With one foot in the fantasy world.

Posts tagged “Writing

Review of Writing Active Setting by Mary Buckham

Writing-Active-Settings-box-jpgWriting the right amount of description to evoke a world  where characters live and breathe can be a bugaboo for writers.  Either we put too much setting in that has nothing to do with anything and the reader dozes off, puts the book down (heaven forbid), or skips to where the story is unfolding. There’s also the flip side of too much and that’s too little. This dilemma could lead the reader to develop the Goldilocks’s syndrome, only reading books that are just right. Heh. I wouldn’t blame them. Would you?

As a writer, I wanted to know how to write settings that would drop my readers smack in the middle of a world they’ve never been to and never want to leave. I was lucky to participate in a workshop taught by Mary Buckham about writing active settings.  She has a busy schedule now and doesn’t teach as often. By busy, I mean, she’s writing her own stories and being a USA bestselling and People’s Choice author.  Yay! She’s walking the walk.

Anyway, she has a new print and e-book of “Writing Active Setting – The Complete How-To Guide.”  It’s a lifesaver for beginning, as well as advanced writers.  This has all three of the Writing Active Setting books: Book 1 –  Characterization and Sensory Detail, Book 2 –  Emotion, Conflict and Back Story, Book 3 – Anchoring, Action, as a Character and More.  Plus Mary has added bonus material all on hooks.  What I love about this complete guide is everything is in one place.  The real winner of the books are the examples from a slew of well-known authors which Mary has deconstructed.  Each line is analyzed, so you understand what the author was going for.  But she doesn’t stop there, Mary writes a hypothetical first draft and a second draft that the author might have started with, so you can see the progression.  It makes it easy to grab hold of the concept and learn how these great authors write active settings.

The following is from the book description of what you will learn:

* Discover the difference between Ordinary Setting that bogs down your story, and Active Setting that empowers your story.

* See how to spin boring descriptions into engaging prose.

* Learn to deepen the reader’s experience of your story world through sensory details.

* Notice how changing characters’ POV can change your setting.

* Explore ways to maximize the setting possibilities in your story.

* Learn to use Setting to quickly anchor the reader into the world of your story.

* Use Setting as movement through space effectively.

* Explore Setting in a series.

* Find Out the most common Setting pitfalls.

These books go straight to the point, putting theory in plain language, adding examples from authors in a variety of genres, and finishes each section with exercises designed to help you work with your Setting in a way that will excite you. . .and your readers!”

Mary+Buckham-For-WebUSA Today Bestselling author Mary Buckham credits her years of international travel and curiosity about different cultures that resulted in creating high-concept urban fantasy and romantic suspense stories. Her newest Invisible Recruit series has been touted for the unique voice, high action and rich emotion. A prolific writer, Mary also co-authors the young adult sci-fi/fantasy Red Moon series with NYT bestseller Dianna Love.

Mary lives in Washington State with her husband and, when not crafting a new adventure, she travels the country researching settings and teaching other writers.   Please visit Mary’s website for more information.  To buy the book set, go here: Amazon.

If you want to soar, I highly recommend “Writing Active Settings – The Complete How-To Guide.”   Do you have a way of writing settings that you can share?

Till next time,

E. W.


Writing Can Be Hell and Hard


“Somedays you get the bear and somedays the bear gets you,” as Riker of NGST would say.  It feels like that when I’m writing.  On good days, I slay the bear and do the dance.  Bad days?  Well, you get the idea.  The bear stomps on me.



“Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.”

― Neil Gaiman

To that I say amen and thank you!  Of course, when there are too many hard days reaching the finish line seems like an impossible task.

“The hard part about writing a novel is finishing it.”

― Ernest Hemingway

But finish it we must because that’s who we are.  Ready to pour our life blood into our stories and fill them with the passion that in is our souls.

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

― Winston Churchill

What say you?

Till next time,


Thanks to the folks who brought us the A to Z Challenge.

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Today is Carpe Diem Day!


I don’t think I know anyone who wasn’t profoundly moved by the film “The Dead Poet’s Society.”  This film gets high marks for characters and story.   I want to share with you that moment when Robin William’s character is expressing to his students the importance of seizing the day while we may.  Carpe Diem!


What are you doing to seize the day?  For me, I’m continuing on my journey of writing to reach my goal of 30,000 words by the end of the month.  So far, I have reached 2159.  On target.

The next video is long and maybe you can’t watch it now but try sometime to view it.  It will uplift your spirit and point you in the direction you may have thought impossible.  It’s the last lecture of Randy Pausch, a MIT Professor.  In this particular video, he talks about achieving your childhood dreams.  It’s funny, endearing and very profound.  After watching this wonderful man, I hope you will walk away with bounce to your step and a renewed passion in your heart.


Thanks to the A to Z challenge promoters for this challenge.

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There’s more…

Because it’s also the first Wednesday in the month and that means it’s IWSG day. Whew! I need a stiff drink or at least a chance to catch my breath.



How much passion fills your day?  Physical, mental or spiritual?  What has this to do with writing you ask?  I believe all the great books are written with great passion that comes pouring out from the writer’s soul.  The passionate writer is driven to say what’s in his heart.  I’m not talking about preaching because that’s a quick way to lose your reader.  The passion I’m talking about comes from your beliefs about the world and about showing your soul and your vulnerabilities to the world through your characters and their conflicts and how they transform.

How can you uncover this passion within you?  Well, because I’m a work in progress myself, I would say one of the first steps is discovering how amazing you really are.  Look at the things that block you from being your true authentic self.  Write about it in a journal.  Create a vision and look for those aha moments.  It’s a start.

Till next time,


Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for this challenge

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Time to Take Action

Today is the day for Action.  April fool!




No fooling today is a day of Action.  What say you?



I’m ready to fight!  To take on Campnanowrimo and the A to Z challenge. Together.  I’m multitasking by using one challenge to inspire and motivate the other challenge to completion.

My intention is to write a minimum of 1,000 words per day for my wip.  A wisely quote with the alphabet letter of the day in it to stimulate and encourage me to put my fingers to the keyboard and the butt in the chair.  No matter what!

Stephen King said this:

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Stephen King, On Writing

Okay, okay.  I’m going to work all ready.

Stand my ground and unwavering until the end, I chant to myself as I begin my first round at Campnano.  For at the end, I know there is glory for finishing my wip and most of all lots of booze and s’mores.

Anyway, I must keep my gaze focused on the target. Wait let me get my binoculars, I say.  No, silly, the target is your story and the unfolding of it on paper, a voice whispers in my head.

There is no greater Agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

Yes, I’ll be pretty hard to live with it I don’t get this story done.  So off I go to take Action. How about you?  What Action will you take today?

Till next time,


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The Big Reveal – A Hop Within-A-Hop


The Big Reveal is the pre-A to Z blog hop in which we reveal our A to Z themes before the BIG hop in April.   Today’s hop was an idea born in Mina Lobo’s and David Macaulay’s minds as sort of a launching party.

I know I’m probably crazy to do this one post a day for a month.  Yikes.

This is my first A to Z challenge and I’m putting on my boots to stomp out 26 posts in 26 days based on the 26 letters in the alphabet.

To make it somewhat easier I’ve chosen a theme, writing.  I will use a quote from a famous writer/person as a prompt.  The quote will have a word  that begins with the alphabet letter for that day.

For example for the letter B:  “There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and Bleed.”  Ernest Hemingway

Holy moley, what am I going to do with XYZ?

And that’s all folks,


Just Do It

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group


Today is the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This is Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh’s brain child for writers to share and encourage, to express doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. Cool, eh?

Well, I wanted to be finished with my 2nd draft, or is it the 3rd draft of my wip by the end of February. That didn’t happen. I could list excuses the length of Naomi Campbell’s legs, but I won’t.

But, I will say that my habit of reading great books while I’m trying to finish mine gets a little hairy. After reading let’s say a Maggie Stiefvater book, I’m liable to pull a little hair out from its secure roots wondering how did she twist my heart around her characters. Then I’m back to the keys, not Key West, but the keyboard and trying to plunge forward to get back into my book. Yikes.

I have a pact with my critique buddies that we will finish our stories and make queries. We made the pact late last year with the end date in June. One of my buds already has a contract with a publisher for a book date in the fall. Awesome and spectacular. My other bud is about ready to start submitting. And then there’s me. LOL.

Like Paul Masson, who will not sell his wine before its time, I want my story to be at its best before sending it out in the world. So, I will wait, work and cultivate my wip until it’s ready. Still, I need a deadline, so March 31st is the date I will be working towards to finish my wip. Wish me luck.

Before I go, let me leave you with a fun and inspiring video that one of my buddies thought I needed.

What do you struggle with in your writing? How do you resolve it?

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Till next time,