Five Links 12/14/19 Traci Kenworth

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Five Links 12/14/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “One of my favorite comedies from the 1940s Is The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. This little gem (with an Academy Award-winning screenplay by Sidney Sheldon) stars Cary Grant as the bachelor, Shirley Temple as the bobby-soxer, and Myrna Loy as a judge who happens to be Shirley’s big sister.

The plot is simple. Grant gives a speech at Shirley’s high school, and Shirley becomes infatuated with him. Grant has to fight her off even as her suspicious sister brings the arm of the law down upon him. I’ll bet you can guess who Grant ends up romancing. It’s all great fun, especially a scene where Grant takes on the persona of a teenager for a little bit of payback.”


3. “Conflict is very often the magic sauce for generating tension and turning a ho-hum story into one that rivets readers. As such, every scene should contain a struggle of some kind. Maybe it’s an internal tug-of-war having to do with difficult decisions, morals, or temptations. Or it possibly could come from an external source—other characters, unfortunate circumstances, or the force of nature itself.

It’s our hope that this thesaurus will help you come up with meaningful and fitting conflict options for your stories. Think about what your character wants and how best to block them, then choose a source of conflict that will ramp up the tension in each scene.”

4. “Start with a Definition

Summarizing for the reader.

Reporting information.

Letting the reader draw her own conclusions.
Using action, thoughts, senses, and feelings to allow the reader to experience the story for herself.

Now let’s take this abstract idea and make it concrete.

TELLING is writing:
He was short.                                                    

SHOWING is writing:”

5. “You might not realize it. But it’s very possible you’re not dreaming “big” enough.

Oh, I know — I, too, thought I had gone as close to the edge of realistic possibility with my dreams as I could. With every dream there does come a point where you have to ask yourself: “Am I really capable of doing this? Do I have the resources and time and capacity to make this happen?” Sometimes, you do have to make adjustments.

But that should NEVER stop you from aiming high. And strangely, it is much easier to say this when it’s someone else trying to hold you back than when you are the one holding yourself back.

We get so caught up in our own thoughts and beliefs that we often don’t even realize when we are talking ourselves so far down we become convinced what we want, at least in some capacity, is not possible.

But it is. At least, it is if we MAKE it possible.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “It has been a busy week at the homestead with the new fence up and awaiting staining once the weather dries out a bit… excellent job by the workmen who stuck it out through wind, hail, pouring rain, up to the knees in mud… brilliant. Now we need to put tons of stones down for drainage all along the bottom covered by more tons of topsoil and new turf.. The last major job before we put the house on the market in the spring.”

2. ““I think I accomplished what I set out to do today. The Fulminites are terrifying, and no root monsters were killed in this adventure.”

“You killed the Fulminites though.”

“Did I, or did they do that themselves?”

Flattop, the root monster, sat beside my iPad. “Whew! Modders all go splat, but okey dokey at the end. Then get to throw hailstones.”

“I thought you guys deserved a bit of fun.”

“I like how Fēngbào came out, Lisa said.”

3. “A critical part of writing a good book—and a good pitch or proposal for a book—is defining your book’s audience.

We all know, of course, that you shouldn’t try to write a book “for everyone.” But your book’s audience can be an elusive target. I suggest three distinct and mutually exclusive phases for the process, which apply primarily to nonfiction but could also be kept in mind for various forms of fiction.

Define your reader clearly, specifically, even singularly, as you write. When I was an editor of a teen magazine (back when teens were mostly concerned with fighting off dinosaurs and getting their own room in the family cave), I kept two school snapshots taped to either side of my computer monitor. Both were kids who had attended the church I had pastored before taking on the editorial position. One was a fifteen-year-old white, lower-middle-class girl, and the other was a sixteen-year-old African-American boy from an upper middle-class family. They were my audience. Everything in that magazine had to pass their test, so to speak.”

4. “During the first draft of a novel, the writing can sometimes be pretty ordinary. We are intent on getting the story on paper and we write what we are familiar with. The challenge is to freshen everything up in the second draft. Here are just a few pointers that haven’t been covered here in a while:

AVOID clichés and shop-worn phrases.

I recently edited a book and the author wanted to keep all the clichés, defending her stance with the fact that people use clichés all the time. She didn’t seem to understand that that is the main reason a good author avoids them. Give the reader something fresh and original. Another author tried to justify her clichés by pointing out how many books get published that have them. My response was that that doesn’t make it okay.

How many times have you read something like: Her heels clicked across the hard tile of the floor? That is okay writing, but it could be stronger.”

5. “One of the most common habits I see burdening stories is overemphasis on conversational tags, which goes hand in hand with not making good use of action tags. Here’s an example I just made up:

“No,” she exclaimed. She looked at the the pot of stew bubbling on the stove and saw red juice splattering. She began to stir.

Unable to resist multitasking, I demonstrated several bad habits in the above sample of poor writing.

First, punctuation. When a character exclaims, use an exclamation point.


Some Things More Serious:

1. “Do you want to write more but feel frustrated at your lack of time? Are you doing ‘busy’ work instead of moving toward your creative goals? Is your To-Do list overwhelming?

It’s time to stop, reassess and take control. Productivity for Authors will help you discover the path to becoming a productive writer.”

2. “ensitivity readers have been on our radar for the last few years, and in some circles they’ve even become controversial. Here’s a brief overview of what sensitivity readers do so that you can decide whether to consider incorporating them into your process.

What do sensitivity readers do?

They typically read unpublished manuscripts early in the editing process, giving feedback on sensitive cultural issues, accurate racial portrayals, and concerns about bias or stereotypes represented in the book.”

3. “Hi, Gang, Craig with you again. I need to come up with a post, and this one has been gnawing at me for a while now. Recently, I struggled with a section of a draft I’m working on, and the best solution was to just write it. It came out pretty good, so I’m taking that approach today.

Various experts write about our unique author voice, and how to find it. Is it missing under the couch? Maybe behind the dust bunny? Did the dog swallow it?” I think it finds you when it’s ready. It’s all part of the confidence you grow into through experimentation with writing tools.

4. “In the following weeks, I will be highlighting past articles on various topics from the previous years’ posts.

The following information on genre can also be found in the book Story Building Blocks The Four Layers of Conflict in ebook and print editions. Much of the material from my Story Building Block series is available in my blog posts and on my website ( along with free forms.

This week, I begin with the importance of defining the type of story you wish to tell your readers.”

5. “Most writers have more story or marketing ideas than they have time for. If we don’t intentionally prioritize, the urgent or the easy or the involves-others projects will weed out what we most want to accomplish.

Last week, I was excitedly talking to someone about a new opportunity, and it wasn’t until a day or two later that I realized I needed to pass. As cool as their idea was, it would take time and effort away from other projects I’m doing—projects that are more meaningful to me.

We simply have to say “no” to some projects so that we can say “yes” to others.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:






Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction at the hands of the invading Kargs, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry. So, at the age of 13, the boy receives his true name – Ged – and gives himself over to the gentle tutelage of the Master Ogion. But impatient with the slowness of his studies and infatuated with glory, Ged embarks for the Island of Roke, where the highest arts of wizardry are taught. There, Ged’s natural talents enable him to surpass his classmates in little time. But when his vanity prompts him to summon Elfarran, the fair lady of the Deed of Enlad, he unleashes a shapeless mass of darkness – the shadow.

Series: The Earthsea Cycle (Book 1)
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Parnassus Press (1968)
Page Count: 205

I’ve seen people recommending Ursula K Le Guin for years. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about her until her passing in 2018. I saw all of the blog posts across the community about how much Le Guin meant to so many people. But because of all of these heartfelt words I’ve wanted to read some of her work. I also saw Studio Ghibli’s Tales of Earthsea. The world seemed so fun, I really wanted to dive into it.”

2. “asha Suri’s fantasy debut novel inspired by Mughal India, is a gorgeous novel and one that I found deeply affecting—I loved it so much that it was my choice for Book of the Year in 2018 with its rich storytelling, fascinating world, and beautiful writing. Most of all, I was enchanted by the main characters and the vividly drawn relationships, especially the slow burn romance that grew from respect and common values, and its exploration of choice and connection.

Realm of Ash, the second novel in The Books of Ambha, was one of my most anticipated books of 2019, possibly even my most anticipated book of the year given my fondness for Tasha Suri’s first novel—and just like her debut, it’s a gorgeous book. It’s difficult to say which of the two I enjoyed more, even though I preferred the main characters and love story in the first and thought this one was slower overall. It still has a lovely slow build romance, wonderful characters, and the quality storytelling, world building, and writing that I appreciated about the first, but it’s also a more mature, complex book. It kept me reading late into the night and is one of those special books I expect to reread in the future despite the never-ending pile of books I want to read for the first time.

In short: I loved Realm of Ash and found it deeply affecting, just like Empire of Sand.”

3. happens when you’re living the good life after retirement and your world suddenly turns upside down? Will and Cass Henderson learn the truth after a family member is murdered, but no one believes them because they’re the prime suspects. The Hendersons have a red-eyed killer in the family, and they’re next on its kill list”

4. “Prior to starting my blog in October 2016, I had only ever written a book review for school purposes. Those were grudge purchases and done with the aim of getting a good mark not highlighting for other readers the pros and cons of the book.

Since I started blogging, I have written over 150 book reviews and have gradually developed a method of assessing a book and a style of writing book reviews. Although I read all sorts of books from poetry and memoir to children’s books and thrillers and horror books. I read both classic books and contemporary novels.

I have five primary pillars that I consider, to a greater or lessor extent depending on the genre and nature of the book, when writing a book review.”

5. “No Entry is a young adult story dealing with elephant poaching in South Africa.

The setting appealed to me and the first few pages intrigued me enough to want to read on. The story is fast-paced, but sometimes the speed of movement between the scenes had me questioning how characters knew particular details while the reader was left behind.

I enjoyed the descriptions and animals at Kruger National Park, while the elephant poaching was an horrific element. I also found the story informative about the harsher side of living in this part of the world. However, the author relied heavily on ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’ the reader the details, with information dumps, rather than blending fact with fiction with subtle narrative and realistic dialogue.  I like books that have something to say, and educate me, but the ‘purpose’ of the book should never take over from the story, or the reader can feel as if they are”

6 thoughts on “Five Links 12/14/19 Traci Kenworth

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