He Lives!

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Art by Bernie Wrightson

Remember when Mary Shelley wrote one of the most well known monster tales of all time?

I sure don’t because that was 1818. But that being said, Mary Shelley created a man no one would ever forget.

Classic monster literature takes on several themes, some of which cross over into other. Most of the classic literature, like Frankenstein, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…they all seem to carry the weight of these themes.

The biggest one is enlightenment and science. Since these works were written during the Age of Enlightenment, pretty much moving away from the influence of faith to the influence of science, the emphasis on science and how it impacted those who practiced was reflected in literature. Each of the main three works mentioned earlier each show signs of science and enlightenment.

The other themes shown in these types of works are isolation, loneliness, and duality. Most of the characters embody the feeling of being isolated, being lonely, being helpless. Duality is mainly mirrored through Dr. Jekyll when turning into Mr. Hyde and in the idea of vampires, resting during the day and running amok and causing destruction when the night comes.

Do you have a favorite monster or work of monster literature?

Watch Like A Hawk

One way to help with writer’s block is to observe and write. This exercise can help beat the slump in your own story by examining and writing a paragraph or two about something going on around you. It can also help to reflect a natural flow of events in a narrator’s point of view if you’re stuck. If want to give observational writing a try, follow along with us to learn about how to execute this way of writing effectively.

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First, pick your topic. Whether it is something you’re comfortable with or if you want to challenge yourself, pick a destination where you can travel to and sit with your notebook in hand. Your goal is to watch and write. The   world has so much to offer your writing abilities.

Second thing to keep in mind is choosing your writing tense. The most common way to write an observation is through the present tense. The present tense makes it easier to keep up with the flow of events as they happen. You may not be able to catch every word someone says in conversation but you may be able to see their mannerisms in conjunction with being alone, interacting with familiar faces, or meeting new people.

The third and more obvious tactic while observing is keeping an eye on crucial details. Every writer knows detail can be your best friend and worst enemy all at the same time. In observational writing, it will be your best friend. Without detail being described in the moment you are watching your future reader won’t be compelled to sit down with you. They’ll feel like that person walking by a window to a store, peering in quickly but still passing by; they won’t see the details you’ve managed to capture because you didn’t take their hand and lead the way into your point of view.

Going off of the details aspect, a fourth idea to keep in mind while writing should be utilizing your senses. We mentioned the importance of details but incorporating your five senses may entice the reader to feel like they’re sitting right there with you even more.

The fifth and last on our list (but certainly not the least) is bringing back some old high school creative writing techniques: comparative techniques. Comparisons, simile,s and metaphors are just some ways to mirror and describe the events unfolding before you. This helps more types of readers become involved in your writing. It definitely does not hurt to revisit your old creative writing class from high school or college to refresh your brain a bit. Hm, that sounds like a future ‘Back to the Basics’ post!

Misleading

here to distract.pngAre you new to writing a mystery novel? Well, here’s your friendly reminder: use your red herring. A red herring is not only a dried smoke herring (that isn’t naturally red) but is a term that describes a mystery novel’s best friend: a distraction to the reader. By building a strong red herring in your story, the more believable the distraction will be. Your reader will be shocked when the real culprit is revealed.

Concrete Is The Best Foundation

Wislawa Szymborska:

“You’ve managed to squeeze more lofty words into three shorts poems than most poets manage in a lifetime: ‘Fatherland,’ ‘truth,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘justice’: such words don’t come cheap. Real blood flows in them, which can’t be counterfeited with ink.”

Showing, Not Telling, Pt. 2

Richard Price:

“You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burning sock lying on the ground.”

Turning the Page

books and flowers.jpgAfter our post a couple weeks ago, I’ve been in the mood to read and discuss my latest reads without having to leave my bed to reach out to a book club. I wouldn’t want to be restricted on time (that I don’t have) to read a book and meet a group at a scheduled time which I may or may not miss. I would just love to sit back with my computer, write a post somewhere, and leave it alone overnight to accumulate some feedback.

Well guess what? There’s a place you can actually do that. There’s a Facebook group called Page Turners by Buzzfeed! It’s a great social place to go online and talk to fellow readers about the books you want to discuss. I know it’ll encourage me to pick up a new book and start a discussion or contribute to one.

Here’s what Page Turners had to say about themselves:

“Page Turners is a community/challenge to help people read more and read new kinds of books! [The Facebook group] is where can share what books [people are] reading for each month’s theme, discuss books with fellow readers, and even pictures of where, what, and how we’re turning pages.”

Does this make you want to pick up a book from your #TBR pile? It certainly makes me feel so!

Writing With…

Stephen King:

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

The Book Blogger

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Whether you’re just the classic book blogger or an author wishing to expand your horizon from writing extensively to reading extensively, book blogging has an advantage on both sides of the screen. If you’re an author looking for some more marketing exposure, there are many benefits to taking the plunge and sending your book around to some of your favorite blogs. If you are seasoned book blogger or book blogger to-be, creating your identity  and review criteria will be key components to building your audience and its success.

Book bloggers get to pick and choose the genre they want to focus on for their blog. The broader the mind of the blogger is, the better chance you have of sneaking your book on their website for a review. By doing this, you can branch out to a new fanbase or a new demographic of readers. If you’re a newer author, going to a more established blog will help your exposure. But, if you’re more experienced, granting your presence to a smaller blog will help them as well. It never hurts to be a Good Samaritan, especially during this ‘season of giving.’ If the blogger has criteria in which they review, see if you meet them and if so, move forward with handing in the application. If not, maybe consider starting your own.

Or indie and self-published authors can really utilize the book blogger or the identity of being a book blogger. An author can become the book blogger. Some authors can take the time to review other books within the genre they feel most comfortable with, especially if their own novel is of the same genre. If you, as an author, wish to grow within your craft but need some guidance, you can always use the blog as a way to review books outside of your comfort zone.