Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

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Ten Things Writers Are Thankful For

November 21, 2017

1. Our characters—all the precious details about them and their lives, how they entertain us, and how they keep us company at all times.

2. Coffee/tea/cocoa/wine…our writing beverage of choice. Also SNACKS!

3. That non-writing friend or family member who asks how our writing is going. Sometimes we feel like nobody in our lives cares about this massive part of our reality. Thank you for being that person who asks.

4. Those lines and scenes we secretly go back to read over and over again, amazed that it came out so beautifully.

5. Reviews! Even that 1 or 2 star review, because it means a reader with criticisms was kind enough to leave us feedback anyway.

6. The fact that the rough draft doesn’t have to be perfect.

7. The fact that edits and revisions do, in fact, eventually end.

8. Good editors. We’d be lost without them.

9. Writing friends who support us, cheer us on, and listen to us rant and rave about how Character A is all the feels today and Characters B and C aren’t getting along, and Character D is being a spoiled brat. 😛 Thank you for understanding and welcoming the chaos that is our brains!

10. And lastly, we are thankful that our antagonists and villains do not actually exist. Amen.

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Original Poem: “Blaze”

April 28, 2017

I can’t stop the story:

The movement,

The pain,

The dancing of visuals

Carved in my brain,

The eager compulsion,

That cry of my soul,

The frenzy,

The vision that’s burning a hole

In my mind.

I can’t shake it.

It’s mine, this I know—

My quest, not another’s,

For only I’m full

Of this racket,

This chaos,

This burdening fight

Of characters, stories

That scream for the light,

This rabbit hole,

Endless,

That calls me to war

To fill barren pages

With worlds from my core—

And I fidget;

I bite

On my lip in the dark;

Am I a creator?

And is this my spark?

Or is this insanity?

Should I give in

To this spellbinding blaze

Captive under my skin?

What if I’m deluded,

My passions misled

By this thing,

This enigma

That dwells in my head?

Am I stubborn,

A fool,

To think this could be gold?

But I’m sick

At the thought of my heart left untold.

Perhaps I’m obsessed

And should let it all go…

But a prayer leaves my lips.

And my soul whispers:

“No.”

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Simmer Starters and News – December 12, 2016

December 12, 2016

Hello, friends!  My blog has been rather quiet lately. Awhile back I stopped posting the Simmer Starters because I noticed not a lot of people are interested in them…but I found that I miss sharing cool links! 😛 I’ve decided to pick up the practice again, but post only when I have a collection of links gathered, or maybe monthly.  I also hope to start blogging more again soon.

I have some Simmer Starters for today, but first, some general news…

Writing!

My newest writing project, Until She Dies, has been unfurling slowly. The story is taking its sweet time to ravel together, but that’s okay! I’m allowing it to marinate and trusting it will all fit in due time.

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Click to see my Pinterest board for Until She Dies!

Reading!

This month, though, I’m taking some time off writing to recharge – I’ve been in “writing mode” so long that my reading side has suffered and I’ve felt my creativity starving for fuel.  I would love to make reading more of a habit and read many more books in 2017.

I’m hoping, too, that giving my mind a break from fiction writing will help unlock more bloggable thoughts and I’ll have more musings to share here. 🙂

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Tentative TBR for the month, to finish or start for the first time: a beta read for a friend, Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H.L. Burke, A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, and Unblemished by Sara Ella.

Party!

Tonight, I’m being featured as one of 12 authors in the Twelve Writers of Christmas Facebook party! It’s my first time being a “special guest” at a Facebook party, and I’m pretty excited about it. 🙂 Stop by tonight at 7 p.m. EST, and you might win books or an Amazon gift card!  (Click the picture below to go to the party page.)

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#WIPjoy

Writers, don’t forget that the next #WIPjoy is coming up in January! Throw me any ideas you have for the next one in the blog comments! 🙂

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Future Giveaway!

On the subject of giveaways, too, keep your eye out for a giveaway coming here to the blog sometime this month! 😉

Pssst, there shall be pretty handpainted bookmarks!

Pssst, there shall be pretty, hand-painted bookmarks!

Simmer Starters!

And now, as promised, some inspiring writing links!

Speculation and Christmas (Rebecca Luella Miller) – “Perhaps sin has hardened us or perhaps it has given us a correct understanding—apart from intervention, we will live without hope and help. We will remain alone and lonely. We will not find fulfillment in our selfish pursuits. But our Christmas stories show intervention. The supernatural comes into the world in unexpected ways, and it changes everything.”

Storytelling Saves Lives (James Scott Bell) – “Stress relief can extend life. Entertainment can make the present life better. Sure, we can have challenging fiction of various kinds, but the real power comes from the ‘lostness’ of a reader inside a compelling narrative.”

Why Your Writing Matters – Even if You’re Not Famous (Janeen Ippolito) – “Writing is a hard field. Never let anyone tell you any differently. But while it has unique challenges, it isn’t any harder or easier than many other career choices. It takes guts and passion and drive. It takes focused creativity when you’re ready to quit and the ability to see new possibilities and opportunities–or even to create them.”

How To Identify Your Story’s Premise (K.M. Weiland) – “It’s not enough just to come up with a cool idea for your book. You also have to make it work on every single page. Otherwise, no matter how cool it is, it quickly becomes the wrong premise. The key to solving this problem before it even gets started is learning how to identify your story’s premise—and more specifically the most important aspect of that premise—right out of the gates.”

What’s up with YOU lately? What books are on your December TBR?  What books are you hoping to get for Christmas? Have you ever been a host or featured guest at a Facebook party?

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Geeking Out Over Noblebright

August 17, 2016

Last night I discovered the term “noblebright.” I’m still geeking out about it. *happy squeak* 😀

It describes so much of what I write, and the tone of almost all my favorite stories.  Finding this term is like finding a word to describe a mood I have seen and loved all my life, but not had a way to describe.  It makes me so happy.

The term “noblebright” was created as a reaction to the negative term “grimdark,” which generally describes a setting that is dystopian, amoral, pessimistic, and/or violent – think Game of Thrones, or possibly Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.  (The last few books of Harry Potter might also be described as “grimdark” in tone, although overall I don’t believe the series could be called grimdark.)

This Wiki page describes the differences between grimdark and noblebright:

In a grim world, no matter what you do, an individual can’t secure more than an individual victory, if even that, because the rest of the world is too big/scared/powerless/selfish to act upon his impulse. A noble world is one where the action of a single hero can change the world, and a single big villain can f*** it all up : there are important people, who are so either by birth, rank or sheer willpower, and every single one of these people matter.
Now, a bright world is one full of opportunity, of wondrous sights to behold. It doesn’t mean that it has to be [My Little Pony], it can be dangerous, but your first instinct when looking at a new location should be awe and wonder: people may adventure to save the world, but they leave town with a smile upon their face, eager to see what comes next. The shadow of Risk is largely erased by the glint of Adventure. … A dark world is one where life sucks, and usually not long: whether it be because of demon overlords… or even the lack of water, everyone in this story may die, and they die for good.”

Art by Jane-Aspen

(There are also hybrids like nobledark – heroic heroes fighting evil in a very dark world – and grimbright – which I guess would be the ability to secure only individual victories in a world of wonder and adventure?…weird combo.  But I’m just sticking to the two main terms here.)

There is a basic worldview difference between these kinds of stories.

There are the stories where there is no hope, no meaning, and no lasting joy to human existence, where everything is sad and pessimistic – versus the stories where lives are meaningful because every individual makes a difference, good triumphs against evil in both small and great ways, there is beauty in the world, and there is real hope of victory.

Which of these is truer to my own worldview as a Christian?  The answer is obvious.

Art by Sandara

Now.  I believe there is truth to grimdark stories as well.  The world is fallen, cruel, full of atrocities and sometimes unspeakable evils.  Sometimes we need to look that in the face.  Sometimes we need grimdark stories.  They show us truth about this passing life.  We need to confront not just the evil in the world but the evil in ourselves.  We do live in a universe where “good people” do bad things, where every person has a dark side (except Christ).

But that’s not where my worldview ends.  When I look at the universe I see a noblebright place. I see true beauty.  I see right and wrong.  I see God working through even the worst circumstances to bring about ultimate glory for Himself and joy for His people.

So it makes sense that all the books and movies I love best fall under the “noblebright” category in some fashion.

Art from a video game: Lord of the Rings Conquest

Noblebright stories include: The Lord of the Rings [edit: one could argue this one is more nobledark], The Chronicles of Narnia, Firefly, some Marvel movies, and most 0f Star Trek.  There may be horrible villains, and dark parts of the tales, but a sense of wonder, morality, and nobility courses through these stories.  Beauty is real.  Life might be full of despair and destruction but that is not the end of the story.  The heroes might be flawed, but they are ultimately fighting for the good, and good will ultimately win.

I never knew there was a word for it.  I knew it was there.  I knew this undercurrent of hope, light, and beauty ran through all the stories I love the most.  It was part of my goals as an author to create worlds like this, running deep with joy, beauty, and love.  But I didn’t know it had a name.  And now I do!

I love noblebright.

Noblebright stories forever!!! 😀

Do you like stories that are darker or lighter in tone?  Which kind of truth impacts you more?  What are some awesome examples of noblebright stories you’ve seen or read (because I want to know more!!)?

Art by Sandara

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Simmer Starters – August 5, 2016

August 5, 2016

I’m currently recovering from VBS, which was back-to-back with my trip to Philly for Realm Makers!  I will blog about RM next week, Lord willing, and I have plans to shift to a new style of Simmer Starters…one where I add more of my own personal thoughts on the links I choose to share.  Please comment and let me know if that’s something that would interest you more! 🙂

For now, I’m simply sharing the links I’ve gathered recently, as always.  Do check these out, because they are all wonderful!

Storytelling with Faith and Free Will (R.J. Anderson and Stephen McCranie) – I enjoyed this dialogue about faith and storytelling. There’s a lot of good stuff to glean here.

5 Reasons Writing Is Important to the World (K.M. Weiland) – “Let’s face it, people, the world’s a mess right now. I think the vast majority of us agree on that, to one degree or another, regardless our worldview. And what are we doing about it? What can we do about it?… We’re just folks who put words on paper. We’re just people spinning little tales that make us happy or fulfill our own fantasies: romance and superheroes, dragons and femme fatales. We’re just writers. That doesn’t seem like much right now. It certainly doesn’t seem like enough.”

Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me (Andrew Peterson) – ALL OF THIS. “I couldn’t get Harry’s story out of my head. I doubled over in the back of the auditorium and sobbed with gratitude to Jesus for allowing his body to be ruined, for facing the enemy alone, for laying down his life for his friends–Jesus, my friend, brother, hero, and king–Jesus, the Lord of Life, who triumphed o’er the grave–who lives that death may die! Even now, writing those words, my heart catches in my throat. In that moment I was able, because of these books, to worship Christ in a way I never had.”

Why Christians Should Paint, Dance, Quilt, Act, Compose Music, Write Stories, Decorate Cookies, and Participate in the Arts (Mark Altrogge) – I LOVE this post so much. And the title of it reminds me of that quote from Joss Whedon: “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”