Posted in Fiction, Just for fun, Writing

The Most Amazing Fictional Worlds

Zootopia

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One of my absolute favorite movies, Zootopia showcases a beautiful world not too different from our own. The main city is made up of different sections with the creators had to put a lot of thought into. The animation is spectacular. Overall it’s a much watch film for world building alone.

Avatar

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This is one of the most popular films on this list and I can see why. The CGI is amazing and really makes you feel like you’re in the world. It’s beautiful and very well planned out. The minds behind this world are some of the concept artists I’ve seen. I’d take a page from their book any day.

Sword Art Online

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Finally the anime entry! Imagin living inside a video game and all the magical things that exist there. It’s a very captivating world with a lot of thought put into the detail of animation. Some of the things they come up with in the first season are spectacular!

Harry Potter

I couldn’t help but mention this one just because it’s so well known. The world of Harry and Newt is very intricate. I specifically love Diagon ally. There’s a reason why someone created an amusement park out of this!

How to train your dragon

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This movie gets points for the easy transition it has into its world. ALL the other entries on this list have the main character discover the world alongside you, making it easy to show off the detailed design. In this movie, Hiccup already knows the ins and outs of the world yet we still get to see the rich culture and environment that was created for us.

Croods

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And last but not least, a film I could watch ten thousand times. The Croods has a world painted in saturated colors and beautiful scenery. The entire plot revolves around the natural world so there are many creative ideas in the background of every frame. Simply stunning.

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Posted in Just for fun- Youtube, Stories, Writing

My Top 5 Youtubers and What They Can Teach Us About Telling Stories

img_8087.jpgMy favorite social media is Youtube by far so it tends to influence the way I write. These are my favorite storytellers on youtube. I left their links so please check them out and support them!

Super Carlin Brothers

Ben and J explain ideas like everything is a huge plot twist and it’s charming. They are very charismatic when they speak and their scripts make for perfect dialog. If you want to learn how to tell an amazing story about your day, look at some of their older videos, or if you want to be able to explain a concept like a boss, check out any of their theory videos.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKZo4N0lVPccBkSiuyVh4yg

 

The King of DIY

Yep, this guy vlogs about fish, and it’s amazing. He is the master of the long pause. I love that he gives you time for the information to sink in. He is very passionate and it shows in the level of detail he goes into. The way he transitions between topics is fluid and natural.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM9oZkV3tGJuUUhgZaiGZkQ

 

 

Jaiden Animations

This is a great example of how to weave together multiple stories in one segment. He character really comes through even though it animated and she describes just enough detail for us to understand where the story takes place without distracting from the plot.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGwu0nbY2wSkW8N-cghnLpA

 

 

Charlie Is So Cool Like

Here’s a great example of a character driven story. Charlie is from the early days of youtube where you didn’t need a theme or series to entice people. The way he talked about all his ideas made them interesting and I rewatch them often. He is a great passive comedian and has good timing.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmQXOAse-VnzuXHebX5I77g

 

Ants Canada

You wouldn’t think a channel about ants would any good but take a gander at this guy. The voiceovers and cuts build drama and suspense to a simple concept. He can make almost anything interesting and the way he involves his community is amazing too.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCONd1SNf3_QqjzjCVsURNuA

Posted in Fiction, Just for fun, Writing

My 6 Favorite Books From Childhood

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All writers have to get their spark from somewhere. For me, it was middle school, the peak of my reading career. These are my favorite books from that time. I won’t summarise them because you can find that anywhere.

 

 

Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism61ps5n05iul-_sy344_bo1204203200_

You wouldn’t know how fascinating this novel and the rest of the series is by the opening pages. But once you get into the real meat of the story you’ll find an amazing world and great adventure.

Dark Life

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The world building is absolutely perfect. The twist ending made me love writing and reading. I also loved the characters and found the whole thing to be a beautiful ride.

Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow

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Talk about a page turner. When I read it I was completely pulled in by the amazing world and fast plot. There was so much going on it kept me pulled in the entire time.

Rascal

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This one’s a family favorite. We would listen to it on every road trip becue the writing is simply beautiful. It tells a fantastic story that is both funny and leaves you with a sad but satisfying ending.

Zen and the Art of Faking

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If you want to fall in love with a character pick up this book. It was packed with awesome moments that have stuck with me to this day.

 

What were your favorites?

Posted in Anime Review, Fiction, Writing

Story Review: Love Stage!

img_8018.jpgHi there! Today I wanted to talk about plot and story structure in one of my all time favorite anime, Love Stage! I just recently finished rewatching it and was remarking about what the writers did.The first thing

The first thing to come to mind was the wonderful plot device of having both characters start out straight. This is the same thing that happened with me and Marlow which is the same over arching plot at in Love Stage. They weaved this in really nicely with the many sub plots, keeping the main story from smothering the later developments.

The sub plots really reinforced the main line of the story and made it seem more like developments on the main story rather than unrelated events. The main one that comes to mind is Izumi’s debut which is added in very early and carries through to the end of the anime. The main plot really piggy backed on it (in a good way) tieing in major plot points.

The characters were very well developed! Even though there is little screen time for some of them we get the gist of their character and how they are important to Izumi. For instance, his parents are in just a few crucial clips to show us how Izumi was raised. This went all the way down to the fictional character Izumi was obsessed with so she may help him through his emotional barriers.

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I completely disagree with you.

The main problem I have with the anime is the sheer amount of rape or near rape that Izumi is exposed to. This paint’s all gay relationships as unhealthy and does not provide any hope for a gay guy looking for support.

In fact, the whole anime doesn’t even deal with coming out of the closet. The characters opt to hide their relationship (if you can call it that) by announcing Izumi’s debut. And the two other confirmed characters clearly have not told the rest of the world, not even their families.

Though the animation is well done and it does promote accepting yourself the Anime falls flat in my opinion. I think Izumi’s debut would have been fine if we actually saw him struggle on set. And really they should have come out of the closet.

I think the other manga club kids a distraction and feel they are not needed in the last episode and only are there just to show the writers hadn’t forgotten about them. It would have been much more meaningful if the writers had just focused on the one key character instead of dividing up the attention.

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Agree to disagree

Posted in Writing

Living with Dyslexia– What still trips me up after 20 years

If you came here from my other Writing Characters with Dyslexia blogs, welcome. This one might be slightly more personal but should still help you get a better understanding of how to write your characters. Dyslexia, as I have said, is different for everyone, but here is what I still have trouble with after years of help.

Sentence Structure

If you were to meet me in person or text back and forth with me you would find a lot of run on sentences and misplaced words. Maybe you can even tell just reading my articles. I use words I know how to spell rather than the first word I thought of. For instance ‘tired’ becomes ‘exhausted’  because the latter is easier for me to remember. When talking, I will really closely mimic people I look up to using emphasis in the same places as them and the same word choice.

Tone of Voice

I get so carried away trying to figure out what people are saying that I don’t listen to what their tone of voice is saying. I’m awful at sarcasm even though I use it quite a bit. No one can tell when I’m being sarcastic and I can’t tell when they are either. This is applicable to all cues you get from tone of voice.

Spanish and French

Any language that uses the same alphabet as English is near impossible for me to read or understand. However, I’m much better at Japanese because EVERYTHING is different. I learn from the ground up all over again and can’t relate it to English in the least.

Commas

Even though I know the rules of where to place them, commas illude me. I have to use auto correct to get them in almost all situations. I also will combine sentences with commas instead of using a period. Thank god I live in modern America!

I hope this helped you write more realistic characters or understand dyslexia more. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me either in the comments or on my contact page!

Posted in Fiction, Publishing, Writing

How To Develop Infinite Novel Plots (With Your Own Personal Theme)

I’m always surprised by how many people have problems coming up with ideas for their books. I’ve never been the type to not have six or seven projects going at once. But there is one thing that I think is unaccounted for when people browse story starting sentences or images. This is something that I have always used and could not develop ideas without.

The Base Story

Now, this is the single most important, root for building every novel you could ever think of.  I always have my niche story start. Think of it as the first building block, the foundation to build upon. This could be as simple as ‘Man Vs. Nature’ or as complex as ‘Man struggling in the business world’ but it is the one common thread that all of your novels will have in common.

It MUST be Something that Interests YOU Deeply

For me, it’s gay romance where one of the main characters does not want to admit he’s gay. I find the dynamic extremely interesting with a thousand different plots. When you try to think of your base story make sure:

It can be set all different places across space and/or time.

You can interchange character types easily.

It is deeply interesting to YOU (not your mom, boyfriend or publisher).

It is flexible enough to fit many different subplots, character developments, and won’t have the same overall outline.

It can be used as a subplot if your interest turns to something else.

So for my example:

Novel 1: Boy is running for a position of power and is blackmailed into a marriage with another guy, main characters does not want to admit he’s gay but ends up falling in love. Novel 2: Boy has no memory of the past as he has died and while traveling through the afterlife the main characters

Novel 2: Boy has no memory of the past as he has died and while traveling through the afterlife the main characters does not want to admit he’s gay but ends up falling in love with his guide.Novel 3:

Novel 3: One of the most popular singers in America does not want to admit he’s gay because he’ll fall out of popular light, but he’s head over heals in love with someone.

I have 20+ ideas that center around this one idea. Whenever I’m stuck, I just start with this concept and brainstorm off of it. It’s a great starting place to get my mojo going.

It has Other Benefits Too!

If being able to develop plots extremely quickly isn’t enough, consider the fallowing. Your books will all be in the same category, making readers find your other work easier. Your publisher will know what to expect for you and can more easily pitch your book. Your current readers will like more that just your fist book and will look forward to others.

I hope this helps you with your plot development basics! Have a great day!

Posted in Writing

A Note on How to Write Gay Fiction

I have found that people are most interested in the things they know the least about. One of my most popular posts is ‘How to write characters with dyslexia’ in which I try to help people better understand what dyslexia effects in my life. It was not until just a moment ago that I realized I had another type of character that people were still fascinated by… Gay ones. So here we go, this is my number one and most important tip.

It is exactly the same as writing straight fiction.

When you are writing the actual romance, falling in love is the same for all types of people.

What is different is how the world reacts.

Once upon a time, I wrote a gay romance and the person who read it misread all the pronouns to make the main character a girl. It works for me, they liked the novel they just weren’t open enough to LGBT ideas for me to correct them.

So that is my footnote on how I suggest you write gay fiction- the same way as everything else.

Posted in Writing

My Best Tip to Improve Your Writing!

I have a game I like to play constantly. You can do it at work, during class, on a drive, while exercising, and every time it will help you become a better writer. It is simple and easy to do. Just look at anything around you and describe it. Outside my window I see a tree, here is my sentence. ‘There was no wind to shake the branches of the trees that stood rigidly outside my window’. Now I describe something else in one sentence.I do this

I do this with people, objects, sounds, actions, all of it improving my word bank and sentence structure. Doing this makes the places in my book feel more real. I don’t have to remember the line or write it down, it’s just something to do when I’m board. This little game gets my creative juices flowing. It works so well for me because there is always something new going on in the real world.

But what about when I’m stuck in the same room day after day? Well, I rewrite the sentences as if I were one of my characters. For instance, ‘The tree didn’t move no matter how long I glared at it, wishing I were somewhere else’. I do this task will all my characters and that helps me delineate character traits and speech patterns.

So the next time you’re bored or can’t write, try describing something around you. You’ll notice many more intricacies of the world that way. Be your own narrator and don’t forget to have fun!

Posted in Writing

Why Writers Need a Three Color Notebook

My most trusted notebook has three different colored pages, and it is my most valuable writing tool. Pink, purple, and blue each represent something very specific and it keeps my writing crisp and fresh. It is my most valuable guide, character developer, plot generator and the one thing I used to write all three of my novels.

The Blue Pages: Characters

In the very front of my book is a list of character traits I like reading. They are all positive and I try to incorporate at lease one into each of my character, even the villain. This is followed by a breakdown of my favorite characters good and bad traits. I underline the ones that come up the most. Then I have the same thing for real life people. The best part about this is every person gets to make their own list and write for those styles.

That’s followed by all of my characters on their own page. I have their name, book, what their goals are and what their personality is. Then I have what they want most, what they are trying to accomplish and one thing they would never say, never do, and never think. This allows me to reference my characters easily and develop their worst fears while I’m writing. I can force them to do the opposite of their goal, say something completely out of character, and display human emotion. I can also reference all my characters and make sure I’m not writing the same person twice.

The Pink Pages: Plots

I want all of my plots to be very original. Whenever I draft an idea I always write it’s tag line in the book followed by a synopsis and notes. This lets me keep everything jotted down for later so I won’t forget that story idea or reuse it. This is particularly important for me because I need to keep everything in order. It is also my bank when I’m working on a new idea. I mix and mash old thoughts together until I create the perfect plot.

The Purple Pages: Forget-me-nots

When I try to jump into a piece after a long time or I’m switching into it from another project it’s easy to forget the subtleties of each project. So I have a page dedicated to things I need to put in later, whether that is symbols, subplot, recurring images, scenes to put in or edits to make in the future, it all go’s on one page. During edits, I reference this to make sure nothing is forgotten.

I hope this can help you keep organized in some way! Have a great day.

Posted in Fiction, Publishing, Writing

Interview With Self-Published Author Annie Louise Twitchell

Annie Louise Twitchell used to be like the rest of us, an aspiring writer. But she was braver than the rest of us and took on the challenge of self-publishing. Her book Spinner of Secrets has been described as an “amazing retelling” and “an enchanting fairy tale retelling written with a lyrical hand.” She has been running her blog since December of 2015 and detailed the publication of her book but I was also able to interview Annie about her process of writing and publishing Spinner of Secrets. So please read on for tips and tricks for publishing your first novel.

What is your background in writing?

I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I taught myself to write cursive when I was five or so, so I could “write pretty”. I’ve always adored books. My dad read The Hobbit out loud to me and my brothers when I was quite small; it became my favorite book of all time and still is. I joined my uncle’s website for writers when I was 13, and won my first writing contest within a year – it was a Christmas writing contest, and if I remember, I was the youngest person competing. I was pretty proud of myself for winning. I’m quite sure I’ve written over one million words since then.

What inspired you to write this specific story?

A writing prompt on a forum. The prompt was to write a short story with the following three elements, person, place, and thing: an outlaw, a castle, and a rose. My first impulse was to write Beauty and the Beast, but after thinking about it, I ended up doing Rumpelstiltskin. Why not? I fell in love with the story and just went with it. It was two years in creating, almost exactly from when I posted the prompt reply and when I published the book.

What was it like writing in a specific time period?

I inhale historical fiction, so I have a lot of background for it. It’s a fairy tale, so I didn’t worry too much about having every detail perfect. Fairy tales allow for some flexibility. The biggest thing was figuring out how to convey passage of time – they didn’t measure time in minutes and seconds, as one of my beta readers pointed out. So I had to do a lot of research into that. There were other things I had to research as well; that wasn’t hard, because I know how to do that.

What did you do in order to keep the story of Rumpelstiltskin fresh while staying true to the story?

To keep a little more reality in it, instead of spinning gold from straw, Letta spins linen thread. Linen thread is made from the fibers in flax straw, which has to go through quite the process to get to the point of spinning. It involves water and rotting off the husk. Spinning linen thread from raw straw is impossible to do overnight. I spent a couple years working with fiber animals and fiber arts. I’ve done some spinning and let me tell you, it is not as easy as they make it look.

Do you have any tips for wannabe authors?

Write like nothing matters, edit edit edit edit edit, and at some point be willing to draw the line and say this is good. Not okay, not good enough, but this is good. There are going to be people who hate your work, there are going to be people who are really mean and cruel about it. Don’t you dare let that stop you. This is your story, not theirs. Yes, take the constructive criticism. Take the people saying “I think this needs to change…” – especially if they’re your beta readers or editors and you asked them to. But even then, it’s your story, not theirs. They’re trying to help you improve it. You can decide not to change something if you don’t want to.

What were your goals when you published Spinner of Secrets?

Really, it was about me. Beating my anxiety, putting a finished work out there, putting down the voices in my head that said I’m not good enough, I’m only a girl, I don’t have any right to even try. The month before publication was really hard and exhausting, and I’m still kind of patching myself up after it. But I did it. I have a stack of my books sitting on my chair.

What went into creating the cover and synopsis?

The synopsis, I just worked at for a year or so. I had a sudden burst of inspiration (probably while I was making dinner) and just kept refining and polishing it. The cover was a lot of fun, actually. I took the photo at the river near my house, which I frequently haunt, and my housemate/sister/best friend worked with me to design it. She’s a professional photographer and has a lot of experience with graphic design. I’ve gotten both extremes in response to it – either they hate it and it’s dull and boring, or they love it and it draws them right in. It was mostly other authors who said they hated it, interestingly enough, and other people who loved it. I love it, especially in print, and it’s perfect for the story.

 

What advice would you give to other authors who were going to self-publish?

Get help. Beta readers, proofreaders, an editor if you can afford one (I couldn’t, so I had seven beta readers plus me and my mom and my proofreader.) Definitely invest in a proofreader. It’s less expensive than an editor but it will help polish everything up and catch those annoying typos. Do your research. Just because it’s faster than traditional publishing, doesn’t mean it’s easier. Everything is on you. You are the party responsible for getting it out there looking decent. Market yourself and your book. Run specials and promote them. Do. Your. Research.

Would you self-publish again?

Absolutely. I love having the control and the freedom, as well as doing it on my own schedule. I also found I love the formatting and designing process. It was so. Much. Fun. Definitely work, but it was fun! It was a challenge and it was an exciting one that I was able to meet.

What’s next? Another book maybe?

Ahh, yes. Currently I’m working on eight books as well as a poetry collection. Which one ends up being published first is yet to be seen, although it will probably be another novella, just because I’ll finish with that first. My writing style is really weird – I write and write and write, and then I leave it be for a long time and work on something else. It gives the story breathing space, it gives me breathing space, and it just makes the process easier for me. It’s like making bread. You have to let it rest in between beating the snot out of it, otherwise it comes out dry, flat, tough, and tasteless.

If you want to find out more information about Annie Louise Twitchell find her on Facebook or her Blog! And don’t forget to order her book Spinner of Secrets so you can experience the tale of Rumpelstiltskin like never before.