Category Archives: Ali House

8 Different Kinds of Drafts | House Blog

  1. The Unfinished Draft :: aka ‘The Albatross’. Will you ever pick it back up and finish writing this draft? Does it count as a draft when it’s not complete? What does the word ‘draft’ even mean? What do words mean? Are you a figment of your own imagination?
  1. The Zero Draft :: It might be a mess, but at least it’s done, and isn’t that the most important thing? A little elbow grease and it’ll be a full-fledged first draft in no time!

Continue reading 8 Different Kinds of Drafts | House Blog

Speak The Speech, I Pray You | House Blog

One odd thing about me is that I love acting, but I hate public speaking. Put me in a costume, give me a character to be and someone else’s words to say, and I’ll do all right; but make me stand in front of people as only myself and I’ll start flubbing my words and breaking out in a cold sweat. And that goes doubly for making me read my own work.

The problem is now that I’m a writer with a few things published, I find that there are times when people want me to read my work out loud. And if you happen to be a writer, you may also find yourself in these kinds of situation. Whether it be book launches, signings, competitions, or conventions, there may come a time when someone expects you to read a thing you’ve written. So best get used to reading your own words (or inventing an “Eccentric Author” character to slip into when you need to do a reading *coughcough*).

However, reading your own work can be a great idea—even if it’s not for the public. Continue reading Speak The Speech, I Pray You | House Blog

Why Editing Matters | House Blog

Confession Time: Not so long ago, I used to be SUPER pedantic about grammar and spelling in books. If I found a word that wasn’t spelled right or an ellipsis that was only two dots, I would feel so superior and want to shout it from the rooftops (even if it was the only mistake in the entire story). I think it mostly came from my secret desire to be an editor – like, “Hey, I found this error! And this one! See how good I am! Hire me! Hire me! HIRE ME!”

But that’s not what writers want to hear. Honestly, it’d be weird to have someone come up to me and say “I found a misspelled word on page 54” and then walk away without saying anything else. But what about the 59,999 other words that were spelled correctly? Did you like any of them?

Over time, I’ve learned that I’m perfectly capable of forgiving an error here and there. If I read a line and think “That should be gasp instead of gas”, I’m able to move on. After all, writers and editors are human, and humans miss things. Even big publishers sometimes get things wrong. And, yes, even I make mistakes (I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s one or two in this post). If you’re writing a 50,000 word novel, there’s absolutely nothing wrong if a few mistakes accidentally make it into the finished project.

But don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that editing isn’t important, because it is. Continue reading Why Editing Matters | House Blog

Helpful Things That Aren’t Writing | House Blog

There are times when I find it difficult to write. Sometimes I’ll sit in front of the computer with the best of intentions, but the words don’t come and the page remains blank. Yes, I want to be writing – I desperately want to create – but I feel stuck. Usually it’s because I’m stressed or finding it difficult to think, or trying not to focus on the other things I should be doing instead (i.e. cleaning).

So when the words won’t come, I try to think of other things I can do that will help push my ideas in a forward direction, instead of letting them swirl in an eternal vortex of hesitation. Such as…

Outlining. I never used to be big on outlining. I would sometimes know specific scenes and maybe how I wanted a story to end, but I always got there organically. Sometimes I even wrote out of order, having to find ways to cobble scenes together coherently. But when I’m having trouble writing I find that jotting down a rough outline of how I want the scene to look will help me. This especially helps with stress-brain, as now I know what I’m looking for and working towards. [This probably counts as writing, but it’s still different than actually writing the story.]

Creating Avatars. My visualizing isn’t always the best, so sometimes I’ll go online and create an avatar so that I have a quick reference to what a character looks like. What was their eye colour? Hair colour? Skin colour? Just look at this photo and you’ll know. And you don’t have to stop at avatars – create or find reference photos for places or buildings, too.

Reading a Great Book. When I was in high school I had two friends who were writing stories and they inspired me so much that I wanted to write one of my own. To this day, I can easily get inspired just by reading something amazing. It makes me want to create something just as wonderful. [Note: I can also sometimes be inspired by a book I find not-so-amazing, as it inspires me to write a story that doesn’t have all those things that bothered me in it.]

Reading or Watching Something Similar. If I’m having trouble slipping back into the world I’ve created, I’ll sometimes find something that’s similar in genre/character/tone, to help ease me into the world. It’s not always a book – it can be a television show or movie or graphic novel. Usually I go back to the thing that inspired me in the beginning. Whether it’s a musical that brought about a short story or a television show that I’ve spun into a series, taking another look can help me re-discover my original inspiration.

What are some of your favourite helpful non-writing activities?

‘What’s My Motivation?’ | House Blog

This line is usually used as a joke to indicate that an actor is high-maintenance, but motivation is a very important factor for actors and characters. Motivation is what compels a character to do (or not to do) something, and if it’s not clear enough, then the audience might have trouble believing in that character’s actions – and maybe even the character themselves. Continue reading ‘What’s My Motivation?’ | House Blog

Bestselling author Ali House named as a Pulp Sci-Fi from the Rock author!

Ali House Lightbulb ForestEngen Books is proud to reveal that Ali house will be appearing in 2020’s Pulp Sci-Fi from the Rock anthology!

A native Newfoundlander, House is a graduate of the Fine Arts program at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (MUN). She currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she works in arts administration and spends more time than a person should in and around theaters.

Ali is one of only three authors to have been featured in every modern From the Rock volume.

House is an avid traveler and foodie, and uses her adventures for her inspiration when she writes. Continue reading Bestselling author Ali House named as a Pulp Sci-Fi from the Rock author!

“Top 10” Stories from The Lightbulb Forest | House Blog

I’d like to start off by saying that as an author I love all my stories equally, and that there’s really no such thing as a “Top 10”, just as there would be no “Bottom 10”. After all, if I didn’t care about some of these stories I wouldn’t have wanted them in this anthology.

That being said, here are 10 of those stories that I’m really excited to share with you. Continue reading “Top 10” Stories from The Lightbulb Forest | House Blog

New Year’s Resolutions (For Writers) | House Blog

I resolve to finish at least one project I start.  (I have twelve months ahead of me, which should be more than enough time to get a working draft done of something. And although I may leave a hundred unfinished projects in my wake, I will finish that one thing.  …Unless it gets too hard, then I’ll switch projects to something else that I’m sure to finish. But I’ll definitely finish that project.)  (Probably.)

I resolve to never be without a pen.  (I will continue to buy more pens than I could ever possibly need, and to be very particular about which pens I buy because some are definitely better than others and ink consistency matters very much.)

I resolve to continue buying books even though I have piles of unread books around my home.  (I’d resolve to stop doing that, but it would probably be broken within minutes.)

I resolve to review more books.  (Considering how often I read reviews to get an idea of what a book’s like, I should be writing more of them.) Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions (For Writers) | House Blog