Beautiful People, Vol. 15: Aunt Maji 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.

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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The “Be Thankful” Challenge

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Thanksgiving may have been last week, but the holiday season is a good time to be thankful for what we have and who we cherish. So, when fellow fantasy writer Elizabeth Rawls nominated me for the “Be Thankful” Challenge,  I knew I couldn’t let this one wait. (Thank you, E.!)

The rules for The “Be Thankful” Challenge are:

  • Share the “Be Thankful” image in your blog post.
  • Write about 5 people in your life you are thankful for.
  • Write about 5 things in 2015 that you are thankful for.
  • Spread the love and challenge 5 other blogs to take part.

So, let me share with you some of the people and things I’m most grateful for…

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New at DIY MFA: A Case Study on Family as a Literary Theme

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Many of us have read stories where family plays a major role in the main character’s life. However, did you know that the writer is making thematic statements about family by involving parents, children, siblings, and other blood relatives in the story? That’s what we discuss in today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post at DIY MFA. Using examples from Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and Michelle Moran’s Rebel Queen, we’ll look at parallels of exploring family as a literary theme and discover how a character’s beliefs about family can be challenged, reshaped, or reaffirmed as a result of the journey he/she undergoes.

Click here to read “A Case Study on Family as a Literary Theme.”

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.

Guest Post: Sara Letourneau, on Soccer Coach Dads and Passion Pursuits

Today I’m at Eli Pacheco’s blog Coach Daddy for a different kind of guest post. It’s less about writing (although the subject does sneak in) and more about one of the most important people in my life. It’s about a father, his love of soccer, and his (non-soccer player) daughter. It’s about the similarities in how people pursue their unique passions, and the little things we have in common with our loved ones that we might now realize right away. And, it’s the first guest post I’ve ever written that made me cry.

You can read the entire article now over at Coach Daddy. And while you’re at it, check out some of Eli’s posts about his own experiences (both enlightening and humorous) with fatherhood. 🙂

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Stormtrooper-2 Courtesy of Tamara Bowman

You guys have shared stories of your fathers with me, and it often leaves me with a hope – a hope that someday, someone will think of me this way as a dad, too.

guest postSara Letourneau managed to meld tales of her father the soccer coach with her own realizations as a writer. In molecular science, experts refer to this type of phenomenon as … well, they don’t have a term for it as yet. I love her insight, though.

Sara’s closing in on completion of a YA novel, The Keeper’s Curse (not a tale of Elise’s travails in goal, although that could happen someday.)

Sara writes a remarkable feature called 5 on the Fifth that you just have to check out.

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Time Flies!: June 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.

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that 2015 is now halfway over? Insane, isn’t it? But so far, 2015 has been an awesome year. Creatively, personally,… and now statistically! Because of your visits, comments, social media shares, and reblogs, this site has already topped 2014’s total page view counts – meaning it’s having its best year EVER. Thank you all so, SO much for your support and feedback. It means the world to me. And that’s going to make next month’s blogoversary that much sweeter. 😀

Which reminds me: I’m still taking questions for Eva’s blogoversary character interview! Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 pm on Friday, July 3rd. Click here for details and to see which questions have been asked so far.

Now, on to this month’s summary!

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Beautiful People, Vol. 5: The “Parental” Edition

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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.

When I saw the theme for this month’s Beautiful People, I knew this would be a tricky post. Anyone who’s been following Beautiful People (or this blog in general) for some time already know that Eva, the protagonist of my YA fantasy The Keeper’s Curse, has been an orphan since she was 5 years old. And as I read this month’s questions, I realized some related better to Eva’s deceased parents, and others to her guardians since then.

So, that’s how I’ll handle this month’s post. You’ll learn a little about Eva’s mother and father, and I’ll also introduce you to Aunt Maji and Uncle Lusan, both of whom appear in TKC. Hopefully that won’t be too confusing. I’ll do my best to indicate who each question pertains to. Let me know in the Comments section if anything needs clarifying!

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Chronicling The Craft: 60,000 Words

Themes in Novels: What The Story Is Really About

Chapters Completed: 14

Chapters In Progress: 7

Chapters Left to Start: 13

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with writing my current work-in-progress (WIP), which is a fantasy novel. Every 5,000 words, I let readers know what I’ve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a “chapter ticker” at the top also tracks my progress as I use the skip-around / “writercopter” method to write the novel. Today’s installment celebrates the book reaching 60,000 words in length.

What a stealthy little milestone this turned out to be. I was recently on vacation with my immediate family, so I was literally sneaking in time to work on the WIP when I could, even tuning out of social media for one week to focus on family / relatives, writing, and relaxation. Altogether those shorter sessions ended up as productive as some of the longest I’ve ever done. No anxiety over the lack of time or getting very little done because of said lack of time. Instead, I stayed focused and inspired, typing as many words as I could. And now, here we are again!

My goals for the past several writing sessions have been to finish any in-progress chapters and to NOT start any new chapters. (I’m still using the “writercopter” method, and it’s working brilliantly for this WIP so far!) Let’s see what’s happened since the Chronicle for 55,000 words posted in May: Continue reading