New DIY MFA Article on Isolation as a Literary Theme

DiyMFA

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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What’s Making Me Happy: October 2017

Wait! It’s November now! Isn’t this post late? 

Well, sort of. (Better late than never, right?) But with my new DIY MFA article posting earlier this week and S.J. Higbee’s blog tour stopping here last week, today is the most convenient day to look back on the joys of October.

And, boy, do I need this post right now. October was very stressful, between sudden changes at my day job and unexpected (and expensive) car repairs. And when I’m already stressed / anxious about one thing, it’s so easy for me to get stressed / anxious about other things. If you’ve felt the same way lately, let’s take a moment to inhale deeply, exhale slowly, and give thanks for our accomplishments and joys over the past month. And as always, feel free to share what’s made you happy lately in your comments.

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Another Liebster Award!

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Still combing through the blog tags and awards I was recently nominated for, and today it’s Liebster Award time. Thank you for the nomination, Phoenix Grey! 🙂

Here are the rules for this version of the Liebster Award:

  1. Once you are nominated, make a post that thanks the person who nominated you and links back to their article.
  2. Include the Liebster Award sticker in your post.
  3. Nominate 7 to 10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Answer the 10 questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
  5. Make 10 questions of your own for your nominees.
  6. Lastly, copy these rules in the post.
  7. All of the nominees are free to accept or reject the nomination.

So, Rules #1, 2, and 6 are done already. (I hope it’s OK that I’m skipping around…?) Now let’s go on to Phoenix’s questions!

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The Liebster Award Challenge

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A big thank-you to KL Caley @ New2Writing for nominating me for the Liebster Award Challenge! This honor gives bloggers the opportunity to share more about themselves and then to “pay it forward” to other bloggers whose sites they enjoy. This version of the Liebster doesn’t seem to have a restriction on the number of followers for eligible nominees (whereas the Liebster Award received here did), so everyone is game this time around. 😉

Here are the rules for this version of the Liebster Award Challenge:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award.
  4. Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

So, let’s start with KL’s questions!

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My Nominations for The Writing Hufflepuff’s 2015 Book Awards

 

Writing Hufflepuff Book Awards

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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New at DIY MFA: How Mirror Characters Can Illustrate Literary Themes

DiyMFA

When two characters use similar traits or functions in opposite ways, they’re known as “mirror characters.” These pairs are a great way of creating conflict or relationships – and, oddly enough, a frequent source of literary themes. In the latest Theme: A Story’s Soul article at DIY MFA, we discover how mirror characters can help illustrate theme, using examples from Kristin Cashore’s Fire and Sara Litchfield’s The Night Butterflies. And, if you read closely enough, you’ll see how both examples mirror one another. 😉

Click here to read “How Mirror Characters Can Illustrate Literary Themes.”

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.

Acts of Compassion in Literature – A Special #1000Speak Edition of “Theme: A Story’s Soul”

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On February 20, 2015, 1000 Voices For Compassion will take to the blogosphere and share their thoughts and stories about compassion in all its forms (love, kindness, understanding, empathy, mercy, etc.). Many of these “Voices” are also posting articles on the subject in advance of the big day. Since I’d been debating between two ideas I like equally, I decided, “Why not pursue both, and make one the lead-in article?” 🙂

As an avid reader and a novelist-in-progress, some of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned have come from literature. So, for my lead-in to #1000Speak, I’m doing a literary “exploration” of compassion that aligns with my DIY MFA column “Theme: A Story’s Soul.” Below are some acts of compassion from books I’ve read over the years. As you read the examples, think about what you can learn from each character, as well as the impact their decisions or actions may have on other characters, their world, and the story’s audience. Maybe you’ll want to add some of these books to your wishlist if you haven’t read them yet. Either way, I hope you’ll find this sampling of literary compassion as inspiring as I do.

NOTE: Some of the following examples contain spoilers (either major and minor) that are necessary for discussing the topic at hand. Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: 70,000 Words

Don’t Make Your Female Character (Too) Strong – Make Her Believable

Chapters Completed: 18

Chapters In Progress: 4

Chapters Not Started: 12

“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 70,000 words in length.

Wow. Has it really been less than one month since the novel passed 65,000 words? It feels like it’s too soon to write this article for 70,000, especially with the non-writing commitments I’ve had the past few weeks. (Then again, when are summers not a busy time of year?) I even combed through the current draft chapter by chapter with the word counter after finishing Saturday’s session, just to make sure the math wasn’t off somewhere on my Excel tracking sheet. It wasn’t. So I sit here now, convinced I’m wearing bemusement on my face because that’s 1000% (yes, one-thousand percent) how I feel: baffled yet flutteringly happy.

Here’s what I’ve worked on since the previous Chronicle:  Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: 20,000 Words

Textbooks + Statistics = Back To School?

Chapters In Progress: 5

Chapters Completed: 4

The writing vacation was a huge success! Instead of taking almost 2 months to reach the next milestone (as it did last time), it took less than one week to go from 15,000 words to 20,000 (or 21,000+, to be accurate). Honestly, it felt more like shooting from one benchmark to the next, because of the shorter span of time. I guess that’s what happens when you a) plan to spend a large amount of time concentrating on your work-in-progress, and b) are “in the flow” during each sit-down. And even though I purposely set no concrete goals for this week, I can’t explain how proud and excited I am with what I accomplished in a few days.  Continue reading