Paula Writes

Paula Puddephatt – Author

Inspirational Quotes About Poetry — April 17, 2019

Inspirational Quotes About Poetry

poet-quotation

If you’re looking for quotes about poetry, this post is a good place to start.

I recently made a post, to which I shall continue to add, in which I shared some of my favourite writing quotes.

However, I felt that this post could potentially become very long and confusing.

So, I’m experimenting here with the idea of being more specific in a post, about which particular type of writing quotes. This should make it easier for visitors to find the precise quotes to meet their needs.

For even more writing quotes, follow me on: Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

My posts, How To Write Poetry and The Relevance of Modern Poetry, might be of interest.

“Poetry is my deepest health.” – Sylvia Plath

poetry-health

poetry-deep-health

“Poems are moments’ monuments.” – Sylvia Plath

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poems-monuments

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” – Carl Sandburg

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“A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” – Paul Valery

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“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.” – Emily Dickinson

if-i-read-a-book-quote

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost

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“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” – T. S. Eliot

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“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” – Rita Dove

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“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words, as the rhythmical creation of beauty.” – Edgar Allan Poe

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“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” – W. H. Auden

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If you enjoyed, and felt inspired by, these quotes about poetry, and are a fan of Pinterest, I encourage you to Pin any of these quote images.

Alternatively, I would appreciate shares on any of your favourite social media sites. It really does help me out. Thank you.

Inspirational Quotes for Writers — April 10, 2019

Inspirational Quotes for Writers

inspiration-writers

Searching for inspirational and motivational quotes for writers?

If you’re a writer, hoping to find positive quotes, then this post is for you. These are some of my personal favourites.

I have to start with the central message of the Paula Writes blog, and associated social media accounts: Believe in yourself and your dreams.

Believe in yourself and your dreams.

believe-self

View more Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams images on a specific post, dedicated to these.

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” – Gloria Steinem

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“What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about.” – Julie Wright

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“A writer is simply a photographer of thoughts.” – Brandon A. Trean

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“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

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“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your own stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott

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“I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.” – Sylvia Plath

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“Poetry is my deepest health.” – Sylvia Plath

poetry-health

“Poems are moments’ monuments.” – Sylvia Plath

poems-moments

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

creative-self-doubt

“You must stay drunk on writing, so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury

drunk-writing-reality

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” – Ernest Hemingway

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“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

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“When writing a novel, a writer should create living people: people, not characters. A character is a caricature.” – Ernest Hemingway

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“Every story I create, creates me. I write to create myself.” – Octavia E. Butler

every-story

 

Keep believing, always.

For many more inspirational quotes and words of wisdom, follow me on: Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

What is Literary Fiction? — March 27, 2019

What is Literary Fiction?

define-literary-fiction

Let’s begin with what Literary Fiction is not: Genre fiction.

Genre fiction includes, for example: Romance, Crime, Thriller, Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy. There will be many subgenres within any particular genre.

Some authors of genre fiction have a very specific niche, and stay within this, whilst others move around within different subgenres, or even genres.

Particular novels may blend two or more genres, with varying degrees of success.

Genre novels adhere, at least to some extent, to conventions and formulas. There will be strong reader expectations, such as the crime being solved, by the detective in a Murder Mystery, and a happy ending in a Romance.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that genre writing is not high quality, or lacking originality. The standard of genre fiction varies widely, and it’s a misconception that genre is automatically inferior to Literary Fiction.

Equally, it’s wrong to assume that Literary Fiction is merely pretentious, and not as genuinely enjoyable to read as genre fiction.

Identifying a Literary novel in a bookstore or library should be relatively straightforward, aside from the section in which you discover the book.

In precisely the same way that a genre and subgenre can usually be established, at a glance: The cover.

Book cover trends vary over time but, whatever the current design trends might be, the tendency is for covers to Do What It Says On The Tin.

It’s how marketing works, and the most immediate way to communicate instantly to potential readers, whether your story is likely to appeal to them.

One vital aspect of Literary Fiction is the tendency to address deeper themes.

It’s true that there is genre fiction out there that also does this, but with Literary Fiction, there’s more focus upon this.

Without the restriction of having to stay within genre rules and guidelines, there is greater opportunity to explore the themes thoroughly – and, often, although not always, at a slower, more reflective pace.

The boundaries are set by the writer, and not the market.

Literary fiction can be successful, and make money, but the tendency is for it to be less popular and commercial than genre fiction.

That’s a major down side. It’s more challenging to market a work of fiction that is less conventional, and doesn’t tick any of the standard boxes.

Character development can be emphasized – something that particularly appeals to me, personally.

I believe characters to be the heart of great fiction.

The quality of prose will be of a high standard.

This is probably one of the few definite requirements.

It often does mean a poetic style, although not necessarily. The style may be more precise than poetic. And we’re not talking purple prose, either – but genuinely fine writing.

For an example of what I would consider to be quality poetic prose, refer to “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath.

Literary fiction is often experimental.

It sometimes has a lack of plot, in the ordinary sense, although not always. Some genre novels have almost a literary feel to them, and are on the borderline.

Some would define Literary Fiction as effectively its own genre.

This makes sense, in some respects.

 

But, however Literary Fiction is or isn’t defined, it does have immense value.

Whilst not “better” than genre fiction, it can often unique perspectives, that simply wouldn’t be possible within the confines of a standard genre.

 

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How and Where to Find Blog Post Ideas — March 20, 2019

How and Where to Find Blog Post Ideas

blog-post-inspiration-ideas

Most bloggers, on occasions, struggle to find inspiration and ideas for posts.

It definitely helps to keep some sort of list, of potential future ideas. Most of us are guilty of trying to hold various thoughts and ideas in our memories, but this isn’t always reliable, so it’s advisable to have a back-up, of some sort.

Of course, lists are all very well, but we do need to generate the ideas, to begin with.

Some do occur to us naturally, but we can’t depend upon this, if we hope to produce regular content.

It’s also very hit or miss, in terms of how great the resulting ideas will be. They will tend to be somewhat random, which may work out well – but not necessarily.

Creative inspiration can be wonderful, but sometimes leads us to write posts that don’t actually serve our target audiences. Posts, in fact, that very few people may end up reading and appreciating – which is hardly an ideal situation.

So, if we can’t rely upon pure inspiration, how should we come up with post ideas instead?

Here are a few suggestions.

Google, Bing, and other search engines.

During the process of keyword research, I tend to naturally find many ideas for possible future posts.

If you’re not doing keyword research, or don’t have a clue what I’m even talking about, read my post on the basics of blog SEO. It contains important information, that you definitely need, as a blogger.

Reddit.

I haven’t yet figured out how to most effectively use Reddit to generate serious traffic, although I’m aware that this is possible, and many content creators are using the platform with amazing results.

But Reddit is great, for other reasons. It’s basically a huge forum, divided into infinite smaller forums, or Subreddits, as they are known.

Find Subreddits relating to your niche, and browse through the questions that are being asked. Some of these will provide you with instant blog post ideas – and ones that you already know are likely to be of interest.

Pinterest group boards are another excellent place to discover potential blog topics.

If you actively use Pinterest, you’re probably already on at least some group boards. If not, I would suggest that you join some, as they can significantly increase traffic to your blog.

It’s best to join niche specific boards – and, the very fact that these boards relate to your particular niche, means that they are highly likely to give you ideas, when you notice what other group members are Pinning.

It isn’t necessarily ideal, in every instance, to directly copy a blog post idea. Often, putting your own twist on the original idea will prove beneficial.

Pinterest, more generally, can help, but group boards in particular.

You Tube is another excellent source of blog post ideas.

For Author Bloggers, such as myself, there’s a vibrant AuthorTube community. But, whatever you blog about, there’s probably some sort of You Tube equivalent.

Of course, other blogs can also inspire you, and social media sites, such as Instagram and Twitter.

And also Facebook – most particularly, if you join groups, relating to your areas of interest.

Facebook groups can be effective in a very similar way to Reddit, given that both are communities, in which questions are regularly asked and answered.

Of course, there are many more ways in which to generate blog post ideas.

Real life sources, such as talking to others, and reading books and magazines, should not be overlooked.

And, as for the internet – well, it’s a vast resource. The possibilities are endless.

Mindmaps, it’s worth noting, can be extremely useful, both to come up with, and organise, ideas and thoughts.

 

Hopefully you will find a few ways that work for you, and help you to find awesome ideas for future blog posts. At that point, the hardest part will be deciding where to start, and which posts to write first.

 

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Should Your Characters Use Swear Words? — March 12, 2019

Should Your Characters Use Swear Words?

characters-swear

Profanity. Cursing. Offensive language, of various kinds. Is it okay to include this in fiction?

Should your characters use swear words, or is it unnecessary and unacceptable for them to do so?

If you write for children, it’s advisable and ethical to avoid swear words.

YA, or Young Adult, is a somewhat different issue, and a grey area.

I write Adult Fiction, so my main focus is naturally upon books aimed at adults.

If you’re interested in the ongoing debate about swearing in YA literature, I encourage you to Google this specifically. The subject has been extensively covered, but I won’t be addressing it here, beyond this short acknowledgement of the issue.

Genre and target audience are considerations, even within Adult Fiction.

Certain genres, and types of story, are significantly more likely to include swear words.

As with so many other issues, it’s important to know your target audience, and their general preferences. This can then guide your writing and editing decisions.

In a recent post about addressing controversial subjects in fiction, I cautioned against being deliberately controversial, for mere shock value.

This advice is definitely applicable here.

Swearing is undeniably a part of real life.

But not everyone routinely swears. Some people hardly ever – or (apparently) never – swear at all.

The truth is that characters often make the decision for you – to a certain degree. Some people, and therefore also characters, are going to swear. But, even in such cases, the degree of editing that you exercise is your personal decision.

In my posts Writing Believable Dialogue and Creating Realistic Dialogue: Additional Thoughts, I discuss the fact that strong dialogue represents, as opposed to replicating, realistic conversation.

Censorship aside – you would, in general, edit dialogue to exclude anything superfluous, and therefore, many swear words will probably be shed naturally, during revisions.

Any device that is overused tends to lose its impact, and swearing is no exception.

Maybe some of your characters will swear, but others not swear at all, or very rarely.

And, if some particular characters are constantly swearing, ask yourself whether some instances can be cut. Readers get the general idea, without being bombarded by bad language.

And, if you do want to convey, at any stage, that a character is furious, via the use of strong language – well, this technique won’t be effective, if such expressions are part of the character’s regular, casual vocabulary.

If you’re personally very uncomfortable with swearing, it’s probably not advisable to include this in your stories.

There are other ways for your characters to express themselves.

But, if you do feel that swearing is something that you need or/and are content to include in your fiction, don’t feel that you can’t do so for fear of judgement.

Maybe your parents or grandparents, or the woman next-door, would be shocked – but are those people your target audience, anyway? Probably not – and, such being the case, your story is not, or should not be, being written to keep them happy.

 

Some readers will indeed slam down your book in disgust, if you include swear words.

But then again, others will slam down your book if your dialogue doesn’t ring true – and it may be that swear words are one of the many devices that would add authenticity to the dialogue. You’ve heard it before, but you honestly can’t please everyone, and shouldn’t try.

Write from the heart. With or without swear words.

 

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How To Write an Effective Plot Twist — February 21, 2019

How To Write an Effective Plot Twist

write-awesome-plot-twists

Plot twist is the term used to describe those completely unexpected turns of event, within your overall plot.

I refer to those story moments, those revelations, that literally turn reader expectations on their head.

Outside of actual spoilers, readers don’t, by definition, know exactly what’s going to happen next in your story. However, they can often guess, or at least have a general idea of what to expect.

The beauty of a plot twist is that readers don’t predict it – or, at least, shouldn’t be able to, if the twist is successfully executed.

Although I primarily discuss novel writing in my blog posts, it’s worth noting that plot twists can be extremely effective in short stories, and especially so in flash fiction.

So, does every story need to include a plot twist?

No, it’s not a requirement, and some stories function fine without a plot twist.

Genre can be a factor, as well as simply the needs of the particular story.

There are stories that do contain multiple plot twists. And some include that one killer plot twist.

Oh, and since I used the term “killer”, it seems like a good time to mention, that plot twists often do come in the form of an unexpected death.

For specific tips, relevant to killing off characters, I recommend reading my post on this subject.

Reversing character roles can often work as a plot twist. For example, the bad guy turning out to be the good guy, and vice versa.

I mentioned unreliable narrators in my POV post, and such narrators can definitely be useful, when it comes to plot twists.

Sometimes what appears to be a subplot can turn out to be more significant. This a good way to introduce a twist of some kind.

Red herrings are false clues, and it’s impossible to discuss plot twists without mentioning them.

Certainly, red herrings and dead ends do have their role, but don’t rely too heavily upon these devices, and be cautious.

If the reader feels that you haven’t “played fair”, it could leave them feeling disappointed and frustrated with your book, which is clearly not the desired effect.

When it comes to plot twists, foreshadowing is essential.

The ideal is to know your own plot twists in advance, and for this reason, it’s much more difficult to pull them off successfully as a “pantser”.

If you didn’t plan a plot twist from the start, you will need to rework earlier scenes, so that everything makes sense.

The most challenging aspect of writing a great plot twist lies in the fact that the reader shouldn’t be able to predict what is coming, and yet, it must also seem logical and believable, in retrospect.

Work on the assumption that a reader will re-read your story. In fact, if the plot twist truly leaves them reeling, this is highly likely to occur.

They should subsequently notice all the signs, the subtle foreshadowing, and be kicking themselves for not connecting the dots sooner.

“Of course! Why didn’t I see it? It’s all here.”

 

Hopefully these tips will help you to create effective plot twists in your fiction.

It’s an invaluable skill to master, when it comes to developing your writing craft. The best plot twists can leave us stunned, and are highly memorable, which is a major bonus, when it comes to gaining loyal fans, eager to devour more of our stories, in the future.

My post about how to build suspense and tension in your writing, is somewhat related, and might be of interest. 

 

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How To Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams — February 12, 2019

How To Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams

how-to-believe

This is the core message of the Paula Writes blog: Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams.

I regularly repeat and emphasize the message, through my various social media accounts.

This is intentional, because these words of positivity and hope are central to everything I do, as a writer, and as someone with an online presence. Not a huge following, by any means, but a definite online presence, which I use to reach, help, and inspire others, in any way I can.

It’s especially important to me to help those who struggle in life, including with mental and physical health issues, and in particular, those who lack support from those around them, such as family and friends, and medical services.

These people are often made to feel marginalised, excluded and invalidated, and sometimes this is actually done in a deliberate and strategic way. Society, as a whole, shuns them – or, I should say, shuns us.

There is already a Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams post on this blog, in which I discuss the philosophy. I highly recommend that you visit that post, if you haven’t already.

I felt inspired to create a How To Believe companion post, which is what you’re reading right now.

So, let’s get into the tips. Beyond the words – how do you actually believe in yourself and your dreams, for real?

Positive affirmations would be my first suggestion.

Statements that you repeat to yourself daily, either out loud or in your mind.

You can also write them down, which is powerful, in and of itself.

Affirmations are most effective when you use the present tense, stating them as what already is.

Even if you don’t entirely believe your affirmations, your subconscious mind will absorb them, without judgement. You don’t need to convince your conscious mind that the words are true, in order for them to have a subconscious impact. For those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression, and struggle with extreme self-doubt, this is good to know.

Tune out and drown out any negativity, including from any less than supportive family members.

This isn’t easy, but it’s essential. People who are dismissive of your dreams, and put you down, won’t help you to believe in yourself. To believe in your ability to achieve your goals, and make your dreams a reality.

Find sources of inspiration, such as books and specific You Tube channels, and the people you can surround yourself with who do help you to stay focused, and to keep believing.

And double down on the affirmations, because those will also help to drown out the voices of those who tell you that you can’t be successful.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Be inspired by people you admire and respect, and learn from those individuals.

But never forget that you have something unique and valuable to offer: something that only you have to give. Do you, and don’t negatively compare yourself with anyone else.

In the end, it’s a case of knowing in your heart that you do matter, and your dreams do matter.

Keep moving forward, no matter how slow progress might be at times. Pause when you need to, but don’t stop.

 

Believe in you. Keep believing. Do anything you can to remain inspired and motivated. Believe in yourself and your wildest dreams.

Write that novel, that series of novels, your poetry, or short stories. Take photos, or create awesome paintings. Whatever it is for you. Believe and act, and live life to the best of your ability, in your own incredible way.

If you’re searching for inspirational writing quotes, I’ve created a blog post, which includes a selection of my personal favourites, complete with graphics. Definitely take a look, and I would encourage you to save any quotes that particularly resonate to your Pinterest boards – if, like myself, you’re a fan of Pinterest.

 

Believe in Yourself and Your Dreams – Subreddit

 

 

Increasing Your Productivity as a Writer: Some Tips — February 11, 2019

Increasing Your Productivity as a Writer: Some Tips

productivity-writers

Often, as Author Bloggers, we write the posts that we ourselves need.

It’s one thing to understand the theory behind the tips that we give. And another entirely to implement them, and do so consistently.

So, that’s the disclaimer out of the way. I’m a work in very slow progress – as is my novel. As such, I may be the best or worst person to advise on productivity.

That said, here are some ideas that will hopefully help you to increase your productivity, as a writer.

Firstly, don’t be vague.

“Write novel”, as an item on your To-Do List, sounds intimidating and overwhelming.

Be as specific as possible, when setting tasks for yourself. Break them down, and down again, until they become actionable items, that you can imagine doing.

It’s easier to know whether you’ve actually done what you set out to do, if you’re working towards a clear goal.

Eliminate distractions, whether that involves turning off the TV or disconnecting the internet.

Whatever it is for you.

Sometimes I write in notebooks. Yes, the old-fashioned paper variety. Those can’t be used to access: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube…! Basically, this could apply to any sites or apps that you might personally find distracting. You can’t access any of them through a paper notepad.

Use incentives.

Whether you prefer to use the term “reward” or “bribe” is your decision.

Either way, do it, if that’s what it takes. If it works for you, it’s worth it.

Track your time.

Identify where your time is currently being spent – and possibly wasted. That’s the first step towards changing your routine.

A system, such as Timeblocking, may then be able to help you.

Batching can help.

I hope to improve at this myself.

Task switching is a major problem for many of us, and batching is great, because similar tasks can be done together, and in advance. This definitely tends to be more efficient, and means that you spend less time chasing your tail.

So yes, definitely one for me to work on.

Finally, knowing when to stop.

I’m so bad at this one. I’m always scared to stop, once I finally get started on a particular task, for the fear that I won’t return to it.

Unfortunately, there’s substance to the fear, as many times, I don’t go back to unfinished tasks.

But binge writing sessions aren’t healthy, and can push us too far, mentally and physically.

In my own case, I neglect basic self-care, such as staying hydrated, in order to get things done, and that isn’t sustainable or sensible, as an ongoing method of working.

I’ve experimented with using timers, and hope to try this again. But the most natural way for me to approach things is the same way I’ve always done.

 

So, there you have it. I’m not a super productive writer, but would love to be. And these are my tips on increasing your productivity, as a writer.

I won’t even pretend that I’m not being hypocritical by giving advice on this subject, but hopefully, this post will help you, anyway. And we can live in hope that I will actually take at least some of my own advice.

My Writers’ Block post may be of interest.

 

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Writers’ Block: Does It Exist? — February 9, 2019

Writers’ Block: Does It Exist?

writers-block

Is Writers’ Block real, or simply an excuse for procrastination and laziness?

Yes, Writers’ Block does exist.

That’s not the answer that you’ll find on most writing blogs, but it’s my own honest answer to the question.

However, it’s not quite as simple as deciding whether Writers’ Block does exist, or does not.

And no, I’m definitely not denying that Writers’ Block has the potential to be used by writers as an excuse to procrastinate, or even be lazy.

Side note: Those two terms are not interchangeable, as procrastination occurs for many reasons, and not all of these involve laziness. My short post about procrastination, and why writers’ often avoid actually writing, touches upon this.

Writers’ Block is not a medical condition.

In that sense, it doesn’t exist. You can’t go to a doctor, be diagnosed with Writers’ Block, and come away with a prescription to cure the affliction. But we all realise that, surely?

It can occur when we’re suffering from actual mental and physical illnesses, but I’ll expand upon that, in due course.

However, Writer’s Block, in and off itself, is not a disease.

Writer’s Block is a construct.

It’s simply a way to express the problem that most, if not all, of us face as writers, at particular times.

It describes an inability to write: not in the practical, physical sense, but due to a creative block, and the words seeming not to flow.

It could be a lack of ideas and pure inspiration, or the inability to express our ideas, but the result is not writing, when writing is what we aspire to do.

Many people don’t find the concept of Writers’ Block useful.

This is a fair point. If you feel that it doesn’t help you to move forward, and prefer not to think in terms of “being blocked”, then that’s fine. In that sense, Writers’ Block doesn’t have to exist for you.

But whether you refer to any writing struggles as Writers’ Block, or by some other name, or don’t refer to them at all, you will probably continue to experience, on occasions, the same writing issues that others choose to describe as blocks.

Writers’ Block is an umbrella term.

There are so many reasons why writers can potentially struggle to write.

These include simply feeling “out of ideas”, or overwhelmed by too many ideas, and not knowing where to start.

And, at the other end of the spectrum, there will be: burnout, clinical depression and anxiety, other mental and physical health conditions, and serious personal problems, such as financial difficulties, relationship break-ups, and bereavement.

It’s beyond the scope of this post to offer solutions to Writers’ Block, but possible solutions will become clearer, when the precise causes are identified.

For a lack of ideas and inspiration, there are many simple fixes.

For some of the more complex and severe underlying causes, these simple suggestions won’t be enough. Of course, there are often multiple factors involved, and in such cases, simple ideas may be of some use, even if they don’t solve the problem entirely.

I may well address how to find ideas, and sources of inspiration, in a future post.

Tips for increasing productivity, as a writer

 

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Writing About Controversial Subjects in Your Fiction — February 6, 2019

Writing About Controversial Subjects in Your Fiction

controversial-stories

Should you address, or avoid, controversial issues, in your fiction?

I address them – always have.

And yet, I do avoid particular issues, at particular times. I actually can and do hold back, on occasions.

What is controversial, anyway?

How do you define “controversy”? What is taboo in some circles, is spoken about openly in others. And almost everything you could possibly write about, is guaranteed to offend someone out there.

But there are definitely topics which would be generally agreed to be controversial.

This post isn’t about giving examples of specific areas that might cause controversy. We could all make our own lists.

Being controversial for the sake of it?

Honestly, don’t go there. It can be hard enough to deal with the backlash when you feel deeply about an issue.

And authenticity matters. Deal with controversial issues that are important to you, rather than simply “being controversial”, which is the point at which you’re being offensive. It’s a question of being honest with yourself, about your own motivations.

That said, don’t put up and shut up.

History is full of examples of people standing up for what they truly believed in. Where would we be, if everyone kept quiet, and was afraid to express unpopular opinions, or discuss the subjects that were strictly “off limits”?

 

So, yes – controversy. It’s a fine line sometimes, but we often do need to cross that line, in our fiction. As well as in our blog posts and poetry.

I’ll continue to address what I need to address, in my own writing, and hope that my honest intentions will shine through.

I’m not always right, and I don’t pretend to be, but I have my point of view, and will express that, through my words. I encourage you to do the same.

Read my views on how mental health is generally approached in fiction – including how I personally address the subject.

And should your characters be using swear words? I’ve written a post about this specific subject, which might be of interest.

 

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