Posted in Blogging, NaNoWriMo, Reading/Book Reviews, Writing

Blog Round Up: October 2016

Blog Round Up October 2016


NaNoWriMo Prep: World Building
Seeing Seconds | A Poem
10 Things Every Writer Needs To Know About Conflict
Haiku – Shape
Moniker Help
How To Accept That Some People Will Never Understand Your Creative Life


Where To Start Reading
Stacking the Shelves 39
Guest Post – 5 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Are You Ready? (NaNoWriMo Prep Part 6)

We can complain that the days and sometimes the weeks can drag on forever. But, if you really think about, the year always flies by. How the days can go so slow and the year go by fast is beyond me, but time is weird. What can I say?

I’m always eager to begin a new NaNo session, whether it’s Camp in April or July, or it’s the hardcore one in November. I’m always waiting and, like always, it comes up way too fast.

But no matter how much you’re prepared (or not prepared), you’re not always 100% ready for it to begin.

Are you ready for NaNoWriMo 2016?

October is NaNo prep month for everyone who participates in NaNo (unless you don’t prep at all, but still the anticipation of the challenge is there).

Whether you finish flushing out your novel or not, you’re never going to be ready for NaNo.

I’m sure you’re trying to tell me that you’ve done NaNoWriMo X-amount of years prior to this one. You’ve always outlined and managed to reach your goal. Or you’ve always winged it and managed to reach your goal. Along the way, you came up with new ideas and expanded on old ones.

But while your novel is prepared, your life might not be.

November is a busy month for most. It’s filled with holidays, Thanksgiving at the end of the month, and preparations for December began long ago.

Aside from that, though, you have a job or you have school. If you’re in school you have homework as well. That takes a good chunk of time out of your day.

Of course, you also need to write up your blog posts, read a book or two, occasionally hang out with friends and family.

Oh, and don’t forget that this is when the colder weather really starts to settle in, so get those tissues ready and drink up that orange juice. Getting sick in the middle of NaNo is the worst!

So, what I’m trying to say, if you haven’t gotten it already, is that you can never be too prepared.

You can plan out your novel all you want even set a schedule for yourself for when you’re going to write. However, things come up and plans change.

If something like that happens, and maybe you even get a little behind on your word count because of it, don’t freak out. Remember you still have the same amount of time as the rest of us. You can easily catch up, but don’t write until your fingers bleed, either.

Take your time, allow your novel to breath as you write it. Keep your mind open and fresh.

And if you don’t reach your word goal, remember that you still accomplished something. Even if you only reach 10,000 words, that’s still 10,000 more words than you would have had. You still had more planning done on a novel than you would have without NaNo. You still made new friends and writing buddies.

NaNoWriMo is a fun, stressful challenge. You’re still accomplishing something huge even if you don’t “win.”

Be proud of that and do your best.

NaNoWriMo starts one week from today. This is the home stretch before it all begins. Rest up and good luck!

Are you and your novel ready for NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing

Planners Vs. Pantsers (NaNoWriMo Prep Part 5)

If you’re a writer, you know the terms “planner” and “pantser.” Other writers will ask you which one you are.

There are no sides, neither one of them is the “right” way to write a novel or the “wrong” way to write a novel.

Our brains and minds all work differently and we work at our own pace and rhythm. If you have great ideas and have to follow a basic outline to stick with said ideas, then go for it. If you have an awesome idea and want to see where the word flow takes you, go for it.

However, there are pros and cons to each side.

NaNoWriMo 2016 Prep: Planners vs. Pantsers

What is a planner?

A planner is someone who figures out most (or every) details of their novel. They outline, they plot, they character develop long before the character is created on the page, they draw maps, and do so much more. They are the definition of prepared, especially when NaNoWriMo comes along.

Pros of being a planner

  • Writer’s block doesn’t hit them that hard, if at all, since they already know what is going to happen next.
  • There’s always room for improvement. An outline isn’t set in stone, it’s a guideline. If something needs to change or new ideas pop up, the writer can add and delete.

Cons of being a planner

  • It’s a lot of work. Not to sound lazy, but creating an outline takes a lot of time, effort, and brainpower before the actual writing even begins.

What is a pantser?

A pantser “flies by the seat of their pants.” They don’t go in with any sort of plan (or something even an idea). They just go with the flow and see what happens next.

Pros of being a pantser

  • Flexibility. Since they have no outline, they can do whatever they want to their characters and create twists and turns. There are no limits.
  • They can dive right in. Do you want to write a story right now? Go right ahead. No ideas? That’s okay, just write whatever comes into your mind.

Cons of being a pantser

  • They may get writer’s block and that can put their story on hold for a long time.

Of course, take these pros and cons with a grain of salt. Like I said, there is no right or wrong side. There is no right or wrong way to write a novel.

As long as you have an active imagination, that’s all that matters.

Are you a planner or pantser? Let me know in the comments below!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing, Writing Prompts

Short Story Sunday 132: Watchers (Part Four)

            I swallowed a hard lump in my throat. As much as I wanted to believe there was no such things as monsters like Dad said, I knew he was wrong. There was nothing in my closet that would trick me into thinking a pair of yellow eyes was staring at me.

Nothing in my closet changed to add a second pair of yellow eyes. And nothing changed still in order to add a pair of red eyes. They multiplied every time Dad came into the room and told me there was no such thing as monsters.

This was not my imagination. I was not dreaming. This was not nothing. There were monsters in my closet and I had to get rid of them somehow. If Dad couldn’t see them, then I was going to have to do something about it.

I shifted my weight on my bed and sat up tall on my knees. I bit my lower lip. All three pairs of eyes were staring back at me. Neither one of them moved, none of them groaned. I was at a loss of what was going on.

“What…” my voice cracked and I cleared my throat. “What do you want with me?”

The six eyes blinked in response.

“Where did you come from?” I asked again stepping down from my bed.

They blinked again.

“Are… Are you friendly at least?” I choked out walking towards my closet again.

The more monsters that entered my closet, the more times I called my Dad to check my closet, I felt less afraid. They weren’t doing anything. They hadn’t done anything in the past week. I wasn’t sure if they were biding their time until something big or if they were just camping out for some reason.

It didn’t make sense to be afraid of these monsters anymore. It was time that I confronted them. It was time I confronted my fears.

“I’m not going to be afraid of you anymore. Just tell me why you’re here and what you want.” I sighed exasperated. They must have wanted something if they kept hanging around to watch me sleep.

All six eyes blinked once more. I grunted in response and stopped in the middle of my bedroom. I didn’t want to get any closer. I didn’t want to touch any of the monsters again. They growled at me last time, who knew what would happen if I accidentally bumped into them again?

I raised an eyebrow at the six eyes staring at me blankly. “Hello?” I shrugged. I knew they could move since they disappeared whenever Dad entered the room. I knew they could communicate in some form since one of them growled at me earlier. I didn’t expect answers to my questions, but I expected some sort of response other than blinking.

Yet, as soon as I said that, all six eyes shifted to look at each other. I clamped my mouth shut and took a few steps back. Okay, I clearly got their attention. But now what were they doing?

In just a couple minutes, all the eyes turned to me once more. The yellow pair, the first monster that first appeared in my closet a week ago, seemed to come forward. My bedroom shook and I latched onto the edge of my bed to keep my balance. Holding onto my mattress for my dear life, I took a few more steps back.

The eyes lowered as though the monster was ducking in the doorway of the closet and then they got higher once more as if it stood up tall again.

I craned my neck to look up as the monster took hard steps closer to me. My bedroom continued to rumble after each footstep. I glanced at my bedroom door wondering where Dad was. Surely he could feel the house shaking! Wasn’t he going to come check up on me?

The monster stared down at me while the other monster with the narrow yellow eyes repeated what the first monster did. The whole house shook again under his steps. He stood beside the first monster, both of them staring down at me.

Then it was the red monster’s turn. It seemed bigger than the other two monsters as his eyes were closer to the ceiling and his footsteps were so heavy that I thought he was going to fall right through my floor breaking my house.

I climbed back on top of my bed as though that would help me get away from the three monsters. I was suddenly afraid of them again. They had never left my closet, though they still didn’t speak and they still continued to stare at me. What were they doing and what was I supposed to do to retaliate?

I stood up willing myself to be brave and stand before them as though I wasn’t afraid, even though I felt like wetting my pants. I hoped they weren’t the type of monsters that were able to smell fear. If so, I was in trouble.

“Wh—What do you…” my voice shook and I had to clear my throat again. “What do you want?”

The monster with red eyes took another step forward shaking the entire room. The lamp on my nightstand beside my bed vibrated so far between the monsters moving that it fell off the stand and crashed to the ground with the bulb popping like a balloon.

I let out a quick scream turning to the sound of the lamp. Then I immediately turned back to the monsters and the red eyes were directly in my face.

I held my breath trying not to panic. I could feel a warm air breeze by my face as the monster breathed on me.

“Maria.” A deep, raspy voice rang out through the room.

Then my Dad entered my bedroom for the third time that night.

Words: 982

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Posted in Reading/Book Reviews

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie book review
Via Goodreads

Title: The Murder on the Links
Agatha Christie
Genre: Mystery
How I got the book: I bought it.

Summary (modified from Goodreads):

The Queen of Mystery has come to Harper Collins! Agatha Christie, the acknowledged mistress of suspense—creator of indomitable sleuth Miss Marple, meticulous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and so many other unforgettable characters—brings her entire oeuvre of ingenious whodunits, locked room mysteries, and perplexing puzzles to Harper Paperbacks. InMurder on the Links, Poirot attempts to unravel the grisly conundrum of not one, but two dead bodies discovered on a French golf course.

My Review:

The Murder on the Links is Agatha Christie’s second book in her Hercule Poirot series and it was just as good as the first one.

We follow Poirot and his assistant Hastings as they receive an urgent letter from a potential client. They fly out to meet the client immediately, but by the time they get there, it’s already too late. As they try to solve that case, another body shows up in connection with the first.

This is a fun read with a lot of twists and turns. I adore the characters, especially Poirot because he is a classic detective. He has a sharp wit, though he is rarely stumped.

My only problem still was reading the language. Though I’m sure I’ll get used to it the more I read her books.

This was another interesting read by Agatha Christie in a different setting with a fun outcome of the mystery.

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Two people rarely see the same thing.” –Agatha Christie, The Murder on the Links

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Posted in Guest Posts, Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Skye Hegyes

As you know, guest bloggers appear on my site twice a month. For the months of August, September, and October, my guests will be discussing the same topic:

When and why did you begin writing?

This week we’ll learn a little bit more about Skye Hegyes. Thanks, Skye!

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Skye Hegyes

This is going to be horrible to say, but I honestly can’t remember when I started writing. I know. I know. I’m a horrible writer/author, but it’s the truth. I have no real recollection of when I started writing. Nor do I know what started it all truth be told. I have my hunches, though, and I guess that’s going to have to be good enough.
First, you must realize I come from a major reading background. There have always been hundreds of books (no lie; last count there was over three hundred) in my parents’ household. Most of them were fantasy. Some of them were thrillers, some romance, and some horse books. Horse books are their own genre in my household. Both of my parents were readers, and as soon as I could figure out words and letters and everything in between, I was too. My younger sisters weren’t far behind.
Even before the ability to read kicked in, my ability to tell stories reared its head. I was a knight saving a princess from a dragon, an astronaut exploring space in my one-man shuttle and fighting galactic battles in order to save the universe, a native hunting on the plains or taming a wild horse, a gunslinger who robbed banks but went after a murderer when my family was killed. I befriended giants and dinosaurs, rode dragons and unicorns, build robots and cybernetics. The games were endless and with them my ability to weave a story. Some were good. Some were bad. Some were too horrible to ever be mentioned again.
When these stories started being pulled from games and instead weaved into words on a page, I’m not certain of. My first “stories” that I can recall were all the school papers written based on writing prompts I was given in class.
The first story I can remember writing and being proud of was a short story I wrote for a fifth grade journal. I don’t remember the topic we were supposed to write about or how I came up with the particular story (See? Bad author!) but I remember being more proud of it over other stories, not because the idea was good, but because it was the first short story/prompt to spark an idea for a novel.
Of course, this was the first novel I plotted in my head completely but only wrote out bits and pieces to here and there. If I ever did complete the whole novel: a) it wasn’t right away, b) I have no recollection of it, and c) I no longer have a copy of it. Either way, it’s quite possibly a good thing. I might – just might – have a copy of the short story still but I don’t know. If I do, it’s mixed up with all my remaining school paperwork somewhere deep in the depths where only Cthulhu himself dares to go.
The first full novel I have a full recollection of writing was a novel I wrote in a black and white composition notebook, and it was called A Horse Called Catapult. It was the first somewhat original piece I’d ever written – heavy on the somewhat – and the first I showed someone else and asked their opinion on only to have that person question why I wasn’t trying to become an author.
Looking back now, I’m glad I don’t still have a copy of it. It was… well… to put it mildly… It was a bucket of copyright infringement. It had a plot close to the first three books in the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell. In that series, a young teenager called Ashleigh moves to a racing farm where she meets an older pregnant mare who gives birth to a sickly foal she then has to convince everyone is worth saving. Then it continues on with the foal’s training and finally on into her racing career. If you ever want to read it, the first book is called, A Horse Called Wonder.
My novel, A Horse Called Catapult, was about a teenager named Anna living on an Arabian horse farm. A local vet brings in some rescues including a black stallion Anna nurses back to health, trains and then races. See the similarities? Yeah…
Beyond that, I wrote a bunch of short stories about a girl and her horse, the first of which she saved her horse as a foal when it fell through a frozen pond. While I don’t still have the original, I re-wrote it, and it appeared in Short Story Smash.
Since then, I’ve written hundreds of stories and several novels. I’ve had great people introduce me to National Novel Writing Month, publishing, and blogging. I’ve been privileged to meet dozens of awesome people both online and in real life. It’s been a great opportunity and an even greater experience. Plus, just think. I have many more amazing years left in which to continue to grow, develop, and of course WRITE!
Author’s Bio:
Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree…
Connect with Skye: