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Like most writers, I’m an obsessive note taker and list maker. I jot down story ideas, random lines of dialogue that I pick up when I’m eavesdropping in coffee shops, and good advice when I hear it.

I cleaned out my handbag this morning and unearthed a wad of post-its and shreds of scrap paper covered with snippets of information I wanted to remember to share with you all. There’s probably enough fodder for six weeks of blog posts here, but I’m just not that organized, or reliable when it comes to this blog. So, in typical fashion, I’m just going to jot down the most important stuff before it gets lost in the creative fray that is my life:

  • First up, award-winning fantasy author Kameron Hurley has a great blog post on plotting over at BRSBKBLOG today – she explains how she uses a “murder board” to help her plot complex story arcs. If I were you, I’d check it out:

Murder Boards

  • Next, I’ve got some writing advice that I picked up a week or so ago at a talk given by the illustrious Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz). Jayne’s writing career spans decades, and she easily makes the short list of authors who have successfuly sustained themselves over the long haul in the publishing business. Every time I hear her speak, I learn something important. Here are a couple of gems I got from her presentation:

1) The key to recognizing your unique writing “voice” is in understanding that your own core values and world view are underpinning everything you write.

2) Writers should never underestimate the value of a fictional landscape to readers – this refers mostly to genre fiction, and a fictional landscape is essentially another way of thinking about setting (geography, culture and time period). The point is to remember that readers choose genre fiction based on their affinity for a particular fictional landscape, and getting it right matters more to them than you realize.

3) Jayne also talked about knowing your “core story” as a writer. She was referring to a realization she had when she was analyzing her own writing style and goals. Jayne writes in three separate genres under three separate pseudonyms, but everything she writes is based on one core story concept – the marriage of convenience: two people who are forced to bond in order to survive. When she realized that this basic concept was at the root of all of her story ideas, she realized she could write in any genre – as long as she was true to the fictional landscape of that genre. I’m still ruminating on this, but it definitely struck home.

  •   Last on my list is the Edmonds Literary Walk, coming up on Saturday, September 13th. I’ll be participating in the roving discussion on writing as part of a panel presentation that takes place at the second stop on the tour – 10:30 am at The Edmonds Conference Center in downtown Edmonds, WA. The event is free. Here’s a link for more information: Chapter by Chapter: An Edmonds Literary Walk 

Well, that wraps up my list. Hope you found something useful in the crumpled remains of my daily musings!