Know what these literary terms mean?

Disclaimer: Each of these words might mean something slightly different to each person, but in general these are the easiest ways to describe them!

Premise

“An assumption that something is true” is a broad definition, but in literature, one can describe a premise as a teaser. Ask a friend about a book, and they will tease you with exciting elements of the characters, plot, and/or the setting. Same with a movie trailer. If you see fast cars and explosions throughout the clip, you’ll assume that the movie will be an action/thriller. The premise of this movie is that it is an action movie with lots of cars and explosions.

Trope

My definition of trope, or the most interesting definition of a trope, comes from an essay by Rigoberto Gonzalez. A trope is “an anchor that can keep the narration coherent and even helps the writer find a way into and out of the narrative.” Although “trope” covers a range of figurative language, such as irony, metaphor, and allegory, this one is most interesting because it defines a technique that most people use, but don’t know what to call. Until now.

Say you want to write about an event, maybe a very important museum trip, but you don’t know how to start or finish your narrative. At this event, however, you remember that there was a dog always present. Start here. Go from the dog to the museum trip and then back to the dog. The dog becomes a trope for your story – something to refer to at the beginning, maybe middle, and the end of your story so that you stay organized and focused. It prevents you from going on tangents. The dog could even have parallel meaning with a theme or message that you’re trying to create.

Motif

A motif is something that keeps reappearing in your story, like a color, shape, weather, phrase, etc. The motif symbolizes progression in the story and has metaphoric value. If the dog in my pervious explanation for a trope just so happens to represent the eternal life struggle, then it’s also considered a motif. Not only does the dog have symbolism, but it also reappears throughout the story.

Here’s another motif: every time you see the color red in the movie The Sixth Sense, you know a ghost is about to appear. Red symbolized a ghost, but it also appears throughout the movie, giving hints to what’s about to happen next.

Idiom

Idioms are those neat phrases that you only understand a handful of. You know, like:

  • raining cats and dogs
  • keep the ball rolling
  • busy as a bee

Idioms are used in our language every day, but unless you know the background context from which these phrases originated from, you’re going to have trouble understanding what the other person is trying to tell you.

Idioms have to originate from somewhere. For example: “don’t jump the shark” derived from the show Happy Days when the character Fonzie jumps over a literal shark to increase television ratings. However, that episode marked the first of many where the script took an unexpected, unwelcomed turn. Saying “jumping the shark” means don’t draw attention to something in an unwarranted way.

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

 

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Signal Boost: Remedy for Memory by Brista Drake

Ay! This is about my book!

mousaibookscom

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to a new recurring segment here on my blog: Signal Boost. My hope is that each Friday I’ll share with you a book/author, TV show, movie, board game, video game, etc that I think people should check out. If you’d like to join me in boosting the signal on some awesome or geeky things you love, then please do. And share your book and geeky love with everyone else.

And if you don’t know, I’ll just say it now…yes, I got the idea for this segment from Geek & Sundry. They have a show on their channel called Signal Boost, where you get a new host every four episodes and in each episode the host shares 3 awesome geeky things they think you should know about. Nine episodes have aired and if you want to check it out, you can do so here.

For…

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Pretending to Be A Writer Makes You A Better Writer

You can tell what good writing is. I can tell what good writing is. We get drawn into good writing, which is how we know. But how does the writer know it’s good writing?

So a while back, I was writing a story. It had a decent outline and a reasonably clique plot behind it. I thought I could put some of my own twists on this plot so that it’s unique. I figured the way I told the story would be different than how anyone else could tell the story.

When I started writing this story, there were parts that my heart beat escalated and my words moved across the page in rapid motions. Then there were other times I was simply writing to fill the gaps. These fillers I thought long and hard about, but the only thing I could come up with were basic ideas I’ve seen a million times in other stories like this one. I figured it wouldn’t matter if this one scene was similar since a lot of the book was unique. I wasn’t able to judge the work. I heard so many people say “just write the story, don’t care was others think.” So I didn’t. But after reading a few other books, I had an epiphany.

Those moments I kept it basic were my book’s weakest points. After reading a story that at some moments I was like, “wow, this is a really good writer. They really know how to write a ____ and ____,” and others I was like, “wait, are they good? This seems too clique,” I realized that the clique parts were fillers, like what I did when I was writing. It wasn’t that the parts I liked weren’t reused ideas – in fact, they kind of were, but the parts were told passionately and with the author’s own flare. The parts I didn’t like were clique, rushed, not passionate, simple connect-the-dots parts.

My advice would be to always feel passionate about what you’re writing. If you do this from start to finish, you will tell a unique story, using interesting chapters, words, and sentence structures.

Another tip would be to pretend to be a writer, always. Even if you write, you might not be the ideal “writer.” How does a horror writer talk and act while explaining their story to the press? How do they write their stories? What is the voice that resonates with the readers in the genre you’re writing? I always copycat a writer in my genre, thinking hard about how they would write a sentence in my book. It’s one of my greatest inspirations!

I hope that helped spark some writing in all of you!

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

The Difference Between Thriller and Horror

To write a good horror or thriller, I want to point out the similarities that they both have that make them good stories.

A thriller and a horror both have a lot of action in them. Both use unusual circumstances to entertain the audience. The reader is enthralled by the story because they’re picturing themselves in these unlikely situations. It’s a second-hand experience of something entirely new at a safe distance.

Getting to the point of this post, what are the differences.

Thrillers thrill us, sending us through a roller-coaster of nonstop emotion. One moment, the characters are in a bad scenario, the next moment they’re in an even worse one. It takes a heck of a lot of quick thinking to get them out of trouble. Basically, there are so many unexpected twists and turns that your brain has no time to keep up, so it just sits back and enjoys the ride for what it is. That’s why most thrillers can come off as written and plotted brilliantly, because no one could’ve expected the outcome. It’s actually just hiding facts until they absolutely must be revealed.

Horrors horrify us. There is one emotion that this genre usually focuses on, and that’s fright. There’s a mix of disgust and suspense in there, but mainly it wants us to either instinctively shield our eyes or scream out-loud to ourselves. Horror has to be creative with it’s plot, too, presenting a situation that no person would wish on another. Gruesome images, whether it be gore or the next variation of scary eyes and teeth, are there to haunt your thoughts at night.

Those are the essential differences. A good thriller will have you thinking about those plot twists long after the story ends, and a good horror will have its images and/or scenarios.

Thanks for reading,
WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

How To Plot Out A Thriller/Mystery

A year ago, I plotted out my own little mystery thriller and hope to make it into a book one day. I enjoyed the scheming and implanting surprises. So here’s how I did it.

I knew I could complete a story in as many chapters as I needed. However, I didn’t have a story yet. So I thought I’d see what I could come up with in 27 chapters (3x3x3). I didn’t end up using all of them, but it did get the ball rolling

I came up with my ending first. What did I want to accomplish? What emotional state was each character going to be in?

I worked backward. I felt like my beginning should be the exact opposite. I wanted a story where my characters were heroic and loving at the end and lame and hateful at the beginning. I wanted there to be two main characters who grow closer throughout the book.

I had a beginning, a middle, and an end: boring and strangers, action and comrades, heroes and friends.

Then I decided what kind of action: do I want it to be a crime? A jungle adventure? A spy undercover operation? The list goes on. I thought a crime would be interesting. Multiple crimes, in fact.

So, I split my beginning into three parts, my middle into three parts, and my ending into three parts. I already knew that I had to find out about the crime, investigate the crime, and then solve the crime, but how could I split finding out about a crime into three parts? Investigating a crime into three parts? Solving a crime into three parts? Well that’s where my creative side came in. Each third became it’s own beginning, middle, and end.

I added character development, conflicts, and plot twists to fill the gaps, otherwise it’d be a three-chapter book. Maybe it takes three problems and two solutions to fully discover that a crime was committed. Maybe it takes a leap of faith, three lucky tip-offs, and two steps backward to get through the investigation. Maybe because of a new friendship and two minds working on the case, with a few cafe scenes here and there, the crime was finally solved. But the case is not closed until the criminal is caught, so there’s a few more scenes for ya’.

There are so many options that I had to split the thirds of the three into three parts themselves, resulting in 27 or so chapters. It allowed me to explore the characters with back stories, have intimate as well as action scenes, and really build a secret over time, which I had planted at the beginning of my plotting process. It sprouted into a drawn out sequence of events that became my book outline.

I hope that helped some with plotting your next mystery thriller!

Keep writing,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Avoiding Writer’s Block

Is improbable, but not impossible. What is writer’s block, first off?

If you’ve ever been clueless as to what to write, after you’ve started a project or began a different project, you’ve probably had writer’s block.

So to come up with a theory, I analyzed what happened before each time I had writer’s block. To start, whenever I couldn’t start a writing project because I didn’t know what to write about, my mind had been on other things. Secondly, right before I hit the writer’s block wall in my stories I had just finished writing the perfect sentence, paragraph, or chapter.

Here’s my theory: In order to make a book better, one has to edit. But why? Can’t you make it good the first time? No. You have to think about what’s good and what’s bad. Now, when I wrote the good stuff, it came from the heart. I was going by instinct as to what should be written. I was word drunk. Then, as you know, I’d hit a wall.

But that’s just it: I wasn’t thinking. I was rolling the words off my tongue. I wasn’t thinking ahead. It caused the next chapter’s quick finish, words thrown together to continue the story. It wasn’t good.

If you are a mastermind, thinking about every sentence, paragraph, chapter – planning way ahead – maybe you could skip editing your book and writer’s block all together.

However, for most people, we can’t predict how a chapter will turn out and we let our emotions run wild when we feel the passion. That can be dangerous, but it’s also why we write. We wouldn’t have any fun doing what we love if we had to think deeply about it all the time. Besides, editing could be a fun function of the whole bit, too.

Keep writing!

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

WritingMime

How To Write A Bio/Author’s Page

Conform to your genre. Write yourself as a character who would write in your book’s genre. If you’re writing a comedy, throw a few funny facts in about yourself. If you’re writing horror or thriller, keep it serious. Don’t write things like, “She finds her inspiration on long beaches,” because that’s what a romance writer might say in their bio section.

Don’t write in first or second person. Don’t write about yourself in a way that you are talking to the audience or you’re literally talking about yourself. Seem professional, like someone else wrote this for you, especially you self-published authors. It’s hard enough to seem legitimate.

Filter your facts. Speaking of seeming legitimate, don’t ramble on about your favorite bread of cat (unless you’re writing a book on cats). Facts that you’ll want to include are as followed:

  • Schools or classes you’ve attended for writing
  • How long you’re been writing
  • Mentions of other books of yours that fall in the same genre or close to
  • Links and other places to find your books (so if you write in other genres, as well, they can stumble upon them that way)

You want to seem like you take writing seriously, hence all the facts about writing. You of course are welcome to share basic facts that everyone should know, like where you were raised, or what inspires your writing the most. Keep it simple, though. The bio section isn’t this long resume of facts (unless you’re writing a book on how to write resumes).

Thanks for reading!

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

The Acknowledgments Section

An acknowledgments section is somewhat of a dedication, but not the dedications section, where you list who and how certain people influence or inspired you to write your book. (The dedication section is the small page after that says things like “to my children,” end.)

Include everyone who you want to thank in helping create your novel. In other words, without them, there would be something lost or missing in your book.

You can start with more formal thanks or begin with people who supported you for free.

Formal names are your publisher, book editor, cover design, and anyone else you paid to create your book. They’re just as important as the people who supported you for free. It doesn’t matter what order you name them in.

Where do you put it and how long should it be?

You can put it at the front. This shows you’re acknowledged how important they are by placing them first in the book.

You can put it at the back. Some eBooks instead have their forward or acknowledgment section at the back, so the reader can jump right into the story with no distractions. It’s a marketing technique.

Either way, the best acknowledgements are the ones that are full pages long. One page or two proves how much you appreciate your supports. Who’s going to believe a one lined thank you? That’s almost a dedication! You should always explain why you’re thanking them and what they are to you!

How to acknowledge creatively:

Be yourself. How would you speak to the people you are acknowledging? This section is for them after all, and you want it to sound natural.

Be funny. Where it fits, if you have an inside joke that you’d like to bring up for old time sakes, do it! They are hilarious to read!

Bring out the poet in you. If that’s what it takes to express your gratitude, then so be it. Tell them that they were the stem to your delicate flower.

Have variety. Mix serious with casual. You can stick to the serious mode if you want, but the more heart-felt it is, the more believable it’ll sound. If you’re just a serious person all around, then maybe write it that way.

If anyone helped you FINANCIALLY pay for your book, it’s especially important to list them here. No exceptions.

This is their place to shine! Have fun with it!

Keep writing,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Sexuality In Books

Many books have sex, physical signs of affection, and sexual tension. As a writer, I want to know why we do this, how can and how much can it help the book, and are there downsides.

The downsides:

  • As a writer, one should write what they love and express most comfortably. One does not write well in a genre they are not interested in. Figuring out if you’re a sexual writer is very simple. Do the movies, books, and shows you love so much have sexual innuendos and intimate scenes? Then you’ll probably do well. If not, I’m going to guess you’re not going to write very strong tension, if you are at all.
  • There are quite a lot of people out there that are prudent when it comes to sex as a topic of choice. They stay clear of it and might even disgrace your book if it contains that kind of imagery or dialogue. Write what you want, though. They don’t matter if that’s what you’re interested in writing about.

The upsides:

  • Especially if you are writing in teen fiction, you’ll want to have sexuality present in your books. Most publishing houses label young adult books as novels that explore the aspects of adulthood, breaking into topics like sex, drugs, bullying and pop culture. It’s what they’ve been forbidden to read, so teens read it the most. Most other adult genres have sexuality, as well.
  • It can make the book more relatable. Sexuality does exist in the real world, and, where appropriate, an author should address the subject as realistically and reliably as possible. It brings realism and a stronger emotion to the story you’re writing.

How should you write sexuality into your book?

Depending on how you look at sex, you could include physical contact in your book: kissing, caressing hands, intercourse, etc. You can be more or less descriptive, telling readers exactly what’s going on second by second, or hint to a scene that the readers never see. Then again, you can avoid the matter entirely.

You can use it as a detail instead of a plot movement. Maybe you just want the boy to kiss his girlfriend on the cheek. It doesn’t mean anything for the story, other than to show the boy continues to care for his girl. You could also, romance writers, use it as a plot or turning point. Ex: The princess loves her rescuer, but she better not kiss him before she gets back to her soon-to-be-husband prince, or there might not be a coming back.

If you want to write the best sexual tension, keep the suspense long and agonizing, make the main character’s love interest as mysterious as possible for as long as possible, and write the MC meeting the love interest in the same age bracket as your potential audience. It’s automatically more relatable, and not everyone has known their love interest their whole life.

But there have been books where the MC was dead, and it still got pretty steamy. So write what you want to write, bottom line. If you’re hearts in it, the writing will present exactly what you want your readers to receive.

That’s my intake on the whole sexuality-in-books thing. What’s yours?

Keep writing,

WritingMime

Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingMime

Tumblr: http://writingmime.tumblr.com/

Other Blog: http://writingmime.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

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