Posts from the ‘On Writing’ Category

Inspirational Writing Quotes

by: Rebecca Taylor

Where does inspiration come from? Inspiration can be found anywhere – media, from a friend or family member, it might be in the sunsets or in the flowers growing by the roadside, a book you read or a television show you watched. The truth is inspiration can be found in most anything especially when you are a writer, because so many things can spark a thought for setting, dialogue, plot or character development. Another good place to find inspiration, especially if you might be stuck on something is through quotes. Therefore I decided to find seven inspirational quotes. Today’s quotes all focus on the professional of writing, although some can apply to numerous life events.

I hope you enjoyed this brief piece and that inspiration finds you.

1.  “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”~ Doris Lessing

2. “A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.” ~ Angela Carter

3. “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart”. ~ William Wordsworth

4. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit”.~Richard Bach

5. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

6. “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” ~ —Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

The Liebster Award

We are very happy to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Victor at Thanks, Victor! All of us at Paradise on Paper really appreciate it.

Part of our nomination is to answer these questions. As a group, here are our answers.

1. Why did you first start blogging?
I first started blogging on Paradise on Paper because I love to write and having a weekly post keeps me focused. (Rebecca)

2. Describe your personal style in 3 words.

Different. Sassy. Perspective. (Trixie)

3. What is your craziest memory?

My earliest memory is probably my craziest memory. When I was only two years old, I fell out of bed one night and lost my first tooth. I remember waking up on the floor crying, and seeing a spot of blood on the carpet. It’s not like it’s a beautiful memory or anything, but it fascinates me that I can remember that. (Felicity)

4. What job would you do/have done if money was not a problem?

I’ve made writing a side-line because someone gave me advise years ago that it was good that I liked it but it might not always pay the bills.However, if money wasn’t an option…(Rebecca)

5. One thing you would like to change about people and why.
I would like to get people to realize that there are at least two sides to every issue. Sometimes people have a good reason for doing something, one others cannot understand, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. You need to find out the reasons for something. For me, when it comes to writing, this is an interesting thought because when I write my characters can do anything I want, be anything I want. My fictional options are limitless. (Rebecca)

6. If you could bring someone back to life, who would it be?

C.S. Lewis! He was just an overall great thinker, and I would to have a cup of tea with him and pick his brain. Also, who wouldn’t want to geek out over Narnia with Lewis himself? (Felicity)

7. Best book you ever read?

My two favorites…for today: Heist Society by Ally Carter and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart! (Trixie)

8. Describe yourself in three words
Determined, realist, writer (Rebecca)

9. If you could meet any author and ask them only one question, what would it be?

I would ask Julie Campbell Tatham (author of the first six books in the Trixie Belden girl-detective series) to show me where she imagined Trixie’s house was in real life or if she completely made it up.  (Trixie)

10. What fictional character are you most like?

Anne of Green Gables. I don’t necessarily act like her, but I think like her. She’s a writer, she’s very imaginative, opinionated, and feisty. (Felicity)

Here are 11 random facts about your Paradise on Paper bloggers:
1) In my high school yearbook I was voted quietest and most school spirit. (Rebecca)
2) I like to knit, crochet and quilt. (Rebecca)
3) My first poem was published when I was twelve. (Rebecca)
4) I live on a farm. (Rebecca)
5) I’m a little bit horse crazy. (Felicity)
6) Before I could write, I would dictate stories to my mom and she would write them down for me. (Felicity)
7) I am passionate about Veterans issues. (Trixie)
8) I love big cities. (Trixie)
9) Sometimes I imagine that I will be a spy when I grow up. (Trixie)
10) I am a Christian. (Trixie)
11) I wrote half of a  short story on my iPhone “Notes” app while riding the metro the other day. (Trixie)

In turn, we are nominating the following blogs because we enjoy their writing.

For those blogs we have nominated, here are 11 questions for you.
1) What made you decide to start a blog?
2) What is the biggest challenge you have being a blogger?
3) Aside from your blog, have you ever been published on another website or in print?
4) What are three words to describe your writing style?
5) Who is your favourite author and why?
6) What quote or saying sums up how you view life?
7) What superpower would you like to have, and what would you do with it?
8)What is your favorite setting to put characters in?
9) What is your advice for young people?
10) Do you prefer writing in notebooks or on computers?
11) How do you keep a balance between your writing and your other commitments?

Want more information about the Liebster Award? Visit their website here.


Writing Prompt: Five Words

Our writing prompt for this week is to write a story using the following five words: bottle, balcony, strawberry, conversation, values. Comment with your story!

How to Keep the Writing Momentum

by: Rebecca Taylor

            We’re human; we’re struck with all sorts of emotions at all sorts of times. We have wonderful days, happy days, exhausting days and sometimes sad days. Our minds are also full of many things like appointments, work commitments, family activities, shopping lists and household chores. How do we keep our writing momentum when all sorts of things are happening around us?

 1. We can have more than one writing project on the go at a time. If we are writing an incredibly happy story and we’re not in the mood to give it what it needs, we can switch to writing a different scene in the same story or we could switch to a different story, or we could do an exercise on writing about different emotions. I had to do this for a writing course I took, and I found it an interesting experience. It makes you think of the way emotions can be shown in your writing instead of just saying something generic like the girl looked happy. Here are a few examples of sentences I came up with from that exercise:


Fear: The fear in her heart stirred like dark clouds ready to pour rain.

Joy: Her face was joyous like a sunflower’s smile.

Anger: The pain he’d caused her was like torrential rains hammering the earth repeatedly.

Longing: Waiting for grass to grow would have been easier than longing he’d listen to her pleas.

2. Sometimes a story can go in so many directions and we get to a place where we don’t know what we should do and it could change the whole outcome of the story. We could write book blurbs (example, if I write the story like this the back of my book would maybe say…), or do an outlining activity or write a pro-con list to the possible outcomes. Example: Sarah could marry Jack or Steve. If she marries Jack she will have, but if she marries Steve she will have…

 3. Write anyways. Whether what you write stays in the final draft of your book in part or not at all doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are writing. What you write may lead you to another storyline you had never thought of before, or maybe even an idea for another book.

 4. Write a letter or a journal entry. It doesn’t have to be sent or shown to anyone. The point is something is that whatever has got you down or up is real and other people are experiencing it too. Are you mad at someone? Write it down, put those fiery emotions onto paper. A character may just need them someday. You can change them up when you need them so that no one knows the original situation.


Good luck. 

Make ’em suffer

I like to write when I’m feeling emotional.

I don’t like to plot or plan or work out any sorts of logistics.

I just want to write. Sometimes I write it all out in a journal. Other times, I give my feelings to my characters. It helps me.

How to do this?

Pick a character

I often choose my main character because I usually know them the best of all the characters. However, it can be useful to choose a character that you don’t feel as comfortable with so that you can explore their personality.

Harness your feelings

Figure out how you feel about whatever is going on in your life. Identify what is going through your mind and what truths you can pull from the situation.

Give your feelings to your characters

Give your feelings to your character. In order to do this, you may have to come up with a situation that would make your character feel the same emotions that you are feeling. Then you can let your character explore the emotions and feelings.

Make ‘em suffer.

Micro-Editing Excercises

The next time you’re scrambling to fix all of those tedious, nitty-gritty things in your draft, try a few of these exercises:


1. Creating potholes

What I mean by a pot hole is this: divide your work into sections of three sentences. Delete two sentences out of every three sentence group. What remains will seem completely disjointed, and that’s okay. Read through your draft and fill in the holes, but without looking at the sentences you deleted. Think of the original idea you had and rewrite it; don’t try to just rework the words you had written. This is a fantastic way to rewrite and it often results in a more concise draft.

2. Vary long and short sentences.

Whether on paper or electronically, highlight all  ‘short’ sentences – sentences that are one line in length or shorter. Ideally, there should be close to a 50/50 balance between long and short sentences. Edit as necessary.

My fiction writing teacher once told our class to do this, and I thought she was crazy. The exercise sounded too tedious for me, but once I tried it, I believed. In my stories, I often use short sentences, sometimes to emphasize certain thoughts, which is alright, but other times I am simply too lazy to link two thoughts into one witty sentence. Consequently, several months ago I wrote a very flat story for my writing class, with around 95% of the sentences one line in length or shorter. I highlighted all of the short sentences in gray, and as you might imagine, most of my document was discouragingly gray. I found ways to combine sentences, delete unnecessary short ones, and ultimately, I picked up the pace of the story.

3. Commonly repeated words

Search for your ‘lazy’ words and strengthen them. If you used the word ‘very’ 12 times in the first page of a draft, you’ve found a problem. Instead of having a character who is “very tired,” say that she is exhausted instead, or better yet, show how the character is exhausted, as number 4 talks about.

4. Highlight and change places where you could show and not tell.

I know I have been guilty of telling instead of showing. That little rule is so difficult to follow sometimes,  but the results of following it can strengthen any sentence or scene. Telling is when you say a character is “scared.” Showing is when the reader sees the physical affects of the fear. “Unaware of what might be awaiting him on the other side of the corner, his breathe quickened and his hands clenched defensively into tight fists.” That may not have been the perfect description, but I think it serves its purpose. Showing instead of telling is all about taking a cliché, vague, or dry statement and turning it into tangible imagery.


What editing tactics do you use?

Writing Prompts

by: Rebecca Taylor

One word can trigger an idea that can lead us to an infinite number of possibilities. Where can we find words to inspire us? Everywhere, but that can seem overwhelming because all day, every day we hear, see, think and write words.  A thought might be brewing in your mind and one word can set the whole story in motion. That one word may lead to a web of other words which will make an amazing writing experience. For example, if you have been thinking of doing a story about some sort of party – the word surprise might pop into your mind, so you grab a notepad and pen and go with that for a few minutes and come up with balloons, gifts, streamers, games, no show guest etc. At first, maybe you thought that this party might be a simple scene leading from one place in the story to another, but now with your no show guest, you might have something more complete – the story could take place at this party, where everyone is there and the guest isn’t showing – did someone forget to invite her to her own party? Did she not believe the “fake story” to get her there and blew off the party because she hates surprises? If it’s a wedding shower, did she and her fiancé elope?


You can also ask people to help you out with story ideas – for example, ask friends to give you one word – it could be a random word or it could be one word to describe the sunset. You might have written the couple looked up at the pretty sunset and you think that it too boring for your scene – and your friend might describe it as the magnificent sunset, and to you that feels more fitting.


Sometimes a letter of the alphabet can prompt us to write a great story. I wrote a children’s story that is full of letter “s” sounds. It was fun and I think that if children ever get the chance to read it that they will enjoy the way it sounds too. It could be sentences like Sam slurped his spaghetti or Sara sang sensationally at school. They are not long sentences, nor are they complicated but they definitely have their own unique sound. It doesn’t have to be s’s either, any letter would create a similar affect like Carrie coloured cardboard with crayons. This can be a good writing exercise to warm us up. By keeping a list of words by some alphabetical phenomena, we could find a hidden story idea.


Some people clip words they like out of magazines or write words they’ve seen in newspaper articles or journals down for future reference. We are all drawn to different words for different reasons and we can make this work in our favour.


Wherever you are, know that words are waiting for you to find them. For a writer, a word search is more than a puzzle you get in your newspaper or word seek book. 

Intentional Thinking

Sometimes I don’t write as much as I should. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes I’m busy.

But that doesn’t mean my stories go away. It means that I’m not actively working on them.

However, it doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about my story.

And herein comes my writing advice for the day: When you’re bored or just sitting or in the car or zoning out during class, THINK. Think about your characters, your setting and where you plan to go with it. Don’t just sit and let yourself be bored. Be smart about it and use your time to think about your story. This will allow you to be more productive in your next writing session.

Think think think!

How to Come up With Story Ideas – Part 2

1. Start with a question.

This could mean one of two types of questions.

a. A conceptual question you truly want the answer to.

This is how Francine Rivers, New York Times best-selling author says she starts writing a novel. In the writing book A Novel Idea, Rivers says:

“I usually have something going on in my own life, something that is eating at me, nudging me. I use writing to try to figure it out. … For the book I am currently writing, the theme is “Love one another.” But when we say that, it sounds like a bumper sticker. So I’m exploring “How do you show that? How do you live that out?”

b. An exploratory what-if question.

A “what if” question is magic in fiction writing. Here, anything goes. If you can think it, write it. What if someone’s dreams (or nightmares) came true? This is where my Dreams Come True and the ensuing story series came from.

2. Use prompting tools.

a. Pinterest. Use writing prompts on Pinterest boards. Find pictures of an intriguing setting or character and create a story around it.

b. Non-Pinterest Journaling Exercises:  Free write using one word as a starting point. There are plenty of story idea generators (sites that generate a phrase, a name, a setting, etc.) for use free of charge.  Google will be your best friend when looking for these resources. 🙂 With a little work, one of these things just may spark a story.

I’ve heard people say that using writing prompts is cheating. I say not using them is cheating. There are countless story ideas that you may never find without a certain prompt.

Tip: Don’t rule anything out. Don’t limit yourself, saying “I could never write that kind of story.”  Inspiration can come from unlikely sources, and it will come when you least expect it.


by: Rebecca Taylor

I wrote this article a few years ago and I think that it fits with the “On Writing” theme for this week because as writers we are compelled to write about different topics for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes we don’t know why but we need to sit and write about something. Maybe it was something that happened in the day or a few words that someone said that got you thinking. Our writing inspiration comes from so many places, some of which you may find in this article.


            Something unseen moves us. It propels special people to do some amazingly wonderful things for others. People we have never met can make us feel something. There is a spirit lurking in the shadows of our lives, a greater power pushing to let the light of human souls shine through.

            We can read the story of someone battling a terrible illness giving back to his or her community, the courage of this person touches our heart, and we feel empathy for them and their family not knowing what the future will hold and how much longer they will have their brave family member. We have never met the person we are reading about, we don’t know his or her family and friends but we care about them. Our desire is for this person to get better and from time to time for the rest of our lives we may remember this story and wonder what has become of them.

            It is important to feel compassion for others throughout our daily routines but we must also act. In many cases, it is hard to help someone we have never met but if you look around you will see people and organizations that can use you in your own community. When you feel the invisible spirit pushing you to do great things, do not ignore it. Everyone’s neighbourhood will be structured differently but they will all have some need, a need for you to reach out and help others. Explore volunteer possibilities, you may find the opportunity to read to or chat with seniors, make posters for your local Alzheimer’s walk, groom dogs for the animal shelter or any number of worthwhile activities which will make your spirit show. Helping others is contagious, if you can do it and do it with pride and joy others around you will want to get involved as well and before you know it a multitude of other activities in your neighbourhood may be possible. Your true spirit is your personality directory. It will portray you wherever you go within the world. It is necessary to have a positive outlook on life in order to accomplish the most in your lifetime. Think of the way you live your life as passing the Olympic torch, from one person to another so that passion is handed off. When you give of yourself to others, they will do the same, rallying everything possible into collective goals. If you believe, anything can come true. It is necessary to be proactive and make things happen.

            No matter how you use the spirit you were given, it is important to be happy with yourself for what you are doing. At the end of the day, you need to feel as good as the people you reached out to and helped. Helping others is a beautiful gift. When your heart feels as light as a feather and you fall asleep with a major sense of accomplishment the minute your head touches the pillow you know that you have provided a worthwhile service to someone else as well as yourself. 

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