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
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
I had my very first author visit yesterday! The wonderful fourth grade at The Learning Community Charter School in Central Falls, RI, hosted me to talk about how I write book reviews. They'd read my August review of Passenger in preparation to write their own reviews, and they asked fantastic questions about writing, reading, and inspiration. I shared...… Continue reading Author Visit!
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
In July I wrote about how I research for historical fiction projects, using my latest WIP, a historical fantasy, as an example. One of the biggest things on my mind is efficiency, especially with a new baby. I want my research to double as story planning so I can construct an outline for my book as… Continue reading How I Balance Planning and Research
We are still waiting on that baby over here. Meanwhile, I'm scrambling to fit in as much work on my new WIP as I can before she arrives (while taking breaks to catch up on the latest season of Sad Detectives, a.k.a. Endeavour). This project is a YA historical fantasy, which means I get to indulge… Continue reading How I Research
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
Thank you for all your kind thoughts and wishes about my previous post. I'm thrilled to be moving on to the next stage in my writing adventure. After I finalized things with Laura, I took one last swing through revision-land with my project. This time it was solely to focus on historical accuracy: checking the… Continue reading The Kindness of Strangers
Fantastic news, friends: I have an agent! I am so utterly pleased to share that I'm now represented by Laura Crockett and Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency. Let me back up to share the full story. In college, while passionately Googling (if Google even existed then...I don't remember) my favorite YA authors, I gradually discovered the publishing… Continue reading I Have an Agent!
Like many people, I have a tendency to rush around trying to pack things in, one after the other. A typical weekday might include a full day of teaching, an hour of work on a freelance assignment, a trip to the gym where I fit in 40 minutes of reading (God bless the elliptical), some… Continue reading Slowing Down