The Famous Cliche And Other Writing Things

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 Ruby. Thanks, Ruby!

guest-ruby

Writing is hard, harder for some more then others, but even for them it’s hard.

You can have all these problems, writers block for instance, I’m absolutely positive that this happens to all writers, there’s no denying it. It may be that you are stuck on how to describe a character, setting or feeling. I often find that I spend a lot of time working out how I’m going to help readers see what I’ve been imagining. As it is your work they won’t know unless you set the scene for them.

My biggest advice for you, although it might be obvious anyway, clichés. Ah, the marvellous cliché, for example: love triangles. Now, I’m not saying don’t include them, just try to make them original somehow.

In a lot of dystopian books you’ll find that the protagonist is often ‘the chosen one.’ Again, I’m not saying don’t ever use that idea, just don’t have it be the same as other books you’ve read or heard about.

There are also the similes, those extremely cliché similes, the ones everyone uses: dark as the night, as white as snow, as quiet as a mouse. You want to use them (especially when you have writers block) but sometimes most of the time, you are better off not to use them.

Cliché, to me, means ‘a phrase or situation that is so commonly used that one often expects it,’ I very much doubt you want you work to be predictable, do you?

Moving on, when you are trying to describe a feeling though words it can often be hard, there are some authors, I find that can make it like you are the character that is feeling those things, you can almost feel the pain or hurt or happiness that they are gong through. It’s not easy to do this, but I think – as with most things – that if you practice enough you will become better. I’m not saying perfect, I hate that saying ‘practice makes perfect’ because no one will ever be perfect at anything. Yes, they may be amazing and talented, but there’s always room to improve. Oh, look how cliché I’m being.

Progress. Progress is the word you should be using, ‘practice makes progress.’ I always seem to discover that I am awful at describing how things look but can describe feelings easily.

I wrote this the other day:

“She dived head-first into the pool of ice-cold water. The feeling spread though her body one limb at a time. It hit her head first, it was backbreaking and freezing. She ached with numbness, the feeling seeping throughout her, turning her blood to ice and slowly, slowly freezing over her heart. She felt it sharp stabbing pains, as if there was a sharp, jagged shard of ice slicing through her skin. She was a lost cause, she meant nothing to the world any more. Nothing.”

I’m sorry it’s not very cheery, but then what is?

Do you have any tips for descriptive writing?

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

In other news, I’ve challenged myself to read five books between Sunday, February 19 and Sunday, February 26. Feel free to join me and check out my daily updates on Twitter, Tumblr, and my Bookstagram!

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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!

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Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

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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

What If?

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 my sister Kris. Thanks, Kris!

Perhaps the most important question for a writer is, “What if?” What if the moon blew up? What if dogs could talk to us? What if we’re all robots?

As writers, our minds are constantly open to all of the potential story ideas around us. What if takes us on journeys far away from our current lives, even though our feet are still on the ground. It gives us a boost in our writing lives, enabling our imaginations to soar to ever-new heights.

What if this character had magic? There are all sorts of new possibilities, both good and bad, open to our story with the help of magic.

What if this took place in a desert landscape instead of a forest? Imagine what the symbolism of surviving in a harsher environment would mean for the character’s development.

Hang on, though…

What if someone already wrote something like this? All the good plots have already been used by the bestsellers. There are no more fresh twists out there.

What if I’m a terrible writer? There is no amount of schooling that can teach one to write like the greats.

What if this story is just a waste of time? There’s little to no money in the job unless you are blessed and practiced with skills on par with the likes of J.K. Rowling and Stephen King.

Unfortunately, there’s also the downside to What if. That question can hinder our minds just as easily as they help us. Writers are notorious for being plagued with self-doubt, for punishing ourselves for not writing the perfect draft the first time. Many of us need to write just as we need to breathe, yet this vicious cycle can leave us feeling haggard and useless and just about ready to throw down the pencil or turn off the computer.

But wait…

What if J.K. Rowling had given up on Harry Potter after those first dozen rejections? What if Stephen King hadn’t started Carrie even after his first novel was rejected?

What if your story changes someone’s world?

So pick up that pencil or turn on that computer. All those “What if?” questions aren’t going to answer themselves. They need your story.

Kristen Poli is a young woman in her mid-twenties who is obsessed with writing, video games, dogs, and chocolate. She’s always up for meeting others who share her obsessions, so feel free to say hello over at her social media.

If you would like to know more about Kris, visit her on her social media:

Blog | Goodreads | Tumblr | Twitter

Book Reviewing: Connecting Authors to Readers

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 Rosie Amber, which she discussed book reviewing. Thanks, Rosie!

Rosie Book Reviews

Hi Rachel,

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today for a chat about book reviewing.

I’m Rosie Amber and I run a book reviewing blog at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

You can also find me on Twitter @rosieamber1.

Why as a reader I think reviews are important

In today’s world the book market is reaching saturation point. Self-publishing and e-book opportunities have opened the doors to publishing which were once held closed by publishing houses. So how can authors connect to their readers? More and more people are buying books online where they look at the book cover, the book description and they check out other reader’s reviews.

I love reading and want to share the books I love with others, so what better way than by writing a review and posting it on various online platforms and book buying sites.

As a reviewer, I post reviews about nearly all the books I read as long as I can rate them 3* or above.

How can reviews help other readers?

I write short reviews. I’ll explain the book genre up front, then if it’s not one a reader likes, they can move on. I’ll usually talk quickly about the main characters and where or when the book is set. I’ll then go on to give a bit of information about the storyline, so that readers can decide themselves if the book sounds enticing. I’ll finish with a summary of what I liked about the book and if necessary what didn’t work for me. If the book needed another run through editing I will mention that and it will reflect in my rating. It’s so important in this competitive market for writers to put out their VERY best piece of work and not rush to publish.

Helping authors by sharing what I love about books

Almost two years ago I filled my blog with all my own reviews, but my request list was getting long and I was being asked to review genres which I didn’t enjoy. So I created a book review team. Members join on a voluntary basis and review books around their own lives. There is no minimum or maximum number of books to read as long as they read and review a book in a month. We post reviews on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Goodreads, reviewer’s blogs and I get a copy of each review which goes out on my own blog.

It is set up so that authors provide several copies of their work and we give them multiple reviews of the book all from one place.

In 2015 we even ran our first ever book awards around the books we had read to help share our news of fabulous books.

We have a strong social media base and if authors interact with us and our readers it really does spread news of their work in the right places. I add new features to the blog to keep it fresh and enjoy searching for new ideas and ways to reach more of the reading public.

Do drop in, say hello, pull up a chair and get comfy with people who LIKE books.

Rosie Book Reviews

You can visit Rosie on her social media:

Blog | Twitter 

Guest Bloggers Wanted

For the past two months now I’ve been saying that I have a lot of new ideas and features in the works for 2016.

I’m not going to reveal any of these features until January 1, 2016. However, I’m going to give you guys a sneak peek of one thing that’s to come only because I need your help with it.

Guest Bloggers Wanted

I would love to have some of you on my blog. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people through WordPress. I probably have more friends on WordPress than I do in real life. What better way to showcase you guys other than through a guest blog post?

If any of you are willing, I would love to have people start guest blogging on here. If I can get enough people to guest blog, I would love to have it be a regular monthly feature for 2016 and the years to come after that. My plan is to have it be once or twice a month on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays.

Guidelines

1. Topics for guest posts may include, but are not limited to:

–Writing
–Editing
–Publishing
–Marketing
–Reading
–Blogging

2. Each article length is recommended to be between 300 words and 1,000 words. Be sure to give your article an appropriate title.

3. With your article, send me links to your blog and social media. Recommended, but optional: you may send a brief bio of yourself as well.

If you’re interested, please contact me using the form below. Thank you!