Category: Writing

Plot Twist! A Writing Update

Plot Twist! A Writing Update

Good morning, friends!

Just like a good book, life has unexpected turns and “plot twists.” And recently, I had one of my own.

After much prayer and thought, I have decided to lay off working on Checkmate for a while.

Let me explain why:

When I first started writing CM, I had very little knowledge of writing. I was arrogant and rejected a lot of the advice that I received. I wanted to do it my way, so I did.

They said don’t write fantasy for your first book. I wrote fantasy.

They said don’t have more than one POV for your first book. I had four.

They said outline, it will make it easier. I scribbled out an outline to say I did it, then threw it out the window.

While I don’t regret writing fantasy, I do wish I had stuck to one POV and spent more time plotting. I took on too much for my first attempt at a longer project.

One of the main flaws in my thinking was this: “Because I’ve read so many books and seen so many movies over the years, I don’t need to study plotting.”

Wrong.

Some of my friends can testify to me saying that to them. But as I started editing CM and looking at it from a critical perspective, I started to notice the flaws.

Because I hadn’t plotted, the storyline isn’t correct. And I also realized I had the wrong main character all along. I had never connected to the supposed main character, but really liked a secondary character. It turns out that the secondary character is the actual hero of the story.

While I’m sure that at some point I’ll be able to fix the problems with CM, I can’t do it right now. And there’s a point where trying to fix it will just make the issues worse, much like trying to untangle a pile of yarn—the more frustrated you get, the tighter the knots become.

I haven’t spent as much time as I should have studying the craft and learning about writing. There’s a lot of things I don’t know and a lot of things that I need to practice before I would try to implement them into CM.

I’ve been working on CM for two years. And I love every second I poured into writing it.

I’ve learned a lot and had tons of fun creating characters, crafting plot twists, and just simply writing. I learned how to write consistently, how to write when I don’t feel like it, how to bounce back from burnout, and many other valuable lessons.

While I’m really sad about giving up CM, I know taking a break will make me a stronger writer. In a few months, I plan on re-evaluating and see if my thoughts are still the same.

 

So, what will I be writing now?

Well, ever since I started this blog, it’s taken a backseat to CM. It’s time to invest more time and energy into writing posts. I’m tired of scrambling to write posts Friday so they can go up on Saturday.

But no more.

I’m working on a “vision statement” for blogging, to help me hone my focus and serve you all better!

Nonfiction writing is going to become more of a priority for me. I’m hoping to guest post more often and maybe get published on theReb again!

I’m also going to start brainstorming a new novel idea to practice on. I want to work on something without any tangles already in it so I can get better at writing. Then I can take what I learn and apply it to future novels, or maybe even CM!

I’m certainly not going to stop writing!

 

I hope you continue to walk this writing journey with me, plot twists and all!

 

 

Where’s Glendale?

This will be the final “Where’s Glendale?” post. Since he’s from CM, Glendale is also going on break. But this part of my blog isn’t leaving! In a couple weeks, there will be a new “blog mascot” up to the same antics as Glendale.

 

Glendale's "Glowing Away" Party
After a library program, there were a few tiny glow sticks left over. So I brought them home for Glendale, who decided to have a “lightsaber” duel with Yoda.

 

Writer’s Jargon: A Basic Dictionary

Writer’s Jargon: A Basic Dictionary

When I first joined the writing community, I was pretty much clueless when it came to writer jargon. When people talked about MCs, word sprints, and ships, I just skipped over those posts until I finally got enough courage to ask what those words meant.

Once I learned the terms, I started using them in my everyday conversations with my family. Then they had to ask me what they meant. 😅

So, I hope this quick guide will help you (whether you are a writer or not) to understand some of the slang us writers throw around.

 

Character Arc—A super basic definition is the inner change a character goes through over the course of the story. For example, in The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, Edmund goes from being a brat to being a noble king.

Charries—Slang for “characters.”

50k—Writers like to share word counts and the most common way is in the thousands. A book hits novel status around 60k.

Love Triangle—A love triangle happens when there is one girl who has two boys she likes (or who like her). Then she has to decide who she wants to be with. Or vice versa, one boy who likes two girls (or they like him). I’m not a fan of these.

MC—This is one I use all the time. It simply stands for “main character.”

NaNo or NaNoWriMo—A yearly event in November where writers try to write 50,000 words in a month.

Pantser—Someone who writes without an outline, i.e. by the seat of their pants. (more on pantsers)

Planner—Someone who outlines. (more on planners)

Plantser—Someone who is a combination of planner and pantser. (more on plantsers)

Ship—I personally don’t use this one, but I know lots of writers who do. A ship is when you take two characters you think should get married and mash their names together. For example, there are a lot of people who think that Kylo Ren and Rey are falling in love (they aren’t, they’re either siblings or cousins 😉). So, they call the ship, “Reylo.” Weird, right?

WIP—Work-in-progress. This is whatever the writer is working on at the time. Sometimes, we have multiple WIPs at the same time.

Word Sprint—Now that I know what these are, I love doing them! Word sprints are when you and another writer set a time to write together (usually around 30 minutes or so), then after the time is up, you share word counts. Some people view them as competitions and try to get more words than the other person. Others use them for concentration and accountability purposes.

Word War—The same thing as a word sprint.

 

While this certainly wasn’t an exhaustive list, I hope it helps you understand more of the “slang” in the writing community.

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com


 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale plays cello
After abandoning his attempts at piano, Glendale found an instrument his size–a cello! Just don’t tell him it’s a Christmas ornament.
The YDubs Conference 2019

The YDubs Conference 2019

(Featured image and this photo credit: Amie)

I still can’t believe that I actually got to go to the debut YDubs conference in North Carolina last week. It was a dream come true. (If you don’t know what YDubs is, go here to check it out!

If I had to describe it in one word I’d say: SPLENDIFEROUS!

Everything about it was so inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting. For the first two days there was nothing but laughter and smiles (and lots of hugs). The last day included more laughing, smiling, and hugging, but also some tears.

But enough words, let’s have some pictures!

Simon in my backpack
While I was packing, Simon decided my backpack would be a good place to nap.

Day One: June 11

It took us 8.5 hours to drive down. Thankfully I had plenty of books to read and my laptop so I could write a bit. My brother and I watched “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

Allison Grace
My face is glowing with excitement as we near the JAARS campus.

As soon as I walked in, I was attacked hugged by one of my best YDubber friends, Chloe!

Allison and Chloe
(I’m on the right. Photo credit: Chloe)

 

 

Then I got to talk to Josiah DeGraaf, one of YDubs writing instructors and editor of Story Embers! I was really nervous, but managed to not make a fool of myself.

Josiah DeGraaf and Allison Grace
(Thanks, Julia, for taking the photo!)

 

After playing an ice-breaker game, we all settled down for the conference.

Tessa Emily Hall
This is Tessa Emily Hall, author and agent.

 

Kara Swanson and Allison Grace
Between sessions, I got the chance to talk to Kara Swanson, YA author and YDubs instructor! She signed my copy of “The Girl Who Could See”!

 

Josiah DeGraaf
A blurry picture of Josiah talking passionately about creating emotions with your words.

 

Pizza!
We had Little Caesar’s pizza for dinner! I took all my notes with that pen and notebook.

 

Amie, Chloe, and Allison
Two of my dinner buddies! Amie and Chloe!
Cupcake
For dessert, I had this adorable typewriter cupcake! The frosting was even YDubs blue!

 

Pyramid

After dinner, I stayed inside and tried to write. (I wound up watching two YDubbers both named Sam trying to get another YDubber’s little sister to play with them. XD) Meanwhile, the rest of the group was building a writer pyramid. (Photo credit: Leah)

 

Group
From left to right: Me, Saige, Robin, Savannah, and Olivia.

 

Day Two: June 12

Wednesday was the only full day of the conference, and boy, was it a blast.

 

Kara Swanson
Isn’t Kara’s laptop sticker cute?

 

Tessa Emily Hall and Kara Swanson
Real life author and agent duo, Kara Swanson and Tessa Emily Hall!

During the lunch break, Julia (violin), Maddie (flute), Parker (piano), and Sam (viola) had an impromptu concert. They played “In Christ Alone.” It was amazing!

YDubs Concert

 

Savannah, Chloe, and Allison
My lovely lunch buddies! Savannah and Chloe! (Amie ate with us too, but she playing violin with Julia at this point.)

Before we ate, Savannah and I explored the JAARS campus gift shop and I bought some handmade earrings from Uganda, a couple gourd animals from Mexico, and a couple postcards. I went back later and got a purse I had my eye on. 😀

 

Q and A
Q. and A. session with Marita Wilson, Tessa Emily Hall, Josiah DeGraaf, and Kara Swanson.

 

During the dinner break, we had another concert and this time I got to play!

It started with Parker playing hymns on the piano. Ever so slowly, everyone in the auditorium gathered around, taking pictures and videos. He’s a phenomenal pianist.

When Sam and Julia got back from dinner, they got out their instruments and started to play. I asked Maddie if I could borrow her flute and she let me!

The four of us played “It Is Well” in the key of D by ear. I think we did pretty good for never having practiced together, plus no music!

The “concert” might be my favorite part of the conference. Music has a way of drawing people together.

Concert
Sam was pretending his bow was a sword and attacking Julia.

 

Alexis and Allison
This is me and my new friend Alexis while we listened to the concert before I joined in.

 

Allison Grace at YDubs Conference
Me! (Photo credit: Alexis)

 

It was raining, so we couldn’t take our group picture outside.

Group Photo
I believe it was Addison who brought the photo mats for all of us to sign (a fantabulous idea). I’m in the very front row in the middle with the blue shirt that says “YWW.” And yes, if you count there are only 6 guys in the huge mass of girls.

 

Day Three: June 13

While this day was as fun as the others, it was also very sad. I think we all would have gladly stayed another few days (or months) and kept writing, playing music, and laughing together.

Marita Wilson
Me with Marita Wilson (a.k.a. an incredible person), another YDubs writing instructor. (Thanks, Addison, for taking the photo!)

 

Tessa Emily Hall and Allison Grace
Me and Tessa Emily Hall. She signed my copy of “Coffee Shop Devos”!

 

Costume Day
Thursday was also costume day. I didn’t dress up, though. (It also stopped raining so we did get a group picture outside! I don’t know how it came out yet.)

 

Cami, Maddie, and Chloe
Cami, Maddie, and Chloe in their costumes! (Photo credit: Maddie)

 

Allison Grace
A wacky selfie I took while no one was paying attention.

 

YDubs Conference
I took this photo just before the last session. I almost cried through the whole thing.

 

 

The conference has been the highlight of my year so far and I really hope if there’s one next year that I can go again. It was so much fun and I made many wonderful memories. (And next time, I’ll bring my flute. XD)

 

Where’s Glendale?

So, I brought Glendale with me and he sat in my backpack during the entire conference. Did I remember to get him out and take a picture with him?

No. Of course not.

So here is Glendale, in the line for an Arby’s in West Virginia on the way home. (They gave us 22 ketchup packets for four sandwiches.)

Glendale in West Virginia

Arby's Ketchup

English Sonnets and Baseball Games

English Sonnets and Baseball Games

My last semester of high school, I studied Shakespeare’s tragedies (Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear) and various sonnets. One of my assignments was to write my own English sonnet.

I was inspired by the Irish tune “The Foggy Dew.” It’s beautifully haunting and one of my favorite pieces to play on my flute.

 

 

Midsummer’s day looked over war,
And now the soft shadow of night doth fall
Where long grass once rolled with heath of the moor.
Now death’s gentle cry rings out a chill call.
The haunting pipes long since ceased weeping,
Éire’s bold colors no longer sway proud.
And yet the fog comes quietly creeping
As if its dew could become the dead’s shroud.
Some hardly men from mother’s hearts torn,
Young they were, yet this world undeserving,
For many more dark nights their lovers mourn,
For true courage is always unswerving.
The dead have left this trembling jar of clay,
To live, to fight, to face another day.


Next week, I’ll be at a writing conference! When I return, I’ll share some photos and things I learned while there.

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Where’s Glendale?

 

Glendale at Progressive Field
Glendale got to attend his first baseball game at Progressive Field (home to the Cleveland Indians) on Wednesday! While we couldn’t stay for the entire game, we watched most of it. The Indians wound up winning! (Hooray!)

 

Popcorn
As we left during the rain delay, we passed this statue. There’s a spider web over the guy’s face. Someone apparently thought it would be a good idea to stick a piece of popcorn in it! I don’t think the spider is too happy about it. XD

 

 

 

The Ultimate Writing Conference Guide: You’re Finally Here–What To Do At The Conference

The Ultimate Writing Conference Guide: You’re Finally Here–What To Do At The Conference

You walk in the door of the conference and are instantly surrounded by the buzz of conversation and clusters of strangers with name tags.

Oh boy. What was I thinking? I can’t do this thing. Maybe I should go back to the car.

But you paid for it, so you decide to stick it out for the afternoon. Maybe you won’t come back tomorrow.

 

Most writers are introverts. (I am!) Conferences are scary. There are a bunch of strangers and most of them seem to know each other, leaving you by yourself.

Going to a writer’s conference gives you the chance to rebel against the stereotype. You get to leave the introvert at home. You finally get to see what it’s like to be your super extroverted character.

In reality, pretending to be extroverted is hard. Exhausting even.

Trust me, you aren’t the only introverted writer wishing the ground would swallow them up. Someone else is lonely and afraid. Your closest writing friend just might be the girl sitting by herself at lunch. You’ll never know if you don’t talk to her.

That brings us to the first point.

 

Don’t skip the meals

It’s tempting, I know, to just eat a cold sandwich in your hotel room instead of coming to the cafeteria for warm bacon and eggs. The food isn’t as good in your room, but there aren’t other people around.

But meals are a wonderful time for you to network. It’s not as intimidating as it might sound. Networking is just meeting other writers and building relationships. And it’s not just meeting other writers, it’s anyone you meet—your family, friends, co-workers, etc. If people know who you are and what you do, they might be able to pass on an opportunity to you. Then you do the same for them. Relationships aren’t just one-sided.

Besides, you might get to eat dinner with a faculty member! Just don’t shove your way to the table where the author is sitting. Don’t be pushy or obnoxious about it.

 

So, I’ve (hopefully) convinced you to join the dinner crowd. Now what?

Ask the Golden question, “What are you writing?”

That is almost guaranteed to get people talking. Everyone here at the conference is a writer. And often you even write the same genre (sci-fi, fantasy, historical, etc.) or category (non-fiction, Christian fiction, secular fiction, etc.). You’re among kindred spirits.

This is when you’ll need to know what you are writing about.

Sometimes, people hesitate to share their ideas, thinking someone is going to steal it. While you certainly don’t want to share every little detail of your work-in-progress, you don’t want to sit there in silence.

Sure, people might steal your idea. But most writers have tons of other ideas that they came up with that they would rather focus on. And if you just share the basic premise or themes, even if they take your idea, the stolen story won’t be the same as your original idea. Besides, they’d have to pour hours into fleshing out your idea and writing it.

 

Don’t forget to exchange contact info!

If you meet someone really interesting over lunch or maybe in line for the bathroom, exchange emails. Be sure to write your name on a slip of paper along with your contact information, particularly if your email is something like ilovecookies@myemail.com. Or if you brought business cards, use those!

It might be a good idea for you to take note where you met the person and if you were supposed to email them something, like your first chapter or links to your blog and social media.

You might find long-lasting writing friendships this way!

(Tip: Contact everyone you exchanged info with as soon as you get home. They’ll have a better chance of remembering you that way. This is a good place to say, “Hey, we sat next to each other during DiAnn Mills’ keynote and talked about YA fantasy.” Just remind them who you are, and include anything you were supposed to. This shows you are responsible and eager to interact with them. Don’t be upset if you don’t get a response. It’s happened to me.)

 

Above all, remember to be kind.

Sit with the lonely people. Talk with the people no one else is.

Show yourself to be a different kind of person.

People remember kind words and actions more than you realize.

 

A final word before I wrap up this series. I’m not saying you have to be friends with everyone at the conference, exchange emails with everyone at your lunch table, or that you have to attend every activity.

What I am saying is that you need to break out of your comfort zone. Set little goals for yourself before you go. For my first conference, I set the goal of “talk to at least two or three people.” You could decide to try and ask a question in at least two sessions.

Having little goals like that can help you to get the most out of your conference experience.

 

Writing conferences are exciting steps in your journey as a writer. Going to one shows you are committed to your craft and that you are eager to learn and make connections.

They are nerve-wracking, and sometimes occasionally horrible experiences. But don’t give up on them. Every time you will learn something new.

Just remember to have fun. Go with the flow and don’t get upset if you make a mistake or miss a session.

Good luck!

 

 

Did you miss the previous posts in this series? Find them here!

How To Pick A Conference

How To Prepare–What To Do Before You Go

What To Pack–The Essential Tools

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale with "The Way of Kings"
Glendale with my latest achievement–The Way of Kings. It’s 1258 pages long! And yes, I did accidentally crack the spine. ;D
The Ultimate Guide To Writing Conferences: What To Pack–The Essential Tools You’ll Need at a Writing Conference

The Ultimate Guide To Writing Conferences: What To Pack–The Essential Tools You’ll Need at a Writing Conference

It’s time! The conference is almost upon you and it’s time to start packing. But you freeze, unsure of what to take. You certainly don’t want to forget anything.

Here are some of the essentials:

 

Backpack or other sturdy bag

You’ll want a nice big bag to carry your papers and books around in at the conference. Take something that zips so you don’t dump your stuff all over the floor.

 

Comfortable shoes

Wear some shoes you don’t mind running in. (i.e. not high heels) You’ll often be cutting it close to get to sessions (particularly if they are in different buildings) and you don’t want to be tripping over yourself.

 

Nice clothes

It’s a good idea to dress up a bit for a conference, but it depends on the event. Some are definitely dressier and with others, like Realm Makers, you can get away with being a bit more casual. Generally, you don’t want to wear T-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, or ratty jeans. The best thing to do is see if there are any pictures on the site of previous conferences. You’ll want to imitate what others are wearing.

If you still aren’t sure, a nice top with jeans is a good middle ground. For girls, a skirt is also a good choice.

You’ll be around authors, agents, editors, and other writers. You want to leave a good impression.

Dress in layers and take a jacket. You never know if the air conditioning will be broken or turned up way too high. Or it might be raining as you run from one building to another. Be prepared for anything.

 

Camera

You’ll want to capture your experiences at the conference. The camera on your phone is a good choice.

 

Paper and Pencils/Pens

I know some people like to take notes on their laptops or tablets, but it’s a good idea to take some paper just in case your battery dies. Or your tech breaks down. (Totally never happens.)

 

Business Cards

If you have business cards, you’ll want to take them. You can exchange them with fellow writers or even with an author!

 

Folder and/or envelope

This will keep all the handouts, flyers, and business cards organized instead of in a scattered pile at the bottom of your bag. (Tip: pick up all the free things. You can sort them when you get home. You’ll never know what you might pick up!)

 

Books you want autographed

If an author you love is going to be there, by all means take their book! They’d be happy to sign it. (Don’t forget to ask if you can get a picture with them!)

 

Money to buy more books

Conferences have tables of books written by the faculty and sometimes by other attendees. Take cash (they might only accept cash or their credit card machine might break) so you don’t spend your entire checking account. Create a budget and stick to it!

 

Take a sample of your writing

It’s a great idea to take the first chapter of your work-in-progress with you. If you don’t have a first chapter, take an article you wrote, a blog post, or even an outline! Then if you’re talking to someone and they say, “Hey, that’s an awesome idea. I’d love to read it someday,” you can reply, “I actually have the first chapter with me. Want to read it?”

Be sure you take at least two hard copies with you. That way if someone forgets to give it back or they write on it, you have another copy.

 

I know that’s a lot to remember, so here is a free, downloadable packing list!

Click the link to download! Writing Conference Packing List

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale with Simon
Simon wasn’t very thrilled to be drafted into posing with Glendale. Particularly as it interrupted his nap.

 

Reese
Reese was jealous of Simon getting all the attention. So I had to take a picture of her too.
The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: How To Prepare–What To Do Before You Go

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: How To Prepare–What To Do Before You Go

Welcome back! Today we’re talking about preparing for a writing conference. If you missed last week’s post, you can find it here: How to pick a conference

After you have picked the conference you wish to attend and registered, there are a few things you should do before you arrive.

 

Conference Schedule

Print off the conference schedule, which should be easily found on their website and/or social media.

Then, take a highlighter and pick what sessions you want to attend. If you can’t make up your mind yet, don’t worry! Sometimes sessions are moved or canceled, making the choice easier for you.

Looking over the schedule beforehand helps you to be better prepared when you actually arrive. It prevents you from rushing your choices while standing in the lobby, five minutes before the first speaker starts.

Be sure to take your highlighted schedule to the conference. They’ll give you the most recent one when you come in, but this way you can quickly mark your new one with all the sessions you wanted to attend. Always follow the schedule they give you at the door. You don’t want to get caught off guard with canceled or moved sessions.

This is also a good time to schedule your author/agent/editor appointment. Not all conferences have these, but most bigger ones will. You’ll want to grab your spot as soon as possible. Be sure to read the short bios about who you could meet. You certainly don’t want to show up to talk about your YA fantasy to a guy who said he only wanted to talk about devotionals for children. (Tip: a week or two before the conference, check out the sign-up sheet again. You might be able to get a bonus appointment.)

 

Research the Speakers

This is pretty fun to do. On the website, there should be a list of all the professionals attending. They are sometimes called the “faculty.”

You’ll probably want to print this off too.

Study the brief bios and link the headshots with names, so you can recognize the faculty. This will help you feel a bit less nervous. If you know what an agent looks like, you won’t sit down at your appointment and wonder who the strange man sitting across from you is.

Take extra time researching the person you have a one-on-one appointment with. Go to their website. If they’ve written books, read one, or at least study their summaries. Follow them on social media if you can.

Learn as much about them as you can and always remember, they aren’t superheroes. They are human too. If you get a chance to casually talk to them (over a meal, standing in line, before a session) try asking them about their dog or something unrelated to writing. Show a genuine interest in them.

 

Prepare Your Questions

If you have a one-on-one appointment, write out the questions you want to ask before you go. Make a crazy list of every question you can think of, serious or ridiculous. Then, organize them by importance, deleting the really dumb ones (like “Do you like Star Wars?” I wrote that one down once while brainstorming questions.).

Take your list to your appointment. Don’t be upset if you don’t get through all of them or if you get off track. That’s why you put the most important questions at the beginning. If you have follow-up questions, ask them! If you don’t understand something, ask them to clarify. And don’t forget to take notes—write down writing tools they recommend, websites, publications, books, etc.

 

Know What You Are Writing About

When someone asks you what you’re writing about, it’s super easy to freeze, then mumble, “uh, it’s about an elf and a bunch of humans in the woods.” Be prepared, don’t worry about memorizing anything, just be sure to have a good grasp on the gist of your story. For example, with my WIP, I could say, “It’s a YA fantasy about a group of humans and elves trying to put the true king back on the throne after he was ousted from the throne by his younger brother.”

 

I hope these four tips help you to be better prepared when you attend your writing conference! The most important thing to remember is to be confident, no matter how much you prepared. Just because you know a bunch of facts about the faculty doesn’t mean that the conference will go smoothly for you. But being prepared lowers the chances of a bad experience.

 

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale listens to music
Glendale would like to inform you of the best way to listen to epic soundtracks. He says you can feel the sound in your entire body, even your feet! I wonder why… ;D

 

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: Where to Go–How to Pick a Conference

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: Where to Go–How to Pick a Conference

Summer is writing conference season. I hope this four part series will help you to be able to easily navigate the overwhelming mess conferences can be.

The first thing you need to do is pick the conference you wish to attend. And there are thousands of conferences around the country. There are Christian conferences, secular, fantasy, romance, basically anything you can think of, there’s probably a conference for it.

I told you. It’s overwhelming.

Here are a handful of ideas to help you narrow down your choices.

 

Consider the Geography

Conferences are all over the place. And if you’re like me, you can’t easily get across the country. It’s too expensive for one thing, and you might not be allowed to travel on your own.

When you search for conferences, search by area. A good way to start is your state (if you live in the USA). It’s really easy, just type “writing conferences in Michigan” into your favorite search engine.

 

Consider Your Writing “Level”

When picking a conference to attend, you should keep in mind if you are ready for that level of a conference.

You don’t want to go to the most prestigious conference possible if you are just starting out, even if you have the opportunity.

It might be a good idea for you to start off with a smaller conference. My first conference was a one day event in my state. It was tiny, but it gave me more confidence when I went to my first “big” one.

 

Consider Who Will Go With You

Some conferences require minors to be accompanied by an adult at all times. Or maybe your parents don’t want to you traveling by yourself. Perhaps you have a physical disability that prevents you from traveling solo.

It’s really fun to go to a conference with another person, even if they aren’t a writer. I’ve gone with my mom. Maybe you could convince your parents, a sibling, grandparent, or family friend to go with you.

Taking someone you know prevents you from “sitting by yourself” syndrome. It also means you can possibly split up and go to different sessions and then exchange notes.

 

Consider a Christian Conference

My writing mentor told me to be sure to attend Christian writing conferences. She told me she had a bad experience at a secular conference—people talking about inappropriate things.

Christian conferences certainly aren’t perfect. You have different issues to worry about, such as wacky theology, but you (most likely) won’t run into inappropriate discussions.

 

I hope those tips help you narrow down your choices! Tune in next week for some tips to help you prepare for your conference!

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale the Grad
I graduated yesterday! Though the cake topper is a bit to big for Glendale, he enjoyed posing with it.

Glendale the Grad

Glendale the Grad

Beatrix Potter: Finding Inspiration in God’s Creation

Beatrix Potter: Finding Inspiration in God’s Creation

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think that great writing inspiration comes from something amazing. Something spectacular. Something so out of the ordinary that it hits me over the head, screaming, “HI THERE, I’M YOUR INSPIRATION!”

But not all inspiration comes like that. Sure, there have been a few times that I’ve been “struck by inspiration,” but most of the time, ideas spring from ordinary things.

The famous children’s author, Beatrix Potter, got her inspiration from the natural world around her.

Growing up, she and her brother Bertram were mostly left to their own devices. They owned a wild variety of animals, not limited to: lizards, birds, bats, mice, and rabbits. They even owned a snake named Sally.

Beatrix loved to draw and paint with watercolors. Her most common subjects were her pets.

She also had a fascination with mushrooms (like me) and studied them intensely (unlike me). She painted many of them, even finding a few rare species.

At age 37, Beatrix bought a farm in the Lake District—the very northernmost part of England, just south of Scotland. She called it “Hilltop Farm.”

She loved country life, returning to her land every chance she had. She raised sheep and pigs, planted gardens, and walked the countryside.

Here, she found much of her inspiration for some of her later books. The villagers loved finding their houses (and cats) in her adorable illustrations. I imagine it became quite the competition between them.

 

“But,” you might be saying, “Beatrix Potter wrote children’s books. I’m writing for teens. I’m not writing about bunnies. How does this apply to me?”

Everything we write about flows from God’s creation in some way. Even fantasy creatures.

Think about it, if I asked you to describe one of your fantastical creations, you’d describe it as “dragonlike” or “a combination of a tiger and a shark.”

Aren’t dragons, tigers, and sharks all animals from God’s creation?

It is worthwhile for us as writers to study the natural world around us. Even if we aren’t outdoor people.

Sometimes, the greatest inspiration comes from a walk in the woods, or even just down your street!

Just look at Beatrix.

🐇🐰🐇

Fun Facts about Beatrix:

  • She began her career by painting Christmas cards. She was paid six pounds. (About $8.)
  • When she tried to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit for the first time, she received six rejections. Back then, there weren’t as many publishing houses as there are now.
    She was determined to get her little book printed, so she “self-published,” hiring a printer to make 250 copies, most of which were bought by her aunts.
    She paid eleven pounds ($14) for them to be printed and received about thirteen pounds ($17) from selling them.
  • She hated drawing people. Once, her brother mistook Mr. McGregor’s ear to be his nose! She much preferred her furry friends.
  • In 1910, she created her very own Peter Rabbit doll. She struggled to find a company to make them, but eventually found one.
    Reminds me of Glendale. Maybe she had a section on her website called “Where’s Peter?” 😋

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

Where’s Glendale? Flashback!

Glendale reads a book
Glendale discovered Beatrix’s books at the library a few months ago.

 

Special Thanks to Beatrix herself!

Allison Grace and Beatrix Potter
Thank you for letting me take notes on your presentation for this post!
That’s The Ballgame–A Poem

That’s The Ballgame–A Poem

I wrote this poem a few years ago. It’s still one of my favorites.

 

 

Bottom of the ninth,

Home team down by two.

 

Bases loaded,

Two outs.

 

The first pitch,

Graceful curve,

Low, ball one.

 

The next throw,

Fast and quick,

Swing and miss.

 

A high ball,

Slow and just outside.

 

In the dirt,

Then a swing,

Full count.

 

The crowd is on its feet,

Jumping,

            Roaring,

                        Screaming,

                                    Stomping.

 

The batter grips the bat,

Heart pounding,

Hands sweaty.

 

This one swing,

Just one more,

And the game could be over.

 

The pitcher winds up,

Deep breath,

Flying high.

 

Swing.

Crack.

Foul.

 

The crowd is louder,

Whipped into a frenzy,

Clapping,

                        Shouting,

                                    Waving,

                                                Staring.

 

The pitch,

The batter swings.

Contact.

 

Soaring high,

Into right field.

Up.

Up.

Up.

Past the foul posts,

Past the outfielders,

 Over the wall,

Out of the park.

 

Grand Slam.

 

And because I love baseball, have some photos.

 

Francisco Lindor stepping up to bat. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor stepping up to bat. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor again. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor again. Progressive Field 2017
Jose Ramirez at Spring Training. Arizona 2018.
Jose Ramirez at Spring Training. Arizona 2018.

 

Where’s Glendale?

Meet Rebekah, Avendor's rightful queen.
Wait! That’s not Glendale! May I present to you, Rebekah, the rightful queen of Avendor. *cue applause* I adore her gown, and I’m not a clothes person.

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Talk to me!

Do you like baseball as much as I do? Did you miss Glendale this week? What’s your favorite snack to eat while watching baseball (or any sport for that matter)?