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Margaret Atwood’s Creative Process

August 6, 2018– As you know Margaret Atwood is the Canadian author of The Handmaid’s Tale. Hugely popular as a television series on Netflix, we thought it would be a fabulous idea to share this Youtube video with you that gets inside of her brain to find out what her creative process is. If you haven’t READ her books yet, do it! What are you waiting for? Here’s some advice from a legend.

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It’s ALL About Perspective

August 1, 2018- Earlier last week I was chatting with a woman who I’ve become friends with who works at my local bookstore. She asked me if I needed help with finding a book and I told her that I was looking for a psychology book that deals with Borderline Personality Disorder. “Whoa, that’s pretty interesting! Is it for a new book in the works?” She asked with a smile. “You know it!” I said. We got into a discussion about her writer’s block, and she asked me for some tips about getting the creative faucet to turn on. Here’s what I told her:

  1. Change your space. Change your environment. Use your opposite hand to eat, brush your teeth, etc. Change anything! I know I’ve harped on this a million times on this blog, but it can’t be understated! Change your space, and you change your perspective.
  2. Pick up a book outside of your regular genre and read it! Doing this helps to expand your imagination as a writer, and it may give you a tiny glimmer of something new to write about! Do you usually read non-fiction self-help books? Why not pick up a copy of a cozy romance or horror story? It might just be enough to get your creativity flowing.
  3. Think about a different perspective. Ok, everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Twisted Tales Series by Liz Braswell! If you haven’t put these on your To-Read list, you have to; they are fabulous! In her book As Old as Time, which is an interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, she explores what would happen if it was Belle’s mother who cursed the Beast! Right? I know. Here is a sample below of what the book is about:

    Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns—a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern. But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose; intriguing images flood her mind—images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

Holy smokes right? Why didn’t I think of this? Guess what? You CAN think of something like this! All you have to do is change your perspective. Let me prove it to you. I’ll give you some classic stories and how you can flip the view to write something entirely new:)

  1. Little Red Riding Hood– Write from the perspective of the Wolf. What is his side of the story? What if he was more afraid of Little Red Riding Hood than she is of him? Why should he be afraid of her? What has she done? What if she comes into the forest wearing a wolf-skin cape?
  2. Harry Potter-What if you wrote from Voldemort’s point of view? What happened in his life to make him the way he is? What trauma has he experienced in his life to become so evil? Of course, use this for inspiration only as I am not in the business of recommending copyright infringement. For creative writing purposes and to get the juices flowing, it’s okay to write about this. Just don’t publish it!
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird– Write from the perspective of Boo Radley. What was it like for him to be a recluse and never leave his house? What happened to him to make him this way? Did he watch Scout, Jem, and Dill and think about what he wanted to say to them? What would he say if he could?

I think you get the picture! Here’s to your creativity! Keep writing:) X LLB

 

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Infographic First Person

June 4, 2018-I LOVE writing in First Person narrative! Why? Because it allows my reader to sit beside the main character and feel everything that he feels and experience everything that she experiences first hand. Check out this handy infographic on ways to start a first-person story! Brought to you by our friends at NowNovel.com

How to start a story in first person: 8 pointers

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How To: A quick and dirty guide to get the creative juices flowing!

June 1, 2018- We’ve all been there; we’re on our sixth cup of coffee, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and we’ve been staring at our blinking cursor on a blank page for almost an hour. The sound of our head thudding off our desk is the only sound except for the voice in our head that screams, “You’re a failure! You’re a no talent hack who can’t write!” And this is on a good day! Ok, maybe that’s just me. Nonetheless, we’ve all been stuck at one time or another while trying to write the next New York Times Best Seller. I want to arm you with some tools for your toolbox the next time you get stuck, so I’ll share with you my dirty little secrets for getting inspired!

  1. I change ANYTHING. Seriously. When I’m stuck creatively, I change anything that I possibly can. There were two weeks where I switched sides of the bed with my husband to see if I could get out of my creative writing rut and guess what? It worked! Why? Because any time you change up your perception, creativity happens! It’s true, sometimes the simplest switch in your routine is just the kick in the ass that you need. Also, try switching up your location, go to the mall, go for coffee, sit in nature for a while, do whatever it takes to get inspired.
  2. Read outside of your genre. If you’re writing non-fiction, read anything fiction based. If you are writing a thriller, read a romance, if you’re writing a romance, read a biography. Reading outside of your genre does two things to help your creativity, it expands your imagination, and it lets you take a much needed mental break. I write books that are psych thrillers, and sometimes I need a break from the genre so what do I do? I pick up the total opposite to read during my leisure. My choices have ranged from The Unauthorized Biography of Axl Rose to cozy romances, and everything in between. It works and lets me escape from the murders and dismemberments that I have created.
  3. Use writing prompts. The internet is full of writing prompts and my advice to you, if you’re stuck is to start writing ANYTHING. Scour the headlines for something that you can expand into a storyline, go on Pinterest and type in writing prompts and I can assure you that you’ll come up with something.  Re-write one of your favourite fairytales or movies to have a completely different ending! The important thing is to write and keep writing.

What tips do you have for other aspiring authors? What’s the best advice that you can offer them to get unstuck? Sound off in the comments below!

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I Finished My Manuscript and My Book is in Hand! Now What?

May 16, 2018- My book is here! Now what?

I hear this statement all the time from new authors and although it’s a valid question…it makes me cringe. I know that this might sound a bit harsh, but as your big sis in the writing world, it’s my job to bring the rain…I mean truth.  It makes me shudder because it tells me that the author didn’t put in the work BEFORE finishing their ms and they’re about to have one hell of a rough time. Give me a chance to explain.

I’m focusing on one camp of authors, and that is our self-pub’d friends. So, the author has done the work, their book is completed, printed, and ready for sale! Yay right? Hold on a second…now is where the real work begins.

Too many times our self-published friends end up with a garage full of boxes of their books and that makes me sad because it doesn’t need to be that way! It’s not that the book was sub-par, it’s that they didn’t have a clear plan as to what they’d need to do at the selling stage. It’s an amazing feat to finish writing a book, but the truly incredible achievement is getting them into the hands of readers. A lot of the time there are visions of grandeur where tons of people line up to meet the author at book signings. Let me break it to you gently, this doesn’t happen unless your James Patterson or you’ve marketed the S*&T out of your upcoming event/book signing/book.

How are our friends going to sell their book? Where are they going to sell their books? Are the books available in print only or are they available electronically as well? Do they have a marketing plan? Do they have a solid author platform? And so on. See my point?

Let me pass on the best piece I’ve ever received from my mentor, “When you’re writing the book, it’s art. When the book is completed, it’s business-NEVER confuse the two.” That statement will stay with me for as long as I am in this world of publishing and well beyond.

My advice is to finish the manuscript, and then, before getting to the books in hand stage, craft your marketing plan and answer, at the very least, the questions above. It’s harder than it looks in the self-publishing world! Be prepared and remember that I believe in you! Tell your story-the world needs it.

X LLB

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