The pleasure and pain of fictional death.
How do you feel about killing off characters? Be it book, movie, or show, there is always so much perverse pleasure from a well-deserved and gruesome death of an evil character, and beautiful sorrow in the death of a character we love. We love the emotion; the turmoil and angst. Shows like the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones depend on the tension derived from the sense that no one is safe. Any character could die at any moment. We're biting our nails. We're clenching our tissues. We're clasping our hands with gleeful anticipation. Who is going to be next? And perhaps more importantly, how are they going to meet their end?
I am a happy ending kind of girl, but I have to admit, the death of a much-loved character wrenches emotions from my soul in a way that is both terrible and wonderful at the same time.
You'll find some of the most creative deaths by Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, and Sci fi writers. They are diabolically ingenious.
Particularly when it comes to thinking up ways to kill off their characters.
A few of my author friends in the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans were recently asked:
What is the most gruesome way you've ever killed off a character in your book?
Here are a few of their answers. WARNING: Some answers are quite graphic, proceed at your own risk.
Which answer is your favorite? I'm going to keep collecting answers until I get to 101, so check back or add your own in the comments and I'll include them!
7 Ways to Cure Writer's Block
Have you ever hit a wall in your writing?
I’ve been working on my latest manuscript. I wrote nearly 30k pages in two weeks.
And then it happened. The thing every writer dreads most.
I sat at my computer and stared at the screen.
I typed a few sentences, then promptly deleted them in disgust.
What happened? I had been full of enthusiasm, excited to get my story on the page.
And then nothing.
This was nearly a month ago. Since then, I’ve managed to pound out nearly 20k additional pages, but I’m not thrilled with it. Instead of anticipating the few stolen moments I get at my computer in my busy schedule, I dread them.
This is writer’s block. It may take on different forms and arise for different reasons, but every writer has experienced it.
Perhaps you burned out writing too many pages or too many books in a series. Or you are disappointed by your overall experience as a new author. Maybe you can’t relate to your characters, or the plot is stuck and you can’t find a solution.
Whatever the cause, when writer’s block rears its ugly head, we need to find a solution.
Here are 7 ways to cure Writer’s Block:
1) Don’t restrict your writing to time in front of your computer / typewriter / notebook. I’ve found that the best ideas for my book come to me when I’m relaxed, either driving, showering, or taking a walk. Have a notebook handy (or a voice recorder) to take some notes that you can later add into your manuscript.
Most of my plot solutions, interesting scenes, and character depth comes from times when I’m not trying to think about my book. Even when I’m feeling unmotivated, I find I’ve written several hundred pages worth of ideas in my notebook before I’ve even sat at my computer.
2) Try a writing exercise. I avoided this for a long time. I have such limited time to write in the first place, I didn’t want to waste time writing something that would never appear in a book. But that was a mistake.
Writing exercises take you back to the basics, forcing you to consider what really matters to a reader: The sensory details of an experience. Readers just want to feel like they are part of your story; to be able to envision the same sunset as your heroine, to feel that water lapping at her feet, to shiver in the cooling evening air. Taste the salt on their lips. The few moments you sacrifice to a writing exercise will pay off, I promise.
3) Read a good book. What inspired you to write in the first place? The joy you get from a good story, the emotional rush from a drama, the delicious chill from that new horror book you can’t wait to finish? A good book can give you the inspiration you need to turn back to your own book with renewed vigor. The advice I’ve heard is to read as much as you write.
4) Don’t be overly critical of yourself. One of my biggest causes of writer’s block is my own self-doubt. I think what I’m writing isn’t good enough, that every other writer is better, and my lack of sales is a result of my own failure as an author… It is easy to get yourself down and become overly-critical of your writing. Just get your thoughts out there. You can refine them later. And any author willing to accept constructive criticism and find a decent editor can have a great book. No one writers a bestseller in the first sitting. It takes time, practice, and lots of editing to get to that point. And possibly years of efforts…
5) Exercise. I love to take walks. Being outdoors is inspiring enough, but combining fresh air and exercises really gets my mind working. By exercising, you are getting extra oxygen pumping and releasing endorphins. This combination will help you feel better overall, which will go a long way in combating negative emotions or physical ailments that might keep you from writing.
6) Listen to music. Music speaks to us; listening to music that is meaningful, evocative, or just has a great beat will inspire ideas. I enjoy creating a playlist, which I call my soundtrack, for each book. When I put on my “book soundtrack”, it immediately puts me into the mood I need to begin writing. The playlist for my first book, Reaper, included artists like Bastille, Of Monsters and Men, Avicii, One Republic, and Imagine Dragons. The right music can speak to your soul and get the creative juices flowing.
7) Never give up. Even if you don’t feel like writing, sit down and do it. Every day, if you can. Get up half an hour earlier or stay up a little later and get a paragraph written. The worst thing you can do is to stop writing. While taking a brief break (a week or so) away from a book can help (and spend that extra time doing writing prompts, reading a good book, or exercising), don’t stay away too long.
Share your techniques for combating writer’s block, or favorite writing prompts. I’d love to try them!
I want to take a minute to tell you about a project I am involved in through the company I work for in my "real" life. You know, that real job that many of us authors and freelancers work to pay the bills. I'm fortunate enough to have a job I love, as a VP for a digital marketing technology company.
Let me tell you a short story:
Once Upon a Time…
There was a group of passionate readers that saw the need for independent authors to better promote their books. They set to work crafting technology that would help every author reach their audience.
FranticFroggy.com was born.
Who is FranticFroggy?
The world of publishing is changing at an amazing rate. Where authors would once struggle for years to get a manuscript published, they can now successfully do on their own. The struggle now for emerging authors is, once published, how do you promote your book?
That is where FranticFroggy comes in. We've created a tool specifically for authors to use the latest digital marketing trends to promote their books. FranticFroggy.com is the digital marketing destination for any author looking for a better way, an easier way, to promote their own books.
What exactly are digital marketing tools?
Digital marketing tools include:
A personal homepage for your author brand so you are accessible to your audience. This include a contact form to help build your subscriber list!
Where can you manage all those contacts? A Contact Manager (CRM), of course! Anyone on your mailing list or blog will automatically be entered. You can also add any contacts you make at book signings or book trade shows. It makes it really easy to keep track of these contacts, and add them to your email lists.
Let’s talk about EMAIL. Email marketing is one of the BEST ways to reach an audience for the most affordable price. FranticFroggy includes automated emails as well as the ability to send mass emails to your mailing lists. You can easily manage, sort, and segment your email list to make the most of this marketing medium.
Web pages and direct sales. Landing pages are web pages designed specifically to sell or promote ONE thing. In this case, it would be a book. Retailers the world over use these direct sale pages to successfully run marketing campaigns and sell their products or services. Authors can harness the power of direct marketing with pre-made landing pages, as well as the ability to create custom pages.
Content Marketing. Content is still king. If you've been around any digital marketers lately, you've probably heard of content marketing. It is the most popular marketing technique currently, and NATURALLY FranticFroggy includes content marketing features. A blog is probably the most well-known content marketing tool you’ll get with FranticFroggy, but it isn't the only one!
Success Education. The biggest barrier for many authors in promoting their book is KNOWLEDGE. Authors are busy people, and they may not be marketing pros. That is ok! FranticFroggy includes a complete education system with video and text tutorials and lessons to help authors succeed throughout every stage of writing, editing, publishing, and promoting their book.
Why do we care so much about authors?
We are a technology company, but we are made up of more than just computer scientists and marketers. We are avid readers and former publishing professionals, as well as parents, that are dedicated to importance of READING and BOOKS in shaping and changing the world. Did you know that children who are read to, and read while growing up, perform better in school? Did you know that ADULTS who read often are more open-minded, more empathetic, and are quicker to embrace creative ideas?
Independent authors are full of new, creative concepts. We want to give these world-changing ideas that chance they deserve to reach a broad audience. We don’t want any great author to struggle to reach their audience because they aren't a great promoter. That is why we are building FranticFroggy.
FranticFroggy is a passion project for my company. We care so much about reading, and helping independent authors succeed, that we've begun working on this platform for authors. As self-publishing takes over the book industry, we see a great need for services like ours.
Because we care so much about reading, we donate all the profits from the book we published with Amy Frazier, Frantic Froggy, to organizations promoting reading and literacy.
Tell me what you think about reading, indie authors, or anything else!
I love to talk to other writers and learn how each has different and fascinating writing techniques. Here is a great infographic on the top writing tools of famous authors. If you like typewriters and fountain pens, you're in good company...
Also, this graphic was originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis' blog. If you haven't before, or even if you have, check out his award-winning blog. He has some really fantastic content for writers and readers!
What are you favorite writing tools? Share them in the comments!
I'm so thrilled to be publishing my author website. I've written numerous blogs over the years in my role as a digital marketer and editor. Becoming an author is a new and exciting challenge! I am looking forward to connecting with other independent authors.
Through my editing and marketing work with authors, I've found that they are an amazing group of people. So passionate, committed, and willing to help other authors succeed. I cannot wait to become part of this group of individuals that are changing the world, one book at a time!