Harperpages

The blog of author Harper Alexander


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Vote on your Favorite Cover!

Anyone care to weigh in on which cover would make YOU more likely to purchase the book?

Paradise Cover Comparison Lowres


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The Door at the End of the Hallway

This week’s writing prompt shall be…

Lined Paper Template

Feel free to post links to any resulting works in the comments. You may even get featured!

(This writing prompt is an original line by yours truly. I own the copyright, but grant anyone the right to use it as a starting point for their version of a correlating story. If you end up publishing anything that starts with/includes this line, or was inspired by it, it would be a good idea to go ahead and mention it was a writing prompt found at www.harperpages.wordpress.com, and published with permission!)


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The Creative Writer’s Handybook

Well, you might as well know, because it’s going to be published soon anyway – I’ve been working on a secret project, guys. Aside from the usual long list of fantasy/YA/dystopian/adventure novels I’m (supposed to be) working on, I’ve been putting together something of a different nature. Something NON-FICTION. We’re talking about a helpful handbook for creative writers!

It’s something that’s been on my mind as a vague project for quite some time, and recently I got inspired to start working on it, only to have it unfold double-time and produce itself with unexpectedly swift vigor. Who knew I had so much to say, and that it would be so much fun! I’m looking to release it next month. Some features of this handbook (which I have dubbed a ‘handybook’) include:

Writing prompts

Tips for Writer’s Block

Pep Talks

Gesture/Emotion Guides

Alternative Words for ‘Said’

Story-Crafting Advice

Quotes and Inspiration

Useful Publishing Links and Resources

A story by yours truly,  based on one of the writing prompts in the book

And more!

I’ve compiled it based on a mix of relevant blog posts I’ve already written on the subjects of creative writing and self-publishing, as well as new material I’ve put together based on things I’ve learned from others during my journey as an indie author. Lots of great stuff (if I found it helpful, I can only assume someone else might, too!) no matter what stage of the process you’re in, with a healthy dose of humor and of course the extra bonus of one of my short stories included at the end.

I’m really excited to share this project with you all! I plan to keep it on hand and continue to reference it to aide my writing process as well. Here’s a preview:

The Creative Writer's Handybook 3D


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Attention Disgruntled Writers: This is Your Pep Talk

Hey, you. Yes, you with the pen and pathetic blank paper. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and plunk down some words. Is your ink dried up? I didn’t think so.

You are a writer. Creator of worlds. You can do anything – literally anything – that you want, any time you please. You can make anything in the entire world, anything in your wildest dreams, happen in an instant, at any given moment. You can write it into existence. Bam.

Every bestseller was once a blank page. You have it in you to write the words that will be the next bestseller. They’re just words. Words that could be yours. Those words – they’re out there, floating in the stratosphere. All you have to do is claim them and write them on your paper. Say, that word is mine. That word, and that word, and that word. They’re mine, and I’m putting them on my paper. Then do it.

And keep doing it. Don’t stop, except to hydrate that impoverished brain of yours that’s 75% water, and to pee. Eat, if you must. But keep putting one word after another. That’s all it takes. 50,000 times. Maybe 100,000 or 200,000. Big deal. (Do I hear you complaining? Do I?! Drop and give me 20,000.)

What’s that? You dredged up some words, but they’re just not good enough? I don’t want to hear it. Not making forward progress is what’s not good enough. Rough drafts are okay. In fact, they’re crucial. How else are you supposed to go back and find the gaps to insert awesome plot twists and scenes that you dream up later, sparked by the atmosphere you’ve scarcely allowed to germinate? If, like me, you suffer from being a perfectionist, you will write a draft that is too neat and tidy to add anything to, and, let me tell you, neat and tidy do not make an end-all momentously awesome story worth bragging about. Ideas for awesome supporting scenes and plot twists thrive in the cauldron of Hindsight, when you’ve laid the groundwork (the bones that shape the beast) and can add muscle anywhere you want to support it and make it strong. Make it fierce. Make it a complex creature to be reckoned with.

Not allowing gaps for the muscle will stunt the beast’s growth. It will stifle its function. Do not do it.

Making everything seemingly connect and flow perfectly the first time around is actually hugely limiting. So for goodness’ sake, write a bad first draft. Please.

That’s not a request.

Drop and give me 20,000 more!

You don’t know where your story is going? Perfect. Then it doesn’t matter, does it? You can make it go anywhere. Literally anywhere. Easiest problem ever.

You hate your characters? Good. Make them hate themselves. It will give them some definition. Make them relatable.

Your plot is stupid? So are the plots of dozens of bestsellers. Don’t let that stop you.

You got a bad review? So has everyone else. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and write something better. (And haven’t you ever heard of any publicity is good publicity? Sheesh, stop being so picky.)

You didn’t meet a deadline? Get over it. Writers are infamous for that. All the more reason to write with gusto now.

You’ve written a first draft, a second draft, a third draft… You’ve poured your heart and soul into this thing, and it still isn’t cutting it? That’s what beta readers are for. Stop believing you should have all the answers. Gosh, how conceited are you?

Everyone hated your book – not just some people, but everyone. Now you know what not to do. (If you’re writing for yourself, who cares, and if you’re writing for an audience, take the criticism and use it to guide your next story. Or, if you’re a self-published author, simply rewrite the book. You have the power to do that, you know. No playing the victim.)

Drop and give me 10,000, at least!

Your story just keeps dragging on, longer and longer, with no end in sight and you wanted to have it published so you could be making money off of it already… Congratulations, you have enough material to split it into multiple books, and make more money than if you just sold it as one. Keep going. You may just have a whole series on your hands. When all of your fellow aspiring-author buddies proudly publish their debut novel, you’ll publish five. Boo-yah.

There are no excuses, Writer. You have a responsibility to the characters who are calling you to tell their stories. There are no dead-ends. Only periods at the end of a thousand-thousand sentences. There is no giving up. There is no stopping. Only pausing to lift your drained pen, and dip it again into the inkwell.

The pen is mightier than the sword. You are an ink-slewing gladiator, sitting intrepidly at a typewriter in an arena of demons and imaginary foes. They can’t touch you. You can kill them all with the stroke of a pen. They will fall at the feather-light touch of your quill.

So slay them, Writer, and use their blood for your ink.


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The Restless Mist (Writing Prompt)

This week’s writing prompt shall be…

Lined Paper Template

Feel free to post links to any resulting works in the comments. You may even get featured!

(This writing prompt is an original line by yours truly. I own the copyright, but grant anyone the right to use it as a starting point for their version of a correlating story. If you end up publishing anything that starts with/includes this line, or was inspired by it, it would be a good idea to go ahead and mention it was a writing prompt found at www.harperpages.wordpress.com, and published with permission!)


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Weekly Writing Prompt

This week’s writing prompt shall be…

Lined Paper Template

Feel free to post any resulting works in the comments. You may even get featured!

(This writing prompt is an original line by yours truly. I own the copyright, but grant anyone the right to use it as a starting point for their version of a correlating story. If you end up publishing anything that starts with/includes this line, or was inspired by it, it would be a good idea to go ahead and mention it was a writing prompt found at http://www.harperpages.wordpress.com, and published with permission!)