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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Having confidence as a writer lets you express yourself freely. However, to do so you need confidence in yourself and in your writing! Do you worry that your writing isn’t good enough? Well you are not alone, and we have compiled some ways to lift your writing confidence:
Practice Writing Regularly
Writing is just like any other skill or hobby, and practicing regularly will help you improve.
You are probably already an avid reader, but try reading something out of your norm. Pick up a new magazine, blog, or a genre out of your comfort zone. You will learn new techniques and find out what resonates with you.
Learn About Writing
In order to perfect your craft and build confidence you need to learn the in’s and out’s of writing. Specify the writing you want to go into, creative writing, blogging, memoirs and learn more about it! The more you learn the more you know!
Ask For Feedback
Asking a fellow writing friend for feedback is a great way to help improve your writing. I know it can be daunting getting your work critiqued, but once you edit based on the feedback you will have more confidence in it!
Submit Your Publication
This one can also be pretty daunting, but if you submit your work to a blog and they post it that is a big confidence boost! Follow the tips above and make it as good as you can before sending it in. You can also enter competitions to get your writing and name out there. There are so many outlets to explore and that is another reason why you not only have to learn about writing, but the writing world as well. It will be easier to navigate once you build yourself a map.
Our number one tip for all writers is…to write! Who would have thought! But in all seriousness the best thing for you to do is write no matter what. You are not being judged, and nothing is a bad idea. It is simply the best way to spread your ideas on the page and rummage through your own mind. And remember flow is flow!
Do you want something suspenseful, but not too scary? A mystery that’s not murder-filled and gory? Something that you can read or listen to but not freak yourself out over? Then, let me welcome you into the world of cozy mystery books.
A place where all of these things are true. Where you can enjoy the simple pleasures of a mystery book without the nightmares and astray thoughts.
Elements of a cozy mystery
Upstanding citizen (potentially no formal investigation experience).
Jobs that entail frequent conversation with people in the town.
They are naturally curious.
The key role for them is why they are involved in the mystery.
Typically set in small towns or communities.
Small enough where everyone knows each other’s dirty laundry.
Cozy mysteries are meant to be “light”, meaning they do not typically involve gorey graphic details.
Poison is a popular form of bloodless death among these types of books.
Motive for the murder is typically from human emotion: greed, heartbreak, pride, humiliation etc.
Now that you have some of the staples that go into writing a cozy mystery, go ahead and can write one for yourself! Oh, and don’t forget to add some quirky characters! The protagonist would be nothing without a supporting character.
Here are some cozy mysteries we had the pleasure of turning into audiobooks! Browse for your favorite and enjoy! Happy Spooktober!
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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?
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.