Writing Tips Wednesday


Still feeling under the weather, so today I will direct you to a different blog that can help: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/7-simple-and-quick-editing-tips-that-will-elevate-your-writing/?utm_campaign=General&utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook_org&utm_content=CT-Blog_I-Stock+Photo_PT-Relatable_Su-Writing_P-Writer&sf26009113=1



Writing Tips Wednesday


Let’s talk about adjectives

When writing, it is all to easy for most of us to keep using the same descriptors over and over. This is boring and sloppy work. For instance in my first and second drafts of a scene where trying to obscure sex and identity in the short story, “Combustion,”– Coming out May 30 in the anthology Gems of Strength–I overused killer and figure. It features arson, so I added in arsonist, murderer, and shadow.  If you can’t think of synonyms on your own, use a thesaurus to find similar words.

NOW A WORD OF CAUTION.  Know what these words mean before using them. The most overused, and wrongly applied word right now seems to be smirked. Smirking means to mock another or show superiority through a smile. I don’t know about you, but I have never found being on it’s receiving end to be sexy. Another one I have seen is glared sexily. Glaring means to stare hatefully at someone. Again, not sexy.

AVOID CLICHES. They are well known because they are used a lot. Find a fresh way of saying things. Again, I’m using romance as the example, because it’s what I write most. Manhood. Most people are thoroughly sick of it. If you aren’t comfortable with cock, penis, or other graphic words, try subtly like his length, his hardness, his erection. Avoid limpid pools for eyes. If her eyes are clear, try saying they are clear, or keen or simple, plain, or lucid. Orbs can be used for eyes. So can pupils and irises. Vision, sight, perception.

Use synonyms if repeating words in the same sentence. If using repeatedly and if cliched. I hope I’ve helped to make your writing stronger!

Writing Tips Wednesday


Let’s talk about plots

This is one of the hardest things to give advice on. Writers jealously protect plot ideas. Where do they come from? Sometimes, you get the plot idea first, then you get the characters, but sometimes you know all about the characters and still no plot.

A friend of mine, a beginning author, recently stated she had an idea of characters but no plot. She asked for help from a group of writers and got a lot of hmming and haaing about it, with most of the advice being just start writing which is very hard for a new and intimidated writer to do–it can daunt seasoned writers too. I like to say it is something that can’t be taught. You either can come up with a plot or you can’t. While I stick by this, I can share some of the ways that I have come up with plot ideas, which I shared with her. I’m happy to say she has now come up with a rudimentary plot.

One tried and true method for me is doing research. Some times in learning about things, ideas present themselves.

Another tried and true way is world building. Is it set in Earth? If not, world building itself is a form of plot. If it is, what time period is it set in? That can nudge out little ideas. Is it our Earth or an alternate Earth? Again, fleshing that out can give details that put together can form a plot.

If you have your characters, start by having them interact. Sometimes the way they do can form at least subplots, if not the main plot. Sub plots make a story richer.

Look at pictures of your subject. Imagery is powerful and may give you ideas you wouldn’t have other wise.

Listen to music about your subject, because sound is as stimulating as vision.

Do you know your genre? Read other books on the subject to get an idea of what else is  out there and so you don’t inadvertently plagiarize.

Bounce ideas with trusted people: other authors, avid readers, supportive family members and friends

Some other, less effective for me, methods are let it simmer in the background of your mind. Don’t think about it for awhile.

Take what you know about your story. List each word separately. Now write down words that come to mind from that word, especially ones that seem to make no sense. Piece them together and see what comes out of it.

I’m sure I’ll think of more ways in the future, but hopefully this will get you started! Dig deep and write well!


Flash Ficton

Flash fiction is taking a concept and writing a story from one sentence to 1,000 words.

5816589786_48a1edbd30_oI am taking my cue from the above photo.

Tylinda carried a basket nearly her own size full of blueberries she had swiped from Farmer Rutledge’s bushes.  They were like watermelons to her in size and would make lovely deserts to go with the mushroom and greens salad she had planned for lunch.

She took in the view of her home. Her front yard boasted mushrooms, tender grass and a low growing vine. White crystals formed a path to the eight stone steps leading to her home.

She sat her basket down and with a tired beat of her fairy wings fluttered to the top step and lifted the latch, throwing the two doors wide. She retrieved her basket and went up the stairs on foot as the basket was too heavy to fly with. She went inside, sat her basket down with a satisfied thump then shut and latched the doors from the inside.

Humming merrily, she went about fixing and having her lunch.

Writing Tips Wednesday


Developing characters.

This can be daunting. I tend to develop mine loosely and let their reactions to the plot define them further. Some people choose to develop them fully before they even begin to write. Both ways work fine. Some write the plot and develop characters as they come across them. This can work too.
However you choose to do it, the key to amazing characters is to remember they are not you, nor are they hero or heroine you wrote about before. Each one is different. Each one is their own complete person. Put yourself in their shoes and they will react naturally to situations. When you write a villain, be one. When you write a hero, be that hero. The characters will become three dimensional.

A trap a lot of writer’s fall in is making each hero, heroine or villain too much like the prior ones they wrote. This can turn off a reader to point where they stop reading you.

If you have trouble with this, try giving them some 2 or 3 things different–physical characteristics should be more than just superficial coloring changes, like walking with a limp, arthritis, allergies are fine as is a lisp or talking with an accent. Perhaps one has a lazy streak, or a knitting habit, or is a dog lover. The possibilities are endless and your character now has depth. Remember to change the differences each story, or you are back where you started from.
Use the differences to move a plot along too. For example: my current WIP features an artist in therapy. It is suggested she take up gardening. Being an artist she decides to beautify her planters and makes a trip to the local hardware store for supplies. There she will meet her hero.

In Defying Darkness, Dorian has an accent that initially gets thicker when he is around his love interest. This conveys both that he is tongue tied and that his physical reactions to her are overwhelming.
IN CONCLUSION don’t just say they knit, use it to develop your character. Why do they knit–does it remind them of Grandma, does it soothe them, is it something they were forced to learn?  Do these things and you will have richer characters.

EXCLUSIVE – Charity Event — Claire Plaisted – Indie Author

Originally posted on Plaisted Publishing House : Do you know someone with Type 1 Diabetes? Are you willing to help them chase a cure for it? If so read on. ‘Girlie and the War of the Wasps is a children’s book, which follows the adventure of Girlie, a young blue ladybug who follows a naughty wasp…

via EXCLUSIVE – Charity Event — Claire Plaisted – Indie Author

Writing Tips Wednesday

Today’s writing tip comes from a February discussion within the group Author-4-Author and I am reusing it with permission from Savannah Morgan, who runs the group on Facebook and Adri Sinclair, who started the discussion.
Adri Sinclair:
Today’s Discussion: I had a great conversation with a new editor I’m working with last weekend and she asked me a question that left me quite dumb for a moment. “What’s your core story?” I thought, uh, does she mean what my stories are about? So I start out “Well, strong women who—” “No.” Okay. I ask for a little more clarification and then I start again. “I guess I write stories because I can’t fix what’s going on in the world and I need to have hope. How do you have hope when so much in this life seems unfixable?” “THAT is your core story,” she says with an evil glint in her eye. So pretend you are having that conversation. What is at the core of you and what you write? If you had to think of a common thread between everything you’ve written, what is that worldview you come from? Go deep, people!

Thanna Avilea Setliff’s reply:

At my core, I am a two year old. WHY? How? What if? And a need for love that is raw and unconditional. I am drawn to paranormal because the world is too much of everything for me. I have a lot of illnesses, mental and physical, and it all overwhelms me, yet at the same time is so mundane there is no sparkle, no magic in it for me. I need to feel there is more out there. I have major anxiety and write about what gives it to me, always with only a small element, because if people see me, the real me, they won’t identify with me/love me/accept me. I prefer romance, because with it, you expect a HEA. If it’s in my book, it isn’t necessarily because I’ve experienced it, or want to experience it…it may be just as simple as me wondering what it’s about. For instance, I’ve wondered what it would be like to be killed by a serial killer, but I sure as hell don’t want to experience it. So my core is as varied as myself; I have many facets, and I explore them all. *runs and hides Feeling a little exposed here.

Why is this in writing tips, you wonder? Because to fully understand you and your writing, to better convey it, you need to know what it is. I have come to peace with my core story now and I think my writing is all the better for it.

Interview with Adri Sinclair


Intriguing, intelligent woman: from self professed farm girl to bilingual author, she has a refreshing view of the world. I sent her questions in a hodgepodge fashion and she answered with such continuing detail, I have left that chaotic style here, so you get the full benefit of her words.

  • What is your most intense, pleasant memory of South Africa and how has it influenced your writing?

I grew up in the country, I lived and travelled through Africa and South Africa. There is absolutely no way to pick just one memory, as I’ve had a full, rich life. Just about every part of my life influence my writing in one way or another *chuckles*


  • What is your most intense, pleasant memory of London, UK and how has it influenced your writing?

Having been in the UK for 11 years, the same answer applies. There’s just too much to choose from and to single one moment out over another, feels like sacrilege. I love the UK, and I’ve travelled quite a bit in and around it.


  • What are your favorite forms of fantasy and in what way do you want them to be realistic? Which is the stronger desire? How does it come into play with your writing?

This question had me stumped for a while, as it is open to interpretation. I gave it some thought and then came to the conclusion: I like a healthy dose of realism with my fantasy. I don’t know if there is a ‘form’ to subscribe to, but that is my take on it. This does not pertain to reading though – as my reading material revolves around storytelling, not necessarily genre. I am an avid, 100% lover of the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s work, but I can never presume to write in the same genre or class as the man. My life, my experiences, my fantasies and dreams… They’re all a part of my potluck writing style.


  • What does barefoot mean to you? How does this pertain to writing?

The word itself? Just that. Feet without shoes, flat on the ground. Philosophically, it means staying connected and down to earth [to me] and conversely it marks the unpretentious romance I enjoy with my husband, and always try to inject into my writing.


  • “You can take the girl off the farm, but you cannot take the farm out of the girl.” — what does that mean to you? How does it affect your writing?

It is a poorly translated Afrikaans saying. Literally it means that even though I’ve moved to a big cosmopolitan city, at heart, I will always be the wild farm girl with a slingshot, marbles hidden in her pigtails and being a little tomboy.  Conversally it means: What you see is what you get. What you get, is a rough and tumble South African ‘Boeregirl’. Like Marmite, you will love it, or hate it.


  • “When there’s a story to tell, who am I to deny it being told. I do not judge other authors on their grammatical skills, or their immaculate command of the English language – I look for a beautiful story that breaks the rules and boundaries of the mundane world. It is my wish for others to be as forgiving of the smallest infringements, because no story is perfect and no amount of perfection can tell the story. I hope those who see the world through the cracks of a broken mirror, will help fit the pieces together instead of cutting others with the sharp edges.”
  • Your statement is very telling, in that you view the story as needing to be said, that it is bigger than you–is that because you incorporate messages in your work?

Yes and no. The yes part is that there is always a little message hidden in much of what I write.

The NO part is: It isn’t for me to tell the reader what to take from my work.

Every person is different, and at different times they will find something relevant to their mindset in any bit of writing. I aim for an reaction – any kind of reaction because that shows to me that I reached a person with emotions, not just a scanner of words.


  • Your plea regarding grammar is very eloquent and passionate–does it have a deeper message? If so, what?

People get hung up on technicalities of writing that they end up ruining their story, or hating on the person who tells theirs in the best of their ability. Of course I will never negate the need for a editor and proofreader – but sometimes, the most technical and grammatically correct piece of writing, does not tell the story. It is because of this linguistic and literary snobbery that very few people tell their stories – whether it is their life’s tales or just a general flight of the imagination. That makes me sad.


  • I would say your grasp on the English language is superb. Your phrasing is unique and shaped by Afrikaans. All local dialects originate partly from the influence of another language flavoring the main language of another. Why do you feel you have a limited association to English? How has this effected your writing?

Long story short: I have no understanding or grasp on the technical side of the English language. While I can agree that many local dialects originate partly from influence as you said, you have to understand that there are 13 official languages in my country, of which I speak 5, but read and write only English and Afrikaans. Take all of that, and throw it into a pot, and now try to write in one language, with the technical expectations of those who were raised with it… and you have a recipe for a painted target on your back. I’ve endured a lot of this in the beginning but I have learned to just shake it off. Some people ‘correct’ my phrasing, and others ‘correct’ my sentence orders and others yet [apparently] have no clue what I’m trying to convey… Which is all good because majority who enjoys my reading, does so for the story.


  • What is Booktrope? What made you decide to republish your books under Booktrope?

Well, clearly, Booktrope is my publisher. They’re a hybrid publishing house operating from Canada. I chose to go with them because they offer a true Indie Experience with a very supportive community involvement. This gives me best of both worlds. I get to have the professional backing but retain the control over my work. Neat right?


  • Briefly, what is Hidden Carmina about?

Vampires, shifters, love, family, loyalty, trust. It is about a girl learning her identity and then having to learn who she is mentally, physically and spiritually.


  • What inspired you to write Hidden Carmina?

The short answer is Twilight.

The long answer is: My love for vampires, and Twilight. It was meant to be a one page fanfic and turned into three epic novels which, I do declare… is nothing like Twilight HAHA!


  • What do you hope readers take away from Hidden Carmina? If only one thing can be taken away from it, what is your strongest desire for it to be?

My only real desire is for people to read, and to find a few moments of escapism in a world that I have created. They don’t even have to like it … If I have one person who found a margin of relieve or release from the every day hum-drum of the world, then I’ve reached my goal.


  • Can you tell me what Second Breath refers to, without giving away a plot point?


Well that is actually quite simple: Second Breath is a reference to being made immortal. I learned of the term many years ago when I went on a mythology binge. It stuck with me.

Philosophically the phrase is explained as casting off your mortal life [first breath] and gaining immortal life [taking a second breath].


  • All the reviews on Hidden Carmina are glowing. What is your favorite sentence in those reviews? Why?

Loaded question and I’m not going to answer that as I don’t choose favorites among my readers. I will however take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for writing a review!


  • What made you want to be a writer? How long ago was that? How hard was it to follow your dream? When did you feel you could say, yes, I am a writer?

I have always been a writer. Anyone who writes is a writer. It is an action, not a title – in my mind. So yes, from the time I’ve learned to write my name, I was a writer. I wrote, didn’t I? But calling myself an Author, only came on the 16th of February 2016 when Booktrope re-published Hidden Carmina. Then I achieved the right to a title for my writing. Writing has never been a dream – as such. I’ve always written poetry, essays, short stories, kid’s stories… In fact it was my ‘go-to’ therapy on many occasions.


  • Did you have other dreams besides becoming an author? What were some of them and how old were you when you wanted to pursue them?

I had not time to dream in my life. I had responsibilities from an early age, which meant: Grow up, get a job and contribute. So I did that. I am a realistic, logical and practical person because of it and not prone to playing “I wish I could…” mental games with myself. I see a problem, I fix it. If it can’t be fixed, it is not a problem it is an opportunity to create something new. So I create it. That is pretty much my entire attitude and personality in a nutshell.


  • What genres do you read? Why? Which genres do you write? Why?

I read according to my mood. I like historical romance as much as I like a book of cheesy jokes or a Sir Terry Pratchett Fantasy [though the latter wins hands down if I am given a choice]. I write Romance. Just that. There’s plenty of sub genre’s to dip into so I can be selective, but in general, I write about relationships …


  • Have you ever regretted your decision to write? Why or why not?

Well, writing and reading is really a matter of needed education. I can’t imagine anyone ever saying: I wish I never wasted time on learning to write and read. So why should this be any different?

  • How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first award winning [school thing] essay about a depressed stick when I was ten years old. I wrote my first published [award winning] poem in 2000. I wrote my first three novels in 2014.

  • How many books have you written?

Since 2014 I’ve written 5 epic novels.


  • How many are you planning on writing as of now? Can you give us some details about them?

I never plan ahead. So there are no details really lol. I will write until I’m unable to write, and then I may have to do dictation …


  • What is your favorite of your works and why?

Living Human is my most favorite writing to date. It is a short story, sci-fi fantasy and a tribute to the late Sir Terry Pratchett. It is whimsical and lighthearted and came from the truly raw core of my inner child.


  • Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?

Agri – [Gabriella] in the Dual or Dance series because I took a vanity liberty and pretty much wrote the story based on a specific part of my life. So … Agri is me and Ash… well, I’m sure you can figure it out.


  • What other hobbies and interests do you have? Do any of them impact your writing? In what way?

I do pottery [clay-work] and pencil drawings – I also do sewing, needlework, knitting. The only real ‘impact’ it has on my writing is in the fact that when I get to do those things, my brain is conjuring up / or unraveling / stories and plots.

  • What things inspire you to write?


Everything. People, random notions, words, colors, music… Finding inspiration is not hard, translating it into writing … Now that is a whole other story.


  • Who are some of your favorite authors and why? Does that impact your writing?

There are two authors who will always stand apart from the rest: First and always first is Sir Terry Pratchett [Have I mentioned this before? Hehe] and second, always second, is one Neil Gaiman. I refuse to choose beyond that. There are too many indie authors to mention by name, and too many accomplished authors to single anyone out. I admire, respect and salute each and every one who’s crossed my path, and those who I am yet to meet too.


  • Do you have any links or projects that you’d like to share?


At this point, as I am taking a break from social media and the likes, I’d like to just share my published works on amazon, if that is okay?




  • In closing, what advice do you have for aspiring authors?

I don’t. I think there’s a lot of advice out there that is both good and wholesome. So I simply offer them a hug, a kind word and a genuine invite to reach out to me if ever I can help with anything.