Problems when Working a Scene

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#openbook

What was your hardest scene to write?

The challenges that present when writing a scene vary from one writing project to another. A manuscript can have multiple difficult scenes taxing authors, making time drag as the cursor flashes or notebook page sits untouched, leaving them all kinds of frustrated.

Scene troubles may involve persistent issues with the plot’s structure, or they may be thematic and restricted to one manuscript. Continue reading “Problems when Working a Scene”

Why Seasons Matter in Fiction

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Do your stories and worlds reference seasons and do they play into the plots of your books?

Seasons provide important time elements to a story’s plot. The environment in which characters interact is significant in setting the tone and helping readers keep track of how much time has passed between plot points.

Time passage within a novel can be large (days, months, and years) or small (a few moments or minutes), and all of it can affect the story’s pacing, grabbing readers’ attention or losing it. A lot of my novels involve events requiring longs periods of time to pass from the book’s beginning to the end.

Anchoring Time

Continue reading “Why Seasons Matter in Fiction”

3 Writing Traps for Newbies

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What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Writing is a process rich with possibilities for errors. Anyone taking to the pen and pad or keyboard to share their stories and experiences with the world will inevitably trip, fall, get crushed, or end up a blubbering puddle of frustrations and regrets.

Count on all the above because our humanness makes it inevitable. Things will get messy just like us.

I spent years as a writing coach at a four-year college, where I saw students making the same mistakes and helped them hone their skills. When I ventured into professional writing as a freelancer, the easy transition from academic writing surprised me. I became popular with some online Muslim publications (I only write for them for personal reasons) and launched a cultural platform. Save for a few shifts in tone, I had it easy.

I didn’t encounter many bumps in the road of my journey as a writer until I wrote a novel. My strong writing background did not secure me from making some newbie mistakes, and I found many other authors who expressed that they made them. 

Continue reading “3 Writing Traps for Newbies”

In Vitro: Short Story Audio Clip

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS! (1)Alhamdulillah, I am blessed to have Sabina Khan, a great writer, for a critique partner. One of the biggest challenges we have when it comes to working together is our often conflicting schedules. However, this being the digital age, we managed to come up with a method—at least on my end—to share.

I often leave audio clips of my work for Sabina to listen to at a convenient time. She expressed to me how much she enjoyed listening to me read my work and constantly encouraged me to upload audio clips for my readers.  I was initially hesitant, but I decided to give it a try by reading the first part of the newest Layla Writes Love short story, In Vitro.

Continue reading “In Vitro: Short Story Audio Clip”

#MFRW- Character-Driven Plot Building

blacksmith-3141724_1920#MFRW Plotter or panzer, and why?

I tend to be a character-driven writer. I have a bunch of people stomping around my head demanding that their stories be told.

Yeah, kinda like that. Because they are at the base of my writing, I usually have to structure a plot based upon what the main protagonists in a story want, the obstacles that get in the way with that, and how they change from the beginning to end of the plot. So, an organic plot structure is at the crux of my writing.

I also have a drill-sergeant for a writing coach, who doesn’t believe in just writing and letting a story evolve, at least not at the fundamental level, which plotting a story mainly involves. I think that is what confused me at first, and I also see it when I mentor writers. I had the tendency to think of details as essential to structuring a plot. They aren’t, and once I got used to sifting through them to the core components of a story, I have become better at having a solid plot on which to build it. Continue reading “#MFRW- Character-Driven Plot Building”

LWL Interview: Talia Hibbert An Author Who Makes Quirky Sexy AF

Mis Quince Años (13)I first started reading Talia Hibbert a year ago. As soon as I read her book Damaged Goods, book 1.5 in her Ravenswood series, I was hooked and had to backtrack to catch up on the series. I was quickly caught up in all of the steam and drama. Really, she has some serious don’t miss reading.

Mis Quince Años (11)

Talia writes smart and relatable characters who are wonderfully imperfect, which I love. I am looking forward to the release of That Kind of Guy [Ravenswood book three] tomorrow, May 2! Check out the blurb:

That Kind of Guy (Ravenswood Book 3) by [Hibbert, Talia]She wants a fake relationship. He needs something real.
Continue reading “LWL Interview: Talia Hibbert An Author Who Makes Quirky Sexy AF”

#MFRWAuthor – A Bookish Life

MFRW 52-Week Blog – How books can influence daily life.

I have books e’rywhere. I think each room in my entire house (basement included) has a book. Yeah, I checked.

Fortunately for me, I married a bibliophile. When we married and I moved into his apartment, he sat my boxes of books in front of his wall-high shelf filled with books. Our collections have been growing for over 27 years.  Our kids caught the book bug as well.

We all appreciate the impact that books have on our lives. Whether for learning, entertainment, or a combination of both, reading is essential. Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor – A Bookish Life”

#MFRWAuthor -Read-Write-Live: An Author’s Continuum

fantasy-2861107_1920MFRW 52-Week Blog – Reading, Writing or Living?

I haven’t been a writer my entire life. As a matter of fact, I used to H*A*T*E writing—thanks to my terrible penmanship and a list of drill sergeant teachers who just couldn’t get that the chicken scratch in front of them was the best they were going to get out of me.

Once I took my first keyboarding class in high school, I never looked at a pen the same way. I avoided them in favor of the musical clicking that lulls so many of us into sharing our thoughts, ideas, and stories.

Eventually, a real love for writing followed. Now, I can not quite imagine my life without being able to write.

The same goes for books, but unlike writing, I was able to develop a love for reading at an early age. I majored in literature in college, and my master’s thesis focuses on literature.

While in grad school, I started using my literary criticism skills to review books. I also became a contributor to my college’s student newsletter, which extended into a freelance gig with other online media, and I just published (indie, of course, duh) my first novel.

So much of my life is spent reading (entertainment, to my kids, to review, etc.) and writing (articles, short stories, books, and so on) that I can’t imagine compartmentalizing any of the three. I kind of glide along a continuum, where I may be doing one more than the other, but all are still there.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you exhibit A.

 

 

Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor -Read-Write-Live: An Author’s Continuum”

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