6 Fun Interactive Books for Adults

I’ve slowly picked these different books up over the past year and I’ve had so much fun with them that I wanted to write about them! Have you tried any of these out? What are some of your favorite interactive books?

  • Music Listography. This is easily the one I’ve written in most, and my favorite of the Listography books (I’ll be featuring three in this post.) I found it barely used at a thrift shop and it tickled my music-addicted soul pink. There are so many lists to fill out; I’ve loved documenting my favorite songs by decade (90s list is the longest!) I’m taking my time with it, enjoying the questions and pondering which 20 albums WOULD I take to space with me? 😛

  • Me, You, Us. This was designed to do with either a significant other OR with different friends and pals, with a place at the top for the names and date of who you’re talking about. I bought this as something fun to do with my boyfriend as a silly conversation starter and something to bond over or make us think about “us” and it’s terribly fun! I need to have a pack of crayons with me for the next round, because one could easily add on pictures and drawings on each page. I love it!

  • Spirit Listography. I bought this with an amazon gift card; I haven’t looked at it closely, but it’s a mix of intrapersonal reflecting and proactive “make the world a better place” type mix of prompts to list.I’d much prefer more intrapersonal questions to reflect on, but it seems a decent mix. Plus the cover is gorgeously beautiful. I’m happy with it! And in usual Listography fashion, it has the most quaint little illustrations with each list that I enjoy rediscovering as I flip the page.

  • Wreck This Journal. My sister in another state Rebecca bought me this during my first visit to Georgia when we went bookstore prowling together. It was the first time I’d seen it in person and I couldn’t leave it behind. This is as interactive as you can get with a book. It wants you to throw it, tear it, do everything it says on each page and its stupid therapeutic amazing fun! This would be the best thing to take with you on a camping trip even where you can throw it as hard as you like without it sailing into the neighbor’s yard. XD

  • My Future Listography. I’m pretty sure I found this with the music book. Basically, you fill in the different lists about what you hope to do, visit, see, or read, ect. I filled in bits and pieces of it, and have already looked back through and been to checkmark some as done! I like seeing how my wishes or wants change as time goes by too; a perfect little time capsule to remind you what the past you wanted to do, or to see how far you’ve come!

  • The Amazing Story Generator. I love this book; it creates some of the most creative and silly and challenging story prompts ever! I bought it off Amazon with birthday money it’s really fun to keep around for a laugh or challenge! If you’re a by-the-seat-of-your-pants fiction writer, I’d highly recommend for kicking writer’s block in the butt or for a fun random challenge! See picture below for an example of how this book works!

Do you have any favorite interactive books?

~Jamie

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Beautiful People: Writerly Resolutions and Goals

10928109_595959117172101_1450331761_n 1_zpsw3b8il6sI have a day left to join the link-up for Beautiful People, hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In. Last month they had questions for writers on their resolutions for the new year! Considering I’m taking a very different approach to my writing this year than I did last year, I thought I’d join in and attempt to pin down my thoughts for 2016 and my fictional writing!

What were your writing achievements last year?

They were nothing that I originally wanted, at least in terms of “finishing first drafts and publishing”, but I still broke a wall last year that I’m happy a bout

I wrote completely for myself last summer. I was hit by a strange form of inspiration, for the continuation for an old saga that’d I’d been stuck on for years. After being scared of following that character route due its nontraditional elements, I decided to challenge myself to break the walls in my head and write completely for myself. I didn’t tell anyone but my sister about it, for the entire summer, and wrote completely for me.

Honestly, it was the best thing to happen to me as a writer last year…learning to write for myself. I wrote like I was mad (I felt mad too,) and I got to know my longtime favorite characters like I never had been able to, just by being experimental and brave! So, I consider that the best achievement of 2015 when it comes to my writing.

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Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

I have decided to do something different this year and not make any one book a top priority project. I did that last year and when I realized I needed to do something different, I almost felt guilty for changing my goal. I want to avoid that feeling this year. I’d like to give myself a more open path. I want to follow my heart and the words in my head without feeling the need to “reach a goal.” For one year, we’ll see how that works.

List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

I have actually only 1 area I want to work on this year, and its to stop stopping at the “boundaries” in my mind. Basically, to grow on what I learned last year. I learned last year that experimenting for myself leads to amazing breakthroughs, so this year I want to stop holding back on things I want to write. Especially when it’s completely personal anyway. I want to give myself permission to freely express what I need and thinkig in my fictional writing. I hope to bring that into what I blog as well!

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Are you participating in any writing challenges?

Noooooo, sadly. I’d love to think I could start writing every single day, but I won’t even pretend that I could give that an honest go right now. XD But since I took this past NaNoWriMo off, I would love to do it this year for sure! Every other year seems to work best for me when it comes to NaNoWriMo. XD

What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

While I let my best friend and my sister read things when they can before I publish them, I currently don’t have anything else set up at the moment. I don’t have anything in particular that I need beta readers for, since I’m focusing on a lot of short stories at the moment. XD But…then again. I always need help with those too. I over think my wording too much. XD

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Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

Last year I bought several writing books cheap and I’d love to put a dent in them! I would like to read the book “Writer with a Day Job” and really use my copies of “The Pocket Muse” and it’s sequel (excellent books for inspiration!) “The Little Red Writing Book” is slim, looks extremely promising and should be easy to read as well!

Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

If I had to get to know a character better this year, it would be my villain-turned-anti-hero, Kyle. I created Kyle when I was fourteen and for years he’s remained the bland, two-dimensional baddie whom I didn’t understand personally or know how to use properly. But last year when I got to know my lead hero better, I also realized that as Kyle’s role expanded, I began to understand why he felt the way he did. After seven years, we finally began to click.

So, if I had to get to know one character better this year, it would be him. He’s the angry, grieving, screaming sound in my head that’s slowly mellowing and releasing and changing when I reflect on him. I want to get to know him even better!

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Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

Oh no, I can’t make any serious promises for that this year, like I did last year. I’m going to just write and follow my gut this year. XD

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

I desperately wish there were more books that followed a guy and girl friendship that didn’t have any real romantic tension or didn’t develop into romance. I’m determined to write stories like this myself.  It just would be refreshing! Also you then completely bypass all those annoying love triangles. XD

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What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

I hope to have achieved a stronger sense of freedom in my writing, to be less terrified of exploring my own consciousness and writing inspirations. Right now, I think the most I want to ask of myself is to become a better writer than the writer that I am in this moment. Continuing self-improvement, at my pace and in my way, will be all that I’ll demand of myself this year.

And quite honestly, that's a tall order all on its own anyway.

Are you a writer? What are your goals for the year? Did you accomplish something you’re proud of in 2015, whether in blogging or novel-writing? 

~Jamie

4 Things My Writing Career Has Taught Me

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So, an awesome thing happened. TheLadders.com are currently running a project where they seek out specific career advice, and they asked me to share my own advice for people looking into writing as their career. I thought, sure why the heck not?!

I’m still pretty new to my writing career, even though I’ve been blogging for four years and writing fiction for over ten; I have SO MUCH to learn! However, here are a few big things I have learned.

1. Helpful criticism is your best friend.

Everybody thinks they know this, but it’s another thing to have your work returned to you with more than just a few glowing remarks on your genius. Generally, unless they’re anonymous internet trolls, people simply want to be honest. If you’ve asked specific people for their feedback, trust that they’re wanting to help you. Even if you don’t change or do every single thing people suggest, it is smart to hear a reader’s perspective on your work.

I learned several years ago that my writing improved when I swallowed my pride and listened to the feedback people had to give. If you can take helpful criticism, you and your writing will improve quicker than if you didn’t.

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2. Go out of your way to learn more about writing.

I’ve exhausted my library’s creative writing section for a couple of months now, looking for books that talk about building characters, plots, worlds, grammar, story flow, ect. On can learn so much from doing this, especially if you’re going out of your way to find. Finding online articles about writing strong and better is even more convenient! Find anything that could expand my knowledge as a writer and give it a try.

I’m currently reading six different books on writing at the moment and they’ve already changed the way I view my craft. I strongly suggest all writers should learn from others shared mistakes and success to see what might help your individual needs and weaknesses as a writer.

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3. Unless you dare to try or to take risks, nothing will happen.

To be a writer is to take risks, to move forward when you want to move backward, to be open, to be insecure, to have gnawed finger nails. I hit these crossroads a couple of years ago myself. I discovered a platform for self-publishing but became scared people wouldn’t like what I wanted to publish; that it stunk; even worse, that people wouldn’t be interested to even try reading it. I saw two choices: keep rewriting till the story turned to mush out of fear that my work wasn’t good enough… OR take a risk to move past my insecurities and publish despite my inner voice of doom.

I realized that if I didn’t at least try I would never know either way if my work was good or bad. So in the end I hit publish and the response to my first short story was encouraging and kind: And people wanted more of it! I’m always thankfully I took that jump because it has led some wonderful success!

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4. WRITE. Everybody says this, but that’s because it’s important.

I don’t care what you write, but the more you write the better you get. This is the simplest piece of advice I’ve learned yet and hopefully most of you seriously considering writing already know and do this as often as possible.

These some the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned the past four or five years. If a writer’s career is the life for you, well, welcome aboard. Tighten your seat belts since the goings usually rough…just remember that the view is worth it.

~Jamie

To-Read: Part 2 || Topic: Creative Writing

Today I’m posting Part 2 of my To-Read list of creative writing books. I’m still so excited to have found so many wonderful books from the library and I can’t wait to read them all. (I shall try to pull together my to-read list of fictional books soon). Check out Part 1 here if you missed it!

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20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias. I’ve read several chapters in this already and it has completely changed how I look at plots! The book is focused how to write classic plots successfully; such master plots include Action, Quest, Rescue, Love and Underdog! I will definitely be returning to this book in the future since it’s been great so far. Highly recommended!

Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom From a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights complied and edited by Jon Winokur. This book is all advice that look like quotes or foturne cookies, organized under categories like Characters, Dialogue, Genres, Money, Reading ect. I’ve skimmed the book and it’s neat; different advice from different people will often contradict each other, which is pretty funny, haha. This is another book I wish I could underline with pen or set on fire with highlighter ink!

A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves. This is one of those “use for the entire year” books–and I think those books are really neat! This book is wide and flat, covers each month, and discusses different aspects of writing with a tiny writing prompt for each day. I really wouldn’t mind going through this book one year in the future!

Getting the Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Theodore A. Rees Cheney. This one definitely looks deeper then just your regular “creative writing” book, especially since the author is an editor. The author zeros in on 39 specific subjects to talk about, such as keeping a unified tone throughout your story, when to delete a chapter, and how to use figurative speech. Definitely excited to read this one and apply its advice on my current story!

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How to Write Your Life Story in Ten Easy Steps by Sophie King. (This isn’t really on creative writing, but I got so excited about it that I have to include it. XD ) I’ll DEFINITELY be using this book as a guide to capturing my life on paper later in the future. It’s full of suggestions on how to remember things and recount them well. I’m so glad this book exists; simply looking through it made autobiography-writing feel easier–I highly recommend this to those wanting to write about their life!

Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind by Kelly L. Stone. This one looks kinda neat as it has more of a relaxation/meditation approach to discovering creativity. I’ve really not seen another creative writing book like it. This one definitely has me intrigued to see what it has to say!

Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing by Constance Hale. This book is pretty thick with smaller text, so it looks rather daunting to me. However, it’s also full of examples and verbs that look really helpful. And I love verbs. So. I’ll give it a try. 😀

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Writer’s Guide to Transforming Notions Into Narratives by Fred White. First off, I grabbed this book because of the cover; vintage, personalitiy, and turquoise, lol. This book looks pretty neat, as it guides you through the story’s idea, plotting on paper, and then writing the first draft. As a panster who could use help with actual plotting before writing, this could be a good read that I’ll definitely give it a go.

Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron. I love this idea for a writing book. Readers use their brains to read but how does the brain work and how can we take advantage of it to get them sucked into our story? Before I publish, I hope to read through this book and use what I can in my story. I love psychology anyway, so understanding a bit more in the world of my craft would be fantastic!

Are there any books on creative writing that I should read? Please recommend one in the comments!

~Jamie

The Authorly Bucket List

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Well, I’m going to list a few authorly things I’m not that good at doing, and then I’m going to list a few things I’d like to try in the future. I’m suppose to keep it to about three to seven things each. 😀

Things I’m Not Very Good At:

1. PACING. This is my number one problem as far as I’m concerned–my last book was meant to span years, and it ended up spanning a week and a half. For 60,000 words. *headdesk.* I promise I’m working on it.

2. Romance. A decent romance is hard for me to write. I’ve tried and it’s always come out extremely obvious and annoying. Although I’m picking up some stuff from anime, I don’t know if I could imitate it in my writing very well yet. (This is why I’m avoiding using  romance in any of my current books.)

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3. First person POV. I’ve almost always written in third person, where I can jump into any character’s head for a second before moving to someone else… I’m not sure what you call that in authorly terms. So, I need more practice in writing from the view-point of one sole character. (Thankfully, I have some practice from all this blogging, so it’s not a completely foreign feeling. 😀 )

4. Plot threads. I’m always dropping plot threads, and that’s because I don’t “plot” very well. *headdesk*

5. Complete Endings. I’ve completed books, but I’m not often happy with how they end. I need to learn how to wrap everything together and create a cohesive ending that doesn’t rely on a sequel soon to follow.

Things I Want to Try:

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A. A memoir/self-help book. Not to be written now, but some day.

B. I’d like to tell a story from an animal’s perspective. I read several stories from this perspective when I was twelve and it’s stuck with me ever since (and why aren’t there more stories like Black Beauty?!)

C. I’d love to write a good old-fashioned chick flick–you know, girl friends, gossip, coffee houses, scandal, musician boyfriends, tears, secrets, the works! I’ve never written one before so I think it would be great fun. XD

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D. I want to write a historical supernatural mystery set in gas lamp England. I actually already have a plot: it will follow a band of professional crooks who become indebted to a mysterious foreign upperclassman–not telling other details yet. 😛 However, this story feels very vivid to me, so I can’t wait to write it!

E. Pirates. Oceans. Maps. Gold. Sword fights … Pirates.

F. I want to write something in the Slipstream genre. Weird is my middle name, after all… or at least I desperately want it to be. I think it’d be a great challenge to master on day.

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Other genres I’d love to attempt flexing my muscles in include Gothic Romance, a Cozy Mystery (makes me think of Miss Marple!) lots and lots more horror (happy to say I’ve already written a Zombie novel,) Steampunk combined with another genre still un-chosen, and Urban Fantasy among many other genres.

If you’d like to explore different genres and subgenres, check out this genre map I discovered while creating this post. It’s super cool–I spent an hour perusing and looking up book recommendations!

This writer’s tag was happily stolen with zero regret for the sheer fun of doing it. If you would like do this tag on your own blog, please help yourself immediately! 🙂

~Jamie