Thursday, 30 September 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you, thank you, Rachel (Rachel Morgan Writes), a new lovely friend for giving me this One Lovely Blog Award!  The way this One Lovely Blog Award works is that you first acknowledge the person who gave it to you (thanks again, Rachel!) and then pick 15 bloggers to give the same award to. 
I have recently met new blogger friends who have blogs that I so love and that I now follow but sadly, I can only give this to 15!  I know it's not fair, is it???

Here are my 15 friends, in no particular order:

Rachel @ Rachel Morgan Writes
Tabitha @ Through my Eyes
Theresa @ Substitute Teacher's Saga
Glynis @ Glynis Smy
Jen @ Unedited
Elana @ Elana Johnson
Christine @ Christine's Journey
Jessica@ Alliterative Allomorph
Old Kitty @ Ten Lives and Second Chances
Ann @ Inkpots n' Quills
Crystal @ Write because you must
Melissa @ Through the Looking Glass
The Golden Eagle @ The Eagle's Aerial Perspective
Michelle @ Author Michelle McLean
Laura @ Laura Pauling

I'd like to invite you all to check them out.  I enjoy reading their blog posts.

To all my new blog friends, I'm sorry I cannot tag all of you but I'd like to thank you all!  Thank you for leaving those lovely comments on my post on The Great Blogging Experiment.  I am so delighted, so pleased to have met all of you.  I have also met a new critique cool is that??? Yay!

Also, I hope you bear with me as I will be posting here on my blog only once a week (it could be more than that if there's something very exciting!) as life of a busy Mum can be hectic most days.  I am also trying to write as much as I can so I can finish the first draft of my story!  So I hope you don't miss me much!  Remember, I'm always lurking and reading your blogs and will be leaving comments when I can!

Take care, you all!

PS.  I am currently reading Roald Dahl's The Witches...and enjoying it!

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Great Blogging Experiment - Writing Compelling Characters

Quite recently, I came across Jen's blog which I totally love and found out that there's this blogfest, The Great Blogging Experiment which Jen, Alex and Elana are conducting.  I found the details on Elana Johnson's blog.  I got excited so I thought I'd join.  Gosh it's daunting - I have actually entered my name as a participant!  What have I gotten myself into? *knees getting wobbly*

I have got to be honest - I am scared to even call myself a writer.  Whilst I had articles published in the early Stone Age, writing a story is a lot different.  It's more hardwork.  It's not only putting more time into's also pouring all your heart and soul into it.  But the fact is, I am not even half way in writing my first story!  So, this is my first ever attempt to post something that mentions about my own writing.

But what the heck.  I'm biting the bullet!  Here goes:

Writing Compelling Characters

When reading:

When I read a book, I look for something when I read the first chapter.  I don't know what it is exactly that I always look for - but I know when I see it because I feel it and because it makes me carry on reading.  You know how that is, don't you - you get so engrossed and engaged.  You want to know what's going to happen next!  That's what happens to me when characters are compelling and interesting enough that I stick to it to the last page!  I think I look for something that I like in a character, someting that I can relate to perhaps.  Maybe something in the person that's a little bit like me.

Have you ever encountered characters so interesting that they stay with you?  I have, they stay with me for a long time - even months (or years! I still think of them!) after finishing the book I am reading.  Would you like to meet some of them?

Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee) - I think of her when I see little girls and wonder, do they think the same way?  Do they have the same love for their parents like Scout had for her father? Do they think and reason like her?  Scout is a nine year old girl who is just too clever for her age.  She is honest and a courageous spirit. I love everything that she is.

Perry Crandall (Lottery by Patricia Wood)
- He reminds me of Forest Gump and I love his innocence and his good heart.  I fear for him that people will take advantage of him.  I've read this book about two years ago and Perry is still in my mind to this day.

Derowen (Star Dancer by Beth Webb) - The village wise woman, a witch, a scheming character.  She scares me to death.  I am scared for Tegen, the main character.  I am currently reading this and each time Derowen is there with Tegen, I can hear my heart beating fast.

I think the above characters are compelling enough to remain in my head for quite awhile.

When writing:

Now, on my writing - I will let you in on a secret...the truth is, I talk to my characters - yes! I am brave enough to reveal this as I know I am not alone in feeling that my characters are real.  In a recent television interview, Sophie Kinsella (author of the Shopaholic series, Remember Me and The Undomestic Goddess just to name a few of her books) described Becky Bloomwood, the main character of The Shopaholic series, to be a real person who exists somewhere - in a parallell universe - and she just tapped into it.  Becky becomes alive! You know what - I believe the same thing!  And I think it is the same for all writers.  We see our characters as real.  They feel real. They are alive, even if they are only in our minds.

So how do I create my characters? They have to be convincing and believable so I put a little bit of the people around me, people that are pleasing and absorbing or that inspire me.  For the heroine, I use people's strengths that I admire, their beliefs and values and things they do that captivate me.  I also include their fears and weaknesses that make me love them and that make me want to protect them. The villains? They can have the most evil thoughts, they can be the most annoying and deceiving.  They have the traits that I dislike in people or even hate about myself.  And maybe, my characters also have a little bit of what I've read!  So, really, one can be a combination of different people molded into one personality that becomes a person in a story!  What I've learnt from reading and research is that the characters, of course, must be appropriate for the plot.  I still have a lot to learn and I can only hope that I am making sense...and that at the end of the day, my story and characters are interesting enough for people to read - from beginning to end.

Writing a story is hardwork and the hardest of all of it is writing compelling characters - the ones that will make the readers stay with you to the last page!  In the book, How to Write for Children and Get Published, Louise Jordan wrote, 'Characterisation makes your story come alive.  However strong your plot, without good characterisation, you will have an uninvolving, superficial text on our hands:  at best boring, at worst, dead (page 113).

How about you?   What do you think can make characters interesting, compelling?  What will make you carry on reading a story?

Note:  You can view covers of the books by clicking on the links which will take you to

Please don't forget to visit Elana's blog to see what the rest of the participants have to say, click here.

Disclaimer: This is my web blog, the opinion expressed above are 100% mine and not that of the authors' or publishers of the above-mentioned books. This site makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions in this information arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.  This is not a paid advertisement.

Monday, 20 September 2010

What have I read? Oh, it was Stephen King's 'On Writing!'

I have been reading books on writing lately.  One of the best so far that I have read was Stephen King's On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft.  Yes, the bestselling American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction.  The author of 'Carrie', 'Green Mile', 'The Shining, 'It', to give you a few.  If you wish to know more of his writings, please click here to go to his website.

To be honest, I have not read any of his novels.  When I was young, I wasn't into horror stories.  I could easily get scared.  Perhaps you will find it weird but you know when I read, my whole world gets transformed into that of the book. I deeply get into another place deeply - into the world of the characters of the story.  After reading 'On Writing', which I find to be so excellent, full of wits, candor and knowledge on the craft, I got intrigued and very interested to read Stephen King's works so I got five of his books so quickly - 'Needful Things', 'Thinner', 'Firestarter', 'Dreamcatcher', and 'Misery.' I made myself a promise - that I will read each one of these books and no matter how scary, I will finish them (fingers crossed).  So, pray for me.

Now, this wonderful book, 'On Writing', is something that every book lover must read, whether or not you are writing, you will love it.  It is about his life and the accident he had in June of 1999.  I don't write reviews and the very first 'review' (if you really would like to call it that way) was after reading Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson - The Lightning Thief.  But I thought what I'd do this time is to write the parts of the book that struck me, inspired me and that I loved the most.

Here they are:

1.  Must you write complete sentences each time, every time?  Perish the thought.  If your work consists only of fragments and floating clauses, the Grammar Police aren't going to come and take you away.  Even William Strunk, that Mussolini of rhetoric, recognized the delicious pliability of language. "It is an old observation," he writes, "that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of the rhetoric."  Yet he goes on to add this thought, which I urge you to consider:  "Unless he is certain of doing well, [the writer] will probably do best to follow the rules." - On pages 133-134

2.  Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex and work.  Especially work.  People love to read about work.  God knows why, but they do.  - On page 185

3.  If you want to be a successful writer, you must be able to describe it, and in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition. - On page 202

4.  If God gives you something you can do, why in God's name wouldn't you do it? - On page 174

5.  Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends.  In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.  It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over.  Getting happy, okay?  Getting happy. - On page 326

My eyes welled up when I was reading the last page.  It really touched me.  This book is the best!

Note: The above are quotes from Stephen King's On Writing, any future changes in the book after today's date, 20 September 2010, will not be reflected on this post.  This is not a paid advertisement.

Disclaimer:  This is my web blog, the opinion expressed above are 100% mine and not that of the author's or publisher of the above-mentioned book.  This site makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions in this information arising from its display or use.  All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Exciting things are happening in the Blog World!

Oh has it been more than a month that I haven't posted anything? Geez. Time flies, doesn't it? Most especially if you are really busy. I have been busy indeed.  With all the running around being a full time Mum and wife, my hands are full.  But no complaints, I love looking after my lad and being with my husband. 

A lot of things are happening at the moment in the blogosphere!  How amazing it was when I found out that one of my friends has finally started blogging!  I am so excited for her.  Moving to a new country has made herself discover the creative part of her - she's into beads making and her beads jewelry are really yummy!  She's now a social worker-cum-jewelry maker!  Please do visit prettysaint's blog - Beads Unlimited...who knows, you might also rediscover your 'hidden' creative self after reading her first post! Or better yet, there might be an interpreneur in you waiting to be discovered!

Another blogger-friend, writer Talli Roland, has got some exciting news which I am excited about so I'm sharing it with you!  Her first novel, The Hating Game debuts in 2011.  On 01 December, Amazon is debuting the eBook version of this book and Talli is keen to take on Amazon and boost her eBook sales so please let's help her out!  Please visit her blog and see her post about Talli's Blogsplash!!!

I'd like to also thank those who take the time to read my posts and visit my blog, even if I have not been posting anything for a month! I now have 21 followers!!! Woo-hoo!!!! I know that like my blogger-friend Theresa who blogs on Substitute Teacher's Saga, I also have 'lurkers' out there who patiently wait for my new posts and really read them.  I am a lurker, too, sometimes, when I'm too busy to leave comments.  So, I'd like to say thank you to all of you.  It really means a lot to be read. 

Please don't think that I am permanently gone when I am not able to post anything. I am 100% around and lurking in cyber space.  I am reading your blog posts, too.  It's just that sometimes there aren't very exciting things to write about, hence, my silence.  In the last four weeks, I have been angry twice, cried twice, one of them about someone harassing me on Facebook...but I've learnt that when I'm angry or upset, I should not write about it or I'd regret the things that I write about.  So I've kept quiet and just let all the emotions go.  Other than that, I was laughing, running around keeping myself busy and just attending to normal family activities, really.  Now that my happy self is back...I am back on my blog as well, isn't that good?

I hope life is treating you all well.  Life is good, yes?