A Needed Reminder on the Rewards of Writing

We all stress as writers: bad reviews, low blog stats, poor interaction with readers, horrible sales figures, word counts not met, trolls and idiots, technological hassles… there are so many issues. For some reason we tend to focus heavily on them. Maybe the creative process just brings our insecurities to the fore?

While wandering around Twitter I found this profile which gave me a much-needed jerk back to reality.


Guess which is more fun: it’s not hard. It’s the writing. That is why we got into it in the first place!

I decided to follow Mervat. I like her attitude and on bad days, I hope it rubs off on me.

Go have some fun.


N.B. This image was used without her permission, but Twitter is public. Please follow and support @miminov70

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

#Character Archetypes Treasure Troves for #Writers

I promised myself this year, that I would get back to fiction writing and I will… write that is… once I stop having a field day planning characters personalities, strengths and weaknesses; and plotting about how I can weave all that into plots.

Delve into the inspiring world of character archetypes and see what comes out. There are a few hundred to choose from and you will be intrigued by how assigning roles to people (especially couples), fuels ideas!

If you are asking, what is an archetype, here is the definition: a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology; mid 16th cent.: via Latin from Greek arkhetupon ‘something moulded first as a model.’

Original Source Embedded in Graphic

Original Source Embedded in Graphic

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

#atozchallenge Ideas ~ Hard Letters to Fill: X and Z Word List

XIf you get stuck finding A to Z Challenge topics for the letters X and Z, these may help. They come from my 1920′s Hordern’s Home Dictionary and some words are out of common use. These words are great short story prompts. Q words came out in yesterday’s post.

 X Words

- Xanthein: yellow colouring in flowers which is water soluble.

- Xantippe: an angry woman.

- Xiphias: a sword shaped comet, resembling a sword.

- Xylograph: a wood engraving, or impression from a wood block.

- Xylopyrography: producing pictures on wood by charring with a hot iron; poker painting.

- Xyster: a surgeon’s instrument for scraping bones (sorry, but you are always scraping the bottom of the barrel for X words as there are so few…)

Z words

Z- Zanella: a twilled fabric which was once used for covering umbrellas. (Remember, this is a 1920s dictionary.)

- Zareba: an enclosure against enemies or wild animals.

- Zax: an instrument for cutting slate.

- Zeitgeist: the spirit of the time.

- Zeugma: the connection of two nouns with an adjective or verb, suitable to only one of them.

- Zingaro: a gypsy (zingari is the plural)

- Zoanthopy: a psychological disorder in which someone believes they are one of the “lower” animals. (Lower may mean less intelligent.)

- Zoetrope: an optical instrument representing pictures as if alive. (Perhaps the early silent films were Zoetropes. Does anyone know?)

- Zonulet: a little zone.

- Zoograft: tissue from a lower animal, grafted onto a human being. (Use of pig valves in heart surgery would be a zoograft.)

- Zoolatry: animal worship (successfully achieved by cats in Egyptian times and they are still trying to bring this fad back…)

- Zounds: expressing anger or wonder.



Reading Challenges of a Visually Impaired Writer in the Digital World: Guest Post by Kerry Kijewski

Cate Russell-Cole:

This is an awesome post. Next time Dreamweaver nags me about some aspect of my site not being accessible, I will listen.

Originally posted on change it up editing:

I recently met author Kerry Kijewski on  my Facebook page . She commented that she really enjoyed the writing- and publishing-related posts on my page, but she couldn’t always access the links because she is blind. After some back-and-forth discussion, I learned that if I just added the links to the comments section, Kerry could access them with her reading software.

That conversation got me thinking about the other accommodations a blind reader/writer might need, so I asked Kerry to share her thoughts with us. Before I met her, I’d never considered how technology helps or hinders the creation and consumption of digital content. Now I know a bit more, and so will you:

I was born blind, but I had enough sight when I was younger to read and write large print. In the beginning days of computers I could use large print magnification programs. That seems like another lifetime to me…

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#atozchallenge Ideas ~ Hard Letters to Fill: Q Word List

QIf you get stuck finding A to Z Challenge topics for the letter Q, these may help. They come from my 1920′s Hordern’s Home Dictionary and some words are out of common use. These words are great short story prompts. The challenge also accepts poetry, quotes, photoblogs and artwork. It’s about creativity. Try and use 100 words or more.

What is the challenge? It is “the brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.”

Go to their site to sign up.

X and Z come out at the end of the week.

Q words

- Quardangle: a shape with 4 angles. In school, we used to assemble in the Quadrangle. Perhaps some school days topics?

- Quadrat: used in printing presses, this is the small piece of metal they use to make spaces between words. It is lower than the letters, so it gets no ink on it.

- A four leaf clover is a quadrifoliate. As is anything with four leaves attached to a common stalk. If something has five leaves it is a quinquefoliate.

- A quadrille is not just a dance, it is also four people playing a game with forty cards.

- Quaquaversal: inclined outwards in all directions from a single point; a pyramid would be on of these, or an inverted cone.

- A quarrel is also an arrow with a square head and a diamond shaped pane of glass. Arguments can also be included.

- Quasimodo is the first Sunday after Easter.

- A quean is a worthless woman; a wench.

- Quiddity: a trifling nicety; a captious question. An insincere, “How are you?” is one.

- Quidnunc: one that is curious, or pretends to know everything.

- Quirites were ancient Romans in their evil capacity.

- Quondam: a former friend.

- Quotidian: anything recurring daily.



Writing Historically Based Books: Author Philippa Gregory

The-Other-Boleyn-Girl-by-Philippa-Gregory“Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a tv drama, and a major film. Now, six novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.” Sourced from her web site, http://www.philippagregory.com

These videos are on how she researches her books and is drawn to work on the main characters. It’s a fascinating process, which I enjoyed hearing about. If you are a lover of research or historical fiction, you’ll be inspired by watching these clips.

On Continuity in Creative Writing

Cate Russell-Cole:

As I am world building for The Chronicles of Mirchar, this is an issue which is coming up more and more and is critical to polished, believable writing. One other ingredient is needed too: don’t rush it! Writing a draft in a month is one thing, but it takes a great deal more to produce a novel. Many thanks to Victoria Grefer for her helpful posts. They keep saving my bacon!

Originally posted on Creative Writing with the Crimson League:

diary-srb-1118480-m One necessary component of engrossing, readable fiction is always cohesiveness: and today, as I edit “The Crimson League” for its second edition release this Autumn, I am thinking more and more about the role continuity plays in cohesiveness.

There are so many forms and levels of continuity. A large part of editing–not the whole, certainly, but a large chunk–involves keeping track of and maintaining, or improving, continuity. You could dedicate an editing pass or two JUST to continuity issues. And that’s what I want to discuss today: continuity issues.

What are the major things we authors can look out for as we edit a draft for continuity?


Personality cohesiveness–asking yourself, “would this character, believably, say or do these things?”–is a different issue. I am talking more basic, surface-level things here.

  • Does a character’s eye color change from scene to scene?
  • Does a character, mid-scene, shift from…

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