I meant to do a deep post for today, but I’m behind in my scheduling and allergy season has kicked in. However, I’ve been meaning to share some of my favorite writing resources for awhile now, and figured this was a good week for it. Here are five of the ones I use the most.
I seem to be in the minority, at least among the bloggers who I follow, in that I like listening to music with lyrics while writing. I find that lyrics better tap into emotions and moods, which inspire me to write. Here are my eight favorite music groups to write to.
The people who create stories are writers. Pretty obvious, right? And most people like seeing parts of themselves in characters sometimes, right? That means a lot of writers will be tempted to write characters who write. And that means there are several awesome writer characters out there. Here are some of the top five.
Fanfiction has a messy reputation in the writing world. Some authors are very vocal in their opinion that it’s a waste of time, while others consider it an honor to have their works written about.
Even if people are okay with it, and maybe sneakily write some fanfiction of their own on the side, it’s still often considered as a subpar activity to ‘real’ writing. It’s treated as entertainment, not art. But sometimes, writing fanfiction can be more beneficial to a writer than working on an original work, and here are four reasons why this is.
Retribution Rails is a YA western by Erin Bowman. It’s not a sci-fi/western, it’s not a fantasy/western, it’s not a dystopian/western, it’s straight up, 1880s western. And it’s so much fun.
The western is not a popular genre, especially with the YA crowd. You may be able to find crossovers with other genres, such as Firefly or Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, but those are few. It’s even harder to find full-on westerns now. This should change.
I’m guessing many of you, including my Christian followers, have never heard of Larry Norman. He was a Christian musician from the sixties and seventies, the father of Jesus rock, and an influence on both Christian and non-Christian musicians alike.
Throughout his career, Norman struggled with balancing evangelizing and creating true art. He felt like most of Christian music was propaganda, only enjoyable by Christians. Unsurprisingly, he had a rocky relationship with the Christian community- at times they called him a backslider or a Satan-worshiper, and viewed him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, luring the Christian youth away from the Christ.
The biography Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock by Gregory Alan Thornbury captures this struggle extremely well. I would go so far as to say that it’s a must-read for any Christian artist, whether a musician or a writer or any other kind.
The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater, is a strange series. Technically, it’s about a hunt for an old Welsh king, but I think cars are described in more detail than the hunt itself. Technically, the characters are on a quest, but they spend more time street racing or working than searching. Technically, there’s romance, but the friendship struggles take up far more pages. Through these technicalities, Maggie Stiefvater captures real life on the pages of a fantasy series.
There’s a certain way to read a book by C. S. Lewis.
First, you get the largest cup of tea that you can find. Preferably earl grey, but to each his own. After all, this is the man who said, “you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
For most books, it should be drizzling out. The sky is dark, even in early afternoon, but pleasantly so. If it’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, though, it should be snowing, fat, fluffy flakes falling from the sky.
You settle back in an oversized leather easy chair, steam drifting up from your cup and the precipitation drifting down outside, and read.
The opening scene. It’s either a writer’s favorite scene to write… or their least favorite. There’s so much at stake in making it right- agents may only read your first five pages before deciding to pass. And if someone’s browsing in a bookstore or library, you have maybe a paragraph to interest them. It needs to be good enough to make them invest hours of their time into reading your book.
There’s a lot that goes into making a great first scene. Here are three things I keep in mind when writing my opening scenes.
There’s a certain way to read a book by Lemony Snicket.
You have to sneak it off the shelf while your parent/guardian/mysterious caregiver believes you are asleep. From there you have a couple options. You can read under the covers with a flashlight, clicking the light off and holding your breath every time footsteps pass by your door.
Or, if you think it’s late enough that you can get away with it and no one come by to remind you of tomorrow’s responsibilities and send you to bed, you can turn on a small lamp in your library or living room. You can read by that soft glow as the night’s darkness presses around you.
And as you read about the daring escapades of clever but unfortunate children, you will know, deep down inside, the world is quiet here.