Archive for the ‘Reading and Writing’ Category

Vampires, Aliens, Werewolves, Zombies, and Other Avoidables


03 Sep

Cliché Alerts…

Vampires, Aliens, Zombies, Werewolves, and other Avoidables:

First off, topic of the morning, Vampires. What to do, and what not to do unless your life goal is to be the social outcast of the writing world is here, so read on.

If your writing has to do with vampires, my advice is this: avoid the classic ‘trying to save the people I love from myself’ point of view. It is way to overused recently. I’d rather read about an arrogant blood-sucking monster than read another freakishly handsome boy saying “I love you, but I want to protect you from me, so I’m going to dump you, and leave you heartbroken, after which you’ll do something desperate and hopeless, and I’ll have to save you, during which time we’ll decide our love is worth the risk.” So go classic or try for something that is not cliche. Vampires were a legend created to be scary. They were the boogeymen in the closet. Now, they’re the images on children’s t-shirts and birthday cakes, they come on sheets and full body pillows, and they are WAY overused.

Aliens. What do you picture? Great, now the image that comes into your head has to come from somewhere, everything in the imagination is limited to pieced together concepts you have already seen, so take that image that pops into your head… and trash it. What society has seen, they do not need to see again. What people will remember is something unique. Would a Toyota Camry catch your eye better than a cherry red 73 Mustang convertible?

Werewolves. Sure its cliche sometimes, but there’s tons of leeway for this one. What’s more important than the creature itself  (how many ways can you say hairy in the English language?) is the plot and the supporting characters. A good werewolf story- or a vampire story for that matter- is never just about the werewolves.

Zombies: fun but gory. Takes effort to give it a deep side though. Have fun. Too much advice will limit you too much. Zombies require you to be unique, so brainstorm. You’ll think of something. However, like werewolves, zombies need support. Two hundred pages of brain-eating gets tiring.

Vote For Me!


03 Sep

I’m not actually running for anything, but I’m having a vote on the name of my new book. the choices are:

Fate


Star Crossed


Temper


I will be putting up a post soon about the story itself to give you a better idea of what you’re voting on.

Fanfiction…


03 Sep

So, I’ve been bored lately (and yes, I have been working on Part 2) and I found something new for me to write… Fanfiction!  It’s fun, and it’s a good chance to practice writing, hone up them skillz. Shows like Psych (you know that’s right), NCIS (It’s always the wife… or the maid), Young Justice (How can you help but love it?), Monk (I’ve been watching that one since the first season), and Supernaturals (they have great suspenseful music) can be a lot of fun to write for and are always good to practice with.

Writing Books and Making Pie


06 Jan

  I have always loved to write, but I have also always loved to cook. The holidays have just passed, and during that time, I decided I wanted to make a pumpkin pie.

  Now, I figured it would be rather simple. I’ve made many pumpkin pies before, and by now I should have it down pat. What I didn’t realize was that the recipe I was using was different from the last. Imagine how shocked I was when my pie turned out to have the consistency of yogurt.

   What I realized from this was that without the right ingredients, pies just won’t come out right, and, I know, neither will books. If your story isn’t made right, it will be like that pie. 

   I’m not saying that your story will have the consistency of yogurt; what I am saying is this: to write a successful story, you have to include all the parts (a good protagonist with which the readers can associate, the possibility of redemption, and an antagonist are some of the ingredients to a good tale).

  Another important thing is that, just like when you check to make sure you have all the ingredients before starting to bake the pie, you must check your plot before you write, to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything that could add spice to the story.

  Last, but not least, write with good taste. If your story is bland and ordinary, who wants to try it?

  So, that is what I learned from my pie-baking attempt. For now, I think I’d better stick with writing.

                                                                                                         -R.A. Spyder

(This is similar looking to my pie. Like many stories, it looked good, but was a lot different when you tried some. In my pie’s case, it was soft and runny.)

Pen Names:


01 Jan

     First off, you need to know that pen names aren’t always necessary. When, as an author, you use a pen name, it should be for a valid reason. Part of the reason for this is that if you use a different name than your own, there can be more rights debates regarding your work and you loose the automatic fans and interest generated towards your work by the people you already know. If you do have a reason to use a pen name, however, the following guidelines can help you while creating one:

1. It is often better to present yourself with either a male-sounding name (statistics show that often books are sold better when written by a male author), with an ambiguous sounding name (ex: Alex), or with a striking name that will make your book stand out (ex: Lemony Snicket)

2. Don’t choose a name commonly found among authors. You don’t want to get lost in the masses.

3. Its often good to use a common name with peculiar spelling, but not something that people won’t remember, like the difference between Sara and Sarah or Dannie and Danny.

4. Think about it. Don’t just choose a name at random. Choose a name with meaning, that you can associate with yourself.

5. Relate the name to your own somehow.

Good luck, and have fun coming up with your own pseudonym.

The Rights and Wrongs of Killing off Your Characters:


23 Dec

This is a fun subject that every good writer eventually encounters: When is it ok to kill off your characters, and what is ok when killing him off? Here is a guide to all of the literal literary pitfalls and traps you’ll encounter when trying to kill one of your characters.

Tip 1

The main character normally does not die, or if he does, he comes back. Sometimes you can get rid of the persistent person for good, but normally only because he’s “gone to a happier place.” Got it. So avoid releasing your homicidal urges on the main character and try for the minor characters or supporting leads.

Tip 2

If your story involves a complicated love-triangle, don’t just kill off everyone who doesn’t fit into your desired romance, keep an ace up your sleeve for these situations: a charming person  to even out the story’s romantic interests.

Tip 3

When you kill off a character, don’t expect the reader to care much unless:

a. the victim was very close to the main character

b. the victim’s death was essential to the plot

c. the victim was an important supporting lead

d. the victim had been/would be discussed a lot during the rest of the story’s duration

e. the victim was close to a supporting role to the point that their death would define the character in some way

f. the victim’s death leads up to something

If none of these apply, its safe to say that it doesn’t matter that you’re killing off the character, and their death is an unnecessary inconvenience that does not require the elaboration of being expounded upon. In other words, don’t bother.

However, if any of these do apply, you may feel free to do whatever killing you feel is required.

How to Develop Your Characters


20 Dec

One of the most important things you have to learn as a

writer is how to develop your characters, meaning how

to take a story with generic “taking up page space”

characters and make them seem like people. You know

your story is successful when people who read it don’t

forget even the minor character’s names. So, to get you

to that point as a writer, here are some tips:

1. Have each name be distinct. If you have trouble with this, try starting each name with a different letter, and don’t have all of them begin with vowels or all of them begin with consonants.


2. Give each character a point-of-focus (one character might be specifically a bully, so have what they do revolve around that. If they’re ever in an uncommon situation where something besides the normal is expected of them, make them seem awkward or afraid.)


3. Always know more about the character than you tell. Feel free to write it down. You should know everything, from what their favorite food is to their worst fear. Believe me, it will come in handy later.


4. Don’t give people to many characters at once, and if they’re not important, don’t feel the need to expound upon them. We don’t want to hear the life story of Billy Bob Joe the Janitor of the building across the street from the one the main character walked past two years before… (no mother’s-uncle’s-cousin’s-boss’s-daughter-in-law-twice removed stuff)


5. Have a comic relief character, one whose actions will bring amusement to the story.


6. Have the main character experience some sort of realization.


7. It’s okay for the main character not to be perfect. Even in real life we’re not all Chuck Norris’s, worshiped by the ground we walk on and able (according to popular legend) to do pretty much every scientifically impossible action known thus far to man, and several that aren’t. Not even Chuck Norris has as much power as some people like to represent him with, so don’t think that for some reason your main character should be perfect. Even in romance novels perfect characters never turn out well.


8. Give your character some distinct and recognizable feature. If I say lightning shaped scar and circular wire rimmed glasses, you say Harry Potter.

More character development tips are to come in a later, updated  installment. For now, enjoy your writing and keep a lookout for Part Two.

Nightrise: The Release


10 Dec

Nightrise Part 1 is to be released on Dec. 18th! Prepare for the wonder of a whole new fantasy world in science fiction!

The Book of Time by Guillaume Prevost


08 Nov

 Made up of three books, this series is a good read. The writing is not very advanced, but the content is great and the plot’s substructure is interesting. I recommend it for science fiction fans around middle school age.

  The series begins with the disappearance of the main character’s father, whose relationships outside of the world of his solitary bookstore have been declining ever since his wife’s death. Sam Faulkner, the aforementioned main character, begins to look into the circumstances of his dad’s disappearance. Upon visiting his father’s bookstore, he is  into a time-traveling journey that takes him all throughout history as he searches for the key to rescuing his kidnapped father from the legendary Vlad Tepes. Throughout the story, there are interesting characters and historical concepts while incorporating the necessary action. This is a good opportunity for any young readers with similar interests.

River Secrets by Shannon Hale


31 Oct

A thoroughly satisfying novel with parts to

 satisfy all readers, River Secrets is a

wonderful novel that thoroughly indoctrinates

 the reader into its plot. By the surprising end

 of the novel I realized it was truly exquisite

 workmanship. Shannon Hale has

outdone herself with River Secrets and

deserves a hearty “Huzzah!” for her efforts.

I really do reccomend it and I sincerely hope

 that Razo and the other characters capture

 your heart as they did mine. Enjoy your own

 journey through the mysterious and

potentially deadly streets of Indigran as

 fire-speakers rampage throughout the

 land and clandestine plots threaten

the peace that they have so struggled

to rebuild after the great war as it was

 described in Enna Burning, another tale

 of Bayern and one also highly

reccomendable.   

- R.A. Spyder 

The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller


31 Oct

Karen Miller   The Innocent Mage, written by Karen

Miller has a unique charm contributed greatly to by her

skill at characterization. I enjoyed it immensely,

 finding myself able to understand and associate

to the characters easily. However, I find myself

 desiring more said. The open ending left me,

  frankly, eager to discover what would happen

 and slightly disappointed that the author ended

 the story in book one where she did, leaving me

 quite unsatisfied. Still, I can’t wait to read the

 next book and recommend this one to anyone

 desiring to further their writing skills,

 as Karen Miller is an experienced and

talented example of a skilled ”personifier,”

 which is to say that she can take words

 on a page and transform them into people

 that are complex and realistic. She has

that faction of the art of writing mastered.

 Because of that, her book is absolutely

 worth reading.

-R.A. Spyder

Writer’s Block


09 Aug

How to Cure It:

  There are as many ways to cure writer’s block as there are possible reasons why you have it. Most commonly it’s because you can’t think of what could happen next, but there are many other reasons why you might have it. If you have it, you may be finding that what you normally do to solve your problem isn’t working. Luckily for you, there are tons of other ways to solve your problem. Below is a list of cures for writer’s block. They’re not guaranteed, but chances are, one of them will work for you like they’ve worked for me and the other writers I know.

  • Break your routine: if there’s a pattern to how you normally write, for example if you always write at your desk in the morning, switch it up.

 

  • Live a little: A boring life makes for boring writing, try something new, do something crazy.

 

  • One thing I’ve tried that’s easy to use and helpful is something like Wreck This Journal, a journal made to be destroyed. It’s something out of the ordinary to try. One of the main points of this cure and many of the others is to introduce creativity. This, I have found, is normally the best thing to do for a case of writer’s bock.

 

  • Do something you haven’t done since you were little. Memories will create emotions, which will inspire you in your own writing.

 

  • Create a story behind the next person or everyday object you see. For example, on the train in the beginning of the book Silverfin there is a part where a character is watching his fellow passengers and making up stories for each of them (the man in the corner with the briefcase robbed a bank and is escaping with the money). It may seem strange, but it helps you with your creativity.

 

  • Alternate Reading Material- If you normally read a certain type of book, try something new, it is surprising how such a little change can make such a big difference in your own writing. 

 

  • If you have writer’s block regarding a particular story, don’t add on to it without inspiration. Edit it. Go back and remove a little until you have changed it enough that you can make the plot run down a different path. If it doesn’t work, you can always change it back.

 

 

Poems and Paraphernalia


05 Jun

We are educated by the surprises we encounter,

mystified by the challenges we face,

and often amazed at the glory hidden within the world’s fingertips,

asking not of, nor noticing what’s already in our grasp.

We qualify by our inexperience and must learn from

our unpredictability.

Sometimes a heart may falter,

Sometimes its path may alter,

But for you and me,

Forever we will be.

Swiftly moves the sword,

yet swifter still the heart,

love once last depart.

Fire

violent, hungry, seeking,

raging, roaring, coming

Smoke

rising, whirling, reeking,

stifling, dying, numbing

Death

round the corner peeking,

to his arms go running

Flames

leaping, dancing, sneaking,

furling, beauty stunning

Gone

left a mother weeping,

empty heart yet drumming

Gone

in bed a child sleeping,

to him no father coming

Gone

flames cradle resting head,

sweet peace his mind still seeking,

from death no warning ever comes,

so me you’d best be heeding,

for from him there is no cheating.


This tree I love,

if loving is to see,

the beauty from the inside out,

the beauty of this tree.



more to be added…


Writer’s Corner…


20 Nov

    Have you ever wanted to write a book? Have you read the last book in the series and don’t want it to end? Go to A Writer’s Corner page and post your stories and ideas. On that page, you can meet other people who like to write, or have read the same series as you and didn’t want it to end either. A Writer’s Corner is all about meeting other people like you and working together to bring words to life.

About The Author


20 Nov

R.A. Spyder is a thirteen year old Floridian writer who’s first novel will be released December 18th of 2010. A self-professed bookworm, R.A. Spyder began her first full novel in the fall of 2009. She specializes in fantasy fiction. Her career choice was especially inspired by her cousin M.J. “Through me good will prevail,” her motto, is a line adopted from one of her most recent projects, The 7th Apprentice.

RA Spyder:The Official Site

"Through Me Good Will Prevail."