When a book is popular it tells us a lot about our society and what the mass interest was like at the time of publication. It is good to know the fluctuation of these titles to predict future popular books, as well as gaining inspiration for stories you might be currently writing.
Compiled below is one popular title from each year starting with 2000. Let this list provoke questions, thoughts, and ideas of your own.
Go back in time to see what made them so popular and what idea you might be able to steam from them for your own writing. At the very least, you might find a new favorite book.
Another week closer to Halloween means another creature to talk about, and zombies sure are being talked about a lot these past few years. I wonder if it is all the grunting and moaning that makes them so popular or maybe the classic zombie walk, but whatever it is it seems to have made its mark on pop culture.
First, let’s take it back to where it all began. Before the world became futuristically invaded with zombies we had their first appearance in Haitian folklore. Bokor sorcerers would raise corpses from the dead and control them as personal slaves.
From there zombies had their first Hollywood screen performance in 1932 in White Zombie. However, they didn’t take full center stage until the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video in 1983. Appearing again and again on screen in movies and video games, these creatures continue to be apart of creepy culture.
Some of their strengths include being impervious to pain, they never need to sleep, and can sustain massive injuries without feeling pain. However, they no longer have a high functioning brain and they move slow.
You have most likely seen these creatures in an apocalyptic theme movie or book. Both with a classic theme and some unthinkable twists, as there is a lot to talk about with these ever appearing creatures.
This Halloween season maybe you want to spruce up your spooky series with a zombie or two (as they also mostly travel in groups)? Create your own creature twist and dig a little deeper into all things zombie!
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In the spirit of Halloween it is only right to dedicate this time to the creatures of the dark that we may not typically pay attention to. Join me each week until Halloween to find out what lies beneath the scales and fangs.
First and foremost… the ghoul.
Each creature comes from different mythology and pertains to different legends. That being said the ghoul originates under Arabic mythology. They have the ability to shape-shift and are known for inhabiting places like graveyards or deserts. Their true form are known to be hairy and canine like, but one of their most distinct features is their hoof like imprints, and most commonly known to be crawling on all fours.
However, with so many stories and renditions we see the ghoul in many different forms, for example…
Ghoul on Netflix focuses on “the ghoul” from Arabic Mythology that can shape-shift, and is known for its hoof like print.
In Supernatural a popular Sci-Fi TV show ghouls are not dead but a form of monster. They typically live in graveyards and feed on human flesh both dead and alive. They can also shape-shift and the only way of killing a ghoul is complete decapitation.
Tokyo Ghoul is a popular anime show about a character who gets bit by a ghoul and becomes half ghoul – half human. In this version ghouls look exactly like humans but like to eat human flesh.
So next time you are writing a story and want to incorporate a ghoul think about what features you want to show and the presence it plays among humans.
I am a multitasker. While I may not be good at it most of the time, I enjoy using multiple parts of my brain at once. My new form of multitasking is doing just about anything while listening to an audio book.
There are so many opportunities throughout the day to incorporate listening to your audio book. Why settle for one when you can have more fun, am I right?
Some of my daily encounters of such multitasking include: getting ready in the morning, going to the gym, cooking dinner and while I do my nightly scroll through social media. Now I understand, sometimes it is hard to focus your brain on more than one thing at a time, but it is always something you can get used to. You will quickly discover some simple changes that will make the task easier for you.
For instance, I found that when listening to my audio book at the gym I had to make sure I had the right headphones. At first I was using some rinky-dink ones where I could hear my surroundings all too much to a point I lost concentration, and they would constantly be falling out. While I do not need complete silence in order to listen I do tend to block out just about everything that I can so I can truly enjoy it, and that tends to work better when they can also stay on my ears.
For me, I feel like when I listen along with doing other activities It makes me feel more accomplished and self fulfilled. I get to listen to many books and it keeps my ‘must listen to’ list flowing.
There are other ways to incorporate listening to audiobooks into your daily schedule you just have to find the best times for you!
Another day, another writing exercise. It’s the middle of the week and you know what that means: it’s a great time for the mind to slow down and speak for itself. Time to get some tea, your favorite coffee and sit in a comfy nook with a fresh page. A stream of consciousness exercise can get you into relaxation mode or it can help you release the many thoughts running through your head every day. All you have to do is scribble every thought, feeling and perspective that pops into your head without filtering it out. This kind of writing can help you find perspectives, ideas, and innately human emotions you can eventually use for your next imaginative story or for the foundations of a new book.
If you’re a lover of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, or Proust then you know exactly what a stream of consciousness can look like in a novel. Writing in a stream of consciousness monologue may seem easy, though, unless you’ve mastered the writing style using your own monologue, attempting one with a made up character can be difficult. Mastering this kind of monologue starts with you. How can you start practicing non-stop mind splurging on the page?
You can sit in a quiet place outside where there is earthly activity influencing your thoughts. While you are on public transport, listen in to people’s conversations, write how you feel in that moment, what’s going on. Put all feelings, perspectives, emotions and quick thoughts down on the page. It may not make sense at all, but when you look back, the scribbles could be helpful toward your next story. Don’t second guess yourself, even if it is a terrible thought, get it out on the page. Using Stream of Consciousness writing has proven useful for stress, anxiety and depression, and a nice additive to draining your brain are the stories, characters or ideas that come from the exercise. Seize the moment and allow all thoughts to fall through the brain drain without redirecting them to the trash.
Once you’ve gotten this activity down, using a stream of consciousness exercise with a made up character can help you get in their heads and portray their traits, actions and thoughts in an accurate and straightforward manner to your readers. Before you use SOC (Stream of Consciousness) on your character, think of the situation they’re in, what traits you’d like them to have, think of their history and why they may function in the way they do. As I said, it may seem easy, but writing in a SOC with a made up character can be a challenge. The more you get in their head and challenge yourself with a variety of situations the character may face, then the more realistic and relatable a character will seem.
Get ready to stumble, trip and fall through the crazy, funny and wild parts of your brain. This writing Wednesday, challenge yourself to a stream of consciousness exercise. you’ll get more out of it than solely writing practice, you may even find your truest feelings and thoughts on a situation, or find a new perspective your brain has been waiting to reveal from your subconscious. Open your brain and drain all those uninhibited thoughts and feelings with your favorite notebook and pen in hand.
I am more of a put it on paper kind of person. I can visualize what is going on in my head better once it is written down. If you are the same, keeping a reading journal can be helpful on your literary journey.
Here are a few starting tips and ideas!
First, picking out your journal. There are of course so many options! Choosing between having a bullet journal or a regular lined journal will probably be your hardest choice. Bullet journals are currently very popular because they allow the writer to be more creative and offer more of a DIY layout. Having a lined journal will still keep things organized in a more structured way and will help you maintain your journal in an orderly manner.
Other things to consider when making your journal
Do you want to stick to one writing utensil
Use color coding
Will you include hand drawn or printed pictures
Where will you keep your journal – will you keep it with you to write thoughts and ideas throughout the day
I recommend starting your journal with a list. Those are my favorites! Lists, lists, lists. What you are currently reading, what you want to read- and the doors open from there. Having a clear list of where you’ve been and where you want to go will help you in the long run.
From there the opportunities are endless and you can start creating reading goals for yourself. It’s a good idea to start with some basic goals. For example, how many books do you want to read in a month or year? Once you have an idea of where you are going, you can start to plan how you are going to get there with more specific lists or different categories. You might have a list that focuses on specific genres of books that are going to be featured on the big screen.
Remember this is your journal and it is there to help you in what you deem important. Some other reading journal ideas can be keeping a reading log.
Write a short summary about what you read
Write what you liked about the book
Log your favorite pages or quotes
Once you get the hang of what you like to log and what you don’t it really becomes your own.
Get inspired. Go on Pinterest and Google and get ideas of your own. My personal favorite spot for inspiration is #bujoforbooklover on Instagram. There is a whole world out there dedicated to journaling.
This is a space for your own thoughts and ideas, go crazy!
But don’t we all get overwhelmed when we think we need to show everything? Are there certain categories of showing emotion or a character’s feeling towards something versus telling? Well, you can answer those questions because we’re going to share a quoted post. The original author is MIA but we do want you all to know – it wasn’t our idea. We’re simply adding a bit of input!
How to write ‘they blushed’ without writing ‘they blushed’:
They took a step backwards.
They shifted their weight from one side to the other.
They hid their face in their hands.
They shifted their glance to something else in the room, all around the room for that matter.
Their eyes widened.
They crossed their arms.
They leaned into themselves.
They scratched the back of their head.
Utilize hand motions. When people are nervous or embarrassed, they tend to use their hands to declare their frustration.
Quirks! Each character should have their own quirks even before you begin writing. It’s their go-to and displays some of their negative traits sometimes.
This was a weapon used to maim or kill infantry, and/or others not shielded with armor. Caltrops specifically had two or more sharp nails. In the past, caltrops were used against foot troops and cavalry. Today, caltrops are used against wheeled vehicles. We’ve all watched high speed chases!
The name of this device if from Latin. The original meaning is “foot-trap.”
Caltrops have been used in heraldry. Mainly as charges in the shields!
It is a European polearm. It’s decorated with a single-edged blade at one end of the pole. The blade is similar to that of an axe head – not a straight blade or as curved as cutlasses or swords.
Some of the blades were crafted with a small hook somewhere on the blade-end of the pole. Sometimes on the opposite end of the blade. This was used to catch riders. (This is a running theme in our weapons of choice!)
The glaive was a highly rated weapon in the polearm class/other hand-to-hand combat weapons of the time. This rating occurred in 1599.