New DIY MFA Post on Revenge as a Literary Theme (Plus, Looking for Your Help with This Year’s Blogoversary)

OK, confession time: I‚Äôve been looking forward to covering this theme for a while. ūüėČ And while revenge is typically considered a literary masterplot, such stories can highlight intriguing insights into what happens when someone seeks vengeance for a perceived wrong. So, with the help of a classic revenge novel (Emily Bronte‚Äôs Wuthering Heights) and a recent spin on superheroes (V.E. Schwab‚Äôs Vicious), I explored the theme in my latest post at DIY MFA. Which storytelling elements do these stories use to shed light on this dark, complex theme? You‚Äôll have to read on to find out!

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


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?” ūüôā

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

Happy 2015 – and Thank You!


Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you ended your 2014 with a safe and fun celebration; and I wish you good health, joy, fulfillment, and great success in 2015, whatever your goals may be. ūüôā

I also want to extend huge hugs of gratitude to everyone who visited the blog this year and continues to come back on a regular basis. 2014 turned out to be the most successful year statistically at this blog, with more visits, likes, and comments than in years past. *breaks out confetti and pompoms*

One thing has undoubtedly contributed to that increase: outreach. Joining Twitter and making a greater effort to visit blogs by writers, book reviewers, and other bloggers last year helped make a difference. But there’s only so much I can do myself by commenting and putting myself out. So, for all your feedback on book reviews, novel updates, and other musings… for your retweets and Facebook shares… for your support, curiosity, and enthusiasm… I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, I’d like to look back on what 2014 meant to me, and what my hopes and plans are for the year ahead. Continue reading

Time Flies: December 2014 Edition

Time Flies Logo

Looking for this month’s Freelance Article Round-Up? It’s here – under a new name!

The¬†Freelance Article Round-Up series will now be known as¬†Time Flies!, a monthly wrap-up article that… well, does exactly what the Freelance Article Round-Ups had been doing. Originally, the round-ups were designed to share my columnist projects at A Bibliophile’s Reverie, Grub Street, and DIY MFA. Then I started including other happenings related to writing, this blog, and life in general. And so the round-ups evolved into something more – and a couple weeks ago, I realized the title¬†didn’t fit the purpose anymore. What do you think of the new name? And the new logo? ūüôā

Let’s jump right in with this month’s updates: Continue reading

Freelance Article Round-Up: November 2014


Welcome to this month’s Freelance Article Round-Up! And a belated Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans and others who celebrate the holiday. I hope your travels were safe and smooth, and you enjoyed platefuls of delicious food and good company.

November turned out to be quite exciting, so I’ll start off with the new venture that launched a couple weeks ago.


This month I joined the staff of DIY MFA¬†for their¬†new column Theme: A Story’s Soul. The¬†ongoing series will explore the importance and wide variety of themes in literature, and how readers and writers alike can think about theme more consciously. Click here to read the column’s introductory article, “What Is Theme and Why Is It Important?”

Tea Time at Reverie (Tea Reviews)

Two more tea reviews went live at A Bibliophile’s Reverie¬†this past month. Here are the links again, in case you missed them:

What’s Coming in December

Currently I’m drafting my next article for DIY MFA, which will cover how to identify a novel’s possible themes by studying the book’s title and jacket copy. My next tea review for A Bibliophile’s Reverie should be online in the next week or so. It’s on a bold, complex black tea that’s wonderful¬†for this time of year. I’ve also picked out my next tea to review, an invigorating herbal / floral blend.

Other Happenings

The¬†fantasy WIP passed¬†100,000 yesterday! (YIKES.) Now I’m due to write the next Chronicling The Craft – and since this one celebrates another 25,000-word milestone, it means another reveal from the story. ūüėČ As for the novel itself, I’m definitely going to overshoot my word count goal of 115,000… so I’ll just continue following my outline until it’s done. Here’s hoping January or February will be the golden month!

What else for the blog?¬†I’ll have a new author interview here during the first week of December (yay!), and I’ve yet to start a review of Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina. And since 2014 is almost over, I also need to get cracking on my end-of-year lists for music and possibly one for books. So, I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me this month.

Offline and apart from creative projects, November has been absolutely nutty. Lots of holiday preparations, Christmas shopping (I have to do a lot of it early due to December birthdays and out-of-state gift-giving), and simply trying to stay on top of everything else. I’ll be relieved¬†once the end of the December has come and I can relax a little.

Since¬†New Years Eve will be a busy night, I’ll post the next Freelance Article Round-Up on Tuesday, December¬†30th. Lots will be going on here between now and then, so I hope¬†to see you here again! ūüôā

Chronicling The Craft: 60,000 Words

Themes in Novels: What The Story Is Really About

Chapters Completed: 14

Chapters In Progress: 7

Chapters Left to Start: 13

‚ÄúChronicling The Craft‚Ä̬†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‚Äôve accomplished since the previous article and share advice, discoveries, techniques, etc. Besides the word count in each article title, a ‚Äúchapter ticker‚ÄĚ at the top also tracks my progress as I use the¬†skip-around / ‚Äúwritercopter‚ÄĚ method¬†to write the novel. Today‚Äôs installment celebrates the book reaching 60,000 words in length.

What a stealthy¬†little milestone this turned out to be. I was recently on vacation with my immediate family, so I was literally sneaking in time to work on the WIP¬†when I could, even tuning out of social media for one week to focus on family / relatives, writing, and relaxation. Altogether those shorter sessions ended up as productive as some of the longest I’ve ever done. No anxiety over the lack of time or getting very little done because of said lack of time. Instead, I stayed focused and inspired, typing as many words as I could. And now, here we are again!

My goals for the past several writing sessions have been to finish any in-progress chapters and to NOT start any new chapters. (I’m still using the “writercopter” method, and it’s working brilliantly for this WIP so far!) Let’s see what’s happened¬†since the Chronicle for 55,000 words¬†posted in May: Continue reading