So, as many of you know (check out the handy-dandy Goodreads box!) I’m reading Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks, and loving it!

I’m in the middle of the section about character and I was pondering how the advice Brooks provides would change my writing process. Then, I realized that I barely do character sketches… Consequently, I wondered if any of you did. How elaborate are they? Do you have a form, or do you kind of just add random things?

Let me know below!


PS… Sorry for the intermittent posting, first I was out of the county and then I procrastinated 🙂

PPS… In other news, Inkpop is shutting down tomorrow (the Inkpocalypse) and is urging its users to switch to Figment (UGH!) so, like many of the other Inkies, I have switched to Wattpad. You can find me there under the same username (Alinzar).



The happy sounds of children playing echoed across the school yard. Ella steeled herself, took a deep breath in, and faced the thought of leaving the safety that the school building afforded her. This was it. It was time to face her fears. She nudged one toe over the threshold of the door.

“Ms. Michaels! Ms. Michaels!” Two miniscule bodies thudded into her legs. “We missed you!” The voices piped up.

Ella smiled and sighed, “I missed you too. I was scared that you had forgotten about me!”

“How could we ever forget about you, Ms. Michaels?”


Just a little something to brighten up your day!

Happy Saturday!



Friday Flash: Introduction to RotP

Here’s the introduction to The Rise of the Phoenix. It’s a super rough draft, so beware! I’ll be finishing the book during March and sending out queries over the summer. Any feedback is appreciated! Enjoy!

“In a time of trial, when men slay each other without remorse, one shall come to walk above the rest. This Promised One shall have power that was never seen before, and shall use this power to promote a goodness that all should strive for. Much like a phoenix, she will be born out of the ashes of a long gone culture to create a new, whole world, free from tyranny and strife.” 

When shadows fall across a land filled with happy people, the wise ones know to be worried. Leopold of Garon was considered the wisest of the wise, and consequently, he was the most worried. He consulted all of the books he had in his vast library and contacted fellow elders by the fastest means possible, trying to find the cause and solution to the mysterious darkness.

He searched for days, finding nothing. The darkness remained. He, and his associates, turned to the scrolls they all had hidden in their personal collections. These were the prophecies of old, the ones that were merely whispers of ink on parchment that turned to dust the minute one handled them too roughly. It was here that Leopold found a prophecy from the days of the old tribal wars, wars that wrecked the once peaceful land now called Alinzar.

It was supposedly written by one of the old shamans, mages that were self-taught and traveled with their tribe. When Leopold started to read this particular prophecy, he realized that it would be prudent to copy it first, so that multiple viewings would not damage it. However, dear, old Leopold no longer had the eyesight of his youth, and, whether because of his failing eyesight or his prejudice, he dropped one letter in the transcription, a single ‘s’ that changed the path of that land forever. What was once ‘she’ was now ‘he’ and the esteemed leaders with whom Leopold was acquainted with and who he asked to verify his findings, decided that since the savior of the world was obviously a man, there was no use teaching women the skills to save the world.


Show, Don’t (Just) Tell — Jerz’s Literacy Weblog

Show, Don’t (Just) Tell — Jerz’s Literacy Weblog.

A wonderful article! I highly recommend it to all of you other writers out there!

via Show, Don’t (Just) Tell — Jerz’s Literacy Weblog.


PS: For those of you that follow me on twitter (@Alinzar) this is not the post that I promised you, so hang in there!

I am pleased to say that I have never had a run in with my muse such as the one described so beautifully above.

LOVE: Challenge Response

Here you go! (I did break my own rule a bit… so just know that that’s coming). Also, check out honjiunw‘s response.

“Can you look me in the eye and tell me that you do not feel something for her? Something more that friendship or brotherly affection?” James’ tone was accusatory, the verbal sparring he sought to commence was beneficial to no one in their group.

Cyrus was at a loss for words. On the one hand, he wanted to tell his best friend and half-brother everything, that he dreamt of Juliana and saw her in his waking moments, whether she was there or not. That every time he was faced with a decision, he wondered what she would choose. How her laughter haunted his thoughts and every second of his day-to-day life was spent trying to help her find that free and easy laughter again. On the other hand, he knew that his friend would never look at him the same way. Cyrus knew that his best friend from infancy would feel like he would forever be intruding. Plus, though Juliana and Cyrus were not technically related by blood, James would be forever stuck in the middle, the half-brother to both from either parent. Weighing his options, Cyrus realized that he had no other choice but to tell James his feelings. Even if he could do a good enough job concealing them, James would feel even more betrayed if he found out at a later date. Choosing to not engage his friend in any sort of argument, Cyrus simply stated, “Yes. I believe that I love her.”


Great post and great advice!

Writer's Block Party!

(Or: How to Sell Virtually Unsellable Novelettes)

Playing second fiddle to James Patterson shouldn’t be all that troubling to a new author trying to peddle his first novel. And for me, it wasn’t. It was educational.

I finished my first book, A NEW PROSPECT, late in 2006 and began making the rounds, querying agents interested in mysteries and police procedurals. As the rejection letters trickled in, I wrote shorter mysteries for practice.

The rejections kept piling up and I kept writing. After I finished a half-dozen stories, all of them in the 8,000 to 11,000 word range, I developed a bright idea. I’d try to sell them, too. So, I tried Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, Strand, and a couple others.  No takers with the first one. Okay, said I, try a different story. Still no takers, but one acquisitions editor did have the courtesy to write back and tell…

View original post 1,411 more words

Happy Valentine’s Day! An Appropriate Writing Challenge

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or as I’m celebrating today, National Singles Awareness Day.

As one who has, up to this point, always celebrated NSAD, I’m strangely romantic… Consequently, as may have guessed already, today’s prompt is love!

Length: Anything greater than or equal to a sentence

Rules: Must focus on lurve 😀 But here’s the twist, you can’t actually use that word, or any other listed for it in the thesaurus.

Got it? Now go!



Curiosity. What’s your stance?

I am a very curious person. I value discovery, investigation and data. In fact, most shows I watch have some component of mystery in them, my four favorites (Bones, Castle, Downton Abbey and NCIS) certainly do. I enjoy being exposed to new ideas, cultures and experiences. This trait, this curiosity, has, oddly enough, helped me in my writing. In his wonderful novel Story Engineering (which I highly recommend) Larry Brooks proposes the following method for story creation.

It begins with a four-year-old’s favorite word, why. You start at any point in the plot, and simply ask any combination of whys and what ifs, branching your story out in all directions. This is the first iteration of your plot. I, myself, have used this method, starting with “What if there was a world with magic” and ending with a plot expanding in a multitude of directions focusing on the questions “What if a girl is prophesied to be the savior of a world that becomes patriarchal with no room for a female savior? And how does she fulfill that prophecy?”

This multi-level, multi-directional style of thinking is not one that I, as a highly literal thinker, would naturally gravitate towards. I cannot, however, refute its ability to produce a writable plot. It also, surprisingly enough, helps an author discover, and set down on paper, traits about the characters and setting, something that is essential when writing High Fantasy especially.

I find that an innate curiosity, or desire to learn, is essential for anyone who wants to excel as a fiction writer. For what is fiction, but a lesson about a made up reality? As an author, I must first be curious enough about the land of Alinzar and its inhabitants to explore more of it before I expose my readers to all that it has to offer them.

Just as the author must be curious, so must the reader. They must yearn for new insights into distant, imaginary lands, for another culture’s customs to absorb. They must desire new information and must devour it for any story to be successful.

An author’s ability to exercise their creativity and release those results for the world’s consumption depends on the author’s past plots’ ability to draw the reader in, hook, line and sinker.

Do you agree?


PS… This was supposed to be yesterday’s post… I’ll post again tonight, I promise!

Dear God… I’m turning into my mother!

  • Obsessively checks blog? Yup
  • Has Tweetdeck open in the background no matter what? Yup
  • Updates nearly everyday? Yup
  • Writes about something fascinating? Yup
  • Keeps personal life separate from online life? Yup
  • Has written a novel and is now blogging about it? Yup- Oh wait, nope… Perhaps despite all the similarities, this fundamental difference differentiates between the two of us…

And now, a post actually about Phoenix….

This past week, I probably wrote a fraction of what I wrote in a day during NaNoWriMo. Frankly, I’m appalled. I can’t make excuses such as “too much school work” or “not enough free time” because I have no more work than I did in November and I have loads of free time! (ahem self, you are writing a blog).

Okay, so in case you haven’t realized, weekend posts don’t really have a set criteria (and yes, this will have to count as yesterdays post). Unlike the other days of the week, which have a set schedule (M: question about writing T: writing challenge posted W: review and post of my response to the question Th: review of some sort F: flash-fiction friday SS: Phoenix updates/anything that suits my fancy) the weekends are pretty free. You’ll see some essays for school, hear complaints about daily life and be witness to self-bask=hing over a lack of novel work… Sounds like fun, right?

If it doesn’t, I’m open to your suggestions!

Oh! And before I forget, here are the stats for Phoenix:

40 Chapters and counting!
52,278 words and counting!
I’m estimating a total of 75,000 words when it’s done which I should finish during my March Break

Until later today,