New DIY MFA Post: How Your Protagonist’s Motivations Influence Your Story’s Themes

What does your protagonist want? That’s a loaded question, right? But it’s the central idea of my latest Theme: A Story’s Soul at DIY MFA, and it’s one of the questions that you, as a writer, should consider for your story. As the article’s title reveals, your protagonist’s goals, desires, and other motivations don’t just influence the story’s plot. They also nurture some of the story’s literary themes! And in this article, you’ll learn how to do this with your writing with the help of examples from three books and four brainstorming exercises.

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New DIY MFA Post: Writing Exercises for Exploring the Theme of Man and the Natural World

In today’s edition of Theme: A Story’s Soul at DIY MFA, I’m wrapping up our re-examination of the theme of man and the natural world in a fun way: with writing prompts! Like last year’s post on writing about family, this article shares four activities that can help you explore your character’s relationship with nature from different angles. So whether you want to practice connecting the story’s plot to the setting or infusing descriptions of the character’s surroundings with her mood, you’ll find that this post will exercise your creativity and give you a new appreciation for the great outdoors.

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New DIY MFA Post – and Happy (Belated) New Year!

Happy (belated) New Year, everyone! Things have been super-busy on the editing and writing fronts since 2020 began, so I haven’t had an opportunity to post anything sooner. But I do hope your year has gotten off to a fantastic start, and I wish you the best in your creative pursuits, health, and happiness.

Now, guess what else I have for you today? My latest DIY MFA post! This time, I share five recommendations for books that are great examples of the theme of man and the natural world. And some of my picks might surprise you. I wanted to include a variety of genres and different kinds of stories. As a result, this list includes a classic tale involving a garden, an out-of-this-world example from science fiction, and a memoir featuring the most lovable owl you’ll ever read about. 😉

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New DIY MFA Post: Why Is the Theme of Man and the Natural World Important?

How often do you come across nature? Even if you live in an urban area, the answer is probably, “Every day.” The natural world impacts every aspect of our lives, from our commutes to and from work and our weekend plans, to our ability to breathe and the soundness of our homes. We could even say that our relationship with nature is as ripe with conflict as the relationship between two characters in a story.

Maybe that’s why so many writers have explored the theme of man and the natural world in their work. But why exactly is this theme important? I explore five of those reasons in today’s edition of Theme: A Story’s Soul at DIY MFA.

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Thank You, Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019)

These lines from Mary Oliver’s “When Death Comes” took on new meaning when I read them on the afternoon of January 17, 2019. I’d read the poem before, but time has a way of changing your perception of what you read. In this case, I was re-reading one of Oliver’s most well-known poems about mortality just hours after learning that she, my favorite poet, had died from lymphoma at the age of 83.

The timing was eerie, too. Around the same time last week, I started working on a similar tribute to my favorite author of all time, Ursula K. Le Guin, who had recently passed away. (Oliver died 5 days before the first anniversary of Le Guin’s passing.) So, naturally, I’ve been drawing comparisons between the relationships I have with their work. And I remembered one difference that might surprise some people: While Le Guin’s stories resonated with me right away, it took a few years for me – a fantasy fan and a poet in equal measure – to fall in love with Oliver’s poems.

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Poetry & Song: “Breath of a Humpback Whale” and Michael Brant DeMaria’s “Ocean”

It’s been a while since the last Poetry & Song post, hasn’t it? I’ve been meaning to write ones for some of my older, previously published poems and the songs that “helped” me write them. But now that a few “newbies” have debuted over the past few months, it’s time to start highlighting those instead. 🙂

So the spotlight turns back to “Breath of a Humpback Whale” today. What’s interesting about this edition of Poetry & Song isn’t what inspired this piece (though the inspiration itself is incredible), but rather the transformation this poem went through from initial spark to publication. In fact, Michael Brant DeMaria’s “Ocean” didn’t become part of the process until the poem’s last round of revisions. But that proved to be the perfect time for music and poetry to come together.

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New Poems Published in Canary and Amethyst Review

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you had a warm, safe, and joyful beginning to your 2019.

Today I’m thrilled to share two new poems that have been published over the past couple weeks. First, “Osprey at Bass River” is featured the Winter 2018 / 2019 issue of Canary, an online literary journal focusing on nature and the environment. This poem was accepted back in March, and the joy of finally seeing it in print (and with a fitting photo to boot) has been worth the wait. 🙂

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