What is a Story Outline?

Whenever I get a new idea for a story, one of my favorite parts of the writing process is the outlining phase. But what exactly is a story outline? Well, I like to think of it as the chance to get your story and all its ideas out into the light from the swirl in your brain. Where you can see them and examine them. You can really make outlining as easy or as hard a phase as you want.

Some people like to jump right into writing their first draft and see where their ideas will take them without any prep work beforehand.

I am not one of those people though! Maybe it’s because I was taught in school that to write a good story, research paper, letter, whatever; it is important to at least have an idea of what you are going to say!

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The Things that Inspire Me: Libraries

Spiral Staircase, Library, Budapest, Hungary My dream library for my dream house:

Because if there is one place a writer finds inspiration, it’s the library.

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Helpful Tips to Help with Writing

This is just a short list of a few things I have found that (for me at least!) are helpful to remember and do when I am sitting down to write.

  • If at all possible, turn off your internet. The internet is such a major distraction when you are trying to turn out the word count!
  •  And keep your smartphone far, far away. In fact, you could even have someone you know hid it from you for a while as long as they will remember where they put it!
  •  Alternately, you could use your smartphone as a timer. I do this. That way you can jerk yourself back to reality or remember that you had only planned to research the train routes in World War I France for so long! 🙂 Continue reading “Helpful Tips to Help with Writing”

Literary Foods: Jane Austen and an English Tea

If there is one author I have read who I would love to go back in time and have tea with, it would be Jane Austen!

Tea features so prominently in her books that it is not hard to imagine the author herself sitting with a cup as she penned her novels! If she wasn’t sipping while she wrote, I am sure the kettle was always sitting ready on the parlor hearth.

Jane Austen and her family were not extremely wealthy like some of the characters she writes about, but her family always had a constant supply of good tea from one of the best tea merchants in London, Twinings. Since Jane was in charge of making her family’s breakfast every morning, she also kept the keys to the tea chest and the sugar in her charge. I am sure she knew just how to make the perfect, proper cup to go along with the toast and muffins!

I recently came across this fascinating book  about the history of tea in Jane’s day and highly recommend it! If you have ever been interested in the importance of tea in Regency England, and particularly Jane Austen and her family, you will greatly enjoy it!

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What’s on My Summer Reading List?

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books

I am really looking forward to diving into this book! Cara’s site – Yummy Books, is such a fun blog to read! Make sure you check out her recipe index to find all her great recipes. Books, food and their history are passions of mine, so I know I will be making mental notes of all the yummy things I want to make!



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The Case for Research…

I want to start out this blog post with the premise that research can be fun! (Trust me for a minute here!)

You just have to make like Sherlock Holmes and repeat over and over to yourself, “Elementary, my dear Watson!”

Just kidding. 🙂

Please don’t tell me that I am the only one out there that absolutely loves research for my novels, stories and short stories. My family laughs at me when I am researching because I have so many eureka moments! 🙂 Enthusiasm is definitely key to enjoying the research when you would rather be writing. But if you like what you are writing about, the research can be nearly as fun as the actual writing!

my all time favorite detective:

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What would they have thought?!

Sometimes, when I am discouraged with my writing, to distract myself, I like to think about what a famous author of the past would have said if they were alive today and could see how we write now days.

George Washington: What do you mean you no longer practice penmanship in schools? How can one even think of doing away with such an important accomplishment?

Jane Austen: Emails? But what about love letters?! *Gasp*

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