Friday, September 29, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
Story Super Structure

Whether you prefer to construct your story from a character-driven origin or a plot-driven origin, it's important that when the manuscript is complete that your novel is strong...on both counts. When I think about my favorite novels, they're all complex and balanced - I can't tell where the author began her journey when creating her wonderful tale.

So, how do we all accomplish this literary feat?

While I can not claim to have a corner on creating such a well-written novel, I have learned a technique (through trial & error!)  that I am attempting to implement all the time. It's a matter of weaving strong plot and character elements together. Since I am primarily a character-driven writer, here's how I attempt to "balance" my manuscripts:

In a nutshell, I begin with the Hero's Journey (which deals with the protagonist) when writing my first draft. When that is complete, I go through the draft & size it up with the Three-act Story Structure (which primarily deals with plot.) Usually lots of my scenes get moved!

As I mentioned above, I approach my stories as a character-driven writer, so the Hero's Journey has been familiar to me for quite some time. However, it was when I began to implement the Three-act Story Structure to my work that I felt my manuscripts began to feel more "balanced." Weaving the two together is not easy, but the result is well worth the effort. Since I needed to better understand the Three-act Story Structure, I drew a dummy sheet that I'm constantly referring to:

Are you a character-driven writer or a plot-driven writer?
Hope this helps!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Bluestocking - (n.)
an intellectual or literary woman.
Example: For the most part, to be called a bluestocking was an insult during the nineteenth century.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

A Girl Called Vincent
The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay
by Krystyna Poray Goddu

Flap Copy Description:
There was never anything calm about Vincent. Her sisters used to say that she had a bee chasing her. Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950), known as Vincent, was an acclaimed American poet who came to embody the modern, liberated woman of the Jazz Age. From the fiery energy of her youth to the excitement and acclaim of her early adulthood in New York and Paris, to the demands of living in the public eye, Vincent’s life was characterized by creativity, hard work, and passion. A Girl Called Vincent traces her incredible journey from a unique and talented girl to an international celebrity and Pulitzer Prize–winning poet.

            Raised in poverty in rural Maine, where she was often the sole caretaker of her two younger sisters, the rebellious, creative, red-haired Vincent always found time for writing, acting, singing, and playing piano. She became a sensation in young adulthood, bewitching audiences with her words, voice, and luminous appearance. She mixed with the literary figures of her time and broke many hearts. Her volumes of poetry were enormous bestsellers and audiences nationwide went wild when she recited her works onstage. In addition to poetry, Vincent’s body of work includes plays, translations, and an opera, and ranges from love sonnets to antiwar propaganda.

My Thoughts:
This biography on one of America's most beloved poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay, is scrumptious! Packed full of the details of her extraordinary life, the book also includes vintage photos and a timeline of the Pulitzer Prize winner's life. Evidence of extensive research appears on every page; readers will feel like they actually knew the iconic poet whose "candle burned at both ends." I highly recommend
A Girl Called Vincent to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Public Domain
Autumn Equinox!

While autumn brings to mind images of colorful leaves falling on crisp, cool days, there are numerous legends and myths connected to the autumn equinox, too.

Click here to learn about interesting Mabon Folklore & Traditions.

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Autumn Spiced Cider is something our family always enjoys!

Happy Mabon!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Mabon - (n.)
a pagan holiday marking the arrival of the autumn equinox.
Example: The renaissance fair planned to celebrate Mabon with a variety of fun autumn events.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

She Persisted
by Chelsea Clinton & Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Amazon Description:
Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

My Thoughts:
All through history women have had to deal with being told, "Be quiet, sit down." In this powerful picture book, readers are treated to thirteen women in American history who would not be quiet. The beautiful artwork by Alexandra Boiger brilliantly brings to life the words by Ms. Clinton. I highly recommend She Persisted to readers of all ages!

Click here to learn more about Chelsea Clinton.
Click here to learn more about Alexandra Boiger.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

What a Summer!

In the Pacific Northwest folks always "make the most" of the warm weather each summer. So, like everyone else, I've been super busy the last few months.

Since I'm just getting back in the groove with blogging, this is a super short post today. Great thoughts coming soon to Writ of Whimsy!

Click here to read my recent newsletter with highlights of my summer.

Wishing each of you a great harvest season ahead!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Mabinogion - (n.)
a collection of Welsh tales based on old Celtic legends of magic and mythology.
Example: The author read many books in the mabinogion before writing her children's book set in Wales.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

nine, ten:
A September 11 Story
by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Amazon Description:
Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.

But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Nadira has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Amy is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.

These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day—the day our world changed forever.

My Thoughts:
This middle grade novel is a light and entertaining read with a powerful message. I loved the way the story of Nadira, a Muslim girl, was woven into the perspectives of three other young people during the days leading up to the horrendous events of September 11, 2001. Nora Raleigh Baskin brilliantly reveals how 9/11 had a far-reaching impact to people miles away from New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, PA., to all corners of our country and even around the world. I highly recommend nine, ten to readers aged eight to twelve.

Click here to learn more about the author Nora Raleigh Baskin.

Click here to read about my visit to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC.

Never Forget.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

It's great to be back in the world of blogging, and I have great news: Journey to Snowdonia released earlier this week! (The full list of winners for the Rafflecopter Giveaway that ran all summer is posted below.)

If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area I'd also like to invite you to our launch party tomorrow, featuring swag & refreshments! 

Click here for the buy link!
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Here is the complete list of winners from my Rafflecopter Giveaway: 

Sarah Mayer - Winner of all three of my hardback titles, signed

James Robert - Winner of a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card

Alan Saxon - Winner of a signed copy of Journey to Snowdonia

Elis Brockway - Winner of a signed copy of The Scandinavian Santa

Gina Marie - Winner of a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

Jeanna Massman Winner of a signed copy of The Tale of Willaby
Dan Dykstra - Winner of a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

Thanks to all the participants! There were over 2400 contest entries!