Tag Archives: House Blog

Trusting Your Brain | House Blog

Sometimes it seems like my brain knows more than it lets on.

Even when I don’t notice, it’s back there – constantly churning out story ideas, thinking about writing projects, and generally working in the background. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

The thing that amazes me is that I think my brain is smarter than I am.

When I wrote The Six Elemental I was writing about Kit’s journey of coming to terms with being a living mythical being. It was only after I’d gone through my third draft that I realized there was an underlying theme of how outside influences can effect* how a person grows up. There’s a big difference between the person Kit is (growing up on Briton with a Humanist step-father) and the person Kit could have been (with a more accepting influence).

When I wrote The Fifth Queen (still in it’s editing stages), I was writing about a different character’s journey (plus a few familiar ones). After I’d written the first draft I realized that I’d done another parallel theme – this time, about accepting responsibility. One character accepts that they have a duty to uphold, while another character rejects it.

But I’d never thought about that when I was writing the story. That parallel hadn’t crossed my mind once while I was writing. Instead it was something that just happened to appear when I was going through the first draft.

My brain put it there because it’s smart, y’all. Maybe too smart…

So if you’re writing something and you’re not sure where your story’s going or what it’s all about, don’t worry about it. Just keep writing and eventually you’ll figure something out. Sometimes you won’t know until the end of your first draft (or maybe even the fifth), but as long as you’re telling a compelling story with interesting characters, eventually it’ll all become clear.

Trust your brain.

It knows – even if you don’t.

_______

*It’s too late** for me to care whether effect/affect is right, so this is the word I’m using. I’ll figure out if it’s wrong/right sometime maybe never.

**It’s only 11:54pm AST, so I’m not late! It’s still Sept 18th over here!

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Revealed: Kit Sora – The Artobiography

Kit-CoverFor months we’ve kept it a secret, slowly amassing the best short fiction from the best authors working in the field, via industry contacts and the Kit Sora Flash Fiction Contest. Now it’s all coming together in Kit Sora: The Artobiography, a 100-page hardcover anthology celebrating one of the greatest photographic artists of our time and the authors she inspired.

This stunning collection will be available from Engen Books in Fall 2018, and features over eighty high-concept images photographed and selected by Sora herself for this collection.

Along with Kit Sora’s tremendous artwork, the collection features accompanying short fiction from some of Canada’s bestselling, award-winning authors. Some include Kate Robbins (Bound to the Highlander), Carolyn R. Parsons (Charley Through Canada), Chelsea Bee (London Calling), Jon Dobbin (The Starving), Candace Osmond (Love & Magic), Michelle Churchill (The Last Tree), Ali House (The Six Elemental), Brad Dunne (After Dark Vapours), Ellen Curtis (Infinity), Matthew LeDrew (Jacobi Street), Kate Sparkes (At Any Cost), JJ King (My Brother’s Keeper), Amanda Labonté (Drawn to the Tides), and USA Today Bestselling author Victoria Barbour (Hard as Ice).

The collection will also feature numerous prize-winning stories, including Frigid by Catherine Rector, Starling by Cristina Ozon, Sweet Sixteen by Nicole Little, Tarnished by Jennifer Combden, Bubbly by Sara Burke, Running by Georgia Atkin, Extinguished by Jeff Slade, and Sea Monkeys by Peter Foote.

The collection will be available in both hardcover print and eBook formats.


Image copyright © 2018 Kit Sora Photography, used with permission. Logo and distinctive ‘oval spike’ design copyright © 2007 Engen Books.

The Weird Habits of Writers | House Blog

And here we see the elusive ‘Writer’ in its natural habitat… Be careful – we don’t want to scare it off…

 

Speaking for myself, I tend to do some weird things when I write. Usually I do this in the safety of my own home, where other people can’t witness these oddities, but sometimes the weird cannot be contained and spills out into the rest of the world…

 

As we can see, sometimes the writer’s face will suddenly contort into strange expressions, as if warning unseen enemies not to get too close…

When I’m writing a scene between two people, I’ll often find myself trapped in dialogue, so I’ll toss in some descriptions to break it up a little. If I want to describe how someone’s face looks, it’s easiest for me to make the face I want and go from there. If a character’s conflicted, I’ll pretend I feel that way and then I’ll notice how my eyebrows come together and the left corner of my mouth tightens. If you ever see me making weird faces for no reason, it’s probably because I’m working on a story.

 

If we get a little closer we can hear the writer talking to itself, repeating words over and over, as if invoking an ancient spirit…

I like my dialogue to sound natural (well, as natural as something entirely scripted can sound), so I’ll say the lines to myself – sometimes acting out entire scenes. If a line’s not working, I’ll try saying it a few times to figure out what’s not working. Do I need to find a better word? Rearrange the sentence order? Start from scratch…? What sounds better?

 

Sometimes, the writer will sit still for hours, not moving in the slightest. We suspect that this is some kind of strange meditation, and yet they do not seem very relaxed…

Yeah, I’ve been there. Staring at the screen or page in front of me, willing words to suddenly appear – afraid that if you move you might scare the words away. I’ve found this to be one of the worst ways for me to get over writer’s block, and yet I cannot stop doing it. I did it at least 5 times while I was writing this blog post…

 

Here we see the strange, awkward dance of the writer. Although there are no other people around, notice as they move about in strange ways, dancing to music that only they can hear…

Confession time: I like to act out fight scenes. It gives me a better idea of what’s going on and how the characters are moving, plus I get a better idea of tension and momentum and pacing. Also, it’s really fun to act out fight scenes.

 

I’m sure there are many other odd habits I’ve failed to mention, but I’ve got to go stare at my computer screen for a few hours and will some words to appear.

Do you have any strange writing habits you’d like to share? Any habits here seem familiar to you?

And remember, if someone sees you doing something strange and confusion clouds their eyes, just say “I’m a writer” and that should be explanation enough.

How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog

Maybe you’re one of those writers who has no problem sitting down and writing a story from start to finish, or maybe you’re more like me and you get side-tracked multiple times before you can get to the end.

Although it’s romantic to think of yourself as a tortured writer who’s utterly desperate to finish that one big novel you have inside of you – which is so eager to come out, but can’t because you’re too weighed down by the massive ennui you feel just by existing – it’s much more practical to actually finish your darn projects.

Here are few problems that I’ve encountered while trying to finish a story/novel, and what I do to try to keep myself motivated*.

Continue reading How to Blackmail Yourself into Finishing Your Writing | House Blog

Chillers from the Rock | Anthology

Chillers from the RockChillers From the Rock
Ellen Curtis & Erin Vance (Editors)
Twenty-five short stories written by a diverse mix of some of the best suspense and horror authors in Atlantic Canada, including both award-winners, veterans of their craft, and brand new talent. Edited by Erin Vance and accomplished genre author Ellen Curtis, this collection features the thrilling, creatively charged, astonishing fiction that showcases the talent, imagination, and prestige that Atlantic Canada has to offer. Featuring the work of Paul Carberry (Zombies on the Rock), Kelley Power, Matthew LeDrew  & much more!


Title Information:

ISBN: 978-1-926903-74-3
Release Date: March 2018
Purchase:

 

Amazon.com
Amazon.CA
Amazon.UK
Price (CAD): Print: $20 / EBook: $2.99
Page Count: 220

Related Titles

Zombies on the Rock, Paul Carberry Faith reptilia_bookmark

Reviews

“Loved it,” – Peter Breau,author, It Came from the Public Domain.

“It is rare that a short story collection is filled with all winners. If you are lucky you get more hits than misses but this one had a hit every time. Horror is one of my favorite genres and I’m picky about my scares and this collection did not disappoint.” – Electa Graham, author, The Devil You Know.

 

12 Hours | House Blog

On Wednesday at 1pm, I sat down in front of my computer, opened up the latest draft of the novel I’m working on*, and got to work. Other than getting up to refill my water glass, grab a snack, etc, I only took one actual break – around 8pm I took a half-hour to go get Taiyaki.

When I was finished, it was 1am. Over the past 12 hours, I had gone through the entire novel – almost 60,000 words.

Continue reading 12 Hours | House Blog