New DIY MFA Article on Isolation as a Literary Theme


In my latest Theme: A Story’s Soul post at DIY MFA, I dive into a literary theme that’s difficult for writers to explore and painful for characters (and people in real life) to experience. Isolation isn’t the same as sequestering yourself during an illness or retreating somewhere to meditate. Rather, it’s a state of aloneness in which, because of your location or emotional state, you feel cut off from others. And when a story effectively illustrates isolation as a literary theme despite its challenges, it can offer intriguing insights about setting, relationships, and the human spirit.

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My Eleven Favorite Literary Heroines

One of the recent Top Ten Tuesday topics sponsored by The Broke and The Bookish was “10 Favorite Literary Heroines.” After reading several lists by bloggers I follow, I thought I’d share my own. Though as you can tell from the title, I couldn’t stop at ten. 🙂

A number of things intrigued me as I worked on this list. Each character’s story, circumstances, personality, and set of struggles is unique. Despite those differences, these heroines share some common traits. See if you can pick out those similarities as you read along. (You might not even need to read the books to figure them out!)

Here are my eleven favorite literary heroines, listed in alphabetical order: Continue reading

Recent Reads: “Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore

I remember the day I first heard of Kristin Cashore. It was the 2010 Boston Book Festival, and the YA fantasy author was one of four speakers at a young adult fiction forum. My interest in Cashore’s work immediately pricked up when I found out which genre she writes in. However, what convinced me to buy her two previously published books (Graceling and Fire) on the spot was the moment she opened up for the audience a notebook where she was writing the first draft of her third book. I thought, “YES! She writes her first drafts by hand, too! We have something in common!” I read Graceling and Fire back to back shortly after the Boston Book Festival, and adored them both. So I was eager to read Bitterblue, the novel Cashore offered a “sneak peek” of during the festival, as soon as it was published. Continue reading