Goodreads Giveaway Draw starts December 8th!! Enter to win one signed copy of ‘Paradox of Freedom’

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Next Writer’s Block Meeting

Hi Everyone, I am a local author in Ajax Christine Iliadis. I have published, ‘Paradox of Freedom’. I am inviting Writers of any caliber to an open session where we all come together as a writing community to discuss writing stumbling blocks, provide encouraging feedback over a coffee on Wed Feb 8th@7 pm at the Ajax Library main branch on 55 Harwood avenue. It’s from 7-8:30 and please bring a notebook, pen and a fellow writer that you know. All my sessions are free.

Will you be able to make it this Wednesday? contact me: https://www.facebook.com/groups/christineswritersblock/

http://www.ajaxlibrary.ca/?q=node/746

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky!

 

As I gazed up at the sky while sitting on my deck, sipping a cup of coffee, waiting for a stroke of genius to finally fill that place where the cursor once flashed at me from my laptop. It occurred to me that the parallelism between being a writer and the mighty sky is overwhelming. The sky is my safe haven. So while others try to reach it; I will kiss it!

A Writers struggle is as endless as the sky. We cope with poverty as we write our first draft of our masterpiece. Then we are faced with self-criticism as we edit our own work realizing that nothing is as it seems and our passion is as unending as the sky itself. This is similar to how we strive to complete the best query for a potential publisher, only to have it rejected. Our persistence must be fierce, relentless and inexhaustible as is the sky.

Writers must have a universal abundance of imagination as there is a universal abundance of sky that encompasses our Earth. The creativity that flows from a writer has to be unlimited in order for infinite possibilities to surface. We need to be able to have timeless determination as we face the challenges of cycles that we go through as a writer between writer’s block and negative reactions from others’. We must be persistent as the sky persists to accept dusk till dawn cycles with timeless repetition.

As a Writer I want to dig deeper into the feelings and impressions that the sky’s ambience releases. Every time that I look up at the sky it gives me a sense of inner freedom and tranquility. Sunrise greets me with a kiss on the cheek a waiting the eventful and productive day that is about to unfold.

Its daytime splendor when a blue sky is above, offers a happy sensation of bliss when the sunshine glistens off of every one of God’s creations casting off impeccable beauty.

On a rainy day I feel an obligatory duty to curl up to a good book with a soft, fluffy blanket and a steamy hot cup of coffee. Anticipation awaits as I am greeted with unique characters with every page that I turn. Each chapter is as inviting as each day that greets me.

Sunset is majestic with the shades of pinks, oranges and reds that present a sense of romantic emotions that make us feel vulnerable to its magnitude. As night approaches a peaceful lull cascades that side of the Earth as every life form cools and relaxes.

Whether or not the city sleeps, the overwhelming sense of our Creator embraces us regardless the cycle. So you can see the many similarities between the sky and a writer. The sky welcomes every moment with a kiss so excuse me while I kiss the sky.  

By Christine Iliadis

Tips for Poetry Lovers

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Ever wondered how the acclaimed William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe crafted their elegant poetry? It was with the use of the Sonnet combined with imagery and euphonic language. Below is some information on the Sonnet, and a handful of poetive techniques that you can use when writing your own poetry. It’s also a handy tool or study guide for anyone studying English literature.

The Sonnet

  • The Italian or Petrarchan Sonnet is made of 14 lines divided into an Octave (the first 8 lines) and a Sestet (the last 6 lines).
  • The rhyme scheme of the Octave is ABBA ABBA.
  • The rhyme scheme of the Sestet can vary between CDE CDE, CDE DCD, or CDE DEE.
  • The English or Shakespearean Sonnet is also made of 14 lines.
  • The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The last two lines (GG) are referred to as a rhyming couplet.
  • Both sets of Sonnets have a specific metre called the Iambic Pentameter.
  • Each line is 10 syllables long divided into 5 sets of unstressed and 5 sets of stressed syllables. E.g: “Oh look, what light through yonder window breaks?” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

Poetive Techniques

Antithesis: Using parallelism to show contrast. E.g: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”-Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities.

Apostrophe: Directly addressing an absent person, concept, or object. E.g: “thou still unravished bride of quietness” (speaking of a vase) – John Keats, Ode On a Grecian Urn.

Hyperbole: Extravagant exaggeration of a fact that provides some humor.

Metonymy: One word or phrase that substitutes another with which it is closely associated. E.g: Saying ‘Crown’ instead of ‘King’ or ‘Queen’.

Synecdoche: A part of something that is used to signify the whole. E.g: All hands on deck!

Understatement: Deliberate representation of something as less serious or important than it actually is.

Metaphor: Comparison without using ‘like’ or ‘as’.

Oxymoron: A common phrase of contradiction. E.g: bitter sweet.

Simile: Comparison using ‘like’ or ‘as’.

Personification: Giving human characteristics to non-living things.

Caesura: A strong pause within a line of poetry (. : -).

Enjambment: Occurs where the meaning extends beyond the end of a line and flows to the next.

Parallelism: The balancing of ideas grammatically.

Assonance: Repetition of similar vowel sounds. E.g: ‘fire’ and ‘iron’.

Alliteration: A phrase beginning with the same sound.

Cacophony or Dissonance: Language which is harsh, rough, and unmusical to the ear.

Euphony: Language which is smooth, pleasant, and musical to the ear.

Consonance: The repetition of similar consonant sounds.

So there you have it. A brief guide on the Sonnet and a full list of poetic literary techniques to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. Who knows, with these tips at your fingers you could become a modern Shakespeare!

~ Christine Iliadis

Techniques for Writing Short Stories

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There are many intriguing elements to a short story; each has its place within the written composition. Most techniques can also be used when writing a fiction novel. Below is a list of techniques which will all come in handy when writing your short story! You will need all of them to complete a strong story.

Initial Situation: Circumstance in which the protagonist finds him/herself at the beginning of the story.

Incident: A piece of action occurring at a definite time and place. This may consist of a character’s thought that he/she is experiencing.

Plot: A series of related incidents outlining the protagonist’s conflict. Your story moves forward with increasing interest and tension to a climax.

Trigger Incident: This starts the main conflict of the story and provides an ‘explosion’ to set the plot in motion, changing the initial situation.

Climax: From the Greek word meaning “ladder”. The Climax is the highest rung on the ladder of excitement. It’s the point at which the main conflict is resolved.

Denouement: From the French word meaning “unraveling”. The concluding comment or incident throws additional light on the climax, explaining any details the climax left out. In a story with a strong theme, it may hint at the meaning behind the story.

Theme: The underlying thought or attitude towards life that the story illustrates. It must be a universal statement that applies to all, but not necessarily a moral.

Exposition: Background information necessary for the reader’s understanding of the initial situation and protagonists’ problem(s). The writer begins conflict as soon as possible, and delays some exposition until after securing the reader’s interest.

Flashback: An incident taking place in the memory of a character. It presents an event taking place prior to the story. This introduces background information after the conflict of the story has already begun.

Setting: Consists of time, place, and circumstance of the incident.

Summarizing Passage: Rapidly skimming over events that occur during hours, days, or months that compresses time in a short passage.

Mood: A character’s state of mind and emotions at a given time. This can be given through the actions/attitudes of characters, or with a description of the setting. It is also known as ‘atmosphere’.

Suspense: A feeling of anxious uncertainty instilled in the readers about the outcome of a series of events. This can be pleasurable or painful.

Protagonist: The main character that is accredited the most attention in the story.

Foreshadowing: Hinting future events in the story to the readers.

Irony: Comes in three forms.                                                                                                                    Verbal: A character says the opposite of what is really meant.                                                     Dramatic: What the characters think is different from what the readers know to be true. Situational: What happens is not what the readers believe should have happened.

Pathos: a situation or incident that evokes sadness or pity from the readers.

Allusion: An obvious, familiar reference to either; mythology, history, famous literature, or the bible. The opposite to allusion is anecdote, in which the writer offers a personal story.

Although there are many techniques, each are woven together to form a complete story. Each technique is important and crucial to the creation of your fiction.

I hope these techniques are useful for all your fiction writing needs!

~ Christine Iliadis

The Basic Query Letter

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It’s that time of the writing process…sending your manuscript off for publication.The following are steps to help you write a professional, concise, intelligent, and intriguing Query letter.

Before we begin, what is a Query letter?

A Query letter is a one page cover letter that introduces you and your book. It should be three paragraphs long. These three paragraphs are divided into: hook, mini-synopsis and biography. Your Query letter is meant to elicit an invitation to send sample chapters or your entire manuscript to the agent. Your Query should be approximately 250-300 words with 1″ margins and 12 pt Times New Roman (or Courier) font in black ink. Your email subject line should read: QUERY: Title of Book.

  1. Hook: Make your ‘hook’ a concise, one sentence tagline for a book. After all, it’s supposed to ‘hook’ whoever is reading it.This section should be 100-200 words. Use the ‘when’ formula. For example: “when such and such event happens, your main character (description, age, professional occupation) must confront further conflict and triumph in his/her own special way.”
  2. Mini Synopsis: Your mini synopsis should be a paragraph of 150 words. It should also expand on the ‘hook’. For a fiction novel, this means you should include more information on the main characters, their problems and conflicts, and the way in which adversity changes their lives. For a non-fiction, just elaborate on the subject.
  3. Writer’s Biography: Make this section short and relate it to writing more specifically. You should also be sure to include your past published works. If you are proposing a non-fiction, add some information on your education as it pertains to the subject you are writing about.
  4. Closing: This is the final step in which you close off the Query letter. Be sure to thank the agent for his/her time and consideration. For a non-fiction, tell the agent that you included an outline, table of contents and sample chapters for his/her review. For fiction, alert the agent that the full manuscript is available upon request. Finish off with this format: Sincerely, full name, cell phone number, email. 

Use this method to construct your Query letter and you will be on your way to an agent, and hopefully a publisher.

~ Christine Iliadis