The Spinning Pen Girl & Boy’s Writing Tip of the Week

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This lovely depiction of the Spinning Pen Girl is done by Artist and Writer Sarah Kovin Synder. Check that talented girl out here.

As you know, the Spinning Pen Girl always searches for amazing writing resources and loves sharing them with you. Today she wants you to click here for Co-Creator of Author Mentor Match and Author Alexa Donne‘s long list of amazing articles on writing for writers.

Happy Writing!

author-nova-mcbee

SP writer, Nova signing off.

 

 

What I Learned from Writing Prompts & A Prompt: Brothers

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Prompt: Brothers

When we were young, after Dad left and Mom checked out, my brother was my superhero. He wasn’t scared of anything. With his arm on my shoulder, night never felt dark; wind never howled; lightening never cracked–it sang to us. Just like adventure did. But now, seeing the look on my brother’s face, I know something’s wrong…
Complete this prompt in 250 words or less and send it to thespinningpen@gmail.com to be posted!

What I learned from Writing Prompts:

Pen Friends ~ Our understanding and experience is that many novels have come out of prompts. That is why we encourage writers to try it out! We asked a few other writers to share how writing prompts have helped them grow as writers and here are their responses.
“With each prompt I write, I gain more experience and explore new genres, age groups and topics. I love how it stretches me as a writer and opens up new possibilities. But my favorite part is the creative aspect: I get to explore a new world in each story I never considered before!”
Ruby Ma

“Initially, I was fearful that the motion of life would water-down my passion for writing, but I was, gladly, wrong! Away from the oppressive regime called an institution, I realized that I had the freedom to create in ways that I have never experienced, and Spinning Pen became a platform for my bursts of creativity.

I would read the prompts that are posted and be so excited at the countless possibilities of how stories could continue and end. These prompts took me on terrains and adventures that I only dreamed of. I was reminded that smaller writing projects did not have to compromise on well-constructed dialogues, tension between character relationships; establishing mood and tone; staging movements and setting. I love the process of creating a short story with a powerful punch.”

Krystal Keith

I haven’t always been a fan of writing prompts. They remind me of school when the teacher gave us “Writing Topics,” thus thwarting my creativity once again. But as I’ve developed my writing technique and matured as a writer, I see their value.

A prompt is a great way to push yourself into doing something that’s not necessarily “your thing.” It’s challenging. And it is in those moments I find inspiration or motivation. When I’ve attempted a prompt that isn’t my genre or has word limits (the flash fictions kill me!) I always come away with some sort of small victory. Whether I’ve completed and submitted something I’m proud of, or only got half way through before realizing this isn’t for me, I’ve still put words to page, I’ve still worked my creative muscles. Almost always I come away with an idea for a WIP or a new project later on. It is these things that I value.

So maybe a prompt isn’t your cup of tea but I encourage you to try. You never know what you might find at the bottom.

Hilary Bowen

Once I was challenged to write a dual POV prompt. What I didn’t know is that it helped me discover how to round out the worlds that I create. I was forced to see everything twice. I noticed—and thus, my characters noticed—more details, creating a more believable space for the reader to inhabit.

The dual P.O.V. prompt could have been my worst nightmare as a writer, or it could be the most fun I’ve ever had with a prompt: Think about exploring your world from two angles: a complete stranger, only just arrived; or as someone who has lived there, breathing the air their entire life. How would you see things?

Perhaps, as a visitor, you would see everything in great detail. Or maybe you would be so overwhelmed that everything was a blur. As a longtime resident, perhaps there are familiar details that you always notice, while other things, like the street you live on, or the color of the sky have faded to the background.

This prompt led to my very first completed manuscript, which I’m about to query. Sometimes, writers just need a bit of a kick start to get going!

author-nova-mcbee

Nova, signing off.

 

Book Review: Soulmated by Shaila Patel

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Title: Soulmated14451292

Author: Shaila Patel

Goodreads Blurb:

Two souls. One Fate.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

Review:

First of all, it’s a dual POV, girl-boy. I kind of love those stories. Author Shaila Patel does it so well. Liam and Lucky each have a very distinct voice and personality.  Liam’s Irish accent and assertiveness, Lucky’s gentle charm. Very authentically done.

So, essentially the crescendo of Liam and Lucky’s relationship and their journey is the heart and soul of the book. It is perfectly done, not too fast and not too slow. I adored the way Liam could “read” her so well because of his abilities and I anticipated the development of her gift. At first, I worried about reading another insta-love book, but it was far from that, especially if you consider the impact of finding your royally matched soulmate. *And, wow, finding your soulmate in this book is no small experience! (no spoilers.)

More depth and layers were added by the unraveling of Lucky’s fears and obstacles, and Liam’s secret world; conflict was set up through dangerous rivals; and mystery was established by unexpected help.

On a side note, the sprinkling of Irish and Indian culture and language felt real interesting (obviously, its an OWN voices.) I’m a sucker for all things cultural.

Also, as a writer, I was impressed with Shaila’s giving and withholding of information. It was well delivered (pace-wise) and kept the interest growing– until she reaches her climax, which was….oh so unexpected and left me wanting more!

Looking forward to book 2 🙂

*Note: For sensitive readers, there is strong language.

Review by: Nova McBee

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Book Review: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

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Title: Toward a Secret Sky

Author: Heather Maclean

Publisher: BLINK Harper Collins (This book is NEW. It was released April 4th!)

Goodreads Blurb:

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you

Review:

If you like books like Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake then you will love Toward a Secret Sky. It had so many of the same vibes (and even a character named Gia!) Supernatural – human partnerships, different realms colliding, darkness and light battling, a uniquely gifted girl protagonist thrown into her destiny, and super hot mysterious boys running around with weapons. What’s not to like?

As a writer, I particularly liked the opening chapter. It roped me in with mystery, voice, plot, and premise. Kudos there. For the rest of the story, the pace remained steady. 4180eb4e466b4f7578710dfd86b773a1

The story, being paranormal, had some twists I wasn’t expecting but it was done well. It also dealt with a few dark issues like grief (expected) and date rape (unexpected). There was a bit of the instalove romance between Maren and Gavin, (the two protagonists) considering how many times they had met, but honestly, if I met Gavin, I’m pretty sure the same thing might have happened!

As for setting, Heather Maclean, having married a Scotsman, really does culture well. I really enjoyed the Scottish atmosphere, UK accents, and trips to London. Made me want to hop on a plane to Edinburgh!

All in all, it was a fun, clean read, lovely descriptions, and I think teens everywhere will adore it.

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Review By Nova McBee

Book Review: “You Are Mine” by Janeal Falor

Book Review: YOU ARE MINE

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Title: You Are Mine

Author: Janeal Falor

It sounds so grim. And, in many ways, it is. But this is also a story about hope, healing, and redemption.

Serena was emotionally and verbally abused since childhood. In her world, women had no rights. No voice. Serena was a “mistake”; the first of fifteen mistakes, actually. Her father wanted a son, and so he sold Serena to the highest bidder the moment she was of marriageable age. Because Serena had a lot of magic in her blood, her new owner was a man of prestige and wealth, but he was also just as cruel as her father. However, an unexpected turn of events left her fiancé dead, and Serena unwillingly transferred to the ownership of a foreign barbarian named Zade. A barbarian her father despises, and everyone distrusts. A barbarian who, she slowly realises, is kinder and more humane than any man she has ever met.

Janeal Falor’s “You Are Mine” will take you into a world of brokenness and atrocities hardly imaginable. Yet it is also a journey into hope and inner healing. It will leave you wondering, “How much of this book is based on reality?” And as you ask that question, you may also ask yourself, “Do I have the same courage to help victims like Serena find dignity?”

I picked this book up with a little trepidation, worried that the darkness might be too much. I was pleasantly surprised to find the light winning… even if only one life at a time. It is fairly well written, and I enjoyed it to the end.

Snyder Sarah

Review by Sarah Synder

Prompt Part 2: This is My World…

Pen Friends ~ Here is Part Two of the Dual POV Prompt Reply: This is my world… Enjoy the stories! Thanks to all who participated!

Teen Writer, Lily Gooch’s Prompt Reply:

This is my world. It’s beautiful here, but too quiet now. I hate all the stillness. There’s no one to talk to and I think too much. I can’t help but remember why it’s so quiet here. I don’t want to remember how they all died, but I do–silent blood paints the walls of the palace.

I’d give anything to live somewhere that wasn’t so sad. Words can’t express how much. Somewhere where noise would distract my mind. Where I could drown the memories in music. Somewhere where I could finally get peace.

Hilary Bowen’s Prompt:

This is my world. Prince Ferris sighed, gazed out the stained glass windows of the school spire, and wished for the umpteenth time that he was the one out on the spines of the Rhadrize instead of here memorizing history and lists of policy. It wasn’t fair that she, (in his better moments he referred to her as Kat—but today, stuck inside when the spring sun beckoned—was not one of his better moments) Master Philomius lectured on. Sneezing briefly ever so often when dust from the tomes and scrolls wafted up into his beak of a proboscis.

Ferris let his thoughts wonder. Up the twisting winding paths, past fern growth and pines out into the thin, clear air of the top of the spine. From the window the mountains were a range of blue and purple hues. Up close they pulsed in a variety of grey, greens, browns, almost every shade imaginable.

And he was stuck in here. He bet he could find what she was looking for. In fact, what if they traded places. She could study boring politics and he could go hunt for that treasure. She would be the one to rule Mid’Arch anyway.

“Prince Ferris. PRINCE Ferris!” Master Philomius’ voice was considerably louder the second time and it jerked Ferris back into the library.

Kris D Keith’s Prompt:

This is my world, and I must save it. I awoke this morning knowing I must meet her, as the Seer predicted. But I fought my future. I helped mother prepare bread for supper. I helped Alana with her washing, ignoring the other boys who laughed at me for doing a womanly task. I wandered, not knowing where I went but knowing I didn’t want to end up here, at the Grand Falls.

“What are you looking at?” I say to her, not knowing or caring if she’d understand.

“You’re eyes,” she says, not the least bit afraid, “they’re red.”

Rebecca Henry’s Prompt:

This is my world…I thought as I grinned up at the wisps of clouds, lit up by the moons. The iridescent glow gleamed green as I raced across the still wet grass and under the low hanging branches, only skidding to a stop at the edge of the river. Pebbles scattered like diamonds at my feet and tinkled into the glassy water.

I glanced back behind me with a mischievous grin.

My hands broke into the surface of the water until I held a firm grip on a vine of kelp. With a whoop, I threw myself into the river and let the current carry me speeding forward toward the edge.

This was always my favorite part, the feeling of being swallowed by nothingness, the freedom of flying through the air. I tipped over the brink of the waterfall and plunged into the empty abandon of space.

Here the rules of gravity were broken, for only the water would spin back and travel against the underside of the earth. Everything else: fallen leaves, loose pebbles, and perhaps a wayward wild child like me, dropped into the darkness. Most were never seen again.

But, just as the gust of cold air gripped at my lungs, its frozen fingers trying to claim me, the rope of river kelp bounced me back to reality.

I shook the spray of water from my face as I settled back onto the riverbank and held the rope out to him.

“It’s your turn.”

 

How To Super-Charge Your Story With Energizing Word Sprints

Mondays.

We all have them. They’re those days when it’s hard to even drag yourself out of bed, much less write all the words you know you need to write.

Sometimes, ‘Mondays’ don’t even show up on Mondays. But you know them when they come creeping up on you. So, how do we fight them? By exercising our creativity, even if it’s against our will at first.  Continue reading

The Spinning Pen Girl in a Cafe & Her Weekend Advice

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This lovely depiction of the Spinning Pen Girl is done by Artist and Writer Wesley O’Bryan. Check that talented guy out here, and some of his SP posts here and here.

As you know, the Spinning Pen Girl always searches for amazing writing resources and loves sharing them with you. Today she wants you to click here for Ally Carter‘s long list of amazing articles on writing for writers.

Happy Weekend Writing!

author-nova-mcbee

SP writer, Nova signing off.