My ebook ‘Colours’ is free for one more day

I know I have already mentioned this (about my e-book being free) but just in case anyone has missed my messages, I have no problem with doing a little bit more shameless self-promotion. 🙂

So here it is again: My e-book ‘Colours’, which is an anthology of thirteen fiction stories, is free on Amazon for the rest of today. I may be biased, and in fact I almost certainly am, but I think it is pretty good, and while it is free you have the opportunity to test whether I am biased or not at completely no risk to your wallet.

If you like it, I would love to see a review from you and I also have another e-book ‘Fantasies and fairytales’ that is available on Amazon for $1.39. It is more of a genre based one (fantasy and fairytale as indicated by the title whereas the ones in ‘Colours’ are more set in realistic environments).


Rachel Towns

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Free ebook. Free for two days.

Hello everyone,

My ebook ‘Colours’ an anthology of thirteen fiction stories, is free on Amazon for the next two days. Please feel free to download a free copy, though if you want to support me monetarily it is only $1.49 and a wait of two days ;). I’m happy either way.

I would also love it if you could also give me a review on Amazon to help more people pick it.


Rachel Towns

Ps. If you like it you may also like my other ebook of fantasy short stories called ‘Fantasies and fairytales’. It is $1.39 at the moment.

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More story ideas – Movies and sound

It’s funny how much movies can influence our writing. I am not suggesting this (in some horrifying way) to indicate that movies are better than books. I am an unashamed and desperately proud reader of books and so, often, I find that movies as adaptations of literature (not that I don’t enjoy in movies in their own right) are inferior to the original book. This doesn’t mean that they can’t have their own elusive powerfulness, for if nothing else there is the added visual element, which if used well can create an increased sense of drama and symbolism. One film that did this really well for me was Jane Eyre (2006) the BBC miniseries which used the colour red as a symbol of burgeoning and overweening passion in the female characters in the film. In small doses as in the neckerchief of Jane Eyre, it showed her awakening romantic interest, while the long red scarf fluttering from the walls of the tower at Thornbury Hall showed the excessive and overweening passions of Bertha Mason. Anyway that’s enough about colour, for although I can see the value in using it in your own writing as a symbol or a recurring theme, I don’t tend to do it myself alas (except usually by fortunate accident – and in the case of inspiration for my eBook ‘Colours’ an anthology of short stories…. boy I am starting to sound like a hypocrite).

So as a writer I can certainly see the value in using films and some of their specific elements to help my creative process. One of the things that I like the most about films (as a writer) is their use of sound: the different noises and music that we hear in a film can create different emotions, set the film’s pace, identify genres and even help us to connect to the film long after we have stopped watching it (whenever we hear that song again). I often use sound to help me with my writing. I kind of see it as a soundtrack to my writing, just as films (and games) have a soundtrack to their movie (or game).

When we watch films, the soundtrack used is often one that either seamlessly flows through the action (John Williams stirring soundtrack to Star Wars) or which jars with it dramatically (such as the 1950’s style soundtrack in the game Fallout 3 set in a post-apocalyptic society).

Sometimes I find that when I want to write in a particular genre it helps me to listen to music from that genre. It helps to keep the writing focused in the direction that I want it to go in my head. So let’s say if I want to write a sci-fi piece I might listen to the soundtrack of Tron because the electronic sounds and noises creates a visual image for me of a futuristic time period, while if I am writing something more rom-com I would try to listen to boppy romantic songs such as the Wedding singer soundtrack to keep me in that happy frame of mind. Sometimes songs can help influence the pace or the emotion, so if you choose a song from a fast-paced car scene from the Expendables or Transporter, it is going to be easier to write faster yourself because the music is inspiring you to move your fingers quicker and your heart to beat faster to mimic the tempo of the action. While the soundtrack for The Mission with songs like ‘Gabriels oboe’ can move between the hauntingly sad to the quietly upbeat. Whenever I am writing sad, I tend to put The Mission on (despite never having seen the actual film).

Sometimes as I suggested with the use of jarring soundtracks, it can be good to listen to something completely other to what you are writing. A classical song while writing about a murder (this was used in A Clockwork Orange) might help you in that direction yourself. The sense of dislocation between the sound you hear and what you are writing about can help to transmit that not quite right feeling into the story or novel you are writing.

You don’t need to use a film soundtrack that has already been created to help you with your writing, although it can often be easier to find one that is already set up and you already have a connection to. You can use any songs that help you to create your masterpiece. I pick and choose myself what works depending on what I am writing and what I feel that day.

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‘Colours’ eBook

Hi everyone,

My second ebook ‘Colours’ an anthology of thirteen fiction stories based around different colours is now on Kindle, you can buy it through Amazon.

I am pretty excited about it and I would love to get some feedback.

Colours is an anthology of thirteen different stories which explore the power of colours in shaping memories, connections and experiences. These stories range from the sweet with ‘Mr. Lavender’ about Mr. Lavender, a man who is remembering his first love, to the sad with ‘Sepia Memory Thief’ about Alannah a woman who losing her memories, to the empowering with ‘An Old Brown Suit’ where Esther, the local school teacher, is encouraged to think about the world in a different way.

Available through the Kindle bookstore on Amazon. Please use the link below:


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Structuring writing

There are  four  basic things that I think everyone should include in their writing. In fact I like to think that a piece of writing is DEAD without them. That is why I use the acronym DEAD. Also it was really handy that the combination of words worked really well in that way. Most good writers already use these elements in their writing and that’s one of the reasons why they are so good, but people who are beginning often forget one or more of these elements. (These aren’t restrictions of course and there certainly may be particular artistic reasons that make you exclude one of these points but otherwise you should kind of see this as a checklist of things to include).

D – Description – describe people, places, events. Without description we don’t know where or how to place your story. Although every reader is going to place their own visual landscape on your creation, it is still good to give them some signposts, even if they end up ignoring them (I still remember  reading blog posts after The Hunger Games film came out and how many people said that they didn’t care about Rue dying anymore when she was cast as a black girl in the film, despite the fact that she was always represented as black in  the book. Argh those people were both racist and crazy.)

E – Emotion / thinking – We should see your character’s emotions or thoughts. This doesn’t meant that you need to include every thought that they may have ever had and it also doesn’t mean that you can’t hide things from the audience as a twist (Agatha Christie has done this quite well a couple of times). It just means letting the audience see enough inside the character that they emotionally connect. One of the advantages of books over films is that inner monologue r that inner reasoning that you can have on a page, but which is harder to show in filming without using odd and unwieldy techniques (like voice overs). When you are referring to character’s emotions though it is often more important to show rather than to tell us. “Tears welled up in her eyes” is going to be better than “she was sad.” Think about how we show different emotions and then how your character would show emotions. They may be restrained or over the top.

A – Action – Please have something happen in your story. It doesn’t have to be something big, we don’t all need to write about zombie apocalypses or Armageddon, especially if that isn’t your cup of tea. You can still have action when you are talking about events that are happening in a small village, in a relationship, in a family. They could be embarrassing things like walking on stage with your knickers out or a small car accident where no-one is injured. Having these things are good as they not only give your story some pep, but they also give your characters something to react to.

D – Dialogue. One of the biggest things that you need to create for your characters is dialogue, the words that they speak to each other. This is a good spot to really identify some things about your character without necessarily going out and deliberately pointing them out. Giving them an accent (which you show with your writing eg. She be a wee bairn (could suggest Scottish) or the use of slang words like ‘uni’ and ‘arvo’ (to suggest Australian), while olden day language like ‘Whether tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of misfortune’ may suggest either an olden day person or that someone is performing in a play, even whether they talk a little or a lot can shape their character. It is also important to remember that we tend to talk differently to different people. With your friends you are going to be more relaxed, with easy teasing language that might include swearing while you might be less inclined to swear when you are talking to your Nanna. The way you present your character at work than when they are at home can also be dramatically different. But above all you must have your characters talk to each other.

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Writers block

I am currently struggling through a small period of writers block. I know that this will only be for a short period, (because it usually is) but it is always frustrating when it happens, especially when you have a good idea for an anthology (of short stories) and feel like the ideas should be flowing a lot easier than they are. Part of this difficulty arises from being a parent and having some of the distractions that I didn’t have before… So that leads to this post. Trying to list the ways to inspire myself to write.

So what are some of the ways to keep writing when inspiration is lacking:

1. Go to websites that list current anthologies that are looking for submissions and check out their themes for ideas. (Duotrope and Ralan are good websites that I have used to find anthologies that are looking for submissions)

Maybe they have a theme like the ‘future worlds’ or ‘Appalachian region history’. Try and think of what directions you might take that. You might research the area, if you are unfamiliar with it and see if inspiration arrives

2. Read through history.

Reading interesting stories from history are good as research for writing your own piece set in that time period, but can also be inspiration for retelling their story, or for writing a well-known story from another perspective or for seeing different ways in which the world has been viewed. The great thing is with history is that there are do many locations and dates that you can choose from eg. Medieval Germany, ancient China, Victorian Britain. You could even transport some ideas to an alternate timeline of your own fantasy world.

3. Read the books that you like yourself.

Then think about what you like to read and try to work out what in particular you like about those stories: Does the genre inspire you? (What features do they have? Maybe something stands out as of particular interest), Does the character appeal to you? (What about them? Rebellious/conformative, their dialogue, their relationships, appearance. Try and pick this feature to use in your own writing).

There are lots of other things that could be interesting to you about how they write. So maybe try writing in their style to see if that works for you.

4. The most important thing above all others: Write!

Even though you might be feeling writers block it is better to write something, even if you end up deleting most of it, than to write nothing. The more writing you do, the easier it gets and the more you write the more you notice what works and what doesn’t. Give yourself the freedom to get it wrong at first, because no one was ever perfect straight away. But the more you write the more your writing will get better.

PS Another idea could also be moving from project to project. Sometimes if you have more than one project it means that if you can’t think of what to write for one novel you know for the next novel or for the next short story, or play or poem. Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday, which may explain why after writing this I am starting to feel a little more inspired than I did before (despite having a toddler climb over me and having to read nursery rhymes during the creation of this blog) 🙂

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‘Fantasies and fairytales’ my ebook.

Hi everyone,

I have recently self-published an ebook of short stories on Amazon called ‘Fantasies and fairytales’. I would really like some people to get a copy so I am making it free tomorrow and the next day (Sunday 18th and Monday 19th of January 2015). The normal price is $1.39USD so if nothing else you could see it as saving yourself some money. 🙂

If you could get a copy and if at all possible if you could write me a review that would be absolutely fantastic and muchly appreciated. The stories are a range of fantasy and fairy tale stories (as indicated by the title of the book) and they range from the short to the long so you could pick and choose the ones you read dependent on the time you have available.

Fantasies and fairytales ebook

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