Fiction University: Better Plotting: 7 Ways Your Characters Can Screw up Their Decisions

via Fiction University: Better Plotting: 7 Ways Your Characters Can Screw up Their Decisions.

I highly recommend this read for people who have difficulty making things difficult for their characters.

As much as we enjoy having things turn out nice and neat, life doesn’t work that way, and it’s interesting reading when it happens to your characters, too.

That being said, you might want to avoid the “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” at times in order for your writing to not turn out too convoluted. Even in life things go right now and again, so it’s good for your story to reflect that, too.

Give it a try! Read the article and screw some things up for your characters. It might prove to be even more interesting than you thought.

Anne Hogue-Boucher likes to write horror stories where her characters have bad things happen to them, and they don’t always make the right decisions about it. You can follow her on Twitter @Spellvira or like her on Facebook at The Macabre Author. Her upcoming novelette, Exit 1042, will soon be available on Amazon Kindle.


Promote your blog for Luna | Luna, the Little Chomper

via Promote your blog for Luna | Luna, the Little Chomper.

I thought this was a cute idea for people to promote their blogs, as told through the eyes of a sweet little cat named Luna.

Loads of people like cats, after all, and nothing quite gets a person who likes cats to click a link faster than a cute, little fluffy furball like Luna.

Two weeks ago, on June 13, 2015, I had to put my cat to sleep after enjoying 17 years of her companionship. I love cats, and I clicked on this link. It’s actually difficult for blogs to get me to click, but this did it.

Scott Danzig’s blog is a lot of fun to read and he even gives good advice (such as on how to take better cat pictures, which is helpful for all pet lovers, really). It’s well worth the read.

Enjoy little Luna and Scott’s blog. I’ll be back with more posts on writing next week.

Anne Hogue-Boucher likes cats, obviously. For her absurd sense of humor and oddly entertaining posts, follow her on Twitter @Spellvira or like her on Facebook at The Macabre Author.

The Abject Fear of Writing? 8 Quotes That Will Change How You See Writer’s Block

via The Abject Fear of Writing? 8 Quotes That Will Change How You See Writer’s Block.

I’m not usually one for those “motivational” posts, but I have to say, this set of graphics from Authors Publish is fantastic.

This is for people who say they “don’t have a muse.” I call bullshit. Just admit that you’re too tired, too lazy, too sick, or whatever the real excuse is. Because that’s all it is: an excuse.

If you’re blocked, think about why you’re really blocked. You could be afraid of failure, or you could be afraid of success. Kick your “muse” out the window, sit down, and write something. Write even when you don’t feel like it (or at least admit you don’t feel like it and stop blaming some outer force).

This Saturday, I will have to put my 17-year-old cat to sleep. I am extremely sad about this, even though I know and accept that it has to happen (without going into detail, it is clear to me that it’s time). I hate having to do it.

I could let that be my excuse, couldn’t I? I could say, “oh, my muse won’t let me write.” Fuck that noise. I am sad, I am grieving the loss about to come, and I am doing my best to give this sweet cat a huge party and send off every day, because she deserves it for 17 years of faithful companionship.

But I still get up, sit at my laptop, and work on my writing. I may take a few days off to grieve, but I will climb back into the saddle and ride again.

Even though I will likely take a break, I sure as hell won’t blame a “lack of muse.”

If I can do it, then so can you. I’m not anything special. I’m not Wonder Woman (it’s funnier when Bernard Black says that on Black Books).

Enjoy these quotes, and hopefully it’ll help you kick your muse to the curb and write.

An Excerpt from Perceptions

One of my pieces that is ready for publishing is from a novel called Perceptions. Reality is not objective, and those who think they know what’s happening may be in for a surprise. Can one powerful magician and his cult will reality into whatever he desires, is he the one hallucinating, or are his victims the ones making all of this up?

Evan walked in silence, and I knew it had to be because he was tense, too. He was normally talkative, though, even when he was nervous. Sometimes, more so.

“You’re acting weird,” I finally said. “You’re not yourself.”

He looked over at me, as if he didn’t know who I was.

“This land is poisoned,” he said flatly.

“I felt that, too,” I answered, putting my hand on the butt of my gun. For some reason, that actually made me feel better. More in control. Safe.

“How do I know I’m still me?” He asked suddenly. “How do I know anything? How do I know terror?”

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I was silent for a moment. “We live in an infinite universe,” I finally replied, “and that is terror enough.”

Evan started to laugh. I swallowed down the bile that was catching itself in my throat, my heart beginning to really race this time. Evan broke into a run toward Dubbs House.

“Evan!” I shouted. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“The princess is in another castle!” He shouted back. I would have laughed had the situation been any different. But he wasn’t acting like himself, and was being even more strange than normal. Normal for Evan was always a bit off, but this was abnormal, even for him. I took my gun out of the holster, barely realizing what I was doing. It just seemed automatic, as if I were reaching for a security blanket.

We ran to the house, Evan much further ahead of me. Well, at least we were getting somewhere.

He disappeared into the house, first. Right through the front door, and that was it. He just disappeared.

I went in behind him, but more carefully this time. I was in through the door, but I didn’t say anything. I was being more cautious than Evan. I didn’t want to shout because I didn’t want to alert anyone that there was more than one person in the house, intruding. Evan pretty much blew our cover, but I tried to salvage it as best I could.

I didn’t see where Evan went. He just sort of disappeared, but I wouldn’t call out for him.

It was as if the house ate him, I thought randomly. I was starting to sweat, and a sickly feeling was washing over me.

The house was enormous, and had a front desk, like a bed and breakfast or something. Everything was clean, polished, and not what I expected. I guess I expected some run-down, tattered old house, but it wasn’t. Everything was well preserved, as if it had been restored to its former glory.

Though Perceptions is not yet set for publication, I wanted to share this with you as a gift. I enjoy playing with subjective realities, and hope that you enjoyed reading this glimpse into a world where nothing is as it seems, except where it’s exactly as it seems.

Happy reading.

Don’t Overthink It

I recently read: Don’t Overthink It, Less Is More When It Comes to Creativity – Scientific American, and I heartily agree with their findings. It’s nice to have some hard, scientific proof to back up what I’ve been saying.

When you sit down to write, just write. Overthinking it makes it arduous and contributes to writer’s block. You can always fix your writing later. The point is, just get it done!

Stop wondering what the end result will be with your writing, and enjoy the journey in getting there. You never know what gems you’ll find when you just let go and let it happen. Sometimes the results can be astounding.

Get to it.

A Look Back at 28 Days Later

In 2003, a film came out that really changed my view on zombies and the end of everything, and I think it sparked a lot of imaginations to hop on the zombie apocalypse train. That film was 28 Days Later.

Of course, by that time, zombies were nothing new, but fast zombies were. And they were a whole new animal in a way, weren’t they? They could run! No more being able to outrun them unless you were some sort of athlete or desperate on a burst of adrenaline.

Those zombies ignited my imagination.

They were diseased, they came from a laboratory mishap when animal rights activists unleashed RAGE into the world. Oopsie. And they eliminated the UK a fair bit in less than a month.

But it gave me ideas. Eventually, it helped shape me into the writer I am now. Not just about zombies, mind you, but about everything.

Although I’m not quite sure what to do with this guy.
Image courtesy of Flikr.

There’s a certain amount of drudgery in writing when one starts to think, ‘oh, this has all been done before and there’s nothing new under the sun, and I better finish that pasta before it goes bad.’ (Because admit it, you think about things that aren’t really related.) It’s true, everything has been done before and we might as well get used to it. So when you have a relatively new twist on an old idea, it gets exciting!

And that’s what fast zombies did for me: they made me realize that, no matter what I wrote, I could add my own little twists and turns and make it new to my readers, and even new to me. Not just fast zombies, but everything. I could take my influences, and build on them from there. It’s not about stealing someone’s ideas; that’s not right. But it is about saying, “I want to write a story about X, but so-and-so did it. How could I play with that theme and make it my own?”

That’s what Zombie Bites is about. Writers from all over contributed to this anthology with their own take on what zombies are all about. These stories are all by authors who are ignited by their passion for horror. I’m glad to be one of them.

When people ask me my inspiration for the story, a big part of it comes from 28 Days Later, but I made those zombies my own. The film’s content might not be reflected in my story, but the idea of the film is. That I could look at something that had been done before in a whole new light. I didn’t have to rehash anything.

So if you feel like you’re stuck when you’re writing, and your idea doesn’t feel all that original, take a lesson from 28 Days Later. Sometimes all it takes is an adjustment of one little detail to breathe new life (ha!) into just about anything.

Anne Hogue-Boucher is a relatively sane person who enjoys a good game of tiddlywinks with her zombie who has finally gotten out of the hamper. You can follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.