Category Archives: Writing Tips

Long time, no blogging.

It is with deepest sorrow, that a wonderful companion in my writing has passed away. On 21st April, my laptop died! I experienced all my degrees, my college years, my first years in my career with this laptop since 2013. It broke my heart and fearful of loss of work. I am grateful I have a Geeky partner whose a wizard at technology! We got a hard drive, and we salvaged it all! New laptop/tablet choice is still undecided. So for fun, I am writing my work and this very blog… I, I “borrowed” my partner’s iPad. Thanks sweetie!

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So where is my writing right now?

Touch screen typing is liking Bambi on ice! Damn thing keeps me clicking on Enable microphone, which is useful when my dyslexia would stop me in my spelling, but I don’t want it every time I hint the symbol button to grab a comma or two. So I have practice some short stories, mostly for my own amusement as I work on my big WIP!

Another exciting news! I found a Critique Partner! If you don’t know what that is, in the writing community, there’s an etiquette and professional service to exchange WIP, to critique them. Be that to have the talent of grammar checking to spotting plot holes or awkward writing. So we both have messaged each other through Goodreads, after I posted an ad to seeking one, then built an agreement to exchange a few chapters at a time. Now it’s not my place to reveal anything of their work, but *squealing* I loved their blurb they pitched. Here’s to a good friendship in our writing profession!

What’s my upcoming plan for next development?

I am working through my delightful tales of my series that my WIP part takes in. I am drafting up plots in each novel and summaries my series. This may take longer than my original one-year plan to be published. I suppose by world building, writing and editing is about my own quality standards than quantity time scale. Stay tune! Now I can blog again, I will be writing more soon!

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Swoon, romance and kiss! The Phrase reference books – what are they and why I use them

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Ever had that thought where you think there’s too many reference books on how to write? Or courses even? Which ones are best, or relevant to me? First things, first. This is not to advertise these books or why you should have them. If they are not relevant to your style of writings or theme of books, then relax. I am not the best sales person. Now I am not one for spoilers in what happens in a book. And the same goes for here too. If you wanna know, buy the book. Hey, look! Maybe a career in sales is a potential for me after all! 

I like the concept that I can share my knowledge, no matter how little the topic is, I can see why I work my day job in a classroom. 

Say It Like Miss Austen Book

Okay, let’s get technical. When falling in love when watching Mr Darcy, or in 2020 case, Simon Basset Duke of Hastings and the Bridgeton men to swoon for… you want to speak the jargon of their time and dialogue. Now as a Jane Austen fan and my family accidentally one Christmas doubling up on buying all her books! (At least if one copy is burnt out from over-reading, I got a spare!) Plus my dyslexia can barely translate or comprehend the modern English Language. My poor husband suffered, whilst dating me, very bad flirting lines! So I would normally hit subtitles when binge-watching my Austen/Regency treats! But when I started writing for sometime, I noticed my dialogue was as bad as my flirting experience! Presenting my life saviour, Say It Like Miss Austen: A Jane Austen Phrase Thesaurus by Stefan Scheuermann. Not my first time using a thesaurus, as my parents have gifted me lots over my school years and writing when I was a teen. This book helped me to go deeper into analysis, my own dialogue writing and reawaken my love for book reading and watch great plots of Regency periods.

Ever enjoyed the romance in stories, but blush when writing your own? Okay, some of you wouldn’t blush and have full confidence on the details of the “bedroom scene”. Luckily, it not just the behind closed doors moments when you could get stuck. Unless you are wanting to write to win the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, you may want to read The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book by Jean Kent & Candace Shelton. Not only is it resourceful on more than those “kissing moments” it builds your confidence as a romance writer. Nothing beats a good moment where the reader swoons, melts or whatever their hearts soar for between your Main Character and their Love Interest.

The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book

I hoped you have enjoyed another reading in-between your own novel writing. That’s all reference books I wanted to share! Check out, Novel Writing reference books and Jane Austen themed ones if you have not already seen them.

I’ll add a comment section, share your thoughts on anything that you enjoy or dislike about these online platforms and presence to help each other out.

Check the series of reference books! From Novel Writing to Jane Austen Themed Ones!

Breakdown Step-By-Step: WordPress Journey Part Two

Alright, so remember I once heard that you need an online presence before the actual book is published? So the audience can start looking for you, and your Pre-Order book to hit that Bestseller? Ha, I am clearly not there myself yet, but I am too generous enough to show to hit that fabulous WordPress web design and laugh at those downfalls I experienced. No worries, on the laughter. I laugh at it now myself!

Now don’t panic if you already got your book out into the world. This again can help build your brand as the writer.

Also as a lovely disclaimer, I am not going to overdo the how-to questions and answers. WordPress has written several articles to do the step-by-step on the technical side. This is more the presentation side of oneself online. 

So, you have probably had a peek around my own website, as well as authors in the same genre. What are they like? Similar images, a similar style of the menu bar? This won’t be the part about being individual right now. Your books and how you present yourself with your words will get you to stand out. Here’s the thing, most readers that follow other authors in your genre, not only like their books but how they presented themselves online.

Let do a breakdown of the menu bar first. It can be really challenging for someone to view your website if they cannot search or find a clear map. That is what the menu bar going to be. A map. 

I set myself with the main page, known as a Home Page, to welcome followers with open arms. 

Then there’s the bookshelf. This is where all your stories will sit nicely on a…well, a virtual shelf! This main button will be a custom link, that using the hashtag button, can help make the drop submenu of all your books. That way you don’t need to cram all of the books on the main menu. These webpages per book can all link up under the submenu. 

Now you notice I have one webpage as the main platform area for my Short-Short Stories. One, I don’t think my age genre of free reading should be publicly displayed without a disclaimer page to warn anyone if they find the story is too inappropriate for them. You can easily choose to hit the link button to Butterscotch and the few others that will emerge, of your own free will to read. If you have a disliking to it…well, I did warn you. 

Once I have got more published books out there, I can do a how-to-create webpage for it and link it to your bookshelf. 

Then we got the Author section. It’s a brief bio page of me! Hey, there! And of course, my blog in this category. You can mix it up as you please or where things should go on your menu bar. 

After that, I worked on For Readers fun area. This is where I hope to have any readers Frequent Answered Questions, A newsletter archive in case you missed the previous ones, and reassurance of Privacy Policy. Please, follow your own countries guidelines and law on how to deal with Privacy Policy. And make sure it is up to date like your copyright tag at the bottom of your website. 

I got added a link in my menu bar, away from my website and onto my Merch designs! I may have gotten carried away at playing with those designs and products, but look how pretty!

Finally, you got to have a Contact Us page. How else are my FAQs from my followers are gonna get in touch without communication?

Alright class, we gonna have a break! Hit the Like button, Comments are open for any questions or suggestions, or help each other out! The next blog post on this journey will be posted soon, so keep an eye out!

Check out my series of blog posts in Online Presence and Part One of WordPress

Next for this blog series, Razzle, Dazzle, Zazzle Merch post!

My collections of reference books – what are they and why I use them

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Ever had that thought where you think there are too many reference books on how to write? Or courses even? Which ones are best, or relevant to me? First things, first. This is not to advertise these books or why you should have them. If they are not relevant to your style of writings or theme of books, then relax. I am not the best salesperson. Now I am not one for spoilers in what happens in a book. And the same goes for here too. If you wanna know, buy the book. Hey, look! Maybe a career in sales is a potential for me after all!

I like the concept that I can share my knowledge, no matter how little the topic is, I can see why I work my day job in a classroom. 

So which one should I pick as my first reference book? Well, as a fan of their writing and they are really good authors; let’s start here. All Write Already by Gena Showalter & Jill Monroe. First, what a pun! Any catchy title can draw someone in to pick up the book. And to then have the authors that you have in your book collection, another plus. So I have read a lot of both authors’ books, both when they team up and their individual collections. Before I go any further, allow me to say this. If you got an author who you like, that wrote a manual on how to write a book, they are probably the key guidance for you. Let me put it another way. If you are already their reader and have several copies of each story they wrote, then you already have a taste of their style of writing and like it. Maybe you want to write the same theme or sense of humour. This is a wonderful and motivating book for anyone to get write their novel within a year! No pressure, I keep saying to myself.

All Write Already Book
On Writing Romance

I came across an article online around structuring a romance novel. On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels was one of the books in reviewal. Now after purchasing, this was quite a delivery delay; however, I am happy to report I have it on my bookshelf now. Again, like All Write Already, this book has given the breakout of working on your novel. There is a great amount of information, which sometimes can be dizzy to find in a Google search or lots of replies on Twitter. Not saying, those can’t be useful, but as readers and lovers of books, we just love getting our hands on them. Plus, if the internet is down, a book can outrank Google Search.

I hoped you have enjoyed another reading in-between your own novel writing. There are more reference books I want to share! So keep an eye out for future blog posts.

Hit the Like Button, comment below and share your thoughts on anything that you enjoy or dislike about this blog. Do you have any reference books that you would recommend and help each other out?

Have you seen my next in the series of reference books blog post?

The worst advice we ever heard as Writers

If you heard it before, then you most probably groan or eye-roll at the thought of these types of advice.

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Just Write!

Facepalm! Well duh? I am writing right now, okay so it is to make a blog post, but come on! There has got to be a better motivation than this! I like the ones where they suggest a target of say, write 250 words a day. No matter how busy I am, I gotta bust out those 250 words. 

Why write if you are not making money? You should think about paying rent first.

Eek! Ever had a parent or a close person to you say this? No, just me?! Let’s be serious, cause it was tempting to go freelance when you happy dance that you completed your first manuscript. But that’s not how the real world works. Most writers tend to go full-time or self-employed when they at least write, publish and sell their sixth books on average. And I am not saying, sold six books of one manuscript. Has this got you thinking about whether you want to do this or not? Don’t worry, Just Write!

See what I mean? I even facepalm on that last sentence of that paragraph.

In other words, keep the day job till you can safely make rent at the end of the month. If you feel like you cannot bust out a manuscript with your busy life, then you gotta build yourself a timetable or routine to do something. 

Don’t edit before you complete your manuscript

Okay, so curiosity kills the cat. We know this. Yet as humans, we are curious creatures. And for someone like me. I can help but edit as I go along. These aren’t big moves, like cutting scenes or moving one whole chapter in the manuscript to somewhere else. So unless you have this idea that you can switch off the spelling check on your Word Doc, or whatever you write on; there is always a moment where you have edited. Even in your own head before you put it down onto paper. How many times have you said or resaid your sentence in your head before you were happy it made sense to you? That’s okay. When it comes to these moments, there’s no right or wrong answer. Unless you have a job as an editor or you are submitting your final draft of the manuscript to one, then yeah, you gotta make it right and make sense. 

My Home Office Space

Look away from the laptop screen to come up with ideas.

Ever seen the online presence of others say they look in the distance, thinking nostalgically or like a heroic writer with serious intense thought. I cannot help but laugh! My home office space is half the spare room, a chair, a desk, a lamp and my laptop. The other side? Is all the crap I hide for Zoom meetings! I could never look off into the horizon with an intense look, I would have to look down at my laptop and keep on writing. Why? Admittedly I am a coward of tidying and organising and a novice hoarder. The only time I dared to look away, is a reminder of office desk safety training. If you have worked in an office before, you probably had the same one, where HR says you must blink your eyes to not dry them out. The same goes for posture or chair setting and that lovely email from your building maintenance team to remind you of a tidy desk is a safe desk. If you never worked in an office, that kind of a thing we come across on a yearly basis. Look it up! No seriously, think about it. Even if you would laugh at the silliness of the training, however, it is better than having a bad back, tired eyes or sore wrist when your keyboard is not angle right.

Artist – Sharon Wheeler

So there you have, some of the worst advice I have seen, laughed at or eye-rolled. Some would say no advice is the worst advice. True, but my goodness don’t ever use these ones! Unless you want your audience to groan and eye-roll. If you know of any other worst advice, do share in the comments section. I hope you did giggle at some of my reasons, it’s nice to have a laugh in-between writing chapters. Now get back to it!

Meet my pit crew

Ever felt like when you are on roll with your writing time and don’t want a break? You know, like you are the fast racing cars, and need a pit crew to get fresh tires and fuel in you? 

I wrote this post, thinking about how everyone gives advice on time away from the writing or recovery of different writer’s blocks. Well, I think about sharing the tips on how I survive hardcore writing sessions. When you got a day job, and you found time in your week, or month, you do probably a hardcore session. It doesn’t matter the length of time, be it two hours or some of you who are more driven in longer sessions. Today, I am sharing my pit crew. Granted, these ain’t people or given me flat tires a change over… but the post title was a cheesy kinda fun to write.

WARNING: Now don’t be silly, and go hardcore sessions back to back or expect to do these on a regular basis. Why am I warning you? Cause even writers who do an excessive amount of writing can be exhausting as much as hardcore sessions of gaming or binge-watching Netflix. Those sessions require snacks and break in-between too. These products are not prescriptive by doctors and I am UK based. Again, a terrible salesperson, cause I am not expecting you to buy this because I use it. I just want to share some knowledge, and maybe you too can make your own pit crew too.

Anyway, first off the list. Eyes. Now, eyes are important when it comes to working. I have prescriptive eyeglasses, but even then it is not enough. Why’s that? Simple, try to do a hardcore session on a laptop, and even your eyes will tire out. So I use Optrex Double Action ActiMist Dry and Irritated Eyes Spray. On the rare occasions of a week’s worth of zoom classes and pandemic life demanding more hours online, I need this spray for my tired eyes. And that is before I do a writing session. Also, another tip is to lower your screen brightness. Or if your programs/applications allow Dark Mode. The moment my first phone had that as a setting, I have gone to the Dark Side, and never looked back!

Also, even though on Google Doc, you can only use Dark Mode for mobile devices. I clicked on Page Set Up on my laptop, and reverse my colours. Very effective and easier on the eyes.

Screenshot of one of my Work in Progress set as ‘Dark Mode’! No spoilers!

Another effect with my eyes. Again, depending on your own needs. This one may or not relate to you. If you weren’t aware till now, I am dyslexic. Worst sense of humour, they named the cause, even though the common trait is around spelling and jumbling letters! Ha! Thank you, Rudolf Berlin in 1887 for coming up with that damn word! To stop words from jumbling up all the letters between the first and last letter of each word, I need a tint. Let me explain, there are a lot of different resources. From overlay ruler when reading textbooks to set my computer for white backgrounds to have a yellow glow or just plain yellow highlighting my text. These tints can come in different colours depending on the sharpness of the letters, which doesn’t blur or make the letters jumbled up. Mine is yellow, since I was thirteen years old, I had my yellow overlay ruler to each novel I read. Once, I had my parents ordering my eyeglasses to have the yellow tint in my prescription. But I gave up after my next prescription, I did not want my whole world tinted yellow, everyone would be in The Simpson Universe through those glasses.

This is an example of what a overlay would look like in a textbook.

Finally, snacks! Well, that obvious but the amount of time I would do a gaming session, and forget the time of the day goes by. Yeah, it’s the same in a writing session. I am fortunate to have a desk with drawers that I stock up on snacks. Be that chocolate, salty or *gulp* the diet low-sugar snacks. Also a bonus, quick access to tea. As a Brit, I am more fuelled on the stuff, tea is a must! I swear, I would tell Doctors to use tea than IV transfusion. And I am sure coffee-lovers would feel the same. If you need a space in your home away from distractions and any interruptions, you need fuel in your pit crew!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my pit crew. Have you got your own pit crew? Hit the Like button, Comment and Do share yours down below or anything else you think you help other writers.

This is part of a series of selective posts, check out the first post, Where will my writing be…

Want to know more posts in this series? Check out the next post, I have written before…