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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Life as a Student Author | Dakota Caldwell

Life as a Student Author | Dakota Caldwell

Authors. Of all the careers in the world (with maybe the exception of the pope and deep space explorers), this particular profession elicits more mystery, reverence, and respect than any other. I mean, when someone asks you what you’re doing, tell them that you’re writing a book. Watch their reactions and tell me if I’m

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My Word for 2017

My Word for 2017

There is so much buzz going around about the year 2016, how terrible/surprising/tragic/ridiculous it was. While I felt a few personal blows last year, something more overshadowed my experience in the past ~365 days. A foul cloud of discouragement and cynicism hovered over 2016. And yet I’m not sure that this year was really worse than any other. I joined

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Creating traditions to remember

Creating traditions to remember

Do you have any holiday traditions that you loved when you were younger? For me, I loved waking up bright and early on Christmas morning. Yeah, I’m one of those. I loved tiptoeing down the hallway (on the edges of the rust-colored carpeting, so the floor wouldn’t creak and give me away), and seeing the

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Living with Intentional Thanksgiving

Living with Intentional Thanksgiving

I want to focus on gratefulness today.  I need to. Not just because it’s traditional to drown November in memes and quotes about thankfulness. But because the current state of the world makes me want to bury my head back into my pillow and hide under my cozy covers forever. My social media has worn

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When Crying’s A Good Thing

When Crying’s A Good Thing

A fellow writer recently asked a group of us (also writers), “When you read a book or watch a movie, what moments in those works make you Ugly Cry?” We’re not talking a solitary tear rolling down your cheek. Oh, no. We’re looking for what makes you bawl like a toddler who’s just been informed

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The Cookie of Fortune

The Cookie of Fortune

The salty odor of frying noodles added depth to the tang of chargrilled pork and hoisin sauce. Sweet enough to cling to the back of Jim’s throat and just earthy enough to make his stomach rumble in anticipation. Gaijin had the best Asian cuisine in San Francisco. No contest. Jim’s stomach gnawed on his spine

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Why people are worth your time

Why people are worth your time

This blog post is late. Here’s why: I’m writing to you from a messy place in my life. The dishes aren’t done, the floor could use a vacuum, and there’s an ever-present email list I need to tackle. Today — read, this week — didn’t go as planned. I had goals to divide and conquer.

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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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Sharing what you love – A Ren Faire experience

Sharing what you love – A Ren Faire experience

We went to the local Renaissance Faire this weekend. It wasn’t the biggest one I’ve attended, but it was a really enjoyable event. The day was gorgeous, sunny with a cool breeze. Perfect for wandering amongst costumed anachronistic characters welcoming us as, “milord, milady,” declaring our toddler’s stroller her “royal carriage,” and gasping at our

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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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