What’s Making Me Happy: June and July 2018

Ah, summertime in Massachusetts. Some days it’s hot, humid, and a bit thunderstormy. Other days it’s milder and absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately it’s also been dry, and the lawns are starting to turn that worrisome “drought” shade of light brown. Hopefully we’ll get some soaking rains soon.

Other than that, I really can’t complain about June and July. That’s not to say that life was perfect (I’m recovering from another bout of writer’s doubt… but that’s a story for another day). But there was a lot to be happy, excited, or grateful over the past two months – enough that I had some trouble narrowing it down to three highlights per month! So let’s kick things off with…

Continue reading

Thank You, Ursula K. Le Guin (1929 – 2018)

In early January, I was at a local bookstore when I came across Ursula K. Le Guin’s most recent book, No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters. This collection shows Le Guin, who excelled at writing a wide range of literature (fantasy, science fiction, children’s stories, essays, poetry), exploring yet another form of writing: blogging. Yes, No Time to Spare is a collection of blog posts, in which Le Guin shares her thoughts on family, the publishing industry, society and the world at large – and, perhaps most notably, aging. And I knew, just from holding the small blue hardcover and perusing the pages within, that it would be different from any UKLG book I’d read before.

Yet there was no question in my mind that I’d buy it. Because, after all, it’s Ursula K. Le Guin, my favorite writer ever. I’ve loved everything I’ve read from her in the past, and the thought of bringing No Time to Spare home was like opening my inner circle to a new friend whom I felt I’d known forever.

How fitting that this book, where Le Guin was contemplating the final frontier of life, was the last one she published, and the last one I bought by her, before she passed away.

Continue reading

New #5onFri Article at DIY MFA, Plus Final Reminder for the GoFundMe Campaign

DiyMFA

What’s this? Another DIY MFA article already? 😉

It’s been a while since I last took part in DIY MFA’s weekly #5onFri series; and with Maria V. Snyder’s guest post on Tuesday, I wasn’t able to promote it here until now. So, here’s last Friday’s #5onFri post, where I shared a little more of my “beta-reading preparation” stage by sharing five of the questions I posed to my beta-readers to get specific feedback on aspects of my novel.

Continue reading

New DIY MFA Article on Antagonists, Plus a New Worksheet + The DIY MFA Book!

DiyMFA

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

Beautiful People, Vol. 10: Prince Virik, One of the Antagonists

Beautiful People 1

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.

Since Cait and Sky are doing one last round of Beautiful Books for NaNoWriMo-ers, I’m diving into the Beautiful People archives again for a character questionnaire. I never plan ahead of time who I’ll cover in these posts – and when I saw the list of 10 questions you’re about to read, I immediately knew who would be the best fit.

I haven’t said much about Prince Virikar (who more often goes by Virik) with the exception of a couple paragraphs here. It’s partly because he’s only a minor antagonist in my WIP, The Keeper’s Curse, and partly because I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get to know him better, especially since I’d like to write more about him in the future. My biggest concern with Virik is that I haven’t made him sympathetic enough; I don’t want him to be one-dimensional. So, if you have any feedback or additional questions after this post, please share them. I could really use the help!

Some quick facts about Virik: He’s 23 years old, with red-streaked black hair and gray eyes. He’s also the oldest of two sons of the King of Fae – but as you’ll find out, that doesn’t mean he’s next in line for the throne.

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

Chronicling The Craft: 75,000 & 80,000 Words

A Peek Into the Novel’s Villains and Antagonists

Chapters Completed: 20

Chapters In Progress: 4

Chapters Not Started: 10

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with writing my current work-in-progress (WIP), which is a fantasy novel. Every 5,000 words, I let readers know what I’ve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a “chapter ticker” at the top also tracks my progress as I use the skip-around / “writercopter” method to write the novel. Today’s installment celebrates the book reaching 75,000 and 80,000 words in length.

Yup, it’s a double installment of Chronicling The Craft! Although it doesn’t exactly mean double the fun, topics, length, etc. I went on another planned writing vacation during the first week of September. Going into that vacation, I was closing in on 75,000 words, but I didn’t want to halt the novel’s progress partway through the week to squeeze in a blog article. So, I decided to barrel past the 75K mark and see how far I could take the novel from there. Today, it stands at a hair over 80,200 words. *does a happy dance*

Here’s what I’ve worked on since the previous Chronicle: Continue reading