Time Flies!: July 2016

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Ahhhhh. What a lovely month this has been. I sort of feel sad that July is almost over, because it’s the most relaxed I’ve been all year. (With the exception of a flat tire earlier this week.:/ ) So I want to savor that feeling a little longer.

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August is going to be super-busy, though. The Writer’s Digest Conference is in 2 weeks, and Doctor Friend’s wedding (the one where I’ll be a bridesmaid) is 3 weeks later. My head spins just thinking about those events… But I think I have almost  everything I need for both, so I’m not too stressed out. Well, not yet, anyway.

Ifyou’re wondering, I don’t anticipate taking a blogging hiatus next month. However, it may take me longer than usual to respond to comments, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hear from me right away.

Now, let’s get to this month’s recap!

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The Character Evolution Files, No. 11: The Journey Through the Character Arc, Stage 9 – The Moment of Truth (Climax)

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Welcome to the Character Evolution Files! This column focuses on character arcs, from the elements that create or enhance a character’s inner journey, to techniques that writers can employ to strengthen character arcs in their own work. Today we continue our journey through the stages of the character arc with File No. 11, which focuses on the Moment of Truth (or the Climax).

Every previous stage of character evolution, from the Trigger / Inciting Incident to the Aftermath / First Half of Act III, has led to this one. The protagonist must now take the truth he has accepted in place of his false belief and apply it to his final confrontation with the antagonistic force(s). The trick is, he can’t merely show what he’s learned through dialogue or thoughts. Instead, he must demonstrate it through action so that other characters and the reader can see he has changed for the better. This scene (or sequence of scenes) is the Moment of Truth, the climax of the protagonist’s arc.

This second-to-last stage in the Journey Through the Character Arc is our focus for Character Evolution File No. 11. We’ll examine how the Moment of Truth attempts to rock the protagonist’s faith in his new truth, and how this stage’s outcome doesn’t always give the protagonist everything he wants. We’ll also revisit our two example characters and learn how they take the final steps toward commitment to their newfound truths. Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: Adjusting Your Writing Schedule (and Maintaining Your Sanity) In Response to Life Changes

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Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 40% completion of Draft #3.

One of the biggest challenges with Draft #3 hasn’t been craft- or story-related. Rather, it’s process-related. Certain life changes made my previous writing schedule unsustainable, so I needed to rethink how to approach the editing process and devote adequate time and effort to my story. And when you’re used to having a particular schedule, altering it for creativity’s sake can be an overwhelming and eye-opening experience.

So, today’s Chronicle focuses on the “writer’s life” side of things. I’ll offer tips on adjusting your writing routine in response to life changes. I’ll also explain why writers should practice acceptance and patience when altering their routines, and why it’s essential for us to take care of ourselves as we do so. Our sanity and well-being are just as important as our craft, right?
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 40% Progress Report

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Plus, Four Within Temptation Songs from the WIP’s Novel Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today marks 40% completion of Draft #3, with a new progress report and more songs from TKC’s novel playlist.

I’m going to try my hardest to not start this post like a ping-pong ball bouncing off the walls… Oh, forget it, I’ll do it anyway.

I’ve already reached my word-cutting goal for Draft #3!!!!!!

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To be honest, aiming to get The Keeper’s Curse under 105K was a conservative goal. I was aware of that going into Draft #3 – but I also underestimated how much editing the manuscript needed. The longer, overwritten chapters have benefited from the most trimming, but even some of the shorter chapters are 200 or 300 words slimmer now.

Wow. Simply wow.

So, what happens now that I’ve already reached my word-cutting goal for this draft? And what playlist goodies do I have to share today? Hop in and find out!
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Beautiful People, Vol. 17: Drasten Kolsteg from “The Keeper’s Curse”

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Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.

Drasten’s name might sound familiar if you’ve been following my Beautiful People posts for a while. He was featured in last year’s Siblings Edition with his brother Aurek, and was mentioned quite a bit in Aurek’s character interview this past March. But he hasn’t had a solo post yet; and now that I’m focusing on the supporting characters for my WIP The Keeper’s Curse for this series, this month seems like a good time to give him one.

Some quick facts about Drasten: He’s a 19-year-old Mountain Man, with dark brown eyes, long dirty blond hair, and a short beard. He also shares the title of Lord of the Mountain Folk’s Sumanhi Clan with Aurek, and has joined his brother in a mission to retrieve lost relics that once belonged to their people. (The mission serves as TKC’s external plot.) So, let’s see what kind of dirt we can dig up on Drasten.

(Visit the Beautiful People category page to catch up on past BP posts.)

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Tea Time at Reverie: Plum Deluxe’s Self Care Herbal Tea Blend

I love it when I find tea companies that impress me so much, I know I’ll be a paying customer in the future. Plum Deluxe has become one of those companies, and partly due to today’s sample. Check out my review of their scrumptious Self-Care Herbal Blend at A Bibliophile’s Reverie!

Also, as I announced back in May, this is my final Time Time for ABR. Thanks again for reading and sharing these reviews, and for talking tea with me there for the past 2 years!

A Bibliophile's Reverie

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Our final sample from Plum Deluxe is the Self-Care Blend, an herbal tisane that caught my eye for two reasons. First, how can you go wrong with a name like that for a tea? Everyone needs a reminder to slow down and take care of themselves, and tea serves as a good reminder of this. Second, this unique herbal blend features apricots and elderberries, two fruits that are known for their healing properties. It’s an intriguing combination – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen apricots or elderberries paired together before, in tea or in food. So, I’m very curious how they’ll brew up together.

Let’s have a cup or two of Self-Care together and see what it’s like, shall we?😉

The Basics

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Bingley’s Description:A curious pairing of elderberry (tart) and apricot (sweet), this all-organic tea has mellow flavors and…

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#WIPjoy June 2016: A Month of Celebrating Our WIPs (and a Collection of Tweets & Excerpts from Mine)

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed my #WIPjoy Tweets during the month of June. This meme is a month-long challenge led by YA sci-fi and fantasy writer Bethany A. Jennings; and for every day of the month, writers answer a specific question and share bits about their current work-in-progress (WIP). Participants can also take the meme to Facebook, their blog, and other social media outlets they haunt use.

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The “index” image for #WIPjoy June 2016, courtesy of Bethany A. Jennings. Click to view a larger version.

This  was my first time participating in #WIPjoy, and it was a lot of fun! It especially gave me a chance to learn what other writers are working on, get a taste of their writing style, and cheer them on as they work on their drafts. Now I’m even more excited to read some of those stories when they’re published someday!

And what I did I share for #WIPjoy? The Keeper’s Curse, of course! (It IS my only WIP at the moment. *lol*) So, I thought I’d share a collection of my #WIPjoy Tweets here with you. This post doesn’t contain all of my Tweets from the challenge – but it does feature some of my favorite questions / answers, and several of the excerpts I shared. Feel free to share any feedback in your comments, or “like” or “retweet” any of the linked Tweets.😉 Enjoy!

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A Blogoversary Interview With Sara Letourneau

Happy Blogoversary

Today marks the blog’s 7th birthday!  :D  It seems like forever ago when I signed up for a free WordPress account – and to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing back then when it came to blogging. But since then, this site has evolved so much, and I’ve learned a lot and become a better writer because of it. And now, it’s time to celebrate this special birthday with a post that YOU, the readers, voted for.

Last month, readers selected an interview with yours truly as this year’s blogoversary post. I admit that I was a little nervous about this – but I’m an introvert. Of course, I would be nervous about being interviewed. This turned out to be a lot of fun, though, and I thank everyone who submitted questions. Enjoy!
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Recent Reads: June 2016 (+ My Favorite Reads So Far In 2016)

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Recent Reads is a monthly reading wrap-up, with mini-reviews of all the books I finished in the past month. I’ll also share what I’m currently reading and any other books that are in the pipeline. Want to share your bookish happenings, too? Feel free to do so in the Comments section at the end!

Huh? How did it become July so fast?! This year is flying by, and I’m sure I’m not the only one in denial about it. But time won’t slow down if I ask it to, right?

This month’s Recent Reads post has a little something extra. In addition to June’s book reviews and a preview of what I’m reading in July, I’ll also share some of my favorite reads so far in 2016. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get right to my choice for Read of the Month!
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New DIY MFA Article on Antagonists, Plus a New Worksheet + The DIY MFA Book!

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Most writers would agree that the relationship (or rather, conflict?) between the protagonist and the antagonist is one of the most important “bonds” in a story. How important, though? More than we might think. In my latest Theme: A Story’s Soul post at DIY MFA, we examine how this unique relationship offers a goldmine of literary themes through the characters’ interactions and conflicting goals.  Continue reading