Tag Archives: Mark Twain

#MondayBlogs Writing Rituals: All You Need To Know

16 Nov

Intro:

There are so many writing tips out there many writers don’t know where to start when they are looking for extra help. Sometimes, it’s as simple as starting with yourself, like your daily habits or your office space. Today, Heena Rathore P. is discussing writing rituals and how creating one can help energize your writing. Let’s welcome her!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Writing Rituals: All You Need To Know by Heena Rathore P.

First of all I’d like to thank Shannon for letting me do a post for her amazing blog, Thanks a lot, Shannon!

What is a Writing Ritual?

Rituals, as defined in Merriam-Webster, are a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone. So, in layman’s terms, Writing Rituals are nothing but these actions done specifically for writing or writing better.

In short, Writing Rituals are actions that trigger your creativity while shifting your mind into a mood for writing.

How are they beneficial?

Writing Rituals make sure that you are using the creative side of your brain to the fullest. Imagine yourself as a fitness freak who goes to gym every single day. Now, what is the one thing you would do before beginning the actual workout or the heavy workout? The answer is a warming up. So, to put it simply, Writing Rituals are important to prepare your brain to write, a creative warm up or a jumpstart, so to say.

As creative beings we all are well aware that if a writer is not in the mood for writing then he/she will most definitely NOT write and, as as a writer myself, I know firsthand that this happens quite often.

But, this can be easily avoided if you practice Writing Rituals.

To summarise, following are the benefits of Writing Rituals:

  • The ultimate cure for the much dreaded Writer’s Block.
  • Helps in writing better.
  • Helps in utilising the complete potential of your creative mind.
  • Saves a lot of time and emotional energy.
  • Helps in writing regularly.
  • Makes you more organised and disciplined.
  • Helps in successfully avoiding distractions.
Photo provided by Heena

Photo provided by Heena

How to create a Writing Ritual?

The name Writing Ritual sounds heavy, right? But creating one is simple, trust me. Just think about what really relaxes you?

A hot bath? A cup of tea? Meditation? Music? Dancing? Exercising? Jumping? Eating? Power-napping?

You can make any of these things a ritual. But the key is to treat it like one and with respect otherwise it won’t work.

For e.g., Scented candles, hot shower, soft cotton clothes and meditation help me relax. So, my Writing Ritual involves all theses things. I take a long, long hot shower, put on my cotton shorts and T, light a scented candle on my writing table and meditate for 5 minutes.

After doing this when I open my laptop, I feel like I’m totally ready to write. And that, my friends, is what is really important. You can’t write unless you feel ready to write.

Sometimes I also add a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate to my ritual.

Writing Rituals can be as simple as having a fixed place to write or writing in a certain position. Or they can be as complex as having to climb the mountaintop to write at a particular spot there. So, you see, it’s not difficult because it’s all upto you. In fact, it’s quite fun and I’m sure you’ll love doing it.
Just make sure that you do it regularly (each and everyday, if possible.)

Is there some science involved? 

The answer is, yes. As everyone knows, our brains are divided into two parts: Left Hemisphere and Right Hemisphere. Left hemisphere controls logical thinking whereas the right hemisphere controls creative thinking (in creative people right hemisphere is dominant.)

So, in order to use the right side of the brain it’s important to buzz out the left side entirely and trigger the right side. And this can be achieve only through relaxation. As far as my research goes, right side of the brain works flawlessly when a person is relaxed.

And Writing Rituals achieve this state quite efficiently.

Do famous authors have Writing Rituals?

Yes, as a matter of fact, most of the famous authors have their very own Writing Rituals. Right from Jane Austin to Stephen King, Mark Twain to Victor Hugo, everyone had/has one. Some are a lot simpler than others while others are a lot weirder.

If you find this subject interesting, you might want to check out these amazing articles:

What about you? Do you a Writing Ritual(s) of your own? Or are you convinced to have one now?

If you want to create one but feel that you can’t, then don’t hesitate to contact me. Please feel free to share your experience in the comments.

Heena Rathore P. (pic)Bio:

Heena Rathore P. is a writer from urban India. By profession she’s a freelance writer. Presently, she’s working on her first novel, Deceived, a psychological-thriller.

Apart from writing she loves spending her time reading and doing other creative stuff like painting, sketching and drawing.

She’s an introvert, a thinker, a neat freak, a voracious reader who is highly opinionated and a dog-lover.

You can connect with her at her Author Blog, Twitter, Instagram Goodreads or Facebook.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in December, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

January’s Website Wonders

23 Jan

Near the end of every month I share my favorite websites that I came across – anything to do with writing and reading. Sometimes, I add a few websites that simply inspired me. Below there are two topics – writing and reading. I didn’t have as many as last month, but I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. If you like them, you can follow my Facebook author page where I share them live.

Writing:

45 ways to avoid using the word ‘very’: Ever heard the advice of Mark Twain? “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Well, here are other ways to avoid “very”

Reading: 

Kansas City Public Library Missouri: Okay. Okay. I know I live in Kansas, but this library is beyond neat. It’s built with giant books!

28 Beautiful Quotes About Libraries: My favorite library line? “Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries changes lives for the better.” – Sidney Sheldon

Photo from FB page of Melissa Foster

Photo from FB page of Melissa Foster

Americans prefer print books over e-books: I can admit that I fall into this category. My favorite type is a hardback, but I still find myself reading paperbacks and e-books often. I really want library in my home when I’m older.

And the photo on the right can be found on this page, where author, Melissa Foster, asked, “What would you use for the title of this pic WITHOUT using the word SUSPEND’?”

Again, I hope you enjoyed these websites as much as I did. I normally have more, but all the news I announced last time kept my January busy. Thank you for all of your congrats and emails! I really enjoy talking with everyone, and I look forward to talking to more of you as we continue traveling on this reading/writing adventure.

~SAT

Stranger Than Fiction

4 Jan

Everyone knows Mark Twain‘s quote “Truth is stranger than fiction.” But do you know the FULL quote?

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” 

This quote is one that has constantly fascinated me, and I want to discuss it today in as much depth as my little blog allows me to do without going overboard.

I agree with Mark Twain completely. 

When I read this quote, I particularly find myself reflecting on action novels and movies. It’s common to see a reviewer roll their eyes and say, “That was ridiculous. No one could survive that. etc.” And I admit, I am also one of these people.

But then it happens: I come across a REAL article – a nonfiction tale – that seems so outlandish that even scientists and experts are left scratching their heads in confusion. Just a few examples might include these: 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy, 7 Historical Figures Who Were Absurdly Hard to Kill,  or even 15 Images You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photoshopped. These are only three that I can’t wrap my mind around when reading, and if I came across them in a fiction novel, I would’ve been one of those critics that claimed it was unbelievable.

Why does this happen? Why do we want our fiction stories to be grounded in truths that real life doesn’t even have to listen to?

For instance, I think there’s an expectation for the use of magic to be fully explained in fantasy novels. While I think a background story helps create a relatable world, I do want to question why. After all, it’s magic, isn’t it? But readers want the history. They want to know the origins. They want to know where it all began. But if you think about it, human history has so many questions, we don’t even have this in real life. (Again, not stating an explanation isn’t needed. I’m simply using this as an example in terms of truth being stranger than fiction.) Maybe we – as readers – want an explanation because it’s simply in our human nature to want it. 

To clarify I am not just talking about magic, I want to recall a time in my fiction writing class.

These thoughts make me see birds fly around my confused head.

These thoughts make me see birds fly around my confused head.

A very talented writer wrote a story about a serial killer who ultimately died of a brain aneurysm. It was written in first person, and he quite frankly falls over and dies. When we discussed her piece, many classmates wanted more. They didn’t like the event, stating something along the lines that it took them out of the story. I, on the other hand, found it quite believable, considering this happens in every day life to all sorts of people without any previous signs. While they thought it was anticlimactic, I thought it was symbolic for a guy who causes death so dramatically to die so quickly without any shoot out. But the overall viewpoint was that his death had nothing to do with the story despite potential realism. Not all murder cases are solved in a Hollywood shootout. Many serial killers go unknown. Some probably live normal lives that would cause us to never suspect them of their crimes. But – still – it wasn’t enough.

There seems to be a line of expectation that lies between realistic and symbolic that is difficult to pinpoint. 

So, yes. I think fiction has to abide by more expectations in order to keep a reader in believability-mode more so than real life simply because real life is allowed to have unexplainable exceptions. Fiction demands reasoning.

I asked if you all agreed with Mark Twain’s quote on my Author Facebook Page.

Join me on Facebook, and your answers might be used next!

Join me on Facebook, and your answers might be used next!

Rebecca P. McCray, author of The Journey of the Marked, elaborated on the subject by stating, “Great quote and one I haven’t thought about in a while. I do agree with Mark Twain, but I think the more interesting question is why is it true? I think the answer lies in how far individuals are able to stretch the imagination. What may seem ‘unbelievable’ to one may be justifiable to another. We live in a world where children are being fed technology / ideas at an astonishing rate, but are we limiting the ability to imagine? To entertain oneself with outlandish ideas. To challenge what is believable. Fiction should, by definition, push the limits of reality, allowing a writer to explore ideas. But in the end, if one pushes too far, will he/she alienate readers who are unable to suspend that reality beyond what is known? I suppose there are trends like the zombie phase we’re currently in that would qualify as being stranger than truth. But in the end, I do agree that truth is often stranger than fiction.”

What do you think? Do you agree? Why do you agree or disagree? What kind of trends have you seen that support your side? 

~SAT

December’s Website Wonders

23 Dec

A few days ago, I found out that Minutes Before Sunset hit #953 in Fantasy and #935 in Romance-Paranormal on Amazon. It’s very exciting to be in the top 1,000. Thank you for your support! I hope you’re enjoying the read this holiday season. 

Tis’ snowing here in Kansas land.

Tis’ snowing here in Kansas land.

Today is my half-birthday. I’m simply mentioning it because I LOVE half-birthdays, and I thought that I would celebrate today by sharing a bunch of exciting and helpful websites I’ve come across for readers and writers. (I always share them on my Author Facebook Page.)

I did this last month and randomly throughout the year, but I made the decision to share these articles at the end of every month. This is a little earlier than I’m planning, but I don’t want to interrupt the holiday season with the websites. The articles below are organized by Writing, Reading, and Articles to Spark the Imagination. I hope you enjoy them as much I did.

Writing:

The 20 Most Controversial Rules in the Grammar World: I would love to debate these.

Words of Wisdom: 101 Tips from the World’s Most Famous Authors: Very interesting to read. Creative tips, beginner tips, fiction tips, poetry, and more from Ernest HemingwayMark TwainAnton ChekhovOscar WildeE. B. White, and others.

Reading: 

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles: Free courses over information about the history of books and manuscripts, linguistics, foreign literature, ancient texts and more.

These Stereotypes About Book Lovers are Absolutely True, and That’s a Good Thing: very cute list.

15 Timeless Observations from History’s Greatest Dystopian Novels: there’s a reason these novels challenge the way a reader looks at society.

25 Banned Books You Should Read Today

Articles to Spark the Imagination: 

20 Abandoned Places in the World: Imagine what happened here. Imagine what could happen here.

17 Mysteries Awaiting Explanations: Maybe your novel will be the explanation everyone is looking for.

Join me on FB!

Join me on FB!

And, just for fun, someone added a few of my quotes to QuoTelly.com – Best Quotes on the Planet.

Hope everyone is staying warm! 

~SAT

Challenge Your Inspirations

17 Nov

Fact of the Day: this is my 200th post.

If you follow my Facebook Author Page, then you already saw the photo I’m about to share. But this is at the beginning for a reason:

Yesterday, after sharing my journal excerpt that inspired Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy), Minutes Before Sunset hit #586 in Books > Romance > Paranormal on Amazon.com! Thank you for sharing my dreams with me.

#586

#586

So, yes, thank you so much! It’s an amazing feeling to know my inspiration can inspire others, and that’s why I wanted to say this: although my dreams inspire me, you all are my ultimate inspiration. Your support, encouragement, and kind words continuously bring a smile to my face.

I know I often mention how inspired I am by dreams—how my novels are derived from my nightmares—but today I wanted to talk about four other ways writers can find inspiration. Who knows? Maybe you’ll try one outside of your usual inspiration and find a new love you would’ve never expected:

People:

Unless you’re a hermit, people are all around us. Society holds teachers, parents, kids, cops, doctors, hippies, and so many other kinds. And they can all be heroes. (They can also be villains.) I think psychology is one of the fundamentals to life—and it transfers to writing. Knowing how people work or where they come from can help create more realistic and rounded characters—especially if you get to know more unique individuals. Taking a moment to talk to someone you never thought you’d talk to might end up in a novel one day.

Events/Stories:

As a child, I clearly remember reading an article over an eight-year-old organ donor who saved ten lives. This story struck me as beautifully tragic, but it is so alike to the 2008 movie “Seven Pounds” that I wondered if maybe the writer saw an article just like I had. Basing a story off of news events is pretty common. But there are also tales, mythology, classical literature, legends, and more. Recently, for instance, I shared “6 Baffling Discoveries that Science Can’t Explain.” The point of this was simple: mysteries from real life can often inspire fiction or the famous Mark Twain quote, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

Traveling:

Most people wish they could do more of this, but it’s expensive and time consuming. If you can, great! Travel away. I find traveling to be one of the most energizing life experiences, but, like many, I can’t do it as much as I’d like. Thank goodness for the internet. The World Wide Web has hundreds—millions—of websites dedicated to traveling and/or learning about other countries. It’s not as authentic, of course, but it can spark the imagination. One of the best articles I read recently was “He Was Arrested 20 Times For This. But I Think It’s TOTALLY Worth It.” The article follows photographer, Dan Marbaix, as he travels the world, trespassing into abandoned locations. Just seeing these unsettling photos is enough to make your mind wander.

Drugs & Alcohol:

I am, by no means, encouraging this. Again, I am not encouraging this. I’m actually very against using anything that can be potentially harmful for inspiration. But, nevertheless, this is a commonly used tool. In fact, there are entire articles dedicated to this topic, including this one, “Top 10 Substance-Addled Writers.” Reasons for this seem to be simple: drugs altar the mind and body. It can often relax the creative walls artists put up. But I think there are better and healthier ways than this.

So what to do?

Try talking to someone you wouldn’t usually talk to. Try going somewhere you haven’t been before or somewhere you never thought you’d like to go. Read about cultures you’ve never been interested in. Or, if you have extra time and money, travel somewhere.

If you share your story and/or a unique idea in the comments, you might be the one picked to be a guest blogger!

~SAT

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