A perfect October read

We are excited to announce the WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour with author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo and her book The House on Linden Way. 

The book is a ghost story with elements of horror and Gothic suspense – a perfect October read.

Author Naranjo has shared her thoughts on novel writing. Here’s her essay:

5 Tips for Getting Unstuck When Writing Your Novel

by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo


Writing a novel is a huge undertaking—it requires discipline, dedication, and heart. Yet no matter how much you prepare and how driven you are to succeed, at some point you’re going to get stuck. Here are five tips to jumpstart your creativity and get you through to the end

Write by hand

Facing a blank page is different from staring at a blank screen. On a page you can at least pretend you’re writing by scribbling, doodling, or drawing until your brain gets tricked into the process. With a screen you can’t do this, and there’s something about that blinking cursor that’s just maddening. Shut it down, pick up a pencil and a notebook, and write by hand.

Make a soundtrack

Every novel I’ve written has its own soundtrack. A dedicated list of songs helps capture the mood of your book, so that when you’re just not feeling it you can pop on the playlist, close your eyes, and lose yourself in the imagery and emotion of your story. If the songs have lyrics and they tend to distract you, listen before your writing session.

Use images

Speaking of imagery… don’t disappear forever into Pinterest, but do create a collection of images for your novel and refer to these when stuck. Like music, mood boards can unlock your mind and throw you back into your world of make-believe. If the story still feels too overwhelming, pick one image and describe it on its own as a writing exercise/warmup.

Use a diary

Not yours, but your main character’s. I use this trick when I’m starting to feel as if I’m a writer making something up instead of the character herself living the story. When you lose connection this way, write a diary entry from your character’s point of view to burrow further into her mind; you may be surprised what you find there.

Don’t think

My last and most important tip for getting unstuck when writing your novel is borrowed from one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury. Bradbury knew that to stay ahead of self-doubt you just had to jump in and start. To keep this in mind he wrote two words on a sign by his typewriter and kept it posted there for decades. The sign read simply: Don’t think.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the great tips and for sharing them on Choices


About The House on Linden Way:

While passing through her hometown a decade after she left, Amber Blake impulsively revisits her old house on Linden Way. She only means to stay a moment, to show her three-year-old daughter Bee the place where she grew up. But when the kindly new owners invite them inside, Amber cannot resist.

Soon Bee is missing, the owners have disappeared, and Amber finds herself in a houseful of ghosts. Time takes on new meaning as she loses herself in living memories and a past that does not wish to be forgotten. As Amber fights the powerful lure of a childhood she’d long left behind, her tenuous hold on the real world slips further from her grasp. Is it merely nostalgia she’s battling, or something far more menacing? Who haunts the house on Linden Way, and where are they hiding her child?

Categories: horror, gothic suspense, haunted house, ghost story, magical realism, thriller Purchase your own copy on:  Amazon

About the Author:

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo is the award-winning author of The Fourth Wall (WiDo Publishing, 2014). Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have been published in Brevity MagazineSuperstition Review, Fractured Lit, The Portland Review, Hunger Mountain, Hospital Drive, Reservoir Road, Literary Mama, Motherwell, and a few other places. Her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essay, and Best of the Net. All links to Elizabeth’s work can be found on her website at elizabethmarianaranjo.com.

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