Introducing Worksheets for Writers!

Exciting news, everyone: I have officially launched the Worksheets for Writers page!

Worksheets for Writers is where writers can find worksheets containing all kinds of writing and brainstorming exercises. The page houses only one document right now, but I already have ideas on how to expand my offerings over time.

Speaking of that first worksheet, it is the…

Novel Title Brainstorming Worksheets

The Novel Title Brainstorming Worksheets were inspired by my recent article on methods for finding novel titles. Several readers had said they would revisit the article the next time they wanted to brainstorm titles for their stories. That got me thinking: Why not turn the information presented in that article into actual exercises that writers can do offline? And so the worksheets were born.

The Novel Title Brainstorming Worksheets are available in printable PDF files that you can download directly from the page. This set comes in two parts:

  • Worksheet A: Novel Title Source Sheet, which lists tried-and-true sources for titles by story element (e.g., characters, setting, significant objects) and guides writers through activities using these elements
  • Worksheet B: Novel Title Checklist, which poses eight important questions that writers should consider when deciding on a novel title

Click here to visit Worksheets for Writers and to download a PDF copy of the Novel Title Brainstorming Worksheets.

I’m so thrilled about this new section of the website – and I hope you are, too! If you have any questions or comments about these and future worksheets I share, feel free to contact me here.

Time Flies!: March 2015

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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.

Happy Spring, everyone! 😀 Even though it’s been an abnormally cold March here in Massachusetts, I feel lighter in heart knowing that my favorite season has finally arrived. Pretty soon, leaves will bud on the trees, flowers will bloom, and temperatures will be just warm enough so I can resume my outdoor walks. Lush, green, colorful, fresh… *sighs with contentment*

Spring means more to me than nature’s re-awakening after its winter slumber, though. It also marks an anniversary for me, one of a spiritual and emotional turnaround after a bout of situational depression. My poem “Eve of Spring” talks about this a little bit. If you’re interested, you can read the poem here or here.

What else have I been up to this past month? Check out the recaps below:

Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: Digging for Ideas for Book Titles (+ Reveal of My WIP’s Title)

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A good title for a book is like a nugget of gold buried under a mountain of dirt. Writers want the perfect name, something that grabs the reader’s attention, sings when it’s spoken, and relates to the novel in some way. Digging for that perfect name, however, can be more frustrating than writing the book itself.

If you’ve struggled with titling your stories, you’re not alone. It happened to me with the fantasy novel I finished last month. And last month, when I Tweeted a question about book title troubles, fellow writers on the Twitterverse shared their past and current frustrations. Heather D. said, “Only once have I ever come up with a title I loved and was wed to. All my others have ‘working titles.'” Jody Moore wrote, “[T]his WIP has been in the works for years (3rd rewrite) but I only settled on the title a few months ago.” Other responses were similar, where writers called titles everything from “a real pain” to “something I don’t sweat.”

It’s true that we can’t worry too much about titles, especially if your novel winds up being traditionally published. (Standard practice is that your publisher’s marketing team gets the final say on titles.) However, there are ways of making the “title-digging” process less distressing and more fruitful. In this “mid-noveling break” edition of Chronicling The Craft, we’ll look at strategies for mining for possible book titles, from examples of different sources for titles to questions we should ask ourselves. At the end, I’ll bring a personal example – by revealing the title of my fantasy novel, and how I (finally) arrived at it. 🙂 Continue reading

Time Flies!: February 2015

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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.

First of all, thanks to all the new visitors who came by this month for the Maria V. Snyder and #1000Speak articles! I hope you enjoyed what you read and will continue to visit as time goes on. And if you haven’t yet, make sure you enter the Shadow Study giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Maria’s new book. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, March 4th at midnight EST, and is international (i.e., open to everyone).

February was much less stressful than the past couple months had been. (*whew*) It was also a super-busy month writing-wise, which is never a bad thing – especially given one of the milestones I reached recently. 😀  Some of you may already know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, no worries. That’s part of this month’s recap.

I’ve tweaked the format for Time Flies this month. If you’ve seen the past monthly updates, let me know you think this one’s an improvement over the last one.

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Time Flies: December 2014 Edition

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Looking for this month’s Freelance Article Round-Up? It’s here – under a new name!

The Freelance Article Round-Up series will now be known as Time Flies!, a monthly wrap-up article that… well, does exactly what the Freelance Article Round-Ups had been doing. Originally, the round-ups were designed to share my columnist projects at A Bibliophile’s Reverie, Grub Street, and DIY MFA. Then I started including other happenings related to writing, this blog, and life in general. And so the round-ups evolved into something more – and a couple weeks ago, I realized the title didn’t fit the purpose anymore. What do you think of the new name? And the new logo? 🙂

Let’s jump right in with this month’s updates: Continue reading

New at DIY MFA Today: Identifying a Novel’s Themes Using the Title and the Blurb


Normally we can’t tell what a novel’s themes are until we’ve actually read the novel. However, did you know that with some stories, you can identify potential themes by looking for clues in the title and the blurb (a.k.a. jacket copy)? We explore that idea in “Identifying a Novel’s Themes Using the Title and the Blurb,” the latest article in my Theme: A Story’s Soul column at DIY MFA. We’ll even do some detective work together using the jacket copy of Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See. Curious? Click here to read the article.

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.