Creative Tools – Part 1: Generators

Most writers know that it’s far better to use your imagination and come up with original ideas than to adapt others’ existing ideas. However, most writers need some outside inspiration now and then. While real life situations and real people are often a deep well of inspiration, sometimes it just isn’t enough and writers need a little extra inspiration.

With this in mind, we’ve sourced a few handy creative writing tools to help get your muse back in action. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably scorn the idea of using a generator, but I can tell you that they often spark new ideas that you may not have otherwise had, so they can be helpful even if you don’t make use of the ideas generated.

Seventh Sanctum
This is the best creative writing generator I’ve come across, geared towards fantasy writers. Seventh Sanctum offers character generators, character name generators, being and creature generators, magic generators, world and setting generators and more.

Plot Scenario Generator
Generate an event that starts the story, and a secondary conflict to help progress it.

For more creative writing generators, visit Fireblade Publisher’s Generators page. Please share what inspires you by commenting on this post – there are myriad sources of inspiration in this world, and we’d love to hear what your favourites are.

Keep an eye out for Part 2: Creative Writing Prompts, next week, 3 February 2013.

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5 Quotes for Writers to Live By

Originally posted on vanessafinaughtyfantasybooks:

We all need encouragement and inspiration from time to time, and I find the following writing quotes do the trick when I hit a slump in my writing. Thankfully, I don’t need inspiration right now, as my muse is keeping me on my toes lately, but I hope they inspire others like they have me.

  1. “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ~ Ray Bradbury
  1. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London
  1. “Being a successful writer is 3% talent, 7% hard work, 11% luck, and 79% not being distracted by the Internet.” ~ Drachen Jager
  1. “Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything. If you don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t write stories that other people love, you’ll never make it.” ~ Ray Bradbury
  1. “Before…

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Back Cover Blurb No-Nos

As an author, you may think that the back cover blurb for your book is not really all that important, but it is the introduction to your book, one of the first things that give readers a taste of the pages within.

Upon this impression, a reader will either decide to purchase your book or not. It’s that simple. Regardless of how attractive your cover art may be, if the blurb does not capture the imagination, your book will remain upon the shelf.

Blurb no-nos:

No blurb at all is a huge mistake. Your book must have one; otherwise, how can anyone tell what your book is about?

An overly long blurb is another huge mistake. The idea is to entice the reader, not write the entire story on the back cover. Keep it short and sweet, and remember to think of it as bait. Give a short introduction to your main character and the conflict he/she faces, and try to end on an intriguing note. Try to make it catchy and memorable. Two hundred and fifty words should be enough. Continue reading

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Balancing Narrative & Dialogue

There’s no rule that says you have to have a certain amount of dialogue versus a certain amount of narrative. However, it’s good to have a balance. If a book contains mostly narrative, it’ll be harder to move the story along or to include any action, which may make it a boring read. This is largely dependent on the topic, though. For example, Bernard Beckett’s book, Genesis, is almost pure conversation. The book revolves around an examination the main character has to take, in which philosophy, ethics and artificial intelligence are debated. It’s written in an entertaining way, and the purpose is to make readers think, so this is a rare example of almost no narrative working best, as any action in Genesis would have been irrelevant and distracting.

Avoid narrative in (physical) fight scenes unless it adds value to the story, and be sure not to have too much narrative if you do use it in fight scenes, as it’s unnatural to have a conversation with someone when you’re throwing punches, swinging swords or shooting at each other. Narrative in these scenes might include taunts or one party trying to persuade the other to settle the matter amicably. Continue reading

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A Writing Plan That Works

Every author who has ever lovingly tapped away at a keyboard or typewriter, or who has even used the old fashioned pen and paper method, will agree that finding the time to write can be a challenge. Planning is the greatest weapon in your arsenal against the fight of daily demands like work schedules, meetings, family time, laundry, dish washing duty and life in general.

In the vague and distant past, I once heard an invaluable phrase:

If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. 

It is one of those wow phrases that stuck in my mind, as though glued to the inside of my scull with peanut butter… graphic, but effective. Now it’s glued in yours too. Writing, for all its whimsical and romanticised portrayals in film and television, takes dedication and applied effort. Making time for it in our busy lives is a challenge in itself. Continue reading

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Fireblade is Back!

Morning everyone!

Apologies for the long blog silence. As most of you are aware, there is a new baby in the picture and one less Fireblade partner, both of which are good things, as it turns out. That said, work this year has been going on pretty much the same as usual, with the exception of this blog. However, I’m pleased to say that the Fireblade blog will once again be updated regularly from now on.

Some of the helpful and interesting articles followers can expect this year include:

Balancing Narrative & Dialogue
Creative Tools for Writers
The Importance of Linking to your Book Online
Why it’s Vital to Read if You Want to Write
A Writing Plan That Works Continue reading

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Happy Holidays!

XmasIt’s been a productive, busy year that’s drawing to a close, giving most of us the opportunity to take some much-needed time out and recharge our batteries.

Fireblade will be closed for the holidays from 24 December 2013 to 1 January 2014. We’ll be back at our desks on 2 January.

Please feel free to email us your quote requests during the holidays, but bear in mind that you’re unlikely to receive a reply until we return to work.

crazy specials_Final

For those who would like to help us start next year off in a super productive manner too, we’re offering the following New Year specials Continue reading

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Until end December

It’s been a challenging few weeks, with many more to come. I’m pleased to announce the birth of our daughter, Myka, on 6 November via emergency c-section. We’re thankful to have a healthy, calm baby, though recovery from the operation is taking its time.

In light of that and the fact that a Fireblade business partner quit without warning, this blog will only be updated again at the end of December, and then regularly at some stage in January or February 2014. Work, however, will continue as usual, so don’t hesitate to contact us for your publishing needs.

Until December…

~ Vanessa

Myka - November 2013_3

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Why it’s Vital to Read if You Want to Write

Writers should always keep in mind that it’s blatantly obvious to most readers if you do not read, particularly if you’ve never read a book since high school. We’ve listed just a few of the common errors made by writers who don’t read. These are perfect examples of why it’s vital to read if you want to write. Continue reading

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Writers’ Forums

Most writers have little free time on their hands between work, writing, family responsibilities and the general frenzy of day-to-day living. This means that writers have to allocate time wisely in order to gain the most benefit from anything they participate in. Continue reading

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