Heart of the Story’s Question of the Week (Plus, Looking for Feedback on Facebook Groups)

If you follow me and my editing / literary coaching business Heart of the Story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have noticed an experiment I’ve been running on Mondays. It’s called Question of the Week, a conversation starter where I post a question about writing and any writers who are interested can respond.

So far, some of the questions have focused on your current writing project. Others have been about reading (since reading is an instrumental part of being a writer, right?) or the highlights and challenges of the writing process. So the topic varies from week to week; and since it’s not a chat with a set timetable, it’s something you can drop in on at your convenience.

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And the Big Secret Project Is… Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services!

Hi everyone!

This is the Big Secret Project I’ve been working on since September: my own freelance editing and writing coaching business! I know I’ve been teasing about it for a while, but I’ve been reluctant to say much publicly before things were truly ready. And now, it’s Launch Day for…

Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services

So what kinds of services does Heart of the Story offer? Who is the business designed to help? And, what does the business mean for this website? This post will go over all of that. So, without further ado…

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New Post at Writers Helping Writers on Informational Interviews

I’m back with a new article at Writers Helping Writers! This time, I talk about the informational interview, a research method that writers can use in addition to books, articles, and documentaries – or when those resources don’t provide the information you’re seeking. Understandably, pursuing this kind of interview can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never conducted one before. So this post offers tips on all three “phases” of the process – before, during, and after the interview – that I hope will give other writers the confidence and clear vision to go after their own.

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New Post at Writers Helping Writers on Mapping Your Story’s Setting (Plus, New Posts on Wednesdays Starting Next Week)

Writers Helping Writers

Today I’m over at Writers Helping Writers to share a recent writing-related experiment: I created a map for an important location in my manuscript’s setting. It turned out to be a fun exercise that exercised a different part of my creativity – and best of all, it was immensely useful for the story I’m working on. So what are some the benefits of mapping your story’s setting? How do you go about creating your own setting map? Find out at the link below. Plus, there might be a photo of the map I drew. 😮 Continue reading

Back from My Hiatus, and with a New DIY MFA Article!


Setting in stories isn’t discussed as frequently as plot and characters. Yet it’s just as important, using location, time period, and other elements to play a pivotal role, from establishing the protagonist’s “normal world” to creating natural or societal obstacles that the characters will face. But did you know that, in some cases, a story’s setting can also be the garden from which some of its themes can grow? The idea intrigued me enough that I devoted my latest Theme: A Story’s Soul article at DIY MFA to it. Continue reading

New Post at Writers Helping Writers (Plus, I’m on Hiatus Until August 29th)

Writers Helping Writers

For my latest post at Writers Helping Writers, I wrote about one of the most important tools in a writer’s toolbox. It’s just as important as more obvious “tools,” like vocabulary, industry knowledge, and strong work ethic – but it’s also incredibly challenging to master. If you haven’t guessed it yet, this “tool” is confidence. And today, I share my most recent struggle with confidence in my craft as well as tips on how to create your unique way of rebounding after setbacks or being overwhelmed by doubt. It’s more personal than my past WHW articles, but I hope that readers will still find it encouraging and informative. Continue reading

Sharing My Personal IWR Experience at Iceland Writers Retreat’s Blog

I’ve written one last article about my time at the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat. Yes, three articles on the same event may sound like a lot, but I specifically tailored each one to have its own angle. And for this article, which you’ll find on the Iceland Writers Retreats’ official blog, I took the personal route. I shared what inspired me to attend the retreat, why the experience was more meaningful than I’d ever expected, and two moments from the retreat that sparked a turnaround in my confidence. You might find some more photos from the trip, too. 😉

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New Post at Writers Helping Writers on Using Real-World Locations In Your Stories

Writers Helping Writers

Oh, am I EXCITED about my new Writers Helping Writers post. 😀

This week, as part of the site’s Resident Writing Coach Program, I share some insights about using real-world locations in our stories, either faithfully for historical or contemporary genres or as inspiration for fictional worlds. And since one of the reasons why I attended the Iceland Writers Retreat was to do hands-on research for my story’s setting, guess which country I used as an example? 😉 Continue reading

New Post @ Writers Helping Writers on Editing with Text-to-Speech Software

Writers Helping Writers

I’m back at Writers Helping Writers this week with a new Resident Writing Coach post. This time, I talk about text-to-speech software, one of the newest tools in my editing “toolbox”. This standard function in most word processing programs and computer operating systems can read aloud pre-selected portions of text, including (ta-DA!) your manuscript. 😉 (Read more after the jump.) Continue reading

Six Words of Wisdom on Running a Crowdfunding Campaign (Plus, the “Final” Total for My GoFundMe for the Iceland Writers Retreat)

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Wow. Was it really two months ago when I launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for my trip to the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat? Now, the “promotional” period is over (it ended this past Saturday), and thanks to people’s generosity I raised $2274. This falls short of the $3500 goal – but you know what? That’s still really good. It means that a dream-come-true overseas adventure and investment in my writing career is financially within reach for me. That is enough to say I’m DEFINITELY going now. 😀

To celebrate, I thought I’d offer insights on running a crowdfunding campaign. Because, well, it was one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done – more than writing a novel! But it was also one of the most unique and rewarding learning experiences in my life. So, let me share six tips based on what I learned – some practical, and some attitudinal. Because in many ways, your mindset and definition of success might be more important than how close you come to your fundraising goal.
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