Choose Your Own Adventure: Part 1

Posted by Rachel on May 14, 2018 in action, characters, discovery, practice, writer's sketch |

Unlike other flowers, this one must be grown in the dark. It needs water every now and then like most plant-life, and seems to perk up when you play it the guitar, but what gets it to glow it’s soft, sun-bright yellow color are the secrets it feeds on.

The delicate beauty was a gift from your grandmother as a seed. A golden pebble that once bestowed into a suitable pot in the dark began to grow only once you accidentally revealed the first secret to it: you had loathed your grandmother for leaving you nothing but a worthless seed. However, after it’s true purpose came to light, like a waterfall the secrets poured from you with haste.

Now, you’ve told it all you can give to sustain the radiant elegance of its shimmer, but the light is growing dim. Perhaps you might think it’s time to let the rarity go and find another once-in-a-lifetime plant, but the secrets you tell this flower help it to produce a heart-shaped fruit that when consumed can cure any ailment.

People come to you from far and wide, placing their name on an ever-growing list to procure from you this precious fruit. As the names become longer, the flower dims. The biggest secret of them all is that no one knows it is these very secrets that grow the curious plant. Slowly, the patrons become agitated, visiting more regularly, begging for their life-saving fruit to be delivered, but you can’t. Supply cannot keep up with demand and you must find more secrets to feed the plant.

Moving the plant is not an option for travel exposes it to dangerous weather that may burn or snap it’s fragile stems. So those secrets must be deliver to it from the lips of their owner. And you cannot give away these precious truths so willingly.

Faced with a choice, you wonder how to obtain new secrets. Fearing the decisions that must be reached to promote more growth, you receive a knock on the door. It is no regular visitor, but your very best friend. Asking for their help is an option, but so is dragging them to the depths and forcing out their secrets.

What do you do?


Shelved Stories

Posted by Rachel on February 25, 2018 in activity, agent, audience, characters, discovery, editing, musings, outline, plot, query, writing |

Today, I’m thinking about shelved stories.

Those lonely ideas you treasured once upon a time that are now stuck in a state of completion but are no longer relevant. Maybe they couldn’t make it when you queried, or couldn’t catch an eye on sub, perhaps they’re the stories your readers and writing friends thought needed too much work for you to continue. Whatever the reason, they’re stuck on the shelf, with no purpose…right?

Those old shelved ideas can be useful in a lot of ways!

Help You Grow:

The hours and effort you put into a story passion is never wasted and the amount of work that went into these shelved ideas is no different. Through the course of writing, I’m sure you found ways to develop your craft or tweak your writing process. Each story is a step in the right direction, so every shelved book helped you grow to where you are today.

Provide Text:

While the ideas and plot may be very different book to book, perhaps your old writing could be repurposed and bits could be used in a new novel. It might be a description worth a few words, the way you pulled a sentence together, or maybe even whole paragraphs. Those old words might be able to find a new home in your current project so it’s worth reviewing past text for hidden gems.

Learn From Mistakes:

If a concept didn’t come together, or didn’t sell the way you wanted, take the lessons learned from that experience to heart. I’ve found character issues, pacing problems, or even the way ideas intermix to be what held different stories back and I’ve kept that in mind for future books. So thank your shelved projects for lighting the way down a new and more polished path.

Reimagine Old Ideas:

For some of our shelved books, they will never see the light of day again. You know the one! But, maybe there’s an idea buried in its pages that could contribute to something new. Perhaps that lump of inspiration could be planted in a better garden and blossom into a shiny new concept. Take from those well-rested stories your best bits and give them a better platform, a new opportunity for success.

A Good Laugh: 

Let’s be honest, some of these shelved books that should stay hidden could be good for a laugh or two if you have the time. Reading old writing can be hard to get through, sure, but it can also highlight where you’ve come from and where you’re going, too!

A New Start

Maybe this story was the one that got away. The concept you always knew in your heart could make it but for whatever reason didn’t. After time away and new perspective, it could be the right time for a fresh beginning. Start with a blank page and write everything out from a new angle. Who knows what new shape it will take!

What other uses have you found from your shelved stories? Were they helpful? Share them here 🙂


Writing Resolutions 2018

Posted by Rachel on January 6, 2018 in activity, discovery, expressions, inspiration, musings, planning, reading, writing |

A new year has come around, so it’s time for new writing resolutions!

I think these goals will be a bit more realistic than my last year’s goals. My intentions to complete previous resolutions were honest and true, but sometimes life gets in the way. This year, I hope, is different. As a result, some of my resolutions will be the same as years prior.

Keep Reading: Life and work got a little intense last year so my weekly reading disappeared. I really need to get back into it and in doing so, I want to stay true to my goal to read primarily stories from ownvoices writers and WoC. I have a good amount backlogged from last year, but any suggestions are welcome!

Send New Story to Betas: Steps in drafting my WIP have gone smoothly, so I’d like to start the beta process soon. Seeing what others think about the story and how to improve it will really get me closer to the finish line there.

Set Smaller Goals: My biggest issue has been setting lofty goals I want to work toward, but sometime aren’t attainable in the given time frame. When I don’t succeed in the time expected, it feels like failure. In remembering some goals take time, I will set and appreciate smaller ones to keep me on track to larger ones.

Stay Positive: The last few years have been a test in my ability to stay optimistic despite crushing reality. So, this year I hope to keep looking for the silver linings in things, the positive outcomes from even the hardest events.

Keep Moving Forward: Above all, I want to continually work towards whatever my next goal is. This connects with the two resolutions above. No matter what happens, I want to be sure I keep moving forward to the next thing. Whatever that may be. This last year I felt overwhelmed with not seeing a way forward, so my hope is to find that this year no matter what.

Do you have any resolutions to help with your writing (or life) this year? Share them if you’d like!



2017 Fall TV Round-Up

Posted by Rachel on October 31, 2017 in characters, current event, description, review |

It’s that time of year again! Lots of new shows have graced the airwaves and I’ve watched a bunch hoping for that elusive yet impressive gem. Some were hits, some were misses, but there is no doubt that there’s certainly a lot of interesting new television for people to consume.


Star Trek: Discovery

I was really pumped for this reboot (which is a surprise considering my feelings on reboots tend to be sour) and the premiere episode definitely delivered. The cast’s diversity and complexity created depth and intrigue right away. I had no idea this was only going to be available on CBS Access so I admittedly haven’t seen another episode yet. However, I hope to get to it soon!


Young Sheldon

This concept didn’t really attract me, but since I’m a Big Bang viewer, I got suckered into catching it’s first episode. For a fan of the original show, the little nods and voice over by adult Sheldon create a sense of nostalgia but I’m not sure it really holds up on its own. For a wholesome family comedy it is a good choice, though.


The Mayor

As far as sitcoms go, The Mayor is created with that extra special ingredient: relevance. It also doesn’t hurt that the lead and his friends blend really well together as a team and the comedic situations are believable not forced. By focusing on important topics in a funny manner, this show definitely shines.


The Gifted

An X-Men spin-off TV show? YES PLEASE! The variety of mutants was a delight to see. Some are from the comics, others are original to the show, but the mix is spectacular. The twist on the sentinels is another cool nod to the comics so the show succeeds in the concept department. It’s delivery is a bit clunky due to a lack of cast chemistry but I think given some time and development this could be something special.


Kevin Probably Saves the World

Jason Ritter is a highly undervalued actor and I’m so glad to see him back in something where he can flex his talent. This role feels hand-created for Ritter (which it may very well have been) and he thrives in all the best ways. It’s emotional, funny, deep, light-hearted, familiar, but also unique. To me, this speculative-ish story is the winner of the season.


Netflix Pick

American Vandal:

While this may not be a network TV newbie, it’s a fall released series that is definitely worth the watch. For anyone who liked Serial and is remotely interested in YA stories (which I assume you are if you’re on my blog) this is constructed exactly like a YA version of that. It really should be a novel! Or be used as inspiration for one. All you need to know is the tagline: Who Drew The Dicks?

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