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20 Prompts to Uncover Characters’ Hearts

20 Prompts to Uncover Characters’ Hearts

Characters! Those cheeky fellas. I love seeking out my characters’ hearts. Finding the deep-down stuff that really makes them tick, and then bringing it out in the story. Normally I’ll spend a lot of time brainstorming this in the early side of my drafting, but I also like to revisit the basics when I hit a roadblock and stall out. Often when I’m stuck, it’s because I have stopped listening to my characters.

Here are some questions that can help you explore your characters and gain new insights. I’ve written them addressed to your character directly, and recommend answering them in your character’s voice (i.e. first person). This is a great way to really get in their head.

20…Continue Reading

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In Standard

The Homeless Man

The Homeless Man

I made a storify list of my tweets last night, because this encounter hasn’t left my mind since it happened. My heart is heavy and I’m longing for change after this brief interaction.

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The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway: WINNERS!

The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway: WINNERS!

The blog’s first giveaway has ended! Thank you everyone who entered – there was a great turnout and I’m excited for more giveaways in the future!

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, because 1) It’s Deadline Month and 2) We all know why you’re really here.

The Prizes Were…

1 Month of Writing Mentorship:

I’ll reach out to you via email and get to know a bit about your writing project and your goals for the month we’ll be working together. From there, my job is to hold you accountable to your targets with regular check-ins, help guide you through any hitches (whether you’re unsure of a plot move or unsure how to avoid “infodumping”), and give you a short…Continue Reading

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The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway!

The Massive Story Doctor Giveaway!

Welcome to this blog’s first giveaway! I’m super excited for it!

To celebrate my manuscripts taking a magical journey to far off publishers at the end of the summer, I want to share some editing joy with you guys. This giveaway features critiques, consultations, and even mentoring.

I tallied it up, and as a freelancer the whole bundle would normally cost my clients almost $500! But for you guys, it’s free!

(Well, mostly free. I mean, you don’t have to pay to enter or anything. Just, you know, pick some of the options below and go at it.)

Here’s a bit more about the giveaway prizes:

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How to Design an Author Business Card

How to Design an Author Business Card

Design is my second love (after writing). I worked as a designer for Creative Services for about a year at Berry College (before moving across the hallway to Public Relations), and I’ve kept up on my graphic design enthusiasm since. So when I needed to design a business card, I dove in head-first!

However, I know that my nerd-love for design isn’t something every writer shares. When it comes time for conferences, gatherings, or other writing-related events, it’s always a good idea to have a business card on you. This entry will help give you direction as you start to poke around for ideas.

First, we’ll examine a few design concepts and examples from my realm of contacts. Then…Continue Reading

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24 Things I’ve Learned in 2016

24 Things I’ve Learned in 2016

Last week, I shared my mid-year report on my SMART Goals. As I reflected on what I thought this year would look like and what it has become, I started mentally compiling the things I’ve been learning. I know a lot of people (especially my age) are struggling with the darkness of this year. To us younglings, in many ways 2016 feels like the wider-scale darkest time in our lives.

Hopefully these 24 confessions will bring hope, or at least an honest voice to the craziness.

24 Things I’ve Learned in 2016

  1. There’s always something you can do. Last year, I started obsessing with the refugee crisis. If I had not landed my job with Christopher Newport University, I…Continue Reading
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10 Agent Resources Vital for Your Query-Quest

10 Agent Resources Vital for Your Query-Quest

If you’re on a quest for an agent or publisher, there are a few sites you’ll need to get well acquainted with. Whether directories of trustworthy agents/publishers or places to scope out tips, these stops will help you fully prepare for the plunge into capital-q Querying.

For your convenience, I’ve also included a file at the end you can download to track your research. I called it my Stalker List of Agents during my hunting, and found it a great resource for the complicated mess agent-research becomes. (I was highly influenced by Susan Dennard, I think, and her advice on querying.)

Free Services to find an Agent

1. WritersNet Agent and Publisher Directory

WritersNet Agent and…Continue Reading

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A Novel Idea: Excerpts

A little bit ago, I participated in A Novel Idea’s prompt for story blurbs. It was a lot of fun and I got some great responses (shout out to my Tumblr folk and brambleberrycottage for chiming in!), so I’m doing it again: this time, with excerpts!

Here’s the Novel Idea prompt for this week:

This week, share a favorite quote from your novel: whether it’s one sentence long, a paragraph, or even a whole chapter. It can be from your current novel or one that you’re finished with. Writing can be filled with self-doubt, but this week, take the time to show off your hard work.

Like last time, I’ve included four responses to the prompt from my four most-active works-in-progress. And I made them graphics again because why not! Enjoy!

a novel idea: excerpts
My fingers tremble, but for once it’s not the hunger or the sadness that’s gnawing my insides. It’s a painful warmth. Hope. – The Eleventh Trade
a novel idea: excerpts
Melle’s father fell silent. Beyond the palace walls, the clatter of carts and shouts of vendors grew louder as the city woke. Everything was unreal, the scenes of a life that would go on whether or not her father lived, whether or not this was the last time he would tell her the story. Unbearable was not the word for the hollowness in Melle’s chest. She could bear it. She could feel it and still she breathed, still her heart beat. And that was worse.
a novel idea: excerpts
While he began to pour [the tea], she studied him on the sly. If she ever made a pigment for his eye color, she would mix black made from vine twigs with a touch of gold powder. That way his eyes on the page would flash, as they did now—dark and then, when he looked up and the light caught in them, bright and shining. Illuminated. – Illuminate
a novel idea: excerpts
The birds round me fall silent and air sharpens with evergreen scent. I drop the fletching, my hand already to my quiver when I turn. But it’s not another stranger come to shoot at me. It’s the child. The child from the tree. “Wheest!” I blurt, startled. No one sneaks up on me like this. Even the assassins gave themselves away by creaking in the tree boughs. “What are you doing here, little one?” She smiles, mouth full of sharp teeth, and steps from the tree shade onto the trail. Pointed ears stick out of wild black hair, and her skin gleams in the light—like gold brushed over with soil. “I smelled the blood,” she says, “and I came.” – Popinjay

I’m curious – which blurb intrigues you most?

Want to join in? Check out Sky’s original post.

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My SMART Goals: Mid-Year Assessment

My SMART Goals: Mid-Year Assessment

Back in January, I shared my SMART goals for 2016. These are basically poorly-disguised New Year’s resolutions. I wanted to take a moment mid-year to look back at what I said then, and see how I’m doing. And because Accountability, I’m sharing it with you!

A refresher: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

How I’m Doing with My SMART Goals:

Writing:

Hand Crafted

Illuminate

I wanted to finish two rounds of Illuminate revisions and have everything set to go by Fall 2016 at the very latest. Mid-year, I’m just about done with my “final” edits, and the book is scheduled to go…Continue Reading

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Let’s Talk Research: Illuminated Manuscripts

Let’s Talk Research: Illuminated Manuscripts

When I first began writing my YA fantasy novel, Illuminate, all I knew about the story was that it needed to include illuminated manuscripts. The problem: I only had a scattering of knowledge about illumination.

In this entry, the first of a series about my research adventures, I’m going to talk about the places I went, the books I read, and some of the weird things I learned. Hopefully this will be entertaining and educational–and perhaps help another young writer on their way!

iceland ms

Research Trips: The Places I Went

Living in England during my master’s opened a lot of opportunities…Continue Reading

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