honesty, school, teaching, writing

In Memoriam

A few weeks ago I learned that one of my high school English teachers had passed away at age 55. Initially I was shocked; classmates and I exchanged texts and Facebook messages, trying to make sense of this sudden, unexpected loss. Then, just as quickly, the world moved on. I kept meaning to write something… Continue reading In Memoriam

books, mentor texts, worldbuilding, writing

Lessons in Fantasy World-Building: Creating the Magical World

In September I wrote about Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn book, The Final Empire, and what it taught me about introducing a complex magic system in fiction. Today I want to examine how Sanderson builds his fantasy world. When you're devising a fantasy world, you're filled with so many ideas that it's so tempting to throw in everything but… Continue reading Lessons in Fantasy World-Building: Creating the Magical World

books, mentor texts, worldbuilding, writing

Lessons in Fantasy World-Building: Introducing the Magic

Josh is a HUGE fantasy fan. As in, we call the books he reads "brick-a-books" (because they're all doorstoppers). As in, he's keeping a list of all the series he's in the middle of (because the writers take an understandably long time to finish the next installments of said brick-a-book series). So now that I'm working on… Continue reading Lessons in Fantasy World-Building: Introducing the Magic

lessons learned, teaching, writing, writing process

What Workshop Taught Me about Writing

My husband Josh and I are both middle school teachers, and this means that we spend a lot of time talking about teaching. (Sometimes this drives my sister crazy.) We teach different subjects (him: English; me: history) at different schools with wildly different populations, so most of the time this leads to productive, interesting conversations that… Continue reading What Workshop Taught Me about Writing