The Seven-Day Book Challenge

Recently, a Facebook friend tagged me on the Seven-Day Book Challenge. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago and “double-teamed” it through FB and Instagram. And then I thought, “Why not share it on the blog, too?”

The rules of the Seven-Day Book Challenge are simple: For seven days, you share a photo or image on Facebook of a different favorite book and nominate another friend to carry on the challenge. There’s no set theme to follow, and you don’t need to write a caption or explanation for why you choose each book. You simply share the photo, tag a friend, and reply to any comments. But for this blog post, I think I’ll “break” one of those rules. 😉

Here are the books I chose for the Seven-Day Book Challenge, and why I picked each one.

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What’s Making Me Happy in December 2016 (Plus, I’m on a Holiday Blogging Hiatus)

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Today’s post is a special one. I’m linking up with writing friend and fellow DIY MFA staff writer Leanne Sowul for her monthly “What Makes Me Happy” series. (Click here to go directly to her December post.) Plus, as you might have noticed from the post’s title, this will be my last blog post for 2016. And with Christmas and the New Year around the corner, it’s a good time to celebrate the little things that make you happy, right? 🙂

Since it’s still the holiday season, I’ll start with…

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The Character Evolution Files, No. 14: Aligning the Protagonist’s Character Arc with the Story’s Plot, Part 1

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Welcome to the Character Evolution Files! This column focuses on character arcs, from the elements that create or enhance a character’s inner journey, to techniques that writers can employ to strengthen character arcs in their own work. Today we continue our studies with File No. 14, which serves as Part 1 of our examination of the parallels between story structure and character arcs.

If you’ve been following the Character Evolution Files, you may have noticed that the story’s plot and the protagonist’s character arc are tightly connected. But how do we ensure this connection exists? How can writers “time” the arc’s stages precisely so that they occur in tandem with the plot’s events? The answer lies once again with the protagonist and her response to those events – because they’re going to change her life, and who she is, forever.

Today, in Character Evolution File No. 14, we’ll start a two-part study on plot-arc alignment. We’ll learn a dual strategy for creating and maintaining this connection between a story’s external and internal elements, and why that connection exists in the first place. Then, we’ll begin a Journey Through the Character Arc “recap” that examines each stage with our new strategy and poses questions we should consider each time. If this sounds a bit weighty – well, now you know why I split it in two. 😉 Continue reading

Who Were the First Five Authors You Read in Your Favorite Genre?

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Looking back on the books and authors that introduced us to our favorite literary genres can be a fun trip down memory lane. That nostalgia can bear even more meaning for writers. Sure, those authors built the foundation for our reading tastes. But if we consider our “relationship” with their work closely, we can also discover how their stories or writing have influenced ours.

Today, let’s discuss the first five authors we read in our favorite literary genre, or the genre we prefer to write in. I’ll go first with my first five fantasy authors (since fantasy is more than just my great literary love), as well as one takeaway from each that has impacted my writing. Then, you can respond by either commenting on this post or writing about it at your own blogs. This isn’t just for fantasy writers, by the way. Book bloggers and avid readers of all genres are welcome to jump in – so, please do!

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Recent Reads: August 2016

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Recent Reads is a monthly reading wrap-up, with mini-reviews of the books I read. I’ll also share what I’m currently reading and any other books that are in the pipeline. Feel free to share your bookish happenings in the Comments section!

With this month’s Recent Reads, I’m making a slight organizational change in the “Other Books I Read In…” section. Instead of listing books in the order I read them, I’ll show them in order of rating, starting with the second-highest after the Read of the Month. No one has commented on this before, but I thought it might make it easier to determine which books I liked more than others.

As for the books themselves, I managed to finish 5 more (all of which are reviewed below) and am now reading my 41st book of the year. How in the world have I managed this?! The only thing I can think of is that I’ve really grown to appreciate my reading time, and a day doesn’t feel complete without it. I might not be a fast reader, but gosh do I love it. 🙂

Anyways, onto August’s Read of the Month! And it is…
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The Book Courtship Tag

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I haven’t done a strictly bookish tag in a while. So when I saw this adorable Book Courtship Tag at Ayunda’s Tea and Paperbacks a couple weeks ago, I knew I wanted to squeeze this in before Valentine’s Day. 🙂

The Book Courtship Tag “follows” the different stages of courtship and challenges bloggers to pick one book that fits each stage. These picks don’t have to be romances. In fact, they can be anything you choose from your bookshelves. So, let’s see what I picked…

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

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Courage, bravery, heroism, gutsiness – no matter what we call it, this trait is one that many people admire. It’s also an idea that’s explored frequently in literature, sometimes without us noticing.

Today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post at DIY MFA takes a deeper look at courage as a literary theme with the help of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. How do these two very different books examine the same theme in strikingly similar ways? You’ll have to read to find out.

Click here to read “A Case Study on Courage 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.

The Character Evolution Files, No. 2: What Are the Three Types of Character Arcs?

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Welcome to the Character Evolution Files! This monthly column focuses on character arcs, from the elements that create or enhance a character’s inner journey, to techniques that writers can employ to strengthen character arcs in their own work. Today we continue the series with File No. 02, which discusses the three types of character arcs.

We launched the Character Evolution Files last month by defining the term “character evolution,” explaining why character evolution (specifically character arcs) is crucial to a story, and listing the stages that align a standard arc with the story plot. Logically speaking, the next step would be to start exploring the journey through the arc, right? Well… not quite.

Here’s the catch: More than one type of character arc exists. Our characters can change for better or worse. Or, perhaps they might not change much, except in strength of resolve. So, how do writers determine what kind of arc a character is following, or which arc fits our story best?

That’s the purpose of File No. 2. We’ll go over the three standard types of character arcs and how they differ from each other so we can understand how they function. Plus, we’ll review an example of each arc from published literature, and end with how to determine which type of arc will work best for your character. Ready?

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My Nominations for The Writing Hufflepuff’s 2015 Book Awards

 

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Fellow writer and blogger Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff is holding a special Book Awards contest. I don’t know if this is something she does annually or if it’s brand new, but I thought I’d join in and share my picks for as many categories as possible.

Normally I’d share the rules and encourage other bloggers to participate. But considering tomorrow (Sunday, March 29th, 2015) is the deadline for nominations and I’m squeaking these in at the last minute…. Oops? *blushes*

Anyways, here are my nominations for The Writing Hufflepuff’s 2015 Book Awards:

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