fbpx Menu Close

A Poetry Prompt: Pumpkin Patch

agriculture, autumn, cropland

It’s October! And that’s an exciting time for the writing community.

Halloween is always a great time of the year for writers. The horror vibes creep into your stories, the movie marathons begin, the nights become dark and welcoming – it’s the ultimate time of inspiration when it comes to telling tales.

And, of course, it’s now only one more month until November… and unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you all know what that means.

We based this poetry prompt on Halloween. And we really hope you enjoy it.


The Purpose

When writing based on this one, think about your unique voice when it comes to poetry. Give the reader the unique words they want to read in the unique order that only you can present them in.

Focussing on your voice while you’re writing is a great way to strengthen it. You don’t tend to think too much about it in usual circumstances, but because this is a prompt, take a little time to slow things down and really think about what you’re trying to say and how you’re trying to say it.


The Prompt

Scenery/Vibe: A pumpkin patch. You’re cold and alone. And it’s just about to snow. It’s dark outside. There’s light in the distance. Then blackness. The pumpkins help.

Poem’s Message: That even when you least expect it, there’s always something there to help you. You just have to look a little closer.


Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

DISCLAIMER: These prompts are here for you to use however you like. You can use them to aid you and give inspiration for competitions, or even for full-length poetry collections. They’re yours. Consider them your little gift – from us, to you. Do with them as you wish!

A Writing Prompt: Tangled

White Bicycle Road Sign


The Purpose


This week’s prompt is all about pacing, hence the short nature of it (you’ll see).

We want you to craft a scene based on fast pacing and clear details. We want the picture to be painted for the reader as soon as possible so that the intended suspense can kick in fast. Focus on switching up the flow of your sentences in terms of length and connecting styles. That can really influence pacing.


The Prompt


A stolen bicycle. A fallen man. A long trail of half-dried blood.

Two confused police officers watch on.


Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

DISCLAIMER: These prompts are here for you to use however you like. You can use them to aid you in short story inspiration for competitions, or even for full-length novels. They’re yours. Consider them your little gift – from us, to you. Do with them as you wish!

Writing A Novel: Arch-Plot Vs Mini-Plot – What’s The Difference?

Portrait of Beautiful Young Woman over White Background

Writing a novel is like… trying to open a series of locked doors in under a minute while being chased by an angry group of rabid geese. Oh, and you also don’t have the correct key. For any of the doors.

Yeah… we think that just about covers it.


Structure Is Important


We’re sure you’re aware of this fact. But, you know, sometimes they have to be stated…

To us, structure (both in the short and long-term) is the bread and butter of story-craft. If you present a poorly paced story, but have the structure locked down, you’d likely get away with it. The same cannot be said for the reverse.

It’s worth noting that by ‘short and long-term’ we mean the structure of the overall plot (and everything that comes into that), and the structure of the intricacies (the sentences, the paragraphs etc.).

We’re going to be paying attention to the former, and in doing so, we’re going to teach you all about two of the most common types of structural genre.


What Is Arch-Plot?


We thought you’d never ask…

Arch-plot is a type of structural genre. It is defined by a multitude of different components, but we’re going to give you a simplified rundown. We don’t want to bore you with any information that isn’t necessary. That’s writing 101.

The arch-plot is more commonly used in terms of structural genre. It involves protagonists that must face terrible external conflict. They typically follow a linear structure in which the protagonist is introduced, their conflict is introduced, and then the race begins. The protagonist must battle against external antagonism, and must endure a shift by the end of the story. In basic, the ending must be closed.

An arch-plot is the classic story.

Something happens to change a rational protagonist’s world, and the reader follows along in a (most often) chronological order while the effects of this change play out. The antagonism they’re facing is predominantly external, meaning it’s a physical thing or scenario that they must overcome.

Example: A man falls off his bike and breaks his leg. He’s told he’ll never walk again. But his daughter’s wedding is only three months around the corner, and there’s no damn way he isn’t walking down that aisle beside her.


What About Mini-Plot


We’ll let you have an educated guess first. (HINT: It’s the opposite.)

Yep, you guessed it. A mini-plot story is a tale that follows a protagonist through predominantly internal antagonism. They have inner demons that plague their lives, and the success of the narrative hinges on whether or not they can defeat them (or rather, whether or not the climax is reached). Believe it or not, the conflict doesn’t always have to be resolved; it just has to be closed – positive or negative.

The structure tends to be more fractured than that of an arch-plot. Writers have more freedom and play a lot more with flashbacks and flash-forwards than they do in arch-plots. That’s because the mini-plot is more complex in its structure and telling – the flashes here and there help to add to this complexity.

Example: A lawyer is facing the biggest case of his life. He’s been in the game for thirty long years, and the success of this case will cement him as one of the greatest of all time. Not to mention the millions he’ll make along the way. There’s only one issue though… all he’s ever wanted to be is a singer. And now his depression has reached an all-time high.


Storyline A & Storyline B


Now, here’s where things go down a slightly different path.

A book can be both arch and mini-plot. It can contain elements of both structural genres and reflect components from each of them. It can focus on a protagonist who battles money issues but endures a ton of inner demons along the way.

In fact, a book always contains elements of both.

That’s where this notion of storyline A & B comes into the equation. Storyline A is the external conflict and storyline B is the internal conflict. But if a story contains both, how do you place it in terms of structural genre. Quite simply: it depends on which storyline drives the narrative. If it focusses on external conflict, it’s an arch-plot; if it focusses on internal conflict, it’s a mini-plot.

To put it plainly: the structural genre a story attains depends on which storyline it is mostly driven by.


The More You Know


We hope you found this article both helpful and informative. We really want to instill as much value as possible here. We think it’s good for writers to know about structural genre because when it’s time to plot, they’ll know exactly what it is they’re creating.

We’d love to write a similar article in terms of content genre, but that would take all year… There is one other type of structural genre – the anti-plot. That’ll be next week’s topic, so stay tuned for that.

The bottom line is that knowing the structure of your story is important. You need to know what components to focus on, and what that means for your reader. Once you master the knowledge, you can apply it in an effective way, thus creating a story that will stick in readers’ minds for many years to come.

A Poetry Prompt: Clarity

Photography of Waterfalls in Cave


The Purpose


This week’s prompt has arrived.

This one is designed to make you focus on the bigger picture in your writing. You have freedom with the structure here. There’s no specific rhythm or pace to attempt – just go with the flow and see where it takes you.

The main thing to take into account is the message. Focus all of your energy on that.


The Prompt


Scenery/Vibe: The clouds are parting. You can see through them with clarity. The rain has stopped. You wipe your eyes. Now you can see.

Poem’s Message: That no matter how much it hurts, you can always choose happiness in the end.


Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

DISCLAIMER: These prompts are here for you to use however you like. You can use them to aid you and give inspiration for competitions, or even for full-length poetry collections. They’re yours. Consider them your little gift – from us, to you. Do with them as you wish!

A Writing Prompt: Choices

architecture, blur, buildings


The Purpose

This prompt has one purpose and one purpose only: it’s going to inspire you to write something that’s a little creepy and full of tension. It’s great to have scenes such as the one this prompt will inspire in your locker. Tension is never to be frowned upon. It exists in every book. The genre dictates how, when, and why.

In this prompt, think horror.


The Prompt

Two streets. One lit by streetlights; the other in complete black. You can only choose one.


Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

DISCLAIMER: These prompts are here for you to use however you like. You can use them to aid you in short story inspiration for competitions, or even for full-length novels. They’re yours. Consider them your little gift – from us, to you. Do with them as you wish!

Writing A Novel: The One Page Plan Of Storytelling

Man Wearing Black and White Stripe Shirt Looking at White Printer Papers on the Wall

Writing a novel is like frying an egg.

You’re going to curse incessantly, get sweats from the heat, and create a whole lot of mess before you ever get it right.


The Concept Of Planning

There are many resources online that go into great detail about how you should plan your novel. Some say you should sit for three hundred days, mapping out every single detail of every single scene in so much depth that you might as well be writing the actual novel. Whereas others recommend going through each scene in a lighter format, covering only the key parts.

Us, on the other hand, recommend neither. At least not in the first instance.

To us, planning needn’t be complex or stress-inducing. There’s plenty enough of that when you’re actually writing. Planning is that magical phase in which you feel the butterflies whirling their way around your spinal column. The moment you lose that magic is the moment the stress begins. And stress should never come into the equation. Not this early, at least.


What’s The Alternative?

There are many ways to plan your book, and we’re not for one second saying that there’s a right or wrong way to go about it. What we do hope to do though, is give you something to think about. Because who knows, maybe minimalism is what your planning process has been missing all this time.

We believe in both long and short types of planning. In fact, we’d advise you to do both. The difference with us is that our preferred methods of short planning are incredibly short. One A4 sheet of paper is enough.

Now… we know what you’re thinking. You can’t possibly plan out a story on one single sheet of A4. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. It can in fact be done, and it will definitely cause you way less stress in the long run. You just need to know how to best go about it.


The Meat Of The Story

When planning in short form, the purpose of the process is to plan out nothing but the absolute necessities. Our recommended A4 style holds one purpose and one purpose only: to tell yourself the crucial parts of your story.

At the top of the page, you’re going to write the genre and subgenre of the story you’re going to write. If you don’t know those things, that’s the first thing you need to figure out. Once you’ve done that, you’re going to want to know the conventions of that genre, and most importantly, the must-have scenes.

For example: the must have scene in a horror story is the victim at the mercy of the monster scene. To learn more about genre conventions and must-have scenes, spend an hour on Google. It’s a magical place.


Executing Your Plan

You’re going to need to plan out the three sections of your novel (beginning, middle, and end) based on three different things. Each section has a scene that must take place (these vary for each genre. We’ll outline crime in our example to give you an idea).

Those must-haves are the first thing you’re going to put in each section, and they’re going to fall right in the middle of their respective box. The order the things go into the boxes is the order in which they’ll take place within the novel. So, if you want your book to start out with your protagonist in a gas station bathroom, staring at their naked self in the mirror (you should totally steal that, by the way), that goes in first.

Below is an example for a crime novel (we’ve included the must-haves and their respective names for each structural section in bold):


The protagonist is in a gas station bathroom in an induced state, staring at a blurred image of himself in the dirty mirror. The next day, he’s at his headquarters. Call comes in for new case. INCITING INCIDENT: He attends the scene. A female body is found – bloodied and bruised in the back of an abandoned truck. They identify the victim. The body is taken away for further testing. They canvass the scene, locate potential witnesses, and get down to the interviewing process.


The protagonist and his partner are left with the task of letting the victims single mother know that her daughter has been found dead. They suspect that it’s murder. Later that day, the protagonist is back at home when he sees a newsflash pop up about a second body. RED HERRING/NEAR MISS: They are pointed towards the killer from prints that were found on a note left with the second victim’s body. When they reach his apartment, it turns out that he’s victim number two’s boyfriend. He is also dead. There is a note there from the killer – he was just there and now he’s gone. Talk begins of a serial killer and the city’s people are on high alert. The protagonist and his partner spend the majority of their days being harassed by the media.


They eventually catch a break. They receive CCTV footage from an anonymous source who claims they tailed the killer from the boyfriend’s place. They now have an address. Search warrants are signed and off they go. HERO AT THE MERCY OF THE VILLAIN SCENE: When they arrive at the property and break in, it appears as though no one is home. But then a gunshot slices the silence. The protagonist is hit. The killer emerges from the shadows, letting everyone know that he sent the footage and led them right into his trap. The final showdown commences.


See where we were going with that? Don’t pay attention to the plot itself – that was completely made up on the spot – but pay close attention to the structure of that brief plan. The bold parts, as we said, are to do with the must have scenes and their respective place in the narrative’s structure. These are different for each genre, and that’s why you must learn them – they’re crucial in creating an effective plan.


Enjoy!

We hope you find this strategy and the information within highly useful. We love creating and distributing these articles because they’re a great way to help writers with all of the intricacies of writing a novel – because yes, there are many.

Think of this particular method as you telling yourself the story first, before you even consider expanding it. This way, it’s clear in your mind and ready to be built upon. From this outline, you can craft more in-depth, scene-by-scene stuff in a much more effective way. That’s because you have a clear understanding of the meat of the story. That’s the important part.

If you understand the story from a professional standpoint (which is what this method will allow you to achieve), you’re going to be able to write it in a professional way. And in doing so, you’ll come out with some very satisfied readers.

A Poetry Prompt: Cold

Blue Rose


The Purpose

Poetry is a great resource – even if you are reading this as someone who writes novels. How? Because they teach you the art of well-refined and to-the-point prose. If you can learn rhythm, you can learn writing.

For this prompt, we want you to focus on creating rhythm. Try to form a consistent pattern within the syllables, giving each line its own freedom to roll off the tongue.


The Prompt

Scenery/Vibe: A field. It’s wet and raining. But at the other side, you can see a sunny meadow. That shines brighter and brighter with every step you take. It’s right there, calling for you.

Poem’s Message: That even when it’s cold and dreary, the sunlight will prevail.


Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

DISCLAIMER: These prompts are here for you to use however you like. You can use them to aid you and give inspiration for competitions, or even for full-length poetry collections. They’re yours. Consider them your little gift – from us, to you. Do with them as you wish!

A Writing Prompt: Salvation

Monster Illustration


The Purpose

For today’s prompt, we want you to focus on creating great tension and the importance of world-building. It’s because of this that we’re choosing to set this one up from an alternate earth standpoint. The protagonist has woken up and encountered some weird and terrible things.

He just wants to go back to sleep and wake up on the normal version of his planet – that’s where the tension aspect of it comes in. As you know, writers rarely give the characters what they want. That usually happens at the end.

And guess what, our wonderful writing friends, this is only the beginning…


The Prompt

Why had everything been so black

He couldn’t remember much, only that he’d woken up in this strange place that looked like earth but was far from it. All he knew for sure was that he was glad those things had gone away. Sure, they may have dragged his wife away with them, but he’d deal with that loss later. Right now, he was simply glad they were gone.

There was a soft growling sound in his left ear.

Or at least he had been…


Try this prompt for size and create something based on it. If you do write something, please share it with us in one way or another. Tag us in a post, post it in the comments, send it to us in an email – we’d love to read your work.

Who knows? If you send something our way and we really like the way you write, we might just offer you a discount on our editing services. Or we might even edit a few chapters for free. It’s worth a try on your part.

You can reach us with your submission or with any questions/inquiries here.

DISCLAIMER: These prompts are here for you to use however you like. You can use them to aid you in short story inspiration for competitions, or even for full-length novels. They’re yours. Consider them your little gift – from us, to you. Do with them as you wish!

Writing A Novel: How To Use Facebook To Build Your Author Brand

facebook, internet, login

Writing a novel is like fighting a lion.

Only… you have no weapon or armor, you only have one arm and one leg, and you’re actually fighting ten of them. Yeah. We think that pretty much sums it up…


Branding vs Marketing


It’s important that you learn the difference.

Marketing (at least in our eyes) is all about telling. It’s about telling people about your book; telling people how good it is; telling people that they should absolutely buy it – right now. Marketing is you going out of your way to spread as much awareness as possible.

So what is branding? How is it different?

Well, in many ways… but the key difference is the way it plays out. When you build a great brand, you don’t have to tell people that your product or service is great – they’ll tell you. When you build a great brand, you let that do all the talking.

Think of it like showing vs telling in writing. Marketing is telling; branding is showing. But still, just like in writing, both have their time and place. It’s just that in most cases, you should dedicate your time to building a brand.


And Not Just Any Brand


A genuine brand.

The number one reason most people aren’t cashing in on social media is because they think they need to become or act like something or someone else. That’s just not the case. And you should never employ this sort of strategy on Facebook, either.

It’s about being you.

Don’t overthink your content in terms of what you’re pushing out for the world. That’s the first thing you need to wrap your head around. There’s only one golden rule when it comes to content, and that’s don’t be a link-spammer. No one wants to see book link after book link.

Ninety percent of your content shouldn’t contain a single link or call to action. What you should focus on instead, are the people who are consuming the content. Is it good for them? Does it serve a purpose for them? Is it entertaining? Informative? Insightful? These are the things you must think about in terms of content.

Content is the way to win on Facebook. So the two things to remember about content are: be genuine, and don’t be a link-spammer. If you remember those two things, you’re off to a great start.


And Speaking Of Starts…


We understand that Facebook is about the hardest place to build a following – especially if you’re building (as most of you are) from the ground up. Instagram and Twitter are easier to break into because of hashtags and the community diving aspects. That much is true.

But…

You should never count Facebook out. In fact, in authorship, it’s a fundamental part of your success. That’s all because of the sharing feature. All it takes is one post – just one of your many daily posts (and there will be many each day!) – to gain a little traction and get shared around.

From there, you’re off to the races.


Using Facebook Ads


The best thing about Faceboook ads is that right now, they’re hugely underpriced.

You can reach thousands of specifically targeted people for just ten to twenty bucks, and because of this, we would advise running one to two ads per week. And if you have the ability to own a device that lets you read this post right now, you can spare twenty to forty bucks per week. If you can’t, stop buying expensive coffee on the way to work and make your own at home – problem solved!

We know what you’re thinking right now. You can’t wait to run lots of ads and get your book all over Facebook for the world to see, right? Wrong. You’re not going to link-spam in your ads either. Why? Because link-spamming is never a great tactic. You might get away with advertising your link once in every ten ads, but for the other nine, you’re going to focus on running ads based on your content.

You’re going to directly advertise your content to the people who are interested in writing and the types of books you write. The number one rule in selling something to someone is that first, you must have their attention. Giving them a link (something they see every single day in Facebook and other social media ads) probably won’t achieve that. So instead, you’re going to give them a slice of you.

When advertising your content, you’re promoting yourself. That’s the key thing here. You’re the writer; you’re the brand. And if people can relate to, gain knowledge or entertainment from, or just generally enjoy you as a person, they’re going to feel way more compelled to purchase your work.


It’s About Your Intentions


If you act like a link-spamming robot, that’s exactly what people will see you as. They’ll think you’re just another writer who tried their hand at this because they’re hungry for some extra cash.

People don’t want that.

They want to purchase books from people who are passionate about what they do; who love the process of creation and are devoted to it entirely. People want to read books that are written from the heart and soul. And if all you do is spam, that is the last message you’ll push out.

You need to make sure that the passion you have for this journey comes across in your content. The only true way to do that is to make posts that are true to you and every aspect of the process. Don’t ever feel as though you have to put on a front. Just be real about your life and everything that transpires.

And most of all, don’t be a link-spammer!

Because sure, running ads and writing posts that contain links may sell you a few books over a short-term period, but building genuine connections and a loyal following will sell you a lot of books for life.

Writing A Novel: Do It For You

backpack, blonde hair, blur

Writing a novel is like learning how to fly a plane. Only, there’s no one there to teach you, you have no fuel or wings, and the plane is actually made of paper. Yep, we think that about sums it up.


The Journey


Writing is a personal journey.

It’s a journey that begins in your heart and soul, takes a tour around a once-blank page, and comes full circle to rest once again in your heart and soul. It’s a journey that’s full of love and light and sadness and hardship – that much is true. But it’s important that you own those things, for they will help you grow.

No one ever became a great writer through neglect. You can’t just pick and choose when to write; you can’t move through the process based on motivation or inspiration. Nope. Working in that sort of style is the fastest way to a short-lived career.

What you must do instead is become one with the journey.

When you learn to love every aspect of the process – the good and the bad – you open yourself up to a world of greater achievement. If you can love what you do so much that you love it even on the bad days, you’ll learn that there is actually no such thing.

There are no bad days. Only days in which to build and grow.


Find Your Why


For most of you, writing is both a blessing and a curse. It’s something that you must do – even when you don’t feel like it. It’s something that you can’t ignore or forget about, even when some of the time you really wish you could. It’s both beautiful and ugly. It’s light and dark.

But what we want, is for you to find your why.

Why is it that you cannot ignore this craft? Why is it that no matter how hard it gets, you simply cannot allow yourself to fold and crumble? Why is it that even when there are so many less stressful ways in which to spend your free time, you still wish to involve yourself in such treacherous self-torture?

The answer, we feel, is cowering in the depths of your heart.


You Must Write To Free That


With every word that leaves your brain, you’re one step closer to ultimate freedom. Words – and all their untarnished, unimaginable power – are the most effective way to channel the pain and suffering that your heart has endured. That is your why. That is what you must use writing for: to free yourself from this underlying pain.

It is through your words that you will best channel this. That is why we implore you to write for yourself.

Sure, you could write for the reader or for the agent or for the editors at publishing houses… but if you chose to do so, your writing wouldn’t carry with it the truth and purpose that it would if it was written for you.

When you set out to write for anyone other than yourself, you leave out all the best bits. You forget to imprint your heart on the page. You forget to breathe your breath into the chapters. You forget to paint your life in every word of every sentence. You forget what writing is all about.

And that, in this game, is the ultimate loss.


Forget The External


You need to stop thinking about the numbers and statistics and rejections. It’s all that stuff that’s poisoning you; that’s ruining your chances of discovering the fulfillment you deserve.

Please… we implore you to just try.

Try to forget about the physical journey, and in doing so, become one with your true purpose. Leave the thoughts of publishing and marketing and book sales to the professionals and instead, focus on the words, where they come from, and what they mean to you and your heart and soul.

For it is there, our beautiful writers, where true success is found.

Newer Posts
Older Posts
Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: