Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Okay, I’ll admit it. I went into Fantastic Beasts cautiously excited and more than a little skeptical. I love the Harry Potter world and series (both the movies and the books) and I was prepared to be disappointed by a completely different story line, time period, and cast of characters. Instead, I was utterly charmed…

DON’T WRITE EMOTION IN ALL CAPS

Have you ever had that happen to you? You’re going along, calmly minding your own business when *ding* you get an email or text message from your friend or relative. You grin, humming the tune to “You’ve Got Mail,” and click on the message. HELLO!!!!! HOW ARE YOU?????!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 😛 😉 The…

Home for the Holidays: Writing Family Roles in Fiction

There’s one in every family. You know who you are. (If you don’t know, it’s probably you). There’s always a black sheep of the family, just like there’s the quirky aunt who gives you horrible knitted sweaters for Christmas, or the grandparent who forgets you grew into an adult 10 years ago, or the screaming…

Mulan, dragons, and embracing your creative inner child

When I was growing up, every night before bed my dad would read to me, while I colored in my Audubon bird coloring book (yes, I was homeschooled). At first it was short chapter books, like the Whitey series and Hank, The Cow Dog. Then we graduated to longer classics, mostly historical fiction related to…

5 Autumn Staples for the Weary Writer

It’s that time of year again, the season of colorful leaves and walks in crisp fall air and bleary-eyed writers stabbing wearily at keyboards in a mad attempt to pound out a novel in a month. The struggle is real, my friends. The struggle is real. If you’re the unfortunate friend or family member of…

Your Novel Check-Up (Part 2)

Welcome back to the novel doctor’s office! This week we’ll be taking a look at your story structure and whether it hits all the key notes. Inciting Incident: What jump-starts your story and takes your character out of their normal into their not-normal? Terrorists attack a key government building. Harry receives his letter to Hogwarts/visit…

Your Novel Check-Up (Part 1)

What makes a great book? Is it the story? The characters? The age-old conflict between good and evil? Or, perhaps, the thrilling richness of escaping into a fantastical new world? From a business stand-point, what is it about a book that makes an editor or publisher sit up and take notice (or yawn and pour…

What does the Sorting Hat say?

I’m a total Potterhead. Unashamedly. I love the Harry Potter series, with its fantastic characters, complex plot, and rich world building. I love the concept of the different personalities of the houses, and, as an INFJ, am acutely fascinated by differing personality types and quizzes like the Meyers-Briggs test. Often writers tend to create characters…

Musical Cues for the Creative Writer

Few creative mediums instantly set the tone and affect our emotions so immediately and powerfully as music. Think about the Indiana Jones theme. Now the Imperial March from Star Wars. You’re humming it, aren’t you? How did they make you feel? Were they different emotions, or the same? Now think about Lily’s theme from the last…

10 Tips for Working with an Editor

Congratulations! You’ve completed your manuscript, chosen your editor, and are ready to make your baby shine. In fact, a good edit (or several) are all that stand between you and glorious publication. Right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Editing is a lot of work. Re-writing is a lot of work. And working with an…

Planning a “Workation” on a Budget

I curled up in an overstuffed armchair with a mug of my mostly-milk Mexican chocolate brew, editing an Appalachian-themed historical novel in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Fifty pages later, I set aside my work for a jaunt to the stunningly gorgeous Lily Lake outside of Estes, Colorado, to stretch my legs, enjoy the…