32 Things that Inspire Me [as a storyteller]

As I’ve been working through this latest draft of my novel, I’ve been hard pressed to stay filled up creatively and mine all avenues of inspiration. So, for this post, I wanted to share some of the things/people/sayings that inspire me as a storyteller (in no particular order).

So let’s get started.

32-things-storyteller.jpg

  1. Pretty books. As in, books that are just visually appealing.
  2. Fire. Give me all the candles. And also the matches. And also an adorable little oil lamp.
  3. Lovely words. I.E. – words that just sound or look lovely. Esperance. Immure. Anathema. Temerity. Duende. Equipoise. Tyro. Aeonian. Chimerical. Those are all English words, and they. are. beautiful.
  4. Isaiah 35. This chapter. Oh, goodness. I want to tell of these streams in the desert and waters in the wasteland and the God who put them there.
  5. Wonder Woman. That’s right. The movie Wonder Woman inspires me so much as a storyteller. Don’t even get me started.
  6. Basically any song by The Gray Havens.
  7. “We write down made-up stories to tell the truths we wish we could say out loud.” – Unknown.
  8. My brother, Caleb.
  9. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. *whispers* It’s just. so. good.
  10. Christopher Nolan. Caleb (the aforementioned brother who inspires me as a storyteller and also just as a person) pointed out to me that Christopher Nolan has directed a superhero trilogy, a movie on interstellar travel, and is now coming out with a World War II movie. And he’s done it all so well. I want tell stories like him.
  11. “You must write every single day of your life. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake the world.” – Ray Bradbury.
  12. The Lord of the Rings. It’s a morally beautiful story, it’s a masterfully built storyworld, and it’s timeless.
  13. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Now I need to go watch this movie again because it’s been a couple months.
  14. The Gospels. This is the story I want to tell over and over and over again, and I want a piece of it reflected in some way in all the stories I write.
  15. C.S. Lewis.
  16. Anything written by C.S. Lewis.
  17. The ocean. I’ve only seen the ocean once, but when I did, just sitting out by it at sunrise was incredible.
  18. Limitless (the tv show). Heroes who are good are not out of style.
  19. Ecclesiastes 9:10.
  20. Empty notebooks. I just want to smell their pages and fill them all.
  21. “You can make anything by writing.” – C.S. Lewis
  22. Nadine Brandes.
  23. Havah by Tosca Lee. The richness of this book, the poetry of the prose, the thought in the story. Agh. So good.
  24. Thunderstorms. Lightning is literally exploding through the air, and water is falling from the sky. People, this is inspiring.
  25. The Dark Knight Trilogy.
  26. The Out of Time Series by Nadine Brandes. Are any of us surprised?
  27. Mary Weber. The pieces of her heart I’ve seen through her writing are a-mazing.
  28. Arrival. So, this was kind of weird and not the best movie I’ve seen, but they tried to do something different and tell a story in a way that stretches the mind. Oh, and it’s all about the power of a language.
  29. Steve Laube. I had the pleasure of having an appointment with him at Realm Makers 2015, and then I got to sit in on one of his sessions. Oh. Goodness. He knows the power of stories and the responsibility of storytellers who are Christians.
  30. The Lion King. Don’t even get me started, kids.
  31. Isaiah 6:1-7. I will retell this in any way I can.
  32. My dad.

So that’s it, kids! Those are 32 things that inspire me as a storyteller!

What about you? What makes your passion come alive? What ideas and attitudes and examples do you strive for?

With love,

Rosalie <3

P.S. – there is no post script to this post…. or is there? All our minds = blown.

11 Things I’ve Done to Avoid Working on My Novel

Procrastination is a thing, kids.

It’s a real issue.

You likely struggle with it (or have struggled with it at some point in your life). I struggle with it. It’s amazing—all the things we do when we procrastinate.

No, I’m not saying it’s okay or cool to procrastinate (even though we sometimes do cool thing when we procrastinate); in fact, I very much advise against it. But, I don’t typically take my own advice.

So I’ve fallen into another procrastination rut, and today I was thinking about all the things I’ve done to avoid working on my WIP. The list is fairly varied—from things everybody does (like mindless hours on social media) to a few slightly more… unique ways to NOT be working on my novel. No, I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.

So let’s dive in, shall we?

11 things-avoid-my-novel.jpg

  1. Doing dishes.

This is lame on a few different levels. First, I’m supposed to be doing dishes anyway, so this shouldn’t be a phenomenon. Second, dishes? Instead of writing, dishes? Instead of plotting rebellions and battling dragons, dishes? Something is very wrong with this picture.

  1. Sleep.

Everyone probably does this, but I got it bad. Napping, guys, so alluring on a day off or a Sunday afternoon. Should I be writing? That would be a yes. Am I going to take a nap instead? Probably.

  1. Marathoning Limitless.

I can justify this a few different ways. Relaxation. Creativity recharge. Unique storytelling. It feeds my mad genius. Blah, blah, blah. (p.s. – you should probably watch Limitless the TV show. It only lasted one season, but that one season was en pointe.)

  1. Planting tomatoes under a blazing, blistering sun.

Yes, those tomato plants did need to get in the garden and all that jazz, but it came down to tomatoes or novel, and I picked tomatoes (and did I mention that that sun was blazing and blistering?).

Also, since planting said tomatoes, I’ve been able to opt out of more than one quick writing session to go water the tomatoes because apparently you can’t just stick them in the ground and expect great things (something about care and horticulture or something or other), and so that has resulted in several occurrences of “Oh, I should go write, but it’s a real bummer *wink wink* that those tomatoes need water to survive”.

  1. Reading various blogs about editing and revisions.

In case you’re new to Penprints, you should probably know that I’m in the editing stage of my WIP. Most of the heavy lifting is done when it comes to big revisions, but there are still a few things that need to change to redirect the story in a better direction. This is where the wonderful internet comes in.

The Story of How I End Up Reading Blog After Blog About Editing:

Me: “I’ve got half an hour of free time! I should go write!”

Also Me: “But do you really know what you’re doing? You should probably do some more research on this whole editing thing before you, you know, actually do editing.”

Me: “But I’ve read a couple books on editing and lots of blogs already! I just have to muscle through this and do it!”

Also Me: “Shhhhhhhhhhh. Just go find some more blog posts that talk about the ten thousand things you have to keep in mind while editing. It won’t overwhelm you at all.”

Me: “Good idea. Overthinking this is definitely the way to go.”

  1. Cleaning my room and study.

In case you didn’t read that right, I’ll say it again: cleaning my room and study. Wut? I thought about working on my novel, and the idea was so frightening to me that I decided to tear apart my room and then put it back together (that was three evenings down the drain this time) so that I wouldn’t have time to go through revisions. Something is very wrong with me.

  1. Starbucks trips with my friend, Amanda.

Now, this may not sound like a bad thing, and it isn’t (it’s that whole iron sharpening iron jazz). However, when Amanda and I get Starbucks, it’s not like an hour of chatting it up and talking about all the things. It’s like three solid hours of greatness. (Full disclosure, I actually see no down-side to this one because relationships trump writing every time, but I felt like I had to mention it because our latest hang out may or may not have resulted in neither of us finishing our to-do’s for last week. #oops #sorrynotsorry) (ALSO, Amanda is the gardening guru who gave me those tomato plants I told you about a minute ago, so there’s that too.)

  1. Lying around on the couch thinking about editing.

This is when I’m “trying to get motivated” because apparently a rapidly approaching deadline is not motivating enough. I sprawl on the couch and think wistfully of how I wish my novel would edit itself, and, please, for the love of all that is good, actually turn out to be the stunning, amazing, earth-shattering novel it is in my head. Too much time is passed in wistful reflection on the couch. Far too much.

  1. Marathoning season 3 of The Flash.

Yeah, this also has happened. I’ll tell my sister, “Arielle, I don’t have time to watch a movie tonight because I have to work on my novel. All I’ve got time for is an episode of The Flash.” But then, five episodes later, no editing has occurred.

  1. Rereading the earliest versions of Beauty and the Beast.

I convince myself this is a good thing because it’s “research”. Lol, it’s not.

  1. Writing this blog post.

First, I spent half an hour trying to come up with something to blog about this week. Guys, I can edit almost a whole chapter in half an hour sometimes. Then, of course, I chuckled manically while reflecting on all the things I’ve done instead of writing and spent the rest of the night (aka: Prime Editing Time) writing up this post on all the things I’ve been doing instead of working on my novel instead of working on my novel (see what I did there?).


So now I’m going to actually go work on my novel and stop procrastinating. Or not. We’ll see.

What about you? What sorts of things have you done in the name of Procrastination? What are some projects you’ve been avoiding? How do you not procrastinate (and you can’t say you “just do it” because that is cruel and unhelpful for those of us ailed with procrastination tendencies)?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – don’t forget to enter to win a print copy of The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson (this giveaway is open only to you, my dear followers).

P.P.S. – I find this whole post depressingly amusing and ridiculous, just so you know.

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash [the giant wrap-up post]

The time has come to wrap up the very first ever Penprints Flash Fiction Dash (refer back to this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about)!

There were 44 initial sign ups, 44 prompts went out, and 26 stories came back! My mind = so blown by how excited people got about this challenge and by the uniqueness of each story submitted.

wrap up post.jpg

How this wrap-up works:

All the stories are linked to the prompts below, either via a PDF file or a blot post on the author’s blog.

The stories are divided into very broad genre generalizations (and if I didn’t know what genre to stick it in, it went in “other”), and the last two stories are separate from their genres because they were inspired by song prompts rather than picture prompts (I didn’t want them to get lost in all the pictures, so that’s why I put them at the end in their own little category).

Scroll through this post and click on the picture prompt(s) of the stories you want to read!

NOTE: I do not own any of the following pictures that were used as prompts, and I also don’t own either of the songs used as prompts.

Fantasy.

The Reeducation of Kylee Flintlock by Kat Vinson of Sparks of Ember.

"The Reeducation of Kylee Flintlock" by Kat Vinson

Impossible Love by Adaline Griffiths.

adaline-griffiths-prompt - Copy

Till the Wind Changes by A.K.R. Scott.

akr-scott-prompt

Empty Image by Amanda Cox of Hope Perch.

amanda-cox-prompt

Painted with Light by Kathryn McConaughy of The Language of Writing.

kathryn-mcconaughy-prompt

Under the Surface by Moya Tobey of An Existence Transcribed.

moya-tobey-prompt

White Winds by Emily Jayne.

emily-jayne-prompt

The Confession by Rachel Leroy.

rachel-leroy-prompt

Paper Boat by Melinda Wagner.

melinda-wagner-prompt

Ellusa by Katherine Massengill.

katherine-massengill-prompt

The Dragon in the Mini by Chelsea Hindle.

chelsea-hindle-prompt

Science Fiction.

Strange by Evan Hildreth of Plot Hole Fragments.

evan-hildreth-prompt

Poisoned Time by Kyle Shultz.

kyle-shultz-prompt

So Close by Leah E.

leah-e-prompt

Contemporary.

The Backup by Heather Tabata.

heather-tabata-prompt

Clouds by Alina Kanaski of Ordinary Adventures.

alina-kanaski-prompt

Bird-watching and Other Human Pursuits by Jebraun Clifford.

jebraun-clifford-prompt

Ali Green by Lindsey Tessa of Story Haven.

Other.

Away by Michael Blaylock of Fencing With Ink.

"Away" by Michael Blaylock

Underwater Dance by Nicole Fritz.

nicole-fritz-prompt

Hoofbeats in My Heart by Sarah Rodecker.

sarah-rodecker-prompt

A Delusional Path by Annalia Fiore.

annalia-fiore-prompt

Historical.

Anika Rojkkers’ Experience of 1953 by Laura Danner of Flowers in My Basket.

laura-danner-prompt

Stories from a song prompt.

Collapse of the General Eternal by Just B. Jordan written from “Ghost of a King” by The Grey Havens.

Birdie by Emily Kazmierski written from “Keeping Your Head Up” by Birdie.

The giveaway winner!

All the writers who sent a story back to me (even if they didn’t want it included in this post) were entered to win The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction as well as a one year subscription to the Splickety Publishing Group magazine of their choice!

So I picked a name out of a hat (okay, I just typed all the names into a random name picker, but that’s just boring sounding), and I need a drumroll people.

*whispers* Are you giving me a drumroll?

The giveaway winner is Laura Danner, author of Anika Rojkker’s Experience of 1953! Woohoo!! Congrats, Laura! I’ll be shooting you an email in a day or two!

And congratulations and thank you to each of you lovely people who signed up and wrote stories!

So, which story was your favorite? Have you fallen in love with flash fiction yet??

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – yes, yes, this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I encountered major technical difficulties. Thus, this amazing wrap-up post was delayed a day. :( Trust me, there was much growling and groaning and gnashing of teeth as I tried to trouble shoot the technical hiccups. Updates on delays and post sneak peaks and such can be found on my Facebook page, just so ya know.
P.P.S. – writers who participated in this challenge, keep a weather eye on your inboxes as a debrief email should be arriving within the next couple of days.

20 Ways to Fill Your Empty Notebooks

Raise your hand if you have more than five empty notebooks languishing somewhere in your house.

Okay, now keep your hand up if you have 10 empty notebooks. 15?? 20? 25??? 5000??

You can put your hands down now (full disclosure, I never saw if your hands were up or down for obvious reasons).

Any decent person has at least 3 empty notebooks in their custody at any given time. For those of you who don’t have 3 empty notebooks, well, we still love you (for the most part…. most of the time).

Ahem. This post is for the decent people who find themselves with an abundance of empty notebooks.

empty-notebooks actual.jpg

  1. Bullet Journal (aka: The Ultimate Journal).

This is an amazing journal to keep because you can use it in so many ways. A bullet journal can be your day planner, your calendar, your money tracker, your book tracker, and where you keep track of your favorite names (wait, you don’t compulsively collect the names you like???) all in one. That is why this is The Ultimate Journal. It can hold as much or as little as you want.

  1. Devotions Journal.

The devotions journal is another essential. This is where you can write down all your notes from your quiet time 1) to help process what you’re learning 2) to write down tangible application (aka: action you will take in light of your time in devotions) and 3) to revisit them later.

  1. Favorite Quotes Journal.

Quotes are easy to like but difficult to keep track of if you don’t have a central place to keep them. Hence the favorite quotes journal. Find a quote you like, flip to a fresh page in this journal, and jot it down.

  1. Thanksgiving Journal.

Cultivating a thankful heart goes a long way when it comes to discontentment, anxiety, and even depression, and one way to work towards being more intentionally grateful is to keep a journal filled with things you’re thankful for. Try to come up with a couple new things to put in this journal every morning, and it will slowly change your attitude.

  1. Morning Pages.

Morning pages are supposed to be done right after you wake up in the morning. You tumble out of bed, grab a pen, and start scrawling. You’re supposed to write anything and everything that comes into your mind in an attempt to help you have greater focus throughout the day. Once you’ve scratched out three pages of stream-of-conscious thought, you set the pen down and begin your day. Personally, morning pages aren’t all that helpful for me, but they help Abbiee a lot, and so you should think about trying them out for a week.

  1. Reading Journal.

When reading a book (especially nonfiction), it can be very helpful to journal as you go to help process all the information that you’re taking in, and a journal dedicated to such a practice is perfect.

  1. Food Diary.

This one’s good for people who like to be fit. If you bite it, you write it.

  1. Writing Exercise Notebook.

No, not exercise like crunches or anything like that (I just wanted to clarify for those of us who are triggered by exercise). The writing exercises I’m talking about are free writing, answering a prompt, trying to rework a sentence, or any other writing related task given from a writing workbook/book on the craft. Instead of loose leaf pages floating around and piling up in awkward places, consolidate all your writing exercises to a single notebook.

  1. Language Journal.

This is for those of us who are learning a foreign language. If you don’t already keep a language journal, I don’t know how you survive. For me, keeping a language journal while taking Spanish helped me keep track of new rules, write down vocab to make into flashcards for later, conjugate verbs, etc.. So if you’re learning a new language, consider starting a language journal.

  1. Discipleship Journal.

A discipleship journal is a tracker of sorts for people who are discipling other people. After the disciple-maker meets with the disciple, say for lunch, the disciple-maker jots down a few things: thoughts on the meeting in general, specific things to pray for the disciple, good questions to ask the disciple at the next casual meeting, and so on and so forth. If you’re serious about discipleship, you may want to think about starting a discipleship journal.

  1. Blog Log.

Okay, this is not a log really, but “Blog Log” sounds better than “Blog Journal” or “Blog Notebook” (guys, how it sounds is half the importance of the whole idea). Everything blog related goes in this notebook: long hand drafts of posts, ideas for future posts, schedule for posts, etc.. Of course, because I’m obsessed only mildly with this blog, I’ve had a blog log for quite some time.

  1. Mindmapping.

Mind maps. I’m not sure if it’s one word or two, and they’re tricky things that I have yet to master BUT I’VE READ THAT THEY’RE SO HELPFUL. So go look them up and think about using one of your notebooks for mindmapping. (This point = perfect precision.)

  1. Poetry Journal.

If you have poetry skills–and maybe even if you don’t–put them to use in this journal.

  1. Doodle Practice Notebook.

So you doodle professionally (be honest, it’s most likely for your bullet journal). Why not keep all your doodles (aka: bullet journal practice) in one place?

  1. Mutual Love Note.

This is such a cute one for married couples! You exchange love notes in a journal that you swap back and forth, and it makes what’s called a Mutual Love Note.

  1. Novel Notes.

Anything related to your novel goes in here: outline, character sketches, snippets of dialogue, etc.. If it pertains to your novel, it goes in here. This is helpful so that you aren’t digging around your desk for that scrap of napkin you wrote that piece of backstory on because it all goes in the novel notebook.

  1. Your Novel.

In the event that you are a slightly insane yet very swanky almost-human (aka: an author), you can choose to write your novel out by hand. With a pen. In a notebook. By hand. With a pen. By hand. Your whole novel. With a pen. In a notebook. By hand. I may be repeating things because I’m in awe of people who do this; namely you, Nadine Brandes.

  1. Flash Fiction Journal.

Personally, I like to write out the first drafts of my flash fictions by hand. Keeping all these rough (very rough) draft flash fictions in a journal helps me know where to find them and somehow makes me feel like a genius (true story, kids, and it’s got nothing to do with the fact that my flash fiction journal is a blue notebook that has “Brilliant Ideas” emblazoned on the cover).

  1. Memory Journal.

I wasn’t sure what to call this one. It’s the very base idea of a journal, the most fundamental kind that has ever been kept–a diary, a vault for memories made of paper and ink. You track history and emotion and upheaval and the daily grind in this bad boy. It is, perhaps, the first kind of journal.

Well, I’m going to abruptly and awkwardly end this post now with a misshapen bookend.

What do you usually use notebooks for? Do you have any empty ones lying around? Do you think you’ll use any of the ideas listed above?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – the amazing Kara Swanson is still accepting applications to the launch team for The Girl Who Could See!!! Go sign up and spread the word with me!

P.P.S. – who here noticed that I skipped #19?

P.P.P.S. – who here now feels like the title of this post is a misleading lie in light of the previous post script? And don’t raise your hand because we already went over the whole hand-raising thing not working at the beginning of this post.

The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

Today is the day that you will always remember as the day I officially announced The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash. Okay, so none of us are probably going to remember that, but I can always hope.

I’ve fallen hard for flash fiction in recent months, and in an attempt to spread the love and joy and oh-my-goodness-someone-hold-me and all that jazz, I have decided to host a flash fiction writing challenge. Details below.

flash-fiction-dash.jpg

What is flash fiction?

Definitions vary depending on who you talk to (some even argue that there is no suitable definition). For the purpose of this challenge, a flash fiction is a story that is 1000 words or less. I suggest checking out this article and also this article for a more complete rundown on flash fiction.

A challenge, not a contest.

This isn’t a contest, guys; this is merely a challenge (also, I find using merely to modify challenge strangely ironic). There will be no voting or scoring or saying whose is best or whose is worst. There will be a giveaway (more on that later), but it won’t be based on “merit”.

This is only supposed to challenge you to write, to venture into a new story, and to exercise certain writing muscles that are typically neglected. Hopefully, this will inspire and motivate you as a writer.

How it works.

If you are up to the challenge, you can fill out this form.

Everyone who signs up will be sent a unique prompt (song or picture, depending on preference) to use as a springboard for the story. You will have three weeks to write your flash fiction.

Ideally, you will post your story on your blog, mention in the blog post that you’re participating in The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, share your prompt in the post, send me the link, and then I will compile all the links to the stories into a wrap-up post here on Penprints (please let me know if that doesn’t make sense).

Note to those without blogs: please join in the challenge. Even if you are unable to post your story on your blog, you can still send it to me in Word or Google Doc form, and I can format it into a clickable PDF that will be included in the wrap-up post (again, please tell me if that doesn’t make sense).

The timetable.

Sign-ups will be open through May 10, 2017.

Prompts will be sent out by May 13, 2017.

Stories/links to stories are due back to me by 11:59 pm on June 3, 2017.

The giveaway winner and wrap-up post on Penprints will go live on June 5, 2017.

Reasons to participate.

Now, you may be asking (or you may not be, I really can’t know), “Why should I participate in this challenge? Why should I write a flash fiction at the behest of this strange person on the internet?”

I’m glad you asked. I’ve taken the time to compile some solid reasons why you should join me in this challenge.

1. Because I think flash fiction is amazing.

You know what, I could stop right here with that reason alone because it is. so. solid. But for the sake of the unconvinced few, I shall continue.

2. It will stretch you as a writer.

If you think writing a good story in 1000 words or less is easy, think again. Flash fiction has redefined hard for me as a writer, and writing it grows me so much.

3. It may help you out of a writing slump.

It is so rewarding to hold a completed work of your own fiction in your hands, but novel writing takes a long (long) long time. While still time-consuming (it typically takes me 30 minutes to eck out a rough draft and then another couple hours of editing), flash fiction is much quicker to finish than a novel, and I’ve found that it gets all my writerly gears humming happily along.

4. Oh, also, there’s a giveaway.

All those who send their stories/links to their stories to me will be entered into a giveaway.

The giveaway prizes are: a one year, print subscription to the Splickety Publishing Group magazine of the winner’s choice and a hard copy of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction (if the winner already has these, a comparable prize will be negotiated).

5. I want to read a story of yours!

No two people can tell the same story, and so I very much want to read how you tell a story.

Guidelines.

– Your story must be 1000 words or less.

– Anything with excessive violence or profanity will not be included in the wrap-up post.

– Any erotica will not be included in the wrap-up post.

– Your story must be sent to me by 11:59 pm on June 3 to be included in the wrap-up post.

– You must have fun. ;)

And that, kids, is The Penprints Flash Fiction Dash.

Please share this post with anyone you think might be interested in participating! Also, the hashtag to use is: #flashficdash.

In case you want to slap it on any social media or blog posts or anything, here are the various challenge buttons:

logo 5.png

the challenge circle on a transparent background

button 1

button 2

button 3

If anything is unclear, just let me know in the comments below so I can amend this post to make it as comprehensible as possible.

Guys, I’m jazzed.

Do you think you might participate? Have you written flash fiction before?

With love,

Rosalie

P.S. – did I mention that there’s a giveaway?

P.P.S. – also, did I mention that I’m jazzed?