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I am a writer. I create innovative creative and business writing courses. I inspire others to tell their stories. My company's name is Writers Write. My email address is amanda@writerswrite.co.za

Six Fascinating Character Types →

Characters are the stars of a story, the heartbeat in a novel or screenplay. We sometimes hear that characters should be interesting but interesting is not always an adequate description. Characters should be fascinating.

So what makes a character fascinating?

Follow the link to read about the six fascinating character types you can use to drive your novel.

— 5 days ago with 110 notes
#Six Fascinating Character Types  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write  #Anthony Ehlers 
Literary Birthday - 28 August
Happy Birthday, Janet Frame, born 28 August 1924, died 29 January 2004
Seven Quotes
I like to see life with its teeth out.
Writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to an unreal land: it is hours and years spent in the factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.
All writers are exiles wherever they live and their work is a lifelong journey towards the lost land.
Everything is always a story, but the loveliest ones are those that get written and are not torn up and are taken to a friend as payment for listening, for putting a wise keyhole to the ear of my mind.
There is no past, present or future. Using tenses to divide time is like making chalk marks on water.
A writer must stand on the rock of her self and her judgment or be swept away by the tide or sink in the quaking earth: there must be an inviolate place where the choices and decisions, however imperfect, are the writer’s own, where the decision must be as individual and solitary as birth or death.
I really love emailing, it’s like writing a poem in the sky.
Frame was a New Zealand author. She wrote 11 novels, four collections of short stories, a book of poetry, and three autobiographical volumes. Frame’s traumatic experiences as a young woman feature in Jane Campion’s popular film adaptation of An Angel at My Table. 
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Literary Birthday - 28 August

Happy Birthday, Janet Frame, born 28 August 1924, died 29 January 2004

Seven Quotes

  1. I like to see life with its teeth out.
  2. Writing a novel is not merely going on a shopping expedition across the border to an unreal land: it is hours and years spent in the factories, the streets, the cathedrals of the imagination.
  3. All writers are exiles wherever they live and their work is a lifelong journey towards the lost land.
  4. Everything is always a story, but the loveliest ones are those that get written and are not torn up and are taken to a friend as payment for listening, for putting a wise keyhole to the ear of my mind.
  5. There is no past, present or future. Using tenses to divide time is like making chalk marks on water.
  6. A writer must stand on the rock of her self and her judgment or be swept away by the tide or sink in the quaking earth: there must be an inviolate place where the choices and decisions, however imperfect, are the writer’s own, where the decision must be as individual and solitary as birth or death.
  7. I really love emailing, it’s like writing a poem in the sky.

Frame was a New Zealand author. She wrote 11 novels, four collections of short stories, a book of poetry, and three autobiographical volumes. Frame’s traumatic experiences as a young woman feature in Jane Campion’s popular film adaptation of An Angel at My Table

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 5 days ago with 55 notes
#Janet Frame  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write  #Lit 
Literary Birthday - 28 August
Happy Birthday, Tasha Tudor, born 28 August 1915, died 18 June 2008
Three Quotes
Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get more accomplished by being charming than we would be flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one. 
Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.
Life isn’t long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is. Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!
Tudor is one of America’s best-known and beloved illustrators and authors. Her first little story, Pumpkin Moonshine, was published in 1938. She illustrated nearly 100 books, the last being the 2003 release, The Corgiville Christmas. She believed she had lived before, in the 1830s and lived on a Vermont farm wearing period dresses, spinning wool, raising goats, and cultivating a garden. 
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Literary Birthday - 28 August

Happy Birthday, Tasha Tudor, born 28 August 1915, died 18 June 2008

Three Quotes

  1. Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get more accomplished by being charming than we would be flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one. 
  2. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.
  3. Life isn’t long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is. Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!

Tudor is one of America’s best-known and beloved illustrators and authors. Her first little story, Pumpkin Moonshine, was published in 1938. She illustrated nearly 100 books, the last being the 2003 release, The Corgiville ChristmasShe believed she had lived before, in the 1830s and lived on a Vermont farm wearing period dresses, spinning wool, raising goats, and cultivating a garden. 

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 5 days ago with 65 notes
#Tasha Tudor  #lit  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write 
Start here: Three things you need to do at the beginning of your novel →

Sometimes I wish a giant arrow would appear above my manuscript and pin-point the correct place to start. Alas, that does not happen.

An inciting moment is the moment of change for your character. It can be positive or negative, but it must be big enough that it forces him, or her, to act and to deal with the situation. This can be as big as a tank driving into the living room or as subtle as a discomforting sentence.

In your opening scene you should do three things:

  1. Orientate the reader: Get your reader orientated quickly. Tell us where we are and what is going on. You can be ambiguous, but do not confuse us. 
  2. Introduce the characters: Who is there? Introduce your protagonist as soon as possible. I want to know what is happening, but most of all I want to know to whom it is happening. 
  3. Show the relevance: Once I know where I am and what is going on you have to keep me interested. You have to make me ask questions. 

In The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh starts off by setting her protagonist’s bed on fire. What do I learn?

  • Where are we? She is in a group home. 
  • Who is she? She has dreamt of fire for the last eight years. She has been in the foster-care system almost all her life. She is angry and violent. She knows about flowers. 
  • Moment of change: It is her 18th birthday so she must leave the home. 

In Night Film, by Marisha Pessl, our protagonist is running in Central Park at 2am when he sees a beautiful ghost-like woman in a red coat who seems to be following him. He is deeply unhappy and he blames Cordova. What do I learn?

  • Where are we? In Central Park, New York in the early hours of the morning. 
  • Who is he? He is a journalist whose life has fallen apart because of a film director named Cordova. Immediately I want to know who Cordova is. 
  • Moment of change: He is shocked out of his apathy and inertia by this chilling Cordova-like incident. 

Five things you should not include at the beginning

by Mia Botha for Writers Write

— 6 days ago with 190 notes
#Writing Advice  #Writers Write  #mia botha 
Why you need strong verbs when you write →
Strong verbs improve your writing in three ways. They help you:
  1. Reduce adverbs: Choosing strong verbs helps you to be specific. You should replace an adverb and a verb with a strong verb if you can. It will improve your writing. Don’t say: “She held on tightly to the rope.” Do say: “She gripped the rope.” Don’t say: “He looked carefully at the documents.” Do say: “He examined the documents.”

  2. Avoid the passive voice: Choose specific, active verbs whenever you can. Don’t say: ‘He was said to be lying by the teacher.’ Do say: ‘The teacher accused him of lying.’

  3. Eliminate wordiness: Strong verbs help you eliminate wordiness by replacing different forms of the verb ‘to be’. They allow you to stop overusing words like ‘is’, ‘was’, ‘are’, and ‘were’. Don’t say: ‘She was the owner of a chain of restaurants.’ Do say: ‘She owned a chain of restaurants.’

If you reduce wordiness, choose specific verbs, and use the active voice, readers will be able to understand you more easily. This is what you want because the reason we write is to communicate. 
Examples of Strong Verbs
— 1 week ago with 1564 notes
#Why you need to use strong verbs when you write  #Writing Advice  #Writing Tips  #Writers Write  #Amanda Patterson  #Writing Courses in South Africa  #grammar 
The Magician - Meet Raymond E. Feist →

Join Writers Write and Amanda Patterson when we host Raymond E. Feist, the best-selling American fantasy author. 

Raymond Feist has sold more than 15 million books. He became famous with the Riftwar Saga, which began with Magician. He will be in South Africa to promote Magician’s End, the latest book in the series.

When? 23 September 2014
Where? Winehouse Restaurant, Ten Bompas Boutique Hotel, 10 Bompas Road,Dunkeld, Johannesburg (GPS)
What Time? 18:00 for 18:30 - 21:30
How Much? R350 per person (This includes a three-course meal, an interview with the author, and a book signing. Drinks are for your own account.)
To Book? send an email to news@writerswrite.co.za 

Join the event, Meet Raymond E. Feist, on Facebook.
— 1 week ago with 7 notes
#Meet Raymond E. Feist  #raymond e. feist  #literary event  #johannesburg  #writers write  #Amanda Patterson 
Happy Birthday, Edgar Lee Masters, born 23 August 1868, died 5 March 1950
Six Quotes
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, But life without meaning is the torture Of restlessness and vague desire-It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
To this generation I would say: Memorize some bit of verse of truth or beauty.
It takes life to love life.
How shall the soul of a man be larger than the life he has lived?
In time you shall see Fate approach you in the shape of your own image in the mirror.
I ended up with a broken fiddle — And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories, And not a single regret.
Masters was an American poet, biographer, and dramatist. He is the author of Spoon River Anthology.
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Edgar Lee Masters, born 23 August 1868, died 5 March 1950

Six Quotes

  1. To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, But life without meaning is the torture Of restlessness and vague desire-It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
  2. To this generation I would say: Memorize some bit of verse of truth or beauty.
  3. It takes life to love life.
  4. How shall the soul of a man be larger than the life he has lived?
  5. In time you shall see Fate approach you in the shape of your own image in the mirror.
  6. I ended up with a broken fiddle — And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories, And not a single regret.

Masters was an American poet, biographer, and dramatist. He is the author of Spoon River Anthology.

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 1 week ago with 36 notes
#Edgar Lee Masters  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write 
What does it take to write a book? →

I am often asked what it takes to write a book. Can anyone write a book? What special qualifications do you need to write?

It’s a good thing to have talent. It’s great if you have an English degree. However, after teaching people how to write for more than 10 years, meeting and interviewing many authors, and writing weekly posts on writing, I think the people who succeed in finishing a book have a number of things in common.

The five qualities published authors share

— 1 week ago with 117 notes
#The five qualities published authors share  #What does it take to write a book?  #Amanda Patterson  #Writing Advice  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, Peter James, 22 August 1948
Seven Writing Tips
Read. Read. Read. Read books that have done well in the genre you want to write in.
I have this holy trinity of writing which consists of Character, Research, and Plot.  
Structure is important. Know your ending before you start writing. You wouldn’t just get into a car and drive without knowing where you’re going. Know your most important plot points. This does not mean that things won’t change, but you will never get stuck.
Writer’s Block doesn’t exist. If you have a plot with a proper outline you will never get Writer’s Block.  
Once you start writing a book, make time to write every single day. Find a comfortable number of words for you to write each day and stick to that number. I am comfortable with 1000 words.
Love your characters. Even your villains. And the way to make a villain lovable is to give him something to love.
And one from Graham Greene: ‘Every writer has to carry a chip of ice in their heart.’
Read The Writers Write Interview with Peter James
James is the British best-selling author of the Detective Roy Grace novels. He has sold more than 14 million novels.
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, Peter James, 22 August 1948

Seven Writing Tips

  1. Read. Read. Read. Read books that have done well in the genre you want to write in.
  2. I have this holy trinity of writing which consists of Character, Research, and Plot.  
  3. Structure is important. Know your ending before you start writing. You wouldn’t just get into a car and drive without knowing where you’re going. Know your most important plot points. This does not mean that things won’t change, but you will never get stuck.
  4. Writer’s Block doesn’t exist. If you have a plot with a proper outline you will never get Writer’s Block.  
  5. Once you start writing a book, make time to write every single day. Find a comfortable number of words for you to write each day and stick to that number. I am comfortable with 1000 words.
  6. Love your characters. Even your villains. And the way to make a villain lovable is to give him something to love.
  7. And one from Graham Greene: ‘Every writer has to carry a chip of ice in their heart.’

Read The Writers Write Interview with Peter James

James is the British best-selling author of the Detective Roy Grace novels. He has sold more than 14 million novels.

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 1 week ago with 80 notes
#Peter James  #Literary Birthday  #Writers Write  #Amanda Patterson 
Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel →

Description is a way to engage the reader’s imagination. It is a tapestry created with words—it can summon vivid images of place and character, strong emotion and become a thread to move the story forward.

Here are five examples of description at work in a story.

— 1 week ago with 164 notes
#Five Ways to Make Description Work in Your Novel  #Writers Write  #Anthony Ehlers  #Writing Advice 
Literary Birthday - 21 August
Happy Birthday, Jules Michelet, born 21 August 1798, died 9 February 1874
Woman is a miracle of divine contradictions
You are one of the forces of nature.
He who would confine his thought to present time will not understand present reality.
Achieving a goal is nothing. The getting there is everything.
He who knows how to be poor knows everything.
What manly eloquence could produce such an effect as woman’s silence?
The historian’s first duties are sacrilege and the mocking of false gods. They are his indispensable instruments for establishing the truth.
Michelet was a French historian best known for his monumental Histoire de France (History of France). Michelet was the first historian to use and define the word Renaissance as a period in Europe’s cultural history that represented a break from the Middle Ages. Michelet’s attempt to resurrect the past by putting his own personality in his narrative, resulted in a historical synthesis of great dramatic power.
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Literary Birthday - 21 August

Happy Birthday, Jules Michelet, born 21 August 1798, died 9 February 1874

  1. Woman is a miracle of divine contradictions
  2. You are one of the forces of nature.
  3. He who would confine his thought to present time will not understand present reality.
  4. Achieving a goal is nothing. The getting there is everything.
  5. He who knows how to be poor knows everything.
  6. What manly eloquence could produce such an effect as woman’s silence?
  7. The historian’s first duties are sacrilege and the mocking of false gods. They are his indispensable instruments for establishing the truth.

Michelet was a French historian best known for his monumental Histoire de France (History of France). Michelet was the first historian to use and define the word Renaissance as a period in Europe’s cultural history that represented a break from the Middle Ages. Michelet’s attempt to resurrect the past by putting his own personality in his narrative, resulted in a historical synthesis of great dramatic power.

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 1 week ago with 26 notes
#Jules Michelet  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write  #lit 
The Character Biography – Writing more to write less →

Charles Dickens could get away with starting a story with the birth of his protagonist. J.D. Salinger chose not to start there and called it ‘all that David Copperfield kind of crap’. Now before I am lynched, let me say that I am a huge fan of Charles Dickens, but David Copperfield was published in 1850. Catcher in the Rye, although very advanced for its time, was published in 1945. Today we don’t write like either of these two authors.

This is 2014. What do we do?

  1. In The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins tells us simply that it is the day of the reaping. She doesn’t explain it or tell us what it means. 
  2. In The Fault in Our Stars, John Green jumps in by telling us seventeen-year-old Hazel is depressed because she has cancer. She is in a support group almost before we hit page two. 
  3. In Room by Emma Donoghue, Jack wakes up on his fifth birthday. He is in Bed and switches on Lamp and has an interesting conversation with Ma. We know something is up and weird, but Emma strings us along. She tells us nothing. 
  4. In The Good Luck of Right Now, Matthew Quick writes about Bartholomew Neil who is clearing out his deceased mother’s underwear drawer and finds a form letter from Richard Gere. The death of his mother and his one-sided correspondence with Mr Gere takes us on a journey that is at once sad, sweet and enchanting.

Now, this is not a post about inciting moments although each one is a brilliant example of a moment of action and change. This is in fact a post about character biographies.

Imagine if I started my post with: To begin my post with the beginning of my post, I record that I wrote (as I have been informed and believe) on a Sunday night at eight o’clock while everyone else was watching the Sunday night movie. (I ain’t no Dickens, that’s for sure.) 

How do great modern authors create characters so complete that I am interested in them even though I only met them a page ago? 

Read more here

— 1 week ago with 111 notes
#The Character Biography – Writing more to write less  #Writing Advice  #Lit  #Mia Botha  #Writers Write 
Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft, born 20 August 1890, died 15 March 1937
10 Quotes
The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.
If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.
I couldn’t live a week without a private library - indeed, I’d part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.
Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.
I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.
Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots.
The most merciful thing in the world… is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.
Contrary to what you may assume, I am not a pessimist but an indifferentist- that is, I don’t make the mistake of thinking that the… cosmos… gives a damn one way or the the other about the especial wants and ultimate welfare of mosquitoes, rats, lice, dogs, men, horses, pterodactyls, trees, fungi, dodos, or other forms of biological energy.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.
Lovecraft was an American author. He achieved posthumous fame with his works of horror fiction that include The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow Out of Time, and At the Mountains of Madness.
Source for Image
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft, born 20 August 1890, died 15 March 1937

10 Quotes

  1. The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.
  2. If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.
  3. I couldn’t live a week without a private library - indeed, I’d part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.
  4. Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.
  5. I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.
  6. Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots.
  7. The most merciful thing in the world… is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.
  8. Contrary to what you may assume, I am not a pessimist but an indifferentist- that is, I don’t make the mistake of thinking that the… cosmos… gives a damn one way or the the other about the especial wants and ultimate welfare of mosquitoes, rats, lice, dogs, men, horses, pterodactyls, trees, fungi, dodos, or other forms of biological energy.
  9. The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
  10. Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.

Lovecraft was an American author. He achieved posthumous fame with his works of horror fiction that include The Call of CthulhuThe Shadow Out of Time, and At the Mountains of Madness.

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

— 1 week ago with 584 notes
#H.P. Lovecraft  #Literary Birthday  #Amanda Patterson  #Writers Write