Writing prompts are an excellent way to break through writer’s block, stir up creativity, and try something new! For today’s prompt, I’d like you to write a 500-word story in the mystery genre using the first-person narrative. That means using I, me, and mine when telling the story from your point of view. Remember to develop your setting and character(s). Feel free to send me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to have your story featured on our blog and to check out our creative writing classes, courses, and workshops Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House.
Tag: creative writing
New Page! Courses, classes and workshops
October 17, 2021-We’ve added a brand new page to our site where you can see the educational resources age opportunities that we’re offering! Whether you’re just starting your education with us, or continuing your quest for knowledge, we have something for everyone. Check out our brand new page here https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/virtual-courses-classes-and-workshops/, and visit again soon as we have new classes added frequently.
Pros of Self-Publishing
August 17, 2021– During August, we’re talking about what publishers want! We want you to be informed and educated about the publishing industry so that you can make the best choice for your work. Today, we’re talking about the Pros of Self-Publishing; all the good stuff makes this publishing option very attractive to the right person. But, more on that later, let’s sink our teeth into today’s subject:
- Creative control. The author is in control of the project from beginning to end; cover design, editing process and changes to the manuscript, the size, page count, layout, formatting, inventory, sales, distribution, price point, and marketing are just some of the things that the author is fully responsible for.
- Higher royalty rate. When authors choose to self-publish, they get to keep more money. There is an initial investment on their part to get the book to market, but after costs, the profit is all theirs! Once they get enough sales under their belt to cover the initial investment, the rest is profit in their pocket. Plus, there are additional ways to make money as a self-published author, such as school visits, speaking fees, and lectures, for example.
- Continuing ed. Authors should be mindful of furthering their careers and take as many continuing education classes as they can afford. Writing is something that needs to be continually improved upon, and the publishing industry is constantly changing. It’s best to keep up with what’s going on in the market and what it demands. As a self-published author, one can decide where they would like to study as most writing continuing education classes are held abroad. I’ve been fortunate to travel globally to hone my craft of publishing and writing, and the benefits have been incredible. Not only have I been able to see and study new places, but I have build friendships that have lasted a lifetime just from attending writing conferences abroad.
With every good thing, there is always an opposite. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on the Cons of Self-Publishing.
Speech Writing (Part 2) The Mechanics
July 14, 2021-Yesterday we talked about best practices when preparing for your speaking engagement and the overall attitude you should have when publicly speaking. Today we’re focusing on the mechanics of speech writing. Let’s get started!
To write an engaging, informative, and interesting speech, here are 5 tips to help you:
- Clear, relevant message. What do you want your audience to take home from your speech? What action do you want them to take? What do you want to teach them? What should they remember? The clearer you are about these points, the more relevant and targeted your message is, the more valuable your talk is to your audience.
- Outline. Just like writing a book, a speech is no different. You must begin with an outline to keep you organized and allow you to make your point effectively. Your speech should have an introduction, a middle, and an ending that includes a call to action such as purchasing your book, or signing up for your newsletter, or booking their spot at your next workshop.
- Storytelling. People remember stories when relaying and recalling information. Stories make a big, memorable impact when told properly and when details are remarkable, shocking, inspiring, or heartwarming. Make sure that the story in your speech is repeatable and sharable. Ask yourself if it’s buzzworthy! If not, leave it out.
- No PowerPoint. Powerpoint is dead. So are cue cards. Yep, it’s time that you memorized your speech, and when you get good enough at it and have practiced and given the speech several times, you won’t need to use anything as a crutch or distraction. The fact is, the more data, PowerPoint slides, and notes you use, the more amateurish you look to your audience. You look like less of an expert. Plus, slides and data are usually boring, and you want your speech to stand out and make a memorable impact.
- Keep it Simple. Don’t use eight words when four will do (please write this on my gravestone) and leave the complicated language out. When delivering your lecture, the more superfluous you are, the more disinclined your audience will be to acquiesce to your request of paying attention to your speech. See what I mean? Don’t use a word salad to make yourself seem intelligent; the only thing that does is make your audience disengage.
Here’s the formula:
Interesting fact for your audience (did you know?) to immediately grab their attention—-jump into a story—-get to your main points—-wrap everything up with a bow—-call to action—answer audience questions—call to action again.
Write your speech and practice, practice, practice!
The Making of a Murderer
October 23, 2020-A lot of people who visit our blog are thriller/crime/mystery writers working on novels. These genres usually have more than one thing in common, but let’s talk about the most obvious, murder.
It’s important to get it right when writing murder scenes, and it’s even more important to get the character right. When I was writing Obsessed with Her, I was fortunate enough to have the head of Toronto Homicide consult me on my book; I wanted to make sure the scene was set correctly because I didn’t want to destroy any ounce of my credibility as a writer. I didn’t want cops, law enforcement officers, or savvy readers to pick up my book and say, “That’s not how it works,” while reading the crime scene events, so that’s why I brought in the experts. Research and accuracy are the keys to any great book.
When writing about murder, let’s explore some common traits of serial killers:
- Deceitful/Manipulative-What is your character hiding? Who are they lying to? How are they making other characters believe their lies?
- Lack of Empathy/Remorse-Has your character shown empathy or remorse when they’ve caused a bad situation or have hurt the feelings of another person? Do they put themselves in another’s shoes, or can they not relate?
- Compulsive-Is your character a loose cannon? Do they give in to their wants and desires no matter the cost?
- Lack of Self-Control– Does your character do what they want when they want to? Are they unable to help themselves and find themselves getting into trouble because of bad choices?
- Antisocial Behaviour-Does your character keep to themself? Do they avoid others, especially when confronted with things they’ve done wrong? Do they go out of their way to be alone?
These behaviours and characteristics need to be woven throughout your book, like a trail of breadcrumbs. Would it help your credibility as an author to create a character that is like Mary Poppins and have them go on a killing spree? Probably not. But if you showed the reader a glimpse of the above traits throughout your book, Mary Poppins could indeed be transformed into a serial killer…now there’s an idea for a book!
If you’d like to join one of our upcoming workshops, Creating Believable Characters, send us an email email@example.com, and we’ll be happy to provide you with more information and pricing. Happy Writing, X LLB
Run Your Way to Inspiration
September 10, 2020-As long as it’s not raining, you can usually find me running outside in the early morning in my neighbourhood. I love saying hello to familiar faces and smiling back at the people who give me cheery grins and waves. There are people walking and biking, some are on rollerblades, and most have dogs; it’s usually the same crowd day in and day out with a few exceptions.
I like to make up stories about the people and things that I see while I run; Where are they going after this? What if their dog could talk? Does their dog talk to the other dogs it meets? Where does that staircase lead? What is that skunk doing, and what is he digging for? What if we were all running from Zombies? Would I survive? And the list goes on.
Sometimes the ideas are silly, and sometimes the ideas are stuff that I can work with. The point is that I’m observing the things around me and being inspired by them.
Inspiration comes in all forms; let’s explore:
- Setting-Sunsets, trees, trails, staircases, houses, waterfronts are all examples of settings you’ll see on your run that could make it into your story.
- Animals-Skunks, foxes, birds, squirrels, coyotes, and rabbits are all animals that I’ve seen on the running trail that would make great characters for stories!
- People-runners, rollerbladers, walkers, older adults, middle-aged people, workout buffs, personal trainers, kids, and teenagers are great examples of people to write about.
- Professions-Garbage collectors, construction workers, road pavers, gardeners, roofers, dog walkers, and babysitters are some professions that could start your story off right.
Looking at this list inspires me! How many ideas can you think of using the list of things above? Happy Writing, X LLB
Guest Blogger, Christopher Botting-Unfrogged
January 10, 2020– Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to our very special guest blogger, Christopher Botting, the illustrator of Unfrogged! Let’s check out what he has to say about his experience as an illustrator with Pandamonium Publishing House.
Hello friends and fans of Pandamonium Publishing! My name is Chris Botting, and I am the illustrator for the ‘Unfrogged’ book; Pandamonium Publishing’s second book offering. One day back in two thousand and too far back to remember right now, my sister (Tamara Botting), had written a story she greatly desired to publish someday. She was asking me to do the artwork for it. I made a half-hearted attempt at some rough ideas, but in the end, I told her that publishing companies would have the final say on the art direction they were looking for and not necessarily something I may come up with. That it would be a waste of time to try anything before a publisher picked up her manuscript. What a big bother brother I quite often turn out to be. Well, time went on and one day I did receive a phone call….from a publisher…wow! (Good for little sis, she stuck with her dream and never gave up). Pandamonium Publishing’s very own Lacey Bakker was interested in seeing a sample of my art portfolio. She was hooked! She absolutely loved the idea of a brother/sister team working on their first published book together. (Bucket list items for both siblings!). There were meetings and deadlines made. The rough copy art sketches were approved and used for the final pieces after colour and corrections were added. Did I ever learn a thing or two about books; They have chapter titles to illustrate. They have front covers to draw. They have a back cover too…what? Whodathunk? Do you know what else they have? A spine that needs artwork! My first book art job, and it was a ton of work! But it was all well worth it! Someday, when I see a well-worn copy on a used book store shelf, I’ll know a second generation is about to enjoy something my sister and I put so much of ourselves in to; I’ll know we’ve ‘made it’. I believe that when you do something or create something, in the brief second that follows the last pen stroke, or saw cut, or screw turn, or musical note, or whatever; that your creation, your project, art piece is instantly a classic. Just in that moment, the passing of time. Because, when you look back at your accomplishment, finished or not, there’s that feeling of ‘I remember doing that’. And ‘it’s out there, other people are going to see it, and remember seeing it, and to them, it instantly becomes a classic. Because they’ll remember it too. Something ‘vintage’ with the passing of more time’. I know people enjoy our work, I can tell by the time they spend absorbing it and taking it in. By how long someone will look deep into a drawing I have done, and make positive comments. I really enjoy doing art and sharing it with other people. I hope it makes them feel good inside, peaceful. Open a sense of awe in them and myself that the world can be a beautiful place. I am so thankful for the experience of working with Pandamonium Publishing and my little bother sister on ‘Unfrogged’. They are creating great friendships and books along the way. Check them out and enjoy some instant classics!
Photo Writing Prompt
January 5, 2020– It’s been a while since we’ve done a photo writing prompt. For some reason, the picture below really spoke to me when I was looking for something to write about. I hope that it speaks to you too. If you would like to share your 500 words or less story with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and put Photo Writing Prompt in the subject line. We’ll pick one person’s submission to share on our site!
Inspiration is Sitting Right Next To You.
January 3, 2020– I’m sure that we’ve all had an excellent rest and a fantastic holiday. Time spent with family and friends is never wasted, especially if you’re a writer. We’ve all been there, gathered around the dinner table, enjoying a meal with our family when all of a sudden, our great uncle Larry decides he’s going to regale us with a hopelessly inappropriate story of when he was young and reckless. As your sister ushers her kids away from the dinner table and says a silent prayer that they didn’t hear about that time in Reno, I hope that you’ll keep your ears open for writing GOLD. Here’s how your writing can be inspired by the people around you!
1) Listen. Does great Uncle Larry speak with a German intonation, or does he pause for effect after every sentence? Does he swear a lot, a little, or not at all? Does he speak fast or slow or a combination of the two? Is he monotone and boring, or does he command the room? The way someone speaks tells a lot about them. The same goes for the characters you create; it shows their education level, their level of openness or closed-mindedness, it can show your reader which part of the world they’re from, and it sets the tone for who your character is.
2) Watch. Look at great Uncle Larry’s mannerisms as he speaks. Watch his body language and how he gestures. Is there a character that you can model after him ever so subtly in your writing? Are there things about his personality or the way that he tells stories that will make your characters more interesting? Maybe it’s how he raises an eyebrow or how he shakes his fist at the ceiling. Perhaps it’s how he leans forward or backward in his chair while reminiscing about the good old days. Is there a deep crease in his forehead from years of worry, or does he have an epic beard? Whatever it is, take note because gestures, body language, and appearance help develop your character more thoroughly. We don’t want to read about wooden people who just sit there like untouched dolls on a shelf. And remember not to describe their physical traits so much that the reader gets bored or loses interest. We comment on the remarkable, note-worthy things about our characters and leave the rest up to our readers’ imaginations.
3) Combine. Does your Aunt Edna roll her eyes every time great Uncle Larry tells his story? Does she fold her hands or throw them up in the air as if to say, not again! Does your mother fiddle with her left earring when she’s uncomfortable, but trying not to seem rude, while deep inside, she’s hiding a burning rage that tempts her to tell great Uncle Larry to shut the hell up? Combining character traits help deepen your characters and make them seem more realistic. Don’t go overboard, or you’ll end up doing the exact opposite.
Inspiration is all around us always. We just have to be aware of it, and as writers, I find that we are the most observational people on the planet. Keep a notepad close; your family and friends are a character development goldmine. X LLB
New Year, New You? Probably Not.
January 1, 2020– Happy New Year, Friends! What is it about a new year that gives people so much hope and promise? Is it the turning of a new page on the calendar? Is it the thought of a fresh start and a new beginning? Is it the chance to start over and better ourselves, to break bad habits and create healthy new ones? Or are they all just lies we tell ourselves?
I’m going to go with; They’re all just lies we tell ourselves, Alex for $200! Why so cynical? Because science, that’s why. Researchers at Scranton University did a study that showed only eight percent of people were able to achieve their New Year’s resolutions, the other eighty percent failed, and the remaining twelve percent did what you should do-not make any resolutions in the first place.
Setting goals are entirely different than making resolutions; here’s how:
- Goals are Specific. For example, you may want to set a goal of writing for one hour per day, whereas your resolution could be to become a better writer. The best way to word this is to combine the two; To become a better writer, I will write for one hour per day, five days a week.
- Goals involve Planning. For example, you resolve that this year you’re going to submit your work to a publisher for consideration. Sure, that sounds great, but have you planned for this? Where will you submit your work? Have you done research on which publisher is the best fit for your manuscript? Do you have an email address of the person you will be submitting to? Without a proper and REALISTIC plan, YOU WILL FAIL. That’s all there is to it. Remember the adage that still rings true; if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
- Goals involve Action. For example, you can be as specific as you want to, you can plan what you’re going to do until the cows come home. But without taking action, you’ll never achieve anything. I know someone who has over 2,000 (not an exaggeration) email leads, from various shows she attended as a vendor, that are sitting in a box on her desk doing absolutely nothing and have been doing nothing for years. Sure, she had good intentions to use them one day, but that day never came, and now most of them are expired, moved, or dead ends. If you don’t take action on the goals you’ve set, what’s the point of setting them?
What are you doing each day to move closer toward your goals? My point is, I hope that you’re not the eighty percent of people who make resolutions and dump them by January 12th. I hope that you succeed in everything you do and know that anything is achievable if you are specific, create a plan, and take action.
Happy New Year, everyone. May the best be yet to come. X LLB