Character Sketch: Talia from “Promised Land”

I’m so excited to be starting a new blog series for my two WIPs. “Character sketch” posts will highlight a different character from each book, introducing them to future readers. 🙂

Without further ado . . .

Meet Talia.

Age: 16
Role: Protagonist
Book: Promised Land

Talia was a very different protagonist from any I’ve written before. In the beginning of the story’s conflict, her inner strengths, while present, are buried under the struggle of her circumstances. Thus, her character arc is more one of self-discovery than of healing/redemption (though those things are present as well). She is extremely devoted to her family, partly because she stepped into her mother’s role after her death.

Snippet:
As usual, my sister’s keen ears were correct. Two strong horses plodded up the path through the forest, laden down with what may have been the finest hunt I’d ever seen our father and brother return with.

The hard knot in my chest released. They were home. Safely. At last.

Let me know your thoughts for our character sketch series!

How to Successfully Write About “Destiny”

Let’s talk about destiny.

While watching Merlin recently, I noticed how prevalent the idea of “destiny” is in fiction and fantasy. And though we may not take such a word literally in every day life, its weight on fiction throughout the ages is very real.

Just to give you an idea . . .

It was Merlin’s “destiny” to protect Prince Arthur so he could unite the kingdom.

It was Frodo’s “destiny” to deliver the Ring to Mordor in order to destroy it and save Middle Earth.

It was Percy’s “destiny” to save Olympus.

And those are just a few of the most clearly outlined ones.

The best fantastical stories are riddled with this idea of an inescapable destiny on the shoulders of the main character. I’ll be honest, I used to think giving your protagonist a destiny was too cliche. But I’ve changed my mind. Here are a few points to keep in mind when pondering whether your MC should have a destiny.

Don’t force it.

Let it naturally flow into the context of the story. If it is forced, it will lose a lot of its value.

Is your character for it or against it?

Are they a Frodo who was immediately willing to do what no else would do? Or are they a Merlin who balked at the idea of his destiny being to serve a man he hated?

Is their destiny connected to a prophecy?

I put this in here from personal experience having struggled with logistics in writing. CLEARLY OUTLINE the details of the destiny/prophecy before you begin. What can or can’t happen for the story to remain consistent with the end result?

How do they find out about their destiny?

For Frodo, it was gradual. Less of a sudden announcement and more of a slow realization of duty. For Merlin, it was the word of the dragon when he wasn’t expecting it. Each was fitting for the story and the characters.

Make sure their destiny is important.

This may be the most important on this list. If you want your readers to take your character’s destiny seriously, make sure it has a great deal of bearing on the end result of the story.

In my YA fantasy novel Promised Land (currently in the final proofreading stage), there really isn’t any context for a destiny. However, in OLS (may or may not ever be published), there is a clear destiny on both the main characters’ shoulders, and it is not resolved in the first book.

Again, let a prophecy or destiny flow naturally into the story rather than forcing it.

What are your thoughts on destiny in fiction? Let me know in the comments!

I Don’t Apologize for This. – 2020 Edition

2020, the year of my graduation from high school, has been a painful year full of challenge, discovery, and being stretched beyond belief.

So far in this year, I’ve discovered that I suffer from severe anxiety related to an unremembered childhood trauma. The anxiety is not 24/7, so I only realized the extent of it when I had an anxiety attack in the parking lot of a doctor’s office. Since then, however, God has led me on a slow journey of healing. Of making good memories. Having good experiences. Learning to rationalize – even when my brain won’t accept it.

One of the most painful experiences came when I finally decided not to go to college, due to financial restrictions and also the unknowns of our current national crisis. Losing that dream left me hanging by a thread. I learned a lot about myself in those dark weeks.

  • I learned that I seek to be more “normal” than I realize. I want to fit in, I want to be valued for who I am, more so than I ever have before. And while those are not bad desires, they can be dangerous, and must never take precedence in your life.
  • I learned more about how to hear God’s voice.
  • But most of all, I learned . . .

. . . I learned to respect that God made me different. And that’s so okay. It’s better than okay – it’s amazing. Because I now know that the God of the universe has given this awkward, food-allergic, flawed, introverted, Hobbit-sized human being a very special purpose.

I am nothing – but He chose me.

I do not have the skills nor the ability – but He is making a way.

I am impatient and restless – but He is teaching me to wait.

But I have found, even as I climb out of the valley I’ve been in, I still struggle with feeling set apart from my peers. What will they think when I say I’m living at home this year? How will I look to them when my “employment” is on my family’s farm?

Maybe you’re in a similar place. If you are, declare this with me: I do not apologize.

I do not apologize for not feeling “normal”.

I do not apologize for following a different path for my life.

I do not apologize for having a faith that has led me in a new direction.

I do not apologize for not conforming to the world’s standards.

I may be judged for how I look and sound on the outside, but God doesn’t judge me by those things. If I am following His lead, then I am not ashamed. If He is my sword and my shield, then I will not question my apparent lack of strength. The same God who took away my anxiety and let me walk into a doctor’s office without feeling trapped, without feeling panicked; that’s the same God that will make a way for me to follow where He is leading.

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We serve a God who has a purpose for each and every human being on this earth.

We serve a God who is above all our anxieties, all our fears, all our failures.

No matter what situation might look impossible, we can say with confidence:

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😉

I might do a part two for this post later, because it’s getting a bit long and rambly now. 😁 But I hope this has resonated with some of you, because I know I’m not alone in this. You may be naturally inclined to live a life different from that of most people your age. Or you may have been forced onto a different path. Either way, God’s power remains the same to set you “under the spout where the grace comes out”. Never be afraid – never be ashamed.

Is there any way I can pray for you this week? What part of today’s post resonates with you? ❤

Stop the Rain COVER REVEAL

I’m so excited to be helping out with Kassie’s cover reveal today. I’m extremely passionate about disability awareness, and Stop the Rain, aside from just being a really cool-sounding book, is a PTSD awareness novel.

Without further ado . . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

SYNOPSIS:

He left his entire world in Iraq. So why did the war follow him home?

Harley Keane and his best friend Nigel were just kids when 9/11 rocked their world and changed their
lives forever. When they’re finally old enough to join the Army, all their childhood dreams seem about to
come true. But war wasn’t supposed to be like this. A kid’s dream isn’t supposed to become a living
nightmare. Fellow soldiers aren’t supposed to bleed out in front of your eyes.

Back home, safe and unwounded, Harley feels anything but. Why would God spare him when so many
others were taken? Why won’t the nightmares stop, even when he’s awake? And how long can he hide
the truth that threatens everything he has left? When Harley’s invisible scars refuse to stay hidden, will he
let anyone close enough to help? And how do you go on with life when “okay” isn’t okay at all?

AUTHOR BIO:

Kassie Angle is a teenaged Christian author, cowgirl, therapy dog trainer, stereotypical INFJ, and Army
girl to the core. Her first love, i.e. debut novel, O to be Like Thee, swept her unexpectedly into the world of
indie authors. She tries to use her stories to fill the silences in literature, helping more people understand
the world of the Army and showing how God heals the broken-hearted. You can find her and more of her
writing at SoldierGirlStories.com.
BLOGINSTAGRAM

Coming November 11, 2020
A PTSD awareness novel – no one fights alone

Unexpected Observations from Editing an Old Book

So I recently picked up an old writing project (about four years old) and started editing it. Mainly because I still like the story and I just wanted to see if it was worth salvaging (which has yet to be determined). However, in a very short time, I’ve made some interesting discoveries about myself, my writing, and that particular book.

MY WRITING STYLE HAS CHANGED

I really can’t explain the reason for this, other than the obvious fact that a great deal of time has passed since I wrote OLS (abbreviation of the title). But the style that I wrote OLS in is VERY different from the style of Promised Land.

IF I WROTE THE BOOK NOW, THE CHARACTERS WOULD SOUND DIFFERENT

I mean this mostly for one character in particular, though it would really apply to all of them. One character deals with a lot of anger and bitterness, and her POV voice often carried a lot of metaphoric and sarcastic themes. I realized while editing that if I were to rewrite OLS now, that character’s voice would not naturally come out the same way.

Why?
I’m a different person than the one who first wrote that character.
I write mostly in first person now rather than third person.
I would not naturally be inclined to make a female lead so broken/burdened (which might have something to do with my female lead in Promised Land having some major brokenness to deal with 🤦‍♀️). I’m not saying I don’t like to write broken characters. I do. *evil author chuckle* BUT, it’s difficult.

MY WRITING STYLE WAS LESS DISCIPLINED

This was an interesting discovery. I used way more descriptive words than I would now; I was often redundant in how I described things; I didn’t have a good show-vs.-tell balance. However, there were sections in which I think I “showed” a certain character, emotion, event, etc. better than I would now. Maybe something to do with OLS being written in third person rather than first (i.e. more natural room for showing rather than telling). What’s your opinion on third vs. first person?

THERE IS VALUE IN SMALL BEGINNINGS

a.k.a there is value in picking up something you wrote years ago and crying because it was so bad.

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Those are just beginnings! Look how far you’ve come! I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find my writing is better than it was just four years ago. But I’m also finding value in rediscovering how I wrote back then. Because it wasn’t all bad – in fact, I’d like to see a better balance between then and now in my future work.

IN SPITE OF ALL THIS, I DON’T KNOW IF “OLS” WILL EVER BE PUBLISHED.

Let down? Nope. I’m enjoying the editing, enjoying the discovery, enjoying revisiting these characters. I’d like to think it could be fixed up enough to be published, but four years is a long time.

Have you ever revisited an old writing project? What were your observations? Let’s chat!

Calling All BETA READERS!

Guys . . .

I can’t believe it . . .

. . . but it’s happening.

I need beta readers for Promised Land.

*cue internal screaming*

Promised Land has been sitting on the shelf (inside the computer) completely finished (almost 🧐) for WWAAYY too long now. But I’m finally ready to publish it!

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There is still one last step. I need beta readers. Not “official” beta readers in the editing sense, just readers who will report any and all typos, grammar mistakes, or other glaring errors they find. You have to:
Like reading. (I mean, c’mon.)
Be able to use Google Docs.
Be willing to write an HONEST review on at least one of these platforms: Amazon/Goodreads/your blog.

As for that last part, yes. You are also going to be ARC readers. 🥰 You will get an advanced reader copy (not formatted, typos included free) if you can just report those pesky typos that are floating around AND leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or your blog as soon as the book is released (date TBA).

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

Talia has lived her whole life in the mountains, sheltered from the conflicts raging in her world. But when the flatlanders’ intolerance for her family’s faith in Adonai is brought to their doorstep, they are thrust into a struggle against the king’s “reformation” efforts, which are designed to change their beliefs in any way necessary.

The son of a reformer, Owen was assigned as a spy to the mountains and was partly responsible for the arrest of Talia’s family. But this has never been a simple job for him. His brother is a Follower, in hiding. Owen swore to protect him. The responsibility he feels towards Talia is dangerous – could get him killed. But does he have a choice?

Talia watches a young reformer struggle to find where his loyalties lie. Owen witnesses the breaking of a young woman’s faith, until she must choose between her faith and her freedom. And neither one expects to find victory.

AESTHETIC

You can sign up below! THANK YOU for taking the time to help me get this book into the world. 🙂 ❤

LIFE Update! (and a writing snippet…)

Today I’m sharing a life update because I’ve been MIA from the blog universe for (*checks date of last post*) a long time. 🤷‍♀️

But it’s because there has been a lot going on. We’re in a tiny bit of a drought, so we’ve been watering the garden just about day and night (until yesterday. It’s raining again!). And we’ve been semi-dying from the heat.

ACTIVITIES
My youth group has started meeting again, as things have been opening back up, and it’s been amazing to see everyone again.  🤗 Our goldendoodle, Phoenix, had nine puppies! And they’ve all gone to their new homes. It was a wonderful eight weeks, sleepless nights and all.

Our sweetest little boy…..

BLOGGING
As some of you know, I took a much needed hiatus from my food allergy blog, but for professional (a.k.a writing) reasons, I will be spending more time on this one. (*listens for cheering from my vast audience*) 😉

WRITING
I’ve been dabbling in a couple different projects, but I think my focus is going to be on finally getting Promised Land published. (A YA fantasy short novel, if you’re a newcomer. Keep reading for a sneak peak.)

LIFE
I’m dealing with some major life decisions right now, because *sigh* after I graduated, I withdrew my college seat. Yep. For both financial and COVID-19 reasons, I decided not to go (along with a ton of other high school graduates in my state and across the country). So I’m working on other options, but there are serious decisions to be made, and well, I’m just a little burned out. 😐 Prayers are so appreciated! ❤

PROMISED LAND SNIPPET

YES! I’m so excited to share this little scene with you all. It’s from the beginning of the book, and it’s one of my favorites.

    As usual, my sister’s keen ears were correct. Two strong horses plodded up the path through the forest, laden down with what may have been the finest hunt I’d ever seen our father and brother return with.

     The hard knot in my chest released. They were home. Safely. At last.

     I held Fraeda back so as not to frighten the horses while they were reined in and tied at the water trough. Father turned to face us, his characteristically mischievous smile on his face as his deep blue eyes – Fraeda’s eyes – settled first on his youngest. Fraeda needed no other invitation besides his open arms to run forward. I followed right behind her. 

     Father’s strong arms encircled us both and the ache in my chest eased further. His deerskin vest and woolen sweater smelled of the woods, of campfires burned long into the night, of horses, and the piney ground.

     “Well, ladies” – his voice mirrored his smile as he stepped back, one hand on each of our shoulders – “I do believe this hunt calls for celebration.”

Let me know what you think! And tell me how your June has been? What are you looking forward to in July?

Important Announcement – Please Read!!

Visit Anna’s blog to learn about some awesome new progress!

Anna Kay

Hey everybody!

I wanted to hop on real quick and let y’all know about some big changes here on my blog. Let me walk you through them so you don’t miss anything.

1. Site Name Change

First of all, as you may have noticed, I’ve changed the name of my blog from His Spirit in Me to Anna Kay (my middle name is Katherine). More on this later, but right now just notice that this is probably the biggest change, as it requires some action from you.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the name change, my site address has also changed. The new address is https://annakaywrites.wordpress.com.

So what do I need you to do? Stick around! A lot of times when bloggers change their web addresses, they lose traffic. People don’t know where to find them anymore, and their visitor/viewer stats drop WAY down. So if you’re one of my…

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DARE COVER REVEAL!

I’m so excited for this, guys! Tricia Mingerink is releasing NEW COVERS for the Blades of Acktar Series! I’m a huge fan of the series and I loved all the covers. But this new cover for Dare, well . . . it’s kinda awesome. 😉

Ready to see the new cover?

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Procrastinates because it’s so gorgeous . . .

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Isn’t it amazing?  😍 😍 😍

Be sure to check out the author’s blog for all the information on this stunning cover design! It goes live on Amazon today!

*can’t stop staring at that cover* ❤