Rock The Vault: Celebrating The Urban And Rural Setting Thesaurus Duo

Becca and Angela, authors of the Emotion Thesaurus, and Positive and Negative Trait Thesauri are back with their new duo the Settings Thesauri.

As we storytellers sit before the keyboard to craft our magic, we’re usually laser-focused on the two titans of fiction: plot and character. There’s a third element that impacts almost every aspect of the tale, one we need to home in on as well: the setting.

The setting is so much more than a painted backdrop, more than a stage for our characters to tromp across during the scene. Settings, when used to their full advantage, can characterize the story’s cast, supply mood, steer the plot, provide challenges and conflict, trigger emotions, help us deliver those necessary snippets of backstory, and that’s just scratching the surface. So the question is this: how do we unleash the full power of the setting within our stories?

Well, there’s some good news on that front. Two new books have released this week that may change the description game for writers. The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces and The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces look at the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds a character might experience within 225 different contemporary settings. And this is only the start of what these books offer writers.

In fact, swing by and check out this hidden entry from the Rural Setting Thesaurus: Ancient Ruins.

And there’s one more thing you might want to know more about….

Rock_The_Vault_WHW1Becca and Angela, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, are celebrating their double release with a fun event going on from June 13-20th called ROCK THE VAULT. At the heart of the Writers Helping Writers site is a tremendous vault, and these two ladies have been hoarding prizes of epic writerly proportions.

A safe full of prizes, ripe for the taking…if the writing community can work together to unlock it, of course.

Ready to do your part? Stop by Writers Helping Writers to find out more!

Posted in Advice and resources, On Writing Tagged with: , , ,

5 ways writers use Instagram

5 ways writers use Instagram


  1. Photo prompts, these are great fun. Some are one-off like #maythe4thbewithyou and others will run for an entire month like#BooktoberFest
  2. Create your own prompt, it’s allowed. Look at how others are doing it, join in a few and then launch your own. Pick a topic that will bring in people relevant to your interest/theme etc, not something random.
  3. Comment, don’t just like. Likes are great, but comments are better. Again, it’s all about being part of the conversation.
  4. Ask questions when you post a new photo. Get people involved in your images by asking them a question like “have you ever done that, or is it just me?”, “Has anyone else got a similar photo to share?”
  5. Share your life, people want to peak into your windows and see how you live and work, so give them a little to keep them wanting more. This could be photos of your workspace, a blurry photo of your manuscript, the cafe you flee to on Thursday mornings, just make it a little personal without oversharing.

Bonus – If your muse has taken wing and headed out into the big blue room then scour Instagram images for a burst of fresh inspiration.

Posted in Tools Tagged with: , ,

5 ways writers use Twitter

5 ways writers use Twitter
  1. Hashtag search, you can find a great range of topics to read about and engage in this way
  2. Twitter Chats – #IndieChat#CreativeCoffeeHour, and #StorySocial to name a few
  3. Don’t just repost blog articles, try for something more personal like

    hey .@blotsandspots loved your point about tweeting conversation links

  4. Get involved in the conversation, talk to people, don’t just like their post, comment on it
  5. Search for experts, this is a great way to find accurate information from professionals regarding a wide range of topics you might be using in your stories. Find a deep sea diver, a neurosurgeon, a barrister or a stay-at-home-mum by searching for those terms and then filtering through to people. It’s also a great way to network with other writers.

BONUS: Twitter conversations can make a great stand in for your MIA muse. Find a random tweet and use it as a story starter. This is a great way to find a new characters voice.

Takeaway – get involved in the conversation, use the search tools to your advantage
What are some of the ways you use Twitter to enhance your writing?
Posted in Tools Tagged with: , , ,

5 Twitter chats you shouldn’t be missing


Twitter chats you shouldn't be missing


Being a writer can be a lonely occupation, especially if you work from home and your muse decides to take a nap whilst abandoning you in a remote part of New Zealand, all alone. It can become impossible to meet like-minded people, especially fellow writers in such a setting.

If you find yourself cut-off from your peers and want to make a connection once in a while, then Twitter chats might be your ideal solution.


“What is a Twitter chat,” you ask.

It’s a conversation with like-minded individuals held over Twitter (surprise!). Participants use a hashtag created by the chat hosts (read on to hear more). They can be intimidating and confusing at first, but with the right tools and a little practice they became great fun and a fantastic way to meet other writers, share ideas, network and feel part of a wider, vibrant community; without ever leaving your computer screen. It’s perfect for introverts and the otherwise socially awkward because nobody can see you squirm or flounder.

Some chats are one-off, and you have to be in-the-know to hook in at the right time, but there are several regular chats that I’ll recommend in a little while. These chats are hosted by a regular team and will take place at a set day and time every week/month so participants can plan ahead. I now have several reminders in my calendar of the ones I regularly attend so that I don’t forget amidst the hula-bulu of #life.


How to participate

I recommend tooling up for the job. Some participants recommend TweetDeck, but I prefer Hootsuite (as I’m already using it for other tasks). Both tools have a learning curve, and you will need to spend some time playing around with them. Connect your chosen tool to your Twitter account and spend some time exploring. One of the first things I did was to set up a few streams based on hashtags you want to follow on a general basis like #amwriting, #writechat, #nanowrimo, etc. You can use the tools to monitor those conversations, respond to people’s posts or make your own; these are open conversations that can often feel like #ScreamingIntoTheVoid, but they can still be interesting to see what other people are saying on topics that interest you.

Once you feel comfortable with creating streams, enter in the hashtags (below) for the chats, you would like to follow. When the live chat session begins you will see everyone’s tweets appear in the order, they were posted, and you can just read your way up the list as new ones appear. It’s totally okay to spend a few sessions just lurking, following the conversation and getting a feel for how it all works.

Once you are familiar with your tools and are ready to add your two-cents, just join in. Many chats are written in a question/answer format where the host will ask everyone a question like:

Q1. Who’s your fav author #twitterchathashtag

Participants will respond in kind by either quoting the original post or just tweeting their answer:

A1. Robin Hobb #twitterchathashtag

Just make sure if you want others to see your post in the conversation you must use the chat hashtag in your post, otherwise, your response will appear on your feed but not as part of the overall conversation.

Bonus tip

If you want everyone in the chat to see your response to an individual place a ‘.‘ in front of their name like .@wovendream instead of simply @wovendream it will ensure everything you say stays part of the conversation, which is the point.


5 Twitter Chats for Writers

1. #StorySocial

When: Wednesdays 6 pm PST/8 pm CST/9 pm EST/ Tuesday 1 pm NZT (New Zealand Time)

Hosted by: Jenny Bravo (@blotsandplots) and Kristen Kieffer (@shesnovel)

Focus: Networking, building an author platform, branding, promotion and general business side of being a writer

2. #CreativeCoffeeHour

When: Mondays 6 pm PST/8 pm CST/9 pm EST/ Sunday 1pm NZT

Hosted by:  Callie Gisler (@calliegisler)

Focus:  Not specifically for writers, this chat brands itself as “Helping creatives build purpose-filled, strategy-powered blogs and businesses.” This is a great chat for learning how others are doing things online, learning about new tools and helping newbies to find their way around blogging for business.

3. #FireworkPeople

When: Tuesdays at 6 p.m. PST/8 p.m CST/9 p.m. EST/ Monday 1pm NZT

Hosted by@ashleybeaudin

This is a fantastic space to be enlivened, encouraged and energised by other writers. Shed self-doubt and self-flagellation exercises by hanging out with these lovely folks for an hour.

4. #IndieChat

When: Tuesdays at 1 p.m. PST/3 p.m. CST/ 4 p.m. EST/ Monday 8am NZT (great for sitting down at the start of the week with that first cup of coffee/tea)

Hosted by: CEO of @Bibliocrunch@miralsattar

This is one for the self-publishing crowd. If you are keen on learning more about self-publishing or already dedicated to the cause then this is the group to visit for all things promotional and publishing related. They will get you in the know about creating a team, navigating social media and more. I’ve only lurked on the fringes on this one myself, slowly loading my holster with bullets of knowledge for the future.

5. #createlounge

When: Wednesdays 5 pm PST/ 7 pm CST/8 pm EST/ Tuesday 12 pm NZT

Hosted by@kayla_hollatz

This group can get pretty big and pretty confusing so I don’t suggest you start here. Get your feet wet in a smaller chat first or you may feel like you’re drowning in this big pool. Once you know how to navigate the waters though this is a great place for building “on topic” friendships.

Please let me know of any other chats you find worthwhile and add your voice to the recommendations above, which one’s your fav?

You can follow me on twitter @wovendream

Posted in Advice and resources, My rambling thoughts, Tools Tagged with: , , , ,

10 reasons why I’m #notwriting

We all want to fill our social networks with #amwriting. That legendary hashtag that tells the world we are neck deep in prose, digging into the psyches of our characters and refining our scenes, however, far too often we find our muse has left the building, not note, no forwarding address.
Here are 10 reasons why, when my muse flees the scene, I’m more liable to use the hashtag #notwriting, what are yours?
1) One of my chronic health conditions are flaring up
2) I procrastinate by focussing on the needs of my son or husband
3) I get distracted by learning something new (ohh shiny!)
4) My inner critic is kicking my ass
5) Life. The gardening needs to be done, housework is piling up, bills need to be paid, I really have to call my sister etc etc
6) I get overwhelmed by the dozens of projects I want to work on
7) Social Media
8) Obsessive compulsive reading
9) Writing the wrong things and the wrong time simply so I can fee like I’m putting words together into sentences and thus I’m being productive
10) Playing with the “pretty stuff”, website templates, photos, canva, etc.

Tweet: 10 reasons why I'm #notwriting instead of #amwriting Social Media - yeah, I might wanna look to that

Click the image to tweet
Posted in My rambling thoughts
Has anyone seen my muse
I am many things, among them mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, spoonie and most emphatically, writer. Read More

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