The Bookshelf Corner

A creative space for all things books and writing….


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Quote of the Day: On Beginning A Piece of Fiction

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Trying Different Writing Approaches

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Sometimes when I go to write a story I struggle with how to begin or effectively express the ideas in my head. The time it takes to even put down the first word and the difficulty of the task varies. It’s an internal conflict as old as time.

When I write I strive to go above and beyond, which is a lot of pressure I put on my self. But I want every story I craft to be the best it can be. All stories take time to reach such points and it is – I believe – the heart of the writer behind it that allows it to get there.

We all have our own writing process that we stick to like rubber cement glue. But occasionally one must try a different approach to get the ball rolling.

Recently, I wrote a short story where I had an idea that I really liked. It sounded like a good, funny, idea in my head but as is my wont I struggled to convey said idea. Then by some strange notion I began to approach the story in a way I’ve never before.

I allowed my characters to tell the story themselves.

I said, “Tell me your story. Entertain me. Make me laugh,” because those were the impressions the idea invoked. My characters – a married couple – did just that.

They spoke to me. And I found it easy to transcribe their words into the story I’d imagined, possibly better. I listened and learned. I giggled and smiled.

That is until I got near the end of the piece. Funny thing is I had sat there so long that my mind eventually began to wander. I have several passions so there are times when my mind will shift to something else – like binge-watching countless YouTube videos. But the story wasn’t hindered and I finished the draft to my satisfaction.

For a first draft, I was pretty proud of it. Even more so, I got through the process of writing this piece without much of the stress that writing can bring.

I’m not sure what made me want to share this and it all probably sounds silly.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about blogging, about connecting with other book lovers and writers, is that we can all learn from each other. Big or small, someone somewhere may be supported and strengthened by such honesty.

As always, happy reading and happy writing!


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What I’ve Learned About Blogging

I’ve been blogging on The Bookshelf Corner for more than a year and a half now, but I’ve been learning about blogging and how to blog for the past few years. Today I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about blogging so far.


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*the first two are reposted advice I gave for a previous award

1.Don’t feel obligated to post every day. Post as little or as often as you’re able to and not because you feel you have to. This is something that can make blogging feel stressful and not as fun as it can be. We all have other obligations that will take precedence over blogging, such as work or school. Sometimes life happens – you’re sick, on vacation, have a family emergency, or had a bad day – and you just don’t feel like posting. And that’s okay! People will understand. We’ve all been there. Set a posting schedule that works best for your situation.

2.Find your blog’s niche. It can be one specific thing or multiple things. My passions are books and writing, so my blog’s niche centers around things related to those areas. A blog that has a focus – a niche – is easier to understand than one that’s all over the place.

3.Posts can be any length. Write as little or as much as you want/need for each post.

4.It’s helpful to break up long posts/paragraphs with a graphic/media. This is a visual thing. Too much text can look clunky or get too long-winded (so to speak) to keep the reader’s attention – whether the reader is interested in what you’re writing or not. Sometimes a long paragraph is necessary to fully get your point across and that’s okay. Sometimes you’ll have a long post because there’s so much to talk about and that’s okay too. You don’t always need a graphic or media in a post.

5.Tags and Categories are always helpful for you and the reader.

6.(On WordPress) Remove the Meta from your blog. Honestly, don’t know what it’s for and it doesn’t seem to be useful. Also, I was once told to get rid of it so no one could log into my blog (you never know).

7.Titles should pique the reader’s interest and indicate what to expect.

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8.Using a calendar (of any kind) is a great way to keep track of posts and when you plan to post. I am someone who needs a calendar, planner, sticky notes whatever to function and be organized. It’s good to see what you visually have planned.

9.Use your own words. Cite appropriately (if applicable). Your post. Your words. Your voice.

10.Use royalty free images and/or link back to the original source.

11. Learn basic HTML code. This is useful information for any blogger to know because every blogging site has plans that offer different levels of coding you can do.

12.Interact with others by Following/Commenting on other’s blogs and posts. Blogging offers access to a wonderful community of those who share the same passions as you.

13.Link to other social media sites you’re active on.

14.Links should open to a new tab so that readers can easily get back to your blog.

15. Menu/Sidebars are key to a user friendly interface. Help your reader out by making sure they can easily navigate throughout your blog.

16.Be you. Have fun with it.


I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Again, this is just what I’ve learned during my blogging experience, which doesn’t mean you can’t do what works best for you.

What have you learned from blogging so far? What blogging tips would you add to this list? Let me know in the comment section below.

As always, happy reading and happy writing!


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Additional Skills for Writers

As a writer we need to know how to write professionally, creatively, analytically, and persuasively. We likely seek to earn degrees in English, Creative Writing, Journalism, or any other related fields. But I feel there are additional areas of study that can provide additional beneficial skills to writers of all levels. Of course, you don’t have be an expert in these areas to be a successful writer, nor do you have to learn them. But it never hurts to acquire new skills.

 

MARKETING
Knowing and understanding marketing techniques is key to building a brand, gaining readership, and putting your writing out there. You’ll want to stay up to date on current trends and be actively present on social media to effectively engage/network with others and promote yourself.

WEB DESIGN
Having a website where people can learn about you, your writing, and upcoming works is a good things to have. You don’t need to be a pro to create the perfect website. And knowing the basics of HTML and CSS is good for sprucing up your website and posts. There are plenty of websites – WordPress, Blogger, Weebly, Squarespace, for example – that have great user interfaces and options to building the perfect website/blog for your needs. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can create a website from scratch.

GRAPHIC DESIGN
Making your own graphics can be fun (as long as what you create is of your own creation and doesn’t violate copyright laws). Creating promotional materials/graphics can help “sell” your work. You can create more engaging graphics for social media or your website. You can look up examples of graphic design in use online or search through your local library or bookstore. You can also try sites/programs like Canva, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign, or Microsoft Publisher.

PHOTOGRAPHY/PHOTO EDITING
Whether for bookstagram or your website or for an article, learning the basics of photography and photo editing can come in handy. To edit photos or graphics you’ve made, you can use software like Autodesk Pixlr Editor (a web application) or Adobe Photoshop.

LAW
Not a skill but something to know and understand: copyright laws (a must), the language of contracts (rule of thumb: never sign something without reading what it says first), and tax information (this can be a tricky area but a must) for wherever you call home.

 

Of course there are probably other skills that could be useful to writers but these, in my opinion, seemed liked the most important. I advise doing your own research into the sites/programs I mentioned above; I’ve used them all except for Blogger and Squarespace (but they seem like good sites to make websites/blogs). I hope this was helpful, even if just a little bit, to you and that it made sense. I’m a big believer in having a variety of skills because you never know when they could come in handy.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed today’s post. What other skills do you think would be useful for writers to learn? What more should people know about the skills I mentioned above? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

As always, happy writing!


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Book Review: Black Moon by Romina Russell

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy
Series: Zodiac, book 3
Rating: 5/5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

My Summary:
Two months of no attacks has ushered in an “uneasy peace” (book jacket flap synopsis). But Piscians begin to literally drop like flies. Rho’s best friend, Nishi, joins a new youthful political party. And visions of Rho’s estranged and long dead mother begin to appear.

Rho suspects the Marad aren’t as gone as people want to believe and she aims to discover what’s truly going on in the Zodiac and in her own life.

The past is resurfacing. Tomorrow is uncertain. Trust is fragile.

And the choices made now could possibly decide the fate of the Zodiac.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
This series just keeps getting better and better! The plot thickens and the stakes raise higher than I thought possible. Once again I am in awe of Romina Russell’s ability to weave a story, craft a whole new world, and devise a plot so intricate and fascinating.

Something I began to suspect in  last book is answered in this book. I’m glad as was wrong on that theory and pleasantly surprised by what the true answer was. Goodness, you learn so much more in Black Moon and it’s almost disorienting (in a good way). Tension and danger keep mounting and there were several times I wanted the book to end because I was so afraid of what the outcome could be. I feared for Rho and her friends and allies. Tomorrow – the next book, Thirteen Rising, is so uncertain that I have no idea what will happen next.

I am left pleasantly devastated like the book nerd I am after reading Black Moon and need to read the next book as soon as possible. It’s like the saying goes, things will get worse before the get better. And I see that happening as this series progresses.

Few book series have made me feel so invested in the story – a sign of a true work of art in my eyes. I can’t fathom how any of this is possible, which is awesome. The author has me hooked quite thoroughly. Black Moon is definitely a win for me.

My Past Reviews Of The Zodiac Series:
Zodiac (Zodiac, book 1)
Wandering Star (Zodiac, book 2)