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The Benefits of Writing Groups

March 8, 2019- Up until about a year ago, I was a regular member of a local writing group that met each Saturday at a coffee shop in town. It was super relaxed and there were around eight of us, laptops in hand, armed with new ideas, and ready to write. It was a fantastic experience and some of the things I learned along the way, I still carry with me today. The only reason why I stopped going was that I ran out of time and my writing business took over with events that were held on weekends. Being part of a casual writing group was a great experience and here’s why you should consider joining one:

  1. You’ll get inspired and beat writer’s block. There’s something to be said about gathering in a small group and sharing ideas. Some of my best book ideas have come from just chatting with others and listening to their perspectives on different topics.
  2. You’ll develop discipline. Every Saturday for two hours from 9 am until 11 am is when our group met and started writing. This helped me develop discipline; it made me realize that I could sit down for two consecutive hours and write, uninterrupted.
  3. You’ll get and be able to give constructive criticism. This was the most important thing that I got out of joining a writing group. My comrades gave me constructive criticism and made me take a hard look at my writing. They saw the holes that I was blind to. They asked the tough questions that made me a better writer and for that, I’m eternally grateful. I was also able to give feedback and trust my instincts that I knew what I was doing and what I was talking about as a writer.
  4. You’ll get to network with like-minded people and make some friends. There are people that I’m still friends with from this group and I’ve also been able to do business with a few of them. We still talk about writing and bounce ideas off each other every once in a while.

I highly recommend joining a local writer’s group! You’ll have a blast and be able to hone your skills at the same time. Happy writing! X LLB

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It’s Time for a Break…

December 24, 2018– We work extremely hard around here and as an author, you do too! I’m going to be honest and say that it’s the time of year where I am running on fumes and barely making it from day to day at the hectic pace I’ve been keeping for almost a year. It’s time for a break and here’s how I know that it’s time: (Let me know in the comments below how YOU know that it’s time for you to take a break)

  1. I’m not enjoying what I’m doing anymore. Yep, this is a sure sign that I need a break from working. I LOVE what I do, I appreciate the business that I’m in, and I love to work. I know that when I’m not loving things anymore and I’m struggling to get through my fifteen hour days, that it’s time for a break.
  2. I want to stay in bed. Ugh, my day usually begins anywhere from 5:00 am to 6:00 am depending on what I’ve got on my schedule. Usually, I jump out of bed and can’t wait to get my day started, but when I’m in need of a break, I find that I’m sleeping longer and hitting the snooze button on my alarm. My body and my brain are telling me that it’s time to rest.
  3. I have major writer’s block. Words usually flow like a faucet when I’m writing and when I’m working on something I love like blogging. When I’m out of steam, I find that the words are difficult to find, I can’t put words on paper, and it takes me forever to get anything done. The blog posts this week, for example, have taken me almost two weeks to complete. Usually, it takes me a week to write ALL of the blog posts for the MONTH.
  4. I’ve lost my motivation and avoid important tasks while focusing on useless projects. This is a huge sign that I’m in desperate need of respite. Yeah, I’ve got two books to write, four manuscripts to edit, three shows to get ready for, and task, after task, after task on my to-do list, but do you know what I’m going to do instead? I’m going to clean out a junk drawer that has been in the kitchen. GAHHHHHH!
  5. I get crabby, and the little things set me off. WHY IS THERE NO PERIOD HERE? I scream into a random manuscript on my desk. Whoa, take it easy, it’s not a big deal, it’s all going to be ok. When it’s time for a break from it all, the little things will drive me insane. Walk away from the desk and put down the pen for a while, my sanity depends on it.

So, with all being said, it’s time for me to rest, relax, and recuperate over the next few days so that I can be well rested for our big plans in 2019! From all of us at Pandamonium Publishing House, we wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas, and a Safe and Happy Holiday.

X LLB

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Writing Prompt…

August 29, 2018- I love writing prompts and today’s prompt is especially fun! This works really well when I have writer’s block and when I want to start the creative juices flowing.

Happy Writing! X LLB

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Flash Fiction-(What is it and why you should add it to your toolbox!)

August 8, 2018– Flash fiction is something that can be very valuable to you as a writer. I know that it is to me! Writing flash fiction is something that I use when all of my focus has been on a more significant writing project such as a novel or a series of books.

So, what is it? Flash fiction is a concise form short story that is usually between 500 and 1,000 words, but no more. The point of using flash fiction is able to condense your entire story into a tiny space. Compressing your story in this way is an excellent exercise for ALL writers! It helps develop the following skills:

  1.  It gets to the heart of the conflict.
  2. It boils the plot down to its bare bones.
  3. It lets you write without the excuse of having no time. It’s short and sweet and to the point.

Your flash fiction should include essential elements of conflict, climax, and resolution; Also, you should stay in one character’s point of view. As a bonus, writing this way often breaks the dreaded writer’s block. I challenge you to write some flash fiction today!

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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