Posted in Guest Posts, Writing

Call To Write

Guests appear on my blog twice a month. If you would like to know more about this, please visit my Guest Bloggers Wanted page.

Today’s post is brought to you by Reed R. Buck. Thanks, Reed!

guest-reed-r-buck

To the dreamers, the creators, and the readers. To the wonderful souls left lost in the darkness of the adult world. To the children-at-heart. This is to you.

Write. Please, write. Write every day you’re able. You may not think you have anything to say, but you’re wrong. You may not think the world cares what you have to say, but you’re wrong. Your voice is your own, a unique beacon in the night. You can draw others to you, people who believed their thoughts could never be voiced by another.

It is the most difficult thing you may ever do in your life. Anonymity makes monsters of men, and there will be those who try to dissuade you from writing. They may say you’re not good enough, you will never be good enough. They may be right. The flame of your voice may be extinguished in the harsh climate of rejection.

Or you may keep it inside you, a warmth from within but not without, a gift stolen from those who might need it most. I will not blame you if you cannot bear to share it. I will only smile, and continue to call.

Write. Please, write.

To the hopers, the secret-keepers, and the dissident. To the rebels without a leader, hungry for change. To the people who will save this Earth. This is to you.

Speak. Please, speak. Speak up against injustice. Criticize the world around you for all its flaws. Shed light upon the skeletons in the closet, the mess swept under the rug for the public to ignore. You may believe your cause is already lost. You may think the world deserves to burn for its sins. You are wrong. This world is a quagmire of pressure and loss, a mold that forces conformity and acceptance of horror. Its people are nothing more than slaves to a power they can’t understand or change.

You can change it. You can speak up against it. Yours can be the voice – the pen – the blog that reminds others what matters most. You can keep humanity on track to recovery, to catharsis. But you cannot do that from inside the confines of your insecurities. You must leave them behind, for the good of yourself and others.

Perhaps your insecurities are unbearable. Perhaps there are days when you can hardly move for the weight of them around your shoulders. I will not blame you if you cannot speak your mind. I will only smile, and continue to call.

Speak. Please, speak.

Did you enjoy Reed’s post? Let us know in the comments below!

Advertisements
Posted in Blogging, Guest Posts, Writing

Reminder: Guest Posts Open

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned anything about guest posts on my blog. The rest of 2016 booked up a few months before the end of the year so I let that weight slide off my shoulders for a bit.

Of course, it’s a new year with new dates and I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking on the guest post front. So, this is just a reminder to all of you that guests posts are currently open.

reminder-guests-open

I usually let people come to me if they want to guest post, but I do occasionally ask a few people to do it. Like I said, I’ve been slacking. I’ve been so focused on other things on this blog (and other things in general) that guest posting took a back seat.

In other words, I’m going to take my time with the guest posts. Until I have more things figured out, I won’t be reaching out to people about whether or not they would like to be on my blog. Instead, feel free to come to me.

This post is an open invitation to all who read my blog. Guest posting is great exposure for you and your own blog (though the post itself is not an advertisement… It should be informative and helpful to my readers). Plus, it’s fun and you meet a lot of new, cool people.

With all that said, if you would like to guest post on my blog, please check out my Guest Bloggers Wanted page. After you read the guidelines, feel free to contact me with all the information needed and we’ll chat and set up a date.

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

Posted in Guest Posts, Writing

Outlining Effectively (Part Two)

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out the Be A Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by Iridescence. Thanks, Iridescence!

You can read Part One of this post HERE.

In part one, I discussed about outlining tips for writers whose focus is their plot. In this post, I will be mentioning some outlining suggestions for writers who focus on their characters.

Tip 1

In the beginning, you might worry about starting with your characters and not your plot and how they will tie together seamlessly. Don’t think too much into your plot. You will figure it out as you go. Pick up your pen or your laptop and just begin.

But when you are outlining your characters, make sure to outline individual background stories as well. How two characters are related, how some characters will meet etc. Just those main scenes which you have in your mind. Note it down along with your character’s personality outline.

Tip 2

As I mentioned for the previous set of tips, I recommend outlining by hand more than in Word or software. Differentiating facts into sections will be a little time-consuming in Word and it wouldn’t offer much flexibility as well.

You might argue that it will be easier in a software such as Scrivener. When I used it for a trial period, I noticed that although it has several features to make outlining easier, it just isn’t the same as noting by hand on paper. It doesn’t offer that unlimited amount of flexibility. It also does not offer you a lot of information at one glance.

Also, in software, you will want to complete one section of traits before beginning any other. For example, you would want to get down all the physical traits before moving on to relationships or the past. You will not have that constriction in paper as you can just draw a line dividing the page and continue.

Tip 3

When writing/outlining a story and it’s characters, your mind will be cluttered and it will throw out ideas very fast. When outlining characters, you might think about his/her past and also a future scene at the same time.

DON’T write down one and plan to get the other down later, you might forget. Don’t be hesitant to cram notes in margins or divide sections of the paper without any planning. This is only the first attempt. Let it be messy, get it all down.

Tip 4

Use as many or as less sheets as you want. Don’t worry about it all being in only one page or being separate and orderly.Also when you want to scrap an idea, neatly strike it out once. The reason for this is the same as Tip 2 for plot-focused outliners above.

Tip 5

When you are done, don’t just accept it and leave it. Reread through the messiness and re-write everything you are going ahead with in a somewhat orderly fashion as final character spread. Also, save all your old sheets in case you want to refer back later.

Here is an example of a final character outline page (of just the basics):

Example

Do you focus on your plot or your characters? What do you think of these tips and can you think of some more?

About Iridescence:

Iridescence is an 18-year-old Indian girl studying engineering and dreaming stories. Other than reading, she loves to colour code, make notes and plan everything, Snapchat a lot and is a proud INFJ.

Connect with Iridescence:

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Snapchat – iridescencey

Posted in Guest Posts, Writing

Outlining Effectively (Part One)

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out the Be A Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by Iridescence. Thanks, Iridescence!

If you’re starting to write a story, no matter for a book or not, what do you think of first—the plot or the your characters? This two-part tips posts will be discussing for both the answers.

Points in this post are more relevant to those who focus more on their plot.

Note: These tips would work best for plotters.

Tip 1

Some people like plotting their story in ink and others prefer to type. Either way, I suggest plotting at least some of your story in paper. Have a pen and notebook with you always and jot down everything in bullet points. Bullet points make everything look neater, shorter, and more precise. Writing paragraphs would feel too tedious, especially when you are just outlining, and this is the reason most lean towards typing. Bullet points will also prove easier when you are referring back later as you won’t have to read the whole paragraph for one small fact. You can get it in one glance.

Also, don’t take too long writing down as it might interrupt your flow of the plot. The mind works too fast and writing in abbreviations and short forms can help get a lot down. Just make sure you can understand what you’ve written later.

Tip 2

When you want to change something, don’t scratch or scribble over it. Strike it out neatly and write down the new idea. One, this will make the page look cleaner and still appealing. Two, if later, while writing your story something doesn’t add up or match and you want to refer back to old ideas, you can clearly read what you’ve stricken out but it would be hard to make out what is under the scribble. Writing in hand saves your trashed ideas too which might actually be helpful later. In software, it would be lost.

Tip 3

You can work out jotting down points for future scenes or relevant info in 3 ways:

  1. Write down points elsewhere as you are plotting, even if it is in the middle of a paragraph.
  2. Outline one chapter and reread, writing down any new points and ideas only then and not letting it interrupt your flow in the middle.
  3. Only when you are done outlining for the day, take 10-15 minutes to reread and write down points and notes. Not caring whether you’ve written 2 pages or 2 chapters that day.

Tip 4

When you are done with some amount of plot outlining and are not in the mood for any more, never worry that you’re wasting time. Reread your outline and compare all of them together, figuring out the mismatches. Note down any changes and smooth out differences. This will help in solidifying your outline and also get your brain thinking again.

Do you focus on your plot first or your characters? What do you think of these tips and can you think of any others?

Posted in Guest Posts, Reading/Book Reviews, Writing

Creative Process Invites Us Beyond Our Expectations

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be part of this, feel free to check out the Be A Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by Phyllis Edgerly Ring. Thanks, Phyllis!

The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly RingA year ago this week, I was in Germany when my novel, The Munich Girl, published last November. In the eight years I’d spent following this story’s trail, I never once imagined that life would bring me back there for such a personally significant landmark. This book’s pathway has been filled with things I’d never have expected.

When I was a military brat in Europe in the 1960s, my first friends were German families. After I married another brat who’d also spent part of his childhood in Germany, we began returning there as often as we could. I realized that if I wanted to understand this culture I love so much, I needed to understand more about Germany’s experience during the war.

Never could I have imagined how quickly that intention would take me straight to Hitler’s living room. Within days, I received a copy of British writer Angela Lambert’s biography of Eva Braun. Then a combination of entirely unexpected circumstances led to my finding the portrait of Braun that began unwinding the sequence of events in The Munich Girl.

A major turning point in the story’s development occurred when I discovered, while researching the war crimes Trials at Nuremberg, that an action of Eva Braun’s in the last week of her life saved the lives of about 35,000 Allied prisoners of war. Two members of my mother’s family were among them.

This led me to new levels in the book’s unfolding story, spurred by the idea that the reality of situations is always deeper and more complex than things may appear on the surface. And also, that the power of real relationships, ones based in genuine love and trust, can — no matter the circumstances around them — have beneficial effects in many lives, even generations later.

The question people asked me at the outset is the same one they still ask: “Why Eva Braun?” The story’s goal has never been to try to exonerate or “redeem” her, or how she is perceived. She’s an excellent motif for examining how people, especially women, suppress our own lives, and what forces and factors lead us to do that.

The most unexpected gift of all in my experience with this book was the discovery that rather than “making up” a story, I was invited to enter a process by which one revealed itself to me, and revealed so much more about my own inner and outer life, as well. Much like the book’s protagonist, Anna, I repeatedly experience the many kinds of homecomings, spiritual and material, that life brings us to.

Eva Braun
Eva Braun
The story of The Munich Girl is about many things, including, of course, Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun, and history from the time of the war in Germany. It is also about the power of friendship, and the importance of our often ignored and overlooked inner life, without which our world careens increasingly out-of-balance.

Most of all, perhaps, it is a story about outlasting that unbalanced chaos and confusion by valuing, and believing in, the ultimate triumph of all of the good that we are willing to contribute to building, together.

As one character in my novel observes: “Sometimes, we must outlast even what seems worse than we have imagined, because we believe in the things that are good. So that there can be good things again.”

Find more about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War at:
http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/

Purchase links: Amazon US | Amazon Ca | Amazon UK

Story Summary:

Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. The secret surfaces with a mysterious monogrammed handkerchief, and a man, Hannes Ritter, whose Third-Reich family history is entwined with her own.

As Anna learns more about the “ordinary” Munich girl who became a tyrant’s lover, and her mother’s confidante, she retraces a friendship that began when two lonely teenagers forged a bond that endured through the war, though the men they loved had opposing ambitions. Anna finds her every belief about right and wrong challenged as she realizes that she has suppressed her own life in much the way Hitler’s mistress did. Ultimately she and Hannes discover how the love in one friendship echoes on in two families until it unites them at last.

Phyllis Edgerly Ring
Phyllis Edgerly Ring
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:
Posted in Guest Posts, Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Sacha Black

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 Sacha Black. Thanks, Sacha!

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Sacha Black

I had a cupboard.

I was nine and it was built into my bedroom wall like an adults’ closet, a fact I used to feel smug about because it was in my room and not my parent’s.

At first, I used to store things in it, like toys and roller skates. Then after a particularly bad day at school with bullies, I came home and wanted to hide. Usually, I’d grab a book and run into the fields to climb a tree and read till sunset. But it was winter and by the time I was home from school, darkness had fallen.

I looked at the cupboard – it was just big enough for one small child to fit inside. So I yanked open the door and threw everything into the middle of my bedroom floor. I sat inside and slammed the door shut. I cried, not because of the bullies, but because it was cold, dark and uncomfortable and not the safe haven I’d expected.

I took pillows, a blanket, a torch and what I’d thought was a book back into the cupboard. But it wasn’t a reading book, it was a sketch book. Instead of finding a reading book, I grabbed a pen and started doodling. Doodles turned to words, which turned into a story. That was the first real story I ever wrote, and I wrote it in a cupboard!

The creatures in the story were called Praeth. Even then I wrote fantasy, it was my little way of escaping, of creating worlds where I would fit in and didn’t have to explain myself or be the school weirdo because I liked books and studied hard.

I rewrote that story several more times, expanding and building each time as my skills and knowledge developed. That short story called Praeth eventually got so long that on August 20th 2016, twenty years after I inked the first full stop, it was a completed novel called Keepers. Next year, I’ll publish it, and I’ll put the first copy next to that very first notebook which I still have.

Why do I write? I write because stories are woven into my blood like oxygen. When I was created, instead of filling my DNA with genetic material, someone put characters and words into there and now those characters’ bark at me until I sit down and pen their stories. They demand to be told like the government demands taxes. This isn’t a choice. I was born to tell stories.

Author’s Bio:

Sacha is a nightwalker carefully treading the line between light and dark, strange and unusual. A hunter desperately pursuing the right words to chronicle stories. Sacha was always meant to write, she was the girl who spent her lunch break tucked away in the corner of the school library, head buried in a pile of books, pencil in hand, weaving stories on the page. But she grew up, stumbled and fell forgetting her dream and then spent a while lost in a dark and twisted place. Then, one day she sat in front of her laptop and started to write. She remembered that all she’d ever wanted to do was write stories in faraway places filled with curious creatures and magical happenings. Sacha is also a mother to a toddler terror tot and wife to a beautiful woman.

Connect with Sacha:

Website

Email list (full of juicy writing tips and the latest industry publishing news)

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Google+

Instagram