It is my pleasure to share a guest post from author Teri Pole, who shares how hobbies have enriched her writing...
TP: Like most people, I have many hobbies – I enjoy weight-lifting, yoga, watching movies, attending wine and bourbon tastings (there’s talk of making it a law here in Kentucky), but the hobby that has undoubtedly enriched my writing the most is reading. I’m fairly sure I came out of the womb with a book in hand and have rarely been seen without one since. When I leave the house, my checklist includes purse, phone, and Nook or Kindle.
Reading extensively is, or should be, a job requirement of writers. Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.” And I’m a firm believer in that statement. No one is born knowing how to write a book. It takes time, hard work, and tremendous effort to learn the craft, not to mention blood, sweat, and tears – all the while requiring the patience of a saint. Learning to write is an ongoing process and self-improvement should be a goal of every writer - and one of the best ways to improve is to read, read, then read some more.
My love of horror books led me to Stephen King when I was around twelve. The way he creates characters that rise from the pages and walk around the room or sit beside me while I’m engrossed in the story is awe-inspiring. I’ll never be able to perform that miracle – but it doesn’t mean I can’t learn from his techniques.
Victoria Schwab is a master at fantasy world-building and I’d love to spend a day in her head just to see how her mind works. The Archived Series is wildly creative but her Shades of Magic Series (A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows) is pure genius, in my opinion, with not just one world, but four within one book. So many writers are ready to dive straight into their novel, but if fantasy or sci-fi is your genre, in order to make your story believable and cohesive, creating your world and establishing the rules of that world should be the first priority - something that can take months, depending on the complexity of your setting.
Maybe reading isn’t one of your hobbies – it’s not the end of the world, but I’d still strongly recommend it. Observing people is also beneficial. People-watching at airports can be highly entertaining and add to your mental bank of eccentric characters. Whatever the case, you can still use your own experiences, people you meet, and emotions you feel in different situations to enrich your writing in some way.
by Teri Polen
by Teri Polen
GENRE: YA horror/thriller
Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.
A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.
Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house - but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.
“So, not only is she a body-snatching, man-hating ghost with breathtaking anger management issues, she’s also a compulsive liar? Do you think there are support groups for ghosts? Is that a thing?”
After having Finn as my best friend for over ten years, you’d think I’d know how his mind worked and nothing that fell out of his mouth would surprise me. But you’d be wrong. He was completely unpredictable at times, but I could always count on him for an honest answer or opinion. Weird and out of left field occasionally, but honest. And highly entertaining. “So, you’re suggesting we get Sarah into therapy? Maybe having an intervention?”
“Seems like it would make her afterlife a little more pleasant, don’t you think? I mean, we’re talking a long period of time here, right? Maybe if she interacted with more ghosts, she’d learn to fit in better, make some friends. Stop living in your body. Just saying.”
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