Monday, March 30, 2015


Happy Monday everyone!

This week, just for fun, I'm going to tell you a little bit about me. Ten things you probably didn't know about me, so we can start to get to know each other better.

Today's topic? Quirks.

1. I read books on outer space and archeological data for fun. In other words, I'm a nerd.

2. I have an obsession with the name Percival... And I don't even know why. I have a stuffed lobster named Percival, and he's literally one of my favorite personal items. So much so that I never touch him or move him. He's essentially on a pedestal.

3. *SPOILERS* I like the Walking Dead so much that I dreamed what I thought the season five finale should be, the night before the finale aired. Unfortunately, I forgot that Beth died.

4. Nikola Tesla is my favorite inventor, and it all started with a show on Syfy. That show would be Sanctuary, for those who wanted to know.

5. Penguins. Need I say more?

6. I don't watch comedy movies. Ever. Well, that's a lie. I watch the OLD ones, like The Great Race, How to Steal a Million, and The Barefoot Executive. A lot of the new stuff tends to be focused on making sex funny, and let's face it, I don't find sex amusing.

7. I can imitate pretty much every accent on the planet, and it comes out naturally if an accented person is speaking to me. I apologize up front every time I speak to someone with an accent, because I can't help copying -- most of the time I don't even realize I'm doing it.

8. I'm a fan of the Doctor Who reboot series... But I don't like Matt Smith. And I get obsessive over it. If you'd like to have a debate over whether Tennent or Smith was better in the role, feel free to leave me a comment. I guarantee I'll respond with my fifty cents.

9. Sometimes, I wear fake glasses. But I'm really not a hipster, I promise.

10. I own seventy pairs of shoes. And I still don't think I have enough. I'm not sure if that's a quirk or just a womanly trait...

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better! Don't forget to stop by later on this week to find out what quirks I think make me perfectly suited for writing and editing -- and what traits might do the same for you!


{Rani D.}

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Block... Does it exist?

This week has been fun, hasn't it?

Writers vs. Depression - Writers win!

Writers vs. Friendships - Writers win! (Okay, maybe that one's more of a tie, but it still means we win)

So today we're left with...

Writers vs. The Dreaded Block

Now, if you know me at all, you'll know I don't believe in the Block. But you'll also know that I acknowledge its existence in other peoples lives. 

Here, I'm going to tell you how to live like I do, knowing that the Block does not exist, and that you can and will write whenever you want. 

1. Don't give it life

Speaking about the Block gives it life -- that's how I've always felt about it. If a concept isn't real, we don't speak about it. Don't say things like "I have writer's block." Say "I'm writing a novel." Telling yourself that you're writing a novel will help you to complete it. If you say it enough, and you believe it, pretty soon you'll find yourself saying that not only are you writing a novel, but that you've finished another one!

2. If you can't think of a good idea, maybe it's that you haven't seen or heard one in a while

If you're not getting any good ideas down on paper, it's probably that you haven't experienced any as of late. 

My advice? (it's fun, don't worry): Watch a new show or movie, or read a book, that's related to what you want to write. Look for inspiration from the Muse, from that inner voice inside you that just wants to sit down and get the story out. 

They're just waiting for you to find the right way to express it.

3. Sit down and write -- even if you think what you're writing is pure crap

This here is the big one, and it's very important that you don't skip it. Even if you feel like everything you've written in the past eight years is the worst thing that anyone's ever written in their life, keep writing. Do not, no matter what you might want to do, DO NOT STOP WRITING. To stop writing is to give in to the Block, to give it life, and to acknowledge that it exists. 

We don't want that, do we? 

I hope this helps those of you who have trouble with Block, and I hope you'll all come to trust me when I say that it does not exist if you don't let it. 

[love and hugs]

{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Friendships last... don't they?

Are you a creative type?

How many close friends would you say you have, that would stick by you through literally everything?

Not many, is it?

Well, for me it certainly isn't. One of them would have to be my mother. I think I have two others. Maybe.

But why is it, that so many creatives have a hard time holding onto friends?

1. We have too many imaginary friends. 

Sometimes we call it the muse, other times we just call them the voices in our heads. They're there, and we can't help it. No matter how much they might bug other people, we love them. We really do. They're a part of us, and we couldn't give up on them even if we wanted to. 

But with that many imaginary friends, sometimes it's hard to keep both them and the real ones straight.

2. We're so involved with our work that sometimes we forget the rest of the world exists. 

And we would apologize for it, if we realized it was happening. I've done it many a time, and I didn't notice it until someone told me.

I have so many imaginary friends that I don't always notice when I'm neglecting the real life ones. So I have to remind myself to focus on the real world at least once a day.

I recommend that you do the same. It's helpful to your work, if nothing else. 

3. We don't always like to get close to people, because we've seen it happen in many a book -- and seen how badly it can go. 

Yeah, it's the pessimist in us. But sometimes we can't help it. We've all done our fair share of reading, and we know what hardships and pains can come from the loss of a close friendship. Trust me on this, because I've recently been through such a loss. Sometimes we just don't want to put ourselves out there again.

But let me tell you this:

It's important that we do put ourselves out there, that we do find close friends and put ourselves out there, because friends are some of the best ways that we're able to move up in the world, and a great system for keeping ourselves accountable and holding our heads up high.

If I can do it, so can you. We'll do it together.


{Rani Divine}

Monday, March 23, 2015

Down... and out?

Have you ever noticed how often creative types seem to be struck with depression? It's almost as though creatives have this innate need to please, and as though when they do not succeed, they don't know how to handle it.

But it's deeper than that, isn't it?

That's how a non-creative type would see it, perhaps. We creatives know it's different. It's not that we have this innate need to please, to be seen, to show you everything within ourselves through our work.

But then, what is it?

For me, the answer is very simple. It's also something that I believe we'll be able to adjust for, if we're all careful enough.

That's why I've written this. For you. So you'll know what I've been through, and so hopefully you'll now be armed with new weaponry in getting through it.

We wear our emotions as an ensemble. 

Some say we wear our hearts on our sleeves. Others say it's the cheek. But it's really that we just use our emotion more thoroughly and wholeheartedly.

There's not a problem with that. Not an innate one at least.

The problem comes when we have so much emotion that we no longer know what to do with it.

Take this for example:

I'm writing a book with five main characters, editing another (of mine) with six, and about to sign a contract with RAD Writing where I'll be editing a client's novel. That's a lot of characters, a lot of minds, inside my head. It's almost like having a hoard of friends that I have to look after and give voice to, day in and day out. Their emotions become mine, because I'm so close to them. They feed off me and I off them.

How then do I avoid the pitfall of this depth of emotion?

My solution has always been this:

Deep breath. Light music. Dimmed lights. Journal. (seasonal variants: park bench or bubble bath).

The key, at least for me, is relaxation. I need that time to sit down and think through my own thoughts, to straighten out what was me and what was them. Once I've had that time to myself (usually at the end of a work day, which is when I tend to feel the most overwhelmed), I find that I'm better able to face the rest of my life. I can sit down with friends and laugh--and really mean it. I can curl up on the couch with a glass of wine--not a bottle. I can put on upbeat music and clean the house... because that's what I like to do for fun, not because it needs doing.

That's how I do it, personally.

I know, however, that it's not the same for all of us. Which is why I've found this for you all to listen to. It's one of my favorite authors, Tosca Lee, speaking with Kevin Kaiser about her personal battle with depression:

Finding Freedom From Depression [Podcast]

And don't forget, you're not alone. If you're like this, if you're so down that you just don't know how to get up anymore, remember: I'm here for you. Even if you feel like no one else is. Send me a message, drop me a comment, let me know you're out there.

We'll take a stand together, and we'll always know we're never alone.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Tips of the trade

All right, so maybe you've read all my posts this week and thought to yourself...

How do I get better at grammar? 

After all, some writing styles do require high levels of grammar. If it's something you feel you need to learn, read on! If you don't, well, then I trust I'll see you back here Monday. *wink*

That meme had nothing to do with anything, it was just too cute and... cookie monster, c'mon!

Three ways to improve your grammar:

1. Write. A lot. 

Why? Because it will help you to figure out your own style, and you'll know what you need to improve upon when you go back and read your work.

2. Read. A lot. 

This was the biggest one for me, personally. Whenever I feel like I'm slacking and not using my grammar the way I'm supposed to be, I read. Usually I'll go to authors like Ted Dekker or Michael Crichton, because I know both of them are very clean in their writing and they both have similar styles to a lot of the work I do.

That's what you'll want to do.

Read authors who are at least somewhat similar to you, or who are inspiring to you. Read Shakespeare if that's what you really like -- but don't expect him to be able to help you with your modern grammar rules *wink*

3. Study. A lot. 

Yeah, I know. It's the kicker, and the one thing most people don't like to do. But it's what you'll have to do if you want to get better. Buy some grammar books, and in about a quarter of your designated reading time, sit down and read those. We don't care about the names of the terms, we just care that you know what you're doing.

Unless you want to be an English teacher. But that's a whole other ball game.

I hope this was helpful! If you need some ideas of good authors to read, hit me up and I'll give you some suggestions!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Grammar Nutzi

Monday we talked about not requiring good grammar for good writing. If you've been keeping up, you know that.

Today, we're in a similar vein.

Why are so many writers also grammarians? 

Well, I'm glad you asked. And I'll give you three good reasons.

1. We've written so much, every single day, that it's become second nature

This is just what happens, after a while. I've only been writing professionally for a few years, but still. I've written ten novels, all of them over 200,000 words. And after a while, it just gets engrained in you. I've used spellcheck and my thesaurus so much that I just know now, without even thinking.

I'd guess that it's the same for most writers, who find themselves acting as grammarians.

2. We've been through so much editing that our editors have drilled it into us

It's true.

Our editors have banged our heads against the dictionary so many times that it finally stuck. We're so nervous that our editors are hiding around every corner that eventually, perhaps even sadly, we've become like them.

We can't help it. Most of us would apologize, if we'd realized that it had happened.

Then again, most of us wouldn't want to admit that we've become our editors. It's akin to a child realizing they act just like their parent.

Scary stuff, that.

3. Really, we're just always editing

In our heads.

In our lives.

In everyday speech and even during television shows.

We can't even help it anymore.

Don't worry, if you're just starting out and you have a heart for writing (and even if you don't have one for grammar), you'll get there too.

Trust me.



Monday, March 16, 2015


Okay, nobody start yelling at me when you read this.

Just hear me out.

You don't have to like (or be good at) grammar to be a writer.

(read the sarcasm in the meme, please :-) )

Now nobody start getting testy on me. I have my reasons for saying that, and I'm about to explain them. Read to the end and maybe you'll side with me, eh? 

You never know until you try. *wink*

Three reasons why I believe you don't have to like (or be good at) grammar to be a writer: 

1. Grammar doesn't really matter in the long run

Nobody mob me. Please. Just think about it. Think about how often people actually use proper grammar in their speaking. Now remember that a lot of what you're writing is trying to mirror actual life. 

Put two and two together, and voila! Bad grammar = ... well, equals kinda sad standards for spoken English, but decent writing nonetheless.

2. Editors fix your grammar

Well, this is obvious. 

A lot of popular writers actually do have bad grammar -- but you'll never know, because the editors polish their work until it shines. That's the truth of the matter, right there. Editors make our work look better. It's what we pay them for. (sometimes it's also why we hate them, because the process can be painful)

3. Not every story needs good grammar

Do you have any idea how many famous people published works with terrible grammar? Works that were praised as being great literature? 

I don't either -- that's how many there are. I can't even count off the top of my head, how many authors became famous off the terrible grammar they published for the world to read. 

Yes, it'll depend on the context of your story and the depth of your characters, but if you write it properly -- bad grammar or not -- people will read it, they'll like it, and they'll follow you for it. After all, if you like it, then someone else will like it to. That's the way the world works. We're never really alone, even when we think we are. 

Besides, you'll never know until you try. Why not give it a whirl, bad grammar and all? 

I believe in you. Always have, always will. 



Friday, March 13, 2015


You know those days when you just don't know what to say, when you've written so many words in your projects that writing another hundred in a blog seems an impossible feat?

This is one of those days.

So instead of writing something, I found this video for you!

Really, I probably wasted a little more than that, didn't I? *wink*

[love and happy faces]


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

< end >

Monday, we talked about how to get started in your novel.

Today, we're talking about something almost as important: pushing though until the end. 

1. Never give up

Yeah, yeah, it's cliche. But don't give up! Don't do it! Too many of us get a short ways in and then give up because we don't know how to continue. Well I'll tell you what, just do it. Just sit down and keep writing, and see where it goes. Think of it as a series of short stories that make up a whole book, if it helps. After all, that's really what novels are.

2. If you get stuck, go back and read what you already have

This always helps me to keep going, especially when I've hit the point that I don't want to continue anymore. Going back and rereading everything can open up some new possibilities and bring up new ideas you haven't thought of yet.

Try it.

3. Keep your characters in mind

Do this, because your characters want their stories to reach a climax. They don't want to be in an unending story, or one that doesn't get to find its finish. If you don't find the end, they don't find their end, and nobody's happy. So think of them, think of what they would do, and think of how they would like to go on with their lives.

4. Have someone else read it, to keep you accountable to finishing

I do this with every single thing that I write -- even the short stories. Doing this makes sure that I'll finish, because I have someone else pushing me to do it. Usually I'll nab a good friend and talk them into reading for me, and they always keep me accountable to finish. So if you're having trouble being accountable to yourself, do this. Honestly.

I hope these ideas were helpful to you! Remember, it doesn't have to be November to be novel writing month. Sit down and get some words on the page.

Every story has to start somewhere, right?



Monday, March 9, 2015

< begin >

Wow guys. Maybe I should post about The Walking Dead more often. You all seemed to really enjoy my last post!

This week we're going a little more technical and hopefully helpful to those of you who want to start writing but don't really know where to begin.

How to start writing a novel, 101

1. Define your idea

Usually this begins by writing out a mass of ideas that might be able to go together, and then seeing if they might possibly work.

For example, can we throw together telepathy, the Holocaust, slavery/racial tensions, underground civilizations, superheros, and time travel to make a good story? Yes. That would be X-Men.

2. Outline your idea

Take all your best defined ideas and chuck them together in an order that makes some sense:

One young mutant is hurt during the Holocaust.
While in their twenties, another mutant, a telepath, befriends the first.
The rest of the world becomes more aware of mutants, creating a newly formed "race."
The mutants are forced to go underground and live in the shadows, doing their good deeds in secret.
Mutants are hunted to near extinction, and find a way to go back in time and change the way everything happens.
Eventually, the world comes to see many of those mutants as superheros.


3. Create your main characters

Really, this one goes in line with part 2. While you're outlining, you'll probably come up with a few good ideas for characters. Go with your instincts.

Two main characters: Magneto, the young mutant harmed in the Holocaust. Professor X, the second mutant who befriends him.

The hard part?

One of them has to be your villain.

Sometimes, that character won't show themselves right away. In the novel I most recently wrote, I didn't meet the antagonist until almost halfway through the book -- and there is a high probability that it will happen to some of you.

If you can't find the villain, don't worry. They'll show themselves in the story when the time is right.

4. Start writing

This is what I do. I'm not an outliner. If I outline, I won't write the story. So if you've had this problem, just start writing. Follow your gut, go wherever the story wants to go.


Trust me, you'll know if that's happening. It's called writer's block.

4a. Make your outline

This one's for those of you who need an outline in order to know what you're doing:

Decide how you'd like your story to proceed, write out a simple list of events you'd like to have happen, and then refer back to #4.

For those of you who are aching to write your first novel, I hope this was helpful for you! If you have any questions or you'd like me to add more detail, please let me know. I want to write things that you want to read.

I really do.



Friday, March 6, 2015


Any of you watch The Walking Dead?

You remember that episode when Daryl is with that group of guys who "claim" everything? That's where my title comes from.

Yeah, those guys were jerks and we should probably never think of them again (except maybe to revel in the amazing gory bite scene near the end of the season), but there's one thing we can take away from them:


You want something? Claim it.

(ladies, nobody's claiming Daryl here: not you, not me... move along)

My point here is, if you really want something, you have to claim it for yourself. If you want to be something, you have to declare to yourself that it is what you are. If you don't believe it, then it's never going to be true. But if you declare it, if you profess it, if you fully and completely claim it and start working toward it, it's yours.

So claim it. Claim what you are. Be what you want to be.

Want to know what I claim?

Christian. Artist. Writer. Woman. New Creation. Senior Editor. Full-Scale Printer Owner. Wife. Fluent Russian-Speaker.

Am I all of those things, currently? Maybe not. But I claim them. I profess them. I am them. Whether the world sees me that way or not.

Because someday, the things on that list that I might not be right now, I will be.

Just watch me.

I claim it.

You should too.


{Rani Divine}

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


I mentioned the other day that I paint, and that I'm having a piece published in the upcoming edition of Mavguard Magazine... and some of you asked why I'd never mentioned it before.

Well. This is a writing blog, you know.

But then, it's also about me... and I paint... so I suppose we can talk about it.

In reality, it's more that I used to paint. I haven't had the time to sit down and do it in a while, but I have more paintings in storage than I really know what to do with. In fact, I used to paint almost every day, and it was my number one stress reliever.

"Why give it up?" I hear you ask.

Honestly, I didn't want to. But I moved for college, and we all know what trials college brings along with it. I no longer had the time for it, and I had to find new ways to bring my stress levels down.

That's actually part of where writing came in.

Now, before you all go crazy thinking I'm this amazing realist painter, I should say that I'm an abstract painter. It was always more about the spray and slop of the paint than it was about making it look like something real.

And that was the point.

Sometimes, we need that abstract image to get us outside our worlds, to help us see things in a new light. Occasionally, we need to step beyond the world we know and picture things as blocks of meaningless colors.

For me, it was a wonderful and beautiful way to clear my mind -- and I highly recommend that you find something that does it for you as well.

Maybe it isn't painting. Maybe it's poetry or video games. But find something that helps you to relieve that stress, and use it. Find a way to bring your stress levels down, because if you don't, it only becomes harder to function. Especially when you're in college. Which I'm not anymore, but I was very recently, so I really do understand. 



p.s. Someday, I would greatly enjoy writing a novel with paintings to go along with it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

swen (that's news backward)

Here be the news, because, well, there be news:

1. In case you hadn't heard, all this month the Rad Store is running a special on both my books! 

Use code SIGNMINE at the checkout when purchasing an unsigned copy of either book, to save a little money and get a free personalized signing!

Check out my prior blog post for more information: Sign it!

2. Mavguard Magazine's submissions window is open again! 

Yes, for those of you who've been paying attention, the first edition has not yet been released. However, I am now free to announce the tentative release date of April 7! We're all very excited release this edition to the public, and to get started with submissions for round two!

So. That being the case, I thought I should remind you of what we're looking for.

Mavguard Magazine accepts:

Short Fiction (stories, screenplays, shorter pieces of longer fictional works, etc)
Art (photography, paintings, drawings, sketches, edited photography, graphic design, etc)

The magazine does not accept nonfiction, YET, but they hope to open the door for nonfiction in the following years.

If you're an artist of any sort and you've ever considered sending in your work to be considered for publication, now's the time! Mavguard Magazine caters to new authors, but will also view the work of previously published authors (and if you've been published multiple times before and are chosen for publication, you'll receive payment for your work!).

Swing by, check it out, and send them an email if you have any questions. Or drop me (or them) a message on Facebook and we'll get you whatever information you need.

3. Did you know that I paint? 

Well, I do. And I have a my first painting being published publicly in the first edition of Mavguard! Yet another reason for all of you to check it out!

4. Links to everything I might have discussed...

Mavguard Magazine Official Website
Mavguard's Facebook Page
Rad Writing Official Website
My Personal Facebook Page

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!


{Rani Divine}