Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Top 2 Worst Clichés

Ok, so I know it's pretty much impossible to be entirely original. After all, the wisest man who ever lived (besides Jesus) said, "...there is no new thing under the sun." (Ecc 1:9) But please, I beg of you, my fellow writers... avoid the cliches of writing. Avoid the easy descriptions and the already-written plot twists and storylines. Be yourself. Write something new.

And in conjunction with this plea, I will now share with you my rant... The top 2 worst clichés (in my humble and probably unwanted opinion :D). (Btw, a cliché is "a phrase or opinion [or in this case a storyline / idea] that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought". Source)

Cliché #1 - Main Character has a happy, normal life. Then he/she discovers he or she is adopted. His or her entire world is turned upside-down, and he or she goes on a search to find his or her "real" parents.
*facepalm* So, there is a time and place for this cliché, but whenever I see it used, it always hits rather close to home. I'm adopted, and I believe that my adoptive parents, who have raised me for nearly all of my life, ARE my "real" parents. My biological parents, though I do not know them, are and always will be very special to me, and I love them. But simply because my adoptive mom didn't give birth to me does not make my mom not "real". If you decide to use the Adoption Cliché, I would request that you please be very careful about how you use the word "real".

Cliché #2 - MC (in this example, a girl, cuz I'm getting tired of saying he or she) meets a cute guy. Then a pretty girl runs up and hugs or kisses the cute guy, and the MC becomes sad and dejected. When she finally confronts the cute guy, he reveals that the beautiful girl is his sister.
I don't really have anything personal against this cliché, only that it's a cliché - maybe it's just my choice of books, but the last two books I read BOTH had this cliché. Basically I'm suspicious now whenever a pretty girl comes along. I'm like, "She's his sister, right?"

Anyway, there's my mini-rant. :) What are your least-favorite clichés?

-- Klara S.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Feeling a Wee Bit Accomplished

Each tab represents an accomplishment.

Not a huge accomplishment. 

Just a little one. 

Let me explain. 

Today I was visiting some of my old book friends and felt the urge to type up some handwritten story scenes. (Yes, I do handwrite a fair portion of my stories, depending on the book.) My story excerpts share the same notebook as my personal journal, book ideas, and miscellaneous notes, so it can be quite a chore to find the scenes when it's actually time to type them up. After a few years of battling this conundrum, I decided to place a colorful sticky tabs on each page that needed to be typed up (and, of course, remove the tab once the said scene is typed up). The system works fairly well, so today I was able to type up several scenes... and that is why each tab on the computer screen represents a tiny accomplishment. Each tab means one more scene has been typed up and is ready to be added to the official manuscript when convenient. 

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because I am lame and don't have much to say.


Klara C. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

You Know You're An Author When... & A Writing Exercise

You *finally* make yourself a signature... but you have so much fun making the signature that you want to make signatures for all your characters, too!


Theirs... (instead of "His" and "Hers" it's "Mine" and "Theirs"...)



A Writing Exercise
Study the three signatures above and attempt to describe (or guess) a character's personality from studying his signature. You could take a moment to form your ideas in your mind, before writing them out on paper (or even better, write them out in a blog comment! *hint-hint*). 

All righty, have you finished your descriptions? My answers are below. Highlight the following three paragraphs with your mouse to see the answers. 

To me, the top signature (not mine), "Terence C.", makes me think of someone who is somewhat orderly and rule-oriented, although he can be playful at time, judging by the "star" at the end of his initial. 

Jaydrian does not seem to place much labor upon making his signature perfect, which might indicate that penmanship, and perhaps the arts, are not important to him. On the other hand, it could also imply that he writes so much that he doesn't have time to worry about the neatness of his handwriting. ;)

Haydrian has been raised and educated well. He has learned penmanship, probably from a young age, and has perfected his craft. His signature is fancy and carefully written, but probably more out of habit than out of genuine desire. 

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the three signatures. Since the guys are my characters I admit I have a bit of an advantage. :p But feel free to do this writing exercise on your blog, with your own characters, too! :) Please comment and let me know so I can come visit and make guesses about your characters. ;) 

As an FYI, the signature maker I used was MyLiveSignature.

Looking forward to reading your thoughts!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Hold My Hand & We're Halfway There

Okay, actually... I'm more than "halfway there". But I just wanted an excuse to randomly quote West Side Story. Moving on...

(photo editing with help of Picmonkey)

146/150! I'm not sure what that fraction reduces down to, but for me, it means: almost done! "Almost done with what?" you ask. Well, in my last post I mentioned writing again after a somewhat length break. I technically wasn't writing so much as I was editing. You've probably guessed by now that I'm editing the 100+ pg. novel snowed - I mean showed - in the photo above. If so, you guessed correctly.

This is my second or third time through, but since I first began editing the story (the day after I finished it, actually), I like to believe (or at least hope) that my writing and editing skills have improved. ;) I'm constantly making more changes to the manuscript. I know that I am no where near being finished, but I was inspired to work on it recently because I asked a friend's advice on the first few chapters, and I figured I should look over the book again before sending it out. Also, I hope to self-publish this book in a couple years, so I need to start working on it once more!

Anyway, enough rambling. I just wanted to share my delight with you all... :p

Now, tell me: how is YOUR writing / editing life faring? Have you written anything new lately? Do tell!

Friday, 28 June 2013

hello writing

It's been a while since I've visited.

The school year was wonderful but insanely busy, and summer has been going by almost as fast. Yet over the past few days, I've been able to visit an old friend. It's been a while since we've had time to settle in for a nice chat and a cup of tea, yet we can pick up as if we've never been parted. I've poured many ours of my life into this friend, and it feels like home to return to our old conversations and visit our old haunts.

"It's about time you came back," he says, with something of a smirk on his face.

"I would've come back sooner if you hadn't given me the 'silent treatment'," I say with a good-natured laugh.

"Perhaps wouldn't have given you the 'silent treatment' if you had given me the attention I deserved," he says. The light in his eyes gives away the fact that he is only joking. We both know that he is terrible at lying, and that we both know each other so well there is no way we would ever be able to deceive the other. "I'm glad you're back," he adds.

"Me too," I agree.

I will never agree that this, um, *interesting* person is only a Word document on my computer. This person - this book - is not a figment of imagination... he has been (and will probably continue to be) my main writing project for the past few years, and I believe he is real in his own way...

Hello, summer. Hello, novels! Hello, writing!

Happy writing!
Klara S. 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Before I Get My Hands On It...

10 Quick Grammar Tips:) 

If you are going to submit anything to be edited by me, or anyone else, or simply wish to improve your writing, here are a few tips for you!!!  (Note: if you apply these quick grammar tips to your story before sending your book in to an editor, you will save the editor much time, which is especially important, if they charge by the hour! Plus, you will receive your book faster, and the editing will be done more quickly!)

1. There are 3 main ways to write dialogue, tagged with the phrase, "so-and-so said", "so-and-so yelled", etc.

"I can't believe that just happened!" Claire exclaimed.
"What are you talking about?" Jenny demanded.
"I don't know," Claire admitted.

There's the exclamation mark, the question mark, and then...a comma? Yes, that's right, a comma. How often, in published books, do you see this?

"I don't know." Claire said. 

That's because if you're going to tag the quoted phrase with a "so-and-so said", then you don't need to put a period at the end of your quote. Instead, put a comma... "I don't know," Claire said.

2. It's hard to remember the difference between "its" and "it's". :) But try and remind yourself of the reason that "it's" is a contraction. It's because "it's" is two words. "It is". So if you can't figure out what to use, just try out "it is" in your sentence. For example, "It's alive!" or "Its alive?" Is it also grammatically correct to say, "It is alive"? If so, you should use "it's" (a contraction). Use "its" when using a more possessive form, such as, "The dog bit its tail." The tail belongs to the dog. You wouldn't say, "The dog bit it is tail." 

3. You can use the same methods with "Who's" and "Whose". Just try saying the sentence using "Who is", and see if it fits. If not, use "Whose". If so, use "Who's".

4. You use an "apostrophe, s" if something belongs to someone. 

Example: Rachel's guitar

However you would not say, "Rachel's two guitar's", because you're not talking about anything that belongs to the guitars. You would simply say, "Rachel's two guitars". (And for the record, you would also not say "guitar's", you would say "guitar's"...)

5. Don't forget to make and indent your paragraphs!

6. To capitalize or not to capitalize...
If the word (example: "sonny") can be replaced with a proper name (example: "John"), then capitalize the word ("sonny").

"What are you doing there, sonny?"
Try it!

"What are you doing there, John?" works, so capitalize "sonny".

"Look at my dad!"
Try it!

"Look at my John!"
That does NOT work. In that case, then, do not capitalize "dad".

7. This something I learned recently... don't change tenses in the middle of a sentence!

8. Something ELSE I just learned... Comma and, a semicolon, and two complete sentences can all serve the same purpose. Sound confusing? Here's a handy example.

I don't like ice cream; I don't like cookies.
I don't like ice cream, and I don't like cookies.
I don't like ice cream. I don't like cookies.

All of the above should be correct. "I don't like ice cream" and "I don't like cookies" are complete sentences, so they can be separated by a semicolon, a comma and, or, they can be made into two sentences. However, you CANNOT have ONLY an "and". You must have a "comma/and"!

9. "There's" means "there is". "Is" can only refer to one object. "There's Tony!"
"There's potatoes" is not correct. One should say, "There are potatoes" because potatoes are plural. I don't actually see this mistake in books very often, but it's very common in every day speech! I'm trying to use correct grammar when I talk, but I still make many mistakes!

10. Okay, I need to think of another one...
If you change the subject or the person talking , you need to make a new paragraph. Example...

     "Where are we?" I wondered.
     "I don't know," Anna replied.


     I don't like potatoes, whether they be mashed, boiled, fried, or turned into French fries. My friends think I'm insane, but I enjoy my potato-free life.
     I also do not like calculators...

There you go - ten handy grammar tips! :) If you have any questions, please ask!
(By the way, I love French fries and potatoes. I also am very thankful for my calculator). 

-- Klara C.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Blog button!

I asked Britt at Designed to Inspire to design a blog button for the blog... check it out on my sidebar! :) Lovely! Thanks so much, Britt!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

You're probably an author if...

(Here are some of mine)

# Upon receiving a new computer, you proceed to add all your character's names to the computer's dictionary.

# You carry a notebook (or an iPod) so that you can write down quotes, notes, sayings, and ideas as soon as they come to you.
#You feel weird if you don't have the said notebook with you.

# You see something that would make one of your characters smile or laugh. You laugh for them. When your friends ask why you are laughing (or smiling), you respond, "It's an inside joke."

# Sniggering about something book-related makes you feel as if you have inside jokes with yourself... or rather, your characters.

# You try to draw your characters, even if you are not an artist.
# Then you become embarrassed and hide the evidence.

# You listen to a song and think, "That makes me think of so-and-so!" (character's names)

# You give yourself a valentine addressed to yourself, from your novel's tall, dark and handsome romantic interest.

What are some of yours?

Klara C.

Disclaimer: Please don't think I'm saying you are not an author if you haven't done these things, or they don't apply to you. That's okay, every author is unique! This post is based off / inspired by those "You're Probably Obsessed With ________ [insert name of book or movie here] if..." posts. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013


noun... meaning: lack of inspiration; the act of being uninspired. Without... "stimulation", according to the dictionary.

Writing used to seem so simple. I would type as the ideas flowed from my head, heedless of grammar mistakes or lack of character development, ignorant of climaxes or passive vs. active writing. It seemed as if the ideas came unbidden and uncalled, but welcome nonetheless, inviting themselves into my writing and taking shape, almost of their own accord. I never bothered to edit my stories, and became offended when anyone attempted to help me.

The characters danced in my head. They called out to me to play with them, to write them. The toys I played with came alive in my stories; they allowed me to give them voices and personalities, and give them a world to live in.

Now things have changed. Thankfully,  learned to accept and even invite and request "constructive criticism". I allow myself to be critical of my own writing because I know that's the only way I will be able to make it better. I am self-conscious of my grammar, but I enjoy figuring out how to say something in a grammatically correct manner. I attempt to use active voice ("Looking around, her eyes glanced around the room before judging it safe.") instead of passive voice ("She was frightened. She wasn't sure what to do..."). I edit my books multiple times, sometimes disallowing readers until I at least have a first draft whose writing isn't too unbearable or embarrassing.

But my characters are still with me. I may not find inspiration from my toys anymore, but the characters still come calling. I admire someone in a movie; suddenly the character on the screen, mixed with other personalities and qualities, remakes himself as someone who can become my own, someone I can mold and shape. Or, a gentleman in a book snatches at my heart and inspires me to make a character who is similar, yet can stand on his own two feet.

Several a months ago, they vanished.

In the past I have been blessed with writing which, for the most part, remained writer's-block-free. Around November / December 2012, my writing became silent. My characters still existed on my pages and in my mind, but I couldn't seem to write like I used to. I managed to type out a few scenes and here and there, but I felt lifeless and completely uninspired.

Slowly, I am grateful to tell you, they are returning. Like the prodigal son on his long journey home, the characters are trickling back in, smiling and laughing with me just like they used to. I am so happy to see them all again... I missed them. :)

So, why am I bothering to tell you all this? Maybe it helps me to type out my thoughts. Maybe you've gone through a trying case of writer's block, or you're experiencing a lack of inspiration right now. Maybe I thought I'd attempt to write something deep, and this post was the result.

I just want to tell you, please don't give up! :) I know that writing isn't always easy. Characters aren't always cooperative. :) Sometimes the words just won't come. That's okay; it's a process. You might work for years on a book and eventually abandon it. That's okay; you learned something through writing. Even if a book or story is never published or never finished, the writing of it has most likely helped you in one way or another, weather you realize it or not. Maybe you've decided writing "isn't for you". That's okay, not everyone enjoys writing... but please don't ever feel afraid to pick up the pen (or the computer) if you ever feel the urge to write once more.

And yes, I am aware I sound a bit crazed in this post... believe me, it's figurative. I know my characters don't physically knock on my door and come in for a tea party. :) And if I sound a bit down, don't worry about me... I'm listening to melancholy music and trying to sound like a smart-fart, that's all. :)

How is your writing faring?


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Young Author Interview!

Hey everyone!

I have exciting news for you all today... Lena, author of Hafling Diaries as well as blogger at Love of a Lifetime, graciously allowed me to interview her about her writing! Hope you enjoy! :) (Thanks so much, Lena!)

How did you get the idea for your book, Halfling DiariesI've had the idea of writing a book about a girl who goes searching for her mother for years, but I never got to thinking about what the full plot would be. I finally picked it back up in November.

When did you start writing your book? I started the idea about two or three years ago, but it never got very far. I picked it back up in November 2012.

How did you get the idea for the title of the book? I had no idea what I would call "Hafling Diaries" until I picked it back up again. When I first started to write it several years ago, I was calling it "Amara's Adventures," but I just wasn't liking that title. So I thought about it a bit more, and "Hafling Diaries" came to mind.

Did you design the cover yourself? :) No, I did not design the cover for "Hafling Diaries." Miss Audrey Graham designed it in a challenge. I'm designing my own cover for "The Fairy Princess."

What age would you recommend for your book? Hm, I'd probably say 13+. 

Who is your favorite author? Does his or her writing influence your own writing? I have several favorite authors. I absolutely love Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Robin Jones Gunn, Jordyn Redwood, and Anne Elisabeth Stengl. It wasn't until after I had been reading several books a while back that I actually started to think about picking up some stories that I had started but never finished.

Do you hope to write more books in the future? Oh, yes! I'm currently working on "The Fairy Princess," which is a story about Angelique, Amara's grandmother. And I've got an idea about another one that has to do with one of the other characters in "Hafling Diaries." I'm also thinking about restarting a book I started and did finish with about three different endings. This one isn't fantasy; it's more general fiction. (The main character is also my pen-name, hint-hint)

How did you get your book published? When I was doing YWP NaNoWriMo this past year, I read that all winners get to have five free paperback copies of their novel and get their novel published at the same time. The offer was from Create Space, a self-publishing and Amazon company. It's also easy to get your novel published on Kindle through Create Space.

Do you have any advice for other writers? When my brother read my book (surprisingly), he had some pretty good advice for me: "Less dialogue and more descriptions of people, places, and things."

How do you deal with writer's block? When it comes to writer's block, just keep thinking and writing. If I get stuck in a scene, I try to think about what's happening and what will happen afterwards. That usually works for me.

Anything you would like to add? :) Originally, I was writing with a pen-name: Fiona R. Darrol. But, I decided to stick to Lena Elizabeth. I've also got ideas for making book covers and other designing challenges of any sort. I've even got one for "The Fairy Princess." It's a merging of two photos I took. I'm really enjoying designing my book covers on the side of writing books.

Thanks so much for the interview, Lena! It was a pleasure to talk with you! I'll be looking forward to your future projects!

-- Klara

Monday, 28 January 2013

Young Author Book Reviews?

I'm trying to figure out how to make this blog more interesting to you all... I am considering writing reviews of books written by young authors. I know of a few friends who have self-published novels... maybe I could write a review of their books, and perhaps include an interview. Would that interest you all? If you have self-published a novel, would you be interested in a review and / or an interview?