All posts tagged: writing

The Bizarre and Fantastic: How Fairy Tales Transformed my Novel

There was a grotesque eloquence in which the Grimm Brothers carried out their stories. I vividly remember hearing about how bloody the original Cinderella was compared to the happy go lucky Disney version. There were still talking animals in the original. They weren’t friends with Cinderella but rather just tattled on the Step Sisters whose desperation for status led them to chop at their own feet. Share this on Facebook>>> “The girl cut a piece off of her heel, forced her foot into the shoe, and swallowed the pain.” Reading that now, makes my stomach churn. Such simple text but the beauty comes in their message. The bizarre and fantastic can be a vehicle to open a dialogue to discuss the greater themes in literature. Choice and the overarching idea of selflessness have always been topics that intrigued me. Each of the Grimm Brother’s stories had a lesson of morality. They are meant to teach but before that can be digested the reader is led through a maze of the strange. I loved the fairy …

Interview: The Paranormal Museum

Wheeeee! My first cozy mystery (with a paranormal twist, natch) launches today. Here’s a video where I talk about The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, the writing life, and the odd places inspiration can strike. (They got my website address wrong in the interview though. It’s KirstenWeiss.com). Share this on Facebook>>> A Perfectly Proper Murder When Maddie Kosloski’s career flatlines, she retreats to her wine country hometown for solace and cheap rent. Railroaded into managing the local paranormal museum, she’s certain the rumors of its haunting are greatly exaggerated. But then a fresh corpse in the museum embroils Maddie in murders past and present, making her wonder if a ghost could really be on the loose. With her high school bully as one of the detectives in charge of the investigation, Maddie doubts justice will be served. When one of her best friends is arrested, she knows it won’t be. Maddie also grapples with ghost hunters, obsessed taxidermists, and the sexy motorcyclist next door as outside forces threaten. And as she juggles spectral shenanigans with the …

Loving Red

Why I Love Writing as a Male

Guest post by Alisha Costanzo, author of Loving Red. Check out the excerpt for the book below! Writing in the male perspective is akin to freedom. And although I love to write empowered women in their various levels or snark, sarcasm, stubbornness, sweetness, and strength, something about slipping into a male’s persona liberates me. Granted, most of the time, I find it easier. No. This isn’t because I believe males are less complex than females. In general terms, we’re much the same. But I’ve always fancied male friends over females ones, listening to them fight over videogames, tease each other, argue with no fallout, and bond without the need to shop for shoes, talk about the opposite sex (although that can happen with men as much as with women), gush about their feelings, or manipulate for their own gains. Okay, I know, it seems like I’m giving women a bad name here. I’m not. I’m a feminist with all of those negative connotations attached. I don’t hate men, and I don’t hate women. I merely think …

WB Yeats

Magic, Creativity and the Victorians

WB Yeats’s notebook from his Golden Dawn Days and an illustration of the World Tarot card (above). I’ve blogged about the 19th century connection between poetry and mysticism and developing artistic vision. Here are five other Victorian-era practices that can be used to boost your creativity. Share this on Facebook>>> 1) Tarot. The Victorian occultists worked intensively with Tarot  to expand their consciousness. They studied the Tarot symbols, they meditated on the cards, they even drew or painted their own cards to acquire a soul-deep understanding of the symbols, letting them play within their subconscious. As a writer, I use Tarot frequently for character development. When I’m stuck on a character, I’ll think of what Tarot card he’s most like, e.g. the King of Cups. Then I’ll consider the positive and negative qualities of that card. The King of Cups is mature, diplomatic, loving. On the dark side, his diplomacy can turn to manipulation. And sometimes he can be a little too loving, even sleazy. Suddenly, I’ve got a fully fleshed out and very real character. Thank you, Tarot! (For more ways to use …

world building

Can You Have Too Much Worldbuilding?

Last weekend at Clockwork Alchemy, I participated in a worldbuilding panel with the amazing Dover Whitecliff of The Stolen Songbird and Emily Thompson of the Clockwork Twist series. I confess I fell on the more laissez faire side of worldbuilding – I want my readers to easily be able to see the stage my characters walk upon, but I don’t go in for creating new languages or the convoluted worksheets charting the evolution of my world’s politics. Share this on Facebook>>> Then I came across the below video on worldbuilding. It has has triggered some hot responses online, but I think it poses an interesting question. Can there be too much worldbuilding? For me, “too much” of anything is where I start to skim. But I recognize that one person’s skimable paragraph is another man’s treasure. Nerdwriter seems to argue that particularly in the age of cross-media storytelling (book + TV + internet, etc.), the reader loses something. What do you think? On the other side of the street, a recent article in The Guardian argued that true worldbuilding takes chapters, …

ann gimpel

Respecting Deities in Fiction

Guest post by Ann Gimpel, author of the Earth Reclaimed series. Thanks so much for inviting me back to your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks too for an interesting guest post topic. Share this on Facebook>>> I tread carefully when I include gods in my fiction because I want to be respectful. I try for a balanced approach, but there will always be those who love something I’ve written and those who feel I should have done it differently. That’s particularly true for mythological figures. During my psychoanalytic training in Jungian approaches to dream work, I read a lot of mythology. Hundreds of books. Not just Greco-Roman myths, but also Celtic, Norse, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Judeo-Christian. One thing that struck me is the diversity in different researchers’ depictions of gods and goddesses including their personalities, their relationships with one another, and their role in a pantheon. When I include gods and goddesses in fiction, I try to stay with the mainstream impressions of them. That being said, once they become fictional …

writing mythology

Writing Mythological Characters

Guest Post by Michelle Boule When you start delving into almost any mythology, you will find that a large portion of the gods and creatures populating myths are not the most virtuous and noble of characters. Share this on Facebook!>>> As a writer, I have three choices when facing a myth with an unscrupulous past. I can ignore the darker side of the myth and only focus on their lighter side. That seems disingenuous to me. I can use the myth as the base for a villain, but that seems like too easy an answer. The third choice, and the one I prefer, is to use the good and bad aspects of a mythological character and seek to redeem them. The real challenge in redeeming a myth with a checkered past is that some of their mistakes are big,ugly ones: treachery, adultery, murder, greed, lust, and general destruction and mayhem. Even myths that we think of as generally good, like Zeus and Aphrodite, have their black moments. To redeem a myth, you need to find …