August 7, 2020– Who is telling a story, and from what perspective, are some of the most important choices an author makes. Told from a different point of view, a story can transform completely. Third person, first person, and second person perspectives each have unique possibilities and constraints. So how do you choose a point of view for your story? Rebekah Bergman explores the different ways to focus a story. (Directed by Gibbons Studio, narrated by Susan Zimmerman, music by Fred Roux.)
May 4, 2020– Anyone who had European grandparents growing up, knows that fairytales aren’t always fluffy and feel-good stories; we were read the Grimm’s version of fairytales as children and the stories were edgy and downright scary at times. They were anything but Disney-fied. I remember hearing the story of Little Red Riding Hood and my grandmother glancing over her glasses at me and saying, “Why would anyone go into the forest wearing a bright red cape unless they wanted to be stalked?” That sent shudders through my whole body as a child and makes me grin from ear to ear as an adult. Turns out that my grandmother was on to something! She had a different perspective entirely.
The Grimm’s Fairytale version of Little Red Riding Hood sounds more like the plot of a Hollywood horror, and some versions of the fable say that Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, both sat down to eat Grandma…disturbing, yes, but also very intriguing. Fairytales were created to teach children lessons that were scary enough to keep them on the straight and narrow.
We can take insight from fairytales that are a little more dangerous and risque than the typical type-we can use them as inspiration to push the envelope in our own work. Take risks, write a darker version of your work to see what it feels like, what it sounds like, and how it makes YOU feel. It’s empowering to write books with less than a happily-ever-after ending. If you haven’t tried it yet, do it at least once, you’ll be surprised as this simple exercise can open your creativity and allow you to see your characters and themes in a whole new light. Happy writing! X LLB
April 29, 2020-We’ve all seen those photos online that look like inkblots, and the question is always, “What do you see?” Of course, it’s all about perception. One person may look at the image and see a spider where another may look at it and see an angel. The point is perspective is essential, especially for authors.
Around here, we do our best to ensure that when we write, it’s from a different point of view. Let me explain; in my upcoming book King Midas, I tell the story from the perspective of King Midas’ barber. Why do I do that? Because in my opinion, it’s more interesting. The fable of King Midas has been told a thousand times before with a few differences here and there, but usually not many. I wanted to put a different spin on things and put my readers in a place where perhaps a well-known story is totally different than we thought it was.
One of the things that inspired me to write a different take on stories was something called twisted tales. A great example of this is an audiobook titled, As Old As Time, and it’s based on Beauty and the Beast. But instead of rehashing the same old story, the author decided to mix it up a bit. The premise is that Belle and the Beast are living happily ever after in the castle when one day, they find out that it was Belle’s mother who cursed the Beast. Wow! Talk about a totally different spin on a classic story that opens an entirely new can of worms! Writing from a different perspective can open up your writing and give you infinite new possibilities for your work. Here are some more examples to get your creativity flowing:
- The Wizard of Oz-What if they had written from a perspective of Dorothy’s ruby slippers and how they saw the world through their own “eyes.”
- Aladdin-What does the magic carpet have to say about the adventure, or how does Rajah the tiger see the events unfold?
- The Jungle Book-What about the villain Shere Khan? How did he become a villain? Why does he see the world the way he does, and was he always that way? What events unfolded in his life made him so jaded?
You get the point. Every time you sit down to write, it’s crucial to choose a perspective that will entertain and allow your audience to see the world in a little bit of a different way. This helps open up the minds and hearts of your readers. Happy Writing, X LLB
July 26, 2019– Here’s another great question from a reader! If you have a question for my team or myself, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: “Lacey, you have a ton of content on your site, how do you think of fresh ideas all of the time?”
A: Thank you for noticing first of all! I try so hard to bring fresh ideas and new things for us to talk about! Some days it can be a struggle that’s for sure, especially when we have a blog, Youtube channel, podcast, and various social media to keep up with. I do my best not to duplicate content, so you won’t get a podcast that has the same info or material as on our blog, etc. When it comes to finding inspiration for content, here’s what I do:
- I scour the news. Yep, it’s depressing at times, but I look for things that I can talk or write about especially when it comes to creative writing. Sometimes the headlines can inspire a book idea or a skewed perspective for a topic that I can share.
- I listen to conversations. Eavesdropping? Check. When I’m out getting coffee or I’m shopping, or anywhere in public, I listen to the people around me. Sometimes waiting in line at a place can provide lots of great ideas!
- I read trade publications like Writer’s Digest and subscribe to magazines in my field of work. This allows for a lot of ideas on topics that are relevant for our readers and writers who visit and subscribe to our content. It also means that staying up to date on all things publishing is essential in bringing the most relevant topics to our media.
Thank you for all of the questions! X LLB
June 19, 2019– It was in the Harvard Business Review magazine where I read that employers are starting to (finally) hire people who are of different abilities. The publication called it Neuro-Diversity and the article featured a young man named John who is on the autism spectrum. Many people with ASD are of higher than average intelligence and possess special skills that relate to exceptional memory and pattern recognition among many other things. (https://hbr.org/2017/05/neurodiversity-as-a-competitive-advantage)
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with a gentleman who is on the Autism Spectrum. During our meeting, he was witty and super intelligent; his knowledge of a specific topic was staggering. He told me that he had written a book and he wanted me to take a look at it. I happily agreed and now we are working on the publication of his work. His suggestions will change the way that we format books going forward! I was in awe of his attention to detail and his ability to remember stats and facts; he was a more skilled writer than many I have come across (including myself) with his technique and I admired his ability to write with such flow and ease. He taught me so many things in a matter of minutes and has forever changed the way that my company will create books in the future.
The point is, we need more neuro-diversity in our lines of work. There are gifted people out there who are not given a fair chance to display and use their gifts because perhaps they lack social skills or they don’t make eye contact or they have what some people would call obsessive behaviours. Those with different cognitive abilities have amazing work ethics, they are laser-focused and extremely creative and innovative. They see the world in a different way, in a way that we may not be able to see. But, if we give them a chance to join us in our line of work and at our workplaces, we’ll have a new perspective on creativity, friendship, abilities, and Neuro-Diversity.
April 1, 2019– It’s the first day of April! Yay! Let’s hope that spring is in the air and that we’ll finally be able to venture outside sans parka. Today, I want to talk about the value of the books that you already have on/in your bookshelf, Kindle, iPad, phone, and digital libraries; it may seem crazy to think that every single book you own has the potential to make you a lot of money. I can’t remember who said it, maybe it was Mark Cuban, but whoever it was said, “Each book I read has at least one, million-dollar idea inside.” How do you find the money? Let’s explore!
- Inspiration to write your own book. This is definitely one way to make some dollars especially if you’re already a writer with an established reader base, but even if you aren’t, you can always find ideas to write about that could be the key to unlocking a potential book deal with a publisher! Looking through books you already have can spark a new idea for a book of your own. After all, where do new ideas come from, right?
- Advice you can follow. If you have books about investing, the stock market, how to save money, and other financial advice, imagine implementing just one idea and how far ahead you could be this time next year! This happened to me personally when I read the book titled Profit First-it changed the way I budget for my business and I’ve never looked back!
- An idea that you can implement. Let’s say that you’re a cat lover/expert and you’ve got Modern Cat Magazine strewn across your furniture and on every nightstand in your home; it may be enough to spark a new idea that can make you money such as developing a new toy for cats, or a cat sitting business, or hosting a cat show that you’re going to spearhead in your city. Maybe you know enough about cats to query the magazine for a writing gig; you never know when inspiration can hit like a pound of catnip!
- A new view on an old perspective. This happens a lot in medical journals with new information coming to light all the time. First coffee was bad for us (this sentence was difficult to write and totally blasphemous), now it’s good. Then it was too much sleep, too little sleep, cell phones are bad, cell phones are good (debatable), and the list goes on and on. Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective to open up a new side of your brain and spark an idea. By solving new problems, you can make a lot of dough. For example, you’ve been doing a lot of reading on the benefits of essential oils, perhaps you could host a workshop where people can make their own combinations or host a talk at your local health food store about how essential oils changed your life! The possibilities are endless.
We know that knowledge is freedom, but did you know that knowledge is also financial freedom if you act on it? Here’s to your success now and always! X LLB
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:)
- 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?
- 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!
- 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
As fiction writers, we know that there are primarily three points of view (POV) in storytelling. There is an additional point of view that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention. As a publisher, I would be intrigued if an author approached me with a manuscript that used the 4th point of view. Let’s explore them all!
- First Person– a point of view that is told from the protagonist’s perspective in the story through the use of the pronoun, “I.” The character is in the story relating his or her experiences directly.
Example, “I am not pretty.” “I am not beautiful.” “I am as radiant as the sun.”
-The Hunger Games
- Second Person-like first person, second person is told from the protagonist’s perspective, however, using the pronouns “you,” “yours,” and “your.” This POV is common in non-fiction but is not as common in fiction.
Example, “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood, and self, and purpose.”
-The Night Circus
- Third Person Limited– is told by an unnamed narrator who is not part of the story or plot. When referring to a person, place, idea, or thing, the writer uses he, she, or it. The narrator is outside of the story and relating the experiences of a character.
Example, “What’s that?” he snarled, staring at the envelope Harry was still clutching in his hand.
-Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
The 3 POV’s above are the most common, but there is another point of view that can also be used! It is:
- Third Person Omniscient-The story is still about “he” or “she,” but the narrator has full access to the thoughts and experiences of all characters in the story. This pov is most associated with 19th-century novels and is told from an “all knowing” perspective.
Example, “Shall you wear them in company?” said Celia, who was watching her with real curiosity as to what she would do.
‘Dorothea glanced quickly at her sister. […] “Perhaps,” she said, rather haughtily. “I cannot tell to what level I may sink.”
So there you have it, all four types of narration, which will you choose for your work?