Tag Archive 'Inspirations'

Everything I Need to Know About Plot, I Learned From Buffy

photo by Jaina

A couple of weeks ago, a client told me one of his beta readers had said his book read like a comic book.  I asked why that was a bad thing.

Granted, you don’t want your characters to be shallow caricatures or your plot to be mechanical or contrived, which is what many people mean by “reads like a comic book.”  But all of this client’s characters were fully rounded and plausibly human.  Even the psychopath who hunted [...]

In Praise of Paper Books

I recently started rereading a book I bought many years ago – one volume of an eight volume collected set of The Spectator, a London daily periodical from the early 18th century.  William Addison and Joseph Steele wrote most of the The Spectator’s 2500-word, witty and wise essays on serious topics of social value.  A typical piece warns against the dangers of using “party lying” (i.e. propaganda) to advance a political cause.  Another is an extended meditation on eternity.  Several [...]

Anything for the Story: Tension

Photo by clurross (Flickr Creative Commons)

Today’s guest is Clayton Lindemuth, with a post about tension and author integrity because first, they are linked, and second, learning to let go of our nice selves is critical to good writing. If the reader doesn’t perceive the reality of the challenge or conflict facing the protagonist, the story is weak. His debut, Cold Quiet Country, set in winter of 1971, is a is a go-for-the-jugular country noir… “Lindemuth carefully weaves characters’ backstories [...]

Nine Good Gifts for the New Year

I’m not keen on New Year’s resolutions. It’s too easy for us to end up in a mire of guilt, weighed down by our failure to meet our own expectations. On the other hand, defined goals can help those of us who might otherwise become TV watching, junk food eating couch potatoes, with nothing more to show for 2013 than an empty file entitled First Draft and five extra kilos around the waistline.

This week, Facebook is chockers with people’s summaries [...]

The Book of Life

Therese here. Today’s guest is an author I personally admire, Margaret Dilloway. Margaret’s latest novel, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, is a beautifully written character-driven story about the struggles of a woman riddled with kidney disease–and an abrupt personality–and how her life as a rose breeder is disrupted by the arrival of her teen-aged niece. Said thorny Kirkus about the book, “[An] exquisitely written novel about love and redemption.” Library Journal also loved it, submitting this review: [...]

Out of the Ashes

On the first day of the winter break, my granddaughters’ school was gutted by fire. It started in the middle of the night, and by the time firefighters reached the scene, the hundred-year-old heritage building was well ablaze. Whoever set this fire – and it was certainly arson, with three separate ignition points – not only destroyed a lovely old building, but also tore the heart out of a community.

Teachers lost priceless resources. Students lost art work, stories and projects. [...]

Planting the Russian Seed

Childhood books are so powerful. They can imbue us with a passion for something unexpected, but whose effects are lifelong. And sometimes, when you look back, you can see the precise moment when it happened, the exact story that turned you on to something deep and important.

I was thinking about that recently—I’m in the middle of writing a wonderfully intense and involving YA fairytale novel, Scarlet in the Snow, inspired by the Russian version of Beauty and the Beast (known [...]

Updating Traditional Motifs to Create Fresh Fiction

I want to do something a bit different today. My new book The Boggle Hunters, a fantasy adventure novel for kids aged 8-12 has just come out this month in Australia (Scholastic Press Australia) and I want to talk about the sheer magic of creating this book and the fun I’ve had creating a new updated form of such traditional motifs as fairies, the granting of three wishes, supernatural beasties, and the like. I’ve always had a great love of [...]

The Writer’s Life is Full of Second Chances (or: Abandon Despair, All Ye Who Enter Here)

Heads up: Today’s post is one of the most inspirational I’ve ever read here on Writer Unboxed. (Therese here, by the way.) I’m so pleased to bring you our guest blogger, author Robin LaFevers. Robin is a multi-published author and the co-founder of a blog I’ve long admired, Shrinking Violets–a site geared toward introverted writers. Her latest novel, Grave Mercy, released just this week and has been receiving raves. And though I promised myself I wouldn’t purchase any new books [...]

Writing a Novel: a drama told in three acts, with a prologue and epilogue

Prologue:
Eureka moment, inspiration strikes. A new idea! Great excitement. Connections made in head, some scribbling in notebook. Floaty yet intense feeling, like being in love. Can’t think of anything else. Tingles up spine, gooseflesh, daydreams as the idea grows from little spark to fast-burning fire. Weird looks from people as novelist goes about muttering, laughing to herself on occasion.

Act 1, scene 1:
The big day has come. Screen opens on new document. Excited writing of title of book. Hey, it looks [...]

The Author’s Arsenal

Therese here. Today’s guest is returning author and WU friend Kristina McMorris. Kristina’s second novel, a dramatic WWII tale called Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, released just yesterday to high acclaim.

“[Bridge of Scarlet Leaves] gracefully blossoms through swift prose and rich characters…this gripping story about two ‘brothers’ in arms and a young woman caught in between them hits all the right chords.” — Publishers Weekly

“A sweeping yet intimate novel that will please both romantics and lovers of American history.” — Kirkus [...]

A Look at Writers’ Day Jobs

Let’s face it.  With the exception of the tiny handful of writers lucky enough to generate handsome earnings from their books or to have the full financial support of a spouse or a trust fund (two things I tend to longingly confuse), nowadays, most of us need some sort of gainful day job.

In fact, in this new economic and publishing context, paid jobs and careers in fields as seemingly unrelated to books as medicine, engineering, finance and law have become [...]