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:
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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

Posted in Guest Posts, Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Start Writing? With Nthato Morakabi

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 Nthato Morakabi. Thanks, Nthato!

Inspiration Station with Nthato Morakabi: when and why did you begin writing?

Writing: A Privilege and an Honour

I think a majority of writers start at an early age, and I am no different from the flock. The oldest piece of writing I found was in an old diary when I was between the ages of six and eight. My piece of creative writing featured my own version of the lyrics to the song La Bamba performed by Ritchie Valens in the film of the same name as the song. Something along the lines of “La la la la la Bamba I was born in Soweto.” I imagine my parents dancing to the off-tune vocals of young me while their faces wondered when the madness would stop. It didn’t. I wrote more than just lyrics and in Grade 2 (second grade), I was fast becoming an avid reader.

My reasons for writing have evolved from those formative years and has become a more refined version, something I experienced quite a couple of years ago. But initially, it was for the praise of my parents and teachers. I wrote to please others. I remember freaking out during creative writing because the story I wanted to write ended up with such a large scope it wouldn’t fit the word count, and I would whip up something quickly in the last ten minutes. At least that hasn’t changed, I still can’t keep word counts.

It was in Grade 9 when I really started writing for myself. I was so consumed by the fictional worlds that existed around me that I had to delve into them. If they weren’t big enough I created my own. I spent a lot of time in class writing my stories rather than taking notes; the only thing that helped me pass was my strong short-term memory: study the night before, go to bed, retain what I studied and write exams/tests; forget it all the moment it’s pens down. This was where I started thinking of writing as more than just a hobby; I wanted to be a writer. I had stories man. Tons of stories. I had a file where I kept all my drafts and documents and ideas; any empty notebook immediately became a story book. If I saw a blank page, I saw potential. Of course, I was also frequenting the school library, determined to read every Stephen King, Clive Barker, James Herbert, Dean Koontz and any other horror author I could find. These pulled into my writing. Anime I was watching pulled into my writing. Games I played pulled into my stories. I fell in love with Final Fantasy not only for its amazing CGI (which at that day and age was far ahead of its time) but also for its intriguing stories, characters, and villains.

I look back now and see how my education, upbringing, and circumstances have allowed me to be the writer I am today. It truly is a privilege to sit here and type this out with speedy, proficient keystrokes, to be able to string thoughts together using letters and words formed back in school when I was a young lyrical genius (sarcasm). It’s been quite a journey already and I look forward to enjoying the remaining years achieving my goal of becoming a full-time author – I’m a full-time writer by profession after all.

Author’s Bio:

Nthato Morakabi is a South African author working as a Junior Technical Writer for Everlytic and a freelance writer for Gamecca Magazine. He has a total of seven published short stories, available in separate anthologies on Amazon and Chasing Dreams Publishing website. He is currently working on personal anthologies, one of which will be on Patreon.
He is a hobbyist blogger, avid reader, and aspiring digital artist.
Connect with Nthato:
Twitter: @Nthito
Posted in Guest Posts, Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Topaz Winters

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 Topaz Winters. Thanks, Topaz!

Inspiration Station with Topaz Winters: When and Why did you begin writing?

Something Real

It’s like this: there is a fascination I have, an obsession almost, with things that stay the same.

I’m talking about stories, the things that are real, the things that remain when the rest has willed away already to unknowing. Do you ever notice, in this peculiar fast-paced existence of ours, how many things change irrevocably in the quickest, softest moments? This, I have come to believe, is the nature of the universe. How it’s all moving, it’s never the same, you go to bed one night, you wake up the next morning & suddenly your own soul is a stranger, you’re making small talk with the deepest parts of yourself.

I want forever. I want eternity in an impossible, longing way. In a way, I could never hope to find.

I’ve been told this is what makes me a poet. I’ve also been told this is what makes me a sad person. I am not quite sure whether they are one & the same.

But there are enduring things. (And I have to believe this. And I have to remind myself this, my anxious & fast-moving head, this mind of mine that has never understood how to stop wondering, wandering, worrying, say it soft, like—there are some things that stay. There are always things that stay.)

I need those infinities, those rare constants I’ve found so fleeting in this existence. I need stories.

It’s like this:

there was a boy I loved who read me poetry at two in the morning when I was on the verge of a panic attack, and those words stayed long after the boy had drifted away. It’s like this: seven books are stacked high on my nightstand, and they’re all partially read, the way I revel in the reassurance that their contents will not change no matter the terror of the world spinning around them. It’s like this: yesterday I read a book from my childhood & it felt like coming home. It’s like this:

stories stay when nothing else does.

How they are the steadfast glue that holds together our uncertain panging myopic world.

This is a very romantic way of putting the fact that I am bone-deep heart-quake terrified of the piercing unknown. That this terror is natural is, of course, no help at all: I am only human, only like everyone else in feeling scared & alone & weightless in the universe.

See, I fall in love with writing—not just poetry, not just novels, but stories in all of their forms—because it teaches me that not everything is destined to leave. That not everyone is searching for an escape route.

There is nothing fictional about the infinity within the written pages. I treasure things that remain because so few do.

(And say stories like you say compass, like you say little black dress, the deliciousness of night driving, slow-drip honey Sunday mornings, like lucky penny & the boy next door’s cat who is ugly but beautiful if you ask him, say it like you’ll never fall out of love with the person you first kiss, like hopscotch & carousel rides & your grandfather’s homemade milkshakes & the exquisite pleasure of the song on the radio that never seems to be overplayed: that’s what stories are. The inevitability, the permanence of them. Something that never changes in a world that never stops changing.)

I have these fits of panic whenever I don’t write enough, deep in the stomach where the soul lives. I need the reminder of stories, I’ve learned. If I don’t hold onto it, if I don’t harness it & clutch it tight to my chest & whisper to myself, over & over, here is something endless, something real—I’m lost. Adrift in the sea of the ever-flowing universe—how you blink and suddenly the ground beneath your feet is gone.

But here. Take these stories.

And hold them to your chest & feel how they are solid, unshakeable. And let yourself forget the horizon you can never quite touch. And let the stories fill your vision, reach for them as a kind of knowing.

And everything could still change in an instant, and you are not free, and the sky may fall on your head at any moment, and there is no way of knowing the wonder or the terror that lies ahead.

But you can see the stories that stay when all else is left behind. And the stories, the stories, the ever-present stories—they have always been enough. 

Author’s Bio:

Topaz Winters was born in 1999. She writes big poems in small packages. She resides in Singapore, at topazwinters.com, and on Twitter @topazwinters.

Posted in Guest Posts, Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Herminia Chow

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 Herminia Chow. Thanks, Herminia!

Inspiration Station: When and Why did you begin writing? With Herminia Chow by Rachel Poli

Thank you, Rachel, for inviting me to write about writing.

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I learned to pick up a pencil.

I started writing for fun when I was around 12 years old.

I started writing more seriously in high school.

Growing up, I used to read all the time. But I didn’t write much back then. If you asked me when I was a kid whether I’d read and write as much as I do now, I would’ve told you you’re crazy and should go to the doctor to get a check-up.

In elementary, I did better in math than in English for several years. Maybe it’s because my first language is Cantonese. Maybe it’s because math was an easier language to learn so to speak. Maybe it’s because I’m weird.

I used to sit with a girl who could spell much better than I could. And every time I needed to write out a word I didn’t know how to, I asked her. I guess I should thank her. Fortunately, the older I got, the better I could spell. I went from doing quite poorly on spelling quizzes and tests to doing just fine. I guess I should thank myself for reading every night, huh?

I also have to thank my parents for putting up with my trips to the library every few weeks. And later, they would put up with my trips to the bookstore.

At some point, things changed. Right around grade 4 or 5, I think. A teacher recommended I read Bridge to Terabithia. I didn’t have anything better to do, so I did. That book had such a profound effect on me. It’s a book I read forever ago, yet I still remember it. Around that time my grades in Reading and Writing started to change. For the better. I still fell short in Oral Communication. Introvert alert.

I decided I wanted to write a novel in grade 8. 12 years old me must have thought I was too god for fan fiction and short stories. Obviously, I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t pull off a short story back then, much less a full-fledged novel. But you live and learn. In retrospect, I have no regrets. I still hope no one ever reads anything I wrote prior to high school, especially that novel. It took me about 2 or 3 years to finish the first draft because I put it away a few times. I guess I just couldn’t wait to create my own characters and worlds. However, when I got into the project, I felt a bit overwhelmed. But the experience is one I will never forget. And if you ask me about my most memorable accomplishment, it’s finishing the first draft of my first novel.

Why did you start writing?

I used to read other people’s work all the time, not just novels but newspaper articles, magazine ads, and everything in between. I loved words. I still do. Reading about fictional characters in fictional worlds inspired me to not only imagine my own but to get them down on paper as well. So I started to do just that. I haven’t looked back since.

Reading and writing were also an escape. I’d be lying if I said I had a perfect, happy childhood. Both allowed me to escape to a different world, if only temporarily.

I write because I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I don’t know how I would pass the time if I couldn’t create or consume good content.

I don’t always feel like writing, but once I pick up a pen and start putting words down on the page, I usually don’t want to stop. It’s insane to think that the characters and worlds I’ve created didn’t exist before. Isn’t it incredible to think that a blank page could turn into a beautiful story?

I almost always seem to lose track of time too when I’m working on a project. Like right now while writing this post. I can’t say the same for other activities.

Creating something is the best feeling. Getting to share it is the cherry on top.

Once again, thanks Rachel for everything. And thank you for reading. I hope you keep writing!

Author’s bio:

Herminia Chow resides in Canada where she is fond of curling up with good books (and bad ones too), obsessing over her blogs (on WordPress and Tumblr), and coming up with new ideas for stories (or thinking about them). She hopes to major in Book and Media Studies while doing a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. Herminia is a creative writer, a brief blogger, a recreational dancer, and an avid reader of all things.

Connect with Herminia:

WordPress

Tumblr

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Posted in Guest Posts, Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: When and Why Did You Begin Writing? With Charles Yallowitz

Inspiration Station is back, but in a new way!

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 Charles Yallowitz. Thanks, Charles!

Inspiration Station: Guest Charles Yallowitz with Rachel Poli

First, thank you to Rachel for asking me to be a part of this guest post series.  I was asked about the when and why behind me being an author.  This is always a fun question to answer and it requires me going back enough years that I feel old.

The when actually goes back to 2nd grade, which might sound like me pulling a fast one on people.  We had learning stations and I loved the writing one because I got to make my own books.  Usually about animals or jokes, but I tried to tell a few stories.  I would do anything I could to stay at that station, which included hiding under it one day to keep working while the math lesson started.  I got in trouble, mistook it for me needing to stop writing, and only told stories when project guidelines allowed it.  Never thought of it as more than a hobby that kept me occupied.

Things changed in 10th grade when I read ‘Book of Lost Swords’ by Fred Saberhagen.  I’d already read some Narnia and all of the big Tolkien books.  I was getting into Dungeons & Dragons too, but this book series triggered a desire to be an author.  You would think I went right to fantasy, but I was big into comics at the time.  So, I designed a story about four young immortals with magic weapons and super powers that protected the universe from a group of evil immortals.  I developed alien species, uniforms, various stories, supporting characters, and created a big world and history for this.  Then, I started college and found that I was more interested in fantasy.  Windemere was created and things kept rolling along after that.  Seems like a sudden jump at the end, but it really did click after I played in a D&D game that was more than hacking and slashing.

As for why I became an author, it’s because I love telling stories.  The creation of characters and worlds that didn’t exist before is exciting.  Not just putting these things on paper, but being able to transform the stories in my head into the minds of readers.  It’s a special world that I love to share with others, especially if it makes them happy or at least less stressed than when they started reading.  I see storytelling and reading as a form of escapism for both the reader and the author.  We get to step out of our skin and into the role of someone else or, at the very least, witness great events beyond the real world’s limits.  For me, this can be rejuvenating for my energy and help me get through a rough period, which is something I’d like my stories to do for others.

This part stems from me using books to relax when I was younger, especially if I had trouble sleeping.  I’d read until I passed out, which is probably why I can only read for 15-30 minutes before I doze off.  It isn’t that I’m bored, but I’ve trained myself to relate reading to sleeping.  My mind kind of wanders off into the story too, so it’s more of a trance at times.  Anyway, this is a big reason why I write.  Not the putting people to sleep thing, but as a way for people to relax and let their real world problems go for even a moment.

About Charles:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Connect with Charles:

Legends of Windemere Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Page

Posted in Inspiration Station, Quotes, Writing

5 Quotes by Dr. Seuss

quotes by dr. seuss rachel poli

1. “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”

2. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

3. “Only you can control your future.”

4. “Be awesome! Be a book nut!”

5. “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads

Posted in Grammar Check, Inspiration Station, Writing

Grammar Check: Who Vs. Whom

Who

–Used when speaking about “he” or “she.”

Example:
1. He said he would do it. (Who will do it?)
2. She found the remote. (Who found the remote?)

Whom

–Used when speaking about “him” or “her.”

Example:
1. I told her to vacuum the living room. (Whom did you tell to vacuum the living room?)
2. Should I tell him? (Whom should I tell?)

“Who” and “whom” was always something I got confused with. I don’t think I’ve never used the word “whom” in my life because of it. Everything was “who” for me because I deemed that to be the right way all the time.

Of course now I have no excuses not to use these words the right way. And neither do you.

You might also enjoy…
Grammar Check: A Vs. An
Grammar Check: All Ready Vs. Already

Posted in Inspiration Station, Writing

You Are A Writer

Awesome Writer

Hello.

This is just a friendly reminder that you are a writer. You are a great writer.

You don’t have anything published? That’s okay. You still wrote something.

Just because you don’t have your name in print doesn’t mean you’re less than any other writer out there.

A novel, a short story, a poem, a blog post, or even a journal entry that no one else will see, is all part of writing.

It’s easy to get discouraged, but your time will come. The right story will find its rightful agent or publisher. It just takes some time.

You just need patience. Stay determined. Keep on being passionate about your writing.

No matter what, remember that you are a writer. You are a great writer.

Posted in Inspiration Station, Writing

How To Research Effectively

No matter what genre you’re writing in–non-fiction, history, mystery, etc.–you need to do research.

The research can be something simple. Can’t remember what those metal things are called on the tires of your car? Maybe you need to know about different kinds of cars, what pricing they go for, and more.

The research can be something a little more difficult. What time period was the Civil War fought? How were wars fought back then? What kinds of weapons were used?

Unless you’ve created an entirely brand new world all your own, you should have some factual evidence in your stories, fiction or not. Just every day common knowledge.

So, how exactly do you find out about all theses facts? You conduct research.

How to research rachel poli writing

1. The Internet.

You can find just about anything on the Internet these days and it’s probably one of the most common ways to research anything. People do a quick Google search and that’s that. YouTube is helpful as well. Though, you must beware. Not everything on the Internet is true.

2. Books.

The library is your friend. Seriously. They have books on and about everything you could imagine. They normally have a reference desk as well as computers.

3. Think.

Your brain can hold a lot of information. Everything you’ve learned from school and other people, you can write about. You already have common knowledge of certain things. Incorporate those into your story if you can or want.

4. Talk to people.

If you don’t know something, maybe someone else does. Ask them. I’m sure they’d love to help. If you’re writing a court scene in your novel and your uncle is a lawyer, talk to him about it.

5. Observe around you.

Need information on a place? Go there and take notes. Even if you don’t need the information, take notes while on vacation or going somewhere new anyway. You might need it later. Observe the people around you where ever you are. Use your five senses. There’s nothing more natural than first-hand research.

How do you research for your novels? What kind of research do you have to do?

You might also like:
Inspiration Station: Research
Inspiration Station: 6 Ways to Find Ideas