Jumping Through Time

A story can include one of two things: flashbacks or skipping to the future. We don’t think recommending the two is a great idea but if executed cohesively…sure! Why not! Let’s discuss.

Sometimes, writing flashbacks can help a story flesh itself out. Readers understand the plot better, the character better, ANYTHING! But what happens when a flashback becomes more than a flash back? Meaning, what happens when a brief moment takes up a whole chapter? Is that acceptable? There isn’t any reason why it shouldn’t be acceptable – other than not being written properly. Make sure flashbacks are quick and easy. They’re meant to be memories triggered by people or items or occurrences surrounding the character or plot. Here’s an idea: it doesn’t necessarily have to be written in the perspective where the character is brought back to a moment in time…but rather, induces a feeling, an image flashed in the character’s thoughts. Something like that.

Skipping ahead in time is also a way to get the story moving along. Readers don’t need all filler details and a story doesn’t deserve that either! A few months can pass in the story in a matter of words, as long as the reader is caught up with the characters and ongoings in their world, what else is needed? Questions should never be left unanswered, too. If they are, there better be good reason for it. Did something happen prior to the time hop that wasn’t resolved during the time not mentioned? Well, it better come full circle because then the reader will not be happy (they’ll scream, “PLOT HOLE, PLOT HOLE!” and write a whole review about how the plot hole ruined the story for them.)

future.gif

So, now that we’ve lectured about time and the relationship it has with your story – let’s build a time machine and have some fun!

Revisit A Classic…

…to find new inspiration!

Recently, I’ve been interested in literature published before the 1960s. Just checked my Goodreads profile and yes, the earliest I have read was 1966. I felt like it was about time that I dive into the century prior.

I always thought that if someone was in a reading or writing slump, a good way to revive the inspiration is to visit a favorite book or possibly something new entirely but out of the person’s preferred genre. What are your thoughts on reading classics? Do you think it’s beneficial at all? Or just torture?

That being said, I’m reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. For the first time! And boy, can I say: revenge is best served cold, sweet Edmond!

revenge.gif

Is It A Bird? A Plane? WHAT IS IT?

It’s Memoir Monday – a self-proclaimed hashtag that isn’t a hashtag, to be honest. In the last two years, I decided to open my mind to memoirs, biographies, and other books by celebrities. To think that they already make a lot of money by appearing in our favorite movies and TV shows, now they write books to bring in more of an income! I wanted to see how much of their lives they actually want to share with their readers.

Now, I haven’t made a dent in the collection of celebrity novels. I’ve only come across three that peaked my interest: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fischer (RIP to that beautiful woman), and Yes Please! by Amy Poehler.

Now the reason why you’re looking at Amy Poehler’s face here is because I have this undying love for her but heard mixed reviews on her book. I’m a sucker for needing to know every detail about a person’s life as well as every detail about their book (i.e. who published it, where was it produced, what is the ISBN number). This one definitely threw me for a look when I saw it didn’t have a genre.

amy poehler.gif

Originally, I found this beautifully crafted book (if you own it or have at least picked it up in your hands, you know what I mean) in the “Humor” section of Barnes and Noble and I was pretty confused because I read that it was a recollection and reflection on Poehler’s life…I understand she’s a funny woman but was the joke on me for looking in the “Biography” section?

I’m a little over halfway done with it and I’m all over the place, but still enjoying, the life of Amy Poehler – both past and present. She’s made me reflect on my own choices in life without actually sitting down and telling me to do so, or maybe there was a chapter in the book that told me to do that…WHO KNOWS! Ultimately, I do enjoy it as a read where I can pick it up even after I finish to revisit some pick-me-up chapters. It’s also really interesting to know the backstory and introduction of comedy changed Poehler’s path (spoiler alert, ha!)

I do want to ask though, has anyone ever picked up a book and had been previously misled to think the book was something else than what it actually was? If so, sound off in the comments, because I need a bit of forewarning before I buy others!

P.S. I have heard the audiobook to this is much better than reading the actual book but I like physical books so do what you will with this information, hehe!

AmyPoehler.gif

Restored Faith in Literacy

 

Taking a step away from our usual posts, I wanted to talk about something I saw earlier this week that truly touched my heart in more ways than one, and shed a tear in the privacy of my own home.

Without getting into too much detail in setting up the scene (I know, I am going against my own advice on this one), I live in a very urban area by the coast of the Long Island Sound where houses must have sprouted from the ground like wildflowers. To set this up a bit further, my neighbor owns the home next to my apartment where he spent some time outside building what I thought was a bird house.

It’s not a rarity to see younger kids walking up and down the block in packs in my neighborhood, but there was one group that for some reason really caught my eye. One night, as I pulled into my driveway after a day’s worth of work I saw a  group of adolescent girls bickering and laughing with each other as they headed up the avenue. They were singing a song released before their time and one girl kept saying, “That song is so annoying!”

One girl held a basketball under her arm and stopped at the birdhouse. Her friends kept walking as she fell behind. I then began to realize it wasn’t a bird house – but a free little library. She peered in through both glass doors, opened it up and pulled a couple out to examine the covers, read the summaries, and truly admired the weight of the chosen ones.

free library.jpg

Her friends had made it a couple houses down and turned around to see where the girl was. They yelled down the street, “What are you doing? I thought we were going to play.” She held a book in her hand, closed the doors to the library, and ran towards her friends. They heckled her for grabbing a book, but she kept smiling down at what she picked.

In that moment – I couldn’t help but feel full of happiness and love because the universe restored my faith in the beauty of literacy.

– Tania

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.”

Emotion in Writing

Laurie Halse Anderson:

“Write about the emotions you fear the most.”

The Bedtime Book Club

blog reading in bed.jpgThe only free time I get to transport myself to another world within the pages of a book is in bed. Reading the right bedtime book is sometimes hard to do. I enjoy lighthearted reads before bed, but some people enjoy a good thriller to fuel their nightmarish dreams. Some prefer to read an action-packed chapter to tire themselves out. Everyone deserves a bedtime read – and now we have a way to get that book in our hands before resting our eyes at night.

As of 2018, HarperCollins UK has teamed up with the Heart radio station and Dreams, a bed retailer, to begin what will be known as the Bedtime Book Club. With the radio station broadcasting to listeners, the hosts will discuss a variety of HarperCollins novels, different themes, and genres to encourage reading. But just because the station is only broadcasting in the UK, doesn’t mean you can’t find your own nighttime reads.

If having a Bedtime Book Club isn’t reason enough to read before bed, maybe I should tell you why it can be important to get your nose in a book while under the sheets. It’s simple – if you want better sleep, read. You read me right. Sleep better. It’ll help reduce stress by distracting your brain from the life stresses that can get the best of you. I’m guilty of blaring my TV to help me fall asleep but it’s actually a good idea to read rather than watch. It’ll reassure your brain that you are at peace. And if you’re also like me, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (whatever social media platform you choose), reading can help you concentrate better. In the long run, reading before bed can improve two other things: your empathy and your creativity. In a good way!

Reading is a powerful tool, so why not start your own Bedtime Book Club and start curling up with a good book to help rest your eyes and your brain.

Writing With…

Stephen King:

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

The Book Blogger

typing.jpg

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.