say, and every choice in every sentence does matter.

2. The unprecedented unraveling that is getting something that hurts you out of your heart and onto paper. Encrypting our paragraphs with what we really want to say to people, but just don’t have the guts to without the guise of “fiction.”

3. How the story really ends. When you live with characters inside you, you know how they end up, even if you never acknowledge it entirely. You have the answers that people go to the grave craving.

4. That there are few more frustrating endeavors. Every art has it’s difficulties, but when it…

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Using an Em Dash vs. Ellipses in Dialogue

I didn’t know much about the Em Dash until recently. This helpful post came just in time. Thanks Amanda!

Amanda Bumgarner

The incorrect use of em dashes and ellipses is not something that matters a whole lot in the grand scheme of writing. There are  more crucial grammatical issues such as direct address commas, apostrophes, and spelling. However, dash/ellipses confusion is a personal pet peeve of mine, and thankfully, the rule is easy enough to remember:

An em dash is the punctuation mark noted by the longer dash. It’s not a hyphen like what you see in this: A two-minute drill. The em dash is longer (—).

Use an em dash (—) for interrupted dialogue, thought, or narrative. Example:

“Why don’t you—” He stopped suddenly and looked behind him.

 The em dash in this case is noting interrupted speech.
Now consider the following:

Use ellipses (…) to denote a small pause, stuttering, or dialogue/narrative that trails off. Here are a few examples:

“And your name is…?” <– In this case…

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