Writing Tip: A Little At A Time Does It

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I used to think I wouldn’t get any writing done unless I had at least a few hours blocked out to write. But what I found when I actually sat down at my laptop was – a few hours can run away with you. Thinking I had plenty of time, I’d start to procrastinate. Or I’d get caught up in researching for my writing, which, as everyone knows, can lead to exploring all kinds of crazy tangents on the web that may or may not have anything to do with the book you’re writing! I’d get distracted. I’d flip through another book for a reference, and get caught up reading a few chapters. I’d go on YouTube. And at the end of those few hours, sometimes I may have written a lot and I’d be fist pumping. But other times, I’d have actually written very little and I’d feel discouraged.

But when I started just trying to squeeze in a bit of writing whenever I had ten minutes here or 20 minutes there or even just five minutes somewhere, I was actually surprised at how much I’d fit in. READ MORE

A Library is a Necessity of Life

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Author Spotlight: Cherie Priest

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I must admit, at the start, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Boneshaker, the first book in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series. I really wanted to like it – after all, the premise was unique, the cover phenomenal (just look at it!) – and I didn’t much mind Priest’s slow, deliberate pacing either. But for me, the story kind of meandered and didn’t go anywhere and also got kind of confusing toward the end. I put down the book without much desire to buy any more of the Clockwork books. Mind you, I was very tempted, though, as the premises and covers of the series did their best to lure me in!

But when Priest released Maplecroft, the first of her new alt-reality Gothic series featuring real-life notorious alleged axe murderer Lizzie Borden, I was hooked. READ MORE

Monday Motivation: We Are Made Of Starstuff

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Fairy Hollow

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The river was calm and clear as glass the other day, so much so that it was like a great mirror reflecting the sky. It was beautiful to see and so pretty that I just had to take a few pictures! Check out the pic above, for example. Doesn’t it look like a fairy hollow? And what makes it even more magical is that’s not really sky you’re looking at. That’s actually the reflection of the sky in water. How amazing is that? And the same goes for the picture below as well. That’s water reflecting sky. Or an entryway to a fantastic fairyland world. Take your pick. READ MORE

Writing Wednesday: Tell An Interesting Story Entertainingly

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Edgar Rice Burroughs would have never won a Pulitzer Prize or Man Booker Prize for his books, nor would his works ever be classed in the hallowed (and, dare we say it, ofttimes pretentious?) halls of the literary fiction genre. More worrying, though, are the themes of racism, sexism, slavery and Colonialism that run through many of Burroughs’ stories, which leave even loyal fans wondering uncomfortably if this might reflect his thinking if he were a contemporary of ours or if these themes were merely a reflection of the time he lived in. But one thing can’t be denied – the man can tell one hell of an entertaining story, so much so that his ‘pulp fiction’ stories have become beloved classics with a massive cult following. Tarzan, Princess of Mars, anyone?

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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I’m a bit late to the party when it comes to Ransom Riggs’ Peculiar Children series. I’ve been meaning to pick up the books for some time, but just never got around to it. But when news came out that Tim Burton was making a film adaptation of the books, I decided it was time I got around to it! READ MORE

Monday Motivation: It’s Not the Load That Breaks You Down

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Creative Inspiration: Virginia Frances Sterrett

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Continuing my love affair with classic fairytale illustrations, this time featuring the magical works of Virginia Frances Sterrett!

Viginia Frances Sterrett was a young American artist born in the year 1900, at the tail end of Britain’s Golden Age of illustration. She arrived just in time for America’s own Golden Age, though, and there can be no doubt her work must have been influenced in some part by older, Victorian-era artists such as Arthur Rackham and Warwick Goble. READ MORE

Writing Wednesday: Get It Down

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Take a chance. Get it down on the page. It may be bad. It may be good. Regardless, you don’t know. As long as you’ve got something down on the page, you’ve got something to work with, no matter how bad it may seem. At the very least, you would have made a beginning. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve written something, to think, ‘Oh God, this is absolute shite.’ How many times I’ve finished a round of editing, brain-exhausted, body-exhausted and soul-exhausted, thinking, ‘I’m never going to get things right. This is hopeless.’ But the goal is to keep keeping on, to continue to work at it, and soon enough, the great shapeless hunk of rock that looked like it could never be anything but a great shapeless hunk of rock will start to look something like a horse. You will see mane and tail, you will see muscle emerge. At certain stages, it won’t look like anything you ever wanted it to be. At certain stages, it will and you will be filled with elation. And at certain times, you would want to smash it all with a hammer and simply give up. But you won’t, because there is a deep well of creativity somewhere inside of you that flows, sometimes at a trickle, sometimes in great gushes, and its power will move you to keep going. And then somewhere toward in the end, you will watch with wide eyes, as the horse (the sculptor’s analogy for our manuscript, of course) in its entirety begins to emerge and you see before you the result of something you never thought possible, that you never thought could have come from your own mind and your own sweat and blood and tears. And suddenly, you whisper to yourself, a revelation: “I am a writer.”