Monday, March 26, 2012

The dreaded writers block

I think every writers blog ever and then some have covered this topic. And most of them have given great advice and suggestions on how to beat writers block. If you’re looking for advice, honestly you’re in the wrong place. But if you’ve ever experienced writers block and want a sympathetic ear, I’m here for you.

Writers block sucks. No matter what causes it, there’s no denying that sitting at your computer and staring at the screen for hours can really get you down. The longer you’re blocked, it seems, the harder it is to start writing again.

I’ve spent days trying to write out the last 1000 words of the chapter I’m working on. 1000 words, no problem, right? Apparently it’s completely impossible. Unfortunately it’s not the kind of block that I can just force myself through. The problem is that I have no idea what needs to happen next, so I can’t even skip forward a bit and carry on. Getting myself to write isn’t a problem, however, the story that I need to be working on is completely stalled. 

I had a self imposed deadline to finish this draft by the end of the month. Apparently I don’t work well under pressure, even when that pressures coming from no one but myself.

Have you suffered from writers block? What helped you get over it?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review - Frostbite

Book Review

Frostbite – A Vampire Academy Book
Richelle Mead

Find this book at: Amazon | Indigo | You're local bookstore

Frostbite is the second book in the Vampire Academy series. While I picked up the first book because I was in a vampire craze for a short time, I chose to read this book much later because of how much I enjoyed reading the first.

If this is the first Vampire Academy book you’ve ever read, the prologue will help you understand what’s happened so far in the series. If you’ve read the first book and have any sort of memory of what happened, skip the prologue. Seriously, don’t waste your time. I nearly set the book right back down while reading the over explanatory and poorly written prologue. It was written from the point of view of the main character, but it was too forced and ended up sounding nothing like the rest of the book.

Happily, the rest of the book holds none of the same problems as the introduction and delivers a fast pace and engaging read. Physically, the main character, Rose, is almost perfect with an amazing body and drop dead good looks. She’s also stronger and faster than most other people. However, her mental state and her lack of social graces when dealing with people like her own mother—whom we get to meet in this book!—makes her character both believable and likable.

The relationships are definitely the strongest part of this series. While the hierarchy of vampires and the physical fighting are great, it’s the relationships Rose has with her best friend, mother, boyfriend(s) enemies and so on that makes me want to keep reading. Having a kickass main character doesn’t hurt either.
This book is highly recommended for people who love to read about relationships, want a bit of romance, and enjoy the supernatural.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's march break in PEI this week! So, I've decided to make my ebook Magic High available for FREE until Monday as a special treat. Please grab yourself a copy and let your friends know as well. If you like it, don't forget to say so on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords or anywhere else you'd like.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What’s this story about again?

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I don’t know if anyone else deals with this problem, but I always find that about three-quarters of the way through writing a book, I’ve forgotten how the whole thing started. I more or less remember what has happened, it’s the how that alludes me. At this point I start panicking that the tone and characters of the story might have wildly changed and that what I have now doesn’t even resemble what I started with.

The fact that the book I’m writing is a rewrite where the character and tone differs greatly from the original version doesn’t help. I can’t remember which details come from which version and the character’s differences have become all muddled in my head.

What is my solution? To read my own book, of course. The best part is, at this stage, I’m not worried about doing much editing. In fact, I’m not going to do any other than perhaps write down some notes for later. That means there’s a chance I can actually enjoy reading my own story. Since my memory’s so bad, I’ll probably even be surprised by some of the things I wrote. I always know I’m on the right track when I laugh out loud at my own jokes.

Do you ever forget what you’ve written? And if so, have you ever been able to read and enjoy your own book without the pressure of making it better?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Embarrassing

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There is no denying it, I’m a klutz. I drop things, I walk into things, and I regularly hurt myself in ways most people don’t know is possible. As a teenager, doing things such as falling up the stairs while walking in front of one of my crushes and dropping a glass bottle of red soda all over official yearbook files four minutes after having the principal sign them were weekly events in my life.

Did I cry a lot? Heck yes. All the time. But I also laughed at myself too. One thing that made me feel much better was the knowledge that other people had the same problem of standing upright on flat surface as me.
I suppose that’s one of the reasons why I write about embarrassing teen moments. Not only are they funny to read, but maybe someone out there will feel a little bit better about their own embarrassing moment by reading about some of the over the top things that happen to the characters in my books. 

My embarrassment usually occurs from me falling down or saying something without thinking. What makes you or your character embarrassed?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cut it out

Original Photo Link
Cry. Whimper. Whine.

But I don’t wanna delete that paragraph/chapter/section of the book. It took me so long to write. There are some great moments in there. The character development is amazing.

There are so many excuses as to why that piece of writing should stay in the book. I know since I’ve used them all. But there’s a reason that it has to go and that’s because you know it does. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be having the argument with yourself in the first place. 

So instead of thinking about all of the reasons why it should stay, remember why it needs to go. It doesn’t advance the plot. The writing is not your best. Your characters actions are forced. Whatever the reason, stop arguing with yourself and cut it out.

Can’t bring yourself to hit the delete button? I feel your pain. Instead of hitting delete, why not try cutting instead. I keep a separate file for all of my scenes that no longer work or that I wrote for another section of the story. That way at least all of my work doesn’t disappear in the blink of an eye, and there’s always the chance that in the future I’ll be able to fit in those bits.

Do you have a file for those deleted gems?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review - Wide Awake Princess

Book Review

The Wide Awake Princess
By E. D. Baker 

Find this book at: Amazon | Indigo | You're local bookstore

I picked this book up on a whim based entirely on it's cover. Although part of me really wanted to hate the style of illustration, I was drawn to it and knew instantly it was a book that I'd enjoy. The back blurb helped confirm that feeling when I read that it's a new take on an old fairy tale and there was going to be just a little romance and a whole lot of humour in there amongst all the action.

The story is one that most everyone knows, a princess is cursed at birth to prick her finger and sleep for a hundred years until she's woken by true love's first kiss. What you might not know is that the princess has a little sister, Annie, who happens to be completely  immune to all forms of magic, good and bad. When the spell is cast and the entire castle is put to sleep, it's up to Annie to find the right prince to break the spell.

Non stop action fills each page as we're thrown from one fairy tale to another with ease, including elements from tales such as The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea and many others.

There was so many things happening to Annie and her companion for her journey, Liam, that I occasionally wished for more time to breath within each stop in Annie's journey. As it was, we barely get a chance to imagine each setting of the story before we're pushed forward to the next location and fairy tale.

The characters were mostly well developed despite the sometimes overwhelmingly large cast, but they were all outshone by the main character who's clever wit was very appealing.

This was a very amusing and entertaining read that contained everything that it promised; action, humour, romance and a strong heroine.

4/5 stars

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nothing to fear here

Everyone has fears. For writing it’s one of the easiest ways to develop your character. Give them a fear or two, and *poof* they’re more rounded characters.

Ever since I started writing novels, I dutifully gave each character a random fear and maybe even have them deal with it at some point in the story. However, I never really understood the fact that it’s not just the fear itself that matters, but also how the character deals with that emotion.

I’m terrified of spiders and heights (I know, I’m so original) however; my reaction to encountering each fear is completely different. If I come across a spider, or accidently touch one, I can usually control that fear and calmly walk away. For heights, when the fear hits me, I panic and usually can’t do anything but fall down to my knees—lying down’s even better—and whimper.

Someone else might be equally afraid of the same thing and deal with their fears completely differently. That reaction, not the fear itself is what makes characters interesting.

Do you spend time giving your characters specific fears? How would they react when they’re forced to face those fears? How do you react when facing your own fears?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Edit vs Rewrite

A quick note to let you know that the price of my ebook, Magic High has dropped to $0.99 on Amazon and Smashwords. Other distributors should catch up with the price change soon.

When I finished my first draft of my latest novel, I sat back and thought, ‘Great! Done. Nothing left but edits.’

*Cue laughter*

I edited a few chapters, made minor changes in sentence structure, fixed plot holes, checked for consistency, and all that fun stuff that needs to be done before the book can be called complete. And then a couple of people in my critique group mentioned that my main character was very similar to Tabetha from Magic High.


Then I realized, it’s impossible to change the personality of the main character in any way without completely changing the entire story. After all, the novel is written in first point perspective. I may as well have decided to write the story from a completely different characters point of view.

After a lot of groaning and whining and arguments with myself, I finally accepted the fact that the book will be better after a full rewrite. And after all, the whole point of editing is to make the story as awesome as possible, right?

There is always the fear that rewrites will never end. All I have to do is look at my comic, Never to see rewrites gone wrong. However, I'm confident that this draft is much stronger than my first, and I’m hopeful that once it’s complete, I’ll be able to move on to final edits and then copy edits.

*Fingers crossed*

Rewriting complete drafts is a part of my writing process, but I know that not every author believes it’s necessary. How much editing do you do? Have you ever rewritten so many times that you lost interest in the story altogether?