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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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80 Questions for Worldbuilding (A New Subscription Perk!)

80 Questions for Worldbuilding (A New Subscription Perk!)

It will probably surprise no one that worldbuilding is my favorite part of writing fantasy. I love sitting down and asking questions about the cultures I’ve studied, places I’ve been, and stories I’ve heard. It’s always exciting to feel the new place take shape, and to discover my protagonist’s role in it.

So I’m thrilled to reveal that now when you subscribe to this blog, I’m able to offer you a cool perk: Creating Stunning Worlds. This is a short PDF that includes my worldbuilding tips, a questionnaire to help you brainstorm, prompts to help you focus your brainstorming, and recommendations to avoid infodumping.

Below, I’ve included a sampling of questions:

20 Questions for Worldbuilding

  1. What environment is the main story…Continue Reading
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15 Inspirational Quotes About Writing

15 Inspirational Quotes About Writing

The world needs more pretty things. So I made 15 hipster pretty graphics with inspirational quotes. All the lovely photography was by my crazy talented brother, Jason Koons.

From quotes about writing craft to writing in general, these calm my spirit and make me smile.

15 Inspirational Quotes About Writing
“Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.” – Khaled Hosseini

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Diagnosis: After the Doctor’s Door Closes

Diagnosis: After the Doctor’s Door Closes

“I’ll send someone in to schedule the test,” the specialist says to me. “Wait here a moment.”

I nod and watch her leave. As the door clicks shut, a sinking, sick, hollow gap grows and groans in my chest. I shrink against the uncomfortable chair, stare at my hands or count the number of tiles on the floor. I don’t look at the posters of disease on the walls. I already read them earlier.

It never gets better, this moment after the door shuts and there is only you and the white white room. It never changes.

The me who waits for someone to schedule a test is 21-year-old me cradling a broken finger and fearing surgery.…Continue Reading

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Writing for Young People Q&A: International Student Concerns

Writing for Young People Q&A: International Student Concerns

It’s the fifth and final round of my Q&A session about Bath Spa University’s Master of Arts in Writing for Young People. This section is all about the international student angle. Though I’m approaching it as an American, it should be basically applicable to my Aussie and Indian and Canadian and [insert origin of choice] friends looking into the course.

You can see the rest of the series under the Q&A tag!

As always, feel free to reach out with more questions by contacting me at: alyssamhollingsworth [at] gmail [dot] com

A thousand disclaimers: I only have my experience of the Writing for Young People course to draw from (class of 2014). I’m not a member of staff…Continue Reading

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Writing for Young People Q&A: Personal Development

Writing for Young People Q&A: Personal Development

It’s round four of my Q&A session about Bath Spa University’s Master of Arts in Writing for Young People. This section is about the professional and personal development I underwent during the course.

You can see more posts in the series under the Q&A tag!

As always, feel free to reach out with more questions by contacting me at: alyssamhollingsworth [at] gmail [dot] com

A thousand disclaimers: I only have my experience of the Writing for Young People course to draw from (class of 2014). I’m not a member of staff and can never hope to be as informed as the infallible Julia Green. Everything is my own opinion and may or may not be influenced by…Continue Reading

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Writing for Young People Q&A: Instruction and Environment

Writing for Young People Q&A: Instruction and Environment

It’s round three of my Q&A session about Bath Spa University’s Master of Arts in Writing for Young People. This section is about the instruction and environment in the classroom, and what to expect during the final third term of the course. Enjoy!

You can see more posts in the series under the Q&A tag!

As always, feel free to reach out with more questions by contacting me at: alyssamhollingsworth [at] gmail [dot] com

A thousand disclaimers: I only have my experience of the Writing for Young People course to draw from (class of 2014). I’m not a member of staff and can never hope to be as informed as the infallible Julia Green. Everything is my…Continue Reading

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A Novel Idea: Blurbs

Click the pictures to see them full-size (and read the full blurbs).

I’m taking a quick break from the Q&A series to participate in A Novel Idea. Yes, I’m talking about my own projects quite a lot here lately – mostly because that’s what my life currently revolves around! The Eleventh Trade is back with my agent now, and I’m busily editing away at Illuminate (and having entirely too much fun rediscovering the story after a nine month break).

Here’s the Novel Idea prompt for this week:

What would the back cover of your novel say? Try to make it as intriguing as possible. Remember, this is all readers have when trying to decide if they’re going to read your book or not. Do the best you can to convince a hypothetical reader to pick up your book.

Since I had already written blurbs (it’s one of my favorite things to do early in a writing project, oddly), I got a bit ambitious and made them into fun graphics. Illuminate and The Eleventh Trade are currently my top priorities, but I threw in Blessings and Popinjay for funsies. I didn’t bother with Wake or Heiress Letters (title to be determined??) for now, as they are the farthest off my radar at the moment.

I’m curious – which blurb intrigues you most?

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

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Writing for Young People Q&A: Classes

Writing for Young People Q&A: Classes

It’s round two of my Q&A session about Bath Spa University’s Master of Arts in Writing for Young People. This section is about the classes (or, in British-speak, “modules”) and what to expect during the first two terms of the course. Enjoy!

You can see more posts in the series under the Q&A tag!

As always, you can reach out with more questions by contacting me at: alyssamhollingsworth [at] gmail [dot] com

A thousand disclaimers: I only have my experience of the Writing for Young People course to draw from (class of 2014). I’m not a member of staff and can never hope to be as informed as the infallible Julia Green. Everything is my own opinion…Continue Reading

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Writing for Young People Q&A: Application Process

Writing for Young People Q&A: Application Process

It’s a well-documented fact that I love the Master of Arts in Writing for Young People program at Bath Spa University (geez, that’s a mouthful). Since posting my 5 Questions to Ask Before You Get a Master’s in Creative Writing entry, I’ve had a steady stream of perspective students reach out with questions about the course. I love chatting with these guys and I’m always excited to get a new email!

A few particularly inquisitive students graciously gave me permission to share part of our exchange in a sort of Q&A for other perspective students out there. It got quite intense, so I’ve broken the post into five sections. (Find them under the Q&A tag as they…Continue Reading

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