First of all, hello to any new readers or followers of this blog! It’s good to see you here. Secondly, welcome back all the old followers…to my new lovely blog design. Now that the change has really been fully implemented I would love to know all y’all’s thoughts on it. Do you like it?
Your inspiration is non-existent. You don’t feel like writing…or maybe you do and can’t think of anything to put on that blank page (or screen 😀 ). Congratulations!
You have writer’s block.
Now that I’ve diagnosed your writing problem (which you most likely have already diagnosed 😉 ) and also given you a deceptive blog post title…we may proceed!
What??! You gave us a deceptive blog post title?
Well, yes I did. You see…there’s no one way to fix this problem. I can’t just give you tips and say “This one will totally work for you!”. Because…every person is different and what works for me may not work for you. Yay, aren’t I encouraging?
While that may sound like bad news…guess what? It can also be very good news! Putting it positively- your solution may be right around the corner waiting to be discovered. So see, it’s not hopeless!
Ideas to destroy this beast…
Remove anything and everything that’s distracting you from your presence. We have so many things in life that could potentially distract us from the one thing we want to do right now. I know for me personally- I go from writing a school assignment to just- not. Whether that means I’m checking my email or doing somethin’ else- It’s distracting me from writing. So. GET. RID. OF. THOSE. PESKY. DISTRACTIONS. ONE. BY. ONE. !
Find a book to read that will get the imagination flowing. If you’re trying to write something in the fantasy genre, maybe read something in that genre. For instance, my current project is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. I keep on reading the original story to get the creative juices flowing.
Find a new angle. Were you telling the story first person? Try this out: tell the story in second person. Or you can take another character vital to the story and tell it in his/her perspective. If you’re struggling to put those first words on the paper…think about a way to make the story opening something totally different than what you’d intended. Was Willemina a princess once? Why not turn her into an ugly young woman afraid she’s never going to be realized for the princess she is? Now–true, this may just ruin the story. But there really are limitless possibilities. And it’s always possible you assigned the character the wrong role. 😀
Make a pinterest storyboard. This may not be for everyone. But I can attest to loving this. Sometimes images inspire the mind when nothing else can. They visually transport you into the realm you’re writing about. They help you envision what you were trying to write. If you want an example of one you can check out mine for my dystopian story Watchful here. I love doing this, and it’s especially helpful to look back on when I’m stuck or uninspired.
Story Prompts. I’m not sure when this became a ‘thing’. But I just started getting into it. One thing I used to worry about was the possibility of plagiarism. Not anymore though. Because, I have discovered that different minds think differently. And while, yes, we sometimes tend to think similarly—you’d be surprised at what I come up with VS what others come up with. So don’t worry! Story prompts are an amazing way to help you step it up. Why not try angling what you have of your story into a prompt to enhance the plot? Or start your story with a prompt!
Write. There is a way that may make you upset. It’s called writing. 😀 You’re not going to beat this writer’s block without doing some writing. Most of the things I’ve suggested up until now–have been ways to get the writing juices flowing. Because I don’t want you to think that the solution is NOT to write. True, you may need a little break. You may need to go outside where the air is clean to think about it. But the solution isn’t to quit writing indefinitely until you’re inspired. That’s a sure way to either never write, or when you do–to go back off it just as soon.
Try listening to epic music. I wouldn’t recommend pop or anything where the beat is louder than the words. If you’re writing a romance novel…imagine the scene while you’re playing some soft, sweet music. Try instrumental. If bigfoot is about to stomp on littlefoot…then play something tense. Will littlefoot be trod underfoot? 🙂 I personally love listening to movie soundtracks for epic fight scenes and the like. But you may need something smooth and calming. I do too, sometimes.
Make a writer’s schedule. This is one that I’m awful at, but really need to try. If you pace yourself so that you’re writing at a certain time for a certain amount of time- it may help. Put it in a place in that busy schedule where it’s not so likely to be loud. Make it fit at a ‘smooth’ part of the day where your work load isn’t there to bother you.
I hope this was helpful to you! Keep writing!
Have you tried any of these?
Name a way not listed that’s helped you in the comments!
I have been…not on this blog. If my stats bar serves me right…it’s been about four days?
Today I am going to share a product-ish review that has really impacted my reading life. It’s called…the Kindle Paperwhite!
You can get many different kindles off places (primarily Amazon). The main difference between this one and say, the kindle fire- is the intended usage. The paperwhite is intended almost exclusively for reading, whereas the fire- is mostly for internet, games, etc. Yes, you can read on it…but I think it’s much more painful on the eyes.
*Changeable resolution (screen brightness adjustable). What’s really neat about this feature is that it was created to keep the eyes from having to adjust no matter where you’re reading at.
*Many books can be carried and read on-the-go. I used to lug books around and devour them. Now, I can bring my kindle paperwhite along with me, stuffed with books and get away with it! It’s great. I also love how little it weighs compared to my stack of books 😀 .
*Access to the kindle lending library. Library? What? You can borrow one book a month for free out of many great titles. The last book I borrowed is ‘Once’, which is a collection of fairy tale retellings by several gifted young ladies. It’s historically themed. My point? There are a lot of great titles out there that you may borrow. Only one a month though, so make it good 😉 . Some other great titles I’ve previously borrowed:
The Spinner and the Slipper- by Camryn Lockhart
A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold- By Anne Elisabeth Stengl
And there are a bunch of other nice books that you’d probably enjoy.
*Access to a bunch of classics. In the kindle store, there are so many amazing old classics. You can get the entire Oz series FREE. Literally anything in the public domain is free.
5 fReE bOoKs
Jane Eyre. This is a public domain book and is amazing. I know some people may not like it, but I love it. It is an amazing book. It’s a roller coaster of happy and sad all intermixed. It’s classic, and is by Charlotte Bronte.
Wives and Daughters. By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell. It’s also public domain, and a classic. Interesting fact, the writer died before completing the book. The BBC series is really good, although they did have to guess the ending 😉 .
The Scarlet Pimpernel Books. I don’t know if any of y’all are familiar with the Scarlet Pimpernel or not. They’re a series of books set around the french revolution- and are about a daring Englishman and his brave comrades stealing french (destined-to-be-guillotined) victim’s from the clutches of the french tyrannous ‘government’. While not all of the books can be gotten free, you’d be well on your way to discovering a lovely British series. The books are written by Baroness Emmuska Orczy (that name, tho 😀 .).
Grimm’s Fairy Tales.I was in love with Grimm’s, especially when I was younger. They were my favorite when I was twelve or thirteen. Whether you want to read the original german-ish Ascenputtel (Cinderella), or you are dying to hear about Snow White…this book is for you. And it’s public domain. AND it’s by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm.
Books by many different Biblical authors. In the public domain, you can find books by Martin Luther, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeoun, and many others.
With all the fuss having been lately directed at the ‘horrors’ of high school and my new camera–where does that leave writing? Well, lately there hasn’t been much time. But…a few days ago I experienced that overwhelming feeling that I MUST write. So I started writing again. And, I am so very glad I did. My characters are so special to me and writing more about them only increases my anticipation for the closure of their unique stories. This post will focus on my two favorite writing projects (aka- the two I couldn’t ever put down because I am emotionally attached to them 😉 . ) The Sheltered from the Storm Series and my single dystopian YA novel Watchful. So, on to Writing Right Now!
Sheltered from the Storm Series
The Robin’s Storm, SFTS series book 1.
The Robin’s Flight, SFTS series book 2.
The Robin’s Freedom, SFTS series book 3.
The Robin’s Son, SFTS series 4.
I am literally in the middle of book three! I am so excited. I feel like my characters have crossed and ocean since book one. The biggest challenge I have faced so far (besides ruthlessly murdering one of my favorite characters and being depressed for a week) is figuring out how to make the first book a great starting book. I started writing it when I was 12 or 13 –and my writing style and concept of the idea is much different. Here’s a little summary of each book so far:
The Robin’s Storm
I am pretty much considering re-writing this book and doing my very best to make it fit with the other two books. It will be discouraging and difficult, I have no doubt. And I am not terribly thrilled about it. But here’s the basic plot of the story.
Anna and Ross (siblings) live in the country of Cantavia and are Christians.
Evil men kidnap Ross.
Anna and friends go after him.
They go to the capitol city trying to find Ross.
They discover things are much more serious than they appear.
The rest of the book is dedicated to many action sequences and events that occur.
It sounds very simple, right? I can’t believe I just summarized it so very quickly. But trust me–it’s not as boring or simple as it sounds. I’m trying not to spoil all the middle (and most important) stuff. Did you notice I didn’t mention why Ross (who is 12, BTW.) was kidnapped? Why would they want a young boy? And who kidnapped him in the first place? And what are the serious things Anna and friends discovered? Who is/are the villain(s) (you have to have one of those!) and what do they want? See what I mean? There’s a whole lot more that I don’t want to spill right now. Here’s one of my favorite scenes which will probably utterly confuse you :p .
“There they are!”
She exclaims enthusiastically. I follow her as if in a dream. Soon I’m standing close to Tin.
“Ahh…so you are finally here! And you both look charming. I claim the first dance-s.”
Tin slurs his words purposefully. I shiver. Oh, great, dance with Tin? What could possibly be worse? I look at our group. Beckym, Bennor, Ellis, and Tin are outfitted in tuxedos- each a different color. None of them are overly brightly colored. Except Tin’s, which is bright pink.
“To the dance room!”
Tin orders taking the lead. My stomach turns as we walk. That elevator was designed to annihilate people’s stomachs. Ross will be there, as will all the other victims. Funny that the victims are allowed to do whatever they please tonight- except leave. Because tomorrow- they will probably all be dead. Lord, please don’t let Ross be one of them!
“What a beautiful room!”
Sarah exclaims loudly. She’s doing a wonderful job acting, while I’m doing dreadfully. Then I look up. The sight takes my breath away. Flowers…real flowers, everywhere. No portraits of victims or photos taken from the Purging. No rabid animals’ mouths dripping with human blood. Just flowers. Then I look around. Oh no. People, lots of people. Women stand by chatting- looking perfectly (revolting)…fake. Men in tuxedos. Then a dance floor. Couples whirling to the music. Tin shinnies up to me and whispers in my ear:
“Remember the plan.”
The plan? Oh…right. The whole reason we’re here. The plan is really quite simple. The first person to find Ross will bring him to me, we will dance, I will tell him the plan. Then he will go with Tin- who will hand him over to Beckym and Ellis- and they will take him to a friend of Ellis’s. Ellis’s friend is arranging to have Ross escorted to the safety of people who will protect him for Dad’s sake. How they will get past security- I don’t know. And I don’t want to think about it. All I really know is that Tin will get Sarah and I out of here somehow- to the safety Ellis and Beckym seem so confident in. After that, who knows? I don’t care all that much, just so long as Ross gets to freedom. Then Tin speaks again- but to the group this time.
Yeah, great. Where should I go? Refreshment tables line the walls. Perfect. That should work. I make my way slowly (and, I hope, sophisticatedly) to the drink table. I ladle a glass out for myself and drink the liquid. The cold feels good on my stomach.
Says a pleasant voice behind me. I jump, wheel around, and right myself. A hint of amusement flickers in the stranger’s eyes. He wears a little black pin on his tuxedo. Oh, he’s a victim. The realization hits me.
“Sorry if I startled you.”
“Oh, no harm done…I jump rather easily. What is your name?”
“Barak Osbourne. I’m afraid I haven’t the pleasure of your name though.”
He points out. Oh, my manners are so awful! Sarah would’ve done this so perfectly.
“I’m sorry. I’m uh- Elisabeth Rhodes. It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Osbourne.”
I use the agreed-on name. Finally, I’m starting to get the hang of this.
“It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Rhodes. Would you care to dance?”
He asks politely. I panic inwardly. This was NOT part of the plan, what do I do now? Then I remember Tin’s words: ‘blend in’.
“It would be a pleasure, Mr. Osbourne.”
I reply graciously. The stranger, (Barak, I remind myself) leads me to the dance floor with an easy grace. The music begins. Slow, freestyle, but Barak isn’t dancing close. He’s obviously doing the leading…but he makes me more comfortable. I begin to relax. He begins to converse quietly.
“Tell me, Miss Rhodes, if you were in my shoes, what would your reaction be?”
The question catches me by surprise. My reaction, to being a victim? Should I trust him?
I answer, after a moment’s hesitation.
“You think as we think. Only a few of us want to be victims and are excited about the Purging tomorrow.”
Tomorrow! Ross, where are you? Then he lowers his voice to a whisper:
“Many of us are Christians, Miss Rhodes; we aren’t worried about where we’ll go if we die. We have been purchased by Christ…”
By Christ…he’s a Christian? Or is he trying to trick me?
“Don’t get me wrong- we still pray for deliverance. We pray specifically for a certain kind of deliverance…Anna.”
I nearly scream, but catch myself just in time.
“How do you know…?”
I whisper, all my precautions out the door. Barak silences me with a quick motion which could have been part of the dance. The music ends- Barak bows, and I curtsy.
“I enjoyed our dance, Miss Rhodes,”
He says, and then he adds quietly:
“Don’t be afraid to do the necessary.”
Then, he’s gone. Just as if that never happened. How did he know? I still feel shaken when I feel a tap on my shoulder. Having learned better- I turn around slowly. I turn around to find Bennor and…
“Are you sure this is my sister?”
Ross asks Bennor with a twinkle in his eye. Of course it’s still me! The very notion of makeup and a fancy dress changing who someone is…!
“Yes, it is. But I hardly recognize her myself.”
Bennor and Ross laugh. This is no time to be fooling around! Then Bennor whispers:
“There’s been a slight change of plans. We’re taking Ross right to Tin, and then you and Sarah are coming with me.”
“Okay, let’s go!”
Let’s get out of here, FOREVER! As I pass Ross I whisper a hasty ‘goodbye, I love you’. But Ross actually tears up and says:
“Love you, Anna, be safe.”
Be safe? You’re the one who’ll be in the most danger. But it’s sweet of him anyway.
Do forgive all the adverbs (evidence that this is ‘beautifully’ unedited).
The Robin’s Flight
This book is much more polished than the first. I think when I picked it up my style and everything has really matured. But again, basic plot:
Starts by reintroducing us to some of the main characters.
Anna lives in a new place that is hidden. A Christian community lives there as well.
She is on the safety squad which attempts to keep the Christians semi-‘safe’.
Something (not saying what) happens that makes them have to flee.
All the rest focuses on all the events that transpire afterward. The main one is that Anna has to consider leaving her beloved country (again, avoiding the reason why.).
None of the scenes in this book are typed out as of yet, so it would take too long to write it here. From here on out- the books are only handwritten on lined notebook paper. Sorry!
The Robin’s Freedom
This is the final book in this trilogy. What, it’s a trilogy? Yep. But–I thought there were FOUR books! There are. Or will be. But I see the first three as being directly together, and the last one as being all on it’s own. The reason for that is it occurs several years after this last book (I won’t be updating you on book 4, because there’s nothing to report on there.). Basic plot? Here ya’ go!
Picks up almost directly from the end of the 2nd book.
People begin to seek recruits for the war (What, didn’t know there was a war? I know–I didn’t mention it 🙂 .).
Battles occur. (you still don’t know any of this middle stuff, or even what the conflict is about!)
People die. (my depression)
There’s a romantic interest. (one really can’t avoid it–only reduce the cheese.) I’m trying to make it as unsappy and realistic as possible while still making it sweet.
All the rest. Major climax. What happens? Etc.
IT ALL ENDS HERE! (what ends here? Well, maybe you should be a beta reader if you’re interested 😉 .)
I will spare you the synopsis which you can find here if you really want it. But the basis plot is about this:
Jessica Graye is sent to IUIB (Institute for Unusually Intelligent Beings) to be schooled.
She meets many new friends, but is distrustful of the school from the beginning.
She has a gift which she is forced to hide because of her growing distrust of the school.
She graduates and is assigned to be secretary to someone.
Many things happen in the middle.
Infinity. Dramatic ending. Etc.
Sorry, really basic–again! Here’s a scene I like.
“All newly-arrived students are requested to meet at the briefing hall in an hour. Those who fail to appear will be found and forced to spend the day with the precariots.” The order just plays over and over. Soon, Prisl and I are getting annoyed.
“You’d think we would’ve gotten the message by now.” I comment, brushing a speck of lint off my uniform.
“No kidding. We must be idiots.” Prisl adds, rolling her eyes. I laugh a little. Prisl and I are already rather good friends. And we’ve known each other for one afternoon, and about two hours this morning. It must be that we both tend to be somewhat sarcastic. Prisl has her hair done so fast it’s not even funny. Her red hair is so short; all she must do is brush it. When it’s my turn to use the mirror- I just stand there, uncertain.
“Never done your own hair?” Prisl asks.
“I um- I have,” I hesitate.
“Just never in front of a mirror.” I finish.
“Oh.” she sidles closer to me.
“I’ve never looked in a mirror much before.”
“Well then, let’s make this a first.” She smiles a little and hands me my brush from the nightstand.
I finger my hair, and shift my weight from one foot to the next. Someone taps my shoulder from behind. I turn in surprise. Garth stands there.
“When’s this thing gonna’ start?” he asks, voicing the thought we must all have.
“How would I know?” I respond.
“Sleep okay?” is his next question.
“Yes, great. You?” I fire back.
“Well, I suppose. Felt a little less comfortable on the beds here. Hard as rocks. Rather sleep on the ground.” He answers.
“I didn’t notice.” I say in an innocent tone.
“You wouldn’t.” he says. That’s for sure; I’m not too concerned about physical comfort.
“Let’s get closer, Jess.” Prisl says, appearing at my side. Garth gets a funny look on his face. When Prisl sees him- she extends her hand.
“Prisl Smith, from Beacon.” She introduces herself.
“Garth Williams, from Vigor.” He says, standing up taller and smoothing his words noticeably.
“Nice to meet you. You’re Jess’s friend?”
“Yes, from childhood, in fact.” He answers, still smoothing out his in general rough speech.
“That’s nice. Would you like to join us in the front?” Prisl asks.
“Thanks, but no. My friend Michael and I are gonna’ stand over by the speakers.” He looks at me when he says this, as if realizing that I’m still here. I frown, trying to push down the feeling that even now- I am losing my friend. I am losing Garth. Soon we are standing up front balancing on tiptoe. A woman in grey pants and shirt looks down at us without any expression.
“Welcome to the Institute for Unusually Intelligent Beings. You are here because your parents saw potential in you. Or because they thought they saw potential in you.”
“Encouraging, isn’t she?” Prisl whispers. I nod.
“This school is here to separate the intelligent from the average. In the next few months, you will all be placed under rigorous training to test your abilities. If at any time during that period, you experience anything unusual- you are to report at once to the Capital ward. Once there, you will be tested. If you pass that testing, you will receive special training- and then become a true capital. Are there any questions?” the woman’s eyes scan the curious faces around her. One girl raises her hand.
“I was wondering what a ‘Capital’ is?”
“A ‘Capital’ is a rating. If you have a gift, you are given the rating of ‘Capital’.” She answers.
“A gift?” I am almost surprised to hear my own voice. The woman turns on me with a steeled and measured gaze.
“A gift can be anything from very strong to unusually smart. It can be something not seen in other humans. We have not discovered all the possibilities now. That is part of the point of this school. To find gifts and evaluate them, to test people and see what we can do for the rest of the world with those gifts.” At last her gaze drops from my face. I feel relieved. For some reason, this woman’s words don’t ring true to me. Prisl pokes me.
“Hey, that was creepy! She was just staring at you.” I don’t answer.
“Any other questions?” the lady asks, glancing down at her clipboard.
“What other ratings are there, and what does it take to get them?” A tall young man asks.
“The ratings are Capitals, Tributaries, and Precariots.” Prisl nudges me at this point. She whispers in my ear:
“That’s what came over the loudspeakers. Precariot isn’t a nice word either. Doesn’t it mean like, lowest of the low?” I nod. I also nudge her hard as the lady keeps on talking…
“The Capitals are those with gifts, the Tributaries are those who do not have gifts, and they serve the Capitals when their training is complete. The Precariots, on the other hand—are nothing. They have no gifts and are neither smart nor helpful. They do all the menial tasks for the school. They must obey the commands of both Capitals and Tributaries. Their jobs include sanitation and deep cleaning. I would not recommend facing off with Capitals or school leaders, as this sort of behavior has gotten many into the Precariot position. I regret to inform you that the time for questions is up. Good evening and wisdom go with you.”
After the Q and A, everyone leaves the Briefing Hall, which I have concluded is just a huge room. For some reason, I can’t shake this feeling of anxiety. Something about this place just rubs me all wrong. Prisl is already good at reading me and is quick to suggest a little detour back to our room. Her suggestion is confusing, but I allow her to drag me down several flights of stairs. She comes to a complete stop in front of a grey door which looks a lot like the entrance to a lab.
I am making slow but sure progress on this book and am really enjoying it in all it’s dystopian glory. If you don’t know the definition of a dystopian novel here’s a basic one:
“Dystopian literature is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world.’ The term dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, squalor or oppression and the theme is most commonly used in science fiction and speculative fiction genres.”
Thanks for letting me ramble! This has been a fun journey for me to take, and it only gets more exciting. Sorry for the length of this post! 😦 🙂
You’ve probably heard this dozens of times. But it’s worth repeating: most editors dislike a lot of adverbs in creative writing. You’ve probably also heard the horror stories of the poor victims that showed up to the editors office and were told: “I need you to remove around 100 adverbs. I would recommend either completely changing the structure of the scene or adding a good strong verb instead.”
That is scary to me! I hope when I finally get around to having an actual editor that I won’t have the worry of extra adverbs on my plate. And so that is my primary focus in my writing right now.
But let’s ask the important question first: “Why do I have to cut out my adverbs anyway?”
Why You Need to Chop Adverbs…
Because it can turn the reader off by being repetitive or excess. It really can do that. Have you ever read a book that was just so…*yawn* worthy? I’m not just talking about boring. I’m talking about over-the-top descriptions.
Jill and Jackson rushed quickly about the house.
Let’s take a look at this. Jill and Jackson rushing around is fine. It gives you a sense of the urgency of whatever is going on in the scene. So why inclusion of the adverb- quickly? That just distracts the reader. You should always stay away from extra/excess/unnecessary modifiers and descriptions. In the above example, I just restated the verb using an adverb. Instead, I ought to have just stuck with my strong verb-rushed. The next example is a sample taken from the scene of one of my books- before I removed as many adverbs as I could.
A short grizzly looking man with sinister eyes and a foul expression asks.
The tall man he addresses looks annoyed.
“Vice President Cain, how many times do I need to tell you I am President Rohn?”
Cain trembles slightly at the tall man’s obvious annoyance.
“I apologize, President Rohn. I am simply wondering what you plan to do about the Christian uprising that’s been occurring. It’s all over the place! Just yesterday we had to kill an old man who was making a fuss about repenting because the kingdom of God…”
“Stop! I know all this! Can’t your men even keep one old man from making a racket? I tell you to keep all the Christians in the city from proclaiming that garbage and you just allow him to do it until you must kill him? In front of all those people, too?”
“He won’t be spreading his religion any longer.”
The vice mutters in an injured tone.
“Cain, we must find the root of this rebellion and terminate it. Send someone to find the source. Do whatever you must do to end the resistance! Ever since that Paul Liberty had to defy me!”
“Paul Liberty? Isn’t that the man who refused to conform to our laws and bow the knee to you? He was a troublemaker!”
“Yes, that’s him! I never could understand him. He was offered every luxury imaginable and he chose death.”
“How irrational, Sir.”
“I think I have just the man to find the source for you.”
“He’s a ruthless man who will do anything for money. He fits into our society. He’s the same man that killed Paul Liberty, I believe. He’s a conformist, and will do whatever is best for his own welfare.”
A sly grin comes onto President Rohn’s face as his vice describes the man.
The president inquires.
You only see four ‘ly’ adverbs in this exchange. It’s been a while since I’ve actually looked at the sentence structure of this for a while. I am not sure if I should remove the adverbs I have there. I would say yes, because it seems that they’re unnecessary.
2. We need to focus on displaying what we’re trying to display. I write a whole lot in first person perspective. I have a big problem. I’m not so great at showing the reader what I want to show them- so I end up telling them instead. Adverbs can really be a cheap way to go. Instead of going all out…I can get away with some easy navigation.
The man leered at me threateninglypointing his gun at my head. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end…In a flash I managed to tie him up rather skillfully.
How could we have prevented telling this? I mean we want the reader to get involved in the heat of the scene. So we want to show them what happened, not tell them.
The example fixed:
The man leered at me (threateningly is removed, because it’s obvious he was threatening the girl- he was pointing a gun at her head after all!) pointing his gun at my head. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end… (In a flash removed) I managed to tie him up (I dumped skillfully as well, because it’s falling into telling them how. I stuck with the good strong verb.).
Please don’t ‘shoot’ me when you notice that I use adverbs a lot in my posts (you might even find occurrences in THIS post! 🙂 ). I don’t have the time to sit editing my blog posts like that, but when it comes to writing—I think we can agree it’s way more important to be polished.
What are YOUR thoughts on cutting adverbs?
Do you tend to use adverbs a lot?
What is your stance on modifiers in general?
If you were to revisit a writing draft you wrote from long ago, would you find more adverbs or less?
I am super excited to invite you to my VERY FIRST book review with Bethany House! The book I chose to review is…Shadow of the Storm–by Connilyn Cossette. So let me just share the lovely cover first:
Shadow of the Storm
Out from Egypt Book # 2.
By Connilyn Cossette
My rating- 4.5 stars
In the Depth of the Storm’s Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way
Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.
When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?
When first I saw this book , I personally thought it looked interesting. And after reading it…I was pleased. It had me hooked from the beginning. It was engaging, sad (to some degree), and well-written. I found it easy to both sympathize and empathize with the different characters. So after this brief introduction to the review…let’s get started.
//The characters… It didn’t take me long to bond with the characters. Shira’s unrealized strength, Kiya’s sweetness, Ayal’s gentleness, and even Dvorah’s bitterness. I was smiling at the characters when they ‘scored a point’ (did what was right), and frowning at them when they did wrongly. And I loved the way children played into the story. Dov and Ari are such sweeties! I have to say though, I went on a roller-coaster ride with all the characters–and had moments of liking them and disliking them.
//The confusion… You had me there. I dangled on a string wondering what was going on. It was more suspense than anything else. I wanted to know what was up with Shira, what was up with Ayal, and what was up with Leisha…and then I got hit with half of it. The other half was left suspensefully for later. And I’m glad the information was withheld from me. Because oh, it just enhances the plot so much!
//The way Shira’s mind works… This point may sound weird. But Shira’s desires make her feel more like a real person, a real girl. True, not all girls are like this. But I know how girls can be…and I’ve struggled in my own writing how much to show of this. The fact of the matter is…for many girls– we’re wired to be thinking: “Oh, handsome guy–could he be the one?”. Instead of trusting God with our features we worry about those things. And Shira has that same struggle. And I applaud the courage it takes to make a character human.
//The step back into time… I so appreciate this. I have always had questions whenever I read Biblical narratives. I call them the: “What was it like?” questions. All those rich descriptions in the Bible. But I always am curious about little details. And while I can’t say with certainty that the things provided ARE accurate (I would not be a good judge of that:) ) it really helps to be given a taste of what it might have been like.
//The message… I have read many books with supposedly ‘Biblical’ messages. I have even read books within this GENRE who’s messages are supposedly ‘Biblical’. But this one actually has Biblical message. I love the message that speaks to healing. I love the message that speaks of trusting God. And yes, putting our futures in His hands is so important!
What you should know..
*This section is dedicated to parents mostly. I want to make it clear what things parents should be aware of before allowing your child to read the book. I believe it’s important that we as bloggers make sure parents are aware, so that you can then decide what your children ought to read.
*All readers please stay tuned for this part! I want you to make the decision based on the dictates of your conscience.
You should be aware that:
//Thisis a book on a young woman who wants to be a midwife. There ARE birth scenes. They are not overly explicit…but if you know NOTHING of birth, you might want to pass on this one.
//There is one scene where a character tell about being raped. It doesn’t go very far or anything, but the girl is punched up and whatnot before the scene reaches its conclusion. Like I said, it’s not terribly descriptive. But it is disturbing, and obviously suggestive. This is definitely where I would say “umm…maybe not show the kids?” 🙂
//There is a scene where a woman tries to entice a man. It’s not too bad. Just bad.(hopefully that makes sense?) The woman only pulls her shirt sleeve down a little–it’s more the suggestion that I would advise caution over. This is another instance where I would advise caution, especially with younger readers.
All-in-all, if I HAD to put an age on the reading of this book I would say (very) mature 13+, and would highly advise the reading of this book FIRST by the parents.
*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers. I was not required to post a positive review, but rather to honestly give my opinion– which I have done. All things here expressed are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.
At the suggestion of a friend and reader, I am going to do another installment of What I Read Wednesday! I have chosen to review some books I just recently read. Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan, and Till We Have Faces by C.S Lewis.
Just a little background on the chosen books. Where Hope Prevails is the 3rd book in the Return to the Canadian West series. So, if you’re thinking on getting the book, you might just want to purchase the other two first :). Till We Have Faces, on the other hand–is a retelling of the ancient myth of Cupid and Psyche. It’s the kind of book you would expect to be assigned for some mythology reading. Weird me…I bought it as an interesting read. I had read it once before at a dear friend’s house–and found it fascinatingly strange. I don’t think I really understood it the first time I read it, because frankly- it’s a bizarre read. And so when I found the book for the lovely price of $2.00, I determined to give the book another try. And here we are!
Where Hope Prevails
By Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
Return to the Canadian West Book # 3.
My rating- 4.5 stars
Because this book is part of a series that I haven’t reviewed…I will provide the synopsis.
She leans forward for her first glimpse of the little mountain town that has captured her heart, but something has changed.
Elizabeth Thatcher’s highly anticipated return to her beloved Coal Valley after a long summer with her family back east is filled with surprises . . . and not all of them good ones, in her estimation. Maybe the worst one of all relates to her treasured students. Can she adapt and learn to cope with this enormous change?
Her Mountie, Jarrick Thornton, hasn’t yet proposed, but she already knows what her answer will be. His duties take him away from the valley much too often, in her view, but the two of them, with patience and understanding–and one significant misunderstanding–are learning to know each other better.
The dark cloud looming on the horizon in Beth’s mind, though, is filled with questions about where their future might take them. As a member of the RCMP, Jarrick is stationed wherever his superiors send him . . . but what about her teaching position in Coal Valley?
Beth attempts to do her best with each obstacle she faces, but does she rightly assess each situation as it surfaces? Good intentions don’t always lead too good results. . . .
A companion story to Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart TV series
So…uh. That’s the synopsis, but I gotta’ admit…it slightly ruins the other two books. Not hugely (it’s not my fault if their synopsis ruins it!)– but just enough.
I’ll just give some quick thoughts on the book…
Pluses and Minuses…
//The return to Coal Valley was anticipated, and I thought it was a good thing.
//I was surprised at the little things that bothered Beth. Hmm…I still haven’t figured out why she was so upset at the stumps?
//I did find the challenges to be exciting. I think they enhanced the plot.
//The conflict between Beth and Harris Hughes–was frustrating. But I think it was frustrating in a good way. It made me wonder how it would all ‘end’ (it’s not quite over yet…another book must be in the works!).
//Julie…yeah. I like it whenever she enters the story. Mind you, she’s not very wise–but sometimes you just need a slightly frivolous character. And she’s gotten better over time, too.
//The romance aspect. So, I’m TRYING not to give anything away. Although please note that the synopsis is the culprit this time. This book picks up where the last one left off. I think that it was a good idea to show the confusion that occurs during their relationship. It’s good to throw in a little misunderstanding every now and then.
So that’s my very-basic-opinion of the book.
Till We Have Faces
A Myth Retold
By C.S Lewis
My Rating- 5 stars
Pluses and Minuses…
//To be completely honest, the first time I read this–I just didn’t understand it. I would recommend brushing up on your mythology a wee bit before tackling this book.
//I really have NO idea why I like this book exactly. It’s a very interesting story though.
//At first you feel, (along with the main character Orual) that Orual is wronged. That it’s Orual who’s wrong. Then later, well…something just happens. You’ll have to read it, because I really can’t quite explain it.
//I’m sorry…for some reason I just enjoy reading it.
//Age sensitive material..there are some references to some things in here which requires some discretion. I think I would probably set the book depending on maturity. But I guess maybe as rule of thumb ages 13+?
//But one thing that super annoyed me…was the false god aspect. Ungit, Cupid, etc. But hey! It’s a book on mythology. So duh. That’s obviously what I signed up for. 🙂
//I’m not a Lewis geek. I do love this book and the Chronicles of Narnia though.
Well, there ya’ go! Please feel free to comment if you happen to have read either of these books and want to share your thought(s) on them.
Have you read either of these books?
Do you enjoy reading mythology, or are you going *blech* right now?
On this chilly morning…chilly? REALLY? It actually feels COLD today! Oh joy. I have been long awaiting the end of summer. I love fall and the winter best of all. Especially winter.
Reasons I don’t prefer Summer…
It’s hot, and no one smells remarkably good.
It’s full of allergies for many people.
I can’t really drink tea with as much enthusiasm, because it’s HOT.
Add hot chocolate to the list. 🙂
Things I DO love about Summer…
Water gun fights.
But Winter/Fall trumps all…
Tea, and other hot beverages.
Jumping in leaves.
Mums/ fall flowers.
Dumping snow on people.
Crazy fuzzy socks. 🙂
etc. (Meaning I could go on…but this post is actually supposed to be a writing post!)
Welcome to another installment of E’s Creative Writings! Specifically to another one of my novels…The Way of Extinction.
Genre: Dystopian, elements of Sci-fi, young adult, christian fiction.
The world has come into rapid decay. Only a few of us are left…
Landice… has been entrusted with a unique and difficult task. To find the man who must be her husband. Difficulties and stakes are high. Landice is one of the last women alive, and she is a Follower of the Way. Meaning, she is not permitted to marry a man who is not of her faith.
Bane…is in a precarious position. A Follower of the Way and a FM. His family has been killed and he is constantly watched. But he was entrusted by the Bishop with two tasks: seek God, and seek God in his choice of a wife. But it’s not that simple, because no one knows if there are even any women left in the world.
And so their quests move them in different directions…can faith and determination throw them together?
(my apologies, the excerpt isn’t in good order right now. I will soon update this post in E’s Creative Writings.)
What projects are y’all working on (hopefully not as many as me 🙂 ).
No, this is not me turning into a cowgirl. This is me messing around with different openings. But anyways…I’m back with another one of my books! My writing posts, I call them. Today, I’m telling y’all about a fun one I’m writing. I don’t know about y’all…but I love ALMOST superheros. What do I mean by that? Well…people with great fighting abilities that want to help people…but minus any powers. No super strength, no climbing walls because you got bit by a spider, you get it. I’m more the Captain America type- minus the serum. 🙂 I do enjoy powers…but I don’t really want to write about that. I want to give this story a more realistic feel. I want readers to feel that this might actually be able to happen. So without further ado, I give you- The Brown Recluse.
Genre: Young adult, thriller, elements of mystery.
A prison boat sinks, supposedly drowning all the prisoners.
A young woman suffers from a spider bite, nearly dying.
A mysterious mentor, trains a woman to fight criminals…
…and Svetlana Ivanov lives a ‘quiet’ but mysterious life in a big city.
Svetlana groaned, nausea gripping her insides. The constant tossing of the ship increased the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Beside her- Valentina stirred. How in the world is Valentina still asleep when this ship is about to sink? Svetlana wondered to herself. Valentina opened her eyes. “Where are we?” she asked with a long yawn. “In a ship, below deck, and behind bars- just as we’ve been for the last two days.” Was Svetlana’s not-very-positive response. “Why am I in prison?” Valentina inquired blankly. “Valentina! You ought to know this by now. I already told you that you were suspected of murder…” Svetlana’s voice trailed off and she covered her face with her hands. “Sorry.” Valentina apologized with a sheepish look. “It’s okay.” Svetlana responded in a weak voice.
“Captain, we need to abandon ship. She’s about to go down!” a frightened sailor pleaded. “Prepare to launch the lifeboats. The prisoners will just have to stay below deck. We haven’t enough room or lifeboats to fit them anyway- besides, I don’t want to be in a lifeboat with any serial-killers.” The captain mumbled- reluctant to abandon his ship. “Is no effort to be made to save the prisoners?” another sailor asked overhearing the words of the captain. “Some of them aren’t serial-killers, sir.” Offered a tall man in a drenched sailing suit. “You and Abel were ever the compassionate ones, Cedrick. No! There will be no saving of prisoners! It’s every man for himself now. Abel, go and get the jailer and tell him we’re abandoning ship. And another thing- tell the jailer that he’d better shoot the prisoners.” As he spoke the captain began lowering the lifeboats. Cedrick accompanied Abel down the stairs that led to where the prisoners were being kept. As they went down Cedrick hit Abel hard on the back of his head so that he slumped over unconscious. Then Cedrick went down. He found the jailer asleep. Svetlana hopped to her feet when she saw Cedrick. “Cedrick, what news?” she asked in a whisper. “She’s going down- the Captains given orders to shoot the prisoners.” He whispered back grabbing the keys from the jailers. Svetlana groaned.. Why must death come to me so soon in life? She wondered.
He sorted through the keys until he found the key marked ‘7’ then went to Valentina and Svetlana’s cell and opened the door. Svetlana shook Valentina. Valentina- who was pretending to be asleep fell to her knees at sight of Cedrick. “God bless you!” she said. “Valentina, stop talking! We need to go or else we’ll be shot dead with the rest of the prisoners.” He whispered to Svetlana something about hiding below deck while he ‘took care’ of the other prisoners. Svetlana and Valentina exited and found a convenient nook to hide and wait. “Jailer, you have orders to shoot the prisoners.” Cedrick said. The jailer stirred and opened his eyes. “Oh, would that their blood would be on someone else’s hands!” he said, starting to shake. “Get moving, jailer. We’re abandoning ship. Unless you want to go down with the carcasses of the prisoners.” The jailer groaned. “Yes, that’s it! My fate will be their fate. I’m going down with the ship- you go and save yourself, Cedrick.” Cedrick snorted angrily. “No, we’re shooting the prisoners. Much more humane than choking them to death for lack of air.” The jailer nodded. Soon all the prisoners were dead- except Valentina and Svetlana. Svetlana listened to all that occurred- at last it seemed okay to stir. Valentina shivered. “What-what’s going to happen to us?” Valentina whimpered. “We’re getting out of this ship!” Svetlana gasped. She grabbed Valentina’s arm and pulled her through the door of the jailer’s cabin. After turning several times, they were on the main deck. Waves crashed and foamed all around them. One solitary lifeboat offered her welcome. “God bless Cedrick!” Svetlana praised aloud. “He’s left us the last lifeboat!” Valentina exclaimed. Yes, he’s left us the last lifeboat, and at risk of his life! Valentina hobbled into the lifeboat and Svetlana crawled in after her.
My fingers move, and Val’s pencil taps time to the movement. Everything about Val has changed these last two years. From the little things, to the big. Things like her hair, for instance. In the old days, it would’ve been cut short- right above her ear. And her hair would’ve been slicked. Now her jet black hair falls in soft waves just above her shoulders. Another thing is makeup. She barely wears any of it now. One coat of light mascara and a touch of light pink lipstick. She looks so innocent and sweet without all the dark, heavy makeup. And then she has changed. She’s almost never fussy, and whiny. Now, she’s just quiet. Barely talks to anyone except me.
“What’d you think, Val?” I ask, holding up a light red carnation. Val smiles, and rolls her eyes.
“I think, Svet that it looks like a well-groomed carnation.” I poke her. She pokes me back. Then we both laugh.
“Hey Val, will you pass me that hairclip?” I point at a teeny weenie gold clip across from me.
“Sure.” She answers in a nonchalant tone. I brush back the front of my hair, ‘losing the part’, as Val would say. Then I stick in the hairclip.
“You’re going to be late for work, you know.” Val says.
“I know. That’s why I asked for the clip, silly.” I poke her once again. She just grins. I hop up, and grab my handbag. I turn to go out the front door.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Val’s voice startles me. I instinctively reach to my leg. My gun’s not here. I look around, and yes– Val’s holding it. Ever since Val found my gun one night, I haven’t kept secrets from her. I first only got the thing to feel protected. My past makes it difficult for me to feel secure without a gun. It bothered Val at first. She was abused as a child, much the same as I was. One time I got it out of her that her father beat her whenever she didn’t do what he asked fast enough. But now as I see the gun in her hand, I know having it means much more. It’s my way of getting even with the government. I was falsely accused of murder. My father, who was the real culprit-, turned me in. My gun is carried illegally. That’s not a secret between Val and I. There’s no way I could get a concealed carry permit with a record like mine. And also, the fact that I and Val are supposed to be dead could make it potentially much harder.
“Thanks.” I say, extending my hand and taking it from her. I carefully pull up the right palazzo pant leg, slipping the gun into the hidden holster. I turn to go again.
“Svet?” Val’s voice stops me once again.
“Yeah?” I answer back.
“You look nice.” Her words are simple, but undeniably sweet. I glance down at my 1940’s palazzo pants, and then finger the hem of my classy white tuck-in, button-up shirt. We love world war two clothing. It’s our disguise, so to speak. I figured out that it’s not unusual to find a small group of people who like old-fashioned clothing. There’s really some of everything here in New York.
“That’s sweet of you to say.” It really is. Val always looks perfect no matter what she wears. I, on the other hand, have to work hard just to look ‘presentable’. Then I walk out the door. Val and I never say ‘goodbye’. Perhaps there’s a part of us that’s afraid if we say goodbye- it really will be just that.
I pull on my apron and stand at the old-fashioned cash register. I love the coffee shop I work at. They try hard to look vintage. The tablecloths, the waitresses, and the menu- everything smacks of the 1940’s. That’s one of the reasons that I decided to work here. I fit in here. Clara, a fellow employee, and my friend- steps toward the old radio.
“Hit me with it, Svet! What should we listen to today?” she asks.
“Hmm…put on the swing music. But remember Clara, it’s background music- not central.” She laughs; no doubt remembering the time where she flipped it on and the radio volume came out full blast. All the customers were covering their ears.
“Gotcha’.” She giggles. That’s the only thing I don’t like about her. She’s giggles too much.