What do you like in a story?

What do you like in a story? Have you ever thought about it? And by that, I mean more than for a few seconds. Have you ever sat down and made a list of the things you enjoy about the stories you read?

I read Chris Baty’s book, No Plot, No Problem last week. For those of you who didn’t know, Chris is the guy who started NaNoWriMo and I was curious to see what he said about writing a novel in 30 days. If you’ve never written a novel before, you would benefit most from the book, which gives you tips to keep track of word count, how to tell your family you’re writing a book, along with advice on how to stay sane during the month-long challenge. Read more

Feeding the Sci-Fi Muse

alien screenshotAliens have invaded our home. Last week my husband decided I needed some classic sci-fi material logged into my brain for recall later. Ships. Robots. Technology. Things like that to stick in the back of my mind for general reference. Feedback from my writing group over the last two short stories I wrote hinted at a Blade Runner feeling, despite my having never watched Blade Runner. After this revelation, my ever-helpful husband picked himself off the floor and promptly ordered the film, along with the Alien series, for educational purposes, and I think a measure of good-natured sci-fi snobbery, because how dare I write sci-fi without having seen the classics? The weekend dawned rainy and full of angst for the entire world and a very personal upper respiratory infection that forced us to spend the Swedish Midsummer sick in bed. In other words, the perfect opportunity to watch a bunch of old movies.  Read more

Using Objects in Writing

20150927_111522Last week, the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program launched their MOOC How Writers Write Fiction (if you’re interested in signing up, just click on the link). I took this course last year and thought it was fantastic, so I’ve signed up for it again. Unfortunately, the class isn’t even a week old and I’m already behind. At this point, I just have to laugh. I’ve discovered as a parent, especially as a mom, I must constantly reprioritize what’s possible, what’s probable, and what needs to stay locked in stasis somewhere in an alternate reality for a while. And yet, despite my revision work (Did I mention I’m finished with the novel?), school meetings, after-school meetings, running the house, celebrating my birthday (happy birthday world! So happy you came into my life all those years ago) and searching for a dog, I’m not too far behind. I watched the videos (most of them), I just haven’t completed the exercises, which leads me to this post.  Read more

Awesome is the New Judgment

DSC_0997If you’re visiting for the first time, you might notice my tagline says ‘Awesome Author of Imaginary Tales’. It says it on my business cards, too. Today, I want to talk about that word, ‘awesome’. No, I’m not entitled–at least I don’t think I am. Well, okay maybe, just a little. I believe if you go to a restaurant, the waitress should wait on you, not chat with her friends. I believe if I pay for internet service, I shouldn’t have to complain every week that the service isn’t working. I don’t think that’s entitlement, though. To me, those are standard, normal expectations. Entitlement would be thinking that if I pay for internet service every month, I should also get a free computer. Just because.
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Dying Empty

Last Thursday I ran across an amazing podcast from Joanna Penn and Todd Henry.

It began with two little words:

Die Empty.

Contrary to the photo, it’s not as creepy as it sounds. What’s it all about? Turns out, the graveyard is the most valuable place in the world. Not the Louvre, a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, or the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The cemetery is worth more than all of those places. Why? They contain all the unwritten novels, unpainted masterpieces, unwritten operas, and millions of other things left undone that people like you and me carried around inside of us. Read more