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

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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

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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.

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”

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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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What Do Your Favorite Stories Have In Common?

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“What do your favorite stories have in common?”

This was the question that fellow writer Elizabeth Rawls posed at her blog last year. I loved the topic so much that I wanted to respond right away, but I couldn’t. Figuring out what your favorite stories have in common is like playing a writer’s or reader’s version of a strategy game. But once you put some conscious thought into it, the answers can be rather enlightening.

Today, I’d like to share Elizabeth’s activity along with my own thoughts on developing a stronger grasp on the shared elements in our favorite stories. As you’ll find out, those commonalities may have a greater influence on our work that we might think.

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Time Flies!: January 2016

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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.

Ah, January. In some ways, I can’t stand this month. It means winter – which also means cold, snow, ice, and other seasonal yuck. Can you blame me for counting down the days to spring? (49!!) But in other ways, January was a sigh of relief. After one of the most hectic Decembers I can remember, relaxing and returning to a slower, somewhat normal routine has never been more welcome.

Olaf impaled

I couldn’t resist an Olaf gif here. XD

Before I go much further – a quick word to anyone waiting for the next edition of the Character Evolution Files. It’s coming, I promise. Between three big blogging commitments last month (Chronicling The Craft, a guest post for WriteOnSisters, and my next DIY MFA article), I didn’t have time to start drafting File No. 6 until this past week. And when writing lengthy articles (which often have minds of their own) and juggling deadlines, sometimes you have to reshuffle your priorities.

So, yes. Character Evolution File No. 6 should post in mid-to-late February. Stay tuned for that as well as a call for character interview questions (Tuesday, February 2nd) and the blog’s first guest post (Tuesday, February 9th)! Oh, and the guest post I’m working on for WriteOnSisters? Ohhhhhh I can’t tell you how THRILLED I am about it. 😀

For now, let’s recap January’s happenings.

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Time Flies!: December 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.

Did I ever tell you that Lilo And Stitch is my second-favorite animated Disney movie after The Lion King? ;)

Confession: “Lilo and Stitch” is my second-favorite animated Disney movie after “The Lion King.”

Yes, it’s me popping in! 😉 I’m on hiatus until Monday, January 4th, but I thought I’d still post a Time Flies to “officially” wrap up the month.

How have your winter holidays been so far? Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve? I’ll most likely stay at home and call it an early night (I’ll explain why shortly). The last two months have been nutty on all fronts, so it’s been nice to breathe deeply and relax the past few days.

If you noticed things were slower here than usual this month – you’re correct. I scaled back on my blogging activities in December because of all the busyness, and also to get a head start on my January posts. So, you probably haven’t missed much if you’ve been away, but here’s your chance to catch up:
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