The Writer’s Life According to Winnie the Pooh

Oh, bother. Here we go again! As usual, none of these gifs belong to me. All of them can be found on giphy.com.

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When you run out of motivational snacks.
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That first 5-star review.
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What you spend 90% of your time doing.
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When formatting time rolls around…
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Self-publishing in a nutshell.
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When people ask what it’s like to be a writer.
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New books and your bank account.
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When minor characters try steal all the attention.
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“Can I be a character in your next book?”
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Those pesky buy-my-book messages on social media.

If you’re just joining the series, check out the previous installations of The Writer’s Life According To… here:

…Jack Sparrow

…Sheldon Cooper

…Minions

…Gollum

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Header image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/bibliodyssey/3066786506

Starting Back Up, Book Title Help, Etc.

Hey all. I’ve been away from wordpress for a few weeks, for a variety of reasons. I plan to get the ball rolling again this week with the regular sort of posts, but I thought I’d give a quick update to those who follow regularly.

While I’ve been gone, the cover art for my upcoming fantasy novel has been in the works and I’m excited to say it’s almost done. I’ll be posting a reveal in the next few weeks, hopefully .

That being said, there’s been a setback. My plan was to release the novel on April 23rd to coincide with a book fair in my city. Several factors have led me to postpone the release, chiefly among them being the simple element of time. I really want to hone this story as much as I can, and I simply haven’t had the time to devote to it this month. I’ll keep you all up to date!

I’m also trying to find the right title for the book. I’ve cycled through several ideas by now, and the current option is Where The Woods Grow Wild. What do you guys think of that? Is it too similar to Where The Wild Things Are? (The stories are quite different both in audience and plot, don’t worry!) Independently, does it grab your attention? Or does it suck? I need to know!

In the meantime, the support and excitement you guys share with me is super encouraging!

I’ve also been decently quiet on Twitter. I’ll be back, no worries. I just haven’t had as much to say lately.

Looking forward to revving up the blog engine again, folks!

4 Worst Book-To-Movie Adaptations According To Me

Books are almost always better than any movie based on them. Granted, there are exceptions, but the vast majority of movies simply fall short of the mark of a good book. I don’t blame them. They’re limited by time-space, budget, technology, and a hundred other factors.

That being said, there are certain movie adaptations of books that are, simply put, abominations. Here is a list of what I consider to be some of the worst book-to-movie adaptations.

Note: I can only evaluate an adaptation if I’ve read the book AND seen the movie. Therefore, there will be a lot of adaptations missing from this list. 

Note 2: ranting ahead. 

#4 The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader

Every time a movie tries to add content to a story already told in a book, I cry a little. Disney is no exception. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe was actually a good film, in my opinion. Prince Caspian was…acceptable. But 2010’s The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader completely ruined the beautiful story with that stupid green mist garbage and those stupid magic swords, which were never a part of the book and reduced the plot to unimaginative fantasy cliches. Disney, for the love of literature, please don’t make up your own junk to add to movies!

#3 The Black Cauldron

Not a lot of people seem to know that Disney’s 1985 film The Black Cauldron was based on a fantasy series of five books written by Lloyd Alexander. On its own, the film is decent (although very dark, for a Disney animated film). However, it fails to accurately represent the books. The movie mixes plot points from different books and completely changes certain characters. Given how phenomenal the books are as a children’s or middle grade fantasy series, it’s really too bad Disney didn’t bother to do a better job.

#2 The Hobbit

Peter Jackson…what happened?? The Lord Of The Rings movies were gorgeous. Why did you stoop so low for The Hobbit? P.J. took a beloved children’s fantasy story (barely a novel by word count) and turned it into nine (nine?) hours of dwarvish action-men fighting CGI…things. He shoe-horned in characters that either never appeared in the book (Legolas) or simply never existed at all (Tauriel). Not to mention the abhorrent ‘love story’, the ridiculously cheesy villains and dialogue…ugh. It was awful. The only redeeming factors, if you ask me, were Martin Freeman’s brilliant portrayal of Bilbo and Andy Serkis’s return as Gollum.

#1 Eragon

Not only was this movie the worst book adaptation I’ve ever seen, it ranks among the worst movies ever made, period. I don’t even understand how someone can take such a great book and absolutely murder it. Steven Fangmeier (the director; I had to google it) completely removed a handful of essential characters (Orik, the Twins, etc.), he made the Urgals look like fat, sun-deprived pirates, he disrespected the book’s character descriptions, he ruined Durza and Murtagh forever, and he had the brainless audacity to give Saphira feathers. The action was atrocious (Jeremy Irons excepted), the movie’s version of the plot was bland, and….and…well, you get the picture.  The Inheritance Cycle deserves good movies based on it. Can we just wipe the archives of this filth and start over?


Rant over. If you disagree with me about this list, that’s fine. If you haven’t read the books, do yourself a favor and get them. If you haven’t seen these movies, spare yourself the agony. What are some of your least favorite book-to-movie adaptations?

30 Book/Reading Facts About Me

Here are some random facts about books, reading, and yours truly! Just for us to get to know each other a bit more. Also, they’re in no particular order.

#1 Eldest (Paolini) is the first book I remember buying (as opposed to borrowing or receiving as a gift).

#2 I’m not a huge fan of audiobooks.

#3 Fantasy is by far my favorite fiction genre, though I can’t seem to get into urban fantasy.

#4 Having to wait for the next book in a series to be released doesn’t really bother me. If it’s good enough, I can be patient.

#5 I watched the Harry Potter movies before I read the books, and I loved both.

#6 It really, really bugs me when overrated authors make loads of money off mediocre (or just plain bad) storytelling.

#7 Every movie director that thinks they can add to a story already told in a book deserves a slap on the face.

#8 I’m more emotional than most would guess, but I don’t recall ever actually crying over a book.

#9 I really want to read the Percy Jackson series (even though I’m a decade behind schedule), but I’m saving up for a nice box set.

#10 I’m a sucker for fantastical creatures/races in books, except for elves and dwarves. They’re just not as interesting to me.

#11 In general, I prefer fantasy adventure plots over fantasy war plots.

#12 I have a hard time getting into books with more than a handful of main characters/plotlines.

#13 My attention span when reading is shorter than I’d like it to be. I need frequent breaks to move around.

#14 However, I can’t stop reading in the middle of a scene/page. I have to reach the next page break or chapter ending before putting the book down.

#15 I’m not afraid to skip over entire description/technical/jargon sections if they’re too complex for me to follow (which is probably why I avoid sci-fi novels).

#16 I’ve never purchased a book at a Barnes & Noble.

#17 Besides English as my native language, I also speak Spanish and Catalan 100% fluently, since I live in Barcelona. However, I don’t enjoy reading in those languages as much.

#18 Most of my reading takes place in the evening or at night.

#19 I haven’t been to a library for non-research purposes since I was a kid. Don’t judge me.

#20 Most of the time I don’t use bookmarks or other placeholders. I find it easiest just to remember the page number where I leave off.

#21 Bittersweet endings are, in my opinion, the best kind of ending.

#22 The book I’ve read the most times (I think) is Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code.

#23 I only read multiple books at a time if one of them is an ebook and the other is a hard copy. Don’t ask me why.

#24 I prefer cream-colored pages over white pages, and will change my Kindle settings to that end.

#25 I can read over conversation, but if the T.V. or radio are playing, I have a really hard time focusing.

#26 I absolutely love maps in books. I try to memorize as much of the map as possible before I start reading.

#27 I don’t like reading dialogue spelled out with a heavy accent. Sorry, Mark Twain. It just gets on my nerves. I draw the line at Hagrid.

#28 I’m frequently disappointed to see English-speaking authors try to incorporate foreign languages into their dialogue and fall short of the mark, especially with Spanish.

#29 I honestly don’t care if chapters have titles or not.

#30 Most of the time, 1st person present-tense narrative annoys me, which is why I enjoyed the Hunger Games movies more than the books. Sorry, guys. I’m a 3rd person reader.


What are some readerly facts about you? Do we share things in common, or are we totally different? Write your own post with 30 facts if you feel like it, or comment below!

6 False Assumptions About Readers

#1 Readers care about your characters by default

For a reader to invest in your protagonist takes time. Don’t expect much of an emotional response in the first chapters of your book. Establishing that connection between the reader and the character requires practice and effort.

#2 Readers actually read long description chunks

I’m a reader as well as a writer. I skip those pages of description, especially if it’s just linear location description (ehem, Tolkien). In all honesty, unless it’s super relevant to the story, I probably don’t care too much what colors the drapes are. Should you avoid all description? No, of course not. It can be relevant and it can be interesting. But don’t assume readers pay attention to all of it.

#3 Readers need constant reminders

Readers have better memory than we often give them credit for. If you slipped in hints about a plot twist, or foreshadowing, or anything of the sort, you probably don’t have to keep bringing it up to make sure readers haven’t forgotten.

#4 Readers won’t pick up on subtleties

Similar to #3. Readers are smart. They’ll catch nonverbals, hints, and between-the-lines suggestions. To state everything in an obvious way is to dumb down your story. Don’t give in to the I have to make this super-clear, otherwise they won’t catch on urge.

#5 Readers read at the same speed you write

Duh. It’s not hard to figure out, but I often forget. It’s important to not make this assumption without realizing it in terms of pacing. What feels like a super long chapter to you as the writer may only take a few minutes to read.

#6 Readers need attractive protagonists

I know I’ve talked about this before, but it still irks me. Authors and cover artists, I’m begging you to listen: if you rely on attractive bodies and front-cover models to sell your story, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Please, please, please stop! Readers should invest in real, human characters regardless of physical appearance. Don’t assume hot protagonist = happy reader!

9 Reasons To Index-Card Your Manuscript

Last week I finished the first draft of The Children Of Falore (title subject to change). Which means that, in the next few days, I’ll be starting the editing phase.

But there’s one thing I always do before editing a manuscript, and that is indexing. What’s that, you ask? Basically, I go through my outline*and fill an index card for each scene in my manuscript. On each index card I include the following information:

  • Scene title/brief summary (so I know what’s going on)
  • Scene number (the order in which they tentatively take place)
  • POV character (not necessary if all your scenes are the same POV)
  • Location
  • Time of events in story context
  • Word count
  • Important info disclosed (if applicable)
  • Marks for pivotal scenes (inciting event, climax, turning points, etc.)

*I use Scrivener, so it’s all there on the screen, but you may not have a physical outline. In that case, flipping/scrolling through the finished manuscript itself works just as well, if a bit tedious. 

I end up with pretty much my whole manuscript condensed into a stack of index cards. For Little One, which had about 93k words, I needed about 70 cards because most of my scenes were on the short side. Your results will vary. Spread out on the table, it looked like this:

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The reasons I do this are several. Here, I’ll list some of the major benefits of indexing your manuscript’s first draft.

#1 Get the big picture (literally)

Having all your scenes compiled in a physical, manageable stack of cards makes getting the big picture so much easier in the most tangible way. Take the photo above, for instance. I can immediately spot my story’s layout and the location of major events. Are they too close together? Does my pacing need work? Do I need more exciting chapters? Should I slow down? This is a great way to spot those potential issues.

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Here’s a photo of my index cards beside my outline diagram. Twice the big-picture-viewing, twice the efficiency. 

#2 Manage characters and POV

You wrote down each scene’s POV character. Now you can tell what the balance is between your main characters and your secondary characters, as well as if it needs adjusting. Hint: color coding each card according to its POV character makes this a visual piece of cake. You won’t even have to read the card.

#3 Spot plot holes

Having your whole plot laid out where you can see it all at once has a knack for revealing plot holes you may have missed just scrolling down a screen.

#4 Organize or re-organize

You can mix and match your index cards to your hearts content to rearrange chapters, scenes, or whole sections without messing up your document or having to copy-paste a million times. Again, the advantage of visualizing where each scene sits can be super valuable to see if maybe chapter 4 might work better as a part of chapter 7.

#5 Reference quickly

For all other purposes or editing needs, you’ll have your stack of scenes ready to consult at a moment’s notice. You’d be surprised how much time you’ll save when fact-checking, double-checking, quoting, comparing, etc. The more intricate your story, the more likely you’ll thank yourself for making this resource.

#6 Balance content

If you color-code your index cards according to content type (dialogue, action, backstory, flashback, description, etc.), you’ll be able to spot unbalanced sections right away.

#7 Jot down notes

Keep a stack of pens or markers nearby, and you can quickly make marks or notes on your cards according to each scene’s needs. A handful of my index cards ended up with big ‘ol red x’s on them. They simply didn’t add anything, so out they went. Yes, you can do this on a printed doc or a laptop as well, but if you have your cards anyway, it saves time, and can be accessed quickly later on.

#8 Reinforce story structure

If you’re not an outline and prefer to make things up as you go, indexing your manuscript is a fantastic way to make sure your first (or second, third, etc.) draft is properly structured so that readers don’t get lost or confused when reading. Not all ‘pantsed’ manuscripts necessarily need this, but there’s a greater peril of structure weakness in early drafts without prior outlining.

#9 Keep track of time

If you’re like me, you very easily lose track of how much time has passed in your story. If you marked your cards accordingly, you’ll be able to keep track of how many days, weeks, or months go by during and between scenes.


There are other advantages to indexing your manuscript via scene-list. These are some of the ones that have helped me the most. I hope some of them help you as well, should you decide to give it a try!

6 Benefits Of #1LineWed

For those of you who aren’t on Twitter or, for whatever reason, haven’t ever followed a #1LineWed tag on social media, it’s an event each Wednesday in which writers and authors share lines from their projects under a certain theme, identified by the aforementioned hashtag (short for 1LineWednesday).

For a while, I didn’t pay much attention to the trend, but in recent months I’ve been getting more involved, and now it’s one of my favorite writerly trends on Twitter. Here are six reasons why I would encourage writers and readers alike to tune into #1LineWed:

#1 You get to share your best lines

1LineWed is the perfect opportunity to show the world that clever line you wrote last week. Simply put, it’s loads of fun.

#2 You get a glimpse of other writers’ style and voice

Lines shared for 1LineWed tend to stand out for their humor, beautiful prose, shock value, cleverness, etc. It’s amazing to see how, within one specific theme, each write has something unique to share.

#3 You learn how prominent a theme is in your manuscript

Today’s theme was ‘need’. I ran a word search in my manuscript, and was surprised by the results. I used the words need, needed, or needs at least once in over half of my scenes. I jotted down a memo to cut out as many of those as possible when I start editing.

On the flipside, a few weeks ago the theme was ‘smell’. Once again, I ran a word search and found out just how scarce my use of the sense of smell was. Since then, I’ve made a point to incorporate all senses, not just sight/sound.

#5 You find new people to connect with

Returning to social media for a moment. A simple click on the hashtag takes you to a constantly updating list of what people are sharing, which in turn gives you a bunch of fantastic writers you’ve maybe never met before.

#6 You get free exposure for your work

Tweets/posts with the 1LineWed hashtag tend to get a decent amount of views, likes, and retweets/shares. Even though the primary goal is to have fun and see what others are up to, it’s also a great way for people to find out about your book, ask questions, and maybe even take interest enough to stick around.


If you’ve never gotten involved in a #1LineWed event before, I definitely recommend giving it a try. The rules are simple: stick to the theme, no purchase links, and get creative! I hope to see you there soon. In the meantime, keep calm and write on!