The Creativity Corner: Spring 2017

Can you believe that summer is here? ūüėģ It still feels like I was in Iceland last week. How on Earth has time zipped by so quickly??

Since a new season has begun, it’s time for an update on the past season’s creative happenings. And after a winter where I struggled with anxiety for a few weeks and my confidence in my writing hit rock-bottom,¬†I’m happy to say that spring was a more productive, inspiring, and emotionally healthy season. It wasn’t free of bumps, but I’m moving forward and focused on new projects.

New projects?? What about¬†The Keeper’s Curse? Or the novella? Yeah… I’ll explain what’s happening with them, too. But first…
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The Creativity Corner: Winter 2017

It feels weird to post¬†a wrap-up of a¬†winter’s worth writing, reading, and other creative happenings on the second day of spring. (This is the new “writing monthly update” series I had mentioned last month, btw.)¬†But the truth is, I’ve procrastinated on this post for a couple weeks now, and not due to lack of time. Instead, I’ve been feeling anything but enthusiastic or confident about writing lately.

(Btw, my latest DIY MFA post went live last week. Something funky happened with the blog post announcement, so click here to read the article at DIY MFA.)

The good news is, I’m now taking steps that can hopefully help me regain that confidence and lead to a better, more productive spring. I’ll touch on¬†that, as well as the progress I’ve made so far¬†with The Novella (my new writing project) and the books I’ve read so far this year. Also, since this is the first Creative Corner, any feedback on the content and/or setup will be greatly appreciated. ūüôā
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What Do You Think?: Asking for Your Feedback on My Novel’s Blurb

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I’m in the middle of finishing new articles for DIY MFA and Writers Helping Writers. So I thought I’d do an “easy” post this week, and one I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Your feedback has been so helpful in the past with website changes, blogoversary celebrations, and excerpts on my YA fantasy novel The Keeper’s Curse. I’d like to ask for it again today, on a component of the novel-writing process that’s more important than we might think: the blurb.

Wondering what a blurb is? Or why it’s important for writers to start working on one before their novel is published? I’ll answer those questions briefly, then give you a chance to offer feedback on the latest blurb for TKC.

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Chronicling The Craft: On Beta-Readings, New Writing Projects, and the Future of This Series

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On Beta-Readings, New Writing Projects, and the Future of This Series

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE. These articles alternate between progress reports, fun WIP-related content, and writing / revising / editing tips. Today’s post serves an update on¬†TKC’s beta-reading stage and the beginning of Draft #1 of “The Novella.”

Starting a new phase of the writing process is always exciting. And nerve-racking. And scary. But mostly exciting. However, what makes this “new beginnings” Chronicle unique from past ones is that¬†it covers not just one writing project, but TWO!

Today’s Chronicle is mostly updates on my YA fantasy novel The Keeper’s Curse and my fantasy novella-in-progress, which is tentatively titled The Novella. (Not very imaginative, but I don’t have any title ideas yet. *lol*)¬†I’ll also share my plans for the upcoming round of Chronicles¬†– and if you’re interested, I could use your help with deciding what “fun stuff” to share during the progress reports.

Also, because I saw the movie “Moana” recently, I declare today as Moana GIF Day. ‚̧

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Ready? Let’s start with…
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Looking Back on 2016… and Looking Ahead to 2017

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the December holidays and had a fun, safe end to 2016.¬†ūüôā

Looking back on the year, one of the words that comes to mind is “growth.” This site especially was booming. Thanks to all your shares, likes, and comments, 2016’s stats in terms of page views and visitors doubled 2015’s. And that’s despite¬†the fact that I slowed my blogging schedule to once a week.¬†I may be the one who writes and runs this site, but you, the readers, deserve much of the credit.

So, thank you for stopping by and coming back, for sharing your thoughts and offering feedback, for spreading the word and celebrating milestones with me.¬†But most of all, thank you for encouraging and inspiring me. Yes. You inspire me¬†to be not only the best writer I can be, but also my best and fullest self. And for that, I’m truly grateful.

So, let’s get to the annual year-end wrap-up, along with some quotes that reflect my feelings about 2016¬†and my hopes for 2017.
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GoFundMe Campaign for Iceland Writers Retreat Begins Today

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I’m sharing some AMAZING news with you today – and asking for your help in making a dream come true, and an incredible learning experience be within reach.

(*takes a deep breath*)

Today I’m starting a GoFundMe¬†campaign to fund¬†a trip to the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat, with the hopes of raising $3,500 USD¬†by February 4, 2017. After the jump, I’ll share links to the retreat and the campaign page so you can see the cost breakdown, perk levels (yes, PERKS!), and so on. But first, let me explain why I want to go and why I need financial assistance to do¬†so.

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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 Is DONE!!

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Plus, the Final Five-Song Reveal from¬†the WIP’s Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing¬†tips. Today’s post marks the end of Draft #3 with a final progress report and more songs from¬†TKC’s novel playlist.

Well, the title gives it away… but this happened¬†2 weeks ago!!

So, yes, TKC is done for the third time, and 2 weeks¬†before my “soft” deadline of November 20th. Since then, I’ve been feeling… well, a weird mix of emotions. Relief. Accomplishment. Excitement-anxiety-nausea over the upcoming beta-reader phase.¬† Also, a sense of “What do I do with myself now?”. You get used to weeks and months to doing something¬†on most weeknights and weekends, and when it’s done you’re almost at a loss. But I won’t let myself flounder for long, and I’ll explain why shortly.

You know what else this means? It’s DANCING PIKACHU TIME!!

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Now, here’s the final progress for Draft #3, as well as the final five-song reveal from TKC’s novel playlist. ūüôā
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Using Archetypes to Learn More About You and Your Characters

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One of my favorite blog series is¬†Ariel Hudnall’s Archetypes in Literature, a collection of essays on¬†the archetypes conceived by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and examples of each in literature, film, and television. I can’t remember if¬†what followed next happened in a comment one of her Archetype¬†posts, or in a side conversation on my blog… But she introduced me to Archetypes.com, which features a quiz that helps visitors discover their unique blend of archetypes.

So, I took the quiz. And as soon as I got my answers, the “writerly” wheels started turning in my head. ūüėČ

You see, archetypes can help us understand our own behavior patterns as well as those of our characters. It’s sort of like taking an MBTI test as your protagonist to see where she might fall on that spectrum. So, how can you use archetypes to learn more (or confirm what you already know) about yourself and your characters? Plus, how accurate are the quiz’s results? You might be pleasantly surprised.

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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report

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Plus, Five Non-Metal Songs That Appear on the WIP’s Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing¬†tips. Today’s post marks 80% completion of Draft #3 with another¬†progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

This is it, guys. The finish line for Draft #3 is in sight!!

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Don’t worry. The WIP hasn’t gone up in flames. I just think this Incredibles GIF is adorable. ūüôā

And it doesn’t seem like long since the last pair of Chronicles, right? Well, it’s not that the editing has picked up in speed.¬†Rather, I couldn’t schedule the previous pair until 3 weeks after I’d passed the 60% mark. But thanks to my new blogging schedule, you’re getting this only 1 week after I passed 80%. ūüėČ

(NOTE: Despite last week’s blogging schedule announcement, the second half of the 80% Chronicles pair will still post this Thursday, since it’s ready to go.)

As always with these progress reports, I’ll share Draft #3’s latest word count and what else made the past 20% of edits unique.¬†Plus, I’m sharing five more¬†tracks that currently appear on TKC’s novel playlist. So, shall we?
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 60% Progress Report

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Plus, Four Songs from Leah’s Kings & Queens¬†That Appear on the WIP’s Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing¬†tips. Today’s post marks 60% completion of Draft #3 with another¬†progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

It’s time for another update! And you know what’s better that giving another progress report? Sharing the news that I’ve met my stretch goal for cutting TKC’s word count!!

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Let’s dance, Star Lord!

To be honest, I’m not surprised that I reached this second goal so quickly. I was just over 2,000¬†words away at¬†the 40% update; and with several overwritten chapters around the corner, it was bound to happen before this pair of Chronicles. But that doesn’t change how thrilled and relieved I am that TKC is now within the recommended word count¬†for its genre (under 100K for¬†YA fantasies by¬†debut authors).

Today I’ll go more in-depth about where TKC stands and what happens now that I’ve reached my stretch goal. I’ll also introduce you to the music of melodic metal singer-songwriter Leah McHenry and share more tunes¬†from the novel’s playlist. Ready?
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