New DIY MFA Post on Themes in Symbolism, New Worksheet, + Awesome Surprise!

DiyMFA

Remember my Developing Themes In Your Stories series that DIY MFA ran last year? It’s back! Today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post tackles symbolism, one of the most thought-provoking yet challenging aspects of novel-writing. Don’t be intimidated, though – it turns out that symbolism is more closely connected to theme than we might think. It starts by knowing what kinds of symbols we can draw from and which questions we should ask to help us find the right symbols to reflect our story’s themes. Continue reading

Beautiful Books, Vol. 1: The Novella I’m Planning to Start Next Year

Beautiful Books

Beautiful Books is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It’s similar to their usual monthly meme Beautiful People, except that this month’s questions celebrate preparations for NaNoWriMo and focus on your work-in-progress (WIP) or next writing project. 

Wait! What happened to Beautiful People this month?!?!

Harry Potter jaw drops

Don’t worry. Beautiful People and its character questionnaires will be back. But in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, Cait and Sky have asked participants to answer 10 questions about the stories they’re currently working on or planning to write during November’s novel-writing madness. And even though I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, I’ve got an idea for a future novella to share instead. 😀  Here we go!

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

(Also, make sure you check out the thank-you giveaways! Click here to find out how you can win free tea, a free book, or a critique of your WIP’s first chapter.)

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New DIY MFA Article and Worksheet on External Conflict Themes

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Time for the next installment of “Developing Themes in Your Stories”! So far, this special series on my DIY MFA column Theme: A Story’s Soul has covered how character arcs and a story’s premise can reflect literary themes. For this third piece, the focus turns to the external conflict. This crucial element does a lot more than set the stage and circumstances that trigger the story. We’ll look at how brainstorming “what if” scenarios and considering the results or consequences of your protagonist’s decisions can unearth a story’s themes.

Click here to read “Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part Three – The External Conflict.”

New Worksheet on External Conflict Themes

Like with the character arc and premise themes articles, I’ve developed an External Conflict Themes Worksheet that contains the activities from the above article. Feel free to download the document to your computer and print it out for your “thematic exploration.” 😉

Also, the External Conflict Themes Worksheets is the first worksheet to feature the new website’s “branding.” I plan on updating the existing worksheets with similar branding in the near future.

Click here to visit Worksheets for Writers and download a PDF copy of the External Conflict Themes Worksheet.

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.

New DIY MFA Article and Worksheet on Premise Themes

DiyMFA

Last month at DIY MFA, we launched the four-part series “Developing Themes in Your Stories” with a piece on consciously developing themes using the protagonist’s character arc. Today, it’s all about premise themes. Believe it or not, that single sentence that sums up your story (a.k.a. your 140-character Twitter pitch) actually hints at potential literary themes. How is this possible? And, how can you build your premise sentence if you don’t have one yet? All of that is covered in “Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 2 – The Premise.” Click here to read it.

New Worksheet on Premise Themes

Why not? 🙂 A number of readers were excited about the Character Arc Themes Worksheet when it posted. So, I thought I’d make one available for premise themes as well. This new worksheet is comprised of the three activities in “Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 2 – The Premise” and can help you go from story pitch to premise sentence, and finally to themes.

Click here to visit Worksheets for Writers and download a PDF copy of the Premise Themes Worksheet.

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.

Time Flies!: April 2015

Time Flies Logo

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.

This month has soared by, which makes this series’ title all the more appropriate. April 2015 was a good month, though, and May already has a shot at surpassing it. Tomorrow I’m attending Muse and the Marketplace for the first time, and I can’t WAIT! I’ve sort of “disappeared” from my online haunts this week to prepare for the event (researching presenters, drafting a practice pitch for The Keeper’s Curse, double-checking train and event schedules, etc.). If I haven’t returned comments or emails recently, that’s one of the reasons why. I hope you understand, and I’m aiming to catch up on things next week.

OK. Recap time!

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New DIY MFA Article and Worksheet on Character Arc Themes

DiyMFA

So far at Theme: A Story’s Soul for DIY MFA, we’ve featured articles that deal mainly with themes and reading. However, since DIY MFA is first and foremost a resource website for writers, it’s time we tackle how to write with themes in mind – or rather, how to consciously develop our story’s themes without forcing them.

Today I’m excited to launch a special four-part Theme: A Story’s Soul series called “Developing Themes in Your Stories.” Part 1 focuses on character arc themes and features a brainstorming activity to help you discover potential themes in a story idea before you start writing the story. That way, you’ll know your story’s themes upfront instead of digging for them later. 😉

Click here to read “Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 1 – The Character Arc.”

New Worksheet on Character Arc Themes

Yes, I’ve posted a brand new worksheet for you today! The Character Arc Themes Worksheet is formatted as a table to help you complete the exercises given in the coinciding DIY MFA article. This worksheet was a last-minute idea, so that’s why I’m making it available here without the DIY MFA branding.

Click here to visit Worksheets for Writers and download a PDF copy of the Character Arc Themes Worksheet.

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.