Page 1


RRWs Top 10 Halloween Movies Page 8

Clown Craze Comedy—Harry Potter Style, Page 32

Let’s Talk about your Researching for your Writing, page 12

How to Leave Great Blog Comments Every Time page 6!

Autumn 2016

Contents page Page 3.

Editor’s note

Page 4.

Favourite Author: George R.R. Martin

Page 6.

How to Leave Great Blog Comments Every time!

Page 8.

RRWs Top 10 Halloween Movies

Page 10. Interview with the Blogger Page 12. Let’s talk about your Writing: Researching for your Writing Page 14. Family Creative Writing Activity Page 15. Creative Writing Exercise/prompt—Deborah Stansil Page 16. Issue 2 Creative Writing Prompt story —The Room Deborah Stansil Page 18. Genre discussion: Gothic Page 19. Confessions of a Mother/Writer/Student/ - Column Page 20. Writing Ghost Stories Page 22. Author Talk: Pitching your Writing Page 24. The Witch Page 26. TV/Film versus the Book—The Hunger Games by Deborah Stansil Page 29. Teaching others to Write Creatively— Setting Page 30. Create your Setting Worksheet Page 31. Cool Xmas Gift Ideas for Writers Page 32. Clown Craze Comedy—Harry Potter Style Page 34 Issue 3 Competition Page 35 Adverts and Next Issue News


Note from the Editor Welcome to the third edition of Rambles, Rants, and Writings Magazine. It’s great that the magazine is starting to get regular readership! This is great news, I want to thank you all! This is the last edition for 2016. Our next issue is due to be published January 31, 2017. Can you believe we are heading for 2017 already? A huge thank-you to my contributors this month Deborah Stansil and Kristin McCarthy. I’m so thrilled that such talented, inspirational women writers wanted to be part of this magazine! I hope you enjoy reading and if you are interested in advertising with us or contributing, please email your article ideas, or fiction and poetry submissions to and don’t forget to check out our website Have a great November and December— I promise more from RRW in the New Year!

Janet Cooper x Editor


Favourite Author: George R. R. Martin Here at RRW Magazine, we love books. Literature is so important to us and we love to celebrate it! In this issue, we thought we would begin talking about favourite authors and we would love to make this a regular piece in every issue. If you would like to discuss your favourite author, please send in your written piece to in time for issue!

Today, editor Janet Cooper talks about one of her favourite authors’ George R. R. Martin.

George R.R. Martin is of my favourite authors. I must admit, until I started watching Game of Thrones on TV, I had no idea who he was. After the first two seasons I bought the collection of books, and I was thrilled when I had to study him in a language module at University when studying for my BA (Hons) degree. I really like the way that he is able to get into the mind of all of his fictional characters. Each chapter in the Game of Thrones series is in the head and mindset as he talks from a specific characters point of view. This strategy is quite complex, but if it’s done well, it has a very interesting affect. I’ve heard negative comments about novels written this way, for instance, that it’s confusing for the reader but especially with the first book of the series I found this very effective as it kept me interested. I have only read three books of the series. The first being my favourite, closely followed by the third. I must admit, I struggled with book 2. It took me weeks to read and I had trouble digesting the information because a lot of the writing was linked to Stannis Baratheon’s fight and I found him a dark but boring character. Maybe it’s because of his self-righteousness. Even with his priestess, Melisandre, the chapters of Ser Davos remained mundane.


I think one point that is so important about his writing, is his ability to produce complex characters. He is able to build up suspense, and when you think that something just won’t happen it does. For instance, in the first book, I was convinced that Ned Stark was the main character. Obviously, that isn’t possible considering that by the end of the book he dies and the books still continue. My favourite character moved from Ned, and then to Rob. I also love Daenerys Targareon, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Bran Stark, and John Snow. This is the first time I’ve admitted this simply because George R.R. Martin has me afraid; what if they all die? I find his writing of female characters interesting as he writes some very strong female characters. All three women I mentioned above are very powerful women. Arya is just a child in the first book, but she is tough. When her father dies Martin has her pose as a boy for a long time. She becomes ruthless and fearless. Any punishment she takes always makes her stronger. Daenerys is very passive in the beginning. She allows herself to be controlled by her brother who sells her off to the Khal of a tribe. She earns her power and respect, with the help of truth in her heritage that involves berthing dragons from their eggs through fire. She becomes a formidable force! Finally the change in the character of Sansa Stark is quite amazing. Sansa always acts within her role as a lady and does as she is told. She is used and abused through most of the novels. Eventually she stops being a victim and begins to fight back. She is intelligent and cunning, and uses these qualities to pull back her power and status to progress herself. I could talk all day about the characters in his novels but the aim here is to discuss why he is one of my favourite authors and it’s simple. His imagination and ideas are fantastic. Of course I love the fact his writing is in the fantasy genre but it’s more than that, as he constantly goes against what is advised by other professionals and he makes it work. For instance, the fact he doesn’t have a main character and that fascinates me. Some may label this as being unconventional but I believe this is what keeps me interested as a reader. I don’t want to read the same-old, same-old, I want something that is culturally rich and exciting. That’s exactly how George R.R. Martin connects with me as a reader!


How to Leave Great Blog Comments Every Time! Anyone who blogs knows that warm feeling you get when you get your first comment – and your second, and probably your millionth. It’s a great feeling to know that your writing has touched someone enough that they want to share their thoughts with you. I’m sure as a blogger, you also leave comments on other people’s blogs – whether on your blogging buddies’ blogs, as part of a linky or just because you read a great post and wanted to leave your thoughts. But have you considered that your comments are a reflection of you and your brand? Anything you write in the public domain is a reflection of you. Do you want to be the blogger who is seen to leave bad comments? Or do you want to be the blogger who is seen to leave well thought out, intelligent comments? If you want to be the second one, which I hope you do, then read on to learn how to leave a great comment every time! Think About the Content of Your Comment Think about the sort of comments you like to receive – I’m guessing they are the ones that show the person read the post and connected with your words – that you made them feel something. Do Read the post! I know this should go without saying, but let’s face it, we’ve all had comments where someone has read the title and looked at the images then left a comment that bears no relevance to the post whatsoever. Don’t be that person. Don’t Leave a generic comment like “great post”. Sure, if you enjoyed the post, say it’s great, but say something else as well. This looks like you couldn’t be bothered to read the post. At the end of the day, if you are good enough with words to write your own blog, you should be able to string together a sentence or two about whatever you’ve just read. Ask Questions It’s happened to us all – we’ve read a post that moved us for whatever reason; maybe it was a topic close to your heart, maybe it moved you, maybe it was just beautifully written. Then you go to write a comment and you can’t think of anything to say 6

that hasn’t already been said. Asking a question can be a good way to build on what you’ve read. Do Ask a question if you’re genuinely interested in learning more about the topic. It shows you have read the post and that you connected with the material. Don’t Ask something that the posts answers! This just shows that you only skim read the post and is as bad as not bothering to read it at all. Don’t Be a Moron If you’ve just read a post that you whole heartedly disagree with, don’t be afraid to comment and tell the blogger that. But don’t be THAT person – the one who resorts to being insulting – remember what I said earlier that anything you write in the public domain reflects on you and your brand? The negatives stick. Do Be honest. Tell the blogger you disagree and share your opinion. You don’t have to agree with everything you read. You can still put a positive spin on it – just because you disagree, you can still mention that the post made you think, or was well written. Don’t Be insulting if you choose to disagree. I have written some things in the past that people disagreed with – and you know what? I loved it! I had comments where my readers told me their opinions and it made for a great debate – sometimes, it even raises things you hadn’t thought of in your post. BUT there’s a huge difference between disagreeing and insulting the person who wrote the post. Know where the line is and don’t cross it. Add Something New to the Discussion It’s brilliant when you receive comments that add a new spin or raise something you hadn’t considered. If you leave this sort of comment, it shows you’ve read the post and that you care about what you read. Do Have a read through the other comments – you don’t want to leave a carbon copy of someone else’s idea. Don’t Be afraid to raise a point related to the post – maybe share a personal experience of yours, or add something to the discussion. Maybe even expand on a point in the post. And that’s all there is to it! Happy commenting ! Written by Debbie at


BE SCARED THIS HALLOWEEN WITH RRW’s TOP 10 Halloween MOVIES Be prepared to be scared this Halloween with our list of Halloween, must-see movies! Of course, that’s only if you aren’t too terrified! 1.

Surely, Halloween, wouldn’t be Halloween without one of the Halloween Movies? Movie number 1, is certainly a Halloween classic and will help you become acquainted with the formidable Michael Myers! 2.

Interview with the Vampire is another excellent movie ideal for Halloween . Watch as Lestat causes havoc everywhere he goes!


The Conjuring, is a great scary movie with a great plot. Good films about demons and possessions are hard to find, and I will be the first to admit that the ending is not the best, but it’s certainly worth watching for Halloween!


Another movie that’s certainly worth watching is Saw. If you like gore with a good plot twist and then this is certainly one to watch! 5.

With all the hype around scary clowns recently, how can we ignore Steven King’s classic, IT? Of course this is no good if you are already terrified of clowns, but who knows, you may like a good scare!



Dracula Untold is a fairly recent movie and although it isn’t the scariest movie out today, it’s got a historical link and links to the unforgettable classic, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s action packed!


If you are more of a romantic kind of person then why not watch Ghost? It’s a great but sad film based on love. Whether you have or haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching. Halloween is the perfect time, but don’t forget the tissues! 8.


Halloween concentrates on monsters. If your favourite monster is a zombie, why not check out World War Z? The zombies are fast and ruthless. it just seems a cut above the Dawn of the Dead movies, although I would still say that they are definitely still worth watching if you haven’t seen them!

If you have kids, you should watch Tim Burton’s Coraline! Obviously it isn’t an idea for your children to be too young or suffer from nightmares as movies should only ever be watched by those within the stated age range, but even adults find that movie spooky. It also has a great hidden message about trusting strangers!

10. For those of you who prefer werewolves, why not check out Dog Soldiers? Although the movie is quite old now, it has some great twists and it’s a film full of surprises so be ready to jump from the chair!


Interview with the Blogger is a regular slot in the Rambles, Rants, and Writings Magazine. If you are a blogger and would be interested in featuring here, please email This issue’s interview is with Kristin McCarthy from First, I asked Kristin to introduce herself:

I am a former teacher turned blogger and stay at home mom of four little girls and our giant dog Queso Cheese Monster. My hobbies include keeping the kids alive, drinking craft beer, eating cheese and vacuuming up Shopkins and Legos. Vacuuming up toys and writing are my main forms of therapy. 1. Give three reasons that first attracted you to the world of blogging?

I love storytelling. I get pretty animated and unruly in my telling. I have always loved writing- my mom kept all of the stories that I had written back in the second grade. I created a whole series of stories about a character named Fred, (which I accidentally spelled Ferd,) with my neighbor. I wanted to connect with other moms on a raw and personal level. Momming is so cut throat these days and so serious. I meet so many moms that seem very surface level to me. No one wants to disclose any imperfections in their parenting or their families in fear of judgement. I found that when I opened up and started my ranting diarrhea of the mouth other moms felt comfortable and real and were able to talk…. really talk. I thought if I ever get a moment I am going to start writing, connecting, bringing women into my fold and making them feel like it is ok if your four year old licks the wall, and if you find yourself hating bedtime...and dinnertime...and lots of other times! 2. How long have you been blogging?

A whooping three months. In those three months the blog has had about 13,000 page views and assembled 159 subscribers. 3. If you could use three words to show how you feel about your overall blogging experience, what would they be? i) Uncensored ii) Welcoming iii) Learning 4. Name three things you like about blogging. i) Connecting with other moms who are parenting in the trenches. ii) Expressing my thoughts on parenting using humor and realness. iii) Branching my writing out and finding ways to build my brand and disseminate my writing. 5. Name three things you dislike about blogging. i) When my work gets rejected- rejection sucks. ii) When my page view are low for a day- I am a dweller. iii) When I know I need to put a blog post out and I can’t think of anything grand. 10

‘I wrote it at about 1 am after a few drinks at the bar. I woke up the next morning and took a peek and thought, “Oh My GOD! It’s still good!” Kristin McCarthy (2016) 6. What is your favourite blog post you have written?

I think the first one I wrote for Suburban Misfit Mom and then on my blog “Dear Husband…” Is my favorite. I wrote it at about 1 am after a few drinks at the bar. I woke up the next morning and took a peek and thought, “Oh My GOD! It’s still good!” 7. If you could write a blog post for anyone in the world, individual or company, who would it be?

Hmmmm. That dream kind of came true. I have been reading Sammiches and Psych Meds for years, so when they picked up two articles for the month of September I was basically sitting on the kitchen floor hyperventilating. I would love to have some of my work published in anthologies someday. 8. What is the best comment you have ever received in relation your blog or a blog post you have written?

I have had so many positive comments from so many bloggers whom I have met through link parties. Debbie at My Random Musings named Four Princesses and The Cheese as one of the blogs she loved. I was really touched that out of all the blogs that she comes across mine was one that she looks forward to and follows. 9. What is your biggest blogging achievement (this can be a personal achievement or if you have received praise, or a blogging award)?

Being picked up by Suburban Misfit Mom was really the start of feeling like a true blogger and writer. Founder Nathalie Laitmon really believes in her publication and makes you want to write great stuff for her. Then of course Sammiches and Psych Meds picked up a few articles as well as BonBonBreak. That is when I started thinking that maybe I could really do this. 10. What’s next (do you have any future plans for your blog or blogging in general – maybe you have been asked to write for another blog or company)?

Really just to keep getting my work published and read. I think as long as publications and sites are picking articles up then I am producing engaging content that people want to read. That is really the overall goal. I would love to someday make more than six dollars a month from ads...maybe like ten dollars a month! :) You can catch up with Kristin here… Twitter: @tinmccarthy Website:


A huge thank-you to Kristin, for agreeing to feature in Rambles, Rants and Writings...

Let’s talk about your Writing: Researching for your Writing How should I organise my research?

If you want to write a believable piece of fiction, research is a key part of the writing process. That means that your research skills and the way you organise and use your research are very important to your success!

What sources can we use to research? You might use numerous sources when researching your writing. It really depends on the topic but here are some examples: 1. Interview. 2. Books. 3. Internet. 4. Articles. 5. Reviewing records. Interviews are useful if you want to discuss specific information with a particular person. For instance if you were writing about a certain period of time or a personal experience, like a war for instance, you might interview someone who had been involved with that event to help you get in the mindset of what that might be like. Books are useful as they can give you ideas and help you to expand your imagination. The internet can tell you almost anything you need to know about anything. You must ensure that your sources are

A lot of people are fine actually doing the research but when it comes to pulling it all together, How should I research? they don’t know where to start with all the information they have and You need to choose your sources this is because they haven’t carefully. You should always read organised their research effectively. an abstract, introduction, or blurb if you are reading a book or article There is not just one way of that is lengthy. This will help you organising your research, but many. determine if your research is This means that it’s up to the relevant to your writing. Dip in researcher (you) how you organise and out to relevant sections or your research. chapters and collect the information relevant to your Some people prefer a paper-based research. This may include method of research. This could making a note or typing the mean storing your different pieces relevant reference and information of research in a file. Often this is into a document for recording. If printed documents, highlighted and you are interviewing someone, often annotated. You can then put ensure you choose your questions them in a relevant order carefully. Ensure that they are (alphabetical, numerical, or relevant to your research. Write a chronological) and then you can list of what you need to know for even divide your files into sections. your writing piece and construct For instance, if you were arguing a your questions from your list. specific point, you may have information in support of an If you are reviewing records, you argument and then a section of can skim read until you find a information that is against that relevant part or sometimes you can argument. Sometimes you might search in order of date. The even have further sections like internet is probably the easiest useful quotes, or a list of back up method but as I mentioned sources that include a reference, previously, you need to make sure page number, and possibly line information is authentic and not number too! bogus. You can do this by looking at the author and their other If you are collecting an interview publications, checking the date and but you have more than one (or site that their writing was even a survey) you may wish to use published and make sure you a spreadsheet document and collate provide a reference. Websites like everyone’s answers on the same Wikepedia are only useful for sheet for analytical purposes. directing you to sources as you have to be careful and double Maybe you copy and paste things check that the information into a Word document along with published is correct. their reference and then once you


research different areas of New York. There is not only language, what about travel? How do people get from one place to another in New York?

have all of the relevant information then you print it out and work through your research.

How should you use your research?

There are lots of ways to organise your research and again it depends on what exactly you are researching. The most important thing is to find the most effective way of organising your research in relation to your task.

If you are researching for the purpose of writing fiction then you should research certain details as much as possible. For instance, if you wrote a novel based in New York, and you haven’t been to New York, the novel might seem very unnatural to the reader. You should use So, what method of American fiction, the internet, the news, and even Newspapers to organising your get a feel of what life is like in research suits you? New York. You might also look at a map of the area you are Here you should think about what thinking of describing. For ininformation you will be stance it’s no good describing collecting and how you want to suburban parts of New York access the research. when you are in the city, so you need to know your way and have If you need to read a lot of some idea of where you are. printed information then it’s usually best to photocopy the You also have mannerisms and piece, write down the reference, language to consider too. For and store it in a file. If the instance, different dialects, information is short and snappy, different beliefs and ways of life, (just a couple of lines) you can different aspects, and people with type it up into a document. If different experiences. It takes a your answer is simple, one or two lot of research if you want to words, or even a number write about a place that you are reference, then you can store this not familiar with. That doesn’t information into a spreadsheet. mean it can’t be done but you do need to make sure you gather a If we consider quotes, some lot of information to help you people might like to cut these out ensure authenticity. and write the reference on the back. Then when writing they You might watch TV shows have a collection of quotes or based in New York, and type or important points to work from. acquire scripts for the shows to Sometimes the quotes may need help you get to grips with the sorting further, into areas or language and some location. You relevance. might search Google maps and


Remember, research is important and should be used to create atmosphere, but it should be used to help you focus your ideas on particular areas. It’s certainly important when creating a realistic article or an atmospheric story. Research is often the basis of your writing work so make sure you use it to draw on authenticity, as well as it being a foundation for your own ideas. It can really help you to develop your ideas and can kick-start motivation!

Research is often the basis of your writing work so make sure you use it to draw on authenticity, as well as it being a foundation for your own ideas. Love it or hate it, research is an important part of the life of a writer so it’s best to come to terms with that and make the best of the resources available to us. It’s certainly worth persevering with in the longer term, and it also means you are developing yourself too!

Welcome to issue 3’s family creative writing activity. Today we are going to create a villain. You can either write or draw for this one which means this is useful for everyone, age doesn’t matter. Try our fun family creative writing activity by following the steps below: 1.

For this activity, you will need A4 paper, coloured pens, pencils, or crayons, and a lined sheet of paper.


Spend around ten minutes designing your character. If you aren’t comfortable drawing and colouring your character then you should describe them from head to toe. Think about what they are wearing too! What’s their gimmick?


You could also try this When you have all finished your activity and create a character, think about a situation that superhero for your your character has been involved in. villain! For instance, how did they become bad? Or what do they do that’s bad (maybe they rob jewellery stores for diamonds for instance). Try to think of something unique! Make notes on your lined paper.


Everyone can then discuss their character verbally, taking turns. You can all give your opinion and even suggest how the character could be improved.


If you have family time on a weekly basis, why not write a story in time for next week, and share it with your family?


Make sure you enjoy your family writing time!


Creative Writing Prompt Are you all fired up to write but need a little inspiration to get the words flowing? Let’s go!

The Ring

You find a ring in the street. As you make your way to the local police station to hand it in, you feel a strong desire to put the ring on. It can’t hurt to try it you decide. Once in place, the ring won’t budge, and you start to see flashes, memories that aren’t your own. You see a gruesome murder and a heart breaking betrayal. What happens next? How will you get the ring off? And what will you do with the memories you are seeing? I would love to read what you come up with! Email me your stories, up to 1000 words, ( and my favourite one will feature in the next edition. 15

Creative Writing Story from Issue 2—Prompt

The Room, by Deborah Stansil

Following the prompt from issue 2 of RRW Magazine, Deborah Stansil has written fiction based on the prompt and RRW is proud to publish this contribution on her behalf. I sit down in the chair, keeping a close eye on the man who may or may

not be dead. I pinch myself. Obviously, this is a dream. It hurts, but nothing else happens. Great, I think. This again. Ever since I tried to run away when I was twelve, my father has alternated between making a huge effort to be a good dad, and this. The game. He’s a good dad. Really he is. And he’s normal. But every so often, he changes. He withdraws from me, leaving me to mostly fend for myself. That’s why I ran away in the first place. After he found me, he told me I was ready to be a part of his game. And now I am. Sometimes, he withdraws and nothing happens. He just returns to his usual self one day. But other times, he goes missing for a couple of hours. And that’s when I end up in a room somewhere. It could be anywhere, the location matters little to him. He just needs it be deserted enough that no one can hear me yelling. The first time, yelling was pretty much all I did. I thought I’d been abducted, was going to die. I yelled and cursed, until eventually, my dad came and let me out. He told me he was preparing me for the game. I had no idea what he meant, but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to play his game anymore. That was a week after I’d attempted to run away. Four years ago. Now, I’m used to it. I don’t waste my time yelling. I view it as a sort of challenge. I make it my mission to escape the room and be gone when he gets here to let me out. I wonder how he would react if I did? Of course, it’s never happened so I don’t know. It’s not an easy game. There’s always some bizarre props, the purpose of which I can never work out. I often wonder, if I could just work out what the props are for I could do it. I could win. My father likes to see if I can escape, knowing full well I won’t be able to. I should stop playing really. 16

Just sit here until he gets bored. But we both know I won’t. Maybe once I escape, the game will end. The man is a new development. I don’t even want to consider who he is or what my father did to him. I approach the man and poke at his feet with my toes. He doesn’t stir. I remember the wheelchair. Maybe it’s his and his legs are paralysed? I prod him in the ribs instead and he moans. I take a step back. “Hello?” I say. The man groans. I glance over him. He doesn’t seem to be hurt. “Hello,” I say again. The man drags himself into a sitting position. “Who the hell are you?” he says. “What happened? Why are you in my house?” “I’m Natalie,” I say. “And the rest? I was hoping you could tell me.” The man is quiet for a moment. “I don’t remember much. A man burst in. He told me I was going to die. That because of me, his daughter would win. I think he was crazy. And then nothing. Until now. He must have thought I was dead. How did you end up here?” I shrug. “Something similar to you,” I lie. Now I know why the man is here. I know what I must do. My father always told me there was more to the game. That I must learn how to play before I could move on to the next level. He told me it wasn’t about escaping, but about winning. I thought escaping was winning. Now I know better. The earlier rooms. They were just preparation, so when the real game started, I knew what to expect. This is the game. And winning means being the last one standing. I back up slowly and reach for the knife. I approach the man. I see his eyes widen with fear. Somehow, he knows what I am going to do. I guess the knife pointing at him is a major clue. I smile. “It’s ok,” I tell him. “It’ll be over before you know it.” Somehow, I know my father is watching through the window behind me. I lean down and in one quick movement, I slash the man’s throat. I watch calmly as he bleeds to death in front of me, his eyes glazing over as the blood leaves him. The door opens. I turn and my father stands there, a smile of pride on his face. I smile back. I did it. I won. The game is over. “You did it,” he says. He walks over and hugs me, seemingly oblivious to blood on my front. “I’m so proud of you. Natalie, welcome to the game.” My smiles fades. The truth hits me. That wasn’t the end. It was the beginning. *******************************************************************


Genre discussion: Gothic Gothic fiction is a popular subgenre of fantasy. Gothic fiction is full of hidden meaning and motifs that represent society at the time. It’s a culturally rich and enlightening genre of fiction. atmosphere.

Jekyll is protected because he is wealthy and

Gothic fiction is often popular during times of fear


as he changes his

and uncertainty.

Almost all Gothic fiction

appearance nobody is

think of Frankenstein for

includes a monster. Often

aware that he is Hyde. His

instance, this links into the

this monster is responsible

rich gentleman friends

power of science going too

for the destruction of life as

protect his good name and

far and links into the

we know it. For example

reputation. Sometimes

industrial revolution in

zombies constantly taking

monsters appear like us at

England. In more recent

over a particular area can

all times, for instance

years, Gothic fiction has

represent a growing gang,

Hannibal Lecter is educated,

been political and linked to

political or terrorism group.

intelligent, and is in a

fear of terrorism too. In

The monster could appear

position of trust and yet he

fact, Gothic is fantastic in

gruesome or hideous, like

is a serial killer/cannibal.

portraying societal fears and

Dracula or even the zombie

anxiety, usually in the form

or werewolf characters.

If we

Sometimes the most

of a monster.

If you are writing or reading Gothic fiction, some of the best areas to focus

fearsome monster appear

on are location and the idea

motif in Gothic. Placing

like us and we can’t tell the

of the monster itself.

your story in the right

difference between them or

setting can be very

us. The doppelganger is a


great example of the Gothic

Location is a popular


darkness, rain and fog, a

monster that appears the

castle or Gothic venue can

same as us and yet is the

all contribute to creating a

unlikely monster. Like Jekyll

Gothic location, setting, and

and Hyde for instance.


Janet Cooper

Confessions of a Mother/ Student/ Writer Just blagging my way through life!! I

usually end up talking about my children but the University term has now started. I’m usually very organised but since I’ve returned to University I feel like I have been blagging life a little. I’ve been using the bus to get there. Although that doesn’t sound particularly bad, I have very little experience of using these methods of transport over the last fifteen years. This means getting out of the house even earlier than usual even though I’m still not having any extra sleep so it hasn’t been easy. I am getting the hang of it though—this is an example of something that I blag in my life because I have no clue! How I ever manage to get to the correct destination is beyond me! I am just settling into my course and as a mother, who also needs to earn money, this has been difficult. I am training to become an English teacher in college and as I have English degrees already, I ‘m currently completing a teaching degree but at the moment I still have no placement. This means I’m struggling to connect with the course as much as I would have liked to! I realise that these things happen and I shouldn’t be a sulky baby about this. I just want to

put what we are learning into practice. Teaching is going to be difficult, even though I will be teaching adults (or those who are almost adults) and I just want to get stuck in. Of course studying isn’t easy at home either so without being able to put what I’m learning into practice and without being able to study effortlessly at home, what’s a girl to do?

Blag it of course! That’s right, here I am studying for my third degree and I feel like I’m just blagging it! This got me thinking, maybe I’m not just blagging my course either, maybe I’m blagging life in general. Am I blagging motherhood? Am I blagging being a writer? Did I blag my English degrees? Am I blagging being a teacher? Do I just go through life blagging? Maybe that’s what I’m a master of, maybe I’m just a master blagger! You see the truth is, although it appears that I know what I’m doing, sometimes appearances can be deceiving! Surely, I’m getting a little old now to blag my way through life! It got me thinking, what am I actually good at? Well, I’m a pretty good Mam for one thing. Sure, I blag it now and then but only when life throws at me something that I haven’t experienced before. Would people think I was bonkers if I was to claim that the art of blagging is an actual skill and quality?

Maybe blagging is a positive skill of mine and I should be proud! You see, I have to blag being a 19

Mam sometimes, but when we think of being a teacher in practice, maybe I could use my skill to my advantage? This week in class we were talking about planning our teaching sessions and we were told it’s fine to steer away from our plan if we need to, especially if it benefits our learners. It got me thinking that if my lesson did go offtrack, how would I deal with that? The truth is I would have to then pre-empt the lesson (so in affect I would be blagging). I would have to amend my topic slightly but it might be that a topic is discussed that I am not fully clued up on. As a teacher sometimes you have to research and in this case, I would have to think of an exercise within my current knowledge. Surely this would show innovation and flexibility within my teaching methods? Planning and being organised is so important, especially when working in the teaching profession, but I suppose that my point is that this isn’t always possible. As a writer, I plan my writing but sometimes it doesn’t gel and I have to change it and go with my gut. Is that also a blag? Using what you have (knowledge and experience) to make the best of the situation is often how we muddle through life, but often being able to blag is simply not enough. I crave to be an expert at something so I know I’m going to have to dedicate more study time to my course and really knuckle down. I’ve had some great, and some poor experiences with teachers and I want to be both exceptional and inspirational. Learning to knuckle down again, along with a bit of blagging (of which I seem to be a master) will surely help me succeed!

The aim of writing a ghost story is to scare, which makes this article perfect for Halloween night! The good thing about writing about ghosts is that your ghost can look either human or demon-like. There are so many angles you can take with a ghost story because ghosts are the unknown! You have a lot of freedom in your writing because you can use myths and legends, religion and possession, demons, you could even link to an underworld, or even a haunted location! A folkloric ghost from Irish Celtic Lore is the idea of the Banshee. Ancient Irish families believed they had a Banshee and when they heard their wail, they knew it was a warning that death would occur within the family. The Banshee (or Bansidhe) is generally unthreatening, so a ghost story does not necessarily need to be a villainess ghost. In some stories, ghosts appear to be frightening but turn out to be the good guy, and offer protection to those who they appear to. Of course, the figure of the Banshee has also been distorted as ghosts are often recognised as those who can’t move on because they still have a purpose. Sometimes this is revenge! There are stories that play on this idea and make the character of the Banshee a vengeful creature.

We’ve established that there are many different types of ghosts and ghost stories, and that we can portray them in different ways. It’s down to you to choose the type of story you want to create!

It’s important to create the right setting for your ghost. Ghost stories should be very atmospheric as they link in to the Gothic genre, and as mentioned on page 18, location is important as your ghost and story need to be placed in the correct setting. If you are including a setting based in a real place or a known myth or legend, ensure you research your topic well! I realise I’m stating the obvious but you should always read other ghost stories to see how other people have written successful ghost stories. 20

Possession stories are often based a lot in the home (think the Exorcist, Insidious and The Conjuring) and myths, legends and folklore are often a result of location or attachment to an object too. A ghost can be created from negativity or because of an action that has caused the ghost to show itself like a ouja board, or even the legend of Bloody Mary that asks you to stand in front of the mirror and repeat her name several times. Modern movies like The Ring show a vengeful ghost that transports through the TV. Questions to ask yourself when planning your Ghost Story: 1.

Does your ghost and location match the time you are writing for?


Is your ghost your protagonist or antagonist or just a general character?


Are you writing a vengeful or protective ghost?


How does your ghost appear?


What’s your ghost’s story? Why are they dead?


How will you create the right atmosphere for your ghost (think motifs, metaphors, your research, symbols, and theme)?


How does your ghost move around?

ACTIVITY 1 Once you have answered these questions, write a character profile for your ghost and remember, they are not a solid object! ACTIVITY 2 Write an opening scene or prologue that involves your ghost.

You now have the beginning of a story, so why not plan your plot consider signing up to Nanowrimo and write the first draft of your novel during November. Go! Go! Go! 21

Author Talk: Pitching your Writing A topic often on a writer’s mind, especially if you are new to the business is how should I pitch my writing? I like to think of pitching as similar to a job interview because first you are selling yourself as a writer and you are also selling your writing work and building up your reputation in the writing world..

Why is pitching important? Making it as a writer is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Successful writers have spent many hours perfecting their work and writing in the style necessary for their publisher/publication. Rejection is a tough part of any writer’s life.

It’s something that

happens regularly; even the best writers get rejected at one time or another. If you are writing a creative writing piece, a general article, or an academic piece and hope to be published, it’s important to write in the style and essence





person/company you are writing for. Often companies that commission articles will have a set of guidelines for you to work from, and successful companies will have specific topics and previous




to 22

research in order to make your article suitable and in line with the publisher’s requirement.

Pitching is important


cause it’s the first impression that the publisher gets of you and believe me, first impressions count! You need to sell your idea, your writing and you as a colleague!

When Writing your Pitch... 1.

Introduce yourself but make it concise.


Ensure you have read the publication guidelines and treat it as you would a personal specification when applying for a job, by explaining how you meet the publisher’s requirements.

Writing your Piece for Publication If you are writing for a specific publication then you will have an idea of what you are writing, as different publications have different specifications.

My tips for writing are as follows: 1.

Keep your writing focused and on topic.


Ensure you follow any style and format recommended in the guidelines.


Check your grammar and punctuation.


Ensure you have researched their publication so you can write in the same tone and style as previous publications. *********** 23

The Witch It seems appropriate, with it being Halloween, to discuss the figure of the witch.. The idea of the witch is an important part of history, especially due to the hanging and drowning of accused witches and particularly the Salem Witch

Trials. The witch figure

has been discussed in fiction and TV for decades. The witch can be good or evil. Originally witches were identified as evil but in fiction these days, that is not always the case. We have movies and

series like Bewitched and Charmed that portray the good witch. We

also have movies like VVItch and Hansel and Gretel that show the witch in a negative light. Even at a young age, we are exposed to witches in books like Winnie the Witch, Harry Potter, and even in Tom and Jerry. The interesting thing about the witch is that no matter whether they are good or evil, nobody can argue that they are a strong, female character. The bad witch is usually stopped, and from a feminist perspective this can be seen as fear, and a demonstration of the inequalities faced by women., some of these even occur in today’s society. One of the greatest portrayals of a good and bad witch is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the TV show. BTVS actually shows the good witch, Willow, turning into an evil witch. The contrasting of the two is interesting 24

because the two characters are the complete opposites. If you haven’t seen Willow, we suggest this clip on YouTube showing the transformation between good Willow, and bad Willow We must also remember that Willow slipped into the dark side of her personality before when she became addicted to magical hits in a hidden place that reflected a drug den. She came back from that but her magic is tied up in her emotions, and these emotions, when spiralled out of control, turn a mouse-like little girl into a raging destructive demon. Willow’s darker side is much more powerful than her good side—that is until the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when she uses magic for good and appears in an angel-like form for a short period whilst performing the magic. Willow proves to be a very strong female character and for anyone who has watched season 1 of BTVS would never imagine how her character develops with such power. In season 1, she is afraid to stand up for herself but by the end of Buffy she is a hero. Willow loses herself by the end of season 6 and murders her nemesis, but early in season 7, after visiting a friendly coven, she learns that her power is controlled by her emotions and by relinquishing control of them she is able to revert back into her former self. She becomes afraid of her own power because she knows she has the power to kill or injure someone so she avoids magic initially, but she learns from then and starts to view magic differently. Willow becomes much more centred and spiritual. She starts to consider magic as being more than just power, but as a reflection of the elements, and even of life. Everything is connected! Only the strongest, most resilient person would be able to come back from such evil, but that’s the strength represented by this witch! 25

The movie versus The Novel: The Hunger Games Welcome to our regular feature

TV versus Book. This edition, is all about The

Hunger Games, originally a trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins. Warning: there may be a few spoilers but who hasn’t already seen/read this? The first obvious difference is that there are three books but four movies. This makes sense as the last two movies are both over two hours long, so they had to be separate really. Overall, the movie franchise is a pretty good representation of the books. They stick to the story well and don’t change the ending. Also, the casting for the movie is perfect – the actors chosen for the parts genuinely look like how the characters are described in the books which isn’t always the case. Obviously, there’s parts of the book that have been changed to better fit a movie format. There are several incidences where these changes make the movie better than the book. The first example being the behind the scenes of the games scenes in the movie. We get to see more of what’s going on with the game makers and we have more insight into the thought process behind each particular arena and its components. These behind the scenes peeks become particularly relevant in the second movie, where we see a conversation taking place between President Snow and Plutarch Havensbee. This conversation makes it clear that the tributes being made up of past victors for the Quarter Quell is no accident. It is pre-arranged when Plutarch puts the idea into President Snow’s head. As the book is told from Katniss’s point of view, we can’t know this for certain and we can only assume this to be the case. We are left wondering if it is in fact a coincidence. This conversation makes the revelation that Plutarch was instrumental in the uprising even better. It shows how he led President Snow to make this decision. 26

Plutarch played the President like a pawn in a game in a parody of what President Snow does to the tributes through the games. Another example of the movie being better was the evacuation scene in the third movie when Peeta warns District 13 of an upcoming Capitol attack. In the books, everyone is described as being very organised, filing down the stairs slowly and sensibly. Bearing in mind the people believe they are about to be bombed, this is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. The people of District 13 are disciplined and are used to these drills. That part makes sense, but there’s the addition of over nine hundred District 12 refugees and also an unestimated number of Capitol refugees. They wouldn’t remain calm. They would flee, and their numbers would be just large enough to cause chaos. In the film, it’s more chaotic. People push and shove and stampede down the stairs. At one point, Katniss is pushed to the floor and trampled on. This would be a more accurate reflection of the evacuation. The movie misses out on the subtleties of the relationships between the characters and some of their quirks. A prime example of this is Katniss’s relationship with her mother. We never do fully learn what happened in the movie, and we would be left wondering why Katniss is so cold towards her mother. Haymitch is a character who is portrayed very differently in the movies to how he was in the books, especially in the first one. In the book, more emphasis is placed on Haymitch’s drinking problem, and at first he is a bit of a comedy character, a stereotype of a drunk. This makes Katniss and Peeta’s realisation that he is their only real chance of getting sponsors more jarring. He also seems to come around to helping Katniss and Peeta more quickly in the books. As soon as Katniss throws her knife, Haymitch sees her potential and begins to take the games seriously, whereas in the movie, Katniss merely sticks the knife blade into the table, resulting in more sarcasm from Haymitch. Haymitch is a sarcastic character, and a very entertaining character to watch grow through the series. In both the books and the movies, he becomes more likeable as we get to know him better, and the growth of his relationship with Katniss, and to some extent Peeta, is executed very well. Katniss and her relationships with the various characters is much better in the books. In the books she is much more sarcastic 27

and bitter. As we experience her inner monologue, we see her dark humour, her dilemmas and we relate to her more because of her imperfections. Ultimately, it is clear she is trying to do the right thing. The movies tone down this side of Katniss a little as without that

internal dialogue, her motives wouldn’t be so clear and as

such, she wouldn’t be very likeable. The movie really misses the depth of the relationships that Katniss has with both Gale and Peeta. We don’t see the closeness and the undercurrent of attraction between Katniss and Gale until half way through the second movie, by which point, you are left wondering where it came from. We also don’t see Katniss’s opposing feelings about the star crossed lovers act. In the book it leaves her confused, not knowing what is real and what is play acting and it makes her question whether or not she has genuine feelings for Peeta. In the movie, everything is much more black and white and a lot of the subtext is lost, leaving us thinking that Katniss was mostly just using Peeta. She comes across as a little cold. In the book, we see it is much more complicated than that, and we see her feelings of guilt towards both Gale and Peeta. In the movie, it sometimes feels like she’s playing them off against each other, where in the book, we see she does love them both, just in different ways. Overall, I prefer the books. The characters are less one-dimensional and their a Overall, I prefer the books. The characters are less one-dimensional and their actions and motivations are less black and white. Having said that, I do believe the movies are a good representation of the book’s theme that the people in the districts are second class citizens, and are merely pieces in the Capitol’s entertainment schedule. I also think the secondary theme of hope being a more powerful motivator than fear comes through. The movies are close enough to the books that you could watch them and understand the gist of the story, but some of the subtler sub-plots are lost. This franchise is definitely worth both a read and a watch! By Deborah Stansil, from 28

Icebreaker Exercise For this exercise, you will take five minutes to describe your favourite place. This could be something simple like a room, or the garden, or even your bed. It could be something more complicated like a stately home or a town/city/ place. Imagine yourself there and use your senses and discuss what you can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. When you have finished, share it with the person sitting next to you!

We have discussed atmosphere and Gothic fiction a lot in this issue, so think about how your setting influences a story. It is important that setting is right to allow the reader the best connection with their story.

Teaching Task Description is so important in fiction, but remember to show and not tell. What is meant by this is describe something rather than saying what it does. For instance rather than say the sunlight shone on her mirror, talk about her squinting and not being able to see in the mirror because of the gleam. Think about what could be said in a story rather than: 1. The fire was hot. 2. The tiles were slippy. 3. The room was dark. ACTIVITY Complete the activity sheet on setting on page 30. Remember that we are showing, not telling. Use setting to create the first scene of a story. Think about how you can develop our story and note down your ideas. Think about character. What character would your setting be perfect for? Why not use the character profile sheet from issue 1?


Creating your Setting

Imagine yourself in one of the following places!

Note down your answers to the following questions: 1.

Where are you now?


What can you taste, smell, touch, see and hear?


Who is with you?


Why are you there?


When is it (period of time, or era etc‌)


Is there anything around you affecting atmosphere or you (maybe it is foggy and you can’t breath, or there is dust, or something you are allergic to)?


What do you think happens next?

*Write a short story based on your setting and see what direction that takes you with your writing. Why do you think you went in that particular direction?



Any organised writer might like a years subscription of Scrivenger from Literature and Latte. This will help any writer get organised and structure their work. It’s fantastic—how can we live without it? It’s available for Microsoft Windows as well as Mac books! You can check it out by clicking here! 2. What about a Filofax to organise your time and make plans for the future? Amazon and Filofax have some excellent Filofaxes in stock and they are reasonably priced too! Remember you can refill them for next year if you like! 3. A small desk light that clips onto the side of the desk and books (including notebooks). Perfect for those writers who wake in the middle of the night and don’t want to disturb their other half! Argos sell some great lights, starting from under £10.


Why not buy your writer friend or family member their own customized planner? You could design something really special including pictures of their children or pets for instance—something with meaning. There are lots of stores online that you can use and it can include as much or as little as you want! This can have real significance and meaning as there is definitely thought put into the gift. You can design them yourself and get them printed if you feel up to the task! Check out Personal Planner


Books instructing writers how to write can also be really useful! Amazon and ABE Books are great book suppliers and reasonable in price. There are a variety of books available for creative writers, article writers, bloggers, and poets.


You must have heard already about the crazy clown craze has been sweeping the world and pranking people. Sometimes people appear to be taking this idea of a prank too far. Some people are genuinely scared of clowns! Being scared of clowns is actually a real fear. It’s called Coulrophobia - look it up! If someone has a real fear of something it isn’t really the job of anyone else to make them deal with it. It seems slightly unfair for those guys and could cause health problems like anxiety attacks at the very least. Then again, I also don’t necessarily believe we should be told what to wear, but in the same breath, I don’t believe that people should be allowed to go around terrorising others and let’s face it, in most cases that is the intention!

It got me thinking, what would happen if a creepy clown had a part in Harry Potter? Which movie would they slot into as a character? And how would I get rid of them? Of course, it’s simple! Crazy or creepy clowns would not be an issue in the world of Harry Potter because they would soon be eradicated!

Expecto Patronum! 32

That’s right! I’m sure that the Patronus charm would be suitable for getting rid of crazy, creepy clowns in the world of Harry Potter. If you see a clown, please raise your wand, flick it gently, and yell the words expecto patronum!

Of course, only a powerful wizard can master this difficult spell! I thought that this idea of crazy, creepy clowns appearing in Harry Potter would be a great prompt for a creative writing piece. All in good fun!

Why not try the activity below & get your creative writing juices flowing? ACTIVITY For the people who are not yet a powerful wizard, but simply a student, imagine yourself in a classroom. A Boggart is in the magical cupboard and is about to be released. You are afraid of creepy clowns and you know that your Boggart is going to turn into a clown. The cupboard opens and out pops the clown of your nightmares!

You point your wand and shout, riddikulus! What does your clown turn into? FURTHER CREATIVE WRITING IDEAS Write a parody scene of Harry Potter that includes a crazy, creepy clown. 2 ideas you can use are:  The Boggart/Clown classroom scene  Or write one of the dementor scenes but replace the dementor with a clown character.

So, wands at the ready and if you do meet a clown, picture it in a bikini or something else ridiculous (riddikulus)! 33


By the time issue 4 is released on January 31, 2017, we will be into a new year! RRW Magazine wants to hear from you! We are looking for original and unique new year resolutions for writers with an accompanying article that relates to new year resolutions (you can love them or hate them, you take the lead with this piece). The best resolutions and accompanying article has the chance of winning a £10 Amazon voucher!

For issue 3’s competition, submit your resolutions, along with your article to The closing date for entrants: 10/01/2017 and there are no limits to the amount of times you can enter. 1st prize includes a £10.00 Amazon voucher!


The Joker, by Deborah A Stansil

Why not submit some of your creative works Initiated from this magazine? Maybe you have some article ideas that you would like to publish? Any submissions should be emailed to:

When Kayleigh and her friends do a Ouija board one drunken night, they have no idea the horror they are inviting into their lives. When two of her best friends die in mysterious circumstances, and her boyfriend becomes possessed by a seductive demon, Kayleigh starts seeking answers. What she learns fills her with dread, and after finding little help from a local priest, she takes matters into her own hands. Kayleigh must choose between love and morality or power and her deepest desires in this twisted tale that shows that sometimes, the unknown is best left unknown...

RRW are looking for someone to feature in our Interview with the Blogger series! If you would like to be interviewed, please email Janet!

Available Now on Amazon Kindle Get your copy of The Joker by clicking here!

Kristin McCarthy Rambles, Rants, & Writings are always looking for submissions of fiction, poetry, and article ideas.

Kristin McCarthy is the mastermind behind the parenting humor blog She is a regular staff writer at Suburban Misfit Mom and has been featured in BonBonBreak, Sammiches and Psych Meds and the Erma Bombeck

Submissions should be sent to by 10th January, 2017 in order to be commissioned in time for the January edition.

SMM is a content provider for progressive mothers who refuse to be compartmentalized or labeled. With over 230 writers from around the world, SMM is also a thriving and growing community of close-knit, open-minded women (and men) interested in exploring the journey of womanhood. SuburbanMisfitMom is a live blog from real mothers, and the raw personal essays that they share with the world., our humor-based online magazine, explores trending issues in culture (psychology, motherhood, life purpose, marriage, sex), through the use of "Mini-Memoirs",

Issue 4: Due for publication 31dt January, 2017

Catch Kristin by visiting her blog, Four Princesses and the Cheese, or on Twitter: @tinmccarthy


Have you linked up to the #AnythingGoes linky yet? Visit Rambles, Rants and Writings or My Random Musings every Monday from 00:05 and link up your post!

Look out for Issue 4, out January 31, 2017

Thank-you to Deborah Stansil, and Kristin McCarthy for their contributions to issue 3 of RRW Magazine—I hope to work with you all again soon! Twitter: @RamblesRW @dementedjan Facebook: Instagram: Stumble Upon: Pinterest: Blog Lovin: Google Plus:


Magazine issue 3 completed  

Issue 3 of RRW Magazine. Audience: Writers

Magazine issue 3 completed  

Issue 3 of RRW Magazine. Audience: Writers