God

Powerdul. Raw. Honest.

Middle Earth Meanderings

Foreword:

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. And in the midst of all my little thoughts, I decided to bend the story of my life into a little poem. From start to now, this is the testimony of Adley Reimer and how I’ve meandered on through each breath of my existance.

Over the past few years I’ve fallen in love with poetry; it’s the easiest way to say all that needs being said in the moment, while still keeping the details murky beneath the surface of a well weaved metaphor. Beyond that it’s the safest way to save my soul, pouring everything to the page when I can’t quite keep it in.

So here it is:

I remember my youth

When I was so weightless
They told me of you

And I loved you because

I miss those days

I miss my childhood ways

The awstruck wonder

And…

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Save The Cat! Writes A Novel

save catI don’t normally write a review on a Self-help book, and I haven’t been asked to write a review for, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody, but I couldn’t help myself. I felt I needed to share with you this resource.

I have read many books on writing novels, all of them gave me practical advice, sound approaches and tidbits of wisdom that has assisted me to write better, write more, and simply inspired me to keep writing. If you are interested in knowing what books I have read that I found helpful, send me a comment and I will let you know. But this blog is dedicated to, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel.  This is a book every serious writer should have in their library and should have dog-eared, highlighted and worn out pages from over use. Why? I am so glad you asked.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel was inspired by the late Black Snynder‘s book titled, Save the Cat! The Last book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. In this book, Black teaches screenwriters how to structure their screenplays using a template of fifteen “beats” or plot points, proposing that every great movie from Hollywood ever made was structured on these same fifteen beats.

But, wait, Kelly-Lynne! I am not a screenwriter. I am a novelist. Yes, I realize this. But here is where Jessica Brody steps in. See if you can’t relate to her story, and then get excited about Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. In 2006, Jessica was struggling and failing to get her first novel published. (I hear some of you shouting Amen to that one. I’m with you!) After filling a drawer with rejection letters (ouch, I can relate), a screen writer friend of hers handed her a copy of Blake’s book, Save the Cat!, and suggested she read it to see if it could work for novel writing. With nothing to lose, she cracked open the book.

She read the book, multiple times, and compared Blake’s fifteen beat template to popular novels classic and modern. And do you know what she found? Yes! She found that Blake’s fifteen beat methodology applied to novels as well! Novels by famed authors such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, John Steinbeck, Stephen King, Michaeal Crichton, Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling…to name just a few! Are you getting excited now? No…well, let me whett your appetite a little more and see if you taste for strong novel writing doesn’t begin to explode with flavor and excitement.

Jessica applied the fifteen beat process to her novel and 15 (!) novels later, tranlated in over twenty-three countries and two films in production, Jessica is delighted to confirm the Save the Cat! structure works. And, if it could work for her, perhaps it could work for you, and for me!

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is a very practical guide with a plethora of  examples of novels that follow this same methodology. What I really appreciated about this book was not only does she detail the fifteen beat structure but she uses both classic and popular novels as examples, breaking the novel down into the fifteen beats. Being a high school English teacher, I loved this because I could then use my own novel, plot it out, with the other novel examples opened for reference. This allowed me to see where I had a beat and where I was missing a beat. Some of you are ready to argue that you “beat to the sound of your own drum”. Well, in the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” And if you are afraid to answer that question, I will answer it. It isn’t working for me. So, I am going to pick up my pen and beat to the rythm of Save the Cat! And who knows, maybe I can beat down some doors to publication in the process!

I was so inspired and motivated by this book, I went to the beginning of the newest novel I am writing and began to rework and layout my story using the fifteen beat methods. I have only begun this new exploration of this approach, but I already believe my story, my character and  my prose are more focused, stronger and more interesting using the fifteen beat structure than before. Sure, it has slowed me down…for now. But I am confident once I am familiar with this structure, I will write the beats subconciously. But for now, my brain is engaged, actively pursuing and searching out how to hit each beat.

Now some of you are already feeling queasy. The idea of plotting makes you want to throat up, or scream, or tear your hair out. But before you do that. Just take a deep breath and listen to me a little longer.  Go on, take a deep breath. Okay, let’s continue. Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is not imposing the practice of a ridgit plot structure. If you are a “panster” (someone who writes by the seat of their pants, inspiration leading them and not a plan), then rest easy. Jessica isn’t, for one moment, telling to give up your way of writing. However, she does suggest you use this template to assist you as you write and rewrite you novel. Use it a test or counterbalance to your writing. Writer, reveiw the fifteen beats, adjust your writing, continue, repeat.  And for those of you who enjoy plotting your novel before you begin, than this tool will be invaluable as you lay the foundations of a strong novel with compelling characters and captivating plots (and subplots) before you put the first word on that glaring white page.

I’d love to go on and on about this book, but I don’t want to give away all the good stuff packed on the pages. But I do want you to ask yourself: Are you happy with your writing the way it is? Are you where you wanted to be as a writer? Do you want to write stronger, more thrilling, captivating, stories and characters? If the answer to any of these questions was yes, then please buy this book. Remember, no one has asked me or paid me to write this review. I just really love this book! And please, let me know how your writing journey is going and if you have discovered that the fifteen beat approach as helpful as I do.

Until Next time…Save the Cat!

kittensP.S. This is our cat, Elwing (yes, she’s named after a character from Lord of the Rings). My son saved this cat. She was abandoned as a newborn kitten. Elwing has been a hilarious addition to our home and our dog, Oliver (yes, another name of a book) has found a great friend in her!

 

To purchase, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel click on one of the links below:

Amazon 

Chapters

Penguin Random House

The Joys & Struggles of Writing Historical Fiction, by Guest Author Christopher J. Lewis

Christopher J T Lewis relaxing at villa in Alps.jpgOK, let’s concentrate on the joys.

Of the Poyson of Cats

According to the ground-breaking French barber-surgeon Ambroise Paré (1510-90) in his book on poisons:

‘Not only the braine of a Cat, being eaten, is poysonous and deadly to man, but also their hair, their breathe, yea, and their very presence to some proves deadly… A certain German in winter time came with us into a [room with a] stove to supper, whereas were diverse of our acquaintance. A certaine woman, knowing this man’s nature, lest that he should see her kitling [i.e. kitten] which she kept, and so go away in a chafe [i.e. temper], she shut her [kitling] up in a cupboard in the same chamber. But for all that he did not see the kitling, neither heard her cry, yet within a little space, when he had drawn in the air… [the German] began to sweat, to look pale, and to cry out Here lies a Cat in some corner or other. Neither could he be quiet until the Cat was taken away.’

For me, much of the fun of writing historical fiction lies in doing the background research. I came across the passage above whilst researching poison in the 16th century. At the start of my historical novel Galileo’s Revenge, set in sixteenth-century Florence, Francesco de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, collapses unexpectedly whilst out hunting with his disgruntled younger brother Ferdinand. Poisoning was widely suspected at the time, though strenuously disputed by Ferdinand. The young Galileo Galilei becomes entangled in the ensuing power struggles and intrigues.

Consequently, I did a lot of research on poison – don’t say you haven’t been warned – but I wanted to have an accurate, historical understanding of the problems that Galileo would have faced when dealing with such a suspected poisoning. The symptoms of arsenic poisoning, say, are not so very different from the symptoms of cholera or dysentery. Modern laboratory techniques for detecting small (but potentially fatal) quantities of arsenic, such as the Marsh test, were only developed in the 19th century.

Sixteenth-century ideas about detecting poisons could be rather imaginative. In Galileo’s Revenge (bk.5.1), Galileo’s friend Professor Girolamo Mercuriale (1530-1606) gives him a bit of a lecture on ways to detect poisons. Bronze vessels, the professor suggests, or emerald jewels, and or indeed ‘serpent’s horn’, will change colour or even sweat in the presence of poison. Mercuriale was not some marketplace mountebank, but one of the most successful physicians of his day, at times attending the Holy Roman Emperor. I’m still not entirely sure what ‘serpent’s horn’ might be.

Neither Monk, nor Student, nor Courtesan

Apart from such technical issues, however, I always find the mundane details of everyday life delightful and inspiring. The English traveller Fynes Moryson (1566-1630) is a wonderful source of observations on the habits of the Italians of his day. (See my blogs on Moryson for more details.) A couple of Italian gentlemen, for example, passing each other in the street, will quite naturally doff their hats in respectful greeting. But (Moryson noticed) they will have to keep their hats raised until they have gone round a corner and out of sight, lest one or the other gentleman puts his hat back on first, thereby disrespecting the other!

Moryson first arrived in Italy in 1592, and decided to over-winter in the famous university town of Padua. (Did he meet Galileo, who had recently taken up a position there as lecturer in Mathematics? Of course he did!) In the following spring Moryson continued his journey:

‘Then we entered our boat again, and passed 5 miles to Venice, upon the marshes thereof. We might have had coaches, but since a boat passeth daily to and fro between these Cities, most men use this passage as most convenient. For the boat is covered with arched hatches, and there is very pleasant company… Commonly there is pleasant discourse, and the proverb saith, that the boat shall be drowned, when it carries neither Monk, nor Student, nor Courtesan (they love them too well to call them whores), the passengers being for the most part of these kinds. I remember a young maid in the boat, [who] crossed herself whensoever an old woman looked upon her, fearing she should be a witch; whereat the other passengers often smiled, seeing the girl not only crossed herself for fear, but thrust her crucifix towards the old woman’s eyes.’

I find such intimate glimpses of individual life especially moving, like an old photo or snatch of home movie. The young maid was genuinely frightened. How did the old woman feel? And I shall always remember ‘a certain German’ with a Cat allergy: did he forgive ‘a certaine woman’?

‘Blubberd jugs’: the joys of period language

Language presents particular joys and challenges for the writer of historical fiction. I am especially lucky, I think, in my choice of period. The sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries were rich, creative times for the English language. Even the advertising is vivid and fresh: ‘Other ladies in your company,’ promises one seller of face-paints, ‘shall look like brown-bread sippets in a dish of snowy cream or, if you will, like blubberd jugs in a cupboard of Venetian glasses, or earthen Chamberpots in a Goldsmith’s shop.’ Hurry while stocks last! Did the young Shakespeare perhaps find work as a copywriter?

Sometimes, I think, it scarcely matters whether you know exactly what a word means. But, since you ask, according to the wonderful Oxford English Dictionary, a ‘sippet’ was ‘a small piece of toasted or fried bread, usu. served in soup or broth (1530)’. (Might this be a timely moment to banish the ‘crouton’ and restore the plucky Old English ‘sippet’?) And, as well as its modern sense, ‘to blubber’ used to mean ‘to bubble, bubble up’; hence, I guess, here ‘blubbered glass’ meant inferior glass with bubbles in it. But you scarcely need to know, do you?

I love the variety: why do we no longer speak of a ‘kitling’ (‘1530 A young cat, a kitten (now dialect)’.)? I love the way the meaning(s) of a word slip and slide: thus ‘chafe’ in my period (1551) means ‘heat; rage, passion, fury; temper’; only by the mid-nineteenth century (1848) has it subsided to a mere ‘rubbing, fretting, friction’. Bring back to ‘go away in a chafe’. And lastly, I have to tell you that a ‘stove’ originally (1456) meant ‘a sitting room or bedroom heated with a furnace’, and only later (1618) the actual ‘apparatus for heating’ in the modern sense.

The awkward intrusion of shoe-laces and of M’sieur Silhouette?

Of course, there is literally no end to the amount of research that a writer could do in order to get the period detail absolutely right. I did eventually manage to establish to my own satisfaction that Galileo and his contemporaries probably did wear underpants or knickers. (Well, that was the case in Italy, at least. Apparently, England is a different story – what can I say?) But imagine my horror to be told by an eminent professor at an erudite conference that there were no shoe-laces at the time! What item of clothing could Laura struggle to remove if Galileo’s shoe-laces were not knotted? Was I bothered? Well, a bit, but I have since managed to find several illustrations in contemporary fashion books showing what look very like shoe-laces to me.

Constant vigilance is also needed to stop some clearly anachronistic word slipping under the wire. ‘Silhouette’ might seem harmless enough, but it is actually named after the eighteenth-century Frenchman Monsieur Silhouette (1709-67), who popularized outline portraits cut out of black paper. Annoyingly, it is actually quite difficult to find a good alternative (‘outline’, ‘profile’?), but such an obvious interloper cannot be admitted to the sixteenth century. I was very reassured to read Andrew Taylor’s comments about writing his very fine The American Boy, set in the early nineteenth century: ‘I wanted the language to be as authentic as possible… I spent my working life trapped inside the Oxford English Dictionary trying to establish whether this word or that phrase could have been used in the particular context I wanted.’

Anyhow, at the risk of being a bit too ‘cavalier’ (1657), I’m not sure it matters too much – consider, for example, the clocks striking in Julius Caesar. I am much reassured by the attitude of William Golding: when asked how he came to know so much about medieval stone-masonry, as meticulously described in The Spire, he is said to have replied, ‘I make it up’.

Struggles: Did Galileo smoke?

But, is it always such fun, you ask? Sadly, it isn’t. There can be the occasional small problem. At times of stress and uncertainty (his, not mine), for example, I keep wanting Galileo to pull out a packet of fags and light up. But sadly 1587 is just a bit too early, even for a pipe or snuff. And I can’t think of a good alternative. But then there are a few big problems. There’s plot, for example. I used to have terrific problems with plot, and pace, and backstory. It took me two or three years to write the first couple of chapters of Galileo’s Revenge. But then I discovered an absolutely infallible method for dealing with all such issues       [Here the manuscript breaks off abruptly, the last page being stained with what is probably red wine. Although it looks a bit thick for wine.]

Galileo's Revenge front cover.jpg

Available from all good bookshops; via my website https://galileosrevenge.co.uk/

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Galileos-Revenge-Cure-Christopher-Lewis-ebook/dp/B07K8RTN7M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1554543973&sr=1-1-fkmrnull

Sources

Paré, Ambroise. The works of that famous chirurgion Ambrose Parey translated out of Latine by Th. Johnson (London, 1634).

Moryson, Fynes. An Itinerary, written by Fynes Moryson, Gent. First in the Latine Tongue, and then translated by him into English: containing his Ten Yeeres Travell through the Twelve Dominions of Germany, Bohmerland, Sweitzerland. Netherland, Denmarke, Poland, Italy, Turkey, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. At London. Printed by John Beale, dwelling in Aldersgate street. 1617. This splendid folio volume is ‘Divided into III Parts’, each of nearly 300 pages. (There is a facsimile edition: Amsterdam and New York, Da Capo Press, 1971.)

Pollard, Tanya. ‘Beauty’s poisonous properties’ (Shakespeare Studies, 1999, vol.27).

Taylor, Andrew. The American Boy (2003).

Willett and Phillis Cunnington, The History of Underclothes (London, 1951; Dover, New York, 1992).

Write in Images

scent-1059419_1920Hello HFA Readers!

It has been some time since I penned a blog post. Life is indeed busy and sometimes I allow the excuse of work, family, exhaustion and whatever other trials have been thrown in my literary path to stop me from doing what I love, writing. But, I have made a commitment to myself to find space, however small or short it maybe, to write. Hence, this blog post. “Write in Images”.

No, this is not a post about time management or writer’s block. This is, for those of you who are attempting this perilous journey of writing a novel, a suggestion for how to bring your novel’s character and world into sharp view, much like a beautiful photograph does. Writing is not for the feint of heart, the “I’m-thinking-of-writing- a-Novel”, the “I’ll-write-a-novel-when” or the “I’m-not-good-enough-yet” writers. Writing is for those who are going to sit in the seat, open up your computer, and press the keys on your keyboard. Yes, it will be crap! (Sorry, truth hurts). But, the first draft always is an ugly little thing that needs a good path, the proper hair cut and an outfit that fits their body style and personality. (This part is called editing. I, personally, love the editing part of a novel). But, let’s stick to getting down your first draft for now. And this post is about creating vivid images that will captivate your reader.

Readers want to be lost in a different world. A world far from their own, but one that they can still relate to. In order to build an immersive world for your reader, you must yourself intimately know your novel’s world. We, as humans, understand our own world through our five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. We take in the stimuli around us, process it and develop awareness, understanding, love and fear from our experiences. This is why your own writing must create images that explore or utilizes the reader’s five senses to engage them in the story, connect them with your protagonist and antagonist. Images are powerful tools that will draw in your reader, hold them captive in your literary world until the final word on the last page.

So how do you do you write in images? Try a few of the exercises below and  see if this doesn’t help. A word of caution here: too much description, is…too much. Learn to write, with what I teach my students, “Word Economy”. Say more with less words. There is power in words but often it is said more powerfully in a few words than in a few hundred words.

Before you try the exercises, here are a few examples from some wonderful novels or poetry that use the the five senses to create powerful images.

Sight:

1984

by George Orwell

Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The black mustachioed face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight.

Sound:

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

by Robert Frost

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Smell:

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

By Patrick Suskind

In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of moldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spoiled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlors stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber pots. The stench of sulfur rose from the chimneys, the stench of caustic lyes from the tanneries, and from the slaughterhouses came the stench of congealed blood. People stank of sweat and unwashed clothes; from their mouths came the stench of rotting teeth, from their bellies that of onions, and from their bodies, if they were no longer very young, came the stench of rancid cheese and sour milk and tumorous disease.
(Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

Taste:
One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel García Márquez

On rainy afternoons, embroidering with a group of friends on the begonia porch, she would lose the thread of the conversation and a tear of nostalgia would salt her palate when she saw the strips of damp earth and the piles of mud that the earthworms had pushed up in the garden. Those secret tastes, defeated in the past by oranges and rhubarb, broke out into an irrepressible urge when she began to weep. She went back to eating earth. The first time she did it almost out of curiosity, sure that the bad taste would be the best cure for the temptation. And, in fact, she could not bear the earth in her mouth. But she persevered, overcome by the growing anxiety, and little by little she was getting back her ancestral appetite, the taste of primary minerals, the unbridled satisfaction of what was the original food.

Touch:

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

I stood mesmerized by the heat and luscious scent until the rain interfered, running its icy fingers down my back, forcing me back to life.

Exercises:

  1. Sight: Begin by looking at something. Really try to see it for the first time. Now try to describe it with clear and specific colors, the way it moves, its shape, its texture, the way the light hits it. Avoid over used words or words that lack clarity. Instead of blue what shade of blue?
  2. Sound. Now, close your eyes. Listen. What do you hear? How does it sound? What does it remind you of? Sounds can tell your reader where they are. Sounds can also tell a character where they are (think of someone in a mystery novel, with a cloth tied around there eyes, and yet when the listen they can hear the gravel under the car wheels, the creak of the old iron gate, the crack of the wooden floor as they climb down the stairs). Sound is a critical element in writing scenes.
  3. Smell: How many times has a particularly aroma taken you back to a moment in your life? This is true of our characters too. Smells also identify people or types of people, places, settings, historical moments and even time periods. So take a big whiff. Now, write it down. Smell a flower. Describe it. Smell a person (just make sure its someone you know, or the person may give you a good slap for getting to close and personal with them!). Smell as many things and then write down the aroma. As with other senses, be as descriptive as possible. The more accurate the words you choose, the clear your character and their world will become.
  4. Taste: I think this is likely everyone’s favourite sense! And yes, I am going to ask you to taste things, taste them for the first time. And write what they do to your tongue, how your body response, what the flavour is like, what it is similar to. Try a variety of things from chocolate to a lemon, burnt toast to pumpkin pie. Each time striving to be as specific and precise in your description.
  5. Tough: Touch a variety of textures (may I suggest you avoid porcupines and bees!) and then find the key ways of vividly describing these things for your reader. Imagine you have never touch these things before- this will help you word choice to be more accurate and tangible for your reader. And don’t forget the invisible things of our world – the feeling of love, hate, fear, trust, friendship, loneliness and so forth. These touchy-feelings are essential to developing character motivation, realism and reader connectivity.

Have fun as you explore the fives senses. Remember, you do not have to use all the senses in all your scenes all the time. That would just be sensory overload. Instead, choose what sense would best be suited for the scene and, using word economy, create the strongest image using the most powerful, and fewest, words as you can.

Until Next time…

Happy writing!

 

Magnetic Misdirection

How many of us have felt like we had a broken compass…and now we understand that its us we must overcome to overcome our own problems? I see a lot hands up, including my own.

Middle Earth Meanderings

I came home with a compass But it fell apart pretty fast I'm feelin pretty lost And after roaming so long With no direction I shoulda known to follow the son But now I'm obsessed with a broken needle Starin at it like It'll all come back together Like It'll all just get better If I repair this compass The sun is settin I don't know where I'm headin And inside I'm pointing south I shouldn't trust myself I was never meant to have control Cuz I took the map and I'm watchin all things fold Everything's fallin apart Cuz I didn't listen to my heart When it told me seek the sky Cuz prints wash away in the rain But the son remains the same And I tread with my head down Why would I look away? When I've seen a thousand suns light my way When after all…

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What The Hills Still Hide

Adventure #2 Growing and becoming continues

Middle Earth Meanderings

Even in expecting the unexpected and embracing the unknown, everything that’s happened was still so unexpected.

Some of it has been incredible, and some of it has been disappointing. The first day in Iceland was by far the hardest, after a few hours of walking, I had two massive blisters, one on each foot, and on top of general foot pain, I’d pulled both my hip flexors. And as I limped, tired and unmotivated down the concrete sidewalks of reykjavik my mind began to descend into dark places. As my mind fell deeper and deeper so did my body fall with it, and as I lay in the grass on the side of the road, staring at the map, unsure how much longer I’d be caged by these stop lights and sidewalks, my mind began to beg for home. I all of a sudden wanted nothing to do with Iceland…

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5 Things Not to Do at Your Book Reading

Some wonderful, simple tips to helo you have the best pu lic reading (and therefore promotion) of your book. Enjoy!

A Writer's Path

by Lev Raphael

I’m just back from reading from my memoir/travelogue My Germany in Windsor, Ontario.  I was at a fundraising event for BookFest Windsor and people asking me to sign books afterwards said they enjoyed it especially because most authors read from their books so badly.

I tend to avoid author readings myself because I’ve seen too many authors make basic, embarrassing mistakes.

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4 Misconceptions About Writing a Novel

A little reality check…check it out.

A Writer's Path

by Michael Cristiano

When it comes to writing, there is nothing more daunting than writing a novel. Okay, maybe attempting to write a saga of twelve novels is a little bit more daunting, but let’s stick to just one for now. In my opinion, writing a novel is a little more difficult than say a short story or a poem. That’s not to say it’s more difficult than writing a good short story or poem, that’s just to point out that short stories and poems don’t generally run 60,000+ words — unless you’re Homer and write two epic poems that come in at over 200,000.

In any case, the enormity of a novel is disillusioning enough on its own, so while we’re at it, let’s disillusion some more.

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Where I Roam

Middle Earth Meanderings

Past years I longed for nothing more than nesting away by the lake all summer. Surfing, swimming, seadooing and such till the days turn cold.

This summer however, though the weather’s warm, the days feel cold. I had expectations of home, and they’re not being fulfilled. Which is fine.

But I feel stuck.

Literally and spiritually.

I hate this comforatability, this normality, I hate being alone. Summer feels like a curse and I just want it to be over, which is unlike me. The days feel long with nothing to fill up the hours and I’m counting on and on hoping soon I’ll see september. With no real reason to hold on I feel myself slipping and sliding into old norms. Into harmful cognitive habits that haunt my past.

Where’d the days go when I was free?

Where’d the purpose go?

I’ve come to understand I’d rather be sick and…

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Top 8 Books About Writing

If you don’t have a few of these books on your shelf, dear writer, then I strongly suggest you do. I have three of the eight and plan to go out and get a couple more that Carly suggested. Let me know how you find the book suggestions.

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

self-editing-for-fiction-writers1Need some extra writing advice? Love highlighting and taking notes? These are some of the resources I recommend the most. Enjoy!

Self Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

This is one of THE most important things writers can teach themselves. Put this one at the top of your list if you are revising right now.

On Writing by Stephen King

Everyone knows (or should know!) this one. It’s the best guide out there, unsurprisingly, from one of the best in the biz. You’ve probably already taken some of this book in; there are quotes are everywhere on Twitter and Tumblr.

Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (& workbook)

This book is so good for learning how to take your work from ‘good’ to ‘great.’ Who doesn’t want that? Written from the perspective of a literary agent, too.

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