Category Archives: Articles

15 Things To Do When You Have Writer’s Block

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Hi everyone! Ash here. I know lots of you readers are writers, whether it be for a magazine (me!), a blog (also me!), or a unfinished novel (me! me! me!). I also have this great tidbit of information: absolutely everyone can get writer’s block. So, I decided to make a list to help all of you writers for when YOU get writers’ block!

15 Things To Do When You Have Writer’s Block

  1. Take a nap. When you wake up, reread your latest work and ask yourself what foreshadowing you may have unknowingly written in.
  2. Have a snack. Studies have shown that you concentrate better when you aren’t hungry.
  3. Read whatever it is that you’re writing OUT LOUD. Yes, I know it sounds humiliating. Yes, I know lots of you readers, including me, would never, ever want their work read out loud, let alone by yourself, the writer! But it has to be done. When you read your writing out loud, it helps you find and correct mistakes in your writing.
  4. Have a friend read your novel to you OUT LOUD. There it is again. Those dreaded words. Out. Loud. Again, it has to be done eventually.
  5. Have a bookish friend critique your work! This means that, of course, they must first read it. You can ask them to read it OUT LOUD if you want, but it isn’t needed. In fact, if I were to critique someone’s work, I’d rather read it silently.
  6. Go outside. Seriously. Just get a breath of fresh air.
  7. Reread a favorite book and pay careful attention to the author’s style. If you’re writing a novel or short story, look at the characters. How do they interact?
  8. If you’re writing a fiction novel, look at the rest of your work and ask yourself if everything is just going perfectly for the characters. If they’re street orphans, do they find food just like that? If they’re captured, do they get out just like that? If they’re sick, do they find medicine just like that? If so, revise your work and make sure your characters go through some hardships. Readers like being able to relate to characters.
  9. Assess and reassess your choice of descriptive words. Maybe instead of writing, “The man was loud,” you could write, “The man’s words seemed to bounce and echo off of every available space, gaining in volume and causing a ruckus.”
  10. Ask a writer friend of yours to tell you what they would write next if this was their story.
  11. Sleep on it. Not just a nap–wait an entire day before you even look at it.
  12. Go to a quiet place where you can concentrate more. Maybe you just have writers block because you feel crowded and overwhelmed by the noise!
  13. Brainstorm names for whatever it is you’re writing–novel, article, short story, etc.
  14. Go out with your camera (or your phone, which most likely has a camera) and take pictures of anything you think relates to your story. You may take a picture of a tree and think to yourself, Hey! Maybe, in my novel, my main character could find a magical genie lamp under this tree! (Then again, the whole genie thing is getting a little old.)
  15. Wait. I know you may think this is the worst advice ever, but when the above things don’t work, waiting is the only thing you can do. Ginger does this. I do this. Yes, even we have to wait for great ideas to pop into our heads sometimes.

Hope you like! (I mean, I hope you really like, because I had writers’ block while writing this, and I just had to wait. Which is possibly the most boring thing ever. Just in case you’re wondering.)

~ Ash

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Naming Characters

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Naming Characters

Anyone who has done anything to do with fictional writing knows that it can be difficult to choose a name for your characters. Why would it be so hard? Well, you want the name to be memorable, and you want it to be unique. It can’t be the same as a bunch of other characters in different stories–you can only have so many ‘Jacks’ climbing beanstalks–but if it’s too weird of a name, your readers may not be able to pronounce it.

First Names

I think first names are easier for me, because I have two free books on my Nook. The books are Girl Names by Last Letter, 2011-2012 and Boy Names by Last Letter, 2011-2012. Both are by the same author, Nancy Man, and they have a bunch of names in them. They’re by last letter, which is a little annoying, but I just read through the books once and highlighted any names that seemed interesting.

Another great idea is to search for baby naming websites. I once went on babynames.com, which has a bunch of names, but it was really annoying. After about twenty clicks, it starting popping up surveys with every click. Yes, every single click. So for that reason, I really recommend you find another site after that starts to happen, because it’s really, really annoying.

Age-Appropriate Names

Many people make the mistake of not choosing an age-appropriate name. Well, what exactly is an age-appropriate name? It’s a name that would have been used during a certain time period. Let’s talk about the name ‘Ava.’ ‘Ava’ is actually a very popular name right now. However, if someone was writing a book with adult characters set in this time period and named one of the adult characters ‘Ava,’ that would not be considered “age-appropriate.” If you’re writing a book or short story set in the past, make sure to research what names were popular during that time. (We’re not saying you have to choose a name that was popular during that time, it’s only an option.)

Choosing Names by Meaning

This is another option many authors utilize. What “choosing a name by meaning” actually means is that you name your character after something similar to what they do or like. For example, if your character is a cook, you wouldn’t want to name your character ‘Baker’ or ‘Chef’–too literal, and they don’t even sound that great. You may want to name after a herb, though, like ‘Basil,’ ‘Cinnamon,’ or ‘Ginger.’
Fun Fact about P2P: Ginger doesn’t run a bakery. Or a restaurant. Or any kind of business that has to do with food. However, she does help run a blog.

Sci-Fi Names: Pronounceable, Please?

I actually got this idea when reading the fifth book of Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull. There’s a demon prison, and the name of it is Zzyzx–can you even pronounce that? I certainly can’t! And hey, I know that’s a demon prison and not a person or anything, but there are some pretty odd names for books out there. So if you’re writing sci-fi, just know, characters are best related to when their names are pronounceable! You could even combine two names, I guess, like Ash and Ginger: Anger or Gash. 😉

Names Already Known

I wouldn’t recommend naming your character after an already-famous character, like Hermione, or a famous person, like Oprah, unless their name somehow ties in to the story. For example, if a character’s parent was obsessed with the Harry Potter series, then it would make some sense if the character’s name was Hermione. But don’t just randomly name your character Hermione–everyone will know whose fame you’re trying to piggyback on.

Calling All Fun!

Have fun with naming your characters. Maybe they have embarrassing nicknames or funky middle names: I dunno. It’s your character, your choice, and your brainstorm.

All in All…

All in all, I hope you come check this out the next time you’re writing a novel and already looked at our pen name post to decide whether you want one or not. If you need name ideas, you can comment, and we’ll try to help you out as much as possible.

~ Ash

Reminder of Copyright

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Hi everyone! It’s Ash here, speaking for all of P2P. We just wanted to remind everyone of our copyright.

Here I will just post what is stated on our copyright page. (https://pencilstopaper.wordpress.com/copyright/)

All articles, poems, paragraphs, stories, and other forms of writing are copyrighted by the P2P Team. Reblogging and plagiarizing are not allowed. Photos are usually taken off the internet, but we don’t claim them as our own.

Again, you are not allowed to reblog or use any part of stories or reviews, quote or whole, without permission from the author. To get permission from any author, you can email us at pencilstopaperp2p@gmail.com. We will contact the author and ask for their permission. If you email us, that is not getting permission. You must wait until we email you back with the author’s decision.

We love our work, and we love that it’s ours. We’d love to keep it ours.

Thanks again,

– P2P Team

Are you interested in being a guest reviewer?

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Hey everyone-

Sorry to bother you, but it’s time to install a new program here at P2P!  We (the team) are looking for guest reviewers to give us nice, thoughtful, awesome review(s) of  book(s) they’ve recently read.  We need anyone who likes this blog to help us!  Just follow three steps:

1) Write your review, complete with a pen name.

2) Email it to us at pencilstopaperp2p@gmail.com.

3) Watch for your review, because we will be publishing it soon!

Please send us a review (or two)!  Thank you!

XO, Ginger

Pen Names

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Pen Names

Many people use pen names when writing or publishing, and others may just shorten their names to their first and middle initials and their last name. Sometimes they do this because they don’t want others to know they published a book, and other times they might think a certain group of people will not accept or read

A Whole New Name

An example of a whole new pen name is Erin Hunter. She is actually a group of people, but they couldn’t fit all of their names on the book cover. Another problem with having a group of people write a book is that you never know whose last name the book will be filed under. For example, let’s look at Ginger and I. We’re writing a story together, but we’ll probably just put both our names under the cover and have librarians file it under Ginger’s name, since her last name comes before mine in alphabetical order, and I don’t care that much.

Initials to Hide Behind

Other authors, like J.K. Rowling, may choose to use their first and middle initials, leaving only their last name complete. In J.K. Rowling’s case, she did this because her editor thought that boys may not want to read a book by a women. (Remember, this was in 1997. Since then, many stereotypes have been eliminated.) This is actually a rather logical thing to do because people don’t look up your first name to find a book, just your last.

No Pen Name

The majority of authors don’t use pen names, because they want their readers to be able to connect with them, whether with a love of the outdoors or owning a dog, it’s whatever the author chooses to show. That said, authors without pen names usually have the longest acknowledgements–when you’re real, you have real people to thank. Then again, many people I know feel connected to Erin Hunter and J.K. Rowling because they still do have that little “About the Author” section.

That said, if you ever write a book and don’t know whether to use a pen name, initials and a last name, or no pen name at all, you can just refer back here and think (hard!) about the pros and cons.

~ Ash