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Alyssa

Alyssa was born in small town Milton, Florida, but life as a roving military kid soon mellowed her (unintelligibly strong) Southern accent. Wanderlust is in her blood, and she’s always waiting for the wind to change. Stories remain her constant. Alyssa received her bachelor’s in English/Creative Writing from Berry College and her master's in Creative Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University. Alyssa is represented by Amber Caraveo at Skylark Literary. Her debut The Eleventh Trade – "a powerful story of love, loss, friendship and hope, centered around Sami, a young refugee from Afghanistan now building a new life with his grandfather in Boston" – will be published Fall 2018 by Macmillan (U.S.) and HotKey (U.K.).

In Standard

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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In Standard

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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WriteOnCon is Back!

WriteOnCon is Back!

Things have been a little scarce here recently. Why? Among numerous other reasons (the topics of future posts!), I’ve also been helping plan, set up, and coordinate the fabulous online kidlit conference: WriteOnCon!

We’ve been doing an Indiegogo campaign to help cover website costs, etc., and there’s just about a week left. Of course, it’s only now that I remember I haven’t actually talked about it here at all. *facepalm* SO HERE WE GO.

(EDIT: The campaign is over, but you can still register here!) 

What is WriteOnCon?

WriteOnCon is a three-day online children’s book conference from February 2-February 4, 2017 for writers and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, young adult, and even new adult. It…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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Story Graphics: How to Assemble Your Cast

Story Graphics: How to Assemble Your Cast

cast-graphics-2I was recently telling someone I’ve been novel-mentoring about creating graphics, and how it can be a great way to break writer’s block. She was like, “Huh?” And I was like, “Oh, I guess this isn’t the most obvious.”

So, we already talked about visualizing characters with photo collages. Today we’re going to talk about assembling our casts. This used to be something I just did for fun, but it’s become a necessary part of my drafting process. In fact, for Eleventh Trade I had to stop writing and take a day just to pull together my cast.

Making…Continue Reading

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Dear Past!Self: Some Advice

Dear Past!Self: Some Advice

Dear 24-Going-25!Self,

Hey, kid. It’s me, 25-going-26!Self. How you doing? I know the answer, but I thought I’d ask to be polite.

If your math skills aren’t working (it happens, I get you), I’ll just clarify: I’m writing from the end of your 25th year on earth. Kind of crazy. There are a few things I’d like to tell you, things that might make this coming orbit of the sun a little better. Maybe.

This year’s going to be nuts. You thought 24 was a ride, but this is a whole new level. You’re going to have amazing highs. You’ll sign with a literary agent, finally, about two months into 25. Your dear friend is going to get an…Continue Reading

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How to Visualize Your Character (With Photoshop)

How to Visualize Your Character (With Photoshop)

Story graphics are one of my favorite parts of productive procrastinating, and one of my favorite types of story graphics is creating character concepts. I got this idea from my sister, Laura Hollingsworth, who uses it sometimes to brainstorm ideas for her webcomic, The Silver Eye.

Though I’ll be using Photoshop for this tutorial, you can really use any photo editing program that lets you adjust layers and occupancy. (GIMP is a good, free alternative to Photoshop!)

How to Make Character Concepts in Photoshop

Step 1: Find a Base Image

Find an image that basically looks like your character. This…Continue Reading

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