Category Archives: Writing Tips

9 Quick Tips To Master Your Fantasy Map #MondayBlogs #Amwriting

You don’t NEED a fantasy map. There’s a lot of things you don’t need in life: drugs, alcohol, rock n’ roll, wild raves that end in the hospital. But life would be that bit more boring without them. Besides, if you create an entirely new world from your dark and strange parts, then sometimes it’s a handy little addition to help dear Mr. Reader visualize your world.

Besides, if you create an entirely new world from your dark and strange parts, then sometimes a map is a handy little addition to help dear Mr. Reader visualize your world.

This isn’t a definitive guide, and I’m not the fantasy map police. But I did learn some killer lessons while having my fantasy map created. You know me, I’m all for sharing the love and fluff and lessons.

Here are 9 quick tips to master your fantasy map. Continue reading

4 Top Tips To Build A Fantasy World #MondayBlogs #Amwriting

I re-wrote Keepers three times… from scratch. I won’t be doing that again. It breached all acceptable tolerance levels of inefficiency. So much so, I developed a permanent twitch, and I’m pretty sure I herniated the moment I realized I had to start again… for the third time.

Part of the problem was the world building. See, writing in most genres, you use the real world as the world your story is set in. But as a fantasy/sci-fi writer, your world could be populated by angry hooman eating marshmallows. The sky could be on the ground and the ground in the sky. Suffice to say we get to push our sleeves up and play book-god. But playing book-god is hard. There’s a lot of shit to create.

You can’t just pluck a sword made of magical fish fins, that’s about to reign down a plague and cause world ending genocide, out of thin air. There’s got to be a reason, context, and history. Why? Because it has to mean something to the reader. I mean psssht, magical fish fins indeed. How do they even work?

The problem is, unless your George R.R or Tolkien, you only have three hundred or so pages to convey your entire world and all its constructs. Not an easy task.

So how in the glistering fudgemuggins do you do it?

Well, dear reader, I’m glad you asked. Here are my 4 top tips for building a fantasy world. Continue reading

KEEPERS is here! Welcome To Trutinor #amwriting #amreading

I’m not entirely sure what drives a person to undertake epic-length projects. But it must be some kind of carnal instinct because I don’t know who in their right mind willingly goes on the emotional rollercoaster mind-fudgery that is book publishing.

But people do. I did. And today, I published the result: Keepers.

Which means the dreams of a little nine-year-old girl who hid in a cupboard because she was bullied, come true. Twenty-one years ago, I had an idea, her name was Eden East and she controlled the elements.

You’d think most characters would get the message after a few years of their story not being written. But not Eden. A right stubborn whatsit she is. No idea where she gets that from…

Five years ago, almost to the day, I relented and decided over a glass (or five) of wine, that I would, in fact, do something about Eden’s nagging. It was getting annoying.

Three years ago, after plotting myself scared, I actually picked up the proverbial pen realizing no amount of plotting would put words on the page. Thus, I wrote the first draft… of utter shite.

Two years ago, I threw said shite in the bin and wrote another version – which I gave to beta readers.

One year ago, I got beta feedback and promptly threw that draft in the bin too because it was only mildly better than the shiter draft from a year ago. Then I re-wrote the story and finally… It gleamed like a sparkly magical fairy unicorn. 

A couple of days ago, I pressed publish…

After 237,000 words of THREE different first drafts, after not hundreds but thousands of hours of editing, learning, reading and studying the craft of writing, FINALLY, Keepers is finished. Continue reading

How To Get Character Depth, or, The Best Freaking Writing Craft Book EVER! @angelaackerman

There’s nothing better than an epiphany. It’s all gooey and warm on the inside, and on the outside it smothers my brain in a glass clear sensation of clarity.  

What follows is usually a brief flappy hand dance, a wide stare into the distance as my brain discombobulates and then has an epiphany.

That’s what the Emotion Thesaurus did to me the first time I read it. If you’re a writer and you don’t own a copy, then shame on you… You bloody ought to. To my absolute delight, I was given a copy of the latest installment in the emotion thesaurus series to review: The Emotional Wound Thesaurus.

Once again, I had one of those delightfully sticky and positively crystal clear moments. Each time Ackerman and Puglisi release a new book, it’s like my writing jumps another notch on the development scale. Continue reading

5 Top Tips To Improve Your Sentence Quality #Amwriting

photo credit: writers helping writers

A little over a year ago, I saw a guest post on one of my writing heroes websites: writers helping writers. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi announced their brand new writing Coach residency. The coaches were HIGHLY esteemed with the likes of James Scott Bell and C.S Laiken.

When I saw it I was so excited. I thought it was amazing that they had brought together such an insane line up of coaches and I’d get the benefit of learning from all their tips.

I also made a promise to myself that day. I swore that whether it was in five years, fifteen years or fifty years, I would be able to call myself a writing coach. I didn’t know how I’d manage it or if I’d ever be good enough to call myself that. But that didn’t matter. I wanted to be one and I was determined to help others.  

So I was totally and utterly mind fuggled when a few weeks ago, an email from Angela herself dropped into my inbox asking if I’d join their coach programme… Continue reading

Putting Theory into Practice – 13 Steps To Evil Workbook Launch

How do you become the best writer you can?

Is a question I constantly ask myself in my quest to write full-time.

One of the most obvious answers I’ve discovered is by continuing to learn lessons and develop your craft.

But lessons only take you so far, right?

Why?

Because you have to put them into practice. Continue reading

Celebrating Your Achievements with Self-Help Author, Shelley Wilson (@ShelleyWilson72) #BlogTour

I am terribly ‘un-present.’

I roll from one project to the next, never stopping to appreciate the mountain peak I’ve just climbed. I finish and move on. It’s unhealthy and it’s probably one of the reasons I’ve spent most of this year either burnt out or close to a burnout. Shelley Wilson, Bloggers Bash committee member and fellow non-fiction and YA Fantasy writer is here today to tell us a thing or two about why we need to stop and admire the view from the top.

Listen up folks, don’t be a dufus like me. Shelley knows her shit!

To buy How I Motivated Myself to Succeed

AmazonCOM

AmazonUK

Continue reading

How To Survive The ‘How To Get A Bestseller’ Advice

Today sees a guest post from the lovely SC Skillman, author, blogger and attender of the bloggers bash.

SC is talking about a topic I think we can all relate to, overwhelm from internet advice, something she calls the siren.

Everyone wants to sell books, everyone wants to build their platform, but the internet is awash with conflicting advice, knowing when it’s okay to say no, I’m doing it my way and abandon the so called ‘how to write/sell a bestseller is a difficult balance to strike.

SC has just re-released her novel Mystical Circles, which you can find here:

AmazonCOM

AmazonUK

Now, for a thought provoking essay, over to you, SC:

Continue reading

Villain Clichés That Work – Four Lessons From The Dark Tower Movie #MondayBlogs

Original Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

It’s been a while since I saw a film that was so good I practically combusted over it. But I just saw the Dark Tower, and oh my sweet, sweet deliciously-evil villain heaven was it bloody amazing.

Now before anyone whips out their red pen and corrects this post:

Two caveats:

ONE – This post will contain some spoilers, if you haven’t watched the film and intend to, please don’t read on.

TWO – I have not read The Gunslinger by Stephen King, that’s the book the film is based on. Therefore all comments are in relation to the movie the Dark Tower only.

I lied, there’s a third caveat, this is all my opinion. If you don’t like the Dark Tower movie, I can’t do anything about your bad taste in films. :p

Why am I talking about Dark Tower? Because it had a villain that was off the chart. And you know how I swoon over a good villain. But Walter (the villain) was also a total cliché, and yet, despite that, he worked. Like really, REALLY well. So well, that I was salivating literary story joy all over the screen.

Which means the film provides a cracking lesson on how to make a clichéd villain work:  Continue reading

The Productivity Problem #MondayBlogs #Amwriting

Original Photo by Craig Garner on Unsplash

I had all these plans. Plans for my second non-fiction book to be about heroes or maybe characters more generally.

But like Lennon said,

“Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” 

And no matter what I do, it’s not characters I’m thinking about. It’s productivity. I mean, just two weeks ago, I wrote about productivity and Cal Newport’s book Deep Work.

I guess now I understand the phrase write what you know. Productivity is where my focus is at, so writing about anything else is proving difficult. Continue reading