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Showing posts from September, 2011

Calling All Harry Potter Fans!

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October is going to be a special month for The Masquerade Crew. We are going to showcase anything and everything Harry Potter. This includes reviews of each of the books, analyses of the series in general, reviews and analyses of the movies in relation to the books, and anything else we think of along the way. Our Amazon Ads on the right sidebar of both the main site and our Tumblr spin-off will feature Harry Potter material. A lot of the material we are starting off with has been written by Bec C., one of our dedicated inhouse Harry Potter fans. However great she may be, she can't do it all. We need your help.

Writing Tips—How To Make A Story Interesting

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Bored readers don't buy books. If a reader buys your book and gets bored, they won't buy your next book. What is a writer to do? How can one spice up a story so that readers don't start yawning and fall asleep? We present six tips to get you started.

Book Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

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Book Synopsis

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Organizing a Plot or Storyline

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So, you have an idea for a story. What do you do now? Perhaps your idea is very simple. How do you organize yourself so that you can fill in the gaps? Try out some of these tips.

An Imperfect Fairytale
Chapter 2.1

By Charlotte Parr
‘King of spades,’ Damia announced as she laid her card on the table, her expression cool, calm and collected. Her dark hair was pulled back tightly, away from her face, in an intricate knot. Across the table from her, Rowena sat with her hair falling loosely over her shoulders and down towards her waist. She studied her cards closely before taking from her hand and laying the card on top of Damia’s.

‘Three of spades.’ They’d been playing for a few hours, and Rowena was winning seven games to five. She didn’t think Damia was trying very hard, though. People weren’t meant to beat royalty, and those that did usually paid for it. Damia put down the three of clubs, rapping the table with her knuckles as she did so.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Book Synopsis

When Pip is young, he helps a convict on the moors, shortly before being summoned to mysterious Miss Havisham’s house and meeting the beautiful, but cold-hearted, Estella. A gift of money leads him away from the blacksmith life he has known into London to learn to become a gentleman. But, as Pip becomes a man, Estella is still in his mind, as is the secret of who is his unnamed benefactor.

Testing Checkboxes

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An Imperfect Fairytale
Chapter 1.3

By Charlotte Parr

‘There’s someone coming!’ Rowena pressed her nose against the window, her eyes squinting to see the far off figure. ‘Damia, come and look.’ Damia walked quickly across the room and leaned over Rowena’s shoulder to see outside. ‘Where my lady?’ She squinted, straining to see.

‘Over there on the horizon.’ Rowena pointed, but Damia could still not see anything.

‘I think you’ve been looking out of the window for far too long, Crown Princess.’ Damia gently took the Princess’s arm and led her away from the window. ‘I think you need to rest for a while. Stop worrying about what might be out there. You’re not going to make your prince come any faster by looking for him.’

Writer's Block—Dream Your Way Out Of It

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By Sharon Flood We all do it, but we don't always use it to our advantage. I daydream to keep the creative juices flowing when I'm staring at a blank page and don't know how to fill it. Here's a few examples on how to use daydreaming constructively.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

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Book Synopsis

Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking?

Meet one funny dog—Enzo, the lovable mutt who tells this story. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: most dogs love to chase cars, but Enzo longs to race them. He learns about racing and the world around him by watching TV and by listening to the words of his best friend, Denny, an up-and-coming race car driver, and his daughter, ZoË, his constant companion. Enzo finds that life is just like being on the racetrack—it isn't simply about going fast. And, applying the rules of racing to his world, Enzo takes on his family's challenges and emerges a hero. In the end, Enzo holds in his heart the dream that Denny will go on to be a racing champion with his daughter by his side. For theirs is an extraordinary friendship—one that reminds us all to celebrate the triumph of the human (and canine) spirit.

Writer's Block—Tips From the Crew (Part 2)

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After the first installment of our Writer's Block series was written and ready to go, more tips started coming in. It soon became obvious we had enough for another post. We start this one with a tip so common that I am surprised we didn't include it before.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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Book Synopsis

The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls. Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke's gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves: The Gentlemen Bastards. The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they've ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in the middle of a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling to stay alive.

An Imperfect Fairytale
Chapter 1.2

By Charlotte Parr
‘Why are you so hard on Vincent?’ Rowena asked as she gratefully ate the grapes Vincent had stolen for her. ‘He’s only trying to be kind.’

‘You don’t understand, Crown Princess. He’s only trying to win your favour so he can prove himself to his mother. In fact, I’m not even sure what he’s told us about Narcissa is true at all,’ she said, cutting into her apple very delicately.

‘But he is so genuine, Damia, and look at what he’s done for us—both of us. Getting us nice things to eat and beautiful clothes to wear, just like we were back at home.’

Writer's Block—Tips From The Crew (Part 1)

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Writer's block can be devastating to a writer. It can halt you in your tracks, and you end up sitting there feeling helpless. Here's some good news, though. Every writer goes through it, and many of them have figured out ways to combat the evil demon. Your job as a struggling writer is to try various things until you find something that works for you, which sums up the first of six tips presented below.

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

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Book Synopsis

(taken from blurb of book)


Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can remember are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Harry Potter Detailed Analyses

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