Tag Archives: Lights

Writing Tips: Creating the Paranormal

16 Sep

As many of you know, Minutes Before Sunset is a YA paranormal romance, and my other novel, November Snow, is a YA sci-fi. Although I’ve written in other genres, I wanted to concentrate on these genres, because I’ve found a lot of people (especially those who hesitate to try out the genre) think the genre only consists of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. While these creatures aren’t bad, this belief is completely wrong. There are all kinds of demons, witches, time travelers, magically-empowered beings, and shape-shifters that aren’t werewolves.

For writers, I wanted to talk about this belief and going beyond the vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. There are so many creatures and/or legends to get inspiration from. But where do we start?

Three things you can consider:

1. Creating your own creature entirely–something never heard or seen of before.

At some point, an author used a creature for the first time. Even vampires were new at one point. But there seems to be one thing these creatures have in common: they come from legends, stories passed down for generations. There are entire websites dedicated to urban legends, so why don’t we expand and use these to inspire new legends? You can also use mythical creature lists and/or other cultures tales. For instance, I am fascinated by Japanese legends; they seem to be entirely different than Western legends, so it helps inspire that stretch of creativity.

From the New X Group: Black Eyed Kids

From the New X Group: Black Eyed Kids: I imagine this is how Fudicia would look.

Fun fact: “Lights” in Minutes Before Sunset were inspired by the legend of the black-eyed children, kids who show up at your door and attempt to coax you to allow them inside your home. I also thought it was a perfect legend to use, because it’s really popular in Missouri, and, at the time of writing Minutes Before Sunset, I was living on the border of Kansas-Missouri, and the novel is set in Kansas. However, these black-eyed children have been reported from all around the world throughout history, so…look out and don’t open your door for them! ;]

2. Using a spin-off of an already popular creature.

Personally, I love any creature as long as the author makes it their own. For instance, The Forest of Hands and Teeth revolves around zombies, but they aren’t called zombies. They’re called the Unconsecrated, and that’s just the beginning. They have all types of rules, explaining why some act differently and what created others. This concept became a writing obsession for me. Personally, I think I combined 1 & 2 in my writing style. I love creating something new, something that might be influenced by one creature and spun into another world entirely, but it is generally influenced by another creature I’ve heard of.

For instance, you might realize the Minutes Before Sunset “shades” fit under shape-shifting, telepathics. Even though they are “shape-shifters,” they only shape-shift into another person and only one person. In other words, they have two identities. There isn’t a lot of range when it comes to their shape-shifting abilities, but they have other magical abilities when they are shades or lights. When it comes to their telepathy, they can talk to one or more people at once. (Like a private message and/or a chat room.) They can also block people from communicating with them. Other shades–specifically Eric’s father, named Jim (or Bracke)–can sense when people are using their telepathic abilities.

3. Write with the traditional version of any creature.

I want to clarify that there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to create something new. You can use the traditional vampire if that’s what your writing heart desires. What matters is the storyline, and it’s entirely possible to have a fantastic story with a traditionally used creature.

Basically: there are endless possibilities and ways to create the paranormal worlds readers love.

So embrace the upcoming fall, make a bonfire, sit around, and tell some paranormal stories. Who knows what will influence your inspiration next.

If you have any experience in creating or using traditional paranormal creatures, please share! 

~SAT

Guest Post: GlassesonWeb.com

16 Aug
Fun fact: I used to wear fake glasses when I did my homework. Helped me concentrate.

Fun fact: I used to wear fake glasses when I did my homework. Helped me concentrate.

::Shannon walking up to microphone stand:: Hey, everyone! Shannon here (just for a minute.) If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably have heard me talk about how much I strain my eyes by constantly staring at my computer. That’s when I force myself to take a break. However, a lot of writers (and people, in general) wear glasses to help themselves see, so when GlassesonWeb.com offered a guest post explaining what they have available for writers, I was on board! Today’s post is all about your eyes: ::Shannon leaving microphone stand::

5 tips on how to pick the right eyewear (especially if you’re a writer!)

Most people who spend a lot of time in front of the computer, writing, or even reading, will have a need for eyeglasses in the course of their lives. But it’s important to make an informed decision before purchasing. Just like you don’t write about a historical event without doing some research first, we advise you not to buy your eyewear before reading these five considerations:

Writer Jonathan Franzen in his signature glasses. Photo by Greg Martin via npr.org

Writer Jonathan Franzen in his signature glasses. Photo by Greg Martin via npr.org

  1. Doctor’s advice. Get an eye exam before everything else, in order to get an accurate prescription. You should get one every few years, and adjust your glasses accordingly. Do not buy your glasses from the drugstore, but have them custom made for you at reputable optician.
  2. Your facial features. In order to find the best glasses out there, you should first consider your own face. The three basic rules here are: repeat your best feature (e.g. blue frames for blue eyes); contrast in shapes (e.g. rectangular frames for round faces); and scale (e.g. small glasses on a small face).
  3. Your personality. If you want to appear business-oriented, go for classic frames (e.g. oval, rectangular) and colors (e.g. black, brown). To show off your creative side, go for trendy frames (e.g. cat eye, printed, colorful). Remember that first impressions are key, and that glasses are one of the first things people notice when they meet someone. Be sure to find a pair that suits your style by clicking here.
  4. Try them on. Don’t buy frames without trying them on, even if it’s just virtually. Many online shops now offer the possibility of a “virtual fitting room” where you can see how certain styles look on your face. If going in a brick and mortar store, bring a friend with you for advice. When looking in the mirror without prescriptions, you might not be very objective because of all the blur.
  5. Stay on budget. Just because there are other features available, doesn’t mean you need them. An anti-reflective coating might be enough for everyday use, while lenses that change color according to the light may be unnecessary. You are the one who knows best, but don’t just get extra options because the seller offer them.

This guest post was written by Daria P. who also contributes for GlassesOnWeb.com and CelebritySunglassesWatcher.com; she also runs her own fashion blog called Kittenhood.

Shannon again. Isn’t staying healthy important? Picking the right glasses is one of those moments that can make a huge difference in your life–and your writing career–because the right glasses will help you the most.  Jonathon Stone, a character from Minutes Before Sunset, would approve of this post. So, for fun, I decided to create cartoon versions of his human side and his shade side–Jonathon Stone and Pierce. His picture will end the post 😀 Have a great day!

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