Thursday, October 27, 2016


So, I sort of forgot I had this site.... But I'm back! No need to panic. So, I've been crazy busy. I started a new job at a castle. I'm a food server. I'm taking 15 credit hours at my college--Microbiology, English II, Psychology and Spanish I. And NaNoWriMo starts in four days. Not sure how I'm going to accomplish this, but here's to trying. As it turns out, NaNoWriMo is this is reason I'm finally blogging. For you who don't know, NaNoWriMo stand for National Novel Writing Month. People all over the world try to write a novel in a month, which is personified by a 50,000 word goal. I did it last year for the first time and I'm going to attempt it again. Who knows how well that'll work.

In any case, I'm inspired, thanks to Pinterest. I've found pictures of my characters and pictures of my world and pictures for books. Anyway...let me introduce you to to my characters:

Readers, this is Jonathon Graves. These pictures are not a great representation of his style of of clothing or state of being (he's a bit more rough looking and has a lip piercing and wears rattier clothes), but his face is the important thing (minus the smoulder). He's seventeen and bipolar. His nine-year-old half-sister, Rose is in foster care. His dad kicked him out at sixteen and he's been fending for himself for a year and discreetly robbing his employers of small bits of money to keep a hotel room to sleep in through the winter. The story opens when he finally gets caught and arrested.

 And, here's Lauryn. I couldn't find an exact picture of her. I feel like I'm being mean to her, but she's not as pretty as any of these pictures. (I literally found these pictures and thought, 'These look like her, but she's not nearly as pretty." Sorry, Lauryn.) But she's got the hair of the picture on the left, the (sort of) face of the left one and the clothing and makeup style of the one in the middle.
Anyways, seventeen as well. She lives with her dad and his wife--her step-mom-- her older brother, Nate and her cat, Lucy. Her twelve-year-old sister, Jenna, disappeared ten months ago and police have reason to believe she was kidnapped. Lauryn's life started deteriorating since then. She does anything to kill the pain. The only thing that keeps her from suicide is the hope that maybe her sister might return home. She doesn't want her to make her way back from all that just to find that her older sister is dead. But at the opening of the story, something has happened that has made her lose that hope and she's finally decided to do it.

And then! I found a picture for my cover! I'm so excited. :)

"Long breath in. Long breath out. Jenna’s pink duvet wrinkles as I adjust my position. The dull pencil scratches against the line paper. I wipe furiously at my eyes with the back of my hands. I’m so ready to be done with life."
Lauryn's little sister, Jenna, was kidnapped nearly a year ago and Lauryn's whole life has spiraled downhill from there. Her dad stopped her in the middle of her suicide attempt and now she's in the hospital trying to figure out another way to die. 
"'Drop your weapons and put your hands in the air! This is the police!'"
Several hundred miles away, Jonathon gets arrested doing something he's done several times and thought he'd mastered. Now he's in the back of the police car, trying to figure out how to tell Rose that her big brother is a thief. 
At the end of their options, both teens are given the opportunity to visit a world beyond the scope of modern science. A place drenched in magic and a darkness that's slowly creeping underneath everything. Undetected. 
Anyway, enough about me. I'd like to hear about anybody who's doing this as well and I'd love to friend you on NaNoWriMo and hear about your story. I'm Once Upon A Fantasy... on NaNoWriMo, if you'd like to find me and message me telling me you've read this blog. I'd love to connect with you.
I'm planning to go to bed early October 31st and wake up at 11:45 so I'm all snacked up and ready for midnight when NaNo truly starts. Anyone in? 
Let's do this! 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Power of Words

I'm totally brain dead, because I'm in the midst of finals, so I don't have much to say. But I wanted to show you something I thought interesting. Read this phrase and before you read the next part, think what image it gives you. 

A careless man's careful daughter

I'll bet all of you got exactly what this author was referring to. Within those five words, a whole story was laid out in front of you. You got the character of the girl, her motivation and even her fears. I want to learn how to paint a picture with a mere five words. It takes a lot more brain work for me to come up with stuff like this. 

Be thinking about it. 

And an exciting bit of news: I finished my third draft of Dawn and am planning on pitching it to agents in a week and a half. I have a couple more edits to put in, but it's, for the most part, done. AND I only have four chapters left in Lyme-Aid. That one needs major editing before I can submit it. 

And as a last note, the phrase above is from the song Mine by Taylor Swift.

Also, enter here for a Kindle and a bunch of Christian ebooks:

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Snow day

Ever wish you were stranded at a cabin in the mountains with snow piling up around you with only your computer and nothing better to do than write? That's basically the situation I'm in right now and let me be honest, I haven't gotten any writing done. But I am curled up in an overstuffed easy chair next to the dying embers of a fire we built earlier today, aspiring to write.  Here's a picture outside the window next to me....
I went for a walk and it was higher than my knees in places. Don't ask why I was going for a walk in the storm.

It's such an inspiring atmosphere and everything. So, I've decided to talk on inspiration. I am known to get inspiration from everything. From well-done movies to preschool TV shows to pictures to lyrics to quotes to a single word.

I'm going to tell you my secret to constantly having story inspiration. Take things out of context.

For example, in a preschool TV show called Peep and the Big Wide World there is an episode in which there is a beaver. He's having a ceremony, a coming of age ceremony of sorts, to chew down his first tree. He invites his friends and he's so excited. He doesn't listen to his parent's instructions on how to chew down the tree and begins to gnaw at the trunk. He does it in a non-methodical way and nearly smushes his friends and family. He runs off, discouraged. Hours later, he comes back and offers to try again. His parents don't think he should because of the result of last time. But, he tries again and gets it right. So, take it out of context here. Pretend this character isn't a beaver and that what he's trying to overcome is not a tree. What if it were a person who had tried multiple times to overcome this one thing and when it finally came down to it, and things were at stake and he was the only person available to do it. Everyone told him he shouldn't do it, but he did it anyway and this time succeeded.

So...find little things to be inspired in. Look specifically. Take things out of context and imagine what might happen if it was somewhere else.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bringing out the Unknown

You're going to Olive Garden. There's a guy at the front who introduces himself as Jake, hands you a menu and shows you to your table. He gives you a smile and leaves. 

Your waitress comes to your table, introduces herself as Clara, gets your drink order and leaves. 

You never see them again. All you classify them as is what you've seen the as. The host. The waitress. All you see of them is that smile they have to wear to keep their job and never remember to think what their lives might be like. That they have a life beyond serving you pasta and salad. 

This is what our job is as writers, right? To show their stories. To take one unknown face in the crowd and elaborate, to show their pasts, their fears, their loves, their family. That's our job. 

Next time you go out, look at people, observe. For writing, but not merely for it. Genuinely ask how they're doing. Listen. Their stories deserve to be noticed. Their stories deserve to be written. They deserve to know that someone notices. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

50$ Amazon Giveaway!

I know I said I wasn't going to post this week, but I found this and figured you'd be interested. Click on this link and you can sign up to win a 50$ Amazon gift card by signing up for Bryan Davis's newsletter. I'd say it's worth it, even if you've never read his books or don't like them. :P I personally haven't read them in forever, and am not entirely what's in them anymore, but I entered anyway. :) If you'd like to participate, here's the link!
--> Click me!!!<--

Monday, February 29, 2016


Endings are fun and difficult and touchy and all that. Everyone has different advice. Go with your gut. Happy endings aren't realistic. Tragic endings are more realistic, but people generally want happiness in this whole messed up world. Blah blah blah. And I guess it's a mixture of all that. 

Let's start with the obvious: Stories have to have endings. In the words of Ted Naifeh, "I get tired of stories that keep going and going and never get anywhere. It's like a promise that's never fulfilled. Stories need endings. Otherwise, they aren't really stories. Just pages." 

Some people think that endings aren't very important. It's the middle that counts right? But your ending is your last impression on the reader. "Ending's carry a tremendous weight with readers; if they don't like the ending, chances are they'll say they didn't like the work." Nancy Kress

Highlight your character's change.

Ever write an ending after you write the beginning and then get through the book and realize that so much is different from when you first started the book? And you have to completely rewrite the ending because the characters have changed or that thing you planned on happening never really worked out? It's because throughout the writing of your book, you've made promises to your readers. You've dropped hints here and there and you've developed your characters (hopefully:P). You want an ending that will really reflect that change in your character. 

Try and pinpoint your character's flaw. What's the thing they struggle with most? What's the story goal? Try to make your ending contrast the way they used to be and how they've changed over the course of this story. I'm realizing that I'm not quite sure I'm doing that....hmm... I'll have to look into that. I'm going to use Big Hero 6 as an example. Fairly close to the beginning, Hiro wants revenge on his brother's death and that drives his motivation throughout the whole story, even ***SPOILER*** at one point removing Baymax's health chip to destroy the person who killed his brother. He ends up realizing, through a video that Baymax recorded of Tadashii that revenge wasn't the option. In the final battle he defeats the man, but doesn't kill him. He tries to teach the villain the same thing he learned, that revenge isn't the option. "Is this what your daughter would have wanted?" he asks. "This won't change anything. Trust me. I know." ***END SPOILER*** See how that highlights his change? 

Don't make it too perfect

"In real life, endings aren't always neat, whether they're happy endings, or whether they're sad endings." --Stephen King
"You don't reach points in life at which everything is sorted out for us. I believe in endings that should suggest our stories always continue." --Lauren Oliver 
"The world does not have tidy endings. The world does not have neat connections. It's not filled with epiphanies that work perfectly at the moment that you need them." --Dennis Lehane
"I don't necessarily like endings that contrive an artificial moment of completion." --Daniel Clowes 
People like to relate to the characters, and if everything finishes happy-go-lucky, the reader will feel skeptical. Plus, there's still life after the story. This isn't necessarily the end, even if it's the end of this story.

What do you want your readers to be left with? 

Think what the main goal of your story is. What feeling did you want to get across? Do you want your reader sniffing away tears at the end? Do you want them sighing in relief? Do you want them swooning over the romantic couple? Do you want them inspired? Experiment with different endings and see which ones get your feeling across best.

Last lines

Last lines play a big part in the ending. And this section, is, for the most part, intuitive. What sounds right? Play around with it. Here are some good last lines (or a few). All these books left me feeling exactly what the author wanted me feeling. :

Sad ones first:
"He fell to his knees. Hunching over, he covered his head and wept." ~Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. 
(This one is also at the end of the first book in the series.)
"Life isn't always filled with sunshine and laughter. I've had my share of heartaches, just like everyone else. And I know that God's plan is to give his peace for those who struggle, even if it takes some time for us to see his plans. And I think that would be a pretty great thing to paint on a sign. In Spanish or not." ~ Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker 
It may not seem like it, but trust me. This one's sad. The Spanish part? Read the book and you'll figure it out.
"By this time the soldier was reduced to a mere lump, and when the maid took away the ashes next morning she found him, in the shape of a small tin heart. All that was left of the dancer was her spangle, and that was burned as black as coal." ~The Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Anderson
Not so sad ones:
"He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning." ~To Kill a Mockingbird by: Harper Lee
"He rubbed down the goosebumps on his arms and made another promise to himself. Whatever happened, next time he'd do the right thing." ~Code of Silence by Tim LaHaye
Inspirational ones:
"I truly learn
to fly-kick
not to kick anyone
so much as
to fly.
January 31
Tet" ~ Inside out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai  
Happy ending ones:
"Sam picked up his suitcases and let out an excited laugh. I could see his twinkling eyes in the moonlight. 'I suppose you have an awful lot to write in your little notebook.'
I smiled. 'Yes, I suppose I do.'" ~Interrupted by Rachel Coker
Satisfied endings:
"With a burst of brilliant wings and three trails of sparkling fire, the warriors shot into the sky, heading southward, becoming smaller and smaller until finally they were gone, leaving the now peaceful town of Ashton in very capable hands." ~This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti  
Suspenseful endings:
'WICKED is good.' 
 And then she was gone." ~Scorch Trials by James Dashner 

Also a series.

In conclusion, here's a great bit of advice for writing: 

Footnote: I'm pushing my blogging habits out to every other week in order to keep up with my other blog and school and stuff. Sorry for all you who are addicted here. ;)  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Character challenge

My little sister drew this book cover for me and I love it. And I figured I'd share it. :) If you can't see, it says, "Once Upon a" in stars and "Fantasy" on the tiles below. It used to have a sticky note on it, cut in a heart that said, "Can I have this dance?" in her cute shaky handwriting, but I don't know where that went. 

Now that that's over, my other younger sister gave me this idea. I don't know who reads this blog, but I'd like to extend this to you too. (If you're a writer, that is. :) 

So, here are rules: 

1. State the names of your a) main character b) sidekick c) random character that you think would be fun to find a picture for. (If you want to add someone else, feel free.) 

2. Find pictures of actors/actresses that would best represent your character, should your book be made into a movie. 

3. Share on your blog. 

4. Comment on this post or email me telling me that you're doing it so I can go check it out. :) 

Here's mine: 

a) My main character's name is Annabelle Greyson and I think that Elle Fanning looks most like her. It actually makes me really happy how much she looks like her. 
Look! She even looks like her as a kid. It's

2. Annabelle's sidekick would be Brenden. The actor that looks most like him would be a younger version of Jason Buckey. I can't seem to find a younger pic of him, so here's a current (ish) picture. 

3) Random character. How about her mom, since I couldn't think of one for her dad or grandparents and those are basically the only other people in this book. (I don't have too many characters...)  Maggie Lawson. 

Have fun and knock yourselves out! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I am so sorry. It was my sister's birthday this weekend (Happy birthday, Ella!) and I'm getting ready for school along with working on learning some songs for the worship team this weekend. Rehearsal is on Thursday, so I kind of need to have them down. It was a last minute hey-can-you-fill-in-for-someone-this-weekend kind of thing. I'm excited and just a little bit nervous, since I've never done this before. So, there are all my lame excuses. :)

And......*drumroll* I think I'm past the writer's block. Yahoo! Yay! And all that. I've got an idea of sort of where I'm going and I'm planning on finishing within the next 10,000 words. I'm itching to print it out and fix all it's plot holes, character inconsistencies, repetition, cliches and who knows what else is wrong with this story. It should come out around 70,000 words.

School starts on the 18th, so I'm hoping to get some writing in before classes slam me.

This song basically personifies what my character is feeling at the moment:

I feel like my life is flashing by and all I can do is watch and cry. I miss the air. I miss my friends...I miss it when life was a party to be thrown but that was a million years ago.
                                                                                   --A Million Years Ago by: Adele
P.S. I'm approaching the black moment, if you didn't figure that out by the song. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Nothing much to report

Still haven't gotten past the block from the previous post, so there's not much to say here. I'm going to try a few writing prompts in a notebook my parents gave me for Christmas and a brainstorming technique from James Scott Bell in his book Conflict & Suspense. There are a couple of ideas here that I thought were valuable.

One was to listen to a soundtrack and think of character movements for every beat, instrument and measure.

Another was to imagine your book as a movie. What would the character say next if you were watching this on the screen?

Another, which was more for starting out a new book was to start describing your house. Just describe. Work out to the places around your house. The weird neighbors next door. The park. Etc. Now add a desperate character who's alone and need help and describe it from his/her point of view.

Or start a bunch of first lines. Experiment with dialogue, actions, setting, description, etc. and expand them into paragraphs. That one more applies to a new book as well.

Now, finally, this one's kind of nerdy. Open a dictionary, place your finger on a random word and write a few paragraphs about whatever comes to mind. 

So...yeah. Working on it. Hope I have more to report next week! 

Every time that you wake up breathing. Every night you close your eyes. Every day that your heart keeps beating. There's a purpose for your life. So don't give up. Don't lay down. Just hold on. Don't quit now. Every breath that you take has meaning. You are here for a reason.
--Here for a Reason by: Ashes Remain  

Monday, December 28, 2015

The problem with kidnapping...

I have a perfectly legitimate excuse for not posting this weekend. Christmas celebration Saturday, as well as an after-Christmas sale mall shopping trip. Sunday, church and babysitting for six hour straight. Boom! There you have it. So. I apologize and here I am, posting, albeit a day or two late.

So, this week I let Annabelle's dad "kidnap" her, which isn't as easy as it sounds. When your character never leaves her house and can't barely walk, and the kidnapper isn't actually planning on committing a kidnapping, it's awfully difficult to form a situation in which it actually happens. But, hey, I did it. And now there's the problem of getting her unkidnapped again, which is proposing a whole new set of problems.

Why did I even need to kidnap her in the first place, you might ask? Does this have any sort of relevancy to the basic plot? And, in theory, yes it does. Because through the whole story she's had two main fears. 1) of never getting over Lyme and 2) of her dad finding her. And in every story the character, during the climax, should face his/her greatest fears, correct? So, I'm planning (let's see if it works) to have her face both of those fears simultaneously, hence the reason why I've conducted a kidnapping. (Plus, it happened in the first draft. The one that occurred before I even added Lyme disease in.)

Now my problems are: 1) I can't rescue her too fast, or that part would be useless. 2) I don't know quite what her dad's motivations are (that's always a problem) 3) I want some sort of fairy-tale typical rescue, since that's a reoccurring theme throughout the book 3a) this is sort of a problem since no one knows where she is and she happens to be constantly getting farther away by the moment. Anyone have tips?

In any case, I've started writing this story again after several week's break. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Nothing much to report...

Still burnt out from NaNoWriMo. So...not much done this week. I finished dating all my previous chapters....wait. That sounded weird. Rephrased: During NaNoWriMo I just started a new page for new chapters. I just finished putting the dates at the top of all of them. I don't know if I've mentioned this already, but I figured that I should put dates at the tops of all the chapters because the story spans two years. That way I don't have to figure out how to integrate a bunch of awkward time transitions. Anyway, that's the extent of my work this week. I'm planning on working on it tomorrow. So excited! I've missed it a lot, as burnt out as I've been.

A couple of random things: 

1. Write This Book by Pseudonymous Bosch is a great writing book. It's simple, but funny and a very creative way to write a "how-to-write" book. 

2. I've designed a few more covers. I'm going to put up a few covers and put another poll on the sidelines. Feel free to vote! 









Have fun!