Tips On Writing Horror

So often when we write, we stick to our preferred and known genre, but I was challenged this week to write a spooky story for my writing group and I found it really enjoyable. It got me thinking about horror and other genres I don’t commonly write. So I thought we could explore tips for […]

via Tips for Writing Horror — hijinksblog

***I came across these awesome tips on writing horror from the hijinksblog and wanted to share. Enjoy***

10 Minute Novelist

Hi. I’m proud to say that I’m a 10 minute novelist.

One day I was looking for inspiration. Believe it or not, no matter how many times I told myself I’d write every day, it didn’t happen! I came across this wonderful website called 10 Minute Novelists right before NaNo. How is it already December?

The founder, Katharine Grubb, says “I decided that my dreams were worth fighting for. I decided that doing something was better than doing nothing. And I decided that if I waited until I had the perfect conditions, I would never get that novel written.”

Besides finding the 10 Minute Novelists website, I also joined their Facebook group. Their three goals–tips, encouragement, and community.

So far, I’ve found motivation to write every day. Not necessarily always fiction, but writing nonetheless. I have to keep a steady blog schedule somehow. 🙂

I discovered that just finding 10 minutes out of my day to focus on writing has really, really helped. I’m writing about 400 words each session block. Hopefully, I can keep up this momentum.

Thinking in terms of 10 minutes has improved my goals in so many ways:

  • It takes the pressure off of me, not feeling guilty for not writing in long sessions
  • I get bursts of energy, feeling productive in these quick sessions
  • I found my balancing act with novellas, short stories, comics, reading, scripts, and editing/revising

For any inspiring writers out there, please know your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Just focus on getting your words down on paper; you can always edit later. And, you don’t have to commit hours upon hours a day to consider yourself a real writer. No siree. Everyone has their own schedule, their own pace. If you can commit to 10 minutes a day, then you’re good to go. At the end of the day, writers write. 🙂

Good luck!

For any writers out there, how do you find motivation to keep working on your fiction or other writing projects?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

The #1 Tip For Getting Started As a Fiction Writer

As a freelancer, I’ve been given the wonderful opportunity to contribute to The Millionaire’s Digest. My first article posted today. 🙂

Here’s a snippet:

The #1 Tip For Getting Started As a Fiction Writer

Life is about creating memories. Do you agree?

Authors have the gift of capturing moments on the page. A great book has the reader forget that they’re reading. They get lost in the pages and follow the character’s journey as though they are in a fictional world.

How do authors capture these special moments on the page?

If this sounds interesting and you want to finish the article, then please click here.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby


What I Learned From the Author, Homer Hickam

Yesterday I attended the Shepherd University’s Writing Master Class, and it was awesome! I learned a lot from the three experts on panel. It was cool hearing insights from audience members. There’s nothing better than people having a passion for reading and discussing what works and doesn’t work in a story. Homer Hickam, the author of the book that inspired the movie October Sky, was the special guest. It was fun getting inside his head of what he believes makes good writing.

Here’s what I learned from Homer Hickam:

1.  To be a good writer, you must be a good reader. Determine what about your favorite books makes you want to turn the page. Study and analyze why…

2.  It’s not enough to just have an interesting idea for plot. The best hook is  always characters. Readers are interested in people, so make your characters interesting, real, someone you’d want them to follow.

3.  Make readers feel suspense about what will happen next for your characters. This is the only motivation for them to continue flipping pages.

4.  Modern readers won’t stand for too much description because they’re used to action from movies and TV shows. At the beginning of your stories, you must do more showing and less telling. Have action and dialogue early on, so questions and hooks arise. Don’t put too much information upfront (info dumps and back stories).

5.  All writers should be poets at heart.

6.  You must evoke emotion out of your readers. If they become bored, they’ll stop reading your book at that very moment.

7.  And last but not least, all stories have arcs. Writers can’t leave the story at the same level to the end. For example, a story can’t just be all dark and tragic. There must be some light moments to break up all that angst, so when the dark mood returns it’s better appreciated. Make it a emotional rollercoaster ride.

For all the writers/authors out there, is there any advice you’ve heard that has stuck with you throughout your writing career?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

How To Write Thriller and Paranormal Fiction

I made another appearance on Aymaran Shadow’s blog, discussing the essential key elements for writing thrillers and paranormal. I often wonder if authors research their genre to get a clear picture of what readers will expect or if they just focus on what they want to write. I love to research, yet I love to think outside the box. So, I guess I’m in the middle.

As a reader, I expect to solve a puzzle if it’s a thriller. I want my emotions heightened–doesn’t matter if I feel hatred, love, fear, or surprise. As long as I’m not bored, I’m good. The bad guys always fascinate me, so I love when a story has a very cunning villain. Don’t get me wrong, I love the good guys too. I like reading about mind games and violence, graphic language doesn’t bother me.

As a reader, I expect to learn something new if it’s paranormal. I imagine the characters’ world is similar as the real world but supernatural beings roam the earth. To be honest, the only paranormal I’ve ever read has been in the romance genre, so I expect a huge build-up of a supernatural falling in love with a human. Violence doesn’t bother me in this genre either.

As a writer, I think there’s certain elements that different genres should have. If you’d like to check out my thoughts:

For all the writers and readers out there, do you agree or disagree?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

8 Things I Learned From Stephen King’s “On Writing”

1.  Don’t make a conscious effort to improve your vocabulary. One of the worst things you can do is dress up your words because you think you should use longer ones, shameful of your shorter words. Usually the first thing that pops up in your head is right.

2.  Elements of Style is a very useful book. Avoid the passive tense. With action verbs, the subject of the sentence is doing something. With the passive verb, something is being done to the subject of the sentence.

  • For example, passive tense:  The tree was chopped down by the ax.
  • Action tense:  The ax chopped down the tree.

3.  Adverbs are not your friends. Always include ‘s even if the last letter of a word is s. Easy books contain lots of short paragraphs including dialogue paragraphs and a lot of white space.

4.  In fiction, the paragraph is less structured; it’s the beat instead of the actual melody. Fragments can streamline narration, create clear images, create tension, and vary prose. The key is not to worry about grammatical correctness but to make the reader get lost in your story, to make them experience what your characters are doing/feeling.

5.  If you want to be a writer, read and write a lot. Every book has a lesson. The good ones teach you writing style, good narration, plot development, etc. The bad ones teach you what not to do.

6.  Stories consist of narration (moves fiction from point A to Z), description (creates a sensory reality for readers), and dialogue (brings characters to life with conversations). Where is plot? Nowhere. Stories pretty much make themselves. The job of the writer is to give them place to grow and transcribe them. Lean heavily on intuition.

7.  In fiction, a situation comes first. Then characters. Your job is to narrate it. Good description is a learned skill–hence why you should read and write a lot. You learn only by doing. Thin description leaves the reader feeling nearsighted. Overdescription buries readers in details. The trick is to find a happy medium.

8.  Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the readers.

For anyone who’s read Stephen King’s On Writing, what lessons did you learn?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Quill Wielder offers very informative links to help with revising, editing, polishing, etc. etc. 🙂 a novel or short story. Enjoy.

Laura Catherine

I’ve spent a lot of time researching editing over the last week and I’ve found some great tips for getting your manuscript from a mess to perfection.

Author Holly Lisle has a great little walk through of things to look out for when you edit: How To Revise A Novel. In fact her site has a lot of great tips for writers.

Here is a great article for a way of Adding 10,000 words without panicking.

Writing Tips with helpful tips for getting rid of things like Unnecessary words and Redundancy.

A nifty Checklist for Editing, lots of great tips here too.

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How To Write A Lovemaking Scene

Most authors are faced with the question: Should I write sex scenes in my novels or short stories? Many factors come into play. What genre is the story? Will characters making love have an impact on the plot? If you decide to try your hand at it, there are some recommendations you should follow:

  1. Don’t force yourself to write a sex scene outside your comfort zone. Your discomfort will show up in your writing, making your words sound awkward.
  2. Stay away from too much technical and anatomical terms when describing the physical act. Readers don’t need to see “so and so inserted blank into blank”. Find a way to describe the characters movements in a way that helps the scene flow better. Readers want to feel the passion, not get a SexEd lesson.
  3. Focus on the emotional and physical elements. However, please stay away from purple prose. You don’t want your sex scenes to sound corny. Write how the characters are feeling and what they’re doing. Different scenarios will, of course, result in different reactions. For instance, if two people are in love, then their movements will be more sensual and caring towards each other. They’re more likely to participate in foreplay and slowly remove clothing, savoring the touch. If its a quickie between two strangers, probably just lust and passion filled with heat but only thinking of the other person as a piece of meat. Just keep in mind that every sex scene won’t be the same. Please describe it through the character’s mood/emotion at that time frame.
  4. Please no head-hopping. Please stick with only one character’s perspective throughout the scene, so the readers can get lost in the moment. It’s best to choose the one who it’ll affect the most afterward.
  5. Consider where the sex scene fits within your plot. Some genres you can get away with none at all. Others, readers will demand a refund if you don’t give enough. So only have your characters make love if it’s logical to the events occurring in the chapter or section of your book. For example, if two students are in the middle of taking a test, then it’s probably not the best time to insert a sex scene in that chapter.
  6. Last but not least, research more tips on how to write a lovemaking/sex scene besides just reading this list. There’s so much useful information out there to be absorbed by writers.

Are there any writers who would like to share tips on how they approach sex scenes in their novels or short stories? Or anyone know of any useful websites to read through that’s helpful on this subject?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

When Headhopping Goes Wrong

Some writers want to express every single detail of what their characters are thinking and feeling. They want it revealed all at once in every single scene. It’s called headhopping when this writing style is implemented.

They hope that the readers will care for their characters this way, but sometimes the readers actually get lost and unmotivated to continue reading. Instead of the story being engaging, it just becomes confusing.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers said it best, “Readers need some time to settle into a given emotional state, so when you move quickly from one passion-charged head to another, you’re likely to leave your readers behind. They’ll know what your various characters are feeling, but they won’t have time to feel like any of the characters. And that kind of emotional connection is exactly what you’re after.”

I teach a 10-week creative writing course, and during point-of-view week, my student Lyle said it best when he explained that headhopping was like when a person walks into a room and all of a sudden, several people start talking at once. It’s hard for that person to concentrate on what they’re saying–it’s hard to pick out the important parts–because he’s bombarded and confused. Once he yells, “One at a time”, he clearly understands what everyone says. They each calmly speak, and he gets all the different perspectives in a clear way. If people are patient and wait their turn, then it’s all good.

Now, the stories I read back in the day had headhopping (and I don’t mean self-published books; I mean books on shelves at the library or bookstore), so I assumed it was the right way to write for third person point-of-view. I’m used to writing in first person point-of-view.

I didn’t learn that I was wrong until I lurked on Absolute Write and read the discussion about this issue. Some authors were saying it was flat out wrong while some were arguing that its an acceptable way if done right, giving examples of Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts.

  • I’ll stick with using no headhopping ever again because I find that a scene can be more engaging if it just focuses on one character. Tension can be built especially if the character perceives something inaccurately. The readers will get to see that in a later scene or chapter while the character remains clueless.

For all the readers out there, do you mind reading scenes with headhopping all over the place? Writers can debate this topic all day long, but ultimately it’s up to the readers because they’re the consumers and more willing to buy your book. They call the shots hee hee.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby