The Night Circus Magic.

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Let me start by saying how incredibly grateful I am to have read this story. Erin Morgenstern has earned a loyal fan. I must say, after having read a few reviews of this book from people I trusted, I went into The Night Circus with high expectations. Every single one were met.

I don’t want to critique this book, or give anything away. Part of the magic for me was not really knowing much about the story other than there are two magicians dueling each other and that the backdrop was a circus, only open at night. So in order to help you decide if you want to read this book, I’m just going to make this simple!

If you like using your imagination, you will love this book. I got lost in the sweeping, beautiful details of the circus. Morgenstern did a phenomenal job painting the most elaborate pictures with her imagery. It was stunning as it unfolded within my mind.

If you need lots of action in a story, you will not like this book. This book is more a museum of unique artwork you leisurely walk through siping on a glass of wine, less of a Marvel movie you watch shoveling popcorn.

If you love magic and wonder, you will love this book. While there is not much action in terms of story, the creativity and sense of awe surrounding the magicians creations were completely inspiring. I’ve never wanted to be in the setting of a book more in my life!

If you want a mind numbing read, you will not like this book. If you want to follow the plot, you will need to use your noggin. There are lapses in the timeline, jumping back and forth with in said timeline, and multiple POV’s. But it made me feel as though I was discovering something, like I was working out something previously unknown.

If you appreciate the art of writing as much as the finished product, you will love this book. At least I did. As a writer, Morgenstern’s style inspired me. In fact, after reading The Night Circus, I was inspired to jump back into writing my own story and finishing it. Which for me, is a sign of an awesome story.

And that’s all I’m giving you. If you’re still on the fence, just go pick it up or download it on your kindle. It’s worth the money even if you don’t end up liking it!

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Storytelling Lessons: Stranger Things Edition

My husband and I just finished binge watching the second season of Stranger Things this weekend. Let me rephrase, it only took us 24 hours. He had minor surgery so it was the perfect excuse to stay in and not move off the couch, except to get more chips and dip. Because, priorities and all that.

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Man, what a show. What an incredible lesson in storytelling. There are several things I learned while watching this show, and here are just a few of them.

  • You don’t have to write elaborately to write meaningful emotion. Stranger Things does this in such a special way. I won’t include spoilers because the show just got released on Netflix, but there is a highly emotional scene towards the end of the season where people are just sitting in a bare room, telling stories about a specific character. It’s moving and important, and even better, simple. It’s about timing and placing those scenes in the right places.

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  • The visual picture matters. The only thing movies and TV have over books is beautiful cinematography. There is a moment in the show when you see something scary, something evil from one of the main characters perspective. More specifically, from right behind him, and able to actually witness the goosebumps rise on the back of his neck. It was a freaking incredible shot. We may not be able to give our readers that moment, but we can come pretty dang close. The point? The picture you paint is super important, and even though we may not be able to move the camera behind the character’s head to create that amazing shot, we should do our best to give our reader’s their own goosebumps.

 

  • We love feelings of nostalgia. Between Stranger Things and Guardians of the Galaxy, I think it’s obvious we all have a thing for the 80s. Considering I was born in 1981, I’m one of those people. We love being reminded of how life used to be, especially the pop culture we obsessed over as kids. The music, the hair, the clothes. And just FYI, this season of Stranger Things does NOT disappoint in that area. We like remembering what life was like pre-internet, and teaching those kiddies born in this millennia what childhood was like for us. How can use this as writers? Reminding readers about the past is not only an effect story-telling tool, it’s also a way to engage our readers by using their own past experiences and eliciting those feelings in our own story.

 

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  • Write like your reader will not be able to put your book down. One of the things I love about this show is their absolute audacity in assuming I was going to binge watch this entire season this weekend. They shot and edited these episodes in such a way that it was practically impossible not to! Every episode was such a beautifully frustrating cliff hanger, you’d think they planned it or something. I think it’s okay for us to write the same way. Don’t tie bows at the end of chapters. Just assume your readers don’t need to pee, or eat dinner. Write only the important things and be relentless! Don’t give your reader the opportunity to put your book down.

 

  • It’s okay to let your character make dumb decisions. I lost count how many times I groaned into my hands in frustration or yelled at the TV to a character for something stupid they were doing. “Don’t go into the hole you igit!!!” “Why are you doing this alone?” “How can you possibly think this is a good idea?!” I’m not sure when I decided all my characters had to be smart and strategic in everything they did, but Stranger Things reminded me that sometimes people do dumb stuff, and it’s okay for that to be reflected in my stories. Besides, reckless decisions lead to danger, great tension, and high intensity scenes, so why not?

 

Have you watched Stranger things yet? What show are you currently binge watching? If you have a show you think I should watch and could learn from, let me know!

Vote for The Door Keeper’s Cover!

Hey everyone! I was thrilled to learn over the weekend that The Door Keeper’s cover was entered into a cover bracket!

Thank you to M.L.S Weech for including my beautiful cover art designed by the talented Meg Brim.

Everyone go to the CONTEST and vote to send The Door Keeper to the Sweet 16!

Vote and share with your friends! (And see some of the other beautiful covers there are in the fantasy genre.)

Anxiety comes before Vulnerability.

I am normally a confident person. But something about the process of writing, editing, and publishing has brought out some interesting insecurities in me. I couldn’t nail it down, or where it was coming from, until I finally realized it. I’ve been reaching out to reviewers and trying to prepare myself for my first negative review, (because let’s be honest, it’s gonna happen,) when I figured out why I was feeling this anxiety.

Vulnerability.

Even though this is a fictitious story that takes place in some fictitious places, I put so much of myself in this story. In some weird way, I feel like I’m laid bare on these pages. And the idea that someone might not like it… or like me… makes me feel a bit anxious. But that is what happens when we create art of any kind, right? We put little pieces of our soul in our work, that is what makes it good. At least that is what I hope makes it good. 🙂

I know this is a part of the process, but it’s new territory for me. Thankfully, I came across a quote on an Instagram feed.

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It’s so true, and it’s a great reminder. Because we were not made to do nothing, say nothing, or be nothing. We were made to create, so we must be able to handle criticism.

I would love to hear how you guys are feeling about the things you are working on. What are you creating or doing that makes you feel vulnerable? Is this something that you struggle with from time to time as well?