Rot 4: Plaque To The Future By Aidan J. Reid [Book Review]

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ROT 4: Plaque to the Future by Aidan J. Reid | Book Review | Short Story | Comedy | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

His wife has been kidnapped.

He’s a fairy on the run.

The prophecy says he alone can restore balance and harmony to the Kingdom. The Fairy Godmother might have something to say about that.

Piece o’cake.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I like the cover to this one. It’s simple, stays along the same theme as the 3 stories before it, and the tooth looks shiny, which is pleasing to me.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ve enjoyed the first three books of this short story series. After the way the third book ended, I was eager to read part 4.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

The Fairy Godmother is back and it doesn’t seem like she’s too happy with Ray. Ray and Ian are on a journey to find their kidnapped wives. They travel far and wide coming across old and new characters. Some nice, some not so nice.

I think this story was the most intense out of the four parts that have been released. They run into a few different enemies just barely making it. It really added a lot to their adventure.

 

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Just like the previous three parts of this series, the author’s witty humor shines through. Ray has a great narrative voice and a wonderful hilarious tone. It’s a short story, yes, but it’s a quick read because I get easily engaged and sucked into it.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

I think I enjoyed this story the most out of all four parts. This one was intense and had it’s fair share of witty, funny moments.

Rot 4: Plaque To The Future by Aidan J. Reid gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I reach out for his tail and grab it in my dizziness. Some warped version of pin the tail on the donkey.” – Aidan J. Reid, Rot 4: Plaque To The Future

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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Time To Write: Picture Prompt 14

Last week’s writing prompt was a brainstorming exercise. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now check out this week’s prompt:

Creative Writing Prompt | Picture Prompt | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based on the picture above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing!

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Why You Need To Read Good Books To Write Good Books [Guest Post]

Today’s guest post is brought to you by James Bee. Thanks, James!

 Why you need to read good book to write good books by James Bee | Guest Post | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

            You have to read to write. Everyone has heard this, over and over again. It’s usually one of the first pieces of advice that is thrown at rookie writers. Read more! We’re told to read more than we write, read everything we can get our hands on, but why? How can this help?

There’s a whole bunch of ways that reading can help improve your writing but I’m going fo focus on three main ones.

  1. Reading can help you get unstuck. Getting stuck is one of most painful experiences you can have when writing. Writers learn to dread the feeling, sitting down at your keyboard and having nothing to put down. Day after day goes by and you fall farther and farther behind your goals. It sucks, plain and simple. Reading can help save you from this pit. When you read, you get out of your own head and into someone else’s. You never know what inspiration you’ll find in there, what methods or tools that you can use to get yourself unstuck.
  2. Helping strengthen your weaknesses. If you are reading authors who write better than you (and you should) then there is a lot you can learn. Tips, tricks, strategies, they’ll filter into your brain whether you pay attention or you don’t. Writing is a learning experience, one that never ends. Like any discipline, you must study in order to get better. Focus and work hard enough and your weaknesses might just become your strengths!
  3. Keeps your passion strong. If you guys are anything like me, you can get bogged down in the day to day focus of your own work. Writing is a lot of work and like anything can start to feel like a chore after weeks and months of plugging away on a manuscript. The passion can start to leak away. Reading can help fight that off, recharge your inspiration batteries. Can help you remember why you started writing in the first place.

Here’s some specific examples of what I’ve learnt from a few of my favourite authors.

J.K. Rowling: Camaraderie and creating engaging interpersonal relationships. I grew up on Harry Potter. Without it I doubt I would be doing what I am doing today. There are a whole list of elements that make the Harry Potter books special. Yet the one that’s helped me most in my writing is Rowling’s ability to create dynamic and meaningful relationships between characters. Harry Potter is a character defined by his past and by his friendships and feuds. Yet all of these relationships feel real, organic. Creating these is no easy task, and if done wrong can make your whole novel feel awkward. Just the friendship trio of Harry, Ron and Herminone alone is a roadmap on how to craft compelling friendships. They grow with each book and so does their relationships with each other.

Pratchett: The power of dialogue and how to use it. As a rookie writer its hard not to overthink everything, to over explain, over write. You are scared of doing too little so you end up doing too much. Certainly this was an issue I struggled with in my early writing, and certainly still do. However, reading Terry Pratchett’s wonderful novels has helped me gain perspective, to be more minimalistic in my work. Pratchett trusts his audience to be able to keep up and decipher the clues he leaves, mainly in his dialogue. He implies and infers, knowing that a alert reader will be able to pick up on it. The conversations between characters does everything, sets up the plot, describes the action, and is the driving force behind the whole narrative.

Joe Abercrombie: Made me remember why I wanted to write in the first place. Passion is nothing besides discipline. Build a good routine and stick to it and you’ll pump out novels. Yet, passion cannot be completely dismissed. Passion breathes life into your writing, makes it vibrant. Yet passion can fade and must be nurtured and rekindled like a fire in a windy place. Abercrombie made we want to start writing and whenever I re-read one of his novels I’m reminded of this. It gives me a push, forces me to strive to be better, to work harder. To see the passion hiding behind the work.

These are just a few ways and examples of how good books can help you become a better writer! Now get out there and start reading!

About James Bee

James Bee is a novelist and blogger working out of Vancouver, Canada. He’s the author of two fantasy novels with more on the way! You can follow him on twitter @jameslikesbooks or follow him on his blog!

Let James know what you thought of his post in the comments below! We’d love to chat. If you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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How Much World Building Is Too Much? [World Building]

You can plan your novel through and through. But when you get the editing stage, you nit-pick every gritty detail and what happens? Most of it gets taken out.

So what do you do with all this extra information you have on your world building? How do you decide if it’s worth it for your readers to know?

Build What You Need | World Building | Fantasy | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Questions To Ask Yourself

1. Does this advance the plot?

If you throw in certain information about the world you’ve built or a certain location, ask yourself if it has anything to do with the plot. While it may be useful information, it may be something your reader doesn’t necessarily need to know.

2. Does this have to do with a character?

Is this place important to a character? Did something happen there in the past with a certain character? If it aids in the character development, then you could probably keep it in. Otherwise, it may not be needed.

3. Is this too specific?

Don’t hand all the information to your readers. Allow them to infer what the world is like for themselves. Allow them to explore the world through your general writing. If you lay it all out for them it may be too much information and seem like an info-dump.

Build As You Write

You don’t need to figure everything out all at once. You can have a general idea, sure, but for the most part, your writing and characters will help carry you along. If you’re not sure if something should go in your story, just keep writing. If it comes up, it comes up. If not, then you may need to keep that bit to yourself.

How do you decide when your world building is too much? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to chat! Also, if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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How To Create A Map For Your Fantasy World [World Building]

Map making is an art in itself. It’s fun, yes, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Creating a map is like writing the first draft of a novel. You’ll most likely have to do it over a couple of times until you get this right and every place has a special spot.

Mapping Your Fictional World | World Building | Fantasy | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Do You Need A Map?

Depending on your story, you may not need a map. If your story remains in one location, maybe two or three, then you most likely don’t need a map.

However, if you’re writing a series, if your characters are traveling a lot throughout the world, or even if you just mention a lot of names and certain characters live in different areas, then you may need a map.

How To Create A Map

1. Make a list of people and places.

Think about the countries, the cities inside them, and the people who reside in each city. If you have different races of people, like Lord of the Rings, for example, they may live in certain areas of the world.

2. Create a general shape and size of your world.

Draw an outline of the world and then you can start forming smaller shapes on the inside. Then you plug in the names of the countries and cities.

3. Think of the terrain.

Where are the oceans, rivers, and lakes? What about the mountains? Are there any rainforests or deserts? Draw those in. Keep in mind the weather and the seasons.

Tips For Creating Your Map

1. Decide what kind of map you want.

There are different kinds of maps such as physical maps (the one you’d most likely use), topographic maps, road maps, climate maps, and a lot more. What information do you want your readers to get out of looking at the map?

2. Study geography

There are plenty of map making tools on the internet, but if you draw your map, you want it to look as realistic as possible. Take a look at real maps and get a feel for how they show mountains and more.

How do you create maps for your worlds? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to chat! If you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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Writing The History Of Your World [World Building]

We all have a history, a background story. Every character has a background story, whether your readers discover it all or not. This goes for your fictional world as well.

We all have history classes in our school learning about our country, world, and its geography. Whether your characters attend school or not, there should be a few history lessons poking through your words for both them and your readers.

Writing The History of Your World | Creative Writing | World Building | Fantasy | RachelPoli.com

History Questions

  • Have there been any wars in the past? Who fought, who won, and why were they fighting?
  • Have there been any significant natural disasters? Have they changed certain areas of the world, is it a big part of a character’s past?
  • Are there any rulers? Is there a government? How did they come to be and what’s their purpose?
  • How were certain areas of your world built? Who built them and why?
  • Are there different countries? Are there borders? Why were they put up?
  • Are there any myths or legends that float around in your world?
  • How did your world come to be in the first place? (For example, do your characters believe a God create it?) Do they all believe the same religion? Maybe no one knows how the world came to be.

The Big Question

Ask yourself:

What would my characters learn in a history class?

The questions listed above should be in your answer. I’m sure there are other questions I’ve missed.

How do you create a history for your world? What are some other things you think about? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to chat! If you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 200: Enter

Short Story: "Enter" | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Casey knocked on the door. She took a step back wondering who was going to be on the other side. She casually looked over her shoulder wondering if her friends were even still standing on the sidewalk.

They weren’t.

She sighed, turning her attention back to the door. Once their baseball had been chucked over the fence by accident, no one wanted to knock on Mrs. Peters’ door to ask for it back. Casey didn’t understand why her friends didn’t want to talk to the old lady, but apparently she wasn’t a very nice person in the past.

Casey wanted to prove them wrong. Or, at least prove to them that she was the only brave one in the group.

They had all said that they would be waiting for her on the sidewalk. They were going to have her back in case anything bad happened. They wanted to witness everything. But of course, as soon as Casey knocked on the door, they had all run away.

Casey stared at the brown painted door. There was a nice “Home, Sweet, Home” sign on the sign. Underneath her feet was a mat that said “Welcome.” Casey didn’t understand why this old lady was do mean. It certainly didn’t seem that way.

Her friends had mentioned that Mrs. Peters liked to yell a lot. A few of their balls had made it over the fence before and every time they’ve asked to get it back, she’s yelled at them. After a few times, they gave up on trying to get their balls back.

Still, Casey looked to her right and noticed a lovely flower garden side the small porch. She didn’t know anything about gardening or flowers, but it sure looked nice and well kept. There were red flowers, yellow flowers, a few purple flowers, and even blue flowers. Casey smiled wondering if she would be able to get away with picking some to give to her mother.

She looked at the front door again. How long was she supposed to wait here? Should she knock again? Mrs. Peters was old. What is she was taking a nap? If Mrs. Peters was as mean as her friends said she was, Casey certainly didn’t want to see what would happen if Mrs. Peters was awoken from a nap.

Casey turned around again. She tried to see if she could see her friends anywhere and ask them what she should do, but they weren’t anywhere in sight. She grunted. Of course they weren’t. They were most likely back in their backyard playing with a different baseball. Casey was sure that they weren’t going to care whether she came back or not.

She faced the door again and looked up at it. There was a small window at the top, but Casey was too short to peek through it to see if Mrs. Peters was there. She would believe that Mrs. Peters was waiting quietly on the other side in an attempt to ignore the kids, hoping they’d go away on their own.

So, she knocked again. One more time couldn’t hurt.

Casey gasped after she knocked the second time. She could hear something from the other side of the door. Uh, oh. Maybe she really did wake Mrs. Peters up and she was on her way to go get a weapon of sorts!

Casey took a step back on the porch. She wanted to run, but there was no way she was going to back out now. She had told her friends that she would get their baseball back and she was going to do it. What could an old lady possibly do?

It was at that moment that Casey heard a voice. She looked all around her, believing that her friends had actually come back for her, but there didn’t seem to be anyone around.

Then she heard someone speak again. It sounded as though it was coming from inside the house.

Casey took a few steps forward toward the door again. Cautiously, she put her ear against the finished wood.

“I said, come in! The door’s open!”

Casey recoiled backward a little at the harsh words. That must have been Mrs. Peters shouting. She swallowed a dry lump in her throat and put a shaking hand on the doorknob. Slowly, she twisted it open and poked her head in.

There, just a few feet away from the front door in what seemed to be the living room, sat an old woman in a wooden rocking chair.

“Come in, come in.” she sighed. “My voice isn’t as strong as it used to be.”

Casey swallowed another lump. Her voice seemed just fine when she was shouting through the door a moment ago.

She entered, closing the door behind her lightly. Of course, she wasn’t too sure if that was a good idea as she didn’t want to lock herself in the house. She wanted to have an easy escape route just in case.

“Oh,” Mrs. Peters sounded surprised upon looking at Casey. “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you before.”

“Um…” Casey stammered, “My name is Casey… I’m uh, friends with May and Tanya… Your next door neighbors…”

“Oh, the twins? They’re so cute. Are they here as well?” Mrs. Peters asked politely.

Casey felt her shoulders relax. Mrs. Peters didn’t seem like a mean woman at all. “No,” she shook her head.

“Oh, that’s a shame.” Mrs. Peters sighed. “I don’t get too many visitors anymore. In fact, that’s partially why I keep the front door unlocked. When someone does come, it’s easier to just shout at them. It gets harder each and every day to get up and moving out of this chair.” She chuckled to herself. “Oh, but listen to me go on and on… Why don’t you sit down, dear?”

Casey didn’t know what else to do but sit. So, she sat down on the couch across from Mrs. Peters’ chair. She looked around the room. It was dimly lit with antiques upon antiques all around the room. There was no TV, which Casey thought was odd. How could you not have a TV, especially when you lived alone and had no one to talk to?

“Is there something you needed?” Mrs. Peters asked.

“Oh, um…” Casey coughed as her voice squeaked. “Our baseball fell into your backyard. I was wondering if I could just go and get it.”

Mrs. Peters laughed. Casey shrunk down in her seat. Maybe this was what her friends meant. Maybe Mrs. Peters was stealing their balls and not giving them back.

“Of course!” Mrs. Peters exclaimed.

Casey felt herself relax again. Mrs. Peters wasn’t so bad.

“Honey, you don’t need to ask permission. If something of yours goes over the fence, feel free to just go into my yard and take it. You know,” Mrs. Peters continued, “I have a pretty large backyard. Bigger than May and Tanya’s, I believe. It’s fenced in and my garden is out front, so if you kids ever need extra room, go play in my yard.” She let out a sigh. “I remember watching my own children and their friends, then my grandchildren, play out in the yard. I missing watching them have fun, hearing the laughter… It’s what kept me young. Now…” she laughed again. “Well, look at me!”

Casey found herself smiling. She had no idea what her friends were talking about. Mrs. Peters was clearly too old and just wanted a little company. She stood up from the couch and held up her index finger. “Could you excuse me for a minute?”

“Of course, dear,”

Casey ran over to the back slider door. She immediately found the baseball in the large grassy area. She ran over to it, picked it up, and tossed it over the fence. She heard May and Tanya cheer as it flew over. She rolled her eyes. They definitely did ditch her and sure enough, they were playing something else while waiting for her.

Well, they were going to be waiting for a long time.

Casey made it back inside the house. She closed the door and sat back down on the couch.

“Mrs. Peters,” she said.

“Hmm?”
“Would you like some company?”

Mrs. Peters stared at Casey for a moment. Then she smiled wide. “You know, I don’t see my family too often. They live pretty far away. However, I recently found out I’m going to be a great-grandmother.”

Casey grinned.

Mrs. Peters reached down next to her chair. Beside her was a basket filled with yarn and knitting needles. “I made a blanket for each of my grandchildren. I would like to carry on that tradition, but I could use some help.”

Casey frowned. “But Mrs. Peters, I don’t know how to knit… I wouldn’t want to ruin the blanket.”

“Nonsense,” Mrs. Peters handed Casey some yarn and her own pair of knitting needles. “You’ll learn. And, maybe someday, you can make blankets for your own grandchildren.”

Casey took the yarn in her hands and watched as Mrs. Peters began her own blanket. She smiled and tried to copy what she was doing.

Words: 1,525

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

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