Reblog — Ground Your Characters with All Five Senses — Writer Unboxed

Writers are cognizant of how important it is to include all of the senses in the narrative. This article explores how important inclusion is, for the author and the words.~

When I’m writing—these articles, for example—I often compose a kind of first draft in my head, and I usually do it when I’m out on a long walk with the dog. For this article, I knew I wanted to get across the idea that writers can introduce elements from one or all of the five…

Ground Your Characters with All Five Senses — Writer Unboxed

Reblog — Basing Your High-Fantasy Towns and Cities in the Real World — Nicholas C. Rossis

If you write fantasy, you most likely have asked yourself a question along the lines of “What kind of world do I have and how can I keep track of it?” I can say I went with a completely fictitious world that my character passes through a portal to reach, but it starts in the real world here. This informational post has a few tips to keep in mind when you start to worldbuild.~

I wisely started the map and made the story fit. The above words, spoken by none other than J.R.R Tolkien, have been taken as sage advice by many an accomplished – or budding – fantasy writer who felt inspired to create their own world. While Tolkien, like many others, has been lauded for his incredible…

Basing Your High-Fantasy Towns and Cities in the Real World — Nicholas C. Rossis

Reblog — Parts Of A House With Names You Probably Didn’t Know — Nicholas C. Rossis

What fun! I read a lot of historical fiction and the house or dwelling descriptions are some of my most favorite parts. Have a look at all of these new or forgotten house terms to play with! Eeek! Imagination, wait for me!~

One of the hardest things for me is writing detailed descriptions of houses. Part of it is that I’m impatient by nature and I tend to gloss over long descriptions when reading. But part of it is also that it can be hard to write a nice description of a house without knowledge of the…

Parts Of A House With Names You Probably Didn’t Know — Nicholas C. Rossis

Reblog— What—and How Much—Belongs in Your Novel? — Writer Unboxed

Here is a different take on the oft-asked “How long should my novel be?” or “Is x words too long?” Read on to hear what Mr. Maass has to say about this age-old query.~

“How long is too long?” The question comes up at every conference. How long should a novel be? It puzzles me that this anxiety persists. We are in a literary era that tolerates length. Game of Thrones, anyone? Even at 292,000 words, George Martin’s first novel in his epic series is not even in the…

What—and How Much—Belongs in Your Novel? — Writer Unboxed

Reblog— Identifying Your Character’s Primary Attribute — WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

Here’s another stellar post from the gals at WHW. If you haven’t checked out their author tools, do it now! (Well, after you read this post 😉).

When I think about some of my favorite protagonists, I can usually identify a trait that defines each one: Sam Gamgee: LoyaltyAnne Shirley: ImpulsivityJames T. Kirk: Boldness However, if each character was made up of only that one trait, they probably wouldn’t make many “favorites” lists because they’d be paper-thin—caricatures, rather than characters with depth…

Identifying Your Character’s Primary Attribute — WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

Reblog: A Bit About Time Travel… — Rie Sheridan Rose

How to address the continuum of time in stories is always relevant—we have to use the past to explain the present and future, right? Here are a few reminders on how to do just that from a fellow blogger and writer.~

In writing, especially a novel, it isn’t likely that everything you want to say is linear in time. It MIGHT be…but there is a good chance that you want to tell something that happened in a characters past–or flash forward to what might be in their future. Getting this back (or forward) story into the […]

A Bit About Time Travel… — Rie Sheridan Rose

The Great Collection of the Elemental Families of Huphaea, anid 1830 #11

Hello Everyone! I hope you are all well and staying safe. We have been in the grip of some brutal humidity, but that is just an excuse to use the pool more 😆. Hard to believe it is August already, and the Halloween candy is already in stores? I can’t even… Let’s get back to exploring Rosewood, shall we?

We left off with Elahna finishing her climb up the redwood that took her to the top of Rosewood Manor. She emerged into the sunshine, and… (this is one of my favorite parts, I remember it so vividly!)~

Remember this view?*

I sucked in a sharp breath and dropped to my knees, terrified now that I was the tallest point on the tree. My head swooned and spun, my breakfast threatening to reappear.

That would be way too much of a shame, it had been wonderful going down, I had no desire to ruin the memory.

I crouched within the tips of the branches, stilling my mind and heart, breathing deeply for several moments. Slowly, I lifted my eyes from the floor. My fear had paralyzed me so that I hadn’t noticed the size of the open room around me.

A circular floor, complete with a knee wall, balanced on the tree top like a newsboy hat. Three clusters of plum-colored rattan chairs and side tables and two chaises were arranged haphazardly, colorful pillows tossed here and there. Beyond the furniture all I could see was sky.

The unease that danced beneath my ribs in lurching, fluttering steps sucked in all of my attention, inhibiting me from lifting my hands off the comforting floor. Maybe this was a bad idea. How long would it be before Rosewood alerted Aymur, or worse, Daphne that I was incapacitated up here?

I hung my head lower, about to give in to defeat when a slight tingling flowed up my arms, as if urging me to rise. Soft rustling began to my right and I glanced back to see branches flowing toward me. Their soft, lime green fronds caressed my bare arms, while the woody parts snaked around my waist and legs. The tree was providing me with a safety harness!

Photo by form PxHere

Once I was firmly, but gently wrapped in live webbing, I noticed the warm cedar-like fragrance of redwood filling the open air. My mind began to still and I inhaled deeply, using the serene scent to quiet my stomach and nerves.

The tree nudged me again.

I leaned back onto bent knees and raised my eyes to the limitless ceiling of the deck. Ever so slowly I stood up, the living harness adjusting with me, always providing reassuring pressure to my torso and legs. The Seat wanted me to see its grandest view and was providing comforting support, I had to oblige.

The vista of a verdant countryside cut through by a platinum ribbon rolled to the horizon.

Venrood Forest stretched below, vast but short in stature now. A few barges topped with golden stacks of planks emerged slowly from the trees and were hitched to what must be draft horses, but looked like ponies, to be guided into the mill pond. I turned, intending to look down on Cragbend itself, and made my way around the furnishings to the opposite side. My harness loosened and shifted with me, giving me confidence with every step.

Cragbend was a bucolic hamlet at ground level, from the air it resembled a Thomas Kinkade painting.

The river narrowed after the mill pond and continued to wind through the town, bisecting it neatly. People moving on the main road resembled ants, some driving carts to an open air market on the upper side. Smoke curled from chimneys and water wheels sploshed. I glanced at the sun, it still had a way to go until high noon, (what did Daphne say that hour was called, mezzanar, I think?), I still had time to wander once I was done up here.

Past the market, the road ran out of town again, lined with shops and smaller farmsteads just like on the forest side coming in. I wondered where it led to, deciding to ask Aymur for a map later.

As I stepped away from the edge, the wall receded to knee height again. I approached the stairs leading down, and the harness twigs slid silently away.

The redwood scent lingered, however, even to this day I can recall it when I need an extra bit of courage or peace.

I placed my hands on the deck as I passed through the floor and whispered, “Thank you, that was truly amazing. I couldn’t have seen that view without your help.”

Rustling like maracas answered me, along with a warm pulse under my hands. I smiled and ducked below the platform once again.

This time fiery garnets glowed when I reached the circular juncture, directing me down through an immense beech tree that deposited me at the end of the hallway my room was on.

How cool it would be to grow up in a tree! One thing I knew for sure—acrophobia was not part of an Arborean’s makeup!

Yes, how cool would it be to grow up in a tree? You see now why I remember that morning so vividly. I was paralyzed with fear, yet able to witness that grand sight. It was breathtaking. Would you have been able to stand up on top of the tree without help? I won’t forget that sight, nor several others that we will get to later on. Next episode, we will head into Cragbend for a taste of everyday Eflarian life!~

Curious for more information about Ereth, Huphaea, and its inhabitants? Join the Nightingales by subscribing to Collata⚡, the Collection of Huphaea’s newsletter! I send out one email a month with extra bits from my time in Huphaea, things I can’t fit into the episodes. Come along, join the troupe, we are a merry band! Subscribe below!

*photos used are free for use from pxhere or unsplash.

©2020 Eleanorah Starr and Quill & Orb Press. All Rights Reserved.

Reblog: How To Research Mental Health and Trauma For Your Characters — WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

The topic of using mental health in character construction comes up frequently in writer’s groups. This blog post, along with Episode 42 of The Rebel Author podcast, (which you can find here), outlines some of the considerations and research avenues writers should explore as they write characters to life.~

Giving a character a trauma or mental health backstory seems like an easy way to add internal conflict to our characters – and it is. But where do you start that research? What should you be looking for? No one likes to read a story and find the writer just plain got something wrong. It…

How To Research Mental Health and Trauma For Your Characters — WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

The Great Collection of the Elemental Families of Huphaea, anid 1830 #10

Hello Everyone! Here we are at episode 10, I’ve made it to double digits! I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep on schedule, and figured that ten would be a good round figure to judge by, but here it is, and I’m enjoying it a lot, so I’ll keep going. I hope you are enjoying my recounting too. And it is almost August—whoa, how did that happen? Make the most of your last month of summer (for those in the Northern hemisphere, that is). I am slated to return to playing soccer next week, and I just purchased a lovely hammock for backyard reading time with the dogs. It’s been hot here, but so much more comfortable reading in a hammock. I hope you make some time for your favorite activity this week!

Last episode we had a delicious breakfast with Lady Daphne Arborea, and got some indication that going home may not be so easy. Elahna also fell prey to some mischevious tree dryads. She was on her way back into the manor to do some exploring…

**This episode has a lot of descriptive elements that I can’t find pictures of, or draw that would do what I saw justice. My hope is that I can describe it well enough that it comes alive in your mind too. Not so many pics this time, is what I mean. Let your imagination do the illustration, that’s my hope.~

Rosewood Manor’s unique and ever-changing floor

Back in the main foyer, I examined the floor scene again. I blinked my eyes several times because I would have bet my last dollar (if I had any!) that the water in the stream was flowing lazily. Gemstones glittered up at me, daring me to follow them to the reaches of the manor. When I looked up, having made my decision, Aymur was approaching me, a bemused smile on his face.

“What catches your fancy, may I ask?”

“The water in the floor scene, I swear it flows over the rocks. Is it real?”

His smile broadened some, “No, it’s an illusion created by the vitae of the house. Quite realistic, isn’t it? We are never sure what will appear when the seasons change, it’s always different. One autumn it was a giant pile of sugar maple leaves. Try finding the red, orange, and yellow markers in that. We were all cross-eyed for anos!”

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

“Am I really allowed to go anywhere in the Manor? I mean, I don’t want to end up in someone’s bedroom, but I am dying to go up the stairs.”

“Of course, be my guest. Rosewood will redirect you from private quarters anyway, so don’t worry about being nosy. My personal recommendations would be the tiger-eye and aquamarine paths, though.” He stepped aside and gestured toward the stairs.

“Funny, I had just decided on the tiger-eyes. Thanks!” I headed for the stairs, but then stopped and turned back when I heard Aymur speaking. His back was to me, but no one else was there.

Oh, possibly. I’m sure Aymur did have his own dryads. But I think he was talking to the Manor. His hushed tone was that of scolding a small child, like he was telling Rosewood not to mess with me too much. I remember laughing to myself at that moment, cause here talking to ‘yourself’ with no device in your ear or person present is likely to get you strange looks, but there? Nope, it was totally normal. I was kinda bummed that I couldn’t see the fae spirits, or talk to the houses. But I got used to others doing it around me. It was just one of those things.

My impression the previous night had been that the giant staircase formed the back of the main hall. As I walked, I realized that it occupied the center of the ground level. The forest floor scene continued on past the stairs for a distance equal to the front half and ended in a wall of four sets of leaf-outlined double doors. Arches indicated two more hallways off either side, leading away into yet deeper parts of the manse.

The immense, forked-trunk staircase was so large it exuded a presence. It began as one, split to encircle a third, arrow-straight leader, and rejoined at the landing. The treads were smoothly carved into the heartwood, and revealed captivating streaks of red, orange, brown, and gray. The outer edges retained the craggy bark of an ancient oak. Branchlets wove together to form a balustrade on the balcony and stairway, dotted here and there with the guiding gemstones.

The tiger-eyes took me up the right flight, then right again and along a limbway that included short sets of steps. It ended as a sitting area that faced that arm of Venrood Forest I had seen from the road.

The room was open to the air, with a short knee-wall of leafy branches all the way around, and an increased density of slender twigs as a ceiling. The tawny wicker furniture held pillows in various shades of yellow and pale pink and sat around a woven, goldenrod hued rug. It was breathtaking. I wondered if the sun set, or rose in this direction.

I approached the edge, as close as I dared to go, (being horribly afraid of heights), to get an idea of how high in the canopy I was. The knee-wall rustled and stretched in height, getting taller the closer I got.

Wow! What an ingenious feature!

Of course! There were small children in the Seat, so responsive walls would allow them to be anywhere, no matter their age or curiosity level. I appreciated it as well. The queasiness in my gut lessened and I leaned on the now-chest-level wall, looking some fifty feet or more down. Above me, twice that remained, the leaves shimmering in the late morning sun. Acrophobia be damned, I was going to the top.

Back out in the limbway, the aquamarine markers glowed brighter than any other. I was being baited like a mouse with cheese, but I didn’t care.

Up and up I climbed, the stairs getting shorter and the halls smaller, but clearly ending in rooms or suites. I was still within the branches of the colossal oak, though I knew this particular one would not take me to the very top, it wasn’t tall enough. As if in answer to my musings, the sun-dappled corridor shrank notably in width and the limb ended against a circular, deck-like structure.

The decking grew out of the giant redwood trunk it encircled, the silvery inner wood heavily lined and shining like polished granite. Natural colored nets woven of multi stranded string formed the walls of the radial juncture.

It was like walking inside a pair of fishnet stockings, though I was sure this particular weave would lift an elephant if necessary. With no knee wall here, I fought the sickening urge to look down and kept my eyes on the gems in the center of the floor.

Photo by Andrés Canchón on Unsplash

Several other hallways extended off of the platform in various directions. Redwood trees have a much more radial structure than that of the rambling oak, and because of it, I would not get to glimpse any suites that may be nestled in the giant evergreen.

The markers led me partway around the trunk and then onto an external staircase that spiraled up. I thanked the tree for the hand-sized banister and continued to climb, my stomach in my throat. Three more platforms fell away below me before the branches became smaller and more dense. My legs were aching and my hands shook with the phobia, but I swallowed it down and pushed through the foliage into warm sunlight.

Photo by Hrt+Soul Design on Unsplash

I’ll stop here for this time, cause I remember the feeling I had at the top of that immense tree, and it still wipes me out! It needs its own post, for sure. See you soon! ~

Rosewood Manor is quite the place, right? I suppose it could be a bit creepy sometimes, but it always seemed more helpful than anything. I sure appreciated those responsive walls. I never saw Rosewood in autumn or winter so I’m not sure how it looked when the leaves were off the deciduous trees that made up the manse. Maybe they didn’t fall, but just turned color. It was such a cool place to live, made me wonder about the other Seats, what they were like. Would you want to live in a place like Rosewood Manor? Leave a comment below and let me know!~

Would you like more info bits about Huphaea and places like Rosewood Manor? Then subscribe to Collata ⚡, The Collection of Huphaea newsletter! Nightingales look forward to one email a month that goes a little deeper into this new world, giving some insight or explanation beyond the episodes. Hit the subscribe button below to join the mailing list and become a Nightingale!

©2020 Eleanorah Starr and Quill & Orb Press. All Rights Reserved.

A Resource to Help You Choose the Right Job for Your Character + Giveaway!

** The links should be live now for the contest and Contributed Occupation list**

Hi everyone! Today I have something fun to share…a special chance to win some help with your writing bills. Awesome, right?

Some of you may know Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Well, today they are releasing a new book, and I’m part of their street team. I’m handing the blog over to them so they can tell you about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!

Certain details can reveal a lot about a character, such as their goals, desires, and backstory wounds. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?

It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.

Think about it: how much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles…or bringing you joy and helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. (Here’s one of the job profiles we cover in this book: FIREFIGHTER.)


To celebrate the release of a new book, Writers Helping Writers has a giveaway happening July 20th & July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within our Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles For Your Characters

Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past. What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right? To access this list, GO HERE.

Happy writing to all!