Monthly Archives: May 2018

5 Small Things to Inspire Your Writing

We all get stuck sometimes when it comes to writing.  It doesn’t matter if you write every day or once a week, there are times when it just gets tough.  While I can’t say that I have a cure-all for writer’s block, I do find that these really help when I’m trying to get the creative juices flowing.  What makes these really great is that they’re small and don’t take up a lot of time, so they’re easy to work into your weekly schedule.  To sweeten the deal, they’re all basically free!

5 small things

Write It Down – Record random thoughts and phrases that appeal to you.  They don’t have to make sense or necessarily be a part of story.  It might just be a string of words that sound good together, and that’s okay. Phones are great for this these days, and I specifically bought a phone with a built in stylus just for this purpose, but I think a small notebook and a pen are also particularly helpful.  You may never use the little bits that you write down, but it will encourage your brain to come up with the right phrases when you need them.

Watch People – The people around you make great characters!  Or at least they are the great foundations of characters.  Your boss might not actually be hatching evil plots behind his desk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take certain elements of his personality or appearance and use them in your next story.  Pay attention to how people talk and move.  Observe two people from across a crowded room, where you can’t hear them, and imagine what they might be saying to each other. 

Read – Everyone says this about writing, but I think there’s a reason for that.  Reading is inspiring, educational, and builds vocabulary.  If you’re actively reading (which means paying attention to plot and sentence structure, the development of characters, etc.) then you’re learning.  You may be discovering what you do or don’t want to do in your own work, but it’s still learning.

Watch Television – Wait, did I just say that?  Sure, why not?  How many movies are made from books?  Just because it’s on a screen doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful.  As with reading, pay attention to plots and dialogue.  If there’s a particular scene you like, think about how you would write it to convey the same images you see on the show.  Interested in writing in a particular genre?  Watch movies and TV that deal with that same subject matter and look for inspiration.

Go Someplace New – I always feel particularly inspired when I travel, even though that doesn’t happen very often.  (I’m very happy at home in my yoga pants, thank you.)  But you don’t have to take a trip across the country or around the world to get your writing mojo going.  Anyplace you haven’t been to before could give you the start of a new story.  It could be a park, a store, or even a back road.

What habits have you formed that help you feel inspired?  Let me know in the comments!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

 

Interested in having your book reviewed or doing a guest post?  Contact me.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under On Writing

Book Review – Outcasts by J.S. Frankel

It’s not easy to write a book that not only addresses current issues but also entertains.  J.S. Frankel, however, has done exactly that with Outcasts.

Note:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

From the back cover:  Mitch Kessler, teenage high school dropout, jobless and mostly friendless, lives a life of solitude, but not by choice. Endowed with the ability to bring wings out of his body as well as claws, and transform himself into a fierce creature of the night, he’s picked up a nickname from the general public that he hates: gargoyle. However, that’s the least of his worries. His girlfriend, Callie, can’t keep her genders straight, his best friend is a spinning top, and his other acquaintance is made of rock. It’s obviously a government plot, but Mitch doesn’t know who’s behind it or why. Worse, various and sundry creations have now appeared out of the woodwork and are out to kill him. Aided by his friends, the four outcasts attempt to find out who’s running the show. They’re out to stop the forces of evil before they can do more damage. That is, if they survive.

outcasts

As teen mutants who have yet to figure out their place in the world, the main characters go through quite a bit.  They deal with typical teen issues, which are compounded by the fact that they have superpowers.  To make matters even more difficult, the main character finds himself falling for a person who constantly switches genders.  The gender issue is a big one these days, and I think this makes the book very relevant to today’s youth.  There is gender and sexuality confusion not only for the Callie, who is sometimes a boy and sometimes a girl, but also for Mitch, who has to figure out how he feels about him/her.

The book starts off with action, and we slowly learn more and more over time about Mitch and his friends.  The time frames switch back and forth between the present and the past, but these are clearly labeled to avoid confusion.  Outcasts has a casual tone that I think YA readers would really enjoy:

“Screw getting the football back. We trudged on home. Joe lived ten minutes away from me, very convenient for hanging out with each other. Fact was, we visited each other’s houses on an almost daily occurrence, either playing sports after school or fooling around with video games.”

While there are some sentence structure choices that are a little bit awkward and I feel the book could have been better edited, overall I think this is a great book.  I recommend it for anyone who enjoys modern fantasy and is looking for a fun read.

Rating:  4 stars

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Interested in having your book reviewed?  Contact me.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews