Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nothing is original, it's just the way you twist it...

I've been told plenty of times that nothing is original anymore. Well, they are sort of right. Most things have been done these days, but anything old can be given a fresh light with how the writer twists the idea.

I write paranormal and horror, so I always look for ways to describe old creatures or legends in new ways. In my current WiP I even have a unicorn bent on killing my main character (that's mainly because my brother dared me to put a unicorn into the story). Well, my twist on the old unicorn (apart from it being a savage beast), is that it's actually a were-creature. Yep, it's a man who can transform into a unicorn.

How does one take an old creature/theme and give it a new twist? These are some ways I think up my twists:
  1. Research
    All themes, legends and creatures have many differing origin points. A good way to find an original twist is to look at the different elements in each of the points and mix-and-mash until you have something different and unique.
  2. Mix the old with the new
    All the creatures used came from old tales. So, the trick is to see where they fit into the modern society. Add some technology, modern dress and emotions, and you've got a different creature.
  3. Move in the complete opposite direction
    Have a look at what the standard creature or legend looks like and do something or add something totally different and unexpected (take my unicorn for example). 
  4. Insanity does help
    Well, as a writer, it's okay to be a little bit crazy. I always love thinking up new and unexpected ideas for my stories that (I hope) haven't been done before. But, when I'm in writer mode, I can become a bit obssessed and think about these things constantly. Yes, even when I'm at work I'm thinking about the best way to kill a water elemental in the bathroom (that was a messy deal) or kill a unicorn. Yes, I hear voices and I'm proud of that.
So, how do you create original twists to your writing? Where do you get your ideas from

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm a campaigner

That's  right! I'm a campaigner!

Rachel Harrie over at Rach Writes has created a wonderful opportunity for any blogger/writer/author who wants to get their name out and meet other like-minded bloggers. This is a fantastic way to build an online presense and I can't wait for the fun to start.

So, if you're a writer and a blogger, come join in the fun.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Stolen

Stolen: A letter to my captor by Lucy Christopher

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Amelia knows one thing... she's dead. She doesn't know how she died and she doesn't know who she was before drowning. She is forced to relive her death over and over in what she can only call nightmares. But, when she finds a boy, Joshua, drowning in the same river she did, she knows she has to help (but doesn't know how since she's already dead).

Lucy Christopher has created an intense tale of kidnapping and survival written as a letter from 16-year-old Gemma's eyes to her captor. Gemma is on her way home to London from Bangkok when she is kidnapped. When she wakes up, she finds herself in the Australian outback.

Gemma soon discovers that even if she tries to run, there is nothing or nowhere she can run to. As she gets to know her kidnapper, Ty, she has to find the will to survive if she ever wants to see home and her family again.

Christopher has beautifully written a story on such an intense topic. The letter allows the readers to become close and to understand her emotions as she becomes conflicted over whether to hate, pity or care for Ty. Ty is indeed an intriguing character. Yes, he did kidnap her, but he was always kind to her and did not force her to do anything she didn't want. In his mind, he kidnapped Gemma to get her to a better place.

The Australian outback is painted perfectly. Even though I'm Australian, it is some place I haven't bee yet, but the scenery surrounding Gemma and Ty created vivid images which made Gemma's survival and need for Ty even more apparent.

For such a serious topic, Christopher has created a captivating story that paints the intense scenario that is all-too real through the eyes of the victim. Overall, Stolen was a non-stop rollercoaster as the reader becomes close to Gemma, and even Ty, as she tries to escape, survive and wonder if she's ever going to see home again.

Source: Audible
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #25 of 50
2011 Aussie Reading Challenge: #3 of 12

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Writing out of a corner

My brother always tells me that when I write my MC into a corner all that is needed is guns, ninjas or zombies. I'm not sure I agree with the three methods, but it is true - sort of. One way to get out of a corner is to create an action that forces the character to move, to do something that will power the plot along.

I'm always getting into trouble where my character has too much reign over the plot that they end up in some situation or circumstance that I can't see any way out of (yeah, one of my MC's in a story I've benched at the moment decided they wanted to act all crazy and dangerous that they got put in a padded cell... now that's a corner. I think I'll just chuck a ghost into the cell with her, which does work since it's a ghost story).

That's not the only corners a writer can encounter. What about needed to defeat a foe when the hero is so at a disadvantage that there's no way out. This is where I'm at with my current WIP. My MC (after sneaking out of the house) goes to a club and is attacked by a water nymph who's actually made of water. What's the worst place to get trapped with this sort of creature? Yep, a bathroom... so, now I have to figure out how to kill a creature made of water in a room of water, and she's only got a lighter, a can of mace and a pocket knife.

Wow, that sounds like a case for Magyver. Oh well, whatever the solution is, it's going to be messy.

So, how do you write your characters out of corners? Have any of you found your characters up against villains that have no obvious weaknesses? Any suggestions on how to kill a creature of water?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Hereafter

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Can there truly be love after death? 

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

Amelia knows one thing... she's dead. She doesn't know how she died and she doesn't know who she was before drowning. She is forced to relive her death over and over in what she can only call nightmares. But, when she finds a boy, Joshua, drowning in the same river she did, she knows she has to help (but doesn't know how since she's already dead).

When Joshua makes it out of the river alive, they form a bond and he focuses on trying to find out who Amelia was when she was alive. After the two discover that Joshua can only see Amelia because he is a seer, someone who's purpose is to hunt ghosts and exorcise them, they have to fight the coven headed by Joshua's own grandmother, avoid another ghost determined to get Amelia to himself and discover the truth about Amelia's death.

Hereafter was definitely a different paranormal romance. Amelia is already dead so no one apart from Joshua can even see her. This romance proved to be interesting and developed well.

Hudson has created an intriguing debut with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Eli, the ghost determined to get Amelia, is a devious villain, while Joshua is sweet and caring. These two guys are the only ones that have any real contact with Amelia and it makes the story interesting to see which side she will choose. Even though the love story between Amelia and Joshua is a bit silly with the fact that she is a ghost and Joshua is not, the tension between them is enough to continue reading.

Hereafter is a fast read with great characterisation and an original spin on the paranormal market. I look forward to reading more about Amelia and Joshua's romance in the next book.

Source: NetGalley
2011 YA Reading Challenge: #24 of 50
2011 Debut Author Challenge: #11 of 20

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm back

Wow, the two weeks have flown by. I can't believe it's the end of August already. This is what I've been up to in the last couple of weeks:

* Finished Teaching. As soon as I was done (and finished the 2 assignments that were due tha same day), I was on a 9 hour overnight train trip.

* Had the most important interview in my life, the one that tells me whether I'm suitable to teach or not. Really freaked out about that one. I'm glad to announce that on my 12 hour car trip home I received an email that said, "I have been recommended as suitable to teach". Yay!

*Finished reading 5 books. Yeah, they've been audiobooks, but they are a lifesaver when I haven't had time to sit and read.

* Wrote 6 new chapters of Dark Sight. The car trip really helped, especially when my father refused to let me drive.

* Out of fun and boredom, I created mock covers for Shadow Embraced and Dark Sight. You can find these on the right column.

What I still need to do:
* Catch up with Uni so I'll actually pass it.

* Get back to reviewing for my crit group.

* Finish Dark Sight b mid September, which is totally possible since I actually have an outline of what I want to happen (and my mc is being very cooperative).

So, what has everyone been up to while I've been gone?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

MIA... taking a break

I know I haven't been around much lately, but when life gets in the way it "really" gets in the way. I'm in my 3rd and final week teaching (which is going fantastic... but tiring), and apart from that there's uni which I'm so falling behind in and work (I can definitely do without the 10 hour nights over the weekend).

As soon as I finish teaching this Friday, I'll have to rush and get my teaching portfolio ready and on Saturday catch a 12 hour train ride down south to attend the official interview that will tell me whether I'm suitable to teach (YIKES).

So, I'll have to go on a break for the next 2 weeks until I catch up and finally get some sleep. See you all when I get back.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July Wrap Up

It's been a very busy month. This month I started back at uni, as well as going out on my final teaching practicum which is taking up the majority of my time, but I'm loving it.

What I read:
  • Stolen by Lucy Christopher
  • Human.4 by Mike Lancaster
  • A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Books I bought:
  • Yeah, I'd rather not go there. With all the bookstores closing (how sad) and able to get books for $1-2, it meant I needed a shopping trolley to remove the books I managed to get my hands on.

  • Finished my final (hopefully final) edits of Shadow Embraced and have been querying.
  • Started writing my new YA Horror, Dark Sight.


This month I sent out one book to Anna @ Anna's Book Blog.

I look forward to signing up to R.A.K in August.

So, how has everyone's July been?
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