New DIY MFA Post on Writing Exercises for the Theme of Family (Plus, a Quick Note About Iceland)

So far in our recap of the theme of family at DIY MFA, we’ve covered why this theme matters to readers and shared recommendations for books about family. Today, we conclude our recap with a “how-to” post – specifically, how to explore the theme of family in your writing. This post is filled to the brim with writing prompts and brainstorming activities to help you with different angles of approaching this theme, from demonstrating family relationships through dialogue and interaction to using major life events to heighten conflict. So, grab some paper and a pen – or open a new document on your computer – and let’s begin!

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New at DIY MFA: Additional Reading on the Theme of Family

In my previous DIY MFA post, we returned to the theme of family (which we first covered in this case study) and offered five reasons why this theme matters to readers. Today, we continue our deep dive with a wonderfully bookish post. Yes, it’s time for reading recommendations! I share five books that explore the theme of family and briefly explain how they do so (without giving away too many spoilers, of course!). As you read about each one, you might be surprised by not just the variety of genres and kinds of stories represented, but also the different paths each one takes to examine the same theme.

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What’s Making Me Happy: December 2018 and January 2019

Winter in Massachusetts means that, as a resident, you often get some… interesting weather. Two Sundays ago, we had a storm that started as snow, then changed to rain and later to sleet / freezing rain. Then our high temperatures for the next two days were in the single digits Fahrenheit, with wind chills below 0. (Plus, all the snow and rain that had fallen? It froze.) By that Thursday, it was precipitating like crazy again – except it was pouring rain, because the temps had warmed up to over 50 deg F (10 deg C). 😮

And then, on other days, it’s still cold but at least nice enough for moments like the banner image. 🙂 So where was I when I took this photo? And what joys from the past 2 months did I decide to share today? Let’s get right to it! Continue reading

New DIY MFA Post and a Quick Holiday Message

In my DIY MFA posts, we spend a lot of time discussing how to explore literary themes. But we’ve yet to cover why any one theme should matter to readers. So this week, I return to the theme of family (which we first examined in this case study) and share five reasons why it’s so important. From the different types of families to historical and cultural perspectives on family, these whys show how complex and powerful this theme is and how a story can act as a window into the dynamics of a family that’s different than yours or as a mirror of your own.

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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…

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New DIY MFA Article on Love as a Literary Theme

DiyMFA

When I noticed my next DIY MFA post was scheduled for the week of Valentine’s Day, I decided it was time for a case study on an appropriate and timeless theme: Love. If you think about it, though, love is one of the most frequently discussed and deeply profound themes in literature. Plus, the most compelling thematic explorations of love touch on romantic love as well as love of other forms (kindness, compassion) and in other types of relationships (friendship, family). This is the case with the two example novels in today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post, and I hope you *love* the end result (or, at least find it informative). 😉

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Time Flies!: August 2016

Time Flies Banner

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.

I’m starting this post with a confession: While I’ve managed to keep up with my own blog-writing, I’ve been so burnt out from the past month’s busyness that I’m struggling to keep up with reading other blogs or replying to comments. I’ve also been dealing with stress from (without going into too much detail) expected and unexpected sources. Some days were great, but others… Yeah.

Bilbo faints

I hope this is temporary, though, since I still have one big event around the corner: My friend’s wedding (the one where I’m a bridesmaid) is this coming Saturday. Maybe once things calm down and I have some time to rest and regroup, I’ll feel some semblance of my normal self. But I just wanted to let readers know what’s going on, since you guys deserve my honesty.

But I really can’t complain. August was an awesome month on its best days, and it ends with much that I’m grateful for. This will make more sense as this post goes along, so let’s start with…

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Beautiful People, Vol. 16: Uncle Lusan from “The Keeper’s Curse”

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.

Lately I’ve been expanding my character profiles for some of the supporting characters in my WIP, The Keeper’s Curse. One of those profiles is for Uncle Lusan, a minor character in TKC and the uncle of my protagonist Eva (and the husband of last month’s BP focus Aunt Maji). For some reason, I never felt like I knew him as well as I should, so I was hoping this month’s questions would help. (And also because June is the month for Father’s Day, and Lusan’s a father figure to Eva. *wink* ) Luckily, this month’s questionnaire was perfect for him – although it’s the Childhood Edition, so all of the questions are geared toward his childhood. (*lol*)

Regardless, here are some quick facts about Uncle Lusan: He’s a 45-year-old winged Feiri, with pale blue eyes and long, black hair with blonde streaks that are going gray. But, again, this post will focus on Lusan when he was a boy. Ready?

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

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Beautiful People, Vol. 15: Aunt Maji from “The Keeper’s Curse”

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 Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, I decided to focus on a character in my WIP whom the protagonist Eva considers the closest thing she has to a mother. Aunt Maji has raised Eva ever since Eva’s parents were killed when she was 5 years old. (Eva’s mother was Maji’s younger sister.) I had done last year’s Parental Edition BP post on Aunt Maji and her husband Lusan, but after reading this month’s questions it seemed like the perfect time to dedicate a solo post to Eva’s tila (Fei for “aunt”).

Some quick details about Aunt Maji: She’s a 41-year-old winged Feiri, with green eyes and wavy-curly red hair with natural blonde highlights. She also has a very distinct Fei occupation that you’ll learn about in one of the upcoming questions. So, shall be begin?

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

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