Editing Services – At Your Service

In the past, I’ve given readers and writers tools they need to start editing on their own, and prepare themselves for the world of self-publishing or for the process of traditional publishing submissions.

I’ve heard some positive feedback on it, and some cries for help. “Anne, I’m just not sure if my work is ready,” or “Anne, I can’t afford these professional editing services and I’m totally lost.”

I get it. I really do. That’s why I’m here to help. Because I’ve been where you are now, and there was almost no one out there to help me when I needed it. So I’m here for you and your creative endeavors.

I’m offering copy editing and developmental/structural feedback for an affordable price–just $10 per 1000 words. That means if you give me a short story of 10,000 words, I will return to you line-by-line copy edits and a great deal of feedback on how your piece’s structure can change to become more powerful.

If you want full edits and proofreading, the price is only $12 per 1000 words. For your money on either service, you will get my undivided attention when it comes to your work and enough help to present a polished manuscript to the world, whether you choose self-publishing or decide to submit it for traditional publishers and/or agents to consider.

How do you get started? This is the easy part:

  • Contact me via this simple Google Form.
  • Get a welcoming email from me.
  • Submit your manuscript as a Word document, and payment via PayPal once you receive the pricing.
  • Once the payment is received, I’ll give you your manuscript with all the suggested corrections and an email report on the structure of your work and potential changes that may improve it. This typically takes 30 days to get your work back, depending on length and work needed.
  • Take your edited work and run off with it. OR, make your corrections and submit it back to me for a final once-over and proofreading (if you’ve chosen the full service).

That’s it! All there is to it. I have no minimum word count for submissions, unlike other services. This means that if you can only afford to have part of your work edited, you can still use my services. You’ll get copy edits and proofreading at one-cent per word ($10 per 1000 words).

If you’re at a stuck point, I can help you with it. Whatever editing stage you’re at–whether it’s minor tweaks, or in need of a total overhaul, I’m happy to offer my services.

Are you ready to take your work to the next level?

The Psych Writer: Grief – Phase Five: Anger

Last week, we explored the guilt phase of grief as part of The Psych Writer series. Thanks for sticking with me thus far, as we’re almost finished with grief, and it’s a difficult topic to face. But after this, there are only two more left in the series, so hang in with me.

So after guilt, the anger phase often follows. Keep in mind the codicil that you can pretty much repeat with me now: these phases are organized for the benefit of the clinician. They are not set in stone and the patient will likely not feel these things in order, or one at a time. They might, but they might not. Grief is individualized.

Now back to anger. The person who is experiencing the anger phase may lash out in a variety of ways. That will depend on the person, the source of loss, and their current circumstances. They get angry with a person for dying, they get angry with the doctors or medical team for “not doing enough” or making a mistake (whether there was a mistake or not doesn’t matter), or they get angry with people for tangential reasons.

While the anger is a natural reaction and completely expected, it is vital that the person doesn’t get stuck in this phase, and it’s probably one of the most addictive phases to get into. You may already know this, but emotions are handled by the amygdala in the brain, and judgment is handled by the prefrontal cortex, and the left prefrontal cortex can shut down emotions. (This is basic information for the sake of brevity: if you want to read more, about anger, check out this article.) When a person is angry, there are a number of hormones released, including adrenaline and noradrenaline. Because those are “pump you up” hormones to get the body ready for a fight, anger can be addictive. It’s like runner’s high without all the knee blowout from running.

Anger from the Patient’s POV
The patient is pissed off royally. How dare X happen? How could grandma do that to you? How dare she die at a time like this?! How dare Phyllis divorce you?! Who does she think she is? Those fucking doctors don’t know anything! They couldn’t save Uncle Phillip and they’re all just money-grubbing bastards. What were they thinking?

There is a touch of the indignant to this type of anger. Remember, the focus of the anger can be anywhere, even at themselves. Grief is necessarily selfish, so the anger is most likely due to the fact that this person has been left alone, holding the bag as they say. There are underlying feelings that are feeding this phase.

Anger from the Therapist’s POV
As the therapist, it is your job to dig with the patient and find out which feelings are feeding the beast. Sometimes it’s fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of loss. Fear of mortality. Sometimes it’s feelings of helplessness. They were abandoned. They lost their sense of control. Or all of the above, plus ones you can’t fathom at the moment.

All of these feelings, and more, are normal and expected. When someone dies, and the patient is angry, it’s important to let them explore those feelings in a safe environment.

Here, you monitor for homicidal ideation even more (although you always monitor for suicidal as well, homicidal should not be forgotten) than before, because people who are angry may not be able to switch on the prefrontal cortex’s ability to stop them from doing something that could ruin even more lives.

Other things you have to watch for is increased substance abuse and self-harm.

What this Means for You, the Writer
This is the perfect opportunity to get your character set up for starting their revenge against whomever caused their loss. It can also be a good opportunity to write about their anger turned inward, and how they fell into a pit of depression, struggled with addiction, or committed acts of self-harm.

If you’re writing an unethical therapist, keeping the patient in this phase can help them orchestrate a murder, create chaos, or other unsavory ends via unsavory means.

Remember, it’s not the grief itself that’s interesting, it’s how the character faces it, doesn’t face it, or makes matters worse that is interesting to the reader.

If you came here looking for psychological assistance, please contact your local crisis line. Dial 2-1-1 in the US for the United Way, or contact the Samaritans in the UK. For a list of international crisis lines, click here.

Good luck, and get writing.


Just two more to go and then we’ll move on to other mental health topics. You’re almost at the end of the grief series, can you believe it? If you’re in need of some lighthearted diversions, check out my Facebook and Twitter. Or for some entertaining fiction that touches on grief and loss, grab a copy of Exit 1042.

The Psych Writer: Grief – Phase Four: Guilt

I want to take a moment to thank my blog followers for sticking with me through these heavy topics. We’re more than halfway through now, and soon, I’ll be moving on to how to write other aspects of mental illness accurately. While it doesn’t mean you can’t take liberties and poetic license, I’ve seen writers bumble through having no idea what they’re writing about. (One of the most woeful examples I can recall is calling a person on the Autism Spectrum a “psychopath.”) The stories are still popular, but for people with the disorders they’re maligning, and the therapists who treat them, it’s cringe-worthy and ruins the story.

Last week, we explored the phase of bargaining in The Psych Writer series. This week, we’ll look at the next one: Guilt.

All together now, say it with me: these phases are organized for the benefit of the clinician. They are not set in stone and the patient will likely not feel these things in order, or one at a time. They might, but they might not. Grief is individualized.

Nearly everyone on earth has experienced guilt and knows how it feels. When it happens in the guilt phase of grief, it manifests in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common statements I’ve heard from patients in this phase:

“I wish I had spent more time with X before s/he died.”

“I should have been there to take away his car keys.”

“The last thing I said was ‘I wish you were dead,’ and now look what happened!”

“This is all my fault. I had to sign the papers to pull the plug. I killed my X.”

“If I had just noticed sooner, I could have urged them to go to the hospital earlier.”

See a common thread here? The guilt doesn’t typically surround the deceased or the object of loss, rather what the person perceives or feels about their own actions. This is often where the person feels a tremendous burden, a wish to go back in time. Regret. Remorse. As if there was one thing they could have said/not said, done/not done and it would magically change everything.

It won’t.

Guilt from the Patient’s POV
The person feeling guilt has turned inward, usually after bargaining and getting nowhere. Unsuccessful in finding an outward solution, s/he turns inward. There must be something she could have done to change the outcome, right? He will play the scenario over and over in his mind. She will ruminate on what the one thing is she should have changed to prevent “this event” (death, loss, etc.) from happening.

Guilt from the Therapist’s POV
As the therapist, your job is to remind the patient (gently) that loss is not something a person can prevent (unless they actually murdered a person). If there is some reasoning that the person could have prevented it, then it’s your job to bring the patient’s attention back to the present. What is done cannot be undone, as the saying goes. There are no time machines and even if there were, the action the patient believes might fix something may not fix it or even make it worse.

Understand that guilt is selfish, and it’s 100% okay to be selfish in this case. This is also a necessary part of grief as a person recognizes that s/he too is mortal, and not capable of stopping all death from happening.

People are self-centered in the guilt stage, and it becomes about what happened to them or what they could have done to stop the loss. Self-centered attitudes are not necessarily a bad thing as they ensure human survival, and when it comes to guilt, the focus on self is a necessary part of it. If you don’t care for the terms “self-centered” or “selfish,” think of it as “focusing inward.”

What this Means for You, The Writer
This is going to depend on quite a few factors when  you write a character’s guilt over a situation. Did they cause the loss? Do they feel remorse? Are they capable of remorse? Are they traumatized? What level is their involvement in the loss?

As you answer these questions, keep in mind that the character will be focused inward. Keep it to what they believe they “should have” or “could have” done to prevent the loss from happening.

If you came here looking for psychological assistance, please contact your local crisis line. Dial 2-1-1 in the US for the United Way, or contact the Samaritans in the UK. For a list of international crisis lines, click here.

Good luck, and get writing.


All right, just three more of these to go, and then we can get into other wild topics. Hang tough, dear readers! If you’re in need of some lighthearted diversions, check out my Facebook and Twitter. Or for some entertaining fiction that touches on this subject, grab a copy of Exit 1042.

 

The Psych Writer: Grief – Phase Three: Bargaining

Last week in The Psych Writer series, I covered the second phase of grief: denial. This week, we’re onto phase three: bargaining.

Once again, and you may be able to say it with me this time: these phases are organized for the benefit of the clinician. They are not set in stone and the patient will likely not feel these things in order, or one at a time. They might, but they might not. Grief is individualized.

Professionals put bargaining into the third phase because of the extensive work that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross did with death and dying. It doesn’t just apply to death or dying, either. This phase can be seen in grief over the loss of a job, a divorce, or any other loss one can imagine.

Bargaining happens the moment someone says they would “give anything to X,” where X is the former condition prior to the loss. Those who believe in God will bargain with their deity: I will do charity work for the rest of my life if only you’ll take away this disease. Atheists or non-religious folk may present with: If I had a second chance, I’d never tell Lucy she needed to lose weight.

There is a lot of wishful thinking in bargaining. It is natural, and it will pass.

Bargaining from the Patient’s POV
The patient is often feeling desperate in this situation. They have been given their ultimatum, the “no way out but through” feelings are piling up. They cling to the idea that there is some kind of “trick” that will reverse the undesired condition. He or she will make deals, either with a deity or with the target of loss. Those who are not prone to superstitious thinking or have a belief system may find themselves searching for answers through either science or religion. Bargaining may manifest itself then as “I’d do anything to get X back.”

Bargaining from the Therapist’s POV
With a terminal illness, he or she may express feelings of being trapped. Because of this, the patient will bargain as a way to assuage and mitigate these feelings. Your work as a therapist is to check for suicidal ideation/homicidal ideation and ensure the patient is not turning to any former addictive pitfalls. Additionally, as the therapist you need to allow the patient to explore bargaining however they choose, whether they’re an atheist who asks God for a sign, or whether they’re begging anyone who could help to make things “back the way they were.”

As long as the behavior isn’t self-destructive or destructive to another, it’s best to let it play out as it plays out and help them move forward.

What this Means for You, the Writer
If you’re writing out the bargaining phase, be sure to capture those feelings of ‘no way out’ and your only resource is trying to barter to put things back to the way they once were. This can be bargaining with an ex to try to mend the relationship (which may or may not work), bargaining with a deity to bring back a loved one (which may or may not work depending on your story), or even questioning the order of the universe. I once heard a person say, “I want to build a time machine, go back, and tell X not to get in that car.”

That too, is a version of bargaining.

This is a painful experience for the character involved as all phases of grief are for mere mortals. How your character experiences the bargaining phase will be up to you and your story’s direction.

If you came here looking for psychological assistance, please contact your local crisis line. Dial 2-1-1 in the US for the United Way, or contact the Samaritans in the UK. For a list of international crisis lines, click here.

Good luck, and get writing.


Well that was the third heavy topic, I know, but there are only four more to endure, so brace yourselves. If you’re in need of some lighthearted things, check out my Facebook and Twitter. Or for some entertaining fiction that touches on this subject, grab a copy of Exit 1042.

The Psych Writer: Grief – Phase Two: Denial

This is an ongoing series called The Psych Writer. Last week, we explored the first phase or stage of grief: shock and disbelief. This week, we’ll take a closer look at phase two: denial.

This stage used to be lumped into the first stage of shock and disbelief, which makes sense, but over time, therapists have discovered that denial takes on a life of its own.

Now, the standard caveat that you will be able to repeat with me by the end of the grief series: these phases are organized for the benefit of the clinician. They are not set in stone and the patient will likely not feel these things in order, or one at a time. They might, but they might not. Grief is individualized.

This phase is usually the “second phase” because of its proximity to shock and disbelief. It seems easy to fall into denial. Keeping in mind not everyone experiences this phase (see the note above), some people find their shock and disbelief is extended. For some, it becomes more elaborate.

For example, little Tommy was four years old when his mother died suddenly. Unable to accept or cope with the loss of his mother, Tommy begins to believe a story that she’s gone on a trip and will be “back soon.”

Another example: Greta is a 55-year-old who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. When her husband asks her about it, she says she doesn’t know anything and doesn’t want to know anything about it. She doesn’t want to lose sleep over “worrying about it.”

Denial from the Patient’s POV
This phase is a more elaborate, amplified version of shock and disbelief. The person experiencing denial may appear quite strong to family and friends. They hold their heads high, or say things such as, “I have to keep on going.” They appear to have accepted their fate. Or they act more like Greta, and say things such as “I can’t think about this right now.”

The person in denial often has internal dialog of the wandering mind. They cannot concentrate, or are forgetful surrounding the loss. The person may find himself setting an extra place at the dinner table. She may reach for the phone to call the loved on to tell them some bit of good news. They may leave the person’s room untouched and not sell or get rid of all items (keeping heirlooms and keepsakes do not count), and get livid if you move them or disturb them.

In the extreme, rooms become shrines to the lost one, or the person turns to substance abuse to aid in suppression of pain.

Denial from the Therapist’s POV
Boy, have you got your work cut out for you. As a good therapist (remember to do the opposite if you’re writing a crappy one), it’s your job to serve as a point of reality for the patient. Your reminders for the patient that the loved one is gone or the job will not suddenly return need to be consistent. Be with the patient in his/her denial and empathize without sympathizing (the difference being that this is about the patient and their unique experience, not about you and your own grief).

Here’s an example of how a session might go, and how the therapist would guide the patient into reality:

Patient: I reached for the phone to tell Grandpa the good news about my promotion.
Therapist: What happened?
Patient: I didn’t call. I put down the phone and made coffee.
Therapist: So you didn’t complete the call, and distracted yourself with something else, then?
Patient: I guess I did. I just can’t accept that he’s gone.
Therapist: How do you feel about him being gone, and that you can’t call him with good news anymore?

The therapist is extracting information to find out how the patient is processing the loss and where they are in their grief. How deep is this denial? Do they get tearful in their response? Do they get angry? Confused? Delusional?

Fictionalize it any way you like, of course. What would happen if Grandpa had answered?

What this Means for You, the Writer
If you are writing someone in the phase of denial, you’ll be the one to decide how extreme it is or if there are any paranormal elements. Consider how long the phase will last (the more extreme cases of denial last longer than six weeks and sometimes for years), and the elaborate lengths your character will go do to keep their denial going.

If you came here looking for psychological assistance, please contact your local crisis line. Dial 2-1-1 in the US for the United Way, or contact the Samaritans in the UK. For a list of international crisis lines, click here.

Remember that when you write this phase, it’s important to think of it as a more elaborate trick of the mind to protect your character from pain. If you are writing from the therapists point of view, remember your goals are of a facilitator and you are there to cushion the blow of brutal reality for your patient. You are the bridge back to healthy grief processing, and it is up to you to provide tools for the patient to get beyond this stage so he or she can begin functioning once again. Additionally, remember that you are not to foster dependency on you as the therapist (unless you’re writing a bad or unethical one). You are there with the tools for your patient. If you’re portraying an unethical therapist, be sure to exploit this phase by assisting in expanding patient denial.

Be well and get writing.


Well that was yet another heavy topic, I know, and there will be more to come soon, so brace yourselves. For some lighthearted things, check out myFacebook and Twitter. Or for some entertaining fiction, grab a copy of Exit 1042.

The Psych Writer: Grief – Phase One: Shock & Disbelief

On August 18, I posted a bit about the seven stages, or phases, of grief as part of an ongoing series of writing from a psychological point of view. So this week, I begin with what is referred to as the first phase or stage: shock and disbelief.

Note that these phases are organized for the benefit of the clinician. They are not set in stone and the patient will likely not feel these things in order, or one at a time. They might, but they might not. Grief is individualized.

This phase is typically considered first because many people have this reaction upon hearing bad news. This can be the death of a loved one, loss of a job, the end of a relationship, a rape, assault, etc. Sometimes it comes back later. Sometimes it doesn’t show up at first and another phase takes its place. Sometimes, it happens at exactly the same time (concurrent to) as another phase.

Shock & Disbelief from the Patient’s POV
The patient, upon hearing the bad news, may experience shock and disbelief immediately. they “go numb” and don’t feel anything at all. They express that they “don’t know what to feel,” or “this can’t be happening.” They feel dazed. “It was like I was punched in the gut. It took my breath away.”

Shock and disbelief are your mind’s immediate defense mechanism in most situations. This phase can last for weeks and lead to denial (remember the caveat that these can also happen concurrently). “I don’t know what to think.” That is shock and disbelief. “It can’t be true.”

Shock & Disbelief from the Therapist’s POV
When a therapist who specializes in trauma is with a patient in this phase, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of assessment. How is the patient’s affect? Usually in shock and disbelief, the therapist will see that the patient reports the trauma the same way they’d read a weather report. There is often flat affect (they don’t emote on any level and it shows in their faces), and it is up to the therapist to help the patient manage the trauma so that it doesn’t get worse or so overwhelming that they turn to damaging coping mechanisms.

The work done in this phase is especially important for those with PTSD so that the counselor avoids retraumatizing the patient. There is a lot of work to be done in terms of containing the shock and making sure the patient doesn’t turn to previous addictions or self-harm.

As the counselor you must also be culturally aware of this phase and how it affects a person inside of their culture. Someone who comes from Northern European descent and is active in that culture may not actually be in shock and be in depression, but their affect seems to reflect shock and disbelief. Avoid stereotyping and be aware of cultural cues.

What this Means for You, the Writer
As you write, be aware of the character’s mind protecting him or her from devastation. If you wish to build a character who is going to develop PTSD, make sure that the trauma is fresh in the character’s mind and during their shock and disbelief phase, the character has severe reliving experiences of the moment that put him or her in shock, and that they keep “re-shocking” themselves. The shock and disbelief may even go so far as to interfere with functioning, or, conversely, the character may throw himself/herself into work or school.

If you came here looking for psychological assistance, please contact your local crisis line. Dial 2-1-1 in the US for the United Way, or contact the Samaritans in the UK. For a list of international crisis lines, click here.

Shock and disbelief is the first phase on the journey of grief. It is not fun, it is not pleasant, and in some cases, it is soul-crushing. It is your brain’s way of saving you from pain. When you write it, think of a time that you were shocked, and go beyond that to put yourself in your character’s shoes. Remember, writing isn’t just about you, it’s about stretching yourself.

Be well and get writing.


Well that was a heavy topic, I know. For some lighthearted things, check out my Facebook and Twitter. Or for some entertaining fiction, grab a copy of Exit 1042.

 

The Psych Writer: Seven Stages of Grief

By popular demand (with only one detractor and over 50 votes total), and a burning desire to put my graduate studies to good use, I’ve decided to combine two things I love and am good at by starting something that may help other writers. I’m putting together a series called The Psych Writer.

This series will consist of different psychological problems and mental illnesses. I will explore them with some level of depth for the following purposes:

  • To give readers and writers a clearer understanding of the psychopathology behind particular mental illnesses and life problems.
  • To give writers who are writing from a therapist’s perspective a better understanding of how a trained therapist would work with such psychopathology.

Granted, you will want to take poetic license at some point to make your work fit your world. The purpose is not so that you write a counselor, therapist, or psychologist perfectly, but that you have a better understanding of how they’ve been trained. That way, you might avoid writing some cringe-worthy material for the in-the-know audience, and make it far more believable and less distracting when read.

This installment deals with the seven stages (or phases) of grief. It’s a brief overview, as I intend to go in-depth on each phase in the following seven installments of The Psych Writer.

Grief is not a mental illness unless it becomes complicated (and even then it’s not truly a mental disorder yet according to the DSM-V, but we’ll discuss that in a later installment), but it is considered a life problem that can interfere with functioning. This is normal and it happens to virtually everyone.

Because we’ll be exploring these seven stages in-depth, I will refrain from delving into the writer’s and therapist’s perspectives. For this installment, we’ll go over a quick outlook at the stages.

Bear in mind that these phases are put in order for the convenience of the therapist, and that real human beings do not experience these stages in a nice, neat manner. Instead, they may experience them in order, out of order, or concurrently. All of that is considered normal and expected.

Additionally, these seven phases do not belong solely in the realm of death of a loved one. They can mark any kind of loss or end of most anything. Divorce, loss of a limb, end of a relationship, etc.

Phase One: Shock/Disbelief
“I can’t believe s/he’s gone.” This is probably the most uttered expression of disbelief and is the most well-known. The person in bereavement often describes feeling numb or nothing. No tears come even though they want them to or believe they should. They are so in shock sometimes that they faint upon hearing the news of a loss. Some feel like they’re on automatic pilot. This stage may last a few days, or a few weeks.

Phase Two: Denial
This used to be a part of shock and disbelief, but therapists tend to agree denial is a phase all of its own. Denial mimics shock at times in its lack of feelings, but it goes deeper than the initial shock of the news. It’s a full setting aside of one’s emotions so that they can carry on, which sounds great, right? Except inside, there’s an ugly storm brewing. Getting stuck in this phase can lead to substance abuse and other types of self-harm. This phase can go so far as the person pretending their loved one isn’t dead. They want to pretend it never happened or that there was some reversible mistake and any moment now, their loved one or whatever was lost will walk through the door or spontaneously regenerate. More on that later.

Phase Three: Bargaining
Some people plead to have their loved one back, even when they know it’s not possible. It’s been 20 years since my father died, and there are moments when I still hit that bargaining phase (I’d give away all my possessions to hear his voice again, or some variation of that phrase). This is something a therapist will hear in many terminally ill patients, but it happens to almost everyone. They want their losses returned. They may pray or bargain with God if they believe in the concept. They may just engage in wishful thinking.

Phase Four: Guilt
This phase comes in a variety of forms. A person feels guilty because they didn’t spend enough time with a loved one. They feel guilty because they had to make an end-of-life decision on the person’s behalf, and they question it–what if it was a mistake? They beat themselves up over having to make the decision, even though it was likely the best choice given their ugly situation. They are wracked with guilt about so many things they may not be able to put their finger on it.

Phase Five: Anger
“How dare he leave me?” “I hate him for dying!” This phase is self-explanatory, almost (but not quite). A person in bereavement is often furious at the loss, at the person, or the entity. They get angry with themselves, the person who ’caused’ the loss, the loss itself, and lash out at everyone in their way. I’ve noticed that with job loss, this phase tends to come earlier for people than it does in the case of death of a loved one. But it’s still there, and it’s still potent.

Phase Six: Depression
Here come the tears. In this phase (again, these phases are fluid and not concrete in any manner), the person is often crying and sad about the situation. They sleep too much or have difficulty sleeping. They don’t eat, or they overeat. It is what most people ‘see’ as being grief. Often, laypeople don’t realize that depression isn’t the only phase of grief and think that this is the only expression of the bereavement process. It isn’t, of course, but it’s usually the one that’s considered the most acceptable, or at least expected (depending upon cultural relevance).

Phase Seven: Acceptance
Oh, how some people think this is a happy time. It isn’t. Oh sure, in the case of job loss when you accept it and start pounding the pavement looking for something new, it brings peace that enables you to move on, but with death and dying? NO. This is not a happy time in the slightest. Acceptance can bring peace with the fact that you’re going to die, a loved one is going to die, or they have died, but by no means is this a cause for celebration.

I had a friend who was dying over a short period of time due to a rapidly developing terminal illness. We were sitting together on one of her final days and I asked, “are  you ready to die?” She turned her big blue-green eyes to me and gave me a small smile. “Sure. I mean, it’s not like there’s anything good on TV.” That was one of the best expressions of acceptance I’d ever heard. But it wasn’t happy for either of us. Humorous, yes, but not happy. She accepted her fate and died about a week later. This, my loving readers, is acceptance.

While I can hardly believe I got through that entire post without a single swear word, I can’t promise that for future posts. I hope that this series will prove to be fruitful for you as the reader or the writer.

If you came here to read and are in need of assistance getting through grief, please click this link to find hotlines in the US and Canada, and click here for a list of international hotlines. You can also search for local hospices, as they have a number of grief counseling resources.


Anne Hogue-Boucher isn’t always a horrible person who writes horror stories, but it’s fun when she does. You can follow her for more fun and entertaining content on Twitter and Facebook. Also, don’t put pennies on train tracks. It’s a waste of pennies.

Anne L. Hogue-Boucher’s answer to Are horror writers less easily scared than normal people? – Quora

I’m sharing this via (5) Anne L. Hogue-Boucher’s answer to Are horror writers less easily scared than normal people? – Quora because I love to answer anything and everything at this site.

I’m considering doing an in-depth look at writing mentally ill characters. Far too many people overuse terms like “psychopath” and have no idea what they’re talking about. A famous example of this is Steven Moffat. He honestly has no clue, and I’m puzzled as to why he’s so interested in making psychopaths out of people who just aren’t.

Possibly because he’s a complete buffoon. Possibly because he is willfully ignorant.

Anyway, I tire of the trend of idiots who think they know psychology because they read that pop-culture magazine all about psychology … who shall remain unnamed.

Still toying with the idea, and not sure I’m sold on it. Let me know your thoughts by hitting me up on Twitter or Facebook.

In the meantime, happy writing!

Facing the Blank Page

For some novice writers (and, on occasion, seasoned writers), that blank page is the ultimate enemy. The white screen stares you in the face, and you’re lost for something to put on it.

Sure, it’s easy for me to say “just put your fingers on the keys and start writing.” It’s easy for me because that’s what I do. But I didn’t get to this point all at once. No, I was trained to do it–and you can train yourself to do it, too.

See, for me, I’m a writer for a living. If I don’t write, I don’t eat. That’s not a great plan for effective weight loss, by the way. I don’t recommend it.

In order to keep my stellar figure, that means I have to put words on the page so I can get paid for them. So the blank page has to be eliminated.

Now, for creative writers, especially those starting out, may need a little nudge to get training. One tool that can provide the nudge is using writing prompts. Once you’re trained, you might discover that you even like using them now and then.

These prompts may vary. They can be vague, such as “rain pattering,” or specific, such as “your character discovers an ancient coin on the beach.” No matter what, though, it can be enough to get your brain juiced (yum?).

One of the more valuable tools I found is here at 365 Creative Writing Prompts – ThinkWritten. You can train yourself for a year with these prompts. Agree to a daily word count (start with 500 if you’re a new writer and build your muscles by adding 25 words to that count each day till you’re somewhere between 1500-3000), and use each of these prompts to tell yourself a story. Who knows? Some of these might turn into short stories, and others, a novel.

As always, the advice is: just write. This is one tool that will help you defeat the blank page.

Happy writing.


I write, and I edit like a fiend. You can follow me on Twitter for semi-frequent weirdness, or on Facebook for kicks (not literal kicks).

Writing Device: Anadiplosis

Anadiplosis

The term anadiplosis is a Greek word which means “to reduplicate”. It refers to the repetition of a word or words in successive clauses in such a way that the second clause starts with the same word which marks the end of the previous clause.

WHAT?

Simply put, all this means is that you use a word or word-set in a repetitive matter immediately following the first part.

This is Anne’s example of anadiplosis in writing, in writing that can be strengthened, strengthened by using such devices.

I like to use it when I want to have a character make a powerful speech or get his or her point across in a moving way. This is one that can be overused, though, so be sure to monitor your repetition in your manuscript.


Need professional advice on where your manuscript is going? Let me know and I’ll be happy to help. Want to be entertained from time to time? Follow me on that tweet place and that other place for your face and a book.

 

Still Have a Blank Page?

Emily Harstone advises this Writing Prompt: The 3 Minute Warm Up to help boost your writing muscles. You’ll need a timer and a blank page or screen, and the ability to type or a writing utensil. That’s it.

This is one I’ve tried personally, just for fun, and I find it useful. It gave me exactly what I needed to start a new short story for Camp NaNoWriMo. By the way, that’s going really well for me this month. Hopefully it’ll start a whole new series of short stories!

Give this one a try if you need to get the blank page to go away. Who knows? You might wind up creating a whole new world for yourself and your readers, in just three minutes.

Keep writing. Don’t give up.


This short post was brought to you by Anne Hogue-Boucher, writer and editor, and Leader of Primates Against Pants. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.