Road to Realm Makers 2017: A Recap

Road to Realm Makers 2017: A Recap

Each year I’ve gone to Realm Makers, I’ve had major expectations. I expect to hear excellent instruction on writing. I expect to make new connections and to see people dressed up and having fun at the annual costume-optional banquet. And I definitely expect to be inspired to take on my dreams and plans and… Sometimes

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We All Start Somewhere

We All Start Somewhere

“Mommy! I just drawed a letter!” My three-year-old sang from behind a coloring book, wielding a crayon with a flourish. “Nice job,” I replied distractedly, as many parents do in response to the thousandth summons by a toddler for attention. “Which one did you draw?” She lifted the page, full of multicolored scribbles. “C.” And

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6 Practical Ways to Inspire Creativity | J.J. Johnson

6 Practical Ways to Inspire Creativity  |  J.J. Johnson

I have been staring at a blinking cursor for fifteen minutes, working on a blog post that I waited until the last second to write.  And the truth is… I’m drained. Whether I’m wrestling with two crazy boys, or conquering mountains of laundry, sweeping up the crumbs that magically appear on a hardwood floor, emptying

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The Ministry of Words | Sheri Yutzy

The Ministry of Words | Sheri Yutzy

Writers are the word-shapers of the world. We are quirky, creative, and sometimes solitary, but above all, we use words to invite the light of Christ. As a writer, I can minister to the hurting, confused, and downcast of the world through stories and articles. Including myself. When we as writers put words on the

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Finding the Soul of your Story | Lani Forbes

Finding the Soul of your Story | Lani Forbes

Much to my husband’s dismay, I could watch the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha” over and over again for the rest of my life. Like a good wife, I tricked him into watching it with me by promising it was about World War II. I conveniently forgot to mention that it was a Cinderella story

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How to use games for world building

How to use games for world building

World building. There are tons of places to find inspiration for your fictional landscapes, cultures, and conflicts in your story. New writers are told to read what you want to write, not to copy, but to emulate. Books, movies, current events — they’re all fair game. But some of the most influential slices of entertainment

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What to do with a rejection letter

What to do with a rejection letter

We’re coming up to the end of August, which for lots of people means the start of a new school year – and for everyone, it’s the beginning of autumn (bring on the pumpkin-spiced everything!). But for us at Crosshair Press, it’s the end. The end of novel edits (this is where those of you

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Realm Makers 2016: A New Trope

Realm Makers 2016: A New Trope

Note: This was supposed to be about 700 words. There is no way, my friends. No way that’s happening. In fact, this will probably my closest attempt to publishing a full-length novel. I hope you enjoy. (Feat. photo credit: Gretchen Kuykendall Engel) When I mention Realm Makers to folks, they always ask me what it

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Writing from Real Life

Writing from Real Life

If you’re a writer, and even if you’re not, odds are you’ve heard the adage, “Write what you know.” And if you’re a writer, it’s probable you’ve sat and thought, “I know about grocery shopping, my work, and living in the suburbs. There’s nothing exciting about what I know.” And so we sit and we

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What if?

What if?

Did you ever play the “What if?” game? Not necessarily the “What if I could go back in time and tell my 16-year-old self not to date that jerk,” version. No. On a bigger scale. Think more along the lines of, “What if Napoleon had successfully invaded England?” “What if Germany had won World War

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Choosing the right words

Choosing the right words

I am nothing if not a grammar nerd. This fact is embarrassingly obvious as I’ve been doing research for my Western/slightly-Steampunk story, due out later this year. The way words were once used versus our common usage today has always fascinated me. When writers build worlds, whether real or imaginary, the words we use in description

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