MasterClass Monday: Nicholas Sparks Talks About Writing A Love Story

teens

If you’re writing a YA book, it’s almost a sure thing that you’ve got a love story in there somewhere. In the case of my book, the love story is a central element – but by no means the entirety of the story.

I love a good love story. I am a hopeless, sappy romantic and a total sucker for a well-written love story, so when I came across an article by Nicholas Sparks listing the do’s and don’t’s of writing a love story, I knew I had to share it here. He’s known worldwide for his love stories, after all.

I especially like the point he makes about not writing a one-dimensional woman: Continue reading

Feeling The Fear And Putting It On The Paper

In my novel, my main character travels to alternate realities and finds something interesting every time she crosses over. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s fantastical, and on one trip, things take a turn and she finds herself in a creepy abandoned house facing a group of men who aren’t going to let her out of there alive.

It’s very easy to write that she’s scared. It’s very easy to write that the men are menacing.

What isn’t easy is describing with great accuracy how frozen she feels, how she’s tasting blood in the back of her throat, how the sweat on her palms makes her want to wipe them on her knees, but she’s too afraid to move and bring his attention to her more than it already is.

Continue reading

MasterClass Monday: Nobody Could Paint With Words Like Ray Bradbury #amwriting #YA

bradbury

I know, I know….I’m going old school here. But you have to know that I grew up reading old-school sci-fi, courtesy of an older brother who was a Star Trek fiend (and got me hooked as well). He handed me a dog-eared copy of The Martian Chronicles when I was eleven, and that was that. From that point, I read everything Ray Bradbury ever wrote. I went to Mars. I traveled through a moving mural on a wall into a veldt in Africa. I watched stories move in tattoos and flew with an April Witch. The man wrote dystopian futures and strange alternate worlds and influenced so much of what I wanted to capture in my own writing.

And here, in a lecture given in 2001, he gives twelve remarkable pointers to the young writers gathered at the Point Loma Nazarene University’s Writer’s Symposium By The Sea. I found a lot here that was so very spot-on helpful, but one point he made I’ve used over and over again as a writing exercise: Continue reading

I Revisited A Moment Of Magic – And Found What My Story Was Missing

So I was talking with my daughter yesterday about some of the differences between where I grew up and where I live now. I grew up in the desert Southwest (though my early years I was bouncing around – my dad was military), in a small New Mexico town. Now we live in semi-rural Pennsylvania, and the topography is more than a little different.

I was trying to describe to her the first time I saw fireflies. I was seventeen, and vacationing in Illinois at the home of some old family friends, when they all came out at dusk. I was blown away. I’d heard of them, of course (except, I think they called them ‘lightening bugs’ instead of fireflies) but to actually see one – let alone a whole yard full of them – was honest-to-God just a moment of magic.

Continue reading

Details And Ambience – Not Always The Same Thing

The smell of cinnamon and apples.

The heat of the chili on her tongue while feeling the cool night air on her back.

Her long hair falling in her face as she shifts on the hard bench.

The feel of the splintered picnic table, rough against the undersides of her forearms as she watches the firelight play on his skin – and tries to keep from looking like she’s staring.

The slide of his jacket around her shoulders, still warm from being on his back as she smiles gratefully up at him.

Ambience.

We’ve set not just the scene, but the mood.

Continue reading

Monday Master Class: Glen Keane On Inhabiting Your Characters

duet

Introducing a new feature to my blog: Master Class Monday

Every Monday, I’m going to share some of the writing tips I’ve collected (and I’ve collected lots) from various masters in their craft. This week, I want to introduce you to Disney animator Glen Keane.

Glen may use pictures instead of words to tell his story, but the key thing here is he tells a story. Watch the video below for some insight into his thought process: Continue reading