The Importance of World Building

World building is typically associated with genre fiction like fantasy or sci-fi, but I’d argue that it’s just as important for stories set in the real world.

Why? Check out my full article on Pop Culture Uncovered!

World building is a key element of story craft in which an author creates and defines the universe in which he or she will write. Good world building is consistent above all else—and also gives the story meaning. A Google search of “world building” pulls up almost 150 million results, almost all of them relating […]

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Make Your Own Luck

Recently I was asked to speak to a group of undergraduate students about my freelancing job as a writer and editor, answering the usual “How did you get your first project?” and “When did you know you wanted to write?” sort of questions. Those are easy to answer–my first project was for a friend, and I figured out I wanted to write as a career in 2014–but harder to do was create an actionable piece of advice. In the audience were students of diverse backgrounds and work experience. Some were in their 30’s; others were not long out of high school. Some wanted to work in creative fields and others didn’t.

What could I say that might help all of them?

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Photo Credit: Nilufer Gadgieva

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Character Development in Harvest Moon

Howdy, everyone!

With the semester as busy as it’s been, I haven’t been able to write as much as I would have liked, but the good news is, I did have some time to put together a piece on one of my favorite video games of all time, Harvest Moon. Even better, I got to write about how some of the characters were especially well-developed for a kids’ video game.

Check it out! 🙂

Pop Culture Uncovered

Character development—the process of creating a believable, nuanced character—can be tricky. Spend too much time detailing a character’s past experiences and you risk boring your audience; don’t give them enough depth or information, and your characters feel flat and two-dimensional, Mary Sues less than fully fleshed out.

Video games in particular struggle with this—books and movies have to make us care about the protagonist to keep us watching or reading, but we don’t have to care much about Master Chief’s past or his relationship to Cortana to finish playing Halo; fun multiplayer, good graphics, a cool story mode, etc. are enough to keep people playing whether or not Master Chief seems like a believable, complex character (if you want more info on him, check out this interview with his voice actor Steve Downes).

Marcus Schulzke sums the character development issue up best in an essay anthologized in Game on…

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Quote Challenge Day 2

Thanks to alceptress for nominating me for the three-day quote challenge!

In my early teens, I worshiped a manga called The Prince of Tennis. As an avid tennis player myself, I appreciated the characters’ tenacity as well as their humorous twists on regular tennis shots. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the series’s author and illustrator, Takeshi Konomi:

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From the beginning of the ninth book — my favorite quote of all!

“What’s worthwhile is never easy.”

This applies to anything — from sports to writing to whatever your passion may be. There are no shortcuts; we have to put in the work.

Today I’m nominating Blooming Laura and anotetohuguette. The rules: post three quotes across three different days, link to my blog, and nominate two new bloggers, if you choose to do so 🙂

Missed part one? Check it out here. Stay turned for part three!

Swim on: WordPress Community Pool

[2018 edit: As of May 2018, WordPress has–unfortunately–shut down their Community Pool.]

I love Mondays.

Not only because I recently quit my job to focus on writing and had two recent journal publications. And it’s not only because I have exciting projects lined up, both with others and by myself. All of these rock, but there’s more to it than that.

The best thing about Monday is WordPress’s Community Pool.

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Creative Commons. Image courtesy of Clintus.

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Poetry Publication!

[2018 update: Unfortunately this journal is no longer available online. Thank you everyone for your support!]

Flashback: In 2014, I was finishing my undergraduate studies, feeling pretty unsure about my future. My university’s literature magazine had rejected every piece I sent. Should I bother pursuing writing further? Did I need to go to grad school to succeed? Should I get a day job and write on the side? Up until this point, my life had been decided for me: go to school, do some homework, repeat. I had no idea what to do now that I could make my own decisions. Continue reading

Life Lessons from a Hiatus

An employee grinding away at the same menial tasks day after day. An author struggling with writer’s block. A professional athlete in a slump. A self-employed entrepreneur exhausted from constantly marketing their brand/product. A blogger whose posts garner only a few views.

Sometimes, no matter how much you love something, you need a break.

Recently, I took a double hiatus, from writing and my full-time job. Here’s what I learned. Continue reading