What Lifeline Can Teach Writers

The other week, the free app of the week on the Apple App Store was a choose your own adventure style game called Lifeline.

Made by 3 Minute Games, Lifeline features a stranded astronaut, Taylor, who needs your help making some pretty big decisions. And it’s about as simple as games come – text appears on the screen as Taylor communicates with you, then every so often you get a choice between two options. There are no pictures, only basic sound.

What Lifeline Can Teach Writers | Liberty Falls Down

The Lifeline Interface

But as a game it’s utterly compulsive and nail biting. And the reason for that is excellent writing. It’s no longer free, but it’s totally worth the 79p/$0.99 it costs, because you can analyse the techniques used by the writer to improve your own craft. While having a really good time playing an excellent game. Win win!

What Lifeline can teach writers

How to create compelling characters

When we are introduced to Taylor, all we have to go on is his/her dialogue. It’s not even clear, with the gender ambiguous name ‘Taylor’, what the astronaut’s gender is. But despite limited information, we quickly get a sense of Taylor’s character, and start to like them.

What Lifeline Can Teach Writers | Liberty Falls Down

They have what I like to call the ‘endearing freak out’ moment. The situation Taylor is in is clearly dire, and, understandably, they are a bit freaked out. But while Taylor does have a moment of ‘argh my life is awful right now’, they quickly recover and start being practical. It’s realistic. Who wouldn’t freak out if their spaceship had just crashed and they were all alone in the world? But they don’t dwell on it long, they’re resourceful, which makes us care.

With the bare minimum of words, we have a sense of the character and are starting to root for them. And that really matters – in a choose your own adventure game, or in your writing.

How to create Nail-Biting Tension

I’m going to start being less specific here because I don’t want to spoil the joys of this game for anyone who wants to play it. But while you’re playing, look out for techniques being used to create tension.

The writer makes excellent use of creepy setting, spooky noises and goings on, the suggestion of things happening just out of the character’s eye-line to make the player feel nervous. Simple decisions about walking down corridors become difficult to make because so much seems to be able to go wrong. The stakes are enormous, and anyone with even the slightest knowledge of writing knows that stakes have to be high to make the story compelling for the reader. For Taylor the stakes are quite literally life and death.

It makes you want to keep playing, the game equivalent of turning the pages. Although, it’s worse in Lifeline, because as the player you have a sense of responsibility and one wrong move could destroy the astronaut you’ve come to care so much about.

The importance of impossible decisions

Towards the end of the game, I was faced with a decision that I actually didn’t want to make. After deliberating about it for a while, I text my sister (also called Taylor, just to confuse things) who was also playing through the game.

What Lifeline Can Teach Writers | Liberty Falls Down

You can probably tell from those messages that I was genuinely sweating about this decision. I bothered to text sister-Taylor for a start. That requires a degree of investment in the situation. (Also, note what she says about game-Taylor sending messages about chickening out and forcing her to decide his fate all over again – great tension building technique! Not sure how well this would work in a novel, but it’s something to think about.)

What Lifeline Can teach Writers | Liberty Falls Down

And to give you an idea just how invested I was in this decision, take a look at the timings here. Bear in mind that the initial message I sent is off the screen, but was probably around the same time as Taylor’s reply at 19:01. I make my decision at 19:13. That’s 12 whole minutes I spent deliberating the decision. 12 minutes! For a simple click and choose adventure, that’s a hell of a long time to think about something.

But the simple fact was, I really didn’t want to make the wrong decision. I was invested. I wanted Taylor to live. But neither of the options I was given looked good, and that meant that I couldn’t see a way either was going to end well. Hence the 12 minute deliberation.

This has really made me think about my writing, particularly my plotting. Characters should be faced with choices that aren’t easy. If there’s a simple solution, there’s no conflict, no tension. Impossible choices keep things unpredictable and they make the reader keep reading because you just have to see the choice play out.

Lifeline is particularly good at presenting you with choices that have pros and cons on both sides. It’s not like ‘push the red button’ or ‘leave the red button that says ‘self destruct’ well alone.’ You have to make difficult decisions about use of resources – like ‘set up a perimeter alarm and use up the power, or save it for the emergency beacon’. Both choices have merit, and without knowing what’s ahead, you can’t say which is going to be more vital. Choose the alarm, and you may never be rescued, choose the beacon and you might not last the night. Characters in stories should face those kinds of choices all the time, and the consequences have to be real and damaging. Without this, the plot will have no urgency, and the reader investment won’t be as high.

How to tell a really good story

Most of all, Lifeline shows you an excellent example of spare story telling. There isn’t a lot to go on. It’s just dialogue, and not much of it at that. But over the course of the game, you learn so much about the character, the situation, as well as the unfolding mystery about what actually caused the ship to crash. It’s an unconventional medium for delivering a story, but it works. And any example of good story telling is worth picking apart and examining, to see what can be applied to your own craft.

(And, incidentally, when I asked sister-Taylor’s permission to share the texts, she said, ‘[that] was really an intense moment in our lives.’ The impact of Lifeline is still memorable, some weeks later!)

You can use the same (free!) software that 3 Minute Games used to make your own Choose Your Own Adventure game. It’s called Twine, and is available here.

Review: Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson

TraitorsMasque-KindleCover_FinalTitle: Traitor’s Masque

Author: Kenley Davidson

Series: The Andari Chronicles #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Received for review from the author

Summary (from Goodreads)

Eighteen-year-old Trystan Colbourne believes she has nothing to lose. Her father has died, her stepmother has stolen her inheritance, and her stepsisters are as vicious as they are beautiful. If she wants a future beyond their cruelty and indifference, she has just one chance to make it for herself—by accepting an enticing offer from an unexpected benefactor. The offer? A life of freedom in exchange for her part in a harmless deception.

Trystan hopes her freedom will give her the chance to find out whether her mysterious new friend Donevan can be trusted with her secrets… and her heart. But trust is a dangerous business, and when her harmless deception turns sinister, Trystan discovers that trusting the wrong person may have placed the entire kingdom of Andar in grave peril. Unwittingly embroiled in espionage, treason, and deadly intrigue, Trystan will be forced to decide who she really wants to be, and how high a price she’s willing to pay to make her dreams come true.

Review

I’m a bit in to fairy tales at the moment. I think it’s partly Once Upon A Time – a terrible, but simultaneously awesome TV show – and partly the recent Disney live action adaption of Cinderella. Oh, and Grimm, another terrible but simultaneously awesome show.

Let’s just say, life has been distinctly fairy tale flavoured for a while.

Which does mean I came at this adaption of Cinderella ready to love it. I wasn’t expecting to love it quite as much as I did.

Cinderella is a problematic fairy tale in that it’s main character is ‘nice’. Nice is generally boring in a narrative. Cinderella lacks agency and that spark that makes us really connect with her. In the recent film adaption, we connect with her romance with the dashing Robb Stark, I mean Prince er… *Googles* Kit! Prince Kit. Well, there were pretty dresses in that film, and ballroom dancing and I really wasn’t paying attention to much else…

Because there isn’t too much else to pay attention to. Which is exactly what Kenley Davidson changes in her adaption. This ‘Cinderella’ is at the centre of political intrigue, tricked and trapped into what looks like an innocent deception, but transpires to have much wider consequences.

The romance between Trystan and Donovan is much better, too. Full of fizz and wit, the two characters spar against each other verbally, before coming to an understanding that they have much in common. It’s a romance that does not depend on love at first sight, and you really feel for both characters as the machinations of people around them drive wedge after wedge between them. At times it’s impossible to see how either is going to get their happy ending. It’s not too spoilerific to say that they do – it’s a fairy tale, after all – but Davidson knows how to keep making the situation worse and worse, forcing you to read as fast as you can to reach the conclusion.

It’s a long book, but I never noticed when I was reading it, racing through the chapters. The narrative never felt stretched out or over-indulgent. Again, there’s so much going on, each scene and chapter feels full to the brim with intrigue and peril – supported by characters that are a joy to read about.

Overall, a fabulous book that I devoured. Highly recommended for anyone who loves a bit of fairy tale and romance in their stories.

Rating: 5/5

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE | AUTHOR’S TWITTER | AUTHOR’S FACEBOOK | BUY BOOK

Tips and Tricks for Beating Writer’s Block

Tips and Tricks for Beating Writers Block | Liberty Falls Down

Last month, I gave you some tips for beating January writing blues. The post was focused on getting your mojo back when you’re not really feeling like writing at all. Today, I’m sharing my tips for beating writer’s block – those times when you’re really geared up to write but can’t seem to force the words out.

I do agree that writer’s block is one of those excuses that is overused by writers who don’t have deadlines to meet and bills to pay with their writing. People who do don’t have the luxury of getting writer’s block. But at the same time, I know there are days when the writing is like pulling teeth. And it’s that sort of feeling I’m referring to when I say ‘writer’s block.’

There is no miracle cure for writer’s block. The best thing you can do is just keep writing. It might be painful, and produce rubbish, but it’s something. Of course, ‘just keep writing’ is exactly what you’re finding difficult in the first place. So, cure writer’s block by… not having writer’s block?

Life is never that simple, but there are some simple tricks you can use to hack your brain and get the words flowing again. They won’t work for everyone all the time, but try them out. It might just help!

1. Switch writing medium

If you handwrite, switch to the computer. If you type, switch to a notebook. This might just be me, but when I sit down to write at a computer, it feels important. It feels ‘real’, like these words count. In a notebook, I feel freer to experiment and not worry about the words so much. Also, because it’s not messing up the file I’m working on, I can write whatever I want, from whenever I want, in a different point of view, in a different tense. Taking away the ‘this is adding to my daily page/wordcount’ leaves you free to not stress about it so much. And you might just write something you can use later.

2. Do a Mindless Task

I’m a big believer in getting away from the computer screen/blank page if you’ve been sat at it too long. It can feel like giving up, but giving yourself a break can give your brain time to work through the problem that’s making you struggle with your writing. Try doing a completely menial, mindless task. Anything you don’t have to think too hard about. Don’t turn on the radio or the TV to keep you company. Just spend the time alone with your thoughts. It will give you the opportunity to think through your writing and the scene you’re stuck on, while not leaving you feeling that you’re wasting time. You’ve done something productive, and you’ve given yourself time to think about your story.

3. Start at a different point in the story

Some people don’t like to do this, but it’s the only way I ever get through NaNo. When word count is key – which it should be when you’re doing your first draft – you have to keep the momentum up. Sometimes that means skipping past a tricky scene and moving onto one of the ones you’re excited about writing. The kissy bits, or maybe the fighty bits. Whatever your passion is, cut straight to that. You’ll probably find the writer’s block vanishes and you can write many words/pages. Once you’ve hit your word count for the day, or just reached a point where you feel you’ve done enough to be considered ‘finished’ for the session, go back and spend half an hour moving forwards in the point you were stuck at. There’s no pressure then, because your words are done, and you might just find you’ve thought of a solution in the meantime.

4. Do Writing Exercises

Nine times out of ten, my writer’s block is because I don’t actually know where I’m going with a story. The other one time it’s because I’m not excited about the scene. Both indicate there’s a problem with the structure of the story. Because if I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t have a structure to speak of, and if I’m bored of a section, chances are pretty good a reader would be too. This is okay in a first draft. First drafts are meant to be a hot mess. But I’ve tried to stop seeing writer’s block as a mental failing and more as an indication of plot and structure problems. And when I get it, I try to think around the plot a bit. This is where writing exercises can be handy. Do a massive character questionnaire and learn new things about your protagonist that might give you fresh ideas about your story. Try writing scenes from different points of view. There are loads of exercises and prompts out there on the internet. Find some and see what new things they reveal. Then, go back to your story and resist temptation to fix it. Leave what you’ve done so far, make a note in a different colour about the decisions made, then keep moving forwards as if you’ve already gone back and corrected everything. Fix it when you’re editing. For now, just keep writing!

5. Trunk the project

If you’ve tried everything and it’s still not working, it might be time to trunk the project. It’s a big decision to make, and you’ll have a lot of pros and cons to weigh up. Con – you’ve done work on it, and binning it will feel like a failure and a waste. Pro – You’ll have learned from the work you’ve done so far, and those lessons can be applied to your next project. Perhaps you were too ambitious. Perhaps you were writing in the wrong genre. Perhaps there isn’t enough going on in the story to sustain it over 90,000 words. Whatever the reasons for the failure of the project, you need to identify them and learn from them. If the only reason you can think of is ‘it got a bit hard to write’ then trunking might not be the answer. Sticking it out and finishing will teach you much more than starting again will.

The Writer’s Life also has some tips for beating writer’s block. If a bit of procrastination is what you need, try creating Pinterst boards – a nice distraction that will keep you thinking about your story. Good luck!

Featured Author: About Kenley Davidson

Featured Author Kenley Davidson

February’s featured author is Kenley Davidson, author of the Andari Chronicles. Throughout the month, we’ll be learning all about her series, with interviews, guest posts and reviews.

About the author

Featured author Kenley DavidsonKenley Davidson is a story-lover, word-nerd and incurable introvert who is most likely to be found either writing or hiding somewhere in a book

A native Oregonian, Kenley now resides in Oklahoma, where she persists in remaining a devoted pluviophile. Addictions include coffee, roller coasters, more coffee, researching random facts, and reading the dictionary (which is way more fun than it sounds). A majority of her time is spent being mom to two kids and two dogs while inventing reasons not to do laundry (most of which seem to involve books).

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE | AUTHOR’S TWITTERAUTHOR’S FACEBOOK

author's works

TraitorsMasque-KindleCover_FinalTraitor’s Masque (The Andari Chronicles #1)

Eighteen-year-old Trystan Colbourne believes she has nothing to lose. Her father has died, her stepmother has stolen her inheritance, and her stepsisters are as vicious as they are beautiful. If she wants a future beyond their cruelty and indifference, she has just one chance to make it for herself—by accepting an enticing offer from an unexpected benefactor. The offer? A life of freedom in exchange for her part in a harmless deception.

Trystan hopes her freedom will give her the chance to find out whether her mysterious new friend Donevan can be trusted with her secrets… and her heart. But trust is a dangerous business, and when her harmless deception turns sinister, Trystan discovers that trusting the wrong person may have placed the entire kingdom of Andar in grave peril. Unwittingly embroiled in espionage, treason, and deadly intrigue, Trystan will be forced to decide who she really wants to be, and how high a price she’s willing to pay to make her dreams come true.

ADD TO GOODREADS | Buy Book

Gold heartGoldheart (The Andari Chronicles #2)

Elaine Westover is a talented artist, but for much of her life she has hidden from the world. Now, jilted by her fiancé and left penniless by her father’s death, Elaine is desperate to resolve her financial difficulties and save her family home. Despite a deep fear of strangers, she feels she has no choice but to take up a public career as a painter of portraits.

When she is asked to create a final tribute to wealthy banker Torbert Melling’s dying wife, it soon becomes clear that there is far more at stake than her commission. Disturbed by Melling’s revelations, Elaine refuses his request, but finds herself imprisoned by Melling and his sinister butler until she agrees to his impossible demands.

Held captive in a house filled with darkness and despair, haunted by sadness and secrets, Elaine must call upon every bit of her courage merely to survive. But can she do more than just survive? With her freedom and her livelihood at stake, Elaine has no choice but to accept the aid of a mysterious benefactor who may or may not have her best interests at heart.

ADD TO GOODREADS | Buy Book

IWSG #5 – A Big Step

The Insecure Writer's Support Group - A Big Step

I’ve been keeping up with my aims to do so many hours a month writing and working on my publishing ‘career’. Hah. It will maybe be that one day, but for now it feels quite a long way off.

However, I did take a big step this month. I applied for the right to have a secondary career/business interest at work.

For most people, this will be an unnecessary step. It’s not something most work places are bothered about, but mine is. For good reasons. Conflicts of interest and all that. I had to fill in a form and send it off to HR, which I have now done.

It might not seem like that much of a big step. But it was. Partly because the form was a pain in the neck – designed for people who want to get weekend work in a shop, not people launching a creative business of any kind. But also, it had to be given to my line manager to sign off. Which meant admitting to someone else, outside of my immediate family, that this is something that I want to do.

Obviously I talk about it on the blog all the time, but I find it different. You guys all understand because you’re either readers or writers. You love books, you love authors. My saying I want to be one is quite normal. I’ve always had this problem with confessing I want to be a writer to anyone in the ‘real’ world. I don’t really know why. It’s as fine an ambition as ‘running a marathon’ or ‘travel round the world’ or any of the other things people plan to do while trying to get on with ‘normal’ life at the same time. But while I’ll talk about wanting to get back up to Half Marathon fitness without embarrassment, confessing I want to publish a book feels like telling someone a dirty secret.

I guess it’s fear of failure. People assume that publishing a book is as simple as writing one. And how hard can that be? Really bloody hard, as we all know. And that’s just the beginning of the journey. There are so many obstacles. I’d rather be able to tell people I’ve published a book, than that I’m thinking of publishing one.

But, I did it. I confessed my secret to my line manager. She signed off my form. It’s still with HR, but I can’t see any reason why the application will be rejected.

First step on the rest of the journey done!

February Overview

February Overview https://libertyfallsdown.wordpress.com

February is a short and sweet month, but I’m still hoping to pack it full of things.

Books1

The Glass Gargoyle1. The Glass Gargoyle by Marie Andreas

Archeologist Taryn St. Giles has spent her life mining the ruins of the elves who vanished from the Four Kingdoms a thousand years ago. But when her patrons begin disappearing too—and then turning up dead—she finds herself unemployed, restless, and desperate. So she goes looking for other missing things: as a bounty hunter.

Tracking her first fugitive—the distractingly handsome and strangely charming Alric—she unearths a dangerous underworld of warring crime lords, demonic squirrels, and a long-lost elven artifact capable of unleashing a hell on earth.

Chased, robbed, kidnapped, and distressingly low on rent money, Taryn just wants one quiet beer and to catch her fugitive. But there’s more to Alric than his wicked grin—is he a wanted man or the city’s only hope? With menacing mages in pursuit and her three alcoholic faery sidekicks always in her hair, Taryn’s curiosity might finally solve the mystery of the elves… or be the death of her and destroy her world.

Received for review from the author

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE | AUTHOR’S TWITTER | AUTHOR’S FACEBOOK | Buy Book

Room2. Room by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Purchased with a gift voucher received from colleagues

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE | AUTHOR’S TWITTER | AUTHOR’S FACEBOOK | Buy Book

Torn3. Torn by Amanda Hocking

When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits… and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted… in both worlds.

As a special gift to readers, this book contains a new, never-before-published bonus story, “One Day, Three Ways,” set in the magical world of the Trylle.

Bought in a charity shop

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE | AUTHOR’S TWITTER | AUTHOR’S FACEBOOK | Buy Book

sacred treason4. Sacred Treason by James Forrester

1563: Anyone could be a suspect; any Catholic could be accused of plotting against the throne. Clarenceux keeps his head down and his religion quiet. But when a friend desperately pleads with Clarenceux to hide a manuscript for him, he is drawn into a web of treachery and conspiracy he may never untangle. Is there no refuge if your faith is your enemy?

Bestselling author Dr. Ian Mortimer, writing as James Forrester, has crafted a chilling, brilliant story that re-imagines how the explosive mix of faith and fear can tear a country apart. Sacred Treason tells a thrilling story of murder, betrayal, and loyalty–and the power of the written word.

Won in a competition

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE | AUTHOR’S TWITTER | AUTHOR’S FACEBOOK | Buy Book

Game1

tomb raiderTomb Raider

When the first ever Tomb Raider game launched in 1996 it was a revolution. Outstanding in terms of graphics, gameplay, and storyline, it changed the way that video games were played and developed forever. Fronting the games assault on the world was the central character, Lara Croft. Lara was also to have an incredible impact, quickly becoming the most recognized and celebrated female action heroine and an icon for the video games industry.

This newest rendition of Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to the hardened survivor that she would become known as. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.

Published by Square CNix | GAME WEBSITE | buy game

Events1

8th-12th – I’m on a residential course for work down in London. Hopefully, it will give me plenty of time for reading and writing, as well as seeing my family for a couple of evenings.

14th – Valentine’s Day. Fiancé is working. I will likely have an engagement with a romantic movie and some chocolate.

28th – Wedding fayre with Taylor :)

Monthly Review: January

January

January has been the first month of a new regime on the blog, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. I’d be really interested in any feedback and suggestions, so please leave a comment if you have any ideas or thoughts about the blog.

Below is a summary of everything that’s been happening here. It’s a lot when you add it all up!

Featured Author

January’s Featured Author was Kelsey Ketch, author of the Descendants of Isis trilogy.

About Kelsey Ketch Get the lowdown on Kelsey and her works.

An Interview With Kelsey Ketch Kelsey and I chat about her writing, mythology and what is next in store for her.

Guest Post: My Writing Rituals Kelsey tells us about her writing rituals, including what candles she burns to get her in the writing mood.

Repost: Review: Daughter of Isis by Kelsey Ketch My review from 2013 of Kelsey’s debut novel, first in her Descendants of Isis trilogy.

And there’s still time to enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of one of Kelsey’s books. Just click here!

Next month we move from Egyptian Mythology to fairy tales for our featured author, Kenley Davidson.

blog posts

Writing related

Want to Improve ‘Showing’ Emotions in your Writing? Look at Pictures of Expressive Animals Writing advice on how to ‘show not tell’, with a gif of a penguin pushing over another penguin, just because.

Pinterest for Writers I talk about my experience with Pinterest so far. Do you have any hints or tips for me?

5 Tips for Beating January Writing Blues My top tips for motivating yourself at the worst time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere at least)

Book Reviews

Black Sheep by Na’ima B. Robert A really interesting book featuring diverse characters, exploring gang culture and the healing power of Islam.

After Anna by Alex Lake Fans of thrillers will enjoy the nail-biting tension of this story of kidnap and betrayal.

Out of the Fog by Carolyn Nash A short but intense story of a woman’s desperate flight through the foggy mountains to escape a group of thugs.

I also read Traitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson (review to follow), Switched by Amanda Hocking, Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor and started Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.

Game

So, I didn’t get round to finishing Assassin’s Creed 3 (as I type this, two days before this post goes live, but it’s not likely to change.) To be honest, it’s a miracle I got as much done this month as I did. The Fiancé had a bout of Shingles, and while it wasn’t really serious, it was painful and irritating. We don’t have a spare room, so we both got next to no sleep for a few days, which has had a knock on effect on everything else I’ve been trying to do. Leaving not a great deal of time for Playstation. Have made some good headway through it, though, and hoping with a bit more time to play over the next week or so, I’ll be able to finish up, so keep an eye out for a Bargain Games Club post soon!

Other Posts

Words for 2016 In which I choose my focus words for 2016. It’s a fun exercise, and it’s surprising what jumps out at you. If you haven’t already, give it a go!

Reverse Bucket List A list of everything I’ve achieved so far. Another lovely reflective exercise that will bring a smile to your face.

from the blogosphere

I’ve been trying to actively read more blog posts, and these are some of the great ones I’ve come across in the last month

Site Guide, The Daily Dahlia Not so much a blog post as a directory of other posts on the site. Don’t click unless you have plenty of time to spare, because there’s a goldmine of useful advice and information here! I will definitely be returning to explore more thoroughly.

5 Ways to Find a Writing Community, Blots & Plots Finding my writing community is going to be something of a focus this year. I’ve got friends on twitter and I go to a physical writing club in my hometown, but I don’t really have that network of support that a writing community gives. This is full of handy hints on how to connect with people which, though everything is at our finger tips, isn’t always easy in the overwhelming world of the internet. Blots & Plots is also doing a Go Indie 2016 challenge, encouraging readers to pick up more self-published books.

SoundFuel – Music You Can’t Write Without Again, not so much a post as a directory, this contains links to lots of different types of music that can provide the backdrop to your writing sessions. I’m yet to fully explore this, but I’ve had a quick click around and each category links to a Youtube playlist that contains a mix of classical, film score and other music to suit a certain ‘mood’, such as ‘villainous’ for when you’re trying to get in the mindset of your bad guy. If you’re looking for some fresh mood music, it’s a great resource.

Have you seen or discovered anything fantastic in January? Tell me all about it in the comments :)