Aithne is a warrior kidnapped from her homeland during a Viking invasion and forced to marry her captor. Shortly before the raid that claims his life, she becomes pregnant with a child whom she believes cursed. Spurred by the dark sorcery she learns from relics her late husband’s mother left behind—including a magic mirror—Aithne descends into a madness that threatens not only her child’s life but also the lives of everyone around her.
Exiled by her mother, Brenna is taken in by a clan of dwarves who treat her like their own. They soon learn that no one is immune to Aithne’s lunacy—not even the prince to whom Brenna was once betrothed. Brenna must face and conquer death itself if she is to save the land that rightfully belongs to her, and to break her mother’s terrible spell on the man she loves.
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The simple structure, clear elements, and unadorned style of fairy tales are something all writers can learn from. After all, fairy tales have passed the test of time. They engage readers (or listeners) exactly because their simplicity makes for dynamic (and dramatic!) stories. Regardless of what genre you write, here are the top five things writers can learn from reading fairy tales.
1. Craft a strong beginning
The classic ‘Once upon a time…’ story beginning immediately creates a connection with readers. It is familiar, while at the same time promising a new adventure. These are four magical words for kids, and for many adults. And that’s the point right there: the beginning of your story should be magical. A strong beginning should:
Convey a sense of atmosphere (giving a clue to the genre and style of your story)
The importance of your novel’s first chapter cannot be underestimated. It’s the chapter that introduces your book to the world – the chapter that needs to draw in agents and publishers and readers alike. (No pressure or anything!) Unfortunately, there’s no predetermined formula for a perfect first chapter. Every story is different, and so is every opening chapter. However, there are certain elements that most successful first chapters share, and it’s those that should serve as guidelines to you when you’re writing the opening of your book. Virtually nobody is able to knock out a flawless first chapter on their first draft. You may need to come back and include some of these elements during your rewrite or edit. But even if you haven’t started writing yet, it’s worth keeping the following things in mind to ensure you’re on the right track.
When you’ve finally finished your manuscript after thousands of hours of work, the last thing you want to hear is that there’s more work to be done. But unfortunately, that’s the simple truth of the matter. Finalising your draft is an enormous achievement, but now’s not the time to rest on your laurels! There’s still a lot you need to do to get your book ready for publication. Once you’ve written, rewritten and edited and you’re satisfied with the story, it’s time to focus on the little things: the small yet important details of the writing itself. Despite (or perhaps because of) the hundreds of times you’ve read your manuscript, there are plenty of things you might have missed. Overused or unnecessary words; inelegant phrasing or exposition; long, difficult-to-read sentences… All of these things might have escaped your notice while you were dealing with bigger…
I’ve been crap at updates recently, but there’s good reason for it, I PROMISE. In this post you’ll find a quick rundown of those reasons (i.e. everything that’s releasing/I’m working on in 2017, subject to change).
This erotic horror series officially debuts this month, but you can get started with a couple of teasers, one of which is my story “Suck.” Check it out here.
Recently, we delved into what makes a great opener for a novel, covering the key elements to include in your first chapter. But just as there are important elements you should aim to include, there are also elements you should strive to avoid. As we discussed previously, your first chapter has the power to make or break your novel in the eyes of readers, agents and editors alike. Clichés, weak writing, gluts of information, misplaced scenes – all these things have the potential to drive away your audience. For most authors, it’s fairly easy to fall into the trap of any of the following undesirable elements. Mistakes are completely understandable, especially when you’re only on your first draft. But if you keep the following tips in mind while you…
As a writer, it’s easy to feel like you’ve completely exhausted all your ideas when you need to be creative all the time. The good news is, you can never run out of creativity! As John Steinbeck once said, “Ideas are like rabbits, you get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen”. If you’ve lost inspiration for a project you’re working on, or you’re looking for some tips to get motivated to write, here are some activities you can try that will help you out of that creative rut. 1. Read, read, read Perhaps the most obvious of these tips, reading is a great way to reignite your creativity. Sometimes, the best ideas are sparked from a story someone else has already written. If you plan on writing novels, reading is a great way to help you remember what you’re working towards: getting your own book on the…
Scenes drive your story forward; without them, there would be no novel. Your scenes need to keep your reader on the edge of their seat with your plot and characters because otherwise, they won’t keep reading. Looking at your novel on a scene-by-scene basis is a critical step in the writing and editing process. Here’s a list of six things you can do to make every scene super engaging for your readers.
1. Structure your scenes to maintain good pacing You’re probably aware of the importance of structuring your novel, but having good scene structure is equally important. By structuring your scenes carefully, you will ensure your novel maintains a good pace and isn’t full of dull patches.
In his book Techniques of the Selling Writer, author Dwight V. Swain highlights the importance of creating scenes and sequels. He suggests that a scene should always be
There is a romantic myth that surrounds writers. This myth is rife with infatuation, possessiveness and protectiveness: a writer is supposed to be obsessed with their work. Utterly absorbed. If their creative process stalls, or in some instances flatlines, the writer should just work harder. More rewrites, more experimentation. They should even put the draft away to gain that invaluable perspective, but ultimately come back. No matter the grief a project causes, a writer should always come back. It reads like a lover addicted to an implosive partnership. Romantic myth, prepare to be busted. Just like relationships, not all projects are meant to last forever. Some projects might not last a week. A day. A five minute type-out. Some projects you don’t have to come back for. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s healthy. Similar to a relationship that limps on well…
I currently use OneNote and the Outlining Your Novel Workbook to plan novels, but I’ve been intrigued by bullet journaling for a while and know a few people who love it. On the other hand, it seems like a lot of extra work. What do you think? Have you done it?
“You may have seen the terms ‘bullet journal’ or even #bujo floating around lately. Bullet journaling is a hugely popular method of organising, documenting and reflecting on your day-to-day life. It’s a customisable combination of journal, diary, notebook, to-do list – and anything else you want to add, really! Bullet journals are used by all manner of people, but they can be especially useful for writers. A bullet journal can help you set writing goals, plan novels, track your progress, practise all-important self-care, and much more. This guide provides everything you need to know about starting a bullet journal and using it to improve and enhance your writing process. We’ll be covering everything from setting up basic journal pages to plotting an entire novel using your #bujo – so let’s dive right in! Before we get…”