Whether you are an avid journal writer or you’re starting because of a new year’s resolution…welcome! Every now and then it’s good to go back to the basics. These are in no means an ‘How to’ on journal writing- just more of a way to get you started or to hit refresh.
You don’t have to put pen to paper.
More of the traditional way of journaling is to keep a notebook and pen handy and simply write! But now there are so many more options. You can dedicate a notes section on your phone to journaling, a file on your computer, or you can download an app to use on your tablet! Whatever will feel more comfortable and will keep you journaling.
Keep realistic expectations.
The best way to start something new, or keep something going is to establish a routine. Set realistic expectations for when you want to journal. It is also easier when you link it to something you do everyday. For example, on the train ride commute to work, while you’re having your morning coffee, or when you’re getting ready for bed. Create a healthy habit for yourself.
Write about gratitude.
When in doubt write about gratitude. It can be life changing for mental health when you take the time to write about what you are grateful for. And you can start small with the things in front of you and go from there.
Try something new.
Go outside the box and make your journal personal and messy! Add pictures, or scraps that you have found throughout the day, like a good newspaper article for example. Re-read and write in the margins!
Write for you.
This may be the most important of the journaling basics. Remember why you started it, and write for yourself. No one has to read it and it will not be graded or criticized. Think about what goals you have for yourself and your journal and work towards that.
What a year, am I right? But, now it’s time to welcome the new year the way most people do- with great resolutions! It is the time to reflect on the previous year and see where you want to take the new year. Here are reading themed resolutions that you can start in 2021:
Listen to more audiobooks.
Take a break from your average reading time and pop in an audiobook. It gives you the opportunity to multitask. Listen to your book at the gym, in the car, or while you cook!
Take notes while you read.
Expand your mind and think about what you’re reading. Write down your thoughts or quotes. Then you can come back and read your notes later!
Read books on your reading list or create a reading list.
Lists are beautiful! It gives you a reminder of what you want and something to look forward to. If you’re like me, you need a list or else you will forget what you even wanted to read in the first place.
Write more book reviews.
Did you love it or dislike it? Either way write a thoughtful book review to give other people a look inside the book. It is helpful for potential readers and authors!
Try a different genre.
I know trying new things can be scary, but you might like it! Go outside your comfort zone of historical romance and try a new mystery!
Modify the resolutions to fit you! It always helps to write them down and keep it in a spot that you can use as a daily reminder.
Writing resolutions post coming soon! So make sure you give us a follow:)
Creativity: the use of imagination or original ideas.
Take risks, think in a way that’s outside the box! I wanted to look into how someone can spark more creativity in their life, and came across a very interesting article. 10 Psychological Tricks That Will Boost Your Creativity. In this article they discuss how you have to seek out things that inspire you, rather than waiting for something inspirational to happen.
I personally loved all of the tips mentioned, and will be sure to try and introduce them into my own life. Creativity is endless! We just have to find the right recipes for ourselves to keep our creativity flowing!
With this blog we encourage writers to write, and keep writing. That is how you get better and find your inner most thoughts and ideas. But what happens when you write and write and don’t finish? What do you do with the work?
Well…we have some tips for you on how you can use your unfinished work to your advantage!
As a writer, many of your pieces may have the same tone, setting, or even characters. Go through your old works and see what pieces can fit together. I never said this was going to be an easy task…but it could be a fun one!
Learn from them.
While this task might be the easiest, and the most obvious it can still be a challenge. Ask yourself why you never finished a certain piece. Then keep asking yourself questions. See if there is any similarity to your answers with your pieces, then devise a solution.
Pick up from where you left off. Sometimes all an unfinished piece needs is time! Clear your head and try to keep the momentum going! There is no better way to grow as a writer than to finish your work, leaving no rock unturned!
I challenge you to try these tasks. And in the future, before you are about to throw in the towel, ask yourself why you are stopping. And NEVER delete your work! It is unique to you and can help you grow. It was part of your adventure and can become your beginning if you work at it.
Having an array of characters makes each story unique and fun. Today, I want to dive into a foxy lady we all love to hate, the one who almost always gets her way: the femme fatale.
Before we dive into the deadly one, we first have to talk about where she stems from: a seductress. Describing a seductress is one thing because beauty is subjective. As the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” So, how can you make your lovely lady appealing to the masses outside of her looks? It’s the obvious!
Make her free-spirited. This is important to her. She is care-free, curious about the world around her and open to those people surrounding her. This is what keeps her interesting. She comes off naive. Those who grow to be fond of her only want to show her the “right way.” This lady will always have some form of charm she uses to get people looking her way, or looking twice. This is a must. Ask yourself: does she have any intention with her ways? This is a great time to sit back and map out what made her this way and to make the plan of what you are going to do with her in your story.
One thing is for sure; she will want to be in the spotlight. Maybe not celebrity-status, but you can certainly do that if you want. Ultimately, she wants to be the center of attention – she wants everyone to turn their head when she enters a room. If she isn’t, she will certainly make it known she has entered the building. By the end of the scene, everyone will be quiet and staring and if they aren’t, there will be consequences. But, we are dipping into other territory there. The seductress isn’t harming anyone else in any way; she is simply hoping for something or someone to come into her life. So, once again we ask: what is her intention? What is her purpose?
The art of seduction comes with, in some way, the purpose of love. Or lack thereof. She could easily find it with her looks and charisma but your seductress is living a life, going 100 miles per hour for the sole purpose of finding The One. The catch is…even if she finds a suitable mate, that person would never be enough. And she will start all over again. Stability is not in her name; not just in love, but in life. Sometimes, it’s not about the person. It’s about the journey and, once again, the art of seduction.
When people think of seduction, the first thing that comes to mind is sex. Don’t get too caught up in the seductress’ sexual habits or even her sexuality itself. It isn’t the point of her character, it’s a part of her. She is more than who she does and does not allow in the bedroom. It shouldn’t be highlighted how many she’s allowed into her open arms; it should be brought to the readers’ attention why she does so. She doesn’t see anything wrong with her sexual appetite so neither should you. And sometimes, her sexuality has nothing to do with the storyline so cut it out of the picture.
If her sexual nature is a part of the storyline or a part of her character, her relationships and friendships with other heterosexual women could be strained. The seductress finds it hard to have platonic male friends, so she strives to have female companionship. However, this could be tough for her. She may not be able to secure these friendships because of her nature with men, and potential partners for those in which she wishes to surround herself with. The threat is there for those other women and they may try to cast her out. Though, this may not be the case for all and she could find a few who will understand her and try to nurture her. She will not get along with those similar to her in the way of seduction…mainly because they’re after the same thing in the same manner. Posing another threat.
Now, let’s get down to the point as to why you’re here: the femme fatale. The seductress is a great starting point for this character, but you will need to take this a step further. She is not only a seductress, but more so a seductress bathed in darkness. She is a user, potentially a black widow; she is out for blood and uses her charm and her looks to her advantage. She utilizes the “good” parts of the naive and carefree seductress and twists into a game that could end badly. Her backstory should be tragic, giving reason for her way of being and why she wants to end the trapped fly.
Literature holds some of the greatest and slyest women in the femme fatale archetype. Norma Bates from Psycho, Amy Dunne from Gone Girl, Gloria Denton from Queenpin, and Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass are all great examples of this particular archetype.
Do you have any characters who come to mind who fall into this category? We would love to hear!
Lucky day for you! Today we are going to dive into trickery and deception to write my favorite fluid character archetype: the trickster.
Now, this can be on of the protagonist’s friends or one of the antagonist’s henchmen. Or, plot twist, they don’t have any firm association with either and bounce around from faction to faction. Most tricksters are written into a narrative simply for the fun of it. Typically, an experiment for a writer, which is why you’re here…no?
One thing you’ll need to draft out for your mighty jokester to be effective is: their goal. Or goals, if you’re feeling crazy. This character is going to have the most obscure goal, no one is going to know it other than your reader (maybe). No one in their immediate life should know what they’re after. It’s for them…and them alone.
Let’s talk about what the essentials are to writing the ideal trickster. They have tropes, as any character archetype does!
Here’s the thing about the tricky one: they are trying to manipulate someone in order to achieve their goal. In order to do so, they are going to make it seem as though they are incapable of doing anything. By doing so, they will be able to act more freely and move towards what they are aiming for. Appearing dumb and out of their minds to their “allies” is probably the smartest way to manipulate them into thinking they won’t have to worry about them as much as they may other, more useful allies.
Being a Pro at Analyzation
This particular character needs to know who their working with. What I mean is, they need to be able to analyze their ‘victim’ efficiently and know how to take advantage of them. The best way to take down the ‘enemy’ is by taking note of their weaknesses. Once they have access to that, they will be able to relentlessly use it against their target. They don’t have any care in the world about the person’s feelings…they care about getting what they want!
A Master of Disguise
What happens If your character is in the game of deception for a long time? Those people around them start to see right through them. Being a master of disguise goes beyond physical appearance. Will the trickster be able to deceive their way into a group of individuals? Can they be able to both look and act the part? Being able to hide themselves is important. Staying hidden can make for a very fun and interesting reveal once the trickster meets their goal!
Lie is a Lie Being obscure is fun and all, and practically the whole point of this character. However, you want your reader to know something is fishy with this character. It can be a bit confusing if the trickster comes out from left field with an “A-ha!” moment. You want those subtle hints in actions and dialogue so your reader can look back and say, ”Oh, it was right in front of me this whole time!” Or take note of something being strange about this particular character. Keep this in mind: a lie is a lie. Let your reader catch this character in a lie, or doing a shady act…but use their charisma and cunning tongue to hide the truth. Your reader will be impressed.
These are the basics behind the tricksters. Some prime examples from literature are Tom Sawyer, Skeeter (from The Help), Matilda, The Cheshire Cat (from Alice in Wonderland), Tyrion Lannister (from the Game of Thrones series.) The list goes on!
Do you have any trickster in mind that has done a great job with manipulating those around them? Let us know!
Here you will find some tips, advice, and thoughts to hopefully help you in writing your next friends to lovers romance!
Don’t forget the roots! It’s a friends to lovers romance after all, so try and make the friendship a big part of the story. The friendship is the upclimb, where the conflict and tension builds, so don’t ignore the friendship aspect. Find a way to establish a friendship that is unique. Avoid ‘love at first sight’ and try to create a different kind of connection. Do they have a routine they follow when they are together? Did it start off as playful banter or jokes turned compassion?
Awkward is okay. Let’s face it, how can anyone go from being friends to lovers without there being a little awkwardness in between. But, it is up to you to choose the kind of awkward. Whether it be cute, sexy ,or comedic depends on how you built the characters.
Make the reader care. Off the bat the reader doesn’t want to already think everything will work out between the two characters. Hint at the beginning the connection between the characters, but don’t give them a full on romance from the start. Trust your reader to pick up on the little things, and let there be some doubt- a risk involved where the two characters might not be able to work it out.
These are just a few tips and some helpful advice to get the ball rolling on your friends to lovers romance. Please share any additional tips you may have. And check out some of our authors’ very own friends to lovers novels to give you some inspiration!
I was recently watching Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitts Creek Farewell on Netflix, and I strongly recommend it to any fans out there, but they made a lot of really great points in terms of character development.
No one knows better than authors and writers how important a good backstory is. And for a show like Schitts Creek, from the first episode until the last, you are still learning new things about the characters and I think that is what made it so addicting and real. In the documentary they discuss how they worked on the backstory for weeks before they started filming because they didn’t want to move on until they knew exactly who these characters really were.
As writers and authors I encourage you to do that with your work. List out your characters attributes and their individual backstories to fully understand who they are, perhaps before you even start writing. As readers we want to consume an emotional investment on the characters, and in order to do that we need more than x, y, and z! We need to fill in the cracks!
Think about it as if you were casting your own show for your book. How would the character portray themselves in a room, what would they wear, and how would they talk? All of these things play such an important role in a reader’s mind.
And as always have fun in creating them! They are a piece of your own imagination afterall!
On Monday’s we like to provide you all with something a little more uplifting and motivating. What a better way to kick off the beginning of the week than with an inspiration quote or something to keep you going!
No matter where you are in the world, everyone can use some positivity!
Today our inspiration comes from the great Maya Angelow. “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud” When you see negativity, choose to be positive! Slowly start to incorporate these mantras into your life and see the outcome!
It happens to the best of us…we say we are going to read, read, read and then once life catches up to us or we aren’t feeling inspired the reading stops. And it may take a while to get back into the swing of things.
But don’t worry! Follow some of these tips to put you back in the reading mood!
Listen to recommendations.
Sometimes things truly go in one ear and out the other, but try and listen to what your fellow readers have to say! Give one of their recommendations a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Pick up an old favorite.
Go back to a book you know you love to put you back into the mood. After you finish it you may be more eager to try something new.
Celebrity reading lists.
If you have a favorite celebrity like Reese Witherspoon or Oprah take a look at their reading list. It could spark some inspiration!
Judge a book by its cover.
I know. I know. But sometimes it’s necessary! Take a good stroll through the bookstore or browse a website and just see what catches your eye. You want to look for something that you know you will open!
Try a new method.
If you have only picked up a paperback book, switch it up! Listen to an audiobook or try an ebook out and see if you like it better.
I get in my own rut from time to time, but I like to use these tips for myself to put me back in my reading game! Try them out and see if they work for you!