Schools Killing Creativity?

 

It’s not letting me post the video here, so check out this TED talk HERE .

What do you think?

Were you one of those children whose talents were “gently urged” in another, more mainstream direction?

IN STONE eBook + Kindle Fire Giveaway

In Stone_cover

Available July 29th!

Beau Bailey is suffering from a post break-up meltdown when she happens across a knife in her local park and takes it home. Less than a week later the new boy in school has her trapped in an alley; he’s sprouted horns and is going to kill Beau unless she hands over the knife.

Until Eighteenth century gargoyle, Jack, shows up and saves her.

Jack has woken from a century long slumber to tell Beau that she’s accidentally been drafted into a power struggle between two immortal races; Demons and Gargoyles. The knife she picked up is the only one in existence capable of killing immortals and they’ll tear the world apart to get it back. To draw the warring immortals away from her home, Beau decides to go with Jack to Bulgaria in search of the mind-bending realm known as the Underworld, a place where they’ll hopefully be able to destroy the knife and prevent all hell from breaking loose. That is providing they can outrun the demons that are chasing them.

Giveaway – Open Internationally!!

To celebrate her upcoming release, Louise is giving away an ecopy of IN STONE and a Kindle Fire to one lucky reader! One runner-up will also win an ecopy of IN STONE. UK and US residents are eligible to win the Kindle Fire. If you live outside the UK or US and your name is drawn, you will receive an Amazon gift card valued at £160 (GBP) instead. The winners will be announced July 29th. Good luck!

You guys. Demons and Gargoyles. It’s like a breath of fresh air from the usual werewolf vs vampire, crazy magical power struggle scenario. I’m so excited for this book to come out. Louise is my lovely twitter friend and if you’re pursuing publication yourself it’s a great chance to support another new author. Plus it’s free to enter!

ENTER HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

       LouiseAbout the Author:            

Louise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy, currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing. YA aficionado. Brit bird. Film nerd. Identical twin. Junk food enthusiast. Rumoured pink Power Ranger. Zombie apocalypse 2012 survivor. Avid collector of book boyfriends.

Blog: www.bookishblurb.wordpress.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Rock_andor_roll

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Louise-D-Gornall/111420465709804

Wishlist Wednesday: The Bitter Kingdom

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added, that we can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves. Hosted by the wonderful PentoPaper Blog!

My choice for this week is bitter kingdom

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Release date: Aug 27th 2013

Goodreads says:

The epic and deeply satisfying conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.


Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy. (End Goodreads)

I. can’t. wait. for this book to come out. I only just read the first two in this trilogy and it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally a heroine I’m not seriously annoyed by, finally a main character with obvious but not annoying flaws, finally a love story that wasn’t so generic (HECTOR!). I really like Rae’s writing style and I love the book 2 ended on Elisa preparing to go on an adventure.

Have you read this series? What do you like/dislike about it?

What books are you waiting for?!

The Great Inhibitor

Lion
(This lion-dude is so sweet. Let’s say he’s the Great Inhibitor that prevents your MS from becoming a best seller. Roaar!)

The other day my dad and I were talking about the importance of timing in a writer’s success. I found myself telling him this story and afterwards being reminded of one of the most damning disabilities I have as an author hopeful. Here was the story as I told it to him:

          Well did you hear about that guy who wrote a book-he spent like years writing it and it got horrible reviews, it was not well received at all. Or maybe he hadn’t published it yet ::big pause:: and he just got awful feedback about it. Anyway, he wrote this book and put all of his energy and his whole life into it and when no one else liked it he killed himself. Anyway, his mom took his novel and like a few years later or twenty years later or something found a publisher, so I guess it hadn’t been published yet (this is me remembering that he hadn’t)and published it. It went on to win the nobel peace prize! If that guy only would have stayed around for a bit longer, he would have seen his book win the nobel peace prize. Can you imagine that!?

           There are multiple problems with this paragraph. The overarching realization that I hope you, dear readers, picked up on, is that I cannot tell a story to save my life. Think Marlon from Finding Nemo “There’s a molusk..”.

Not only that but half the time I don’t have my facts straight from the start so it’s a rambling, backtracking adventure that no one besides my dad would stick around to listen to. Add on the fact that I love to repeat myself thinking that it will somehow have a greater impact on the hearer if they hear it again. Like I said, multiple problems. And a lot of times it worries me because:

 How can I be a “real” author if I can’t even tell a proper story!?

          I wonder how many of you suffer from this problem. I would think that for most of you it’s the opposite, that you have so many great stories to tell, it’s about finding the right channel to make them seen. Am I alone in this?

At times it used to makes me so insecure that I’d toss in the towel on writing with the reasoning that I was so bad at storytelling.

I complained about this once to a dear friend, about how I’m “like, so good at creating the world I want the story to take place in, and complex characters but then I have no idea what happens”. She wisely and succinctly said (no rambling, no backtracking). “You can fix that, read a book on plotting.”

Hmm.

A light came on at the end of what was a dark tunnel of despair. There are people out there who are so good at what I am not. And they’ve written books on how to be more like them.

Duh.

So, without any more rambling or backtracking, here are four solutions to any story disability:

1. Read as many how-to books as possible on your area of weakness. Have trouble with dialogue? There’s a book for that. Want to know more about pacing? There’s a book for that I guarantee it.

2. Cultivate an appetite and understanding of good_____ (story telling, interesting characters). It’s why one of the two more important things a writer can do is to READ. Look for ways the author does what they do best. Look for formulas. Learn how to recognize when an author does it right so you’ll see in your own writing when you get it wrong.

3.Fake it till you make it. Steal, borrow, copy other writers’ story spices-their themes/tools/methods. Aay they crafted such a bad A bad guy. Why is he great? His humanity? Put it in your book.

4. Practice. It’s boring, yes, but sound.

What are your writing weaknesses? Have they ever made you throw in the towel? How did you overcome them?

Photo Cred: Flickr by Jeeebus HERE

Writerly News Roundup + YAlit Debate

Hello all, have a great weekend!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone has a director!  I adored this book and LT so I really hope it makes it onto the screen.

10 Books to read while you’re waiting for The Great Gatsby to come out We’ve got a month to go. (Flavorwire)

Fascinating, Handwritten Poems of Famous Writers  The first one makes me so sad! (Flavorwire)

Neil Gaiman is so rad. OCEAN at the END of the LANE TOUR DATES  Last US signing. (Seriously, who is going with me!?)

the Guardian asks, Where are the normal boys in fiction?  Interesting to ponder. (Guardian)

Five Characters Who Would Make Horrible Real Life Boyfriends N 1 on their list? Edward Cullen. (Quirk Books)

Can YA book ever be Inappropriate? This would be a very interesting debate.

I’ll admit that when Hunger Games came out I ranted a bit about how a flood of copycat children-killing-each-other/way to much violence would swarm the book world like so many copycat vampire novels did after Twilight. I was surprised at how my prediction really didn’t come true. However, I kinda feel like Suzanne Collins cracked open and pushed the line further out a bit as to what the general public can find in YA. As have so many authors before her. Or, maybe not so much further OUT but opened up a new branch along side other riske/pushing the envelope books.

I don’t believe in censorship at all but I had a very happy, sheltered childhood so I tend to err on the conservative side in wanting happier stories for teens to read. (Does that make me sappy!?)

 What are your thoughts? Have you ever read  YA book you thought went too far? Where do you draw the line or should there even be a line?

Up next week: #2 Master Class Leigh Bardugo, Why the movie Tangled is for every Writer AND…. My first ever VLOG. It’s happening. It will be awfully embarassing. Check back!

Thursday’s Children: People Running

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It’s 10:16 at night.

My eyes are heavy, my heart beats slowly. And the pillow underneath my back feels warmer, softer, more inviting as the clock ticks.

Please let me go to sleep Please can’t I just go to sleep?

Across my mind’s eye runs a man. He’s young. Tanned skinned with tattoes running down his shaved head and crisscrossing across his neck. They glow.

He runs down a thick red carpet laid out in an old crumbling house.

In his arms is a woman, too skinny, dark hair that swings as he runs. Her eyes are closed, her dress is torn. Behind them a dark cloud grows bigger and bigger. He’s running away from danger, the very danger he’s embraced for too long. The danger that gave him the tattoes that only illuminate in the dark,  reminding him of the path he’s chosen and where to find it.

And yet, the woman in his arms is the key to everything good. Everything he wants to be but doesn’t know how. By carrying her, saving her he has defied everything he knows and everything he’s been trained up to be. He’s not completely sure he’s doing the right thing but every time I see him running with the only woman who ever accepted him for who he was..

Every time I see his face in my mind’s eye and know the sacrifice it costs him to run..every time his earnestness and deep, frightened desire to be good if only just for her plunges into my own heart, I plump the pillow behind me and prop myself up to keep writing.

Because this imaginary character of mine who is so real, so violently alive in my mind won’t let me not write.

There’s a story needing, pressing to be told.

It’s their story and my characters are the best inspiration I’ve got.

Thanks, Thursday’s Children!

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Hook your reader from Page One

Book swapping

Every night when I lift my daughter up into her crib she does a quick head count of all her stuffed animals. There’s about eight or nine of them in there underneath blankets, behind her pillows, pushed between the wall. It takes about two seconds, and somehow, in that brief space of time she always knows when one of them is missing. When this happens, I go on a house search that sometimes takes me a few rounds to find the lost one. I return with it and she can finally go to bed*.

Last night this scenario happened and I thought to myself, this could be compared to a reader opening a new novel for the first time.

He or she is looking for specific criteria.

Consciously or subconsciously there are certain elements they HAVE to find within those first few pages that will compel them to read on.

Books for Sale

IF any one of them is missing, they instinctively know it, and instead of drawing them into the book, instead of them doing what you the author wants (which is to read on and ultimately spend their hard earned money on your book) they are unsatisfied. It’s back onto the shelf and most likely never picked up again.

Isn’t it scary how quickly your work-the work that you’ve spent thousands of hours, blood, sweat and tears over-gets judged!? I mean, I read the back cover, read the first few pages, thumb through a few more and that’s enough to know if this is something I want to invest time and money on.

I know there are bibliophiles who don’t give a book even that much of their time.

As a writer, it’s so important to know what those elements readers are looking for. Luckily, most of us are readers! So it really should be quite simple, really. (Right!?! right!?!?)

First, take a stack of books from your own bookshelf and flip through the first pages as though you’re looking at it for the first time. Ask yourself:

 What is it about this plot/this world/this character that interests me? What plot device did this author use to hook me? What do I feel about/ for the main character? What is the pace of the story? Was I dropped into the middle of action or is the author warming me up?

Then, go to the library or bookstore and gather a stack of books you’ve never read or maybe, never even heard about and do the same test. Read the back cover, read the first few pages. Are you hooked? Why? Do you want to follow this character through this story? How did the author manipulate your feelings to suck you into what’s going on? How can you transfer this to your own writing?

   Am I missing anything here? What turns you on/off to a book? How much time do you take deciding if a book is for you?

A factor I didn’t mention here is if you’ve already heard opinions/read reviews about a certain book. Does it matter, then, if the author didn’t quite hit those certain elements you needed to see in the beginning?

How many pages do you give an author before giving up on his/her book?

*Well, at least pretend to until I shut the door whereupon she continues to play with aforementioned stuffed animals.

Photo Credit: Flickr By nSeika HERE; By Cote HERE;

Your first idea is not your best idea

Monkey Trouble

Pic: Kyle May Flickr

    Have you ever heard the tale about how African hunters catch monkeys? Supposedly, they place narrow-necked jars with a banana or nuts insid, and monkeys come along and reach inside to grab the food. Only, with their fists clenched they can’t pull their hand back out. They’ll stand there hour after hour trying to get that food out and they get themselves captured.

     I’d like to compare that to writers who won’t let go of their “fantastic ideas”. If you read any advice book on writing you’ll probably see this idea. Almost every expert says to throw out your first, fifth or twentieth idea because it’s not good enough. I think every beginning writer needs to face this head on.

    Sometimes we hold to an idea too hard and we don’t let the story flow.

    Sometimes we try to change EVERYTHING else to accommodate this fantastic idea instead of tossing in the towel and realizing it’s just not working. This isn’t the story I’m supposed to tell. It hasn’t marinated enough, I don’t have enough life experience, my skills are not up to par to tell this story like it needs to be told.

       If I’m being honest, this is one of my worst writing weaknesses. I always feel like I’m giving up what could of been “the” idea. The one that would birth a book that would propel me to stardom and ultimate success. I do think some ideas are better than others but they usually aren’t the first round ideas or even the twentieth-round ideas. I’ve been working on this WIP for over a year (which Stephen King would say it’s about time to shelve it and move on. Hold on, Steve.) and it has evolved SO MUCH from the original idea. Instead of a limited third-person female view of a ghost story, it’s become a 2 person narration of an epic fantasy. Go figure. It’s taken longer than it should, I know I’m a slower writer and that I’ve really learned a lot along the way. But once I was able to let go of those ideas that were actually holding me back, the story had room to evolve and breath and come to life as it’s supposed to

 Have you had an experience where you had to get out of your own way? How do you (and I) overcome it?

Master Class 1: Ira Glass on Creating

My first post ever and I’m psyched to start with #1 in our master class series. Once a week we’ll focus on advice from the creative experts and if you’ve ever listened to NPR, you’ll recognize this familiar voice. It absolutely changed the way I saw myself as a writer/creator. I’ve gone back over and over to re-listen and I am never not spurred onward.

He begins…”Nobody tells people who are beginners…..”


One of the hardest things for me to conquer as awriter is that heavy feeling of inadequacy. I just can’t seem to get the story I see in my head eloquently onto paper. Do you ever feel that way?