Saturday, 24 March 2012


An interesting topic that has come up in conversation this week is stereotypes. So I thought I'd write about it.
Now let me explain. I'm writing a novel about an Aussie woman who goes to Ireland to take on a  co-managing position on a horse stud.
She's a redhead and typically, she's stubborn and  a fiery woman who likes to dish-out more than she get's dished. Stereotype number one.
Now the male protagonist is Irish. He's got green eyes and black hair and of course, he's name is Jack. Stereotype number two.
Apparently, I have a problem.
Jack is a common and many like to think, Irish name. Just as Connor, Seamus, Patrick and Sean are. So why is a name a problem?
My Aussie girl's name is Kate, a very common and what some might consider, bland name.
Jack has an Irish accent. Kate has an Australian accent. Jack says Irish things, Kate says Australian things.
Now that I've informed you of my two sterotypes, let me tell you the reason they are a problem.
Editor's don't like Redheads that a stubbon and feisty. They don't like Irish guy with emerald green eyes. And they don't like sterotypes.

Now is it just me or am I not the only person who has read a thousand books about blonde females and dark-haired males?
So why do they have problem with redheads? Or traditional Irishnames?
I can't very well call my Irishman 'Pierre'. That would make him french. So why is 'Jack' a sterotypical name for an Irishman? I have met many Jack's and none of them have been Irish.

What about brunettes? Are they always plain and go by the name of Jane? Of course not! But if you've written a novel and she's your main character, you've got a problem.

Now if there's one thing everyone is looking for in a novel it's a character they can relate to. Now we all possess some form of stereotypical trait. So what happens when a writer creates a character who is unlike anyone else.  Well, you have a character no one can relate to.

So what do we do? Do give our protagonist purple hair, green skin and make them sociopaths? You never know, there might be someone out there who fits that description. And their going to love your book because they think it's about them!

I personally love stereotypes. I like to take two and put them together. I like to challenge them and if I haven't met that character (because their so perfect they don't exist) I can see them, I know them.

But these are just my musings. I find the whole topic rather laughable. I hope you do too.
Feel free to post your favourite stereotypes and of course, your thoughts on the matter.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

When the time is WRITE - Is it your time?

I've meet very few author's in my career so far and if there's one thing I've noticed it's this. Age.
Many have been writing for years, others decades and some only a few months. And what is often discussed is, why have you chosen now to start writing?
I am very fortunate in that I seem to have the time and the mind to write at this early stage in my life, busy though it is. Others I have met however, have had aspirations to write for decades and yet, they have only recently, in the middle of their life, began to fulfill those aspirations.
I have a twin sister, who of course, is the same age as me (I'm honest when I say I have had to emphasis this to a handful of people in the past) and she too has aspirations to write.
As a teen, she had a poem published by Random House, but since, has not written a thing. And she worries. But I don't think she should. If there's one thing she lacks at the moment, if there's one thing holding her back, it is her lack of obssession.
You have to be obssessed to write a novel. You need to go one step further than being comitted. Set yourself goals and endeavour to met them or beat them. And then reward yourself.
Just last night I said with gritted teeth, 'I've lost it. I can't write'. But I pushed through it, forced myself to continue and Ta-Da! in an hour I'd achived my goal and started on the next.
But the whole point of this post is to say this:
Don't set those goals if the time isn't 'Write'. Don't give up, keep planning, but until you're ready and you have that story up there in your head, ready to go and you know those characters like the back of your hand, leave the pen and paper.
It's like growing up. You've got to go through stages. Things have to happen.
And never give up. Wether your writing now, or you're planning to, don't ever give up.
But if your stuggling, perhaps your time is yet to come. Find your passion, find your voice and then, write the bestseller.

Well, I hope this has help some people and if not, given you some food for thought.
Wishing everyone the best this year in their writing careers!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dul isteach ar an spiorad do Lá Fhéile Pádraig! - Get into the spirit for Saint Patrick's Day

I love Saint Paddy's day. Love it! So of course, I have to write a post about it.
Saint Patrick's day as you all may know, is the day in which Saint Patrick (a commonly recognised patron saint of Ireland and yes, the guy who chased out all the snakes out of Ireland) and the arrival of Christainity in Ireland is celebrated.
But for me, Saint Patrick's Day is also a day where Irish folk and people who want to be Irish, can all be irish for a day!
And so, to prepare you for saint patrick's day, I've gathered some Irish stuff and some traditional recipes, for you to celebrate Saint Paddy's day with.

First on my 'Nessecities for Saint Patrick's day' List is:
The Legendary Irish T-Shirt:
(And yes, there more where that came from)

Next, you'll be needing these...

Amazingly Cute tights!

And maybe a few of these:

(brought from the same shop as the tights)

And to top it all off, why not have a traditional, delicious Irish Cream Coffee!
If this or a night at the local pub, doesn't get you in the spirit all I have to say is... Your just not Irish enough.

Well, I hope you've all enjoyed my pre-Saint Paddy's day post. Be sure to let me know how your Saint Paddy's day goes.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Writer's Wrath - DO NOT DISTURB!

I thought it would be hard coming up with interesting things to post, but it turns out, when you love writing and talking to people, be they writers are readers, it's rather easy.
After talking with a fellow RWA member, Sarah Schell, I diagnosed myself with something the dictionary has defined as: 'a psychotic disorder characterised by systematised delusions'. Or in other words, Paranoia.

In the near future, I will be publishing a post that outlines the top ten fears experienced by writers. In my quest to get some answers, I was diagnosed with the above condition.

Sarah and I share a... I'm not sure what to call it. But the bottom line is, one of our pet peeves as writers, is being interrupted when we are 'In the Zone'. My twin sister has suffered my writer's wrath a number of times and if I didn't shut myself away, I think many other's in my household would suffer it too.

'Paranoia' is a little strong... I don't think my actionas are phsychoatic, but hey! I can't say I've never wanted to throw a brick at an Interrupter's head. Lucky for them, I no brick have been at hand and I treasure my books too much to throw them.

So my question is, do you suffer Writer's Wrath? You do? Well, I have a few suggestions for you.

Firstly, using Sarah as an example, I made the following:

Secondly, you might like to buy the following:
The Foam Brick:

And The Foam Hammer:

An interesting thing about these foam objects, a few secondary english teachers I know own all of them and others! So I'd like to thank them for their contribution haha.

So readers, what did we learn today?
Never, EVER, interrupt a writer while he/she is writing.
And if you follow that one, simple rule, you'll live you life without having several foam objects thrown at your head.

Well, that's all for today, but keep your eyes on my post. I'm in the Irish spirit this week and Saint Paddy's day is just around the corner.


Necessities for Writers

1. If there's one thing I love more than a cup of coffee, it's a cup of coffee that has a pocket for a biscuit. :)
This mug is a novelty every writer should have in, my opinion. We all need to keep ourselves going and if you're like me, a coffee and a biscuit might be the only thing you'll willingly leave the computer for.

Another mug I just couldn't resist.

 2. If you don't know about this website, you are going to love that I've told you.
A brilliant website where people offer their services for just five dollars. Anything from editing to graphic design, its all there! Some great deals and if you yourself have a talent, you might want to sign up and offer your services to earn some extra cash.

Beat the Block! - Writer's Block

It seems no matter if your a bestselling author or an aspiring one, writer's block gets us all. So I've decided to put forward my best cures in hopes that I might save a few of my fellow writers from the dreaded 'BLOCK'.
So here they are:

 - Number One: Hit the Books!
Now I don't know if this happens to anyone else but as a writer I find it hard to read novels, not because I don't have time, but because I can't read another book without getting excited about my own and ditiching it to write. So why don't you try it out? Have a go.
And for those writing Non-fiction and historical novels, why not do some research? If your passionate about your writing research won't be a chore but an inspirational tool. So your books based in a country or you've never experienced. Look it up and find out what its like. Build your story through historical and cultural character.

- Number Two: 'The hills are alive, with the sound of MUSIC...'
Get some tunes pumping and surround yourself with inspiration. The novels I write are set in Ireland and there's nothing like getting into an Irish-frame-of-mind than listening to Traditional Irish music. So give it a try. If your historical, trysome classics. Or even just music that inspires you. It doesn't have to be themed, it just has to move you.

- Number Three: Can't travel to that far away destination? Google it!
If there's one thing that gets me going (particularly when it comes to description) its Google Earth. From the privacy of my writing space, I can explore Dublin, walk the steets of Killarney and stare over the Cliffs of Moher. Its like a virtual holiday. And it works a treat!

-Number Four: Get out there and find your 'Jack'.
The best way to build genuine characters is to find them in real life. And the best way to rid yourself of The Block when it comes to characters is to study them. Go out and find them. They might be your friends or your family, or like My 'Jack', they might be an irishman. On a number of occassions I've run into a few Irishmen. And I thank them all for curing me of The Block.

- Number Five: Re-read and Edit
It works a little like retracing your steps when you lose your car keys. Go back a chapter and read it the way you wrote it to be read. Not only will it hopefully rejog your creative flow, but you'll find the mistakes you made along the way. It's a good idea to re-read your work and check for flaws as it is. Why not utilize it when you need inspiration most.

- Number Six: Perhaps its time for a break?
A few months back I was unable to write due to some new commitements. And so I used it. I was constantly brainstorming, planning it all out. Soon my notebook was full and I was starting my next. And when that month was up, I was bursting with inspiration. I had so much to write about and just a simple glance at my notebook rejogged my memory. So try it! Take some time off to think about it. Get your head in the right space. And then go for it when you know your ready.
Think of it like a short sprint runner. They can only run so far at the peak of their performance and then they slow down. So, they take a break, re-engerise and do it again.
We writers work hard. We deserve a break too.

- Number Seven: Get Talking.
We're always being told how important it is for us as professional writers to have a good social platform. So why not get your inspiration and mind flowing and talk about your book. Promote it!Talk to people! If your as passionate as I am about your writing you'll be able to talk for hours about it. And by the end, you'll be bursting with the need to continue your story.

- Number Eight: Join a writing group and find a writing buddy.
It works the same as number seven. Find someone in your genre or who in some way has a shared element with you. And make the effort to exchange ideas and work frequently. There's nothing like someone else support to lift your spirits and some helpful suggestions that you can build upon. Not only will you make a new friend, but you'll be helping each other to keep yourself motivated.

- Number Nine: Put the romance back into your life.
I think we'd all be lying if we ever said our lives outside of writing had no influence over what we write. Our life is who we are and every novel we write holds a part of our soul. Whether your main protagonist is an extreme of one of you personal characteristics or the setting your novel resembles Home, life beyond the words creeps in.
So why not look to your significant other half for some help? Take some time off, look back on the old days and many be, if your feeling adventurous relive a few. And I'm sure your other half will thank me.

Everyone wants a little love in their lives and that why we write romance. We create fairytale, dreams and we mirror reality. We create that warm and fuzzy feeling.

I hope these tips have helped you and if they haven't I can only say, don't ever give up.

Whitney K-E