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Figurative Language – Writing Tips

Ways to use language in literature.

There are many ways in which we can convey meaning within our writing, figurative language uses words to deviate from their literal interpretation to achieve either a powerful effect, or a subtle nuanced one. Writers use techniques such as metaphors to create powerful imagery with in their settings, adding depth and substance, whilst playing with the sound and flow of the words.

What’s the most common method of figurative language you use in your writing? And what would you like to explore more of? Share your preferred writing style with me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.

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Discovering my story’s premise

Every story has a beating heat. And though every story has been written before, it has not been written by you. Therefore, each story takes on a unique premise. Now I’ve hear this a million times, but honestly I’ve only just grasped the concept. The importance of hooking readers with the premise, by either immediately revealing it or by sowing the seeds throughout the opening pages. Allowing the premises butterfly effect to ripple through your story.

If you like, it’s the first building block of your story. I thought I knew my story. I thought I’d nailed my hook. I was wrong.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

If you’re struggling to identify your premise, then read this great post on: How to Find Exactly the Right Story Hook by Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s written eloquently with great examples. Honestly K.M Weiland is my go to bible for writing tips.

I didn’t know this until I sent my submission package to a literary agent to be critiqued. A service Writers & Artists provide. I’d come to a dead end with my first MS. It has been rejected by 30 agents with no feedback. It was either shelve it and focus on my second novel, or give it one last attempt. And I’m not a quitter.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

So I took a bold move and opened myself up to feedback from Sallyanne Sweeney from MMB Creative. She taught me a valuable lesson about the first few chapters. I hadn’t introduced the premise. I hadn’t introduced my hook. Therefore, I hadn’t rewarded my readers with the foreshadowed inciting moment. Which also came in too late, chapters 4 and 5. Huge mistake!

I had opened with a fast paced scene believing that was the premise. Wrong. It was simply the first domino effect of my story. Then my story floundered to world build, without teasing the reader with my premise. Therefore the story lacked enough tension to drive the plot forward to the all-important inciting moment. The protagonists call to adventure.

Now, I knew what was coming… but my readers had no clue…. worse still, they might have given up and put the book down.

Once I discovered my premise, the revisions came easily. And now the antagonist, the conflict and goal are easily identified within the first few paragraphs. And my story is much stronger for it.

Thanks for reading and best of luck with your WIP. Remember, failure is proof that you’re trying. Don’t ever be afraid to grow and learn. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

 

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

How to Hook an Agent

This year I’m jumping a massive fear hurdle. In April I’m heading down to London to an event by Writers & Artists at Bloomsbury. I’ll join four literary agents who’ll enlighten me on How to Hook an Agent. The talks will include; how to know when your novel is ready, advice on how to pitch your novel, and the agents will tell us what submissions have appealed to them, with examples. This is followed by the opportunity for networking, and I’ll have my first one-to-one pitch session. Eek!

I can’t tell you how excited I am. Thanks to Ari Meghlen for her fantastic critiquing, and thanks to Judith Barrow for her Creative Writing workshops and her unwavering belief in my work. I’m finally ready to charm the pants off of the unsuspecting agents by revealing my first novel in the Shadow Knight Series. (Gulp)

All bravado aside, I’m dreading this verbal pitch. I’ve tweaked my original pitch to an unrecognisable mush of words. I could always wait for the event and see what the professionals have to say, but we all know I need to walk in there prepared.

 

Conquer fear Author Lorraine Ambers

Instead, I’ve turned to my fellow bloggers for advice which I’m happy to share with you.

A pitch should address five specific elements.

  • What is the title, genre, and word count?
  • What is the setting?
  • Who is the protagonist?
  • What is his conflict?
  • What does she have to do to overcome this conflict?

An important question to consider is what makes your book different from similar books within your genre. In business terms what is its USP – Unique Selling Point. Identify that and you’re on to a winner.

Remember that a one-to-one pitch is a two-way conversation, therefore it’s likely that you’ll be asked questions. They could be:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What else are you working on?
  • Why do you write?
  • Where did this story come from?
  • How does your book fit into the market
  • What authors do you compare to?
  • Who are your favourite authors?

At conferences and events, there’ll be the chance to ask them questions too. They might be:

  • About the industry
  • The process of the transition from writer to published writer
  • Their style as an agent
  • About the craft

The most important piece of advice that I’ve found is that practice makes perfect. Pitch aloud, in the mirror, and to anyone willing to listen. Until the pitch sounds natural, not stunted. Until the words flow without thought or hesitation.

Remember, agents are normal people. Relax, smile and enjoy the event. Even if all you’re doing is learning from your mistakes for future success. We’re only human after all.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Have any of my fellow writers pitched to agents? If so, do you have any additional advice to share? I’d love to hear from you, don’t be shy and comment below. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Blurb

The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:

Opens at Nightfall, Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.

Le Cirque des Rêves – The Circus of Dreams.

Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.


I award this novel 5 stars.

My Review of Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel – The Night Circus.

The Night Circus is imaginative, dark and magical. A mix of fantasy and realism that portrays a tale of coming-of-age. The novel is thrillingly wonderfull, a delicate blend of romance and friendship. It fired up evocative images, played to my senses and delivered me into the marvellous world of The Night Circus.

I read this book when I was in Disney World. The magic and tantalising playfulness of the creation blended seamlessly with my holiday. In fact, it heightened my experience. Each caramel popcorn stall I passed reminded me of the vibrant story. The acrobats performing at the Cirque du Soleil blurred with vivid tale of The Night Circus. In the day I was transported into childlike wonder and at night Erin’s debut novel whisked me away, with the rich tapestry of her character’s lives.

I adore the book cover, with its timeless beauty, simplicity and cleverly designed intricate details. Simply stunning!

Throughout my holiday I carried the book in my heart and soul. Like the Reveres in the story, I too fell in love with the fantastical circus.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think and do you have any similar favourites? Let me know I love hearing from you.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This fantastic book was lent to me by a wonderful bookshop owner in my home town. He has a particular fondness of fantasy novels and has dedicated a large bookshelf to that genre. I was surprised to find I’d already read a considerable amount off of that shelf. I found in his collection The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien and snapped up the copy.

The bookshop guy didn’t have any Neil Gaiman’s books in store to sell. But he happily lent me his copy of The Ocean at the end of the lane. So, thank you kind bookshop owner. He made my day with his generosity, for lending me a novel that I’m sure will stay with me until the end of time.

Blurb.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

My review.

This novel is awarded 5 stars

The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman is a flashback to a childhood of forgotten memories. It’s beautiful, gritty and evocative. Highly imaginative, with gripping tension that captured my attention from start to finish. I devoured this book within a day.

A friend of mine said, ‘I love Neil Gaiman, the only problem with his books is that they’re too short. I wish he’d write bigger books.’

I’d have to agree. The story was creative beyond my wildest imaginings but grounded with its possibilities. From myth to fable, Gaimen tips his hat to great literature and all done through the eyes of a seven-year-old.

Even though the novel is portrayed through a young character, I felt honored to recollect the vivid imaginings and scary possibilities of being vulnerable and at the mercy of adults. I think that’s what resonated most with me.

I’m set on having all of Gaiman’s novels for my collection. My local bookshop is set to become one of my favorite places. The only trouble is, where am I going to keep all my books. I’ll add a library/office to my wish list.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

What author have you discovered that surprised and delighted you? Do you have a story of random kindness? Share them with me – I’d love to hear about it.

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017.
Review Heartless Marissa Meyer Author Lorraine Ambers Fantasy romance YA

Review Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Blurb

Review Heartless Marissa Meyer Author Lorraine Ambers Fantasy romance YALong before she was the Queen of Hearts, Catherine Pinkerton was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

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I award this novel 4.5 stars

Review:

It was the cover that first caught my attention. It’s simply beautiful and once I’d learnt that this was a rendition inspired by my favourite classic novel ‘Alice in Wonderland’ I was sold.

Having grown up knowing what a furious character the Queen of Heart’s was. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved Catherine. She’s sweet as the cakes she makes, whilst also being loyal, brave and an avid daydreamer – like me. I started the story knowing that Cath was once a girl in love. That her heartbreak would be the catalyst to becoming the heartless Queen. I was intrigued to learn how the journey transpired. All the while, the hopeless romantic in me desperately wanted her and Jest to make it.

It’s a tale of social standing, where Cath’s wishes are disregarded for her duty. It casts a light on the heavy burden of wanting to follow your heart, over what is expected of you. Even though this novel is inspired by the Edwardian period, it still holds weight in society today.

I loved meeting my favourite characters like Hatta and Mr Caterpillar again and seeing them in a slightly different light. And getting the world introduced to me from a slightly different angle. Whilst maintaining the whimsical elements that drew me to the original.

Marissa Meyer has an extraordinary gift for regaling the original characters, I heard their voices in the same manner as when reading Lewis Carroll’s novel. Marissa interwove the tiniest details and made them key players in her story, like the pocket watch, roses and maze. Every new character was worthy of the magical realm.

Jest is charismatic, magical and mysterious, an interesting cocktail for any reader. I just loved every delicate interaction between him and Cath. Their dialogue had me on the edge of my seat with anticipation.

This made the tale bitter-sweet and intoxicating. Knowing what the outcome must be but desperately wanting to believe in the impossible, like Alice herself.

I’m glad we got to see Cath’s fall from grace. Of how her heart shattered. Because reading the pain and sorrow shapes Cath into the Queen we love to hate. The satisfying transformation to a bitter, short tempered, cold mistress who governs the realm of Hearts.

The story is positively perfect in every way.

If you’re also a fan, stop by and say hello. Or if you loved this book and know of similar romance fantasies, then please let me know. I can’t get enough of them. Thanks for reading and have a great day. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance
© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
The Iron Queen Iron Fey series Julie Kagawa Lorraine Ambers review YA fantasy romance

#Review The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey Book 3) by Julie Kagawa

Book Blurb

The Iron Queen Iron Fey series Julie Kagawa Lorraine Ambers review YA fantasy romanceIn less than twenty-four hours I’ll be seventeen. Although, technically, I won’t actually be turning seventeen. I’ve been in the Nevernever too long.

When you’re in Faery, you don’t age. So while a year has passed in the real world, agewise I’m probably only a few days older than when I went in. In real life, I’ve changed so much I don’t even recognize myself. MY NAME IS MEGHAN CHASE. I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

THIS TIME, THERE WILL BE NO TURNING BACK.

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I award The Iron Queen 5 stars

This is book 3 of the Iron Fey and my favourite out of the series. Julie’s stories are similar to my own in regards to the retelling of faery tales. The good pace and immediate action, hold the reader captivated from start to end. Her books echo the epic, fantasy element of my own work, which is what interested me in the first place.

Megan Chase is a great character with a strong internal voice that carries us through the book. In this story she learns to fight, wanting to hold her own in battle and not rely on the strength of Ash or her best friend Puck. She also needs to master her powers that are a contradiction to each other, the power of the iron and summer.

What I loved: The banter between Ash and Puck, it kept the obvious rivalry for Megan interesting and not at all tedious. In this novel, Ash and Megan’s relationship is beautifully interwoven into the story. It was the perfect blend of romance in an epic tale. Ash is silent and lethal yet his affection for Megan is genuine. I swooned over this male. Oh my!!

The worlds have an Alice in Wonderland feel. In particular the Trods and Grimalkin, who reminded me of the Cheshire Cat. Grim has realistic animal mannerisms. He exudes the aloof, smugness of a cat. Coming and going as he pleases. (Just like my Jaspurr.)

I loved the unusual and unique realms; they were beautiful and richly described. The premise of the Iron fey is original and a great concept in relation to the whimsical more traditional faery. in myth the fey are afraid of iron, Julie created a world where the iron Fey were born from the growing use of machines. Gremlins and bugs clash with the winter and summer courts, all lurking behind our world, disguised by glamour.

What I disliked: This book is too similar to book 1, The Iron King. The plot and battle are virtually identical down to the settings. Although, I think The Iron Queen is intricate and alluring. The final battle scene was melodramatic and boring. I must admit, I skipped forward a paragraph or two until the event was over.

With that being said, I actually started with book 3 and bought the whole series. That’s how invested I was in the characters and their journey. I was dying to know how Megan and Ash met and what will happen to them. I haven’t read The Iron Knight yet… So many books, so little time.

A fantastic read for fans of faerie fantasy that is firmly rooted in the realm of believably. With great characters and spectacular realms full of magic and wonder. It’s not at all like the Disney Tinkerbell movies. Yes, I’ve watched them all (with my kids).

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© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.