Settings: five easy tips for beginners

If there’s one thing that writers never give advice on, it would be the setting. That’s probably because it isn’t that hard to do. But yet, I find myself giving awkward descriptions of stores and restaurants. So to save you from the same tragic fate, I will share all that I know.

1. Less is more

When I first started writing, third grade me though you described everything. The reader apparently needed to know the colour of the chairs to the amount of desks in the room and every single students physical appearance. No no no.

Don’t become like an old classic book where they give you the backstory to all the objects in the room. People in the 1900s might be interested but in the twenty-first century people will swap your book for their phone if you rattle on about a clock for two pages. Less is more.

Give a brief description of the room and keep it simple. Compare these two examples.

The small living room held a small cream couch with a stack of yellowed newspaper overtaking the side table. The windows on the opposite wall only got washed when it rained. There was a stained rug on the floor, faded from years of pacing. A couple of cushions were thrown into a corner next to the flickering floor lamp.

In the small living room, there was a couch that had been torn up from the family’s cat, Paws. A couple of patterned cushions were thrown to the side. On the opposite, there was a bunch of windows, dirty and full of dust bunnies. There was a big rug on the floor, covering most of the space, and it was covered in stains and dusty footprints. A floor lamp in the corner glowed yellow, it’s lightbulb flickering and dying. A big clock was on the brick wall, long since dead. Lots of family pictures on a side table were covered by a towering stack of old newspapers.

Tell me which one is better. Personally, I think the first one is; you can see it all in your head without being overwhelmed.

2. Big to small

A good tip is to go from the biggest things in the room to the smaller details. So from room colour to bed location to dead body on the floor to the snapped pearl necklace.

It flows nicely and zooms into the finer things.

3. Use all five senses

When describing things, I tend to forget my other four senses. I typically rely on sight, neglecting smell, touch, hear, and taste. And while you can’t taste the room, there is plenty of things to touch and hear.

Instead of using only sight to tell the story, immerse your reader. What does the hot dog stand smell like? Is the cave wall rough or smooth, wet or dry? Can you hear the laugh track through the thin walls of your bedroom? Using those things helps the reader envision the scene and get more hooked.

4. Reference photos

I don’t think everyone in the world has been in a castle or the cold dungeon in Mongolia. So instead of assuming what it looks like, google it. Pinterest has plenty of reference photos you can use. Browse real estate websites to get a feel of what a rancher’s home would look like.

There are thousands of resources at your fingertips, so use them.

5. Timing

It all comes down to when to describe your scene and when not too. Would you start off describing the room when a character enters it? That all depends on what is going to happen.

If you’re going to start the scene with action, the boy running away from the murderer through the school hallways, the chances of you spending a paragraph or two describing the place, are slim. That breaks the flow of the scene.

But the character is just introduced to a problem, say they’re kidnapped and wake up in a log cabin, then I think a little description is needed. The readers know what a school hallway looks like, the empty cabin not as much.

If you’re struggling when to describe your setting, ask yourself this: Will it break the flow of the scene?

That my friends, are a handful of tips that can help you out with writing. If you have anymore to add, let me know. I’d love to hear your advice.

As always, have a lovely day and see you next time.

Writing playlists

I’m a fan of music if you couldn’t tell already. I like music, I like writing, and when I combine the two wonderful things happen. Namely, I get inspired to write.

I’m always on the search for new music to write too, so I thought I would give you some song recommendations according to the theme/genre of your writing project.

And if you want to take a listen to the songs, just click on the titles that will take you to a Spotify playlist I made.

The scholarly essay that you’re writing four hours before it’s due–

Decisions by Ntr.Mnd

First Date by Frad

A brief moment of silence for the lack of better words by Stream_error

Chamomile Tea by Chance Thrash

The Approaching Night by Phillip Wesley

Declarations of love in the pouring rain or just like, at Disneyland or somewhere–

Always, I’ll care by Jeremy Zucker

Talk to Me by Cavetown

If We Have Each Other by Alec Benjamin

Silly People by Blanks

Tear in My Heart by Twenty One Pilots

Teen misfits going on adventures in the middle of the night–

I’m Born to Run by American Authors

It’s Time by Imagine Dragons

With a Little Help From My Friends by Wallows

Runaway Kids by HARBOUR

Idle Town by Conan Gray

Wild Things by Alessia Cara

The same survival story where at the end the guy wakes up in the hospital after being found dead on the side of the road by a farmer or hunter–

Til the Day I Die by TobyMac and NF

Opening Titles by David Arnold and Michael Price

Not Gonna Die by Skillet

The Maze Runner by John Paesano and Pete Anthony

Unstoppable by The Score

Death and break ups–

Lost My Mind by FINNEAS

i think we should break up by Hollyn

How Could You Leave Us by NF

I Miss My Mum by Cavetown

Before You Start Your Day by Twenty One Pilots

Down by Jason Walker

i don’t like u myself by Presence

Mind is a Prison by Alec Benjamin

The escape scene with things blowing up behind the characters who are walking away in slow-mo instead of running like a normal person would be doing–

#SherlockLives by David Arnold and Michael Price

Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees

Ready Set Let’s Go by Sam Tinnesz

Howlin’ for you by The Black Keys

Immortals by Fall Out Boy

Eye of the Tiger {but it’s the cello version} by 2Cellos

A guild of delicate fairies, mermaids, and a few brooding werewolves on a journey–

Misty Mountains by Richard Armitage and The Dwarf Cast

Dawning of Spring by Anson Seabra

golden thing by Cody Simpson

Woodland by The Paper Kites

Bloom by The Paper Kites

Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron

For when the creepy next door neighbour reveals his true intentions which are luring puppies into his house and then killing them–

Game of Survival by Ruelle

Heathens by Twenty One Pilots

Castle by Halsey

Hide and Seek by Lizz Robinett

Panic Room by Au/Ra

Dig the Crazy by Faith marie

At the End of Time by Atrium Carceri

Some other genre/topic that I happened to miss–

Snake and the Prairie Dog by Cavetown

Seaside by Blanks

Learn to Fly by Surfaces and Elton John

Unfortunate Soul by Kailee Morgue

最強の囮 by Yuki Hayashi and Asami Tachibana

That brings this blog post to an end. If you enjoyed it, please let me know. Also, if you have any song recommendations I would greatly appreciate that.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Interview with author P.D. Atkerson

Today I come to you with an exclusive interview with PD Atkerson, the author of the AKA Simon Lee series and the Of Aleanare series.

You check both of the series out on Goodreads here.

So without further ado, I present to you the interview that is long overdue.

1. Where did you get the inspiration for Simon Lee from?

If I had to pick, I’d probably say it’s a mix of the Alex Rider books and the White Collar TV show, though my books are a lot different from them as well.

2. Where do you write most often?

I probably do ninety percent of my writing in the main room in our house. The rest of the time I write either in bed or at my desk.

3. Which three fictional characters are you most like?

My mom and sister say Mozzie (from White Collar ironically), Rita Haywith (from Sign, Sealed, Delivered), and Frodo. Because I couldn’t pick them. 🙂

4. What is your favourite childhood book?

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

5. When did you write and complete your first novel?

I finished a couple three or four years ago, but I never published them and I’d burn them if my mom would let me. 🙂 The first book I finished and published was last January.

6. Do you have any hobbies outside of reading and writing?

Does learning French count? Other than that, I’d probably say Cardistry, though I’m not very good at it and most of the time I forget about it too. Maybe low carb baking too.

7. 5 songs that remind you of the latest book you’ve written

Oh, that’s a hard one! This might be more of songs I listened to while I was writing: Even Then, by Micah Tyler, Let You Down, by NF, Yes & No, by David Dunn, Human, by Rag’n’Bone Man and LOL maybe They Call Me Mando, by ChewieCatt, but that might have had something to do with watching the Mandalorian.

8. If you could go back and change something about one of your books, what would you change?

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have published my fantasy books. I don’t know if it was because I’m not good at writing fantasy, or something else, but they just weren’t as good as I’d hoped they’d be.

9. Who is your favourite character that you’ve written?

That would probably have to be Lee, without much of a hesitation. That might have something to do with the fact that he’s sarcastic, and I may or may not be. LOL 

10. The best or meaningful snippet that is included in one of your books

“When you were little, I always made sure you went to church, but it was never your choice,” his dad said. “I don’t even know if you ever believed what you were learning. But I know you’re smart enough to know that no one can make you believe any of it. You have to make the choice on your own.”

Lee sighed and just nodded, fighting the urge to run out of the room. This was something his brains couldn’t help him with.

His dad placed his hand on Lee’s shoulder and forced him to look at him. “Do you know what we celebrate this time of year, besides delicious food?” he asked. “We celebrate the birth of Jesus, of Hope. But even more than that, we celebrate the forgiveness God gave us when he sent his son.”

Once again, you must go and take a look at her books, they’re pretty awesome.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

How to write strong male characters & story contest winner

No, there is not a typo in the title. Today is not about strong female characters, but the wonderful male species.

A lot of Young Adult books nowadays are all about the strong female characters. The girl who has two boys pineing after her, a corrupt world to change, and the ability to die just after fulfilling her duty as the chose one.

So I thought I would shake things up a bit and present a different topic today. How to write strong male characters.

He has kindness

For this study I picked a book for each trait. Enter Adam Black from A List of Cages by Robin Roe.

Adam is a kind fellow with a big heart. He is a friend of everyone, cheering them up with a charming smile. And I think that’s one of the biggest things a strong man could have. The ability to be kind to everyone and to still find the magical scroll or something.

He is loyal

I can say his name without needing to offer out the title or author. Samwise Gamgee.

Not many people would stick by their friends’ side with an evil ring for a 1780 mile hike. Or help their friend after being betrayed and scorned.

Yet Sam offered many times to help his friend, sticking it out on the long trek, and even carrying the burden. Literally.

He isn’t Prince Charming

When I say, “not Prince Charming,” I don’t mean one scene where he admits he isn’t perfect or has a bad habit of being an overprotective boyfriend. I mean a literal flaw.

When I think flawed my mind jumps to Owen Edmonds from the Delusion series by Laura Gallier.

Owen is anything but perfect. He still has lust and selfishness and envy, even after being saved by Christ. Owen is stubborn and blinded by his disbelief. He admits to those flaws and tries to change, but it doesn’t take one dramatic death scene to change.

I could write another whole post about character flaws which fascinate me, but unfortunately I cannot at the moment.

What makes a flawed male character strong is when he finally overcomes those things, and still makes mistakes later down the road. Give your male character some anxiety, jealousy, some cowardliness for a change

He is determined

Charlie West anybody? Charlie West from The Homelanders series by Andrew Klavan is a personal favourite of mine.

He wakes up without memory of his past year, listening to his death sentence outside the locked room. What does he do? He fights back.

Charlie gets beaten down and can easily give up, he doesn’t! He recites Churchhill in his head, telling himself to never give in, in nothing, great or small, large or petty- never give in. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

And when it seems like the whole country is against him, Charlie keeps fighting for justice.

That is the kind of male character I want to read about. The boy who keeps doing what is right despite all the wrong around him. The boy who toils day and night to make a difference.

He is a defender and protecter

Another brilliant character from Andrew Klavan, this boy being a ‘preacher’s kid,’ Sam Hopkins.

Sam stands up to some bullies defending a crazy girl Jennifer. He is like, left on the side of road two steps away from death. But even when things get really weird and stuff, he is still around to protect and defend the innocent.

Now I know lots of you were more eager to find out if you won opposed to the writing of a male characters.

For this writing contest we teamed up with the lovely ladies Lila Kims, Oceane McAllister, Skye Hoffert, and Hannah Dragina who had won the last contest.

Our topic for the stories was fractured fairytales, in which we assigned a fairytale to each contestant.

So now without further ado, I present the winner:

Congratulations to Abigail McKenna! We all loved your story so much. The judges will contact you with the prize sometime soon.

And to all of the others that entered, your stories were also wonderful! Don’t forget to keep an ear out for the next season as it’s right around the corner.

Have a lovely day everyone!

So the story isn’t coming to you, huh?

Writing is basically finding different ways to combine 26 letters into a clear meaningful story. So why do we writers find it so difficult to write a story?

Well, because we humans don’t like to take the easy route. As a Masterclass advertisement from Neil Gaiman said, “Writing a book is like driving through the fog with one headlight out.” And I must agree with that.

Writing is hard and stressful. But it’s also a perfect way to unwind and relax. So let’s suppose that you have hit that mythical beast known as Writer’s Block. Or maybe you’ve been procrastinating writing a certian scene. Or can’t think of what should happen next.

You have come to the right place my friends! I, Carlye Krul, is offering you free advice with the purchase of one like.

So, what is this ‘advice’ I speak of? Well… *rubs hands together eagerly*

Slay the beast

There is no better way to combat writers block then to physically kill it. Now, this is not a prompt to go kill your hamster that keeps distracting you. No no no.

Figure way the inspiration isn’t hitting you. It could be an annoying character (I’m looking at you Rowan), a scene that doesn’t seem right, or your plot isn’t thick enough there. Whatever the problem may be, figure out the solution. Hopefully that solves the issue.

Go hunting for inspiration

No, this isn’t an excuse to look at memes on Pinterest for seven hours. You are permitted to use Pinterest for novel related ideas only. Make yourself a board with photos that display the majesty of the novel.

For those talented in the music industry, create a playlist for a character or scene. That should get the inspo flowing.

Or, you could even do something that your characters do. Within a limit of course. I’m fairly certain my parents wouldn’t let me sneak out of the house in the dead of night to go skateboarding. But instead you could do something else fun. Go overthrow the government or cut your hair with a knife in a single slash. The possiblities are endless!

Get out of the house

This is me being a hypocrite sitting at my desk even though it’s amazing weather outside and I’m not quarantined.

But if you’ve been sitting and staring at your computer’s blank document, I would advise you to get out and do something different. Now we introverts find peace in staying home.

Sadly, I must say that even the biggest of hermits should get some fresh air. Go take a walk or a jog or a run or whatever verb you want to use. Maybe call up your friends and hang out with them. Or you could chill by yourself with a book in the sunshine.

So there are three lovely ways in which you could get writing again. I apologize in advance of none of the methods work, I’m sorry, but hopefully they do.

Now everyone, have a lovely day and stay healthy!

The dying art of reading.

How many times have you walked into a library this past month? How many times have you sat down somewhere and just read for an hour? How often do you catch yourself thinking about books?

Let’s be honest, fairly often. But only because the readers here are probably book worms.

In actuality though, books and the action of reading is slowly becoming outdated. People, myself included, enjoy sitting down Friday night to watch a movie or scrolling mindlessly through your phone. Not many people these days can admit that they’ve read for an entire day or spent all their money at the bookstore.

Let’s be real, books are a dying art.

Some people believe that in twenty years libraries won’t exist anymore. Why get the physical copy and spend the time driving there when you can just download it from your kindle? Or even better, why bother spending money on a book.

You could buy clothes or food with the money. Don’t waste it on something you might hate.

Why read the book when you can just watch the movie? It’s the same, right? I don’t want to spend all day inside staring at words on a page, I’d rather look at a pixelated screen for ninety minutes.

I don’t want it to be that way. And I bet some of you would agree with me.

So today, let us collectively agree to never let books run dry. Start book clubs up at school, even if that means reading books that are at a lower level. Introduce easy-to-read chapter books to younger children. If you start them out at an early age, they could learn to love it.

And I know what it sounds like, you can’t force others to love books anymore than you can force me to like country music. But… you can spread your influence and hope that the little seed of bookish love you plant will blossom into a wonderful book-filled flower.

So I say to you, recommend your favourite books to others, drag friends into the library, and never watch the movie before reading the book.

That perfect sad scene that gets you every time

I’m going to bet that every single reader here has cried over a book at one point in their life. And I’m certain that every single writer has cackled aloud when writing a sad scene.

Well, today I going to dive deep into the sad scene, and why it renders us speechless and teary-eyed.

Consider the timing in the novel. When does the scene hit us hardest? At the very beginning to hook us, or near the climax when we know the characters best?

Normally the latter.

If you hear about about a death in the world, you may feel a little sad and say, “oh, that’s sad.” But if tradegy strikes a loved one, you will weep, mourn, and empathize.

Let us use the anime, Your Lie in April for an example.

Your Lie in April is about a pianest Kōsei who falls in love with a violinist Kaori. There is a love triangle and lots of grief and tragedy. You cannot watch it without crying.

But the most important thing is the timing of each heart-wrenching conflict. The sad scenes won’t take place until we have had time to connect and relate with Kōsei.

Image result for your lie in april

So what can you take away from that writers, don’t throw sad scenes on the readers without showing them the characters first.

And readers, you will now know when a sad scene is going to happen. When you love the characters the most.

Secondly, it isn’t a sad scene if it doesn’t impact the characters deeply. You can’t write a somber event if it isn’t somber to the people.

Again with Your Lie in April. The fact that Kaori doesn’t love Kōsei back is heart breaking to every shipper out there and to Kōsei himself. All he wants is for someone to love him after the events of his childhood, yet the one person who has his heart won’t give theirs in return.

We know being loved is important to Kōsei and in turn we empathize with him.

And I’m not just talking love here. Maybe something the character is passionate about is stripped away. That could be sad to them. Or perhaps a big event happens that will impact them severely like a freak storm.

Image result for your lie in april

What a writer can take away: Make the sad scene matter to the characters.

What a reader can walk away with: I’m not entirely sure what to put here

Lastly, this character needs to react in some way. Will they fall to their knees and wail or will a single silent tear slowly roll down their cheek? There is no end to reactions.

Normally, it isn’t the event alone that will make a reader cry, but the reactions of those who were impacted.

Sure we’re sad that Kaori doesn’t love Kōsei, but it’s more sad when you add his shell-shocked reaction. The later feelings of longing, loneliness, and sorrow.

Image result for your lie in april wallpaper

The takeaway for the writers: Nail down those emotions and show strong reactions.

The take-out container for the readers: There needs to be emotion and you should be sharing the feelings with the characters.

For both the readers and writers: Watch Your Lie in April!

That is all I have to offer for you today. Have a lovely day!

Review of Beloved by Kaitlyn Krispense

Oh how I loved this book!

The words were so wonderfully written and I can’t get enough of Enrich and Peter and Cara.

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Life without love is hopeless. 

Foster teen Cara Richards is unloved. With nothing left and nowhere to go, she is determined to find peace, no matter the cost. But despite her intentions, she’s tossed into another foster family and this time, there’s no going back to who she used to be. To make matters worse, one of her five new foster brothers is a Jesus freak, and she refuses to believe that God actually cares.

Her world is thrown upside down in a way she never expects. Though she prides herself on a resilient heart, her mind is lost adrift among a sea of questions: Is death really the answer? Does God care about someone as unworthy as me? Can everyone truly be loved, no matter what?

This book was given to me for free to review. Please don’t be offended by my thoughts and forgive any spoilers.

First off, the plot and events.

I really liked how Kaitlyn played off of Cara’s negative emotions and depression to lead her to Jesus. It was really touching and raw.

The foster family. I simply cannot get enough of them. You rarely get so tight knit families in YA fiction anymore, so I was really pleased with the Carlos family. All of the brothers and how they teased Cara endlessly, yet never hesitated to show her their love.

The characters!!! My favourite part of any book are always the characters. It’s so interesting to see what roles the author decides to do. And Beloved has quite the cast of characters

My personal favourite would either have to be Enrich or Fergus. They are so wonderful, funny, and loving. All of the brothers in the Carlos household are foster children, so they each have their own heartbreaking story to tell.

And as for content, there wasn’t any swearing or violence which was grand. Though I wouldn’t recommend it for very young readers because Cara tries to commit suicide and it isn’t the prettiest.

All around though, I would give this book five stars and a high five to Kaitlyn, the amazing author.

For those who entered the writing contest, please keep in mind your stories have to be sent in by March 12. We already have a few amazing stories and am always excited when a new entry comes. So keep on writing!

Have a lovely day everyone and don’t forget to check out Beloved!

Looking for an excuse to ignore your TBR?

Of course you are. Everyone is.

So today I present to you, a bunch of books to read. Because who reads the books on the glaring to-be-read pile?

For the fairytale/legend geeks:
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Hunted by Megan Spooner
  • Coral by Sara Ella
  • Doon by Lorie Langdon and Carey Corp
The let’s-destroy-society -and-die:
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Swipe by Evan Angler
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The intergalactic space ship controllers:
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott
  • The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber
  • I Am Number One by Pitticus Lore
  • Invasion by John S. Lewis
Elves, Middle Earth, second breakfast and everything else fantasy:
  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
  • Unblemished by Sara Ella
  • Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Your teenage novel with the cute girl next door and dark brooding bad boy:
  • Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon
  • 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Your Lie in April Naishi Arakawa
The supernatural:
  • Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
  • In 27 Days by Alison Gervais
  • Toward a Secret Sky by Heather McClean
  • The Siren by Kiara Cass
Everything else:
  • Hide and Seek by Mya Gray
  • Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kristen Miller
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lighting Thief
  • Romanov by Nadine Brandes

And that is all the books I have for you right now. I hope your TBR feels the neglectance.

So you want to write a book…

I would wager that over half of you guys are novelists. Dreamers, writers, cheaters of sleep. There are millions of ways to say it.

Every writer aspires to became the next J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan. They have the idea in their head, but their fingers fail to put that idea into words. Well, I have the solution for you.

Get your idea

Every great story starts with an idea, and I’m sure there are thousands of wonderful ideas bouncing around in your head. So pick one idea and stick to it.

Let’s say you decide to write a novel about a girl and her desire to bike across Canada. You have the main character and basic plot line already!

Flesh the idea out

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself when fleshing out a plot.

  • Who will the story be focusing on?
  • What is the character’s goal?
  • What/who will get in the way?
  • How will it end?

Yeah, that’s basically the summery of a best-selling novel right there. If you can answer all four questions then the only thing you need is to write it all out.

So this story will be about Meredith who wants to win a bike race across Canada. But then there’s a guy named Tommy who keeps sabotaging her equipment and causing all kinds of trouble. And the story ends with Tommy bing caught and Meredith winning the race.

By now the novel is half written.

Write, don’t write, and stress about writing

Now for everyone’s favorite and most awaited part of the process. The action of sitting down at your desk ready to write and ending up staring at a blank page for two hours and falling down internet rabbit holes.

For draft one I would advise to write whatever comes to mind. Write and write and write no matter how awful it may be later. The important thing to keep in mind is that you can always come back another time.

Edit the beast

So now all your sleepless nights have paid off and you’re holding a completed first draft. Great.

Go throw that draft in the shredder and whatever words come out whole are the lucky few who don’t see the delete button.

Just kidding. But it is time to get out the red pen and make all the corrections and critques. That includes lots and lots of re-writing, groaning at stupid spelling mistakes, or frantic brain actitivy when you try to remember the eye color of extra man on the left who you gave a whole backstory to one night.

If you’re real brave, you can even throw the book out to beta readers and let them pick it apart. And after months of rewriting, you’ll be left with maybe 0.001% of the oringal story. You believe in your abilites, think this story will never get better, and am certian Meredith’s journey is something everyone needs in life.

That’s when you hit the fork in the road.


Do you take traditional publishing and risk every publisher rejecting your small child, or do you self-publish and risk having boxes of books sitting in your garage because no one bought a copy? That is the question of the century.

I would reccomend looking into both options before choosing the one you think would work best.

And that my friends, is how to write a novel.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day and writes those first words of chapter one.