The Many Uses for Secondary Characters

So, no matter what you’re writing, you probably have some characters that aren’t as important as the MC(s), but they’re just kinda there. The awesome thing about these seemingly unimportant characters? They can become important. Remember, you’re the author. You can more or less make them do what you want. However, it does sometimes feel like the story has taken on a life of its own. 🙂

There are numerous uses for a secondary character. One of the best, they’re expendable. If you need a character to get killed off, but you can’t bear to do it to a main character, consider fashioning a secondary one for that purpose alone. *wicked chuckle* Make them likable, too. *wicked chuckle*

Anyway, another great use for your secondary characters is how they can subtly influence the plot to steer it in a desired direction. For instance, I once wrote a draft in which an SC caused the main character to end up in this particular situation, which was the climax. She did this unintentionally – it was her presence and what that brought about in the story.

You can also have one or two SC(s) create a subplot. However, be aware that subplots can be used to “kill some time” and not to move the story along. You pretty much want everything – or close to everything, at least – to move your story along.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD A SECONDARY CHARACTER APPEAR ON SCREEN . . . OR PAPER?

It depends on their level of importance. You may have them start out in the first draft as a secondary character and end up by the last draft as an MC. It happens. 🙂 But how often a strictly SC will appear depends totally on the way you’re using them in the story. Typically, these characters in my stories have very important roles, but remain expendable.

DO I RUN THE RISK OF DISTRACTING FROM THE STORY WITH A SECONDARY CHARACTER?

That’s always possible, but if writing a first draft, don’t worry about it. You can edit later. Just remember if you’re bringing in an SC, it is probably to build on or move forward the story.

And now, LET’S CHAT. How do you use secondary characters in your story? Have I left something out? What is your opinion on subplots? Pour yourself some apple cider – or coffee, if you prefer – and I’ll bring dessert. Healthy dessert, mind you. 🙂 Anybody up for carrot cake?

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Writing a Synopsis – How to and How Not

Don’t forget to stop by my new blog, Diary of a Teenage Prepper, for fun homesteading updates!

 

It doesn’t seem like it would be that big of an issue, right? A synopsis just states what the book is about. No problem.

If only . . .

Today, let us delve into the tricks, the how-tos and how-not-tos, of writing a synopsis.

HOW-TO #1 – READ THEM

The best way to figure out how to write a synopsis is to read them. How much info do they give? How much do they withhold? Take note of key words and phrases. Is the title of the book incorporated into the synopsis or left out? Above all, does it make you want to find out what happens? All of these things are critical points of crafting a gripping synopsis.

HOW-TO #2 – PRACTICE MAKES ALMOST PERFECT

I can’t think of any synopsis that is “perfect.” They’re just blurbs, more or less, and perfection is vastly opinion, but anyway – #2. Practice writing a synopsis for your WIP. No matter the stage, write one out and read it over and over again, compare it with the ones you’ve read, read it to someone else. All of these things should help smooth out a synopsis for your work.

HOW-NOT-TO #1 – MAKING IT TOO LONG

I have heard it said that a common problem among authors looking to self-publish is a synopsis that is too long. Just remember, you’re giving the reader a taste, not the entire banquet. You aren’t writing a book report in which every detail must be disclosed. But for that matter, don’t make it too short, either.

HOW-NOT-TO #2 – THINKING IT’S NOT IMPORTANT

A synopsis, in my opinion, is every bit as important as, say, the cover or the first line. It is the invitation for a reader to pick up the book and read it. A synopsis is important. You don’t have to stress over it. Maybe try incorporating a few of these thoughts to get you started. I’ve even used the creation of a synopsis to help in my outlining, and believe me, it does help.

ONE-LINERS AND THE WHAT-IF QUESTION

A grabbing sentence to start off a synopsis can be a pretty great idea. So can a what-if question. After all, a creative what-if setting in a plot – “What if gravity worked in the opposite way?” “What if the sky was orange?” “What if humans were the size of ladybugs?” – can pull a reader in all on its own. So if you’re story has its own what-if, why leave it out when creating your synopsis?

And because she’s one of my favorite authors, I can’t resist sharing her fantastic what-if-question synopsis. Nadine Brandes wrote the Out of Time Series, and her opener for the first of those novels was entirely gripping. Here’s why: “How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?” Who can resist that? I don’t want to know the day I’ll die, so if this character does . . . well, I have to know about it. 🙂

TELL ME YOUR OPINION! What pulls you into a book? Is it the cover? Synopsis? First line? Last line? (I should hope it’s not the last line.) Let me hear from you in the comments! We’ll chat about bookish things.

Crafting Characters – Antagonist’s Apex

There’s a trick to crafting your antagonist. As much as it may seem like their only purpose is to throw a wrench in things for your MC(s) and be hated by the readers, that is not entirely true. The best way to nail down a solid antagonist is to give them a side that can be related to and felt for by the reader and by you.

Yep, I said it. If you can’t swallow that yet, that’s okay. Keep on!

EXAMPLES OF THE ANTAGONIST APEX

What I’ve called the antagonist apex is where the reader is brought to a point or a side of the character that makes them stop and grumble, “I thought I was supposed to hate him/her” because they’ve suddenly found him/her to be slightly less hateable than they thought . . .  Is that confusing? Here’s a good example.

 

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Martin Cummins as Henry Gowen in “When Calls the Heart”

In the popular frontier TV series When Calls the Heart (all you fellow “hearties” please raise your hand in the comments!), you will find one of the best examples of a remarkably solid antagonist. Henry Gowen, as portrayed by Martin Cummins, has so many different levels of character, good and bad, that it’s hard to keep up. He is seen as despicably evil at times and is completely despised, and as someone deeper at other times, someone with more on the inside than just greed.

Because of this, he cannot be universally hated. This makes him a great antagonist, and makes whoever wrote his character a really good writer. 🙂

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

This is one of the more, I believe, optional parts of writing. You by no means have to make your antagonist 3-dimensional, but it is highly recommended. Fill in the cracks – make them human. Give them a cause we can understand – not agree with, but understand. Give them a motivation that is clear and realistic. But above all, make them human. Give them qualities and depth that leave the reader – and maybe even your protagonist – feeling just a tiny bit sorry for them.

AND NOW . . . let me hear your opinion!

Have you had any experience with these things in the past, whether in work you’ve read or written? Do you agree or disagree with this approach to an antagonist? Do you feel the reader should despise that character? Why or why not? Don’t be shy! Let’s chat.

To Shine as Broken Glass – There is Hope!

Broken.

That’s a hurtful place to be, and yet we’ve all been there. We’ve gone to sleep in tears that no one will see left to dry on our cheeks. We’ve woken up feeling as though we waged war through the night. We’ve wandered through days begging why.

Sun reflects brightly on glass. It reflects all the brighter on broken glass, amplified by the jagged edges and reflected by the places where the breaking took place.

When in the place of broken, we can commonly wonder why we feel no hope, if there is any such thing left to feel. Whether we face loss, discouragement, anger, illness or fear, we long for hope, for some remnant of the sun to shine upon us, just once.

Why bear the pain of broken? What is the reward for turmoil?

To shine as broken glass.

If this is your question today, there is hope, my friend, there is. Reach for it with the very last of your strength!

 

hardship quote

As writers – and artists in general – we are not in the least immune to the harsh sting disappointment or depression. In fact, I’ve been told we’re rather susceptible targets. 🙂  But when these things confront us, when the challenges around us block what may flow upon the page, take heart! My friend, we will come out on the other side alive. There is light at the end of this tunnel. If you are afraid of the dark, take the hand of the person beside you. They’re likely afraid of the dark too.

You’re not alone.

As an artist, coming out on the other side of hardship is quite likely to make you a better writer, or musician, or poet, etc. Sky high is inevitably followed some day by the depths of low, the result of a bitterly fallen world and the basic unfairness of life. Thank the King we do not trudge through the lows alone. Jesus holds my hand.

My friend . . . Jesus holds your hand, too.

Broken. It’s a hurtful place to be. Why suffer through hardship when all we can see is the dark?

Because the sun shines brightest on the broken glass.

Anchor

Is Your Story Made of Starlight Dust?

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Has your story captured the light of starlight dust?

Is your story one of starlight dust?

You know what that looks like. The special ones, the ordinary topics made extraordinary in ways that make a reader stand back in amazement. A reader may never be sure just what it was about that story that made it so special, it just had that . . . something.

It had your starlight dust.

Starlight dust is that one little sparkle that no other story can have – it is the fingerprint of you, the author. Starlight dust is what takes a topic so ordinary one might contemplate nodding off at the mention of it, and making it . . . beautiful.

A story that is lacking this fingerprint, this sparkle, is generally easy to spot. Your voice develops the dust. (Allow me some poetic license here – I know it’s called “star dust.” I’m just mixing it up.) As you grow as a writer, your personal voice behind the pen will become more apparent to you and to your readers. This can be where the starlight dust shines. It is yours. Something completely your own that may be recognized and remembered, depending on how brightly it shines.

You’ve been a victim of reading starlight dust all the time. Think back to the last book you read that you really liked. For me, that would be Winter Haven. What was so special about that book for you? What was so special about Winter Haven for me? They had starlight dust. They bore the fingerprint and the voice of the one who wrote it. They were unique because of this, and I know for Winter Haven, it stood out because of it.

But don’t get too excited yet . . .

NOT EVERY STORY HAS THE STARLIGHT DUST

Sorry if I burst your bubble. Look, there are good stories and bad stories, in terms of the writing itself. I’ve recently worked on a story with no issue whatsoever – the outlining was good, the inspiration was flowing, and I wasn’t stuck. No writer’s block. Miraculous! BUT . . . the story was lacking. Something.

Through this odd predicament, and through the advice of my brilliant critique partner who saw the exact same thing in the writing of this story, I discovered starlight dust. I don’t know why some stories and manuscripts “have it” and some don’t. If you’ve discovered that for yourself, please let me know. Because this is very important to remember, the lack of starlight dust does not mean you’re struggling with writer’s block. I may once have believed this, but as I explained in this paragraph, it’s evidently not true.

Starlight dust is the voice and fingerprint of the author, and when it shines, it can make any story blazing bright and unique, but I don’t believe it is something that can be forced through a pen. I don’t understand where it comes from – maybe it is the result of you pouring your all into the words which spill upon the page – or why it isn’t always there.

How can you recognize its absence? Simple. Go over you story and see if something is lacking. You should be able to tell. If you can’t, get a critique partner or have a friend read it who isn’t afraid to give you an honest opinion. Then go back to the drawing board. Try rewriting a bit, or maybe do some more outlining. I can’t tell you how to fix the absence of starlight dust, since I’m in that position right now. Soooooo . . . this post may well be a part one. If I strike gold in figuring out how to solve the starlight dust problem, I’ll let y’all know!

🙂 (By the way, I have to give all the credit of identifying and naming “starlight dust” to my critique partner.) 🙂

Meantime, take a look at your work, and as you do so, ask a question:

Can you see the light of the starlight dust?

Happily Ever After – Really? How to Nail Your Story’s Ending

“And they lived happily ever after.”

We’ve all heard it a million-quadrillion-zillion-times-two times. So-and-so saved the day, so-and-so was happy, and they lived happily ever after. But did you ever stop to think how unrealistic that is? It’s the stuff that belongs in age-old fairy tales and bedtime stories, but not in today’s fiction.

Fiction, even if it is unrealistic fantasy or dystopian or sci-fi, must have an ending that is believable. You can wrap things up as much as you want – you can even smack the horridly cliche “happily ever after” thing at the end – but it won’t make your manuscript better.

My advice for nailing the ending of your story? Don’t write what’s been written a thousand times over. Make it memorable. Make it stick. Make it tough. Make it solid.

EXAMPLES OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Duh. The obvious ones are the fairy tales. And that’s just fine. Let happily ever after stay with the fairy tales and let us move on. However, if you are penning a retelling of a fairy tale, don’t let it be happily ever after. Now that would be good.

Another example of this sort of cliche ending is Pride and Prejudice, the movie. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t speak for that, but the movie is certainly “happily ever after.” All the important characters – except maybe Lydia – have found their truest love and all is well. And while perhaps this movie isn’t the best example in the world, the movie The Princess Bride certainly is. That’s as cliche happily ever after as it gets. Just saying. And don’t get me wrong, I love that movie!

EXAMPLES OF NOT-SO-HAPPILY

Not-so-happily is what you need to nail down a solid ending for your story. Yeah, it can be tough, it can be annoying, because you love your characters sooooo much, they just have to have it all together! Yeah, no.

Okay, so some examples. Let’s see. Lord of the Rings. Here’s probably the best example. The day is saved, but the characters still have to deal with the fallout, and the aftermath that it results in causes the not-so-happily ending to the trilogy. Don’t let that discourage you from becoming a LotR fanatic, though. It’s epicness at its finest! 🙂  As a writer, learn from J.R.R Tolkien.

lordoftherings

Let me see . . .  One more example . . .  *fishes through bookshelf*

Ah! The River of Time Series by Lisa Bergren. Awesome books, awesome characters, good plots . . . and even better, a not-so-happily ending to the series. Now, both of these examples were wrapped up fine in the end of the story, they just were not happily ever afters.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’VE CROSSED THE HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER LINE?

If you can look at the end of your story and say, “They all lived happily ever after.” 🙂  Or more specifically, if you can say that “all’s well that end’s well” or “all my characters and readers and fans are so happy with this ending.” That’s dangerous. Don’t forget, you can’t please everyone. Better to please the One you’re ultimately writing for than to please the ones you’re writing about.

HOW DO YOU FIX YOUR ENDING?

Easy as pie. Ironic that it’s taken about five-hundred words so far to explain a few simple things.

Leave some loose ends, especially where secondary characters are concerned.

Allow mistakes made during the story to have some residual effect towards the end.

Leave room for character growth. This is so important. If you’re writing a series, this is more geared to book one, but if you’re writing a standalone, it’s just as crucial. Leave room for characters to grow some more after the book is closed. People want a hero, but a hero without flaws is wasted space.

If you’re writing a series, let every book before the final one end in a cliffhanger. I don’t recommend a cliffhanger for the last book, if you want to keep your readers. *grins an evil author grin and pulls more examples from the shelf*

FINAL NOTES

A not-so-happily ending is as important as it is because happily ever after isn’t life. Many readers want happily ever after in a book, so as a writer, you’ll have to answer that part for yourself. But I’ve answered it for me, and I hope you can find some wisdom from this if it applies to you at all. I don’t want my writing to be wrapped up in a neat bow. Period.

AND WHAT ABOUT YOU? Leave feedback. I’d love to hear how you, my friend, have or have not conquered the happily-ever-after trend in your work. Whether you’ve discarded it from your writing or not, I’d love to hear about it! Share your notes, and leave your experiences behind for others to learn from.

God bless you all this June, and my Highlights and Goals post is coming next post, just so you all know.

A Free Short Story – Enjoy!

Happy Memorial Day to all of you! Today’s post is going to be simple, but since I was running out of ideas – and time – I decided to share something special. And free. And who can resist something free? This special free thing is a recent short story I penned for Faithwriters, under the challenge topic “Entertain.” The said story took third. 🙂

Enjoy your free short story, my friends, and come back for more! June is just ’round the corner – will someone please tell me how that happened? – so you will be seeing the next Highlights and Goals post for this new month. It’s bound to be exciting!

Meantime, I’ll stop chattering and you can get on with your free gift.

 

Bloodstained

The crowd’s roars and jeers, deafening in their ceaseless echos, pierce my ears and shatter my resolve. I glare right back. Do they think I want to be here? Fighting to appease them? Dying to amuse them? Or do they think I’ll kill the man sent out in this arena to fight back?

Heart stuttering, I turn my head from the innumerable screaming humans and close my eyes. My palms are sweaty. They are laced with sand and grit. Will my blood soak into this sand today, or will it be the blood of the opponent?

Panic lances my chest, and my eyes are thrown open. Of course I will not murder. I will not be forced to kill. A slave I may be, but my conscience and eternal judgement belongs not to the man who owns me. Besides, many of these wretched games end not in blood. Sometimes the crowd will call for mercy, or so I’ve been told by lucky survivors. Or . . . perhaps unlucky.

For they are the ones who must do it again, again, again, while the blood of others gathers on their hands, an indelible stain.

The Romans’ cries explode in furious cheers. I look towards the entrance. This is the man they expect me to kill? We are similar in height and in build, but he must be far older than I, and he brandishes his sword like it is an object to which he can command to do his bidding and it will obey. Aside from that, I can see how the crowd treats him. Not with the jeers with which I was beckoned in, but with the exhilaration and flamboyance through which one might welcome their hero.

A rock settles deep in my stomach. I was not sent here to kill. I was sent here to be killed.

They don’t know who am I. What I’ve done. What I’ve run from. In defense of what I love, I’ve killed more men than I wish to count. But in cold blood? For sport? For the amusement of an audience? Never. And never shall I.

For several jarring minutes I find my stride, deafened by the crowd, shaken by the force of our weapons. I judge the man’s skill. He’s good. He’s a killer. But he’s not a fighter.

As the battle escalates, I feel the heat of it burn in my blood. My hands are quick to remember reflexes, instinct, precision. I can feel the attention of the crowd sway with their loyalty as their hero begins to tire. He has fought for too long. Against myself, a fighter young in years, he weakens. This is no casual slave he fights.

And here my conscience returns. I am soaking in the perfidious attention of the crowd. This is what I’ve run from. This is what I threw away with my past when I abandoned the emperor’s service. It is far too simple for me to regain it now.

Perhaps this is what I was brought here to learn. I could never truly change.

Gods of Rome and of Heaven . . . I enact a vicious counterstroke and try again. God of Heaven, if this is how I am to end, a murderer and tyrant, strike me dead here and now.

The man before me, his forehead bathed in sweat and furrowed in exhaustion, stumbles upon the sand. I look to the crowd, awaiting their decision.

Almost as one, they call for me to slay him. I think I hear a few cries for mercy, but they are swallowed away by this bloodthirsty chant. I feel stone around my heart and soul. It would be easy to end this now. To become the hero of these people, to expunge their former distaste and repulsion, to give them the show they want to see.

But do I truly desire to be the revered one of a bloodthirsty, shameless people?

Their chants become louder. My heart throbs. My fingers tremble around the hilt of my sword. I have not been struck dead yet. Perhaps this is not meant to be the end, nor how I will ultimately finish this race. There is sand still slick on my hand, but will there be blood?

The crowd screams as one. Shudders travel down my spine, into my fingers.

My decision is made.

 

How did you like – or maybe you didn’t like it at all, and that’s okay too – your gift? To read more of my work in short stories, you can follow THIS link . . . or THIS one! God bless you all on this Memorial Day.

Musings of a Goat Herdess – Sneak Peak!

Welcome one and all! As a quick recap, Musings of a Goat Herdess is one of my current WIPs. I’ve decided to start this off as a blog series – yay! – which means I’ll get into a schedule of releasing a “chapter” at a time as a blog post. This is the first, and these posts will be done twice a month.

If all goes well – the writing, the feedback, etc. – I will move forward at some point with officially publishing Musings of a Goat Herdess, which, if you haven’t seen my last blog post, is essentially made up of my homesteading experiences with my family, our journey, with the focus on my task of being a “goat shepherd” and some of the discoveries I’ve made along the way.

Sound like fun? Well, I won’t ramble today – news flash! Here is your official sneak peak into Musings of a Goat Herdess, chapter one of our new blog series.

 

C H A P T E R   O N E

~ ~ ~

LIKE A SCENE out of Heidi is our hillside today, glowing in the fleeting and precious rays of May sun. The grass reaches up towards the heavens, eclipsing the infant leaves, their attempts at awakening slow, more cautious than their counterparts in nature. I close my eyes and breathe it in. Spring.

All around me, I hear the hasty, yet contented chop-chops of caprine mouths drinking greedily of the hillside’s offering. The goats have discovered the raspberries today, which sprawl here on Bramble, the northernmost slope of our homestead. These vines left in peace for far too long will meet destruction at the hooves and winter-starved appetites of seven goats.

My eyes flutter open as the adolescents charge by, their buoyant stride enhanced by the steepness of this slope. Wilbur makes his advance into the lead, his twin sister Oka in hot pursuit, and both are dogged by their adopted big sister, the one with ears that can’t decide whether to cooperate with her Nubian dairy heritage and fall flopping, or rise to the calling of her rugged Alpine genetics. Their antics as they pass me by bring out a smile. These three came from the same farm, but at different times, and are unrelated, yet they are inseparable, cohesive like honey to a spoon.

At a doe’s soft, tender voice, my gaze drifts uphill to where the locust trees mark the top of the grassy slope. Spice grazes here, glancing about until her twins come bounding to her call. Satisfied at their presence, she returns to the task of gluttony. My smile broadens the way a patch of grass appears so quickly beneath melting snow. These twins have earned a special place in our hearts since their liberating birth two weeks ago.

Beetle paws at the locust tree nearest to her right, her silky coat shining in this radiant sun like chocolate. The lone black stripe which marches down her back glitters as if someone place minute diamonds upon it to capture the light. She is the image of Spice, though separated by her mother’s three years. Little Cricket joins her, aptly named, and colored by a broad creamy belt and a splashing of gold and white.

A breeze tousles the grass. If you listen close, you might hear the whispers it carries from grass to tree to bird and sky. The hidden messages we miss in our chaos and in our drive for bigger, better, newer. Here, here, is peace. In the sway of the grass, the smile of the sun.

As the three young ones of weaning age did moments ago, Cricket takes to the plaything that is the slope. The bounce to her stride is brought to a zenith with a little jump, a twist and a hop. Beetle thunders after her, never going a moment apart from her sister. Spice notices not, or if she does, she is content. She knows they are safe, I’m sure. The twins join the older three, but at a respectable distance. With such a drastic size difference in effect, they face light bullying from Oka and Jubilee. But we’ve raised many goats of these tender ages, and it will not last forever. Amid the grass, the brambles, the raspberries, friendship will form.

Not to be left behind, Eustace plods along after the five, his shaggy dun fur swaggering with his steps. The others dwarf him in size despite his equality of age with the threesome – and though his genetics dictate this fate, the buckling has taken it in his head that he is a great buck, a mighty protector, a fine, noble creature worthy of all respect.

Ah, such pride! In the eyes of our homestead, he is simply Eustace, succumb to smallness, destined to pester the girls with instincts which matured early, son of Phoebe.

As the herd settles, I take a deep breath. There is such peace here, such purpose. Such hope for the soul. How can one explain what can only be felt? How can one express what can only be perceived, sensed in the inmost being? I know I cannot. I may wield the pen, but its power fails me here. So I shall share, but can never express. Show, but can never explain. This is a journey, one my family takes inspired by the words written in the Bible, in Jeremiah, words that challenged us to seek out this lifestyle, to determine the alternative the world has missed.

Stand at the crossroads and look.

Ask for the ancient paths.

Ask where the good way is and walk

in it, and you will find rest for

your souls.

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Wilbur (with Jubilee in the background).
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Phoebe in the raspberries.
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Beetle during playtime (which is all the time).

Confessions of an Author and Farmer

(Update: You can now follow the Musings of a Goat Herdess series on this blog. For more information: WIPs)

We all have retractions in one area or another of our lives. That’s what we’re hearing today. Some of you will know that I’ve recently completed the first draft of my YA portal fantasy. The plan was, of course, to push through and get to work on the second draft. There have been some . . . changes to the technicalities of that plan. Allow me to explain. I think you’ll be excited with me by the end. 🙂

AUTHOR CONFESSIONS

“To everything there is a season,” says Ecclesiastes. The past five years of writing have been like one long season. I’ve learned so much, grown in so many ways. I thought I knew the direction God wanted me to take – to reach people through writing fantasy and historical, and the offshoots of those genres. And maybe that will be a factor of my work later on – in fact, I believe it will be. But to everything there is a season. And things are changing just a bit for this one.

FARMER CONFESSIONS

I’m a total diehard. According to the dictionary, “a person who vigorously maintains or defends a seemingly hopeless position, outdated attitude, lost cause, or the like.” And, well, farming is a lost cause. Somewhere around 2% of the American population is involved in agriculture. But really, that’s just nuts. All our food coming from massive corporations, small farms dying faster than drone bees . . .

But that’s a lecture for another day. 🙂

SO . . . WHAT AM I GETTING AT?

You’re probably waiting for me to stop chatting and get to the point. Okay, okay.

I’ve had this idea before, but never has it taken root. When I was talking with my mom a few days ago, it clicked. You’re going to start seeing something of a blog series appear here, though not in order of the chapters I’m currently writing, as I plan is to publish the novella I’m now working on. This manuscript is non-fiction, and fairly simple, entitled, Musings of a Goat Herdess.

I am, if you couldn’t guess, the goat herdess of our farm. It is a task I’m somewhat new to, though we have had goats for years on the homestead. Now I’m putting the hours spent with the nomadic caprine herd to print. This project is only a few short chapters underway, but the joy I’ve found in sharing such a special thing is immeasurable. Maybe you have little or no experience with goats or farming, but that’s okay. I hope you’ll be able to follow this project anyway.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I will be posting the first chapter of Musings of a Goat Herdess on this blog in three days (my next post). I’ll do a brief recap on what I’ve covered here, and as well, you’ll see a new page appear on this site where all this information and more, including projected release, cover design when available, synopsis, and more will be available. So please, dear friend, follow this adventure! In the simplest thing of the “nomadic goat,” as I’m calling this project, I’ve found such peace, such joy, such hope. I know you will be as refreshed as I have found myself.

So don’t forget, the first chapter will be here in only three days, and the designated page will follow this announcement as soon as possible.

As for my previous WIP, One Light Shining, I don’t have an answer on that yet. I’ll be taking it to prayer. I want to make sure I know what the best move would be right now. However, for now, you’ll be hearing more about Musings of a Goat Herdess than the portal fantasy.

If you’d like to learn more, just comment! I’m happy to talk goat. And writing. And goat. And writing. And more goats and writing . . .

Ta ta for now, my friends! Keep an eye out for chapter one and the exciting new page for more details. 🙂

My Top 5 Resources for Writers

We’re going to look at a few different resources for writers that I’ve found either helpful or very helpful in the past. Finding go-to sources for your work is invaluable, but sometimes hard to find. I only have five to share today, but I hope you find them helpful!

1.  HELPING WRITERS BECOME AUTHORS

I can’t say enough about this blog. It holds a wealth of information that is completely indispensable for you as a writer. Everything from editing to outlining, to grammar to info dumps. Helping Writers Become Authors is an outstanding site, easy to navigate. It is updated with something new every few days or so, and the response rate for those who comment is awesome. Check it out today!

2.  FAITHWRITERS

You’ve probably heard me chat about this place before, but I’m going to say it again – Faithwriters is everything an aspiring writer could dream of. Friendly, helpful critiques, competition, opinions on your work from professional editors, feedback directly from the judges on the quality of your work, help in marketing, encouragement, reading material . . . and a whole lot more.

3.  THESAURUS

Yeah, you read it right. There’s nothing more helpful now and then than to take a “bland” word and find something more . . . appetizing. The online thesaurus is a great site for finding synonyms and antonyms. Plus, while you’re right there, you can check out the next writing resource . . .

4.  THE DICTIONARY

Funny thing, huh? A writer using a dictionary. That’s just weird. Okay, whatever, it’s an invaluable resource. Find new words, nail down definitions, find synonyms, find more new words . . .  Yeah, it’s important. Expand thy vocabulary, ye writer, and ye shall succeed.

5.  THE WRITERSAURUS

This is one I’ve had very little personal experience with, but what I’ve seen from this site looks really, really great. Info on writing, publishing, self-publishing. It looks good. Be sure to check it out. I’ll be looking into more as well, taking a look at different articles and such.

NEED SOME MORE?

Well, there are hundreds out there. Or maybe thousands. Or maybe hundreds of thousands. You’ll find some that work better for you than others. These are my top five. I hope you are able to find use for some of them. Let me know what other resources I’m missing. What are some of your favorites? There are so many out there, one could never pack all the good ones into one blog post.

So tell me, what are your favorites? Have you used any of these five in the past? What was your experience? Share it with us! You’re feedback could help others conquer their writing. Having good, solid, dependable resources is invaluable to any writer, but especially to those just starting out.