Revisiting Old Journals (A Blog Tag)

When Victoria Grace Howell nominated me for this tag (thank you, Tori!), two thoughts went through my head. The first one: “Wow! This should be fun.” And the second one: “Crap. I threw out most of my old journals when I was reorganizing last year.” (*lol*) I still kept some of them, though, since some of their pages were still empty. Because, really, how awful would it be for a writer to let blank sheets of lined paper go to waste?

So I went through the oldies-but-goodies I still have and chose three to share with you today. Oddly enough, none of them show much of my early creative writing projects. But each one is unique in design, purpose, and personal meaning to me. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed looking back through some of the pages of my past, literally.

Of course, since this is a blog tag, let’s kick things off with…

Continue reading

Authenticity, Vulnerability, and Synchronicity: My 2017 Writer’s Digest Conference Story

Wow. Was Writer’s Digest Conference really three weeks ago? Somehow it seems longer ago than that (maybe because I caught a cold on the final day, so it took a couple weeks to resume my normal routine). Yet I still remember that weekend as clearly as the last book I read – because the ideas and lessons I carried home this time struck very close to the heart.

It’s not right, then,  to write this year’s report as an in-depth overview like I did for last year’s. Instead, I’d like to share why WDC 2017 was so meaningful to me, more so than the 2016 or 2015 editions. So if you’re interested in learning about (or refreshing your memory of) the conference format, venue,  and range of writing and publishing topics, check out last year’s post. Otherwise, let’s start not at the beginning, but at the moment when the impact of this conference first began to sink in.
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

A Writing Study on Assassins, Flashbacks, and Emotions (A Guest Post & Giveaway by Fantasy Author Maria V. Snyder)

maria-snyder-guest-post-banner

Oh, am I excited about our returning guest! Fantasy author Maria V. Snyder stopped by here 2 years ago for an interview on SHADOW STUDY, her fourth Study novel and the return of Yelena and Valek, her two most beloved characters. Today, the series ends with DAWN STUDY, and Maria was gracious enough to take time out of her schedule to write a guest post. So, let’s celebrate DAWN STUDY’s book birthday with a “study” of master spy-assassin Valek, his growth since SHADOW STUDY, and the challenges of writing from his perspective. 

When my first book, Poison Study, was published over (*cough*) eleven (*cough*) years ago, I had no idea I’d go on to write five more Study books and the spin-off Glass Series. Nine total books and four short stories! I’d also didn’t know that Valek would become my readers’ favorite character (according to an unscientific Facebook poll).

While planning Poison Study, I knew Valek would be Ixia’s Chief of Security and the Commander’s assassin. He’d be distant, cold, and good at killing people with all types of weapons – basically, a stereotypical bad ass.  After that, I didn’t really consider him to be more than an antagonist to my main protagonist, Yelena.  In fact, I thought if there would be a romance in the book, it would most likely be between Yelena and the Commander. Yeah, well, I’m not the best at planning books, and I tend to discover the true story as I write.

Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report

Chronicling The Craft banner

Plus, Five Non-Metal Songs That Appear on the WIP’s 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’s post marks 80% completion of Draft #3 with another progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

This is it, guys. The finish line for Draft #3 is in sight!!

incredibles-baby

Don’t worry. The WIP hasn’t gone up in flames. I just think this Incredibles GIF is adorable. 🙂

And it doesn’t seem like long since the last pair of Chronicles, right? Well, it’s not that the editing has picked up in speed. Rather, I couldn’t schedule the previous pair until 3 weeks after I’d passed the 60% mark. But thanks to my new blogging schedule, you’re getting this only 1 week after I passed 80%. 😉

(NOTE: Despite last week’s blogging schedule announcement, the second half of the 80% Chronicles pair will still post this Thursday, since it’s ready to go.)

As always with these progress reports, I’ll share Draft #3’s latest word count and what else made the past 20% of edits unique. Plus, I’m sharing five more tracks that currently appear on TKC’s novel playlist. So, shall we?
Continue reading

Field Trip: Writer’s Digest Conference 2016

WDC2016 Banner

Now that all of the late-summer busyness has passed, I finally have some time to tell you about this year’s Writer’s Digest Conference! And what an amazing four days it was. In fact, I think it topped the 2015 edition!

With this post, I’ll give a general overview of WDC 2016, including which sessions I enjoyed most and what I learned. Last year I did a trio of posts for DIY MFA; and while I would have liked to have covered the conference for the site again this year, it wasn’t possible with my friend’s wedding 2 weeks later. The good thing is, waiting to do this post has given me time to digest (no pun intended) everything I absorbed that weekend and feel grateful for continuing to invest in my writing career.
Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: Draft #2 Revisions – 80% Complete

Chronicling The Craft banner

Revising for Deep Point of View, Plus Another Excerpt from The Keeper’s Curse

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, starting with the first draft and now into revisions. Each article contains a progress update as well as writing / revising tips and excerpts from the updated draft. Today’s installment celebrates 80% completion of Draft #2 of THE KEEPER’S CURSE.

Well, this Chronicle is a bit overdue. XD I had hoped to post this when I reached the 70% percent mark for Draft #2. But between the December holidays, my 2-week blogging hiatus, and delays in drafting this post, we’re celebrating not 70% or 75%, but 80%. That’s not such a bad thing, though… because you know what it means, right?

Yes... I think I see it, too, Jack... :D

Yes… I think I see it, too, Jack… 😀

Yes. I’m on the home stretch. I’ve reached the point where I can safely say, “I’M ALMOST DONE – AGAIN!!” (*fistpumps*) Honestly, the thought of closing in on the finish sends thrills up and down my spine… Yet it’s also overwhelming, because it means I’ll need to start thinking about Draft #3 soon.

Wow. I think I just deflated my own balloon of happiness. Anyways…

Considering how close I am to the end, I think this will be the second-to-last Chronicle for this go-round. So, the next time you see a Chronicling The Craft post, Draft #2 will be FINISHED. 😀  In the meantime, let’s get to the 80% progress report, followed by Today’s Tip and a new excerpt for your feedback.
Continue reading

New Grub Street Article on Music and Writing

grubstreet-logo

Grub Street has published my article “Using Music to Enhance Your Writing” at their Grub Daily blog! This piece shares examples of how writers have used music to help with concentration, mood, setting, and character development. It also offers tips on how to practice “music immersion” with your writing, from letting your piece choose the music to tuning out lyrics.

Click here to read “Using Music to Enhance Your Writing.”