Invent Words!

What happens when you have a word you want to say but there’s no word for it…you make one up! So many authors dating back to Shakespeare have done just that, and oftentimes you use words that you don’t even know an author invented! If the time comes and no exact word does the trick for what you’re trying to say, invent one!

Just to give you some examples, here is a list of words that you may use from time to time that authors invented. 

  1. “Tween”: J. R. R. Tolkein, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (1954)
  2. “Nerd”: Dr. Seuss, ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ (1950)
  3. “Piehole”: Stephen King, ‘Christine’ (1983)

And those are just to name a few! Now of course authors can invent an abundance of names and places etc. However, these authors invented words that we use often in our vocabulary. Who knows we could be saying your word next! So if you find a whole in your story’s diction don’t be discouraged to mess around with creating your own word (just make sure it hasn’t already been used in another meaning). 

Happy Writing!

How to Build A Reading Group

Having a dedicated space for readers is a great way to stay connected with your audience, promote your work, and get inspiration. Some authors may choose to have groups based on a specific series, but that is up to you. 

Many authors will use Facebook to house these communities. Unlike a Facebook Page, group updates will appear on the members’ new feed. They will also get notifications of new updates to the group, unless they opt out of notifications

Once you create your Facebook group don’t forget to promote it on your other socials so your readers know it’s there! After all it is for them! 

  1. Post on it frequently. When it’s small, welcome each new member, get them excited! Plan your posts in advance  so you won’t have to worry about it for the week.
  1. Don’t forget to engage! Answer all the questions you can and comment on posts that your readers make. 
  1. Host events. Set up a group meeting, post a video and answer questions about yourself, have a giveaway of your upcoming release! The possibilities are endless!

Have fun with your reader group! Once you get the hang of posting on one group, maybe you can start another!

How to Spice Up Your Bookshelf

I scroll through instagram a lot…and I ALWAYS come across these beautiful bookshelves! So today our blog post is inspired by just that…bookshelves.

#bookshelf as over 6 million posts on instagram- because people love it! This might encourage you to post a picture of your bookshelf and rack up some likes OR inspire you to spice up your own bookshelf. Either way let’s get started!

  1. The first simple yet effective way to organize your bookshelf is by size. Play around with vertical and horizontal stacking for fun! Some people might even want to take it to the next level and sort the books by color too!
  1. Update your bookshelf by painting it or applying wallpaper to the back. This will give it a wonderful and new look!
  1. Don’t let your bookshelf get too cluttered. If you want to display small knick knacks put them in a fun jar:) Let your books breathe!

Have fun!

How to Work the Instagram Algorithm

In times like these Instagram can heavily influence your business. The algorithm can be updated frequently, so it’s important to stay on top of it for your content strategy.  

According to Instagram the 6 key factors that influence the Instagram algorithm are:

  1. Interest – How you interact on Instagram plays a role! Who you follow and what type of posts you like. That is why consistently showing up on Instagram is important.
  1. Relationship – Instagram uses your interactions to see who is closest to you (a little creepy but we all know it’s happening). As soon as you follow someone they will monitor how you engage with it.
  1. Timeliness – They care about when you posted, because they want to provide the latest most interesting posts. By finding your personalized best time to post on Instagram you can increase your reach!
  1. Frequency – If you open the app often your feed will be more chronological. However, if you check less often your feed will be based on what Instagram thinks you’ll like. 
  1. Following – If you follow a lot of people then Instagram has more options to choose from so you won’t see all of the posts from everyone’s account. 
  1. Usage – Depending on how often you open the app the more content you will see. 

Now, what do you do with all of this information to improve your engagement? The best thing you can do is drive as many interactions (likes, comments, DM, save, and share). Another way to increase engagement is to use all that Instagram has to offer, such as their newer Reels and Stories. 

Adding hashtags is the most effective way to reach people on Instagram and we want those views don’t we? Search what hashtags will work the best for your posts.

Another helpful tool is to keep track of your Instagram analytics. Use the “Insights” button to see what is working and what isn’t, what post got the most likes, and so forth. 

I know this is a lot of information, but once you have a better understanding on how to use the app you will get more out of it! Make it your focus for the next month if you want more followers or likes and get posting! Let us know how it goes. 

A Guide to Writing Romantic Comedy…

Let’s get our romance on! In the spirit of the coming love holiday let us take a step into the world of romantic comedies. A genre designed to give anyone butterflies, has a very straight forward plot. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries to get girl back. We have seen it over and over and yet I always find myself being drawn towards these novels. Now, we are not here to take an in depth look at my personal library but instead how you can get started on creating your own rom com!

In terms of the structure a typical rom com goes as follows:

Introductions: The reader meets the characters individually, before they meet each other. 

The meet cute: This is when the two characters meet and sparks fly! The “meet cute” is memorable for the characters. For example, in Romeo and Juliet when they meet for the first time and lock eyes followed by a kiss all within 5 minutes of meeting each other!

Falling in love: This is when the lovey-dovey love sequence happens in movies. Where clip after clip you see them simply being in the act of love with one another. Now, in terms of a novel we have a little more time to grow the chemistry between the characters. So, let their relationship grow!

Conflict: Of course there has to be a turning point. The hurdle the couple must go through where an argument or an act threatens their relationship. For example, one of the characters can’t let go of a past relationship. 

Breakup: More often than not the characters breakup or are separated briefly. But this gives them time to realize what they are missing!

Happy ending: The conflict is resolved, and love is back!

Now that the basic structure of the novel is out of the way…how do you make it entertaining for the reader. Because as I said, most of the time the structure is the same, it’s how you build the story that makes it worth reading. 

Here are some more tips…

Make it relatable. Why does the reader find love? Are they lonely or went through a bad breakup recently? Give them a reason to find love. 

The sidekick! There’s almost always the friend who gives bad advice or lightens the mood. But the character needs someone to depend on when the conflict arises. 

Give them romance. This might be a given but the reader knows they picked up a romance so give them a romance! Create memorable scenes to make a compelling story. It’s okay to be over the top romantic too!

Stay true to your character. Don’t lose sight of your character just because they are in love. It’s okay for them to grow individually..but still together.

I hope this helps you on your journey of writing a romantic comedy!

Happy Writing!

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!

Hallo-queen of Halloween…Time For Halloween Puns!

These are not just for the dads of the world…everyone can use a good pun! Slip it into a conversation for (hopefully) a good laugh, or they often make for a great social media caption. So let’s have fun this Friday and read some puns!

Here are a few of our favorites…

  • My costume is eerie-sistible
  • Creepin’ it real.
  • Lookin’ gourd-geous!
  • It’s a brew-tiful day for eating tons of candy.
  • I won’t let you slip through my Butter Fingers.
  • Ghouls just want to have fun.

I hope you had fun in the pun-kin patch! I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself:)

Comment your favorite pun below, or share one we haven’t.

Happy Spooktober Everyone!

Writing The Anti-Hero

The Anti-Hero
We are living in a time where escaping the confines of our home is what we want to do more than anything. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc. can only provide so much entertainment. The plots become predictable, the characters lose their shine…yada, yada. You know the drill. My favorite stories, both on the screen and between the pages, are the ones following the “most loved”
character wrestle their moral high ground, and ultimately fail. These characters feel real. I feel like I know them, have met them in my day-to-day life. Truth is: I probably have and so have you. Instead of listing off characters you can base your own character off of, how about we talk about making your character unique to you?

  1. BACKSTORY IS VITAL
    Backstory to characters who strive for the ultimate good makes sense. But what about the characters who are angry? Or who are evil? Do not forget one of the more important things in writing: evil can be created. Explore that. Whatever was done to this character can introduce so
    many more things about them, such as personality traits, nervous ticks, complex behaviors, and beliefs. Your reader doesn’t need to know this information right away, too. Write it out on a new document on your computer and in your notebook before you begin your tale. Uncovering
    the backstory as the story progresses is the best part about the antihero.

dexter gif | Tumblr

  1. ANGRY OR NOT; THE OUTCOME OF THEIR ACTIONS ARE…
    Good! For them, at least. It’s a satisfaction for them to do the things they do, because they feel it’s right. They may hurt some people along the way, mentally or physically, but they have a goal in mind. This character could be ruthless. This is what sets them apart from your regular hero. It’s also what sets them apart from being a total villain. They don’t want good for everyone, they want good for them. Which, once their background seeps into the story, sympathy will be created for them by the reader (if they have heart, that is.)

the great gatsby gif | Tumblr

  1. REDEEMING QUALITIES BUILD SYMPATHY
    Okay, so what if the character in question likes to kill people. Simply because they like to do that doesn’t mean they don’t have a soft spot for Grandma or Grandpa who raised them through their chaotic upbringing. They’ll always make it home for dinner every night, so they don’t upset
    them. See that? That’s a redeeming quality. Piling up the negative can be emotionally exhausting. Not everyone is as terrible as that. I can think of a few, but we won’t go there. Overall, if the character has a laundry list of negative qualities and zero good ones and they still win in the end, that’s going to be one upsetting story and you’re going to have a laundry list of
    unhappy readers. Give them traits to make them likable. You’ll have your readers’ hearts in your hands.
  1. YOUR ANTIHERO IS HUMAN (OR CLOSE TO IT)
    Point is, we are flawed. You and me. Your antihero should be too. Lean towards realism. They have their own moral code, their own inner conflict, and they will always face difficult decisions to meet their end goal. Don’t we all? That’s what makes us each unique in our own personal journey so why not give that to your antihero as well. We aren’t all terrible…right?

clarice starling hannibal lecter gif | WiffleGif

So, get to it! We’re done here. Nothing more, nothing less. Antiheroes are far more fun than regular heroes. It’s nice to see a good two-shoes every once in awhile, but I like characters who commit heinous acts (to a certain degree!) and have purpose to their wrongdoings. Who are some of your favorite antiheroes in the literary world? My all-time favorite will always be Dexter Morgan. Not because of Michael C. Hall’s adaptation (although, major plus, albeit), but because of Jeff Lindsay’s creation of him. A serial killer with conscience? Absolutely brilliant.

Happy Writing!

Let’s Talk Vision Boards!

Who wouldn’t love a fun arts and crafts project that will also help you achieve your goals? Increase your motivation, confidence, and performance with the help of an awesome vision board! Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and Oprah will surely back this up.

First and foremost, do some self reflection and see what matters to you most and then go from there. Then, think about if you want it to be digital or print. Print is pretty straight forward, grab some scrap cardboard or construction paper and browse the internet or magazines for pictures or any sort of clippings you like! For digital, my favorite tool is canva. A website that can do everything and more when it comes to digital art. To start, choose the dimensions you want and they have a ton of free photos for you to add along with text of your choice, or you can search for photos and paste them right on!

The best part…it’s completely customizable! If you want inspiration for your new novel pop on some pictures or quotes about what you’re envisioning for your story. Your story will come to life before your eyes and should make the writing process a bit easier- at least to start! 

Here is a board I created on canva using pinterest photos! I set it as my screensaver just to make me smile. This is more of a life mood board which you can create as well!

Here are some more vision boards for inspiration…

Put it somewhere you will see it everyday as a helpful reminder!

Happy Friday!

Get Your Mask On! Fun Literary Inspired Face Masks

The world is changing at our feet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate some fun into our daily lives! 

This gives ‘your nose is always stuck in a book’ a new meaning! If you have to wear a mask, at least make it something worth putting on. These also make for a great back to school accessory for kids or if you work in education.

Here are a few that caught my eye!

Winnie the Pooh for $17

Jane Austen for $13

Book Return Date for $16

Books and Plants! For $18

Here are some additional websites, with great selections!

And even if you don’t like the mask I featured, click the link and browse around if you like!

https://www.teepublic.com/masks/book-lover

https://www.redbubble.com/i/mask/Ha-Ha-Made-You-Read-funny-Teacher-Librarian-Reading-Read-Gifts-For-Teachers-Book-Nerd-Read-vintage-style-idea-design-by-Chamssou/48152532.9G0D8

Stay safe and healthy! And show off that literary love!