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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Reflections on 2018 and My Keyword for 2019

The end of December and beginning of January is a thoughtful time of year for me. I think back on the previous year, the highlights and achievements, the setbacks and lessons learned. Then I turn to the year that’s beginning to unfold. I ask myself, “What can I accomplish by the end of the year? What do I want to do? How can I continue to embrace the projects and ideals that matter most to me?”

This year, I’m taking that goal-setting to a new level by trying a New Year’s ritual that my friend Leanne Sowul practices. Every January, she chooses a word to guide her decisions, intentions, and actions for the next 12 months. In that way, it becomes a sort of theme for her year. And knowing what I’ll be up to in the near future, I’ve chosen my own word to be my touchstone for 2019.

Before I share that word, let’s put 2018 into perspective.

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Chronicling The Craft: Six Writing Lessons I Learned While Working On My WIP

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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 we finish our celebration of the end of Draft #3 with a tips-oriented post.

Working on a novel is a learning experience in and of itself. You’ll make right and wrong decisions, figure things out, and find ways of improving the story. You’ll also absorb tips away from the WIP via blog articles, workshops, and literary conferences. That “self-teaching” can double – or even triple – your knowledge about writing between Day 1 of Draft #1 and The End of Draft #3. And after wrapping up my WIP’s third draft, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned about the craft of writing and about myself as a writer.

So, the last Chronicle for Draft #3 isn’t exactly a tips-oriented post. Instead, it’s a retrospect of discoveries I’ve made since I started working on The Keeper’s Curse (or TKC). Perhaps these lessons might help you on your own writing journey (or maybe you’ve already embraced them). Then, at the end, I’d love to know what you have learned about yourself or your process from any of your writing projects. 🙂
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Chronicling The Craft: Battling Writer’s Doubt and Regaining Your Confidence

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 is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 60% completion of Draft #3.

No writer (or anyone pursuing their dreams) is immune to the monsters of doubt. At any time during our process, we might lose faith in our story, our characters, even our own abilities. And when we do, the effects can cripple us, sometimes to the point of giving up.

It’s a tough subject to broach. I’ve hit the wall a few times myself, but I’ve rarely written about it. But I should write about it. In fact, all writers should. Not only does it make us feel less alone in our struggles, but it allows us to find or share ways of managing any doubts or anxieties we have about our craft.

For today’s Chronicle, I’ll share one of my recent struggles with doubt while editing my WIP. I’ll also reveal my personal method for dealing with those fears, and how some of my writing friends manage theirs. Perhaps some of these tips might work for you. Or, maybe you already have your own ways of bouncing back. The point is to encourage and motivate one another to keep doing this crazy thing we love called writing. I hope this post will accomplish that for you.
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Chronicling The Craft: Adjusting Your Writing Schedule (and Maintaining Your Sanity) In Response to Life Changes

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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 is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 40% completion of Draft #3.

One of the biggest challenges with Draft #3 hasn’t been craft- or story-related. Rather, it’s process-related. Certain life changes made my previous writing schedule unsustainable, so I needed to rethink how to approach the editing process and devote adequate time and effort to my story. And when you’re used to having a particular schedule, altering it for creativity’s sake can be an overwhelming and eye-opening experience.

So, today’s Chronicle focuses on the “writer’s life” side of things. I’ll offer tips on adjusting your writing routine in response to life changes. I’ll also explain why writers should practice acceptance and patience when altering their routines, and why it’s essential for us to take care of ourselves as we do so. Our sanity and well-being are just as important as our craft, right?
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New Interview at Little Novelist

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Today I’m over at Little Novelist, talking about blogging, novel-writing, and general inspiration for my projects. I also share one of my favorite pieces of writing advice, and confess as to why I don’t have a truly specific “blogging niche.” (*blushes*)

Click here to read my interview at Little Novelist. Make sure you check out Rhianne’s other content there, too. She has a lovely variety of posts on reading, writing, and “the writer’s life”; and also offers a story idea generation workbook and an online shop with various e-book resources.

Feel free to comment on the interview, by the way! I’ll be checking the post periodically to respond to anything there.

Chronicling The Craft: How to Identify and Cut Down on Lengthy Descriptions

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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 is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 20% completion of Draft #3.

Going into the WIP’s third draft, I was aware that one of its lingering weaknesses was overdescription. I tend to overwrite in general, but it’s most noticeable when I’m describing character appearances, setting, and action. So, one of the major questions has been, “How do I use fewer words to convey the same meaning or paint the same picture?”

Today’s Chronicle will focus on answering that question. I’ll share strategies that can help you identify overly descriptive areas in your manuscript, as well as tips for shortening descriptions as you edit. I’ll also explain it’s more important to make your own decisions as to how much description is enough, rather than following specific word- or sentence-length recommendations.
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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 Begins!

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A Quick Update, Plus Upcoming Changes to Future Chronicles

Chronicling The Craft is an article 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 installment marks the beginning of Draft #3 (edits and minor revisions).

As the great and wise Rafiki once said during The Lion King

Rafiki It is time animated

If the subtitles are tough to read… “IT IS TIME!”

Yup! About 4 weeks after finishing Draft #2 of The Keeper’s Curse, I decided that I’d spent enough time away from the story. I wouldn’t say I’ve been impatient about starting Draft #3. (Welll… maybe a teensy bit.) Instead, now feels like the right time, rather than a week or two from now. The plan is in place, all of the necessary documents have been printed – so, why not?

Since a new draft is beginning, I’ll recap my approach and goals for Draft #3, then reveal how this next round of Chronicles will run. Plus, I’ll let you in on a Tweet-y way you can follow my progress. Ready?

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Chronicling The Craft: Draft #2 Is DONE!

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What’s Next for The Keeper’s Curse, Plus a Final Excerpt for Your Feedback

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, starting with the first draft and now into revisions. Each article contains a progress update as well as writing / revising tips and excerpts from the updated draft. Today’s installment celebrates finishing Draft #2 of THE KEEPER’S CURSE.

Well, the title gave it away – but guess what happened this past weekend?!?! 😀

I’m still stunned. When I sat down to work on revisions last Friday, I was convinced it would take two more weekends, bringing me to Saturday, March 12th / Sunday, March 13th. But that was before the “end-of-WIP” adrenaline rush kicked in… and on the last day of Draft #2, I plowed through the entire final chapter. My initial reaction? “Uh… Did I really just do all that in one day?!”

But hey, I’m not complaining. This story is another step closer to where it needs to be. That calls for a celebration!

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So, what’s the final word count for Draft #2 of The Keeper’s Curse? What are my plans for Draft #3? And, how can YOU help shape the next round of Chronicling The Craft? Plus, I’ll share one more set of excerpts for your comparison and feedback. Let’s start with…

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