The Future 

Hi guys! 

This week I have been reading and re- mastering my writing skill. It’s been said that a writer never stops learning, and that’s true. I love learning new things that I didn’t know before. Even if that something is what I should have known from the start. But, hey. Nobody’s perfect.  

It’s also been a week of personal challenges. 

As some of you may know I have battled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. That battle has seen me fall, lose my sense of self and wander in the dark. But it’s also made me stronger and more determined to overcome it. 

Yesterday I hit another milestone. I walked by myself, went to a coffee shop and ordered a hot chocolate. Okay, so it doesn’t seem like that big a deal and to some it probably isn’t, but I haven’t done that in such a long time. I’ve either gone with my husband who is fabulous  dealing with my illness and he’s ordered for the two of us, or we walk together. 

I can’t explain all of those emotions what I felt, but I was almost certain that I’d back out of going. But I didn’t. 

It was a huge deal to me to be able to do that. And I hope to do it more often. 

I am about to start therapy again soon. Earlier this year I was discharged from Primary Care to Secondary where they could keep more of an eye on me while I explore the issues of my past. And with an assessment for Autism in the pipeline it’s all going on. 

My childhood was very traumatic as were my teenage years. A lot of the stuff that happened was swept under the carpet by family members that didn’t want to remember or talk about what happened to me. There are a lot of issues I have to iron out and put my suffering to bed. 

How I will cope during that process is going to be hard to tell. 

Which is why I must put this blog aside for now and concentrate on overcoming this obstacle that I call recovery.  

It pains me to do so, but I can’t give you my all if I’m not whole myself. 

In the past four years I have loved writing posts about writing and various things and I hope that my ramblings have helped you in someway. 

Soooo…. 

It’s with that I say goodbye for now. 

Hopefully I’ll be back blogging about something insignificant again one day. 

I hope you continue to meet your goals and achieve your dreams. Never stop going for what you want. 

Blaze

With thanks to  Jamie Street for the image via Unsplash.com 

Creating A Strong Female Protagonist

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Hi guys!

Having a strong female protagonist in fiction is vital for many readers.

Why?

This can be for many reasons.

Strong female protagonists can be role models for teenagers and women. It can also provide inspiration and support for those who are experiencing similar situations to their fictional characters.

But how do you go about writing one?

Here are five handy tips to creating a strong female protagonist.

1. They don’t have to be badass to be strong.

You read about a female protagonist who is physically strong and can take down twenty men in a small amount of time. This is considered strong. There’s nothing wrong with this if your character can do this. It’s fine. A strong female character needs to be strong emotionally; she needs to have flaws, attachments, personality and strength.  This will help them with whatever they have to overcome. Which leads me to the second point.

2. Give your female protagonist something to overcome.

This gives her a reason to stay strong. Whether it be a fear or otherwise. For example, she could have to move to a different neighbourhood leaving everything she knows behind, or having to rebuild her life after a traumatic event. Don’t be afraid to make them vulnerable. Change is uncertain and characters will warm to them as they grow.

3. Make sure they have a life outside of romance.

This is not to say that they can’t have a romantic relationship. It’s important that they have a storyline of their own without a male counterpart to hold it up.

4. Write her as a human being.

Being strong doesn’t mean that she has to be happy and knowledgeable about every situation she finds herself in. That would be unrealistic. The important thing is to give her a quirk whether it be her wit or her personality. Make whatever it is hers. She can be sassy and sharp tounged, but can also be the type of woman to cry herself to sleep at night.

5. Don’t be afraid of her under estimating herself.

This could be an opportunity for her to prove herself and everyone else wrong.

I hope this helps you write strong female characters.

Have a great week!

Until next time,

Blaze

With thanks to Roksolana Zasiadko for the image via Unsplash.com

A Second Eye’s View – Giving Feedback

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Hi guys!

This week I’m going to talk about giving feedback to other writer’s.

When I first started to take my writing seriously the part I dreaded was being asked to give my thoughts about a piece of work. I found it even more daunting than giving my own work out for feedback.

Four years on and I still feel sick with the idea. How do you tell someone who has been putting every piece of themselves into their work only to tell them it’s not quite as good as they think?

I’ve been lucky as some of the work I’ve critiqued hasn’t been awful nor totally unfixable and I’ve enjoyed reading what I’ve been given.

What is the right way to give feedback?

Here are some things I remember when opportunity knocks:

1. Always start with what works.

Why?

Because it’s easier to hear the negatives when you start on a positive note. Do you like their writing style? Do you like a character in particular? Is the story flow good and interesting? If so, mention it. I tend to start with a positive comment, then add a negative, then something positive to follow.

2. Remember you are critiquing the work, and not the writer.

Why?

If a writer asks for feedback the least helpful thing to do is to point out their faults as an artist. Never mention the word ‘you.’ This can be seen as a personal attack sometimes which leads to a plunge in confidence. Always refer to the sentence, paragraph or prose. This way you can draw their attention to what’s important. The piece of work.

3. Read the piece of work carefully.

Why?

Well, it makes no sense to not do so. If your intentions are to help and be respectful of the work you’re viewing, then this is a no brainer. There’s nothing worse than receiving pointless feedback such as “I like this part,” or “This was really bad. I didn’t like it.” Give reasons as to why. What’s good about the part that you like? What’s so bad that it made you not like it?

4. Attempt to have fun even if it’s not what you like reading. Or decline to comment.

Why?

Something good always comes out of reading genres that I’m not a huge fan of. Sometimes I’ll learn something about the way the writer paces their story. Sometimes I find their writing style is interesting and I read on. If a piece of work is out of my league I tend to say thanks, but no thanks. Commenting on a genre that you like, but has problems is one thing. To comment on a piece of work that isn’t your thing is another. This has happened a couple of times when I’ve offered my work. I prefer that than to have someone who is totally clueless to the genre I’m writing in.

5. Always give an alternative if you can.

Why?

It helps both yourself and the writer of the piece. By identifying what could be better you’re learning what to look out for in your own work. If a word doesn’t quite fit offer up another that does. If a sentence doesn’t sound right write it the way you would. Try to apply this wherever you can.

If you follow these steps, then I’m sure you won’t have any trouble in giving feedback when that time comes.

Hope you are all well.

Oh, and Happy Easter!

Until next week,

Blaze

With thanks to Thomas Martinsen               for the image via Unsplash.com.

New Platform

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Last week I set up a page on Facebook to promote my writing where I’ll be uploading artwork, character titbits, progress updates and give you a sneak peek into my world.

It is another platform for you to communicate and interact with me if you wish to do so.

You can find me on Facebook at this address http://www.facebook.com/blazemckenna22

You can also follow me on Twitter @phoenixwings22.

I have a follow back policy which means that if you do decide to follow me I will be behind you 100% and will be willing to do shoutouts and promotions.

If I can do anything at all for you, then please do not hesitate to get in touch on either platform and I will be more than happy to help.

Blaze