Friday, 28 April 2017

Day 28 - Story Conclusions #BYBin30


image found on Pinterest here
I've been in a bit of a writing funk lately, and, aside from the post that announces the prize winners, this will be the last blog post for this year's challenge, and, since we are supposed to be nearing the ends of the stories we are writing, I thought I'd leave you with some images with quotes about endings.

image found on Pinterest here 
Finishing stories is difficult. Everything needs to tie together and the ending needs to satisfy the reader. There is nothing easy about writing those last chapters of your story.

image found on Pinterest here 
Endings don't have to be happy to be satisfying, although many readers do prefer happy endings. the most important thing about the story's ending is that it makes sense within context of the rest of the story.

image found on Pinterest here
If your ending isn't working for you, change it. You're the author, you can write the ending that satisfies you the most. If you are satisfied with your ending, chances are that your readers will be satisfied too.

How have your stories and writing been coming along during the challenge?

*****

Give-away


Today's give-away is a surprise. I might make something. I might buy a trinket of some sort. It will be a complete surprise. Even I don't know yet what today's prize will be. If you are a signed-up member of the challenge, all you have to do to be entered into the give-away is leave a comment on this post by April 30th. A winner will be chosen on April 30th, 2017 by using a random number generator.



Friday, 21 April 2017

Day 21 - Why We Need Superheroes Stories #BYBin30

(This post was originally posted to the SuperHERo Tales blog.)

illustration by Samuel Dixon
for "SuperHERo Tales: A Collection of Female Superhero Stories (Volume 2)"


Superhero stories give us something to believe in. There are 4,200 recorded religions in the world. People with no religious affiliation now make up the third-largest group in the world. Whether you hold a religious belief or not, most people have a set of morals that they adhere to. Superheroes are known for standing up for what is right. They give us someone to look up to.

Superhero stories give us hope. The world is changing fast, and people are becoming more cynical every day. When we can't trust our politicians and leaders, who can we trust? The news shows us every day that there are people in the world who do awful things. But superhero stories show us that there can be good people in the world too, and that the world and the people in it are worth fighting for.

Superhero stories are inspirational. They give us ideas and the urge to do better. Their stories inspire us to make our own lives into something more worthwhile. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word "inspiration" means "something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone." Superheroes do this for us.

Superhero stories are aspirational. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word "aspiration" (in this context) means "a hope or ambition of achieving something." Superhero stories make us want to achieve more, for ourselves and for the world.

Superhero stories let us see our potential for positive change within ourselves. Superheroes struggle too, maybe not in the same ways that normal humans do, but making the right choices can be just as difficult for them as it can be for your every day non-super-powered person. We get to see the journey they take as they become a superhero, and we get to see how they change for the better throughout that journey. Superhero stories show us that, despite being difficult, it is always worth doing the right thing.

Superhero stories let us see our potential for positive change within the world. Comic book superheroes have changed over the years to reflect the changes in society. But one thing most of these superheroes have in common is the desire to make the world a better place, a safer place for the people in it. For us, this can mean working towards more equality in the workplace, fighting towards more environmentally-friendly corporate policies, or helping feed the homeless. The world is constantly changing and superhero stories show us that, sometimes, it's up to us to make sure that those changes are for the better.

Superhero stories bring light to a sometimes dark world. One thing that superhero stories tend to have in common is that good always wins out over evil in the end. The villains get their comeuppance and the hero saves the person they love and the world. No matter how dark the superheroes story gets, it will brighten by the time the story wraps up.


***** 
Give-away

One signed-up member of the challenge who comments on this post will win a Catwoman Bendable Figure. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator on April 30th, 2017. (If the figure becomes unavailable, another superhero may be substituted.)





Friday, 14 April 2017

Day 14 - Tips for Creating Fantasy Creatures #BYBin30



J. K. Rowling is very skilled at creating unique magical creatures, from dementors to nifflers. The creatures she has created have, in many cases, become a part of the larger mythology in the world.

Much of my writing is in the fantasy and urban fantasy genres. This means that, on many occasions, I need to create some fantasy creatures. I can also use creatures from legend and myth, such as unicorns and griffins, but sometimes, I need to create a creature that is completely unique and unheard of before.

In doing this, I've come up with some tips which might help you create your own fantasy creatures, if you ever get stuck for ideas.

1. Research creatures from available mythology. Looking through the creatures that are already a part of legend and myth can help inspire new ideas for creatures.

2. Take creatures from legend and myth and add something or take something away from them to make them unique. A unicorn covered in scales with dragon wings is very different from a traditional unicorn. A unique attribute can set your creature apart.

3. Take normal every day animals and give them unique attributes. A golden retriever with wings might make local ducks nervous, but if your ducks have sharp razor-like teeth and as large as a horse, they might not be as easy for the retrievers to prey upon.

3. Give your creatures unique abilities. Your creature might look like a typical horse, but the difference is that it breathes fire and can turn invisible. Sometimes you need something other than a change in appearance to make your creature different.

4.  Use your imagination and create something completely from scratch. This can be the more difficult option for creating your creature but also the most rewarding. Stretch your imaginative limits.

5. Name your character something that is easy to pronounce. You don't want your reader to be tripping over how to say the name of your creature every time they read the word.

Hope these tips help!

***** 
Give-away


Today's give-away is a copy of Writing Monsters: How to Create Believably Terrifying Creatures to Enhance your Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction by Philip Athans. If you are a signed-up member of the challenge, then leave a comment on this post and you will be entered into the drawing. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator on April 30th.



Friday, 7 April 2017

Day 7 - Story Trope: The Chosen One #BYBin30


Stories, TV and films often rely on certain story tropes, such as the alien invasion and the hero that fights for all of humanity. They often tend to be tied quite strongly to genre. For example, while the trope of the Chosen One can originally be seen as closely tied in with high fantasy stories, such as you see with Frodo in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," it is currently seen quite often in YA novels.

For some well-known examples, there is the character Katniss Everdeen in Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" series, the character Tris in Veronica Roth's "Divergent" series, the character Clary Fray of Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal instruments" series, or the character Buffy in Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," amongst a host of others.

The Chosen One is special. She or he is the only one who can do a certain thing; whether that is opening a special lock, finding a specific treasure or performing a type of magic, it usually ties in with saving the world. In most cases, she or he is the only one who can save the world.

I admit that I enjoy reading about Chosen Ones and I often write them as leads in my stories. Do you have any chosen ones in your stories? Let me know in the comments.

*****

Give-away


Today's give-away is a copy of "Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly" by Gail Carson Levine. If you are a signed up member of this challenge, then all you need to do to be entered into the drawing is comment on this post. The winner will be selected by a random number generator on April 30th.


Sunday, 2 April 2017

Day 2 - How a working book cover can help your muse #BYBin30


The above picture is of a working book cover I made for the novel I was writing last year during Blog Your Book in 30 Days and Camp NaNoWriMo.  It is not the official cover for the book. The final book cover will probably look nothing like the above image. But it was fun to make and having an image to have in place for the book cover gave me a bit of a kick in the pants to keep writing.

During Camp NaNoWriMo, members are encouraged to create a book cover to use as a thumbnail image for their project. Having a working cover is an inspirational tool to use. Your story is calling to you to write it and now it has ammunition in the form of an image to call to you with.

Another trick, if you don't want to make a simple image for your book cover, or you don't have the necessary skills to do so, is to look up images of people who look like the vision you have for your characters.

Below are some random images of men and women, found easily on royalty-free image sites such as Pixabay.com:
                                





 And here are some "working" images I made for some of my children's NaNoWriMo stories last year (two of whom used the covers for their published books):


Just make sure that you don't spend so much time on this that you don't get your writing done. It can be a fun and inspirational tool to use during your writing, but, used incorrectly, it can also become another distraction that keeps you from writing.

*****

There will be a giveaway of random things on the posts on the 7th, the 14th and the 28th of this month.



Saturday, 1 April 2017

Welcome to Blog Your Book in 30 Days 2017! #BYBin30


Today is the first day of the Blog Your Book in 30 Days 2016 challenge! We have our own badge, if you'd like to use it.

First, for those of you who are new, here's a bit of information about the challenge (which you can also find by clicking on some of the links at the top of the page).

About the challenge:

Blog Your Book in 30 Days is a challenge to write the first draft of your book by posting one chapter a day for an entire month. During the month of the challenge, helpful blog posts will be shared on the website.

The challenge is here to help you write the book you have always wanted to write but have never written. Whether you want to write a memoir, a fiction novel, a comic book, a children's chapter book or middle grade novel or a non-fiction book, this challenge is going to help you get it done.

Every day, you are going to do any research that is needed for the day's writing and your are going to post a blog post of one chapter of your book. By the end of the month, you should have 30 chapters and a completed first draft.

This way of writing your books works best if you are planning to self-publish your book, but there are some instances where blogs have garnered the attention of agents and publishers and resulted in book deals. Those instances are the exception though, not the rule.

But the rules are much more flexible than they may seem by reading the "about" section, so here are the rules (which can also be found by clicking on one of the links at the top of the page).

The rules of the challenge:

Sign up. You will not be entered into the prize drawings unless you are signed up.  Sign up here.

You have from the first of the month until the 30th of the month to complete the first draft of your book. No starting early, unless it is only research and outline you are working on beforehand.

On the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th and 30th of the month, you will do a quick comment on that day's blog post posted on this blog about that week stating how the week has gone for you and anything you have learned or achieved from the challenge that week. Your comment might be quoted in the Blog Your Book in 30 Days book when it comes out or later in the blog itself and, by commenting, you are giving permission for your quote to be used. (You will be named with the quote.)

Each day, you are to write one chapter and then copy and paste it into your day's blog post. By the end of the challenge, you should have a final word count. On the 30th, your comment will include your final word count and whether or not you have finished your first draft. Everyone who completes their first draft will be entered into a prize drawing. (The prize this year is a collection of different, mostly home-made things, and the items will be pictured on the blog as we go through the challenge, one thing at a time.) Every time you leave a comment on (one comment per post) a blog post, you will earn one more entry into the drawing. Your comments on the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th and 30th will earn you two entries into the drawing, and my favourite comment from each of those five days will earn an extra entry. 

This challenge is self-driven and monitored. It is a way to keep yourself accountable as you write.

There are some optional ways of following this challenge for those who plan on having their books published traditionally rather than self-published.

1. Write your one chapter every day, but only post on your blog about the writing, such as how much you wrote, what part of the story you were working on, what was easy about it, what was difficult about it, whether it stayed on plan or strayed from the original plot idea, etc. (Have you made a book cover for your book, even just a working cover? Share that too!)

2. Write your one chapter every day, but only post a small (one paragraph) excerpt from that day's writing as your blog post for the day.

3. Blog your book as per the original plan, but leave out important chapters, which will only be seen in the finished product. (This is mostly a good idea for those who plan on self-publishing, but not so much if you plan on submitting your book elsewhere. But it's still an option if you are certain you can build up a large following for your book as a publisher will take that into account.)

4. Use this challenge to edit a previously written book and make notes on the blog about the editing process as you work through the different issues in your book.

The main point of this challenge is to get your book written and to build up a following for it before it comes out. 

Good luck!

Go ahead and grab a badge from below:






The first time I ran this challenge, I wrote a daily blog post on different topics having to do with writing. Feel free to read through previous posts. My posts might not be as informative during this challenge in 2017, but I intend to make sure you will have at least one informative post to learn from each week.