Why you should read bad books and watch bad films

If you want to write well, you’re told the best way to do this is to read good books and practice, practice, practice. What you’re not told to do is read the worst books ever written, but that is exactly what you should be doing.

Bad films are also good, especially if you enjoy writing screenplays or even filming and editing your own shorts. Why? Why am I telling you to waste your time on creations that should never have existed in the first place?

Because then you know exactly what NOT to do, which is arguably just as valuable as knowing what you should do. Continue reading

Why do I study biology instead of a writing degree?

Yup. This post is a day late. I’ve yet to purchase either time turner or Tardis, so such is my life.

Speaking of my life, what am I doing with it? I love stories above all else. I love to read and analyse and find patterns in plots and letters. People complain when we watch films together “Sonora, stop meta-watching”. So why am I not doing a literature degree? Or a creative writing degree? Or something “artsy”?

Well, here’s my rambling answer to that. If you’re currently trying to decide what to do with your life (i.e. what university degree to choose, or university versus all the million other things out there), then maybe my story will help you think about it. Continue reading

Am I a Writer?

Am I a Writer? - What is a 'real' writer and why you're allowed to call yourself one. https://sonorahillsauthor.com/

What is a writer? When can you call yourself one? And how do you get the world to?

We live in a world of titles, where the difference of a few words can offend or flatter–fire you or get you a job–make enemies or friends. Finding out who you are is a big part of accepting yourself, and telling others where your strengths lie or what your job is. But often, there’s a line between professional and unprofessional. If you took a summer course in first aid, you cannot call yourself a trauma surgeon–it wouldn’t make sense. But turn to creativity titles like youtuber or photographer, and the lines are very blurred. In many cases, I don’t think they even exist.

I call myself a writer. An author, even. Am I being presumptuous? Do I really “understand” what I’m talking about? Why am I not a bestseller? If I’m a writer, shouldn’t I at least learn how to write regularly scheduled blog posts?

Well… let’s discuss. What does it really mean to be a writer? Continue reading

Resolutions: why they matter to stories

2019 is right around the corner and the time for the obligatory New Year’s resolution has come. Did you make your’s last year, will you do so this year? Who knows–I hope you succeed–but regardless, life will go on.

Resolutions: why they matter to stories - The true drivers of plot and why they're important https://sonorahillsauthor.com/

This is not true in stories, where resolutions perpetuate everything. Resolutions are the fuel, the driving force–they are the plot. Without them, readers will lose interest. Continue reading

Literary Ethics–Age Restrictions and Writing Taboo Topics

Literary Ethics--should we subject books to the same age restrictions as films? https://sonorahillsauthor.com/Why don’t books have age restrictions?

Films do. Yes, you can buy that 18 and watch it at home in the secrecy of your room or let your kids watch it. But there is still a huge red number on the cover. Books occasionally have suggested reading ages, but for all intents and purposes, they have no age restrictions. Their content also has very little moderation.

A blind eye is turned on our “Teen novels”, classics, and especially self-published novels which often deal with disturbing, delicate topics like rape, violence against women and children, and minors having sex.

Is this okay? Continue reading

Quotes: parroted strings of meaningless clichés, or powerful gems from another’s mind?

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                               I like the implications of this quote: we use labels too simple to define us.

Social media seems to be fifty percent quotes these days.

Take Facebook for example–most of the posts I see in my feed are in the form of sentences written in curly letters across a picture. Most of these quotes are authorless with thousands of shares. I know some people who see these quotes and sigh, saying things like, “She has a strong, powerful voice of her own–why is she using these recycled clichés?” And I also know people who are passionate about quotes. They copy them down from books and conversations, TED talks and interviews, and love to share them with others.

What’s with all this quote sharing? Why are we doing it–are we sacrificing our voices to join the crowd or are we sharing the fact that we’re all humans with human emotions?

After thinking about this question, I’m not sure there’s an answer. But I did find some interesting points to ponder on. Continue reading

Whose Voice is That?

IMG_20170316_165432There are a multitude of things that make up a character. Physicality, goals, fears, and looks are just a few, but there’s a big one that often gets ignored.

Voice.

Sure, maybe it’s obvious when a character has a specific way of talking, but what about when the entire book is written in the main character’s voice? Sometime’s it’s really obvious, but other times it’s so subtle that the reader barely notices. Continue reading