Novel Writing

I have two new #novels in the works!

I am so excited about my writing right now! I just finished a rough draft of the second of two novel manuscripts that I plan to finish by the middle of this year!

It usually takes me some time to switch from writing mode to revising mode, but it really helps that I set one of the manuscripts aside and moved on to the next one before editing this time. Revisions are already going well, and I hope to have this manuscript ready to share with my creative writing workshop in just a few weeks!

How about I tell you what I’ve been working on so you can share in my excitement?

Project #1: Demons of the Night

I started this book quite some time ago when I had one of those dreams that was too good to not write it into a scene. This novel is very different from my last two. It’s an adult book that includes witches, demons, and philandering preachers. It’s a battle of good and evil, where it’s not always obvious which side is which.

Image Credit: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/halloween-demon_955179.htm Designed by Freepik

At the center of this battle is Docia, a sheltered young woman whose father and step-mother are determined to keep her sequestered within the “safe” world of her grandfather’s church compound and seem unlikely to ever allow her to move forward into a life of her own choosing. Continue reading “I have two new #novels in the works!”

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Music, Relationships

You’re not bad at love; you just have high standards. And that’s okay! #badatlove

With Valentine’s Day (aka Singles Awareness Day) coming up, love will be on the minds of many. How can you avoid thinking about such a commercialized holiday that the retailers and advertisers won’t let you escape? Unfortunately, many will also be beating themselves up over their inability to find love. Bad at Love, by Halsey, might just be this year’s single’s awareness anthem. But as I listen to the words to this song on the radio at least twice a day, I keep thinking: Are you really bad at love, or do you just have high standards?

Each verse of this song analyzes a situation in which the song writer is purportedly bad at love. In the first, Halsey laments over a boy back home who, “tastes like Jack when I’m kissing him; So I told him that I never really liked his friends; Now he’s gone and he’s calling me a bitch again.”

He tastes like Jack when I’m kissing him; So I told him that I never really liked his friends; Now he’s gone and he’s calling me a bitch again.

Hmmm. He sure sounds like a winner. I mean, if you can’t make it work with a guy who always tastes like hard liquor and thinks it’s okay to call you a bitch, who CAN you make it work with, right? Wrong. This guy sounds to me like he might grow up to be a mean drunk. Do you want to be his punching bag someday? No. You don’t. You’re not bad at love. You just dodged a bullet on that one. Let’s move on. Continue reading “You’re not bad at love; you just have high standards. And that’s okay! #badatlove”

Valley of the Bees

Sustainable Arts Foundation loves Valley of the Bees!

Earlier this year, I applied for a competitive writing grant through the Sustainable Arts Foundation. The winners were recently announced, and though I did not win this time, the jurors who reviewed my application packet had great things to say about Valley of the Bees. The following comments are direct quotes from the very nice rejection email they sent: Continue reading “Sustainable Arts Foundation loves Valley of the Bees!”

Writing Basics

Characterization and exposition in fiction writing

Characterization is the process of using words on a page to transform a figure of the writer’s imagination into a living, breathing, whole person in the imagination of a reader.

Characterization meme
Characterization is the process of using words on a page to transform a figure of the writer’s imagination into a living, breathing, whole person in the imagination of a reader.

Exposition = Narrative Summary

In the context of characterization, exposition is a comprehensive explanation of a character, consisting of a list of physical attributes, historical background, psychological profile, or a combination of some or all of these elements. Continue reading “Characterization and exposition in fiction writing”

Writing Basics

Writing interior monologue: A god’s-eye view

The omniscient narrator can explain what’s going on in the heads of all these people. But, does the reader really need to know what everyone is thinking?

In many ways, the rules for writing in omniscient point of view are almost the exact opposite of those for writing in a closer perspective. In omniscient POV, the narrator isn’t stuck inside the protagonist’s perspective, but instead sees and knows everything. The omniscient narrator can tell the reader what happened five hundred years ago before the protagonist was born and what is happening inside the head of a random lady crossing the street in front of the protagonist’s car (that is, if it’s relevant to the story!)

The more distance you put between the narrator’s POV and the main character’s POV, the harder it is to write interior monologue without using thought tags. In omniscient point of view, the narrator might just need those thought tags to tell the reader what other characters are thinking. But not always, so do ask yourself if there is a better way each time you insert a thought tag! Continue reading “Writing interior monologue: A god’s-eye view”

Writing Basics

Writing interior monologue: Up close and personal

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that writing interior monologue can be easiest when writing in first person and third person limited. Today, let’s delve a bit deeper into that perspective.

As I said before, it is quite simple to write interior monologue in first person point of view, as long as you remember that the narration is already something of an internal monologue in itself. Consider yourself in the situation you are writing. If you are wondering about something, how often does the monologue occur in your head as, “I wonder what he thinks he’s doing.” Or, is it more like, “What does he think he’s doing?” without adding an unnecessary explainer? Continue reading “Writing interior monologue: Up close and personal”

Writing Basics

Interior monologue in fiction writing

Interior monologue is the expression of a character’s thoughts, feelings, and impressions in a narrative. It is much like the internal monologue that runs through all our heads pretty much every waking second of every day. (Though writers should only share the thoughts that are relevant to the story!)

An excerpt from Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
An excerpt from Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Writing interior monologue can be difficult to do well. You may be tempted to use trigger words and phrases like “I wondered,” “he thought,” and “she felt like” to express your point of view character’s internal monologue. You may also be tempted to use quotation marks around the character’s thoughts or italicize the font to show that the words are being expressed inside the character’s head rather than with her physical voice. However, if you use these tactics regularly, you should probably stop! Continue reading “Interior monologue in fiction writing”

Books --> Movies

Anne with an E: A review

I know I’m late to the party on this one. But hey, anyone who knows me expects me to always be late to parties. Parties just aren’t my thing, okay? Cake is my thing. Who decided that you need a party to have cake, anyway? But I digress. Today, I want to talk about the new(ish) Anne of Green Gables reboot on Netflix.

Have you seen this yet? I watched the entire first season over a weekend a while back, and I really enjoyed it. I grew up in the eighties, and I was a huge Anne of Green Gables fan. I had most of the books, and I recorded the made-for-TV mini-series on VHS and watched it repeatedly. So of course, I couldn’t wait to see this new series when it came out. Continue reading “Anne with an E: A review”

Writing Basics

Stop the head-hopping: Picking the right POV for your story

The cover of the children's book, "Eulalie and the Hopping Head."
For some reason, the topic of head-hopping always makes me think of this book!

How do you know what point of view is right for your story? Honestly, the degree of intimacy your story requires is completely up to you. It comes down to artistic choice. Whatever POV you choose, the important thing is to keep it consistent to avoid confusing your readers.

Head-hopping is one of the many distractive elements of writing that can remind your reader that she is reading, thus pulling her out of the story. To avoid head-hopping, if you need to switch POVs, you should include some sort of visual indicator to tip readers off to the fact that a POV switch is about to take place. This could be as simple as providing a new header that includes the name of the POV character to let the reader know a POV switch is coming. Continue reading “Stop the head-hopping: Picking the right POV for your story”