Tuesday, 31 January 2017

How Reviewing Books Can Improve Your Writing

Greetings again from the mind of an Indie Author.

Over the past six months, I have begun to take on people's review requests and believe me, since listing myself on a few directories, there've been a few. I'm currently working my way through my reviewing list and I realized that I haven't blogged about one of the most useful things that I've learned so far.

How Reviewing Books Can Improve Your Writing

They say practice makes perfect. Maybe it does. However, I find that reviewing the works of others, particularly those in my specialist genre, has helped me to not only understand the intricacies of book writing but to improve my work in significant ways.

1) Learning to understand the differences in Style:

I've learned how to identify the differences between my personal writing style and that of the Author whose work is on the screen before me.

Identifying these differences, be they in the flow of the writing, character description or scene setting, plays a key part in a person's progress as a writer.

2) Learn what Hooks You to a Book:

Perhaps, like myself, you're addicted to a certain book genre, or maybe to specific personality types when it comes to characters. By studying different books and analyzing their core components, I've found myself gaining knowledge of what I personally like to see in a book. I've since been able to harness this knowledge, in order to implement changes in my own work.

When I read articles like this, I often find myself wondering why examples are not given to bullet points, so I shall do my best to provide.

My greatest love when it comes to reviewing are the characters. They cannot be beaten. I love books where the characters lead the story, beckoning you into their secret world and creating change, be it for better or worse. The best characters for me are the ones that have a unique trait that no other character I've seen possesses. 

In one novel I read, this came in the form of the lead heroine having a strangely shaped birthmark, which I then learned was crucial to the plot of the story. This led me to question if there was anything significant that my main characters could have represented in a physical way. The answer (of course) was yes. Physical ideas like scars, birthmarks, and other things that the reader can easily picture, do have the power to add depth and intrigue to your heroes/villains.

3) Learn what your Biggest Pet Peeves are:

We've all been there. We begin a new book, wondering what mysteries lie between the folds of its pages when we find ourselves unable to continue the read. Why might that be? Book pet peeves.

My biggest pet peeves for books include:
  • Details that have no relevance to the storyline
  • Bad grammar and general usage of the English language
  • Overuse of adverbs (also referred to as crutch words.)

Review enough books and such examples of pet peeves will begin to work to your benefit. When I went back to my own writing, I was shocked by how I instantly began to critique my work, searching for these same things. By observing books through this more analytical approach, I am learning new ways to improve my skills as a writer and storyteller.

Reviewing books has been a positive change for me; one that has allowed me to learn and progress.

Why not create a review page on your blog (with guidelines on what you'd be comfortable reviewing) and give it a go, to see if it can be beneficial for you.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Fantasy Review: Fire's Love, by Alex. E. Carey

Fire's Love by Alex E. Carey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Set in the USA, this enchanting Fantasy by Alex. E. Carey had its hooks in me from the start. Kira Phoenix is a self-proclaimed 'weird' sixteen year old; beautiful, intelligent, and undeniably feisty. It's no wonder she attracts trouble.

Fire's LoveThis moving piece follows Kira's journey after she is granted an early acceptance into college. Her new friends Lowell and Pyre are mysterious at first, but soon begin to pull on Kira's heartstrings. We see many friendships formed within this story and not all of them positive, but don't worry, I won't spoil it for you.

The Author's writing style flows well and has an elegance to it that captivates the mind. The plot was well constructed, with various characters that I came to both love and hate. I love that you get a real sense of Kira's emotions as she battles multiple secrets that are thrown her way.

Envy, love, and change are just a few of the dangers that circle this unusual teen. Fire's Love was a novel that I couldn't put down until I had finished and is just one book out of what promises to be an incredible series.

But, the question remains; do demons exist?

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


A work of fiction is in many ways like a well cared for machine.

 If you keep it well oiled and maintain its many components, then you're likely to come out with something grand. When I write, I see through many sets of eyes; the Author, my different characters, and of course, as a Storyteller.

Why an Author AND a Storyteller?

A Storyteller is exactly as it sounds; Someone who regales us with tales of young and old, who makes our bodies quake with passion, fear, among many other strong emotions.
As an Author, I not only tell a story, but I criticize my work in every possible way. Perhaps this is because I'm a perfectionist. I ask myself if my ideas are possible if I can truly imagine a certain set of events happening.

It is a grueling task to write a full-length Novel, but don't ever be put off. The rewarding feeling you get from finishing a book is payment enough.

Remember to keep your imagination alive and kicking, for there is no greater gift. Read plenty of your favourite genre and continue to grow and inspire others.

-Daccari Buchelli. :)

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Writing with Aspergers Syndrome: Part 2

Sensory Processing Disorder

One of the most common traits of Autistic individuals is some degree of Sensory Processing Disorder; when the seven main senses (sight, smell, touch, sound, taste, balance, and movement co-ordination) are either jumbled up and/or extremely over or under-sensitive.

It is most common for the five crucial senses to be over-sensitive, resulting in mild to severe distress when exposed to certain stimuli over an extended period. For me, one of the hardest senses to deal with as I grew up was touch. Light touch in particular is something that I have never liked. There's just something about the way that other people's skin brushes along mine that makes the skin want to crawl away from my body.

Light has never been good to me either. From a young age, I showed a particular sensitivity to florescent bulbs and have always struggled to concentrate beneath their false rays of sunlight.

 With SPD, things can become overwhelming rather quickly. What may seem like a normal day out for someone else, feels like I've been awake and dragging a bag full of rocks for days. It is exhausting and can be considered as one of my greater weaknesses.

But, there are also added benefits of Sensory Processing Disorder when it comes to writing. I can remember anything I have ever smelt or tasted, or even felt. It is like I have a memory bank of any sense I've experienced to this date. Being able to recall such feelings at the drop of a hat has helped me to paint vivid pictures within my work. Furthermore, I can imagine how I might react to a certain stimuli and therefore interpret a character's reactions accordingly.

A range of senses can stir up the deepest of emotions within us. To feel everything more profoundly is in ways a great gift. I do and shall continue to endeavour to use this difference in my brain as a skill for which to improve upon my writing.

Photographic Memory

Going hand in hand with my overdeveloped senses is what I understand to be termed a photographic memory. While not all Autistic individuals possess such a thing, I've noted several people, like myself, that do. In my case,  I can not just re-create smells or tastes in my mind, but sights too. Sadly I cannot keep a picture still enough in my head to draw it on paper (if only I could), but what I can do is construct moving images of my writing as I work.

I am able to play back memories as if they are a film I had just plucked off of a shelf. Every colour and shape presents a unique image to me, which is stored in my mind for further use. As I developed my writing throughout my younger years, I began to view my work in pure picture form and would describe what I could see to the best of my ability. To this day, I continue to describe the images that come to mind when I write and honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Knowing what it is like to be different

Have you ever felt like everyone else is part of a different species; a breed of human that seems to lack a basic understanding of what you think the world is like. I was always the odd one out. The weird kid, the outsider, the one that didn't belong. 

Looking out through these eyes today, I wonder how each of you sees the world. Perhaps you are a glass half full kind of person and you mosey on through life thinking things are good. Or maybe you are a glass half empty kind of fellow and you can't seem to find the light in this life. As for me, I'm an idealist.

I see the world as it should be, but feel as though there is nothing I can do to improve upon it. I know what it is like to be different and to be judged accordingly by society, but why are we not able to challenge such behaviour? In the street, if someone is being harassed, how many of us actually stop to lend our assistance to the person who is hurting?

The answer might shock you. Most of us would just walk on by. When you are different, you crave to find someone who can understand (at least I do). You search everywhere for someone who shares your oddities, your worries, your eccentricities and when you find them, your world finally feels like it is complete.

Such differences can make for a potential strength In writing, as I mentioned before with my SPD and photographic memory. Difference as an idea can fuel unique characters that the reader will love and identify with, even if only at a subconscious level. Why not give a character some of your own quirks and see how they react in different settings and circumstances.

Use the point of view of the different individual searching for a fellow oddball, or the perspective of the termed 'normal' person looking for a way to make everyone like them. There are a lot of ideas that you can play with in this department.

What is important is to know that however different you are and no matter how hard it may be for the world to understand you, you are worthy of that understanding and are worth more than you can ever know. Take these skills and turn them into something positive. Let the world see your true sparkle.

-Daccari Buchelli.

Friday, 13 January 2017

What Self Publishing Blogs Aren't Telling You

Social Media Marketing is Dead!

Well, it is to a large degree. I've subscribed to so many blogs over the past year where every bit of advice is exactly the same. Use social media and their ads in this way to generate more sales and traffic for your website. Want to know something? Under most circumstances, this doesn't work.

Social Media sites are meant for just that, being sociable. Sure, they would help to grow interest in you as a person and as an author, if you try to get to know your target audience, but sharing posts and placing ads doesn't appear to be that effective. In my experience, those that do click or boost links and posts are fake accounts that have no data- I'm especially referring to Facebook here.

What will help?

Learn about the entire Publishing Process. There are places with as much information as you can imagine. The internet is a vast sea of knowledge and when you're more familiar with the process yourself, your efforts will be well worth the time and money you invest in them.

Recently, I came across an article that spoke about a Self Publishing Guide known as The Self Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide (2016.) Now, I'm always skeptical when I spot things like this. Here we go again, I say to myself. They just want me to buy a book. Then, I decided to google the Amazon link.

Reading the blurb, the guide actually sounded like something I could use to help me. I ordered myself a used copy and when it arrived in the post, I dove right in, using coloured post-its and highlighters to mark all the things that I wanted to focus on.

One of the things that worries me about these books is not knowing the exact content and if it will help me or my fellow Indie Authors. With that in mind, I've bullet pointed a list of most of the subjects below. Each has its own chapter and sections, giving the specifics of that topic and examples of websites where you can find help, support, and various services for budding authors.

  • Editing
  • Cover Design & Formatting
  • eBook Coversion
  • Writing Software
  • Trade Associations
  • Virtual Book Tours
  • Web Design for Authors
  • Book Review Services
  • Press Releases
  • Social Media Consultants
  • Book Distributors & Retailers
  • Promotion & Marketing

This book will provide information that will teach you how to gain visibility for yourself and your books. Even just skimming through, I already feel like I understand the publishing process a lot more than I did beforehand.

What I still don't understand is that having searched so many popular book blogs, NONE of the ones I saw made even a vague reference to this book. It's ridiculous. If you're planning to self-publish your books, I would recommend picking up a copy of The Self Publisher's Ultimate Resource Guide.

The chapters listed above are a Godsend. We Indie Authors and Reviewers need to stick together and encourage each other to be the best we can be.

A quick note: While social media marketing isn't reliable, you must do whatever you feel is right for you. I'm not saying quit altogether, but perhaps spend the majority of your effort marketing in other ways, or if you are able, search out a freelance marketer to help.

Thank you for reading my article. Have a good week,

Daccari Buchelli.

Top 9 Book Hooks

What Hooks Me When I Read A Book?

I suppose all writers must have asked themselves this same question at some point in their literary careers. What truly hooks me when I decide to read a book?

There are countless areas I could discuss with you.

For now, I'll leave you with what I believe
are the Top Nine Book Hooks:

          1) Unusual characters:
  • Have you ever been reading a book and instantly connected with one of the characters? I have. Unusual and yet relatable characters are the driving force of most books. If you can relate to the main character, then you will no doubt find yourself instantly hooked. I personally love to discover new characters, with their own unique personality traits, strengths, as well as flaws. For me, the more abnormal the character and the role they play in society, the more intrigued I become.

    2) The unexpected:
  • I really enjoy plots that involve a lot of surprising twists. The more intricate and well-crafted plots grab me from the very start. I love to feel like I'm in on some elaborate plan that one character has cooked up, unknown to the other. The idea of being on the edge of my seat with worry for a character and their ever-changing plight has my spine tingling.

    3) Drama (e.g. Death:)
  • Death. Lots of it. With Death, we see an ultimate change in a main character, whether it is in their personality, appearance, or their outlook on life. If we grow fond of the main character, then we experience that sense of loss alongside them and feel as though their character transformation is also part of our very own. It is also important to note that a 'death' doesn't always have to be physical. It could also refer to the death of an era, or of an inter-personal relationship between two or more characters.

  • 4) Intelligence:
    Inside jokes and well-used wit or dark humor surprise me a lot when I'm reading a thriller or fantasy novel. I love writers that can make jokes or references that people seem to understand on a universal level. Characters that are also created using the same style of high intellect and humor always have me smiling and laughing with them. I would much prefer to read about a well-educated, brooding psychopath, than any other type of person, any day.

    Characters like the infamous Hannibal Lecter is a good example of these types of characters.

  • 5) Magic & The Supernatural:
    I find myself enchanted by how many versions of magical worlds we can create ourselves, let alone the ones I read by other authors such as Garth Nix, Terry Goodkind and J.K. Rowling. There's something about magic that truly resonates with me. Perhaps it's a secret longing that one day we will all be able to experience magic in some form.

    I find myself inextricably drawn to the supernatural. The idea that all around us are beings or creatures we can't even comprehend is slightly scary, yet also extremely exciting. Reading supernatural works of fiction tends to open the mind to countless possibilities, as well as giving us different perspectives to use when we look out upon the world.

  • 6) Anything 'Outside of the box':
    Anything different or unusual really grabs me by the horns. The more bizarre, the better in my opinion. 

  • 7) Good vs Evil (theme):
    There is truly nothing more exciting than a thrilling tale of good vs evil. When you can no longer distinguish the hero from the villain, I find that there's a certain rush. You don't quite know how to expect it to end. The mystery is all part of the thrill.

  • 8) Culture/Heritage:
    What could be more interesting than the background of a fantasy land full of interesting people. Every tribe/civilization has it's own unique ways of honoring tradition and deities, of gathering food, trading, enjoying themselves, etc. There is never a limit that can be set for such details and it is these details alone that make certain fantasy worlds unforgettable.

    9) Tension:
  • The 'T' in Thriller is most definitely for Tension. Without it, each book I pick up would be a total drag. Tension keeps you on your toes with delicious events that fill your mind with all important questions, be they about a killer's motives, or where a character lost a prized family heirloom.The better the writer at building suspense, the more likely I am to be drawn into their work.

    'The Shining' by Stephen King is truly phenomenal when it comes to the gradual building of suspense. Reading it, I found myself at the edge of my sanity along with the characters, struggling through their own crises, right from the comfort of my own home.

Why not take the time to comment below, on what draws you into a book.

           Daccari Buchelli.