always nice to pick up a few tips for writer’s block 🙂
by Felicity Annora
W R I T E R ‘ S B L O C K S & B R I C K W A L L S
Creative motors are sputtering, you ran out of enthusiasm water, and there’s a lot more dead ends then you remember seeing on the map. Where did all the brick walls come from?
Lucky for you, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that very well might make your blocks disappear with a poof!
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Most people carry their demons around with them, buried down deep inside. Writers wrestle their demons to the surface, fling them out onto the page, then call them characters.”
People are contradictory by nature, driven by emotions that manifest themselves in actions defying logic or reason.
We are ancient beings trying to live in a modern world, fighting buried instincts that we defeat only some of the time.
Our failings, and our strength to rise above them, are what makes us so interesting.
Our emotions can make us altruistic, and brave, but they can also make us monsters.
Our cognizance of our inner demons is what separates us from the beasts. It is what makes us human.
As writers we love to explore those inner demons and angels, and what keeps us hanging between the two worlds of instinct and moral code.
From the petty jealousy to the rage that can drive us to kill.
From our ability to appreciate fine art to a parent’s love.
Emotions in all their manifestations, their consequence and their repercussions, give writers a reason to write.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you update your blog post featured image in WordPress, but when you share it on social media, it still shows the old image…
Annoying, isn’t it!
Here are two super easy ways to fix this for Facebook and Twitter.
- Insert your post URL.
- Hit ‘show existing scrape information’.
- Check the picture.
- If wrong hit the ‘fetch new scrape information’.
- The picture should now be correct.
- Insert your URL.
- Hit preview card.
- The picture should now be correct.
Note: If you have problems with this not working the first time, try waiting 5 minutes and then retry.
Happy blogging 🙂
It’s promotion time again! To celebrate some wonderful new reviews, all 3 books in the Divided World trilogy are on sale.
Book 1 is Free, and book 2 & 3 are 99cents (99p)
He had waited ten years for revenge, they had waited eons.
John Tanis dreams of killing the man responsible for his exile.
Once loyal to the civilized Aterra, Tanis now fights for Shadowland. But the mysterious arrival of technology outside the wall heralds change.
With the dividing wall failing his new loyalties will be tested, and he must choose between revenge and saving the people he once loved.
Hannah thought her work in Shadowland was complete. Station 54 was operational and Aterra was once more safe. There is just one problem…no one in Aterra knows, and Bill is determined to proceed with the war.
With the door to Aterra closed, Hannah and the team head to Thale, the largest and most prestigious of the five great fortresses. But the mysterious return of a badly beaten Marcus has everyone on edge.
The people of Aterra remain ignorant of what is happening beyond their protective wall, but Theo and Nate are determined to uncover the details of Bill’s covert operations in Shadowland. That will mean infiltrating Bill’s private home. And what they uncover will make them question who is really to blame for the enduring conflict between Bill Bremmer and John Tanis.
Revenge at any cost.
With the wall once more inoperative and their weapons disabled, Aterra’s war on Shadowland is over.
Bill’s plans may be in disarray and his internal power slipping, but he is a man who knows how to adapt. He still holds the mighty Jaru war-tribe under his tenuous control, and now sets his sights on the fortress leaders as future allies in a common quest for revenge against John Tanis.
But Bill isn’t the only one interested in the Jaru war-tribe and their despot leader Ailey, and the mysterious Outliers have plans of their own.
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What readers are saying about the trilogy…
AMAZON 5STAR REVIEW
AMAZON 5STAR REVIEW
AMAZON 4STAR REVIEW
Goodreads 5STAR REVIEW
Not a new concept – haves vs have nots, but the characters are rich, and the writing is crisp, clean, and colorful. The story is engaging, and using the characters to move the plot forward keeps the pages turning. Any book that entertains while forcing you to consider new possibilities is a winner, and Divided Serenity fits the bill.
AMAZON 5STAR REVIEW
AMAZON 5STAR REVIEW
AMAZON 4STAR REVIEW
Thank you Claire for taking the time to read and review my book! 😊
Divided World Series by G.L. Cromarty
Divided Serenity (book 1) and Serenity Falling (book 2)
I was fortunate to be given copies of these books through The Book Club on Facebook and the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Serenity. A world that is divided. The Aterran people live inside a “virtual” wall with a land is progressive and based upon technology. Outside the wall live the Shadowlanders and the Jaru, two groups of people sharing as much hatred for each other as for the Aterrans.
Bill Bremmer and John Tanis are sworn enemies, once best friends. Bremmer is the leader of the Aterran people whilst Tanis has been banished from Aterra and is now a fully-fledged Shadowlander. When the normal pattern of war between the Shadowlanders and the Jaru seems to have changed, and Bremmer receives intelligence that there might be…
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Today I want to talk about tropes. When to use them, when not to use them, and the vast gray quagmire that exists between.
What is a literary trope?
In the literary sense, a trope is a common theme, plot point, event or motif within a story.
What is the problem with using a trope?
There is nothing wrong with using a common trope, there are oodles of them out there and we love them, which I will explore in more detail below. The problem is only when they are overused…badly.
They make us groan, switch off, or even reach for the nearest trashcan to dispense of the literary waste.
Overused tropes and writing clichés are boring, disappointing, and leave the reader feeling cheated.
So, we should never use a trope?
Here is where it starts to get a little gray and fuzzy. It’s pretty difficult to think of something completely original and new. Humans take comfort in a story that triggers a familiar spark in our imaginations. Fairy tales and fables are the ultimate tropes, and even as adults we are happy to read them again and again.
Tropes become tropes, well, because fundamentally they are appealing:
- They present us with the ultimate challenge > zombies hunger for human flesh or aliens experimenting on humans
- They appeal to our sense of good and happiness > boy meets girl and lives happily ever after
- They identify stereotypes > grumpy boss, evil drug kingpin, nerdy IT student
The good the bad and the ugly…😱
“I can’t believe they did that. It was sooooo obvious!
Avoid overused character tropes like the plague!
Many bad tropes relate to characters, not all, but certainly many do. Not every character has to break the stereotype—I used to work in IT and I can definitely confirm that some stereotypes have a foundation in reality! But deviating from cliché characters can deliver amazing results when done right.
Look what happened when a desperate school teacher dying of cancer became a drug kingpin? Walter White is the ultimate anti-trope character and Breaking Bad was a huge success for exactly this reason.
Tropes we still love…Zombies want to eat us
The flesh-eating zombie trope has been, well, done to death if you’ll excuse the pun. But we still love this trope…there are books and books of this trope and I don’t think our enthusiasm for zombies has yet to show signs of decline. Sure, we can mix it up but fundamentally zombies love eating human flesh and we are still reading about it.
Tropes we love to hate…UFO abductions
Unlike the zombie trope, which might still have a little life left, excuse the pun! Aliens abductions has tipped over the other side. A couple of decades ago this might have been more common, but the basic alien abduction is definitely in decline.
A trope, in itself, isn’t a bad thing, avoiding any familiarity in a book or story is near impossible, and the occasional deviation towards trope-land isn’t going to kill your creation…but too much of it will. The subtle ways in which we explore our writing and challenge ourselves when it comes to tropes and clichés can make an average story, great. Not every character has to break the mould, not every plot point has to be unique (nor can it be!), but within those bounds we should strive to remain vigilant for clichés, and enrich our writing with events, people and circumstance that reflect the diverse and surprising nature of real life.
What are your favorite tropes?
What tropes do you love to hate?
Some great articles on tropes…
I was recently reading On Writing by Stephen King. It’s one of those books you dip in and out of and even re-read. While I love his candid style, it is something else within this book that I want to reflect on.
The importance of nurturing young minds
I have always been a reader; my earliest memories are of sitting with my head buried in a book. People would buy me books, my mum in particular bought me a huge number as gifts. I would read my favorites over and over again. I was never much of a writer when young though, and it wasn’t until I left university that I started to dabble in writing myself.
Whenever we come to the writing life, whether as a child, a young adult, or an older adult, we come to it with a measure of vulnerability.
“She (his mother) said it was good enough to be in a book. Nothing anyone has said to me since has made me feel any happier.”
~Stephen King, On Writing.
We all need someone to believe in us.
One someone is usually enough.
Someone whose opinion holds weight, whose opinion matters.
That doesn’t mean feedback should be sugar coated. It must be genuine, and better if it comes from someone who is circumspect with their praise. Most people, young or old, have an inbuilt detector for the disingenuous. False praise will fall flat, but the praise we have worked for will lift us up to a special place.
It’s also about timing. We are all vulnerable at times in our life, and that maybe when we are young like Stephen was when his mother read his first story, and it might equally be when we are older.
So, I am going to amend my above quote and say that there is an importance to nurturing all minds.
All writers are equal and different
I realize everyone is different, and that some writers might need greater nurturing than others. Some might even be comfortable with their own magnificence and need very little nurturing at all.
I think most writers are imperfect perfectionists who are never really satisfied with what they produce and are always seeking to do better.
And I think all writers need someone to believe in them. I know if someone offered me an option to have a hundred dollars or a hundred reviews from people who enjoyed my work, I would pick the reviews every time.
It doesn’t matter how many books you have written or how successful you are as a writer. Success is subjective, after all. But I love that Stephen Kings greatest source of writerly pride was getting a quarter for his first book from his mother.
About Fahrenheit 451: Set in a dystopian future, it follows the story of Guy Montag, a fireman. But in this future, firemen don’t put out fires, they create fires…of banned books.
Guy doesn’t question his existence, or the way things are…until he meets his neighbor Clarisse.
What will follow is a slow unfurling of every truth Guy has held dear.
My Review: So, this isn’t the easiest book to read. There are times when you get lost in the beautiful prose and the haunting flow of the story. And times when you are so lost in the beautiful prose that you don’t know where you are in the story…Fahrenheit 451 isn’t the kind of book you dip into while waiting for the train on a busy platform!
Trust me on this, I tried it.
There are times in life when you just want to sit down and watch a brain off action movie, and times when you want to stretch your cognitive muscles watching something that makes you think…and reflect on after it is done.
There are reasons why books become classics and why it is generally worth pushing through.
I expect to find myself reflecting on this book.
My rating: 5 Stars
…and I will leave you with a quote.
“‘Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” from Fahrenheit 451