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I’ve Started Writing Again – Beating Writer’s Block

I’ve Started Writing Again – Beating Writer’s Block by Author Lauren Mayhew

How to Break Writers BlockThere’s nothing worse than writer’s block, especially when you’re between projects. I know what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m just finding it hard getting round to doing it. I have so many projects in my head, but I don’t want to start too many. If I do, I’ll never complete any of them, I’ll just keep starting new ones.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been reading through the book that I wrote for NaNoWriMo. It’s got a Working Title – Cycles of War. This is what it’s been called for about ten years now, though I didn’t properly start writing it until November 2016. I finished reading the other day, adjusting a few things here and there, but not really editing properly yet. I just wanted to slowly get my way back into the world that I created. It was very eye-opening actually, as the book isn’t nearly as finished as I thought it was.

Chapter six is literally just that. The word ‘SIX’. I decided to skip that chapter when I was writing it, as I didn’t want to slow the flow. (That rhymed!) I know what I want to put in there, I just need to write it and make sure it’s relevant to the rest of the book. I also haven’t written the ending yet. You know, the chapter that comes after the real ending? The chapter that ties everything up and lets you know what happened to the characters that you loved. At least I know where I want that chapter to go, unlike six.

There were also a few moments when characters referenced something that I hadn’t written yet. For example, someone asks the main character, Bri, if the events that are unrolling in real-time, are the same as the dream he had the night before. I didn’t write a dream. That really confused me when I read it.

I need to add a little more character development too. Unlike the Liliana trilogy, this book has a lot more characters in it. Each of them needs to have their own story and their own reasons for being there. At the moment, they’re just there. I think I’ll enjoy adding more in about them.

It’s the little things like this that I’ve forgotten after leaving the book alone for over a year. It’s good, because they stand out more than they would have done if the story was more familiar to me, but it also means there’s a lot more to do than I initially intended.

I wrote this book without a plan, and it’s turned out pretty well if I’m honest. There aren’t any plot holes as far as I can see, just a lot of vague details. It’s around 51,000 words at the moment, but I’m hoping to get it towards 60,000, if not 70,000 by the time it’s finished. I may have to change the confrontation at the end to make this happen. At the moment it’s quite Stephanie Meyer-esque. I may need to kill a few more people – how terrible does that sound?

When I wrote this book, I’d never written a proper battle scene before, so I wrote a confrontation that didn’t involve a lot of fighting. It kind of goes with all the themes in the book, but it’s not ‘real’ enough. ‘Eternity Begins’, the third book in the Liliana trilogy, has a massive battle at the end. About a third of the book, I believe. Now that I’ve written that, and had positive feedback from it, I’m more confident that I can write something bigger and better. It’ll help increase the word count too!

I intend to query this one, not self-publish. It’s a bigger story than my trilogy and it feels relevant to the events happening around the world today. There’s still a long way to go, with many rounds of edits, and lots of Beta readers if possible too. I’m feeling confident that I can do it. I just need to start.


Want more from Lauren? You can check out her books on Goodreads HERE.

Find Lauren on the YA Author Rendezvous site HERE.

This was posted by Lauren Mayhew.

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Character Inspiration: Dreams

Character Inpiration: Dreams by Author Lauren Mayhew

Character Inspiration Dreams - Lauren Mayhew Author - YA Author RendezvousDreams are full of people, some that pop up more frequently than others, and some who you’re sure you’ve never even met before. But all of the dreams are created by you, and each of the people in them is a character in that scenario.

Throughout my trilogy, characters and certain events have all come to fruition because of my crazy dreams. My dreams are so weird, I’m surprised my mum hasn’t sent me to be sectioned yet. On the plus side, I can get some wicked storylines and characters from them.

For example, the villain in my books is called Duana. She appeared in a dream of mine from a long time ago, dressed head to toe in black, chasing me through a shopping centre. When I say chasing, I mean that dream chase, where I’m running for my life, and she’s walking ominously behind me. Anyway, she followed me into a charity shop, where I was hiding amongst some coats on a clothes rail. She couldn’t find me anywhere, and exited the shop. It was only when she was gone that I realised I was hiding behind the coats, in the reflection of a small mirror sitting in front of them. And that’s how Liliana was born too. Two characters in one dream.

The best thing to do after waking up from a dream, is to write it down immediately. You can’t trust that you’re going to remember it in the morning. Write it down while it’s fresh in your memory, and remember to laugh at it when you read it in the morning!

Even if a certain person in your dream has the face of someone that you know, you can change that when writing. That person doesn’t need to know they inspired the character from one of your crazy dreams. It’s a secret between you and your character.

I’d love to know if you’ve ever been inspired to write something based on a dream you’ve had. Comment below!


Want more from Lauren? You can check out her books on Goodreads HERE.

Find Lauren on the YA Author Rendezvous site HERE.

This was posted on the YAAR website with the express permission of Lauren Mayhew.

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Character Inspiration: People You Know

Character Inpiration: People You Know by Author Lauren Mayhew

Character Inspiration People You Know - Lauren Mayhew Author - YA Author RendezvousThis one may seem obvious, but I think it’s worth writing about. You don’t have to copy someone that you know completely, as that may be a bit too obvious if they ever pick your book up, but you can take certain traits from them.

For example, my first book ‘Reality is in a Dream’ has two characters that are exaggerated forms of two of my old school friends. Certain events that take place in the book involving the main character, Liliana, actually took place during my time at school. It’s quite funny, because I once had a reviewer tell me that she thought these character’s actions were not believable, and yet it actually happened to me.

Obviously, you don’t need to take their names, you don’t want anyone to be offended, especially if the character is one of the villains, but certain things that they may have said, or small mannerisms are a great way to begin the development of a character.

“Write what you know.” – Mark Twain. In the case of characters, I feel this to be true. It’s much easier to write about someone that you know, rather than starting a character from scratch. If you’ve been bullied in the past, use that bully to write a character with an unsavoury nature. If someone has said something that made you feel happy, use it. It’s as simple as that.

Many authors take reference from people that they’ve encountered in real life, and use them to create some of the best characters ever written. For example, Hermione Granger is based on J.K. Rowling. Rowling herself admitted that she was so like Hermione in school, and so she put a little of herself into the Harry Potter world.

You’ll be surprised how quickly a character can blossom into something you didn’t expect, taking your story places you never thought it could go. You may start off being inspired by somebody that you know, or at least knew a long time ago, but they’ll usually end up being completely different by the last page.


Want more from Lauren? You can check out her books on Goodreads HERE.

Find Lauren on the YA Author Rendezvous site HERE.

This was posted on the YAAR website with the express permission of Lauren Mayhew.

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Character Inspiration: People Watching

Character Inpiration: People Watching by Author Lauren Mayhew

Character Inspiration People Watching - Lauren Mayhew Author - YA Author RendezvousI love to people watch. I could literally watch people all day. Some of them are just so fascinating.

Have you ever been sat somewhere, and watched a person run through a town centre? Did a part of you ever wonder what they were up to? Did you then find yourself creating a scenario in your head about what it is they’re doing? If you did, then you’ve essentially created a character. If you’ve never done this, you’re seriously missing out!

Nobody is the same, and I’m not talking about skin colour, ethnicity, or accents. Nobody walks in the same way. Some people have limps, others drag their feet, and you’ll get the occasional person who seems to bob up and down with each step taken. What gave them their limp? Why do they drag their feet? Are they bobbing because they have an anti-gravity power that makes it difficult for them to keep their feet on the ground? Too far… Maybe, but you see what I mean, don’t you?

You only have to watch someone for a minute or two, and a character will emerge from them. 99% of the time, you’ll get everything wrong about them, but they don’t need to know what you’re thinking. As long as you’ve got that one character, the spark will ignite into a story line.

Only the other day, I was out walking with my mum and my sister, and a car sped past us down the road. It had to brake quite suddenly to avoid smashing into the car in front. All of us thought the same thing, ‘What a [insert expletive here]!’ He then sped off once the car in front had turned into another road, and my mum said, ‘He must be late for his dinner.’

To which I replied, ‘Or he’s been having an affair at work, and didn’t realise what the time was. He doesn’t want his wife to get suspicious, so he needs to get home on time.”

And suddenly I have a character, and the beginnings of a story. It’s not the sort of story I would write myself, I’m more of a Paranormal Fantasy writer, but it would work for someone.

It’s so simple to spend ten minutes every day observing those around us. Some people can do some fascinating things when they think no-one’s looking!


Want more from Lauren? You can check out her books on Goodreads HERE.

Find Lauren on the YA Author Rendezvous site HERE.

This was posted on the YAAR website with the express permission of Lauren Mayhew.

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Characters from History

Written by Paul Briggs

Sometimes I notice certain patterns in my work. Protagonists who are smart, but not too smart and with a very practical bent to their intelligence. Geniuses who are given a choice between trying to save the entire world — and possibly failing — or trying to save only a small part of it and being more certain of success. Strong female characters with medical conditions that cause them to dominate whatever room they’re in whether they want to or not.

When I start to worry that I’m starting to create the same characters over and over again, I work on historical fiction. Specifically, alternate history, which is usually classified as science fiction, but which I like to think of as historical fiction that’s broken its chains. Suddenly you aren’t confined by actual events any more — you can kill Hitler if you feel like it, or have St. Petersburg overrun by zombies and vampires.

Up to a point, that is. Just as in regular historical fiction, if you’re going to put historical figures in your writing you have to read about them enough to get your facts straight. More than that, you have to consider their life experiences and what they learned from them in order to figure out what they would do in a given situation.

Doing this for my own timeline at alternatehistory.com (called “The Dead Skunk” — don’t ask) has meant studying all sorts of people, including James Madison, Lord Liverpool, the Duke of Wellington, Napoleon, Lord Castlereagh, Joachim Murat, John Quincy Adams… and these were just the beginning. When I started writing my version of the Caroline Affair, I was exposed to a whole galaxy of wonderful and horrible personalities I never could have invented on my own, most of whom I had never heard of.

But the biggest challenge I’ve faced in getting inside the head a historical character was in writing a monologue about John F. Kennedy. It was about his struggles with Addison’s disease — a thing Kennedy never spoke of in real life and in fact took pains to conceal, inventing other stories to account for his stays in the hospital. I called the monologue “The Picture of Health,” because that was what JFK tried so hard to present to the world.

Wrapping my mind around the contradictions of the man was one of the hardest writing tasks I’ve ever done. When healthy, he was strong enough to swim three and a half miles towing a wounded sailor — when sick, he could barely stand. He was brave enough to attack Japanese warships in pitch darkness, but not to join in the vote censuring Joe McCarthy. (The Boston Irish had a certain loyalty to McCarthy.)

So… writing historical fiction is a great challenge. By forcing yourself to get inside the heads of real people who were very different from you, you expand your ability as a writer to invent your own characters and make them more real.

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