I just finished reading On Writing the Block Buster Novel

I’ve finally finished reading yet another book on writing. It takes me a while because I tend to read bits of it in the fifteen or so minutes that I have to wait for class.

I enjoyed Writing the Block Buster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. It was truly interesting, if somewhat difficult for me to apply.

See, it’s clear from Mr. Zuckerman’s words that he favors plotting. Which is all very good and well. Except that I can’t plot. The few times I tried all ended in failure.

Anyway, the one thing that I am glad for is the fact that I finished drafting Doorways before I started reading this book, because it was full of ways to help me focus what I have written.

That was probably the one thing that I learned from the book. The need to commit the reader to the story with interesting and not wholly unlikeable characters. The need for there to be an over-arching plot question. The need for rhythm in the plot.

And so on. Although I already knew some of those things instinctively, it was nice to actually read someone else’s feelings about them in words.

Have you ever read Writing the Block Buster Novel? What did you think of it?

It’s WriteOnCon!

Hi all! First I have some admin to do. I need to pass on yesterday’s award. And this prestigious award goes to:


OK now that’s done. I just want to share some awesome today. In case you’ve been living on another planet, I thought I’d remind you that it’s WriteOnCon.

Last year I didn’t go because I was shy. Stupid, I know. But now I’m not missing it for the world. *except for classes and test prep. There are Ninja-agents, agent chats and more. I’m not going to say no to that. 🙂

Who else is attending this year?

I got tagged and awarded at the same time!

Hi all! Just want to say thanks to Michael from SLC Kismet for giving me this award.

I’m not exactly sure what the rules are with this award, so I’ll just answer the tag questions instead. ^_^

1) Are you a rutabaga?
Well… at the rate that I’m vegging out, this might be a distinct possibility.

2) Who is your current crush?
It’s not so much the who as the what. As in what is crushing me. So far, my economics is trying very hard, but I WILL PREVAIL!

3) Upload a heartwarming picture that makes you smile.

 Can you say: “AAAAAaaaaaw!”

 4) When was the last time you ate a vine-ripened tomato?
… I’m trying to remember, but I can’t. Must not have been a memorable tomato.

5) Name one habit that causes other people to plot your demise?
Well, the one habit I have that makes my one friend plot my demise: i type like this when i skype i dont even use punctuation

6) What is the wierdest, most-disgusting job you’ve ever had to do?
Hmm… not really weird, but I find washing dishes to be utterly disgusting. Even when I’m using gloves. No idea why but I can’t shake it. Maybe it’s because it’s the only disgusting activity that I haven’t been able to talk myself out of.

7) Where da muffin top at?
If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

8) What author introduced you to your genre?
C.S. Lewis. In fact he’s also the reason why I started writing Doorways. Of course, Doorways veered into a considerably darker path than Chronicles of Narnia.

9) Describe yourself using obscure Latin words.
Aliquanto insolitus , aliquantulus distraho quod valde partum. Fidelis , curiosus , validus mos si is est in meus penitus. Plerumque familiaris , tamen should nunquam exsisto exertus. Ardor , tamen validus derideo facile.

I’ll pass on the award tonight! X

In Need of Inspiration

Hi all! Welcome to yet another Guest Post  Friday! Carolyn was kind enough to add a bio today, so I’ll just skip on the intro. Instead, I just want to point out that there is now exactly one GPF slot open for this year, so you better jump fast if you want it. Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com if you’re interested. Have a great weekend everyone!


In Need of Inspiration

As writers we possess the drive, and determination to see a project through to completion, but what keeps us going?  Is not part of it inspiration?

Inspiration is an external influence that activates our imagination, stimulates our emotions, intellect and curiosity.  It works like fuel to our ambition.  As a fire needs to be fed, so too does our creativity.  Without inspiration that spark would extinguish.  After all, didn’t inspiration give us the story to start with?  It fired us with zeal to pursue it, to foster it, to refine it.  Inspiration made our stories ones that must be told.

And the best thing about inspiration is that it strikes when we least expect it.  Sometimes the timing may find us in the middle of a movie, or jolted from our sleep in the wee hours.  But when those moments of inspiration strike as epiphanies, it’s like a high.  They move us to action immediately.  We scramble for something on which to record the thought so it doesn’t disappear.  At that time nothing else much matters.  I love those moments.

So what inspires you?

Maybe the answer is hard to pinpoint, or it’s difficult to choose just one.  You could ask a thousand writers and they could all provide a different answer.  And depending on the day, that same writer could say something else.  Inspiration is ever changing – as it should be.

Inspiration doesn’t always give you the full story.  Sometimes a new character tugs on your curiosity and pulls you in before you even know where the story’s going, but this is a fantastic place to start.  After all, without characters our books wouldn’t exist.

But what if you’re not feeling inspired?

Remember this:  Inspiration can’t be forced, but it can be fostered.

No matter how much we may try manipulating inspiration like a type of mystical power, the more it will fight against us.  Inspiration can be stubborn as if it were its own entity.

Maybe consider your last spark of inspiration.  Where did it originate from?  Did it strike out of the seeming middle of nowhere?  Did it hit you while out for a walk?  Did it happen while you were sitting still or moving?

While realizing the fact we can’t force inspiration, we can most certainly avail ourselves to it. 

Where can we find inspiration?

The internet

There is so much information on the internet, the possibilities of inspiration ignition are endless.

This helps clear the mind which can transfer it from the logical to the creative side of things.

People watching

Human observation cannot be underestimated.  Conversations, interactions, reactions can trigger a new character that needs his/her story told.

Books, movies, television, music
I’m not talking plagiarism.  But maybe you would have taken things a different way.  This spark of inspiration can lead you down an original path.

The news

You don’t just have to be a mystery, thriller or suspense writer to utilize this resource.

The Discovery Channel
It opens your mind, and lets you see places or things you may never otherwise.

Try something new

I recently went to my first airshow and found myself wondering what the lives of those pilots would be like. 

My closing words:  Remember inspiration can strike at any time, so be ready for it!

Brief Bio

Carolyn Arnold is the author of several novels in the mystery, thriller and suspense genres.  TIES THAT BIND, the first in a police procedural mystery series surrounding Detective Madison Knight is now available for purchase.

Carolyn was born in 1976 in the rural town of Picton, Ontario, and her passion for writing dates back to her teen years.  Although, her first completed novel wasn’t until 2008, her drive to complete one has since turned into several.  She lives with her husband of fifteen years and her two beagles in Southwestern Ontario.

Connect with Carolyn online:





Cover Blurb

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed by the same line of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the Sergeant and Chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if there’s not going to be another victim.

Amazon                Barnes & Noble               Smashwords


Hi all! As you might notice, I’ve changed my comment form recently after it was suggested that the embedded form was the reason why some of my readers couldn’t comment.

But now it seems that the new form isn’t helping, because I’m just getting new people who are saying that they have a problem. So if you have a problem with the new form but not the old form, would you please let me know? And if you had a problem with the old form and not the new form, please let me know too. I’m trying to figure out the lesser of two evils. I’ll love you forever if you mail me. mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

OK… now admin is done and I get to the real meat of today’s post.

Today as I was preparing to drive around with my family (today is my day off), my muse dangled this little string in front of me. Curious being that I am, I took it and decided to see where it went. And… now I sort of have another major Doorways related project on the to-do list.

Projects, you might ask. Well, I still have to draw more detailed maps of my countries. I still want to draw the important places in my book. I especially still want to write out a significant portion of  two languages.

And now… I have to get the history down. Before book two. Doorways is mainly about events being triggered, but for that to be the case, something must have happened before.

I thought that the current situation was started in the previous generation, but now I’m starting to see that it wasn’t.

Except for that, there are some aspects of the culture that could really do with me knowing exactly what caused them.

Fun, but I can see how that will be time consuming.

But fun. I’m actually thinking about starting either in the current situation and working my way back. On the other hand, it might be a lot more natural to just start at a point in the past and working my way to the present.

Of course, the latter method can be a study on its own…

Anyone else discover the need to write out the history of the places and cultures in your books? How did you go about it?

To revise or not to revise…

Today is Woman’s Day, so first thing that I want to do is paid tribute to all you lovely ladies out there. May you be blessed. 🙂

Woman’s Day is a public holiday in my country, so I put in some extra time yesterday so that I could have the whole day off today.

The plan was to revise thirty pages of Doorways, or to read. Instead, I’m typing this from in front of the t.v. For some reason, I just don’t feel like doing anything more consuming than that.

Usually I don’t feel all that guilty, but today I do. I mean, I made time to write. Why aren’t I writing?

I’m thinking that I’ll push myself to do some revisions later, although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get anything productive done.

What do you do when you just don’t feel like writing/revising, even when you planned to do it?