The Seven-Day Book Challenge

Recently, a Facebook friend tagged me on the Seven-Day Book Challenge. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago and “double-teamed” it through FB and Instagram. And then I thought, “Why not share it on the blog, too?”

The rules of the Seven-Day Book Challenge are simple: For seven days, you share a photo or image on Facebook of a different favorite book and nominate another friend to carry on the challenge. There’s no set theme to follow, and you don’t need to write a caption or explanation for why you choose each book. You simply share the photo, tag a friend, and reply to any comments. But for this blog post, I think I’ll “break” one of those rules. 😉

Here are the books I chose for the Seven-Day Book Challenge, and why I picked each one.

Continue reading

Poetry and Nonfiction Reading Round-Up: October 2018

I had an idea while preparing the Favorite Fiction Reads of Summer 2018 post recently. Even though I read nonfiction (mainly on writing and creativity) and poetry as well as fiction, I only ever blog about fiction. But I’m not just a reader. I’m also a poet, a dabbler in speculative fiction, and a perpetual student of the craft of writing. So why not blog about the other kinds of books I read, since they’re just as important to my literary life?

Hence this week’s experiment. This round-up shares mini-reviews of five poetry books and four “writerly” nonfiction books I’ve read over the past few months. If any of them pique your interest, you can check out more information on Goodreads via the link in each title. Most importantly, if this kind of post is something you’d like to see again (maybe every 3 or 4 months), let me know in your comments. That’s the best way for me to know whether this is worth continuing as a blog series.

Continue reading

The 2017 Blogoversary, Part 2: The Writerly Wisdom Giveaways

Last week was the launch of this year’s 8th blogoversary “party,” with a giveaway featuring ten unique fiction books I highly recommend. (Sunday, July 9th was the actual blogoversary.) Today, it’s time for conclude the celebration… with two more giveaways! And since both prizes are writing-related, I’m calling them the Writerly Wisdom giveaways, after my semi-weekly Writer Wisdom quote series.

So which books are options for the first giveaway? (Hint: Check out the banner image above.) What did I find so enriching or inspiring about each one? And, what is the mysterious second giveaway? Read on to find out!
Continue reading

The Freestyle Writing Challenge, Part 2

Freestyle Writing Challenge Pt 2 banner

Last year I tackled the Freestyle Writing Challenge for the first time. It was a fun way of writing about whatever I wanted (within the topic chosen by the blogger who nominated me, of course) and seeing how many words I could type in a short amount of time. Today, I’m *finally* accepting Sarah J. Higbee’s nomination to take on the Challenge again. Thanks, Sarah!

Here are the rules for the Freestyle Writing Challenge:

  1. Open an new Microsoft Word document.
  2. Set a stop watch or timer for 5 or 10 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.
  3. You topic is at the end of this post, but DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH A TIMER.
  4. Fill the Word document with as many words as you can. Once you begin writing, do not stop.
  5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spellings and grammar with spell check in Word. This Challenge is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow, not your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules.
  6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation and capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
  7. At the end of your post, write down ‘No. of words =_____’ so that readers have an idea of how much you can write within the timeframe.
  8. Copy and paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees, and include these rules with your nominations (at least 5 bloggers).

So, Sarah’s topic for her nominees this time was… Continue reading

New at DIY MFA: A Case Study on Courage as a Literary Theme

DiyMFA

Courage, bravery, heroism, gutsiness – no matter what we call it, this trait is one that many people admire. It’s also an idea that’s explored frequently in literature, sometimes without us noticing.

Today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post at DIY MFA takes a deeper look at courage as a literary theme with the help of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. How do these two very different books examine the same theme in strikingly similar ways? You’ll have to read to find out.

Click here to read “A Case Study on Courage as a Literary Theme.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

Two New Articles at DIY MFA

DiyMFA

Hope you all have had a good start to 2016! I’m back from my blogging “hiatus” today, and with two new articles at DIY MFA to boot.

On Friday, I took part in DIY MFA’s annual #5onFri post on New Year’s Resolutions. Each participating columnist picked an aspect of our writing careers that we want to improve on or achieve during 2016. What did I choose as mine? You’ll have to read the article to find out! 😉

Click here to read “#5onFri: 5 Resolutions from the DIY MFA Team.”

I’ve also got a new Theme: A Story’s Soul article that went live today. This one is a case study on communication as a literary theme. It may sound like a weird choice of topic, but once you read the examples you’ll see how a story can offer insights on the importance of communications in our character’s lives as well as our own.

Click here to read “A Case Study on Communication as a Literary Theme.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

5 on the 5th: Five Bookish Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers (+ The Creative Blogger Award)

5 on the 5th Banner 2

On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it’s five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives us an opportunity to talk about other subjects that aren’t normally discussed here at the blog. 

I still have some catching up to do in the Blog Awards Department. So, for this month’s 5 on the 5th, I’m combining it with *finally* accepting Elizabeth Rawls’ nomination for the Creative Blogger Award. Thank you again, E., and I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to get to this!

creative-blogger-award

Here are the rules for the Creative Blogger Award:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post the link of said blog.
  2. Share five facts about yourself to your readers.
  3. Nominate 15 to 20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media or blogs.

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, I’ve put a “creative” spin on accepting this award. 😉 Instead of five random facts, I’m recommending five books on the craft of writing. And with Christmas and other gift-giving holidays around the corner, there’s no better time to find new reference books for the writer in your life – or for yourself!

Btw, the following books are for all writers. I may do a separate 5 on the 5th in the future specifically on reference / craft books for speculative fiction writers.

Continue reading

New at DIY MFA: A Case Study on Art as a Literary Theme

DiyMFA

I love it when an author makes art intrinsic to a story. Whether they highlight painting, poetry, or acting doesn’t matter. Simply reading about art awakens my imagination and draws me closer to the creative characters who are featured. However, did you know that by involving art in a story, the author is also making a thematic statement about the subject?

That’s the question behind my newest post for DIY MFA’s Theme: A Story’s Soul column. We’ll examine how art is used as a literary theme in two different novels, as well as the parallels in both examples that can help us explore the same theme in our own work.

Click here to read “A Case Study on Art as a Literary Theme.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

New at DIY MFA: A Case Study on Family as a Literary Theme

DiyMFA

Many of us have read stories where family plays a major role in the main character’s life. However, did you know that the writer is making thematic statements about family by involving parents, children, siblings, and other blood relatives in the story? That’s what we discuss in today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post at DIY MFA. Using examples from Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and Michelle Moran’s Rebel Queen, we’ll look at parallels of exploring family as a literary theme and discover how a character’s beliefs about family can be challenged, reshaped, or reaffirmed as a result of the journey he/she undergoes.

Click here to read “A Case Study on Family as a Literary Theme.”

Got any questions or suggestions for Theme: A Story’s Soul? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at @SaraL_Writer with the hashtag #AStorysSoul.

The Freestyle Writing Challenge

Fellow writer Sarah J. Higbee nominated me for this Freestyle Writing Challenge back in June. As you can see, it’s taken me a while to get around to it, but I always intended on following up. 😉 Thanks Sarah, and sorry for the delay!

Here are the rules of the Freestyle Writing Challenge:

  1. Open a blank document.
  2. Set a stop watch or mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes.
  3. Your topic is at the foot of this post. DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!
  4. Once you start writing, do not stop until the alarm sounds!
  5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check. (The challenge is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought-flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
  6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals.
  7. At the end of your post, write down “No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the timeframe.
  8. Copy and paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees, and copy / paste these rules along with your nomination (at least 5 bloggers).

And Sarah’s writing prompt was… Continue reading