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How to Avoid the Mirror: Description Tips

How to Avoid the Mirror: Description Tips

Avoid the Mirror: Description TipsAh yes, we all know the description cliché: Our hero or heroine looks in a mirror and studies it so that the reader can form a full picture of this character. Bonus points if it’s in the first chapter! 

Appearances can be tricky, I won’t deny that — but there are lots of creative ways to get around Ye Olde Mirror cop-out!

My cheat-answer for just about any writing question is intentional details. How do you build a fantasy world? Intentional details. How do you create mood? Intentional details. How do you describe…Continue Reading

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Writing Through Trauma

Writing Through Trauma

Writing Through TraumaOn the WriteOnCon forums this year, an interesting topic came up: How do you write when you have personal trauma(s)? Do you use them, or avoid them?

I only have my own experience to draw from, and everyone is unique. Our wounds are different and the ways we carry them are different. So please take this with a grain of salt.

In my young life, I’ve already had to carry a few traumas. Mine (like most) rise from situations where I (or a loved one) were incredibly unsafe, and afterward my life was entirely changed. That how my counselor defines…Continue Reading

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14 Exciting YA and MG Releases in 2017

One definite perk of being the web master for WriteOnCon has been reading all about the upcoming releases in 2017 and 2018. So this year, my TBR list already has some books that have yet to be released! I thought I’d share my list with you guys, in case any of them perk your interest, too.

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser

Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy…Continue Reading

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How I Met My Publisher(s)

How I Met My Publisher(s)

Guys, I am SO EXCITED to FINALLY be able to share some important news with you. But now that the time has finally come, I don’t even know how to start.

buriedtreasurecommunity

Gifs will help me.

I’m going to pull a Ted Mosby and back this train all up to show you How I Met My Publisher(s). Here we go!

February 2016

My agent Amber has been working with me on Illuminate for some time. But she’s like, “Look, I’m going to need you to stop talking to me about this refugee novel idea you’ve got and actually write it.”

So I’m like…

panic

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Best Book Discoveries of 2016

Best Book Discoveries of 2016

After an enormous flop in my reading habits throughout 2015, I’m finally starting to get on top of things again! In 2016, I read 62 books (out of a 50-book goal). Disclaimer: A lot of these were children’s fiction (even picture books), but I’ll take what I can get.

Below I’ve listed some of my favorite discoveries from 2014, along with publishers’ descriptions. Enjoy!

Best Picture Books

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Illustrations)

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis this beautifully illustrated book explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by…Continue Reading

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How Plot and Narrative Strengthen Stories

How Plot and Narrative Strengthen Stories

As a young writer, I didn’t know the difference between plot and narrative — or how to make both work for the most compelling hook, arc, and story. Lucy Christopher at Bath Spa University was the first to sit down with me and really explain it.

You need both plot and narrative hints to hook a reader. It’ll take a lot of revisions to get the balance of this right, but hooks that instantly immerse you in the story have this in common: Plot and narrative are working together.

In the opening of Hugo, for instance, the action (plot) that changes everything is when our protagonist tries to steal a mechanical mouse…Continue Reading

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7 Days of Nature Photography

7 Days of Nature Photography

Earlier in the year, my brother Jason Koons tagged me in a challenge to do 7 days of nature photography on Facebook. I always meant to share here, but never got around to it. So, several months late, here we go!

 

Day 1

Day 1: Nature Photography

It was raining today, which put me in mind of this picture from Berry College in 2009. I love the way leaves look in the rain–each drop like a small galaxy.

 

Day 2

Day 2: Nature Photography

When we…Continue Reading

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2016: In Review

2016: In Review

I am not sure how to do a year in review this time around. A lot of people have many things to say about 2016, and much of it isn’t encouraging. But what has been black for many has been more complex for me.

Here are some moments from 2016:

January

I dance the night away with my nieces at one cousin’s wedding. Megan and Hana think I’ve got the moves, and I let ’em believe it.

New diagnosis: Gastroparesis. It is the third autoimmune attack in under a year, and takes my diet from “gluten free levels of inconvenient” to “ask me…Continue Reading

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Trust Women 2016: Highlights

Trust Women 2016: Highlights

Earlier this month, I had the fabulous opportunity to attend the conference Trust Women (representing myself as a writer and also Childbirth PATHS International, a great new NGO). I attended the conference in 2014 and found it truly life changing — and I don’t say that in a light, off-the-cuff sort of way. I’ve been to many, many conferences in my time, and there’s nothing like this two-day event.

Trust Women brings together activists and experts from around the world to talk about the latest in human trafficking (and prevention), slavery in the supply chain, women’s rights, and other worldwide humanitarian issues. But it’s not just about information. As I’ve told several people…Continue Reading

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Show vs. Tell: A Rewrite Analysis

Show vs. Tell: A Rewrite Analysis
show-vs-tell
Photography by Jason Koons

Show vs. tell is one of the most difficult things to learn as a young writer. One of my novel mentees came to me with some excerpts to examine for the dreaded telling pitfall. This lovely writer had spent hours scouring the internet for advice, but found herself becoming more and more confused.

My method of mentoring often involves examples — partially because I learn by doing the thing, so I have to try it before I can fully explain it. I took her paragraph and spent about 15 minutes rewriting it in my own…Continue Reading

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