How To Make A Mini-Zine Electronically | FREE Template!

So over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about zines: inspiration for them, and why you should write them. The latter post included an extra little bit about how to make zines, but I realised that a lot of people reading this would be writers, and therefore want to make the zines electronically. In all due respect to my stupidity, only two out of the four I made for Mini-Zine March were done electronically. The other two were hand drawn/written (and was super rewarding in the latter part!). However, my electronic ones came out very well so I’m a happy rabbit.

Anyway; how to make zines electronically is what this is all about. For this, you need three things: a laptop, computer, tablet, or something equally acceptable. A printer is required (well, you could put it into just PDF format, but printing it is the point!). And you need Microsoft Word. (And, uh, your brain might be helpful. <3)  Continue reading

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Pro-Review Writing Tips! | I: The Writing Process

Slight disclaimer: I am by no means the world’s best reviewer. However, I have reviewed a lot of books in my time, and I thought I would share some of my tips of how to make your reviews rock. Or, at least, be mildly interesting.

This is one of three different blog posts in the mini series (they’ll be going up in the next few weeks). This one is (as you have seen) about the writing process of the actual review; then we get onto how to write a rocking book description; and finally just some final hints, tips, and pieces of advice to be a kind and considerate, as well as good, reviewer. Enjoy!  Continue reading

Just 21 Writing Prompts

table_accessories_old_notebook_pen_80714_5300x3524I feel like this time of the year is when people start dropping behind on their New Years’ Resolutions. (I certainly have.)

A lot of people, me included, made resolutions/goals to write more this year. Luckily for some, you might be doing a great job at sticking to that. Sadly, not everybody is. Therefore, I have created a list of 21 writing prompts for you to use at your leisure. Feel free to link me to anything to write based from these in the comments, and I’ll be happy to read it. 🙂

PS If write anything to do with these prompts, the pieces will be published on my other blog. Feel free to check it out! ❤  Continue reading

The Surprise of Poetry

e26397c7fe425a5a91b89fa5e4d92929Before I came to university, I didn’t write much poetry. I’d been writing more in the past year or so of A-Levels, but before then I had written maybe one or two poems. They were all terrible. As in, I don’t have them anymore, they were strings of words strung together in no real sense, terrible. Or sometimes they were flat prose in poem form (which is probably worse than just flat prose).  Continue reading

Exercise and Writing

how-to-become-good-writerWhen most people think of writers, they think of people holed up in their rooms 24/7 and frantically typing/writing in their notebooks. This, friends, is not true, as you will know if you yourself are also a writer. Writers occasionally eat, consume (a lot of coffee and) water, go to the bathroom, do other chores during the day, learn, and exercise. Although the last one probably isn’t on most writers’ minds.  Continue reading

The Dare Machine & Word Sprints | NaNoWriMo

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantHello! Welcome to my first NaNoWriMo post of the month and week one of NaNoWriMo has already gone past! How has your first week gone? Are you on target? You can see how I’m doing by heading over to my other blog and my Twitter, where I post regularly! (Oh, and, of course, by being my buddy on NaNoWriMo!)

Today I am talking about the NaNoWriMo Dare Machine. It’s a feature on the NaNoWriMo website which I think was originally on the Young Writer’s Program (at least, I haven’t seen it on their main website before now).

To use the ‘dare machine’, all you have to do is click ‘dare me’ and it will give you a prompt which you should use in your next scene/chapter/however you want to use it. I used this on my first chapter for example, and got ‘Use a literal plot bunny in your next scene’. In the scene where my character decided she wanted to write a novel, what was bounding away? A plot bunny.

(It’s made funnier by the fact that not everyone gets that.)

dare-machine

I think it’s a really cool way to get some more ‘oomf’ into your writing. I know I really love this, and even if I don’t use the prompt directly, or even forget about it when I’m writing, it gives me so much more inspiration and a kick up the backside to get it done!

On the dare machine page, there is also a Word Sprint machine. This is a widget where you can set a timer, click start, and at the end of however long you’ve set it the timer will go off. It’s a race against the clock to get as many words as possible and I live by word sprints. Even if I don’t have a timer or anyone to race against, word sprints are generally how I write bigger words of fiction like novels (eg, I’ll write for half an hour, and then I race for half an hour to get as many words as possible on the screen).

writing-sprint

I’m pretty sure that these are new add-ons to the NaNo website, so even if you’re an old hat at this they might be new to you, too! I’m so excited that these have been added (I was gutted when the YWP page was wiped!) and I’ve been using them basically every day since NaNoWriMo started.

(And if you were wondering what sound the timer made (I nearly peed myself the first time around) then here’s NaNoWriMo HQ telling you themselves! I fangirled a bit.)

timer-soudn

So, do you think you’ll use the Dare Machine and Word Sprint widget if you don’t already? Are you as excited as I am to see these be added to the site? Let me know in the comments below! 😀

Book Review: The Year of The Rat by Clare Furniss

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Actual rating: 4.5

To Pearl, there is nothing sweet about her baby sister Rose who caused her mother’s premature death and turned her world upside down. To Pearl? Rose is an imposter. Rose is The Rat.

Well. This was a book I did not expect.

It was a lovely, coming-of-age story dealing with the death of a loved one and going through the grieving process. This book is one that will break you. I was in tears by the end of it (which was a tad embarrassing in a public café but I don’t think anyone noticed), both happy and sad.

Because, yes, this book is also ridiculously funny. It’s not exactly to be expected – a book about death that’s funny? Yes, believe it not. The writing style was just fabulous and I honestly did not want to put it down.

The Year of The Rat isn’t just about death and grief, though. It’s also got beautiful family relationships like between Pearl’s dad(s) and her grandmother, and, yes, her sister Rose. And friendship! Although Pearl has “a thing” for the grandson next door, that’s almost brushed over in this book and it focusses on Pearl’s friendship with Molly. Molly didn’t appear in the book that much, which saddened me, although she was almost constantly referenced. She seemed really fun.

This lost a measly half a star (but it was rounded up for the rating so all is good) because I felt Pearl was a little too harsh. Like, I get that she was grieving, I really do (I’ve lost people too) but she was just too icy and I felt like I really didn’t like her at some points. I also thought she was actually going to kill Rose at one point too and that genuinely scared me. And I don’t like scary books. But nevertheless, Pearl was okay. I just didn’t particularly like her.

This book, though, is honestly brilliant and I would highly recommend it. I was also so so pleased when I discovered my copy had EXTRA CONTENT! – an interview with the author, reading group questions and an extra short story to mention a few! 😀


 

TITLE: The Year of The Rat
AUTHOR: Clare Furniss
GENRE: YA
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Simon & Schuster // 2015 (orig. 2014)
NUMBER OF PAGES: 306 (on GoodReads it says 352 because EXTRA CONTENT AS HAS BEEN ALREADY EXCITEDLY DISCUSSED)
ISBN: 9781471145919
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Present for Christmas- thanks Santa
RATING: 4.5/5

10 Reasons You Should Totally Try a Writing Challenge

writing challenge why 10Ah, writing challenges. They’re about a lot nowadays, and some people (like me!) even invent their own. You might have heard of them before, but not thought much about them.

Some writing challenges involve you writing a short story or poem everyday. Some, like NaNoWriMo, encourage you to write a novel. Some are just word prompts for every day and some are perhaps weekly or monthly.

Remember not to get writing challenges confused with goals: goals are personal things you set (like finishing your novel at the end of the month). A challenge often involves telling other people about it and sometimes joining in a group project. Anyway. Let’s get on with the list, shall we?

  1. It gets you writing! Obviously, this is a great reason.
  2. You can sometimes be a part of a great community, like the NaNoWriMo community! This generally means making great online friends. Whoop!
  3. It’s good if you’re just coming back into writing or have suffered a knock of confidence. It’ll get you going again and hopefully you can get some encouraging feedback.
  4. You can try out different genres! Perhaps set yourself a writing challenge of writing a short story with a different genre every week?
  5. You have something to show for it at the end of it. Whoop, whoop! Oh, and bragging rights. Obviously.
  6. You might improve on your writing skills by the end of the whole thing. Wouldn’t that be super? Look at your first and last piece of work once you’re done, and see how far you’ve come!
  7. It’s fairly easy to get your friends involved, especially if you guys can sit in a café together and talk about your writing woes. (However, if they don’t have the same mind-set as you to keep going through the challenge, don’t be put off and carry on! The likelihood is they’ll still listen to you, even if they don’t quite understand what you’re going through.)
  8. If you’re struggling with getting some writing done, you can set yourself a little challenge and get to it, hopefully getting you into a routine which means you can write every day after the challenge is over. So, writing challenges can often help you in the future.
  9. If you’re applying for a job or need a portfolio, you have loads of material, and if you do a short story writing challenge, you often have loads of different and diverse material to show off what you can do, which is exactly what they’re looking for!
  10. Finally? It’s fun. Just plain fun. If you choose a short story challenge too, it’s often not that much out of you’re day that you’re taking and hey, if one sucks, hopefully the next will be better!

Keep trying with writing guys! One word in front of the other.

PS If you want to have a go at a writing challenge, you can try my 23 Day Writing Challenge right here!