Journaling Basics

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. 

Happy Journaling!

Spark Creativity!

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!

What To Do With Unfinished Work

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!

  1. Combine them.

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!

  1. 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. 

  1. Finish them.

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. 

Happy Writing!

The Art of Seduction; THE FEMME FATALE

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!

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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!

Hidden Treasures

Considering this is a literary focused blog we write a lot about how to help and inspire writers/authors. However, sometimes we neglect to focus on the inspiration that is right in front of us. Our families and friends can be instrumental to finding ourselves and sparking creativity. Talk with them, learn with them, and good things may come. 

This is not to say that you might also get a headache, but in all seriousness there is no better way to learn than with and by those around you. 

Happy Monday!

Jokes On You; The Trickster

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!

  1. Obfuscating Stupidity/Insanity

    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.

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  1. 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!
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  1. 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!
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  1. 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.
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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!

Let’s Write A Friends to Lovers Romance!

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!

Happy Writing!

Writing Chapter One

Your first chapter needs to be the ultimate hook! Something that will encaptivate publishers, agents, and readers (no pressure). But don’t worry, that’s why you’re here…read on to discover the writers chapter one checklist.  

Disclaimer: Everyone’s books are different so every first chapter will be. There is no perfect formula to a first chapter but there are key elements. 

  1. Introduce the protagonist. 

First things first, we need to know the main character. We don’t need to know descriptive details just yet but enough to know a little bit about them. And don’t forget…for every great protagonist comes a great antagonist.

  1. Establish a point of view. 

What is your story’s point of view? Will you be writing in third person limited, third person omniscient, first person or another POV? Pick one and stick to it!

  1. Set the genre. 

From the first chapter the reader should truly understand what genre they are reading. Is it a romance, science fiction, thriller and so forth? 

  1. Introduce the conflict. 

What is going to keep the reader engaged? Why are they reading this story? Introducing the conflict in the first chapter gives the reader something to look forward to and makes them continue to chapter two. 

  1. Don’t overwhelm the reader.

Try not to throw in too much information in the first chapter. They still have a whole book to read after all! So limit the characters and places you mention in the first chapter. 

And as always..have fun! This is your novel and there’s no right way to write a first chapter, just helpful tips! And if you have any worth sharing let us know!

Happy Writing!

Know Your Characters!

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!

Happy Writing!

Feels So Bad To Do Good; THE ANTI-VILLAIN

Last time we spoke at great length, I was ranting and raving about anti-heroes and what it takes to write one. I thought it was time we take on the opposite of the anti-hero: the anti-villain.

There’s a big difference between these two archetypes. The anti-hero is the character who is striving for goodness but does a few bad things along the way. No matter what, the reader is still rooting for this person to get their life together and get to their goal! However, the anti-villain is the character who has a goal in mind, favorable characteristics, or has a sappy backstory that makes you feel sorry for them…but they still are not-so-good and we kind of don’t want them to get in the way of our hero getting what they want/deserve. They aren’t entirely evil as some would think villains are or can be.

What does it take to craft the ideal anti-villain? Let’s chat about it!

  • CONNECT THEM TO YOUR HERO

    Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and left him with a scar; boom – connection. Black Jack Randall is Claire’s husband’s ancestor and has a fascination for Jamie; boom – connection. Scar is a part of the family (although, outcast) on Pride Rock; boom – connection.

    Having a connection to the hero assists in the hero’s character development. Whether that ends up being a good thing or a bad thing is up to you. Plus, backstory is imperative to any character’s existence. We must know where they came from in order to understand who they are today.
  • NARROW DOWN WHICH ONE THEY ARE

    There is a list of types of bad guys all over; but what makes this particular not-so-bad guy bad?

    First, we have the well-intentioned extremist. This is the one who has a goal in mind, it’s a good one, but they can’t seem to get to that goal without going to the extreme. And we mean in a bad, bad way. The most common thought in the AV’s head is: “this is for the greater good.” Which, I guess it could be, but did they really have to go ahead and try to kill a crazy amount of people to get there? No. A great example of this (that isn’t Thanos) in literature is Melisandre in A Song of Ice and Fire. She firmly believes that Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn, and would kill as many needed to get him the throne. Even Stannis can be considered an extremist of sorts.

Then there’s the noble baddie. This one sounds like it’s not going to be as terrible,right? Well, lo and behold, this one is. There’s a reason behind their attempt at evilness and a particular code they would rather not break. What usually happens is – this individual is trying to be the bad guy; says they are going to do these terrible things…but when it comes down to actually doing anything, they have a harder time following through. An example of this one is Crowley from Good Omens. What do you get when a demon is on a mission to spread sin for a very long time? Well, he ends up being fond of his target and doesn’t want them to die by Apocalypse.

My personal favorite is the villain in name only. This one is exactly what it sounds like: a person who is simply opposing the hero. They aren’t evil, they simply challenge the hero and are their opposite. If the tables were turned, we would probably view that character as the hero and vice versa on their counterpart. A classic example of this would be in the original stories of Sherlock Holmes. Anytime Sherlock discovers the perpetrator is simply a victim of circumstance, and explain themselves to Mr. Holmes…they usually are let go without consequence. It was simply a story to tell about a bad guy who wasn’t all that bad.

Last but not least, we have the woobie villain. I didn’t know where the name came from, so I had to look into it a bit. First, a “woobie” is a name for the type of character who make you feel extremely sorry for them. I know exactly who you’re thinking of when it comes to an example of this, and no, I will not say her name. (Carrie.) But what do you do when you have a character who is terribly torn down and can’t take it anymore? They become the antagonist. While the name I will not mention (Carrie) is an example of this, I want to highlight another classic “I feel terribly sorry for her” villainess…Elphaba. If you don’t know her story, then you don’t have a heart. But seriously, go read the book or watch the play. It’ll make you mad to watch the 1939 Wizard of Oz.

If I had to pick my ideal anti-villain archetype, it would have to be the woobie. Backstory is vital to this villain, granted it is for all characters, but something about building a really strong connection with the villain and understanding where they are coming from when they turn evil…that’s the good stuff. Like the monster from Frankenstein or…Carrie, I guess.

Do you have any well-crafted anti-villains? Or do you have a favorite in mind? We would love to hear about it!