Audrey Caylin — Weaving Words on the Wings of Hope http://audreycaylin.com Sat, 23 Mar 2019 10:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://i0.wp.com/audreycaylin.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Favcon1.png?fit=32%2C32 Audrey Caylin — Weaving Words on the Wings of Hope http://audreycaylin.com 32 32 135582675 {INTERVIEW WITH MILLIE FLORENCE} lydia green of mulberry glen blog tour http://audreycaylin.com/2019/03/interview-with-millie-florence-lydia-green-of-mulberry-glen-blog-tour/ http://audreycaylin.com/2019/03/interview-with-millie-florence-lydia-green-of-mulberry-glen-blog-tour/#comments Sat, 23 Mar 2019 10:00:24 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1866

 

Good morning, everyone! Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Millie Florence’s latest release, Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen! I’ve yet to read any of Millie’s stories, but I know from following her on social media for a while and meeting her in person at Realm Makers last year that her talent and passion for beautiful stories is downright inspiring! I have the honor of interviewing her here today!

 

But first… you really need to see the cover and blurb of her newest book 😀

 

 

 

Lydia Glacier Green never had reason to worry much before.

She lived in a timeless Glen on the edge of the Valleylands with her mismatched family of fairies, philosophers, and two troublemakers known as the Zs.

But now, at age eleven, her world is turned upside down when rumors reach Mulberry Glen about a mysterious Darkness that dwells in the forest Tenebrae.

Lydia knows it is nothing to be trifled with, but, fiery and headstrong, the Zs have other ideas. A foolish choice puts their lives in danger, and although she is no hero, Lydia realizes that family is something she is willing to fight for.

But among the shifting library shelves and lonely stone towers of her quest, Lydia is chased with more questions than answers. The Darkness of the forest lurks within her own mind, and how can you fight something which is all in your head?

In her second novel Millie Florence weaves a tapestry of passion, heart, and magic. Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen is a pure, hopeful fantasy for both parents and children alike.

Pick up your copy today to experience this uplifting tale.

 |PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON

 

Welcome, Millie! I’m excited to have you here today! What first sparked the idea for Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen?

You might think it was some grand vision of the plot. For the theme of darkness against light. Or maybe a flash of Lydia’s character. But it wasn’t.

It was the muffins.

Okay, let me explain. One morning during the publication process of Honey Butter, I had peach muffins for breakfast and since it was a nice day, I took them outside and ate in my family’s treehouse. It’s a pastime of mine to dream up completely ordinary things happening in a fantasy setting. That morning, I imagined a young girl who lived in a tree shaped like a house. She climbed down and walked through a magical Glen to a cottage with a personal library inside it and ate muffins with tea for breakfast.

Anyone who has read the book will hear echos of the first chapter in this original vision of mine. And they would be correct in guessing that yes, that is where it came from. I played with that little Glen in my imagination the way young girls play with dolls until I knew every corner, every character, every tree, and sunbeam.

Slowly, past ideas and experiences began to contribute to the forming story.

There was a story I wrote (and never finished) when I was about six or seven called Lydia and the Forever Living Land. Several things have been borrowed and transformed from that unfinished work. Pit, the wise peach tree fairy, is one of them.

Mulberry trees also have a habit of following me. There was one in my backyard before my family moved out to the country. There are three or four of them at my grandmother’s house, and I have many memories of happily picking and eating the juicy fruit throughout my younger days. The mulberry trees are a personal metaphor for me of happy youthful times, and the first conflict of the book is that Lydia does not want to leave them behind.

 

That’s such a beautiful story (of how a story came to be 😉 ) Definitely a testimony to how our lives are the best inspiration for the stories we tell. How has the writing process of your newest book compared with that of Honey Butter?

Well, for one thing, it’s taken a lot longer. I wrote Honey Butter in exactly nine months, whereas Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen took around seventeen months from the first draft to publication. Which is not bad I suppose, since Lydia Green is more than twice as long as my debut.

I also had Beta Readers go through it much earlier than I did for Honey Butter.

Other than that, the process hasn’t varied too much, although the two books are vastly different in content.

 

 

What would you say is the main reason why you write and publish books?

I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve loved reading and writing and anything to do with words and stories for as long as I can remember. I still recall moments when I was only three or four years old, whispering stories to myself under the covers at night. For me, it was only a matter of time before I published something, and the question was not why, but when.

I guess I do it because I have fallen in love with the art, more than anything else. Every book has a different reason behind why I decided to pursue it, but when it comes to the craft in general, the only reason is that I enjoy it and I want to keep enjoying it.

 

I think oftentimes that’s the best reason to keep writing–because you love it and feel passionate about it! What author(s) inspires you the most?

I love Kate Dicamillo! Her thoughtfulness and lyrical prose is absolute perfection. But don’t take my word for it, her string of Newbery Medals speak for themselves.

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, is one of my favorite books, and everything a middle-grade fiction book should be. Often I’ll re-read it for guidance as to my own projects.

J.R.R. Tolkien is another big favorite. I’m a super big fan of The Lord of The Rings, and I envy his world-building skills.

L.M. Montgomery’s humor, prose, and rich characters are wonderful. I must have read Anne of Green Gables at least thirty times since I was six.

 

Haha, yes, Tolkien does seem to be a worldbuilding master! What do you like most about being a middle-grade fiction author?

Oh, there are so many things I love about it!

I’m the sort of person who loves children and loves being a child. I have four younger siblings and I love hanging out with them and telling them my stories. There’s so much more imagination and whimsy in the childlike mindset.

I didn’t realize that the genre itself was my genre for a while though, not until I started the publishing process of Honey Butter that is. Before then, being under thirteen, I had always written about characters my age or younger than me, without really thinking about what age group would be reading the stories. I came to realize, however, that even as I became a teen, I continued to read a lot of middle-grade books, not because I couldn’t understand the Young Adult genre, but because I genuinely enjoyed middle grade more. So many things that would be considered ‘dumb’ in the young adult section, were accepted and loved in middle grade. A mountain that is actually the stomach of a giant, a charm that only grants half wishes. Middle grade gives imagination more room to roam.

On top of this, the books felt friendlier, more lighthearted, with quirky characters and witty narrative voices. A good middle-grade book, in my opinion, is warm and imaginative while retaining at the same time, a deep thoughtfulness. It asks good questions but lets the reader find the answers. It hands them hope, not a rule book. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”

 

Beautifully put. There is a sense of magic in a lot of middle grade books that no other genre holds. Moving on a bit, what advantages and disadvantages have you experienced as a teen author?

The fact that you’re a teen author can be in itself an advantage or disadvantage depending on who you talk to. There are a few individuals who think that teens don’t have enough life experience to write books. There are others who find it very impressive. Luckily, most people today are very supportive of young people pursuing their dreams.

Obviously, one of the disadvantages is balancing school and writing. As a homeschooler, I have the freedom to choose when I do my schoolwork, so I usually work on it in the mornings and write and market my books in the afternoons.

 

I think flexible schooling has helped a lot of young authors and writers out there! Where do you hope your writing career will go in the future?

Well, I hope it will grow, and in the word’s of Pit, that wise fairy from Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen “As long as you are growing towards the light, you are moving in the right direction.”

I hope it will grow towards the light, and whatever direction it takes to get there, I will be perfectly happy with.

 

Pit definitely has a lot of wisdom on that. I’m looking forward to meeting her when I read the book 🙂  Last question: what would be your biggest piece of advice for another teen author or writer?

Sometimes writing feels like a chore, or it feels as though, no matter how much you write, you aren’t going anywhere. I’ve been there.

Once, my little sister planted a seed in the ground and then promptly stood by it, eyes fixed upon the place, to ‘watch it grow’. Well, plants don’t work like that, and neither does personal growth.

I wrote countless unfinished and abandoned stories before I got to Honey Butter, but I got there at just the right time. God has a plan. Sometimes you can’t finish those stories because you’re not ready to yet.

Write, read and live life to the fullest. The rest will follow.

 

Amen! Thank you so much for being here today, Millie, and sharing your thoughts! For everyone reading, Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen releases on March 29th, so be sure to check it out

 

ABOUT MILLIE

Millie Florence is an adventurous homeschooler who published her first book, ‘Honey Butter’, at age 13. She loves sushi, zip lines, and just about all things yellow. Millie lives in a picturesque blue house in the woods with her parents and her four siblings, plus a varying amount of cats and chickens. Whenever you need a good excuse not to clean your room, you can visit her online at millieflorence.com

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest ~ goodreads

 

 

 

Blessings,

Audrey

Are you planning to read Lydia Green of Mulberry Glen? What do you love about the genre you write? 

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{GET BACK IN THE BOAT} some thoughts for all writers aching for the deep http://audreycaylin.com/2019/03/get-back-in-the-boat-some-thoughts-for-all-writers-aching-for-the-deep/ http://audreycaylin.com/2019/03/get-back-in-the-boat-some-thoughts-for-all-writers-aching-for-the-deep/#comments Sat, 02 Mar 2019 11:00:55 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1882

 

Dear writer,

 

You’ve been out all night, all week, all month. It goes the same for all of us. We cast our buckets into the creative wells of inspiration tucked deep in the heart and the mind and once, and we pull. We pull up a catch of emotions and thoughts all tangled together and rearrange them on a page in something called story.

 

Some days it’s light work, and though we’re working alone, the encouragement and prayers of others seems to grow hands and make our job easy. We pull and pull and our buckets overflow.

 

Other days it’s hard work, and our two little arms hardly seem strong enough to pull up a bucket that just reveals itself to be empty.

 

It seems like a game of chance. Yes, there are strategies. Write consistently. Plot the scenes. Re-inspire yourself. Keep a schedule. Pray for help. Yet every day is a new day when you sit down to spill your heart out, and overnight all those cells in your body seemed to have rearranged themselves; your heart cannot come out the same way twice.

 

We’ve been told that there will be dry seasons and seasons so bursting with inspiration that it will overflow and we will never be able to get enough words out. Some days we will be so eager to put our hands to the rope, to dip down the bucket, cast our nets. Other days we will sit and say, “I have toiled all night and taken nothing.”

 

There is something so disheartening about going back to a story day after day and finding nothing but an empty mind and words so hard they bruise your mind when they come out.

 

Perhaps Peter’s “all night” was meant to mean days and days. Days without fish. And here comes this random carpenter (what does he know about fishing, anyway?) who says, “put out into the deep.”

 

 

Put out into the deep.

 

What is the deep? How far is the deep? After months of toiling with no catching of inspiration or stories, no more than a fish quickly gleaming beneath the water and out of sight—we finally settle down and assume things aren’t going to happen. Then Jesus shows up. Where was he earlier? He doesn’t say. He just tells us to set out into the deep—isn’t it nearly laughable? Haven’t we been out in the deep, scraping at the bottom of our well of inspiration for days on end? What logic is there in doing that again?

 

Yet we are desperate. We are so desperate that we tell this carpenter “at your word I will let down the nets.” Expecting to find nothing, probably halfheartedly reaching down into the dry pit of inspiration.

 

We probably find nothing. Maybe I misinterpret this gospel story, but I think Peter had to go out pretty far. Way far. Probably farther than he wanted to go with his weary body and strained eyes, on and on. Glancing at this carpenter, wondering when he’d drop the act and admit that he knew nothing of where the fish were and was just joking with Peter. Waiting for him to say Peter should take control again, being the fisherman he was.

 

I don’t think that, when we decide to go something with God, it always just works. Yes, sometimes things are easy. Sometimes the fish are waiting in the shallows. But sometimes not. Sometimes we must leave the familiar, the easy, the things we’ve always done to follow the advice of a carpenter (what does he know about writing, anyway?) to make out into the deep where the inspiration is.

 

What does that mean for any of us? Putting out into the deep is not a one time deal. It’s a constant invitation. I think it’s a constant invitation to let go of what we think we know is right and follow the urging (through God’s Word and what we hear in the silence) toward a life that is ever going deeper and deeper into his love.

 

Peter had just finished cleaning his nets. He was done. God was not. I’m sure after many sessions of writing, a lot of us are “done” with our stories. Nope. We’re not going to work on them anymore. We’re over with them.

 

Then God gets in our boat, and since it’s, well, our boat, we should probably get back in it with him, right?

 

I think we do that with the expectation that he’s automatically going to revolutionize our current stories and writing processes. And maybe he will. Maybe he’ll make a few great tweaks and give us a thumbs up. Shallow water is good, bud, just a bit over to the right!

 

Or he’ll say “put out into the deep.” Go away from the familiar, try something entirely new, here’s something that’s going to transform your life, if you only follow it.

 

Maybe he changes our stories. Maybe he wrecks them entirely. Maybe he tells us to take a break and go out into the world because hey, your smile can inspire the world just as much as a heartfelt story can. We might be shaking our heads and keep glancing at him and wondering who this crazy carpenter is, but we still need to go if we ever want that catch.

 

Get in the boat. Set out into the deep. Let him revolutionize your stories (and your life)

 

Blessings,

Audrey

 

Just some rambling thoughts about how one of my favorite Gospel stories applies to writing 🙂 What about you? Has God called you to set out into the deep regarding your writing?

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{FAITH, INADEQUACY, & GRACE} what God’s been teaching me about writing http://audreycaylin.com/2019/02/faith-inadequacy-grace-what-gods-been-teaching-me-about-writing/ http://audreycaylin.com/2019/02/faith-inadequacy-grace-what-gods-been-teaching-me-about-writing/#comments Sat, 16 Feb 2019 10:00:55 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1837

 

I’ve realized that writing for God is actually a lot scarier and more challenging that I first thought.

 

Why? Because when you invite God into your writing process, suddenly, you aren’t the only one calling the shots anymore. You aren’t the only author any longer. There is a much greater Author there with you, and he’s just as interested as you are in your character’s arc and personality type, that plot twist that’s going to shock readers, and what your story’s theme is.

 

To quote Plot Versus Character:

“…where there was once only one power…now there are two.”

 

Writing has always felt like a tug between two powers to me, between structure versus spontaneity, rules versus intuition and art. It’s been between what should work and what does work, what I want the story to be and what it actually is. And it’s especially apparent between what God wants to do with my writing and what I want to do with it.

 

Thankfully…I always lose the last battle. But even if you’re losing to God, that often doesn’t make losing any easier. As I’ve reflected back on my writing journey for the past year, three main points stuck out at me. This is a tad late for at 2018 closing post, but these thoughts took a little while to untangle + 3 essays were against me in actually writing this post and of editing it 😉

 

#1. Grace makes things possible, but possible doesn’t mean easy.

 

So many hours in the past year I spent praying about my writing. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen as, every morning before I began to type, I’d pause with my thumb hovering over the “play” button on Spotify, and I’d pray. Usually something pretty general like “Lord, help me to write this story as you want me to write it. And the plot. Please help me plot this book.”

 

Honestly, it felt like nothing happened. Five or six days a week. Day by day, nothing seemed to change. I spent an hour writing, sometimes flew through it like I had wings and was having a crazy fun time, but sometimes not. Day by day a 50k outline built itself, a draft twice the length came into existence, then slipped apart as I re-worked said 50k outline.

 

It happened. Sometimes I’d scroll through all my files and notes wonder how it came to be so much better than I thought it would.

 

Grace. Somehow, when I didn’t feel it or notice it, God blessed my efforts and created this with me.

 

“But then why wasn’t it easier?” I found myself thinking.

 

Then I realized maybe I hadn’t been praying for grace to write this book, even if that’s what I’d gotten. Maybe I’d been praying for it to be easy.

 

But what is easy? While there have been (and always will be) days when any task, any writing process, is a blast and effortless, there will still be those days when it is hard. But NOT impossible.

 

There is grace enough for each word, each paragraph, each moment and each breath. There is grace enough to get through those tougher moments (which, if we’re honest, are really teaching us an important lesson) and into easier moments to rest, then to try again.

 

#2. You will never be a ‘good enough’ writer. But again, there is grace.

 

Sometimes the more I write, the more I’m convinced I don’t know how to write. As I talked about on my Instagram story about For Felicity, writing that short story was exhilarating and felt like a big exhale (with a few hiccups). So when I switched to another short story that ended up as a disaster, I couldn’t help but become frustrated. Where had my ability to write gone?

 

Naturally, I asked God. And I felt like he laughed at me. 😉 But when God laughs at me, it’s more like the laugh of a father to a little child who is totally clueless about everything; the laugh of oh, there is joy in learning, my child! that makes me end up laughing too, because yes, I want to learn. 

 

And again, God said grace. 

 

There is talent and there is skill, and it certainly wouldn’t work to just think you can write a masterpiece without putting significant effort into acquiring the skill to do so. But to write something truly good…cannot only the One is who Goodness itself do that by His will? I realized that there is nothing we can do to make our novels into powerful stories; only God can do that. Only God can take our little creations and put a divine spark in them, and use them as channels of grace to speak to others’ souls. No matter how inadequate we feel we are for the tasks, in the end, it is not about how good we are. Just about how willing we are.

 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

 

#3. We need faith in our stories (and God)

 

One thing the Second Half of the Second Act has taught me is that it’s easy to say we believe something but to not truly believe it. Sometimes we say we believe something but consciously don’t, but other times we say we believe something and unconsciously don’t, in which we don’t realize we have no faith in what we’re saying until something unveils our unbelief.

 

The story I’ve been writing has been a lot like that. I wrote the very first draft a year and a half ago, and found I had a very hard time relating to the protagonist, something that is really important for how I craft stories. After taking a break from it, the story slowly came to be appealing again and I decided: alright, this is the story I’m going to write. This is the one God wants me to write. 

 

Spoiler: I was trying really hard to trick myself, since I was obsessing 23/7 about another idea for the hour I wasn’t writing this one.

 

As I wrote and edited and outlined this new story, discouragement slowly crept in. The plot was a mess (per usual). I barely had anything in common with this character– she’s outspoken, reckless, cynical to an extreme, despite being generous and courageous and uninhibited to a fault.

 

But as I prayed and wrestled over the idea of quitting, it seemed God was saying: just write this story.

 

And did I mention my character is physically blind?

 

The more I wrote that story, the more I felt like I was blind. I didn’t know the purpose of the novel I was writing. I didn’t see how it was supposed to bring anything to my life, other than to teach me perseverance. I felt exactly like my character as her actions screamed: I just want to see again!!!

 

There certainly wasn’t an instance like Luke 18:41 where I said what I wanted and immediately received what I asked for. There was just a slow, dawning realization that I didn’t believe this story or the process of writing it was going to get any easier or more enjoyable. That it was going to be a walk in the dark until I eventually moved on to another idea, via God’s command. However that would come.

 

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how dangerous a sort of expectation like this can be. Determination is good, yes, but when all we expect is just enough grace to write the story? We believe God will give us enough, but do we believe that he will give us more than enough?

 

When I read The Story of With last year, one part that really stuck with me was the difference between expectation and anticipation. I had lots of expectations for this story and what God was going to do with it. When none were met, my hope got bogged down more and more, despite how it was clear through prayer that I should keep writing it. I just didn’t see what he was trying to do with it.

 

But is that a reason to not expect that he will do anything with it? That the God who defeated death cannot transform any novel or writing process into something that makes our souls sing?

 

He sees. He knows. He knows when we’re blind and begging to see, and sometimes that we only want to see certain things. But just because nothing changes, that should never be a reason to begin to only expect dryness. There is always cause for hope—perhaps even we are not blind, that there are things to see if only we look a little harder.

 

He invites us to have faith.To have faith that our hopeless stories and seasons of writing can become something better again. That perhaps there are already hints of spring in the dead winter of creativity and understanding. That the dark clouds should never distract us from what they conceal: the light, the dawn.

 

As I finally realized who and what I was really writing about in my novel, I saw I hadn’t been looking hard enough for those hints of spring and light; they’d been beneath everything the entire time as God used my story and the stories of those around me to shape the one I was writing.

 

 

That was a bit of a long rambl-y post today, but I’ve had these thoughts on my heart for a while and felt I should share them with you <3 Thank you so much for reading!

 

Blessings,

Audrey

What has God taught you about writing lately?

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{I PUBLISHED A BOOK—FOR FELICITY LAUNCH} synopsis, giveaway, and all the info http://audreycaylin.com/2019/01/i-published-a-book-for-felicity-launch-synopsis-giveaway-and-all-the-info/ http://audreycaylin.com/2019/01/i-published-a-book-for-felicity-launch-synopsis-giveaway-and-all-the-info/#comments Mon, 14 Jan 2019 10:00:21 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1781

Hello my friends! Happy New Year!

 

I have a SUPER cool announcement today that I’ve been dying to tell you about for several weeks now:

 

I published a book.

 

*insert me running around and screaming*

 

How can this be? Why haven’t I said anything about it? What is this book?

 

To start with the last question, it’s actually a short story. It came in right around 4k. I planned to print it out as a physical copy to give to relatives and friends for a Christmas present (and I did), but then I felt a nudge to go a step farther with it. I was already using Kindle Direct Publishing, so why not hit the publish button?

 

(well… I did put a bit more thought into it than that, but you get the idea 😛 )

 

Before I ramble on forever about all the “backstory” of this idea, HERE IS THE STORY. And the synopsis. And the links. And farther down, the GIVEAWAY.

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[because I have to do a small cover reveal 😉 ]

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A tragedy that shattered.

A song that can mend.

A single heart longing to be free.


With her older brother leaving on deployment in mere hours, seventeen-year-old Felicity has one chance to bridge the gap of silence between them before time scars their relationship forever.

 

 

 

Paperback | Kindle

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This story literally sprang up out of nowhere sometime in late October. I was intrigued—I hadn’t written anything remotely near contemporary since I was eleven. I started writing it in November and immediately felt like I’d found something special. I felt urged to go a step farther and have it professionally edited, then contacted a cover designer. As I researched a printing company, the idea that this story was meant for more than a few people reoccurred multiple times. So I dropped my other plans for the month and said, “Alright, God. You want me to get this book ready for publication, so…I’m game.”

 

After lots of formatting and nitpicky edits and tons of proofreading and fangirling… IT’S HERE. And while I feel like I should be terrified at having this story of mine out for anyone in the world to view, I am just so excited and awed. Excited to see what God is going to do with it, and awed that God did will that this happen so quickly and beautifully.

Want a free copy? THERE’S A GIVEAWAY. Here’s how you enter:

 

1. Sign in to the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Share this post or a link to the book anywhere on social media—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, etc.

2. Copy and paste the URL of your post into the white box. (if you use an Instagram story, link to your profile the same day you post the story)

3. BOOM YOU’RE ENTERED. Each separate post (linking your Instagram post in your Instagram story counts as two posts) equals 2 points and there are five opportunities to enter every day 😀

 

 

The best part? I’M GIVING AWAY THREE COPIES. So three people can win!!!

 

The giveaway starts TODAY (Monday) and ends Saturday (19th). I really hope you go enter, as I’m dying to share this story with you!

 

[edit: I totally forgot to mention that this giveaway is for US only. I’m so sorry I didn’t clarify that right away! If you are international and you entered and win a copy, we can work something out for the shipping price 🙂 ] a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

So there’s the big news xD My regular posts will be back again soon, but I just had to let you all know that this happened. I feel so blessed to be able to give you this story <3

 

Blessings,

Audrey

 

What story ideas has God surprised you with lately? Are you going to enter the giveaway?

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{HOW FEAR CAN UNLOCK THE SOUL OF YOUR STORY} utilizing your protagonist’s deepest fear to unveil the heart of the character arc http://audreycaylin.com/2018/12/how-fear-can-unlock-the-soul-of-your-story-utilizing-your-protagonists-deepest-fear-to-unveil-the-heart-of-the-character-arc/ http://audreycaylin.com/2018/12/how-fear-can-unlock-the-soul-of-your-story-utilizing-your-protagonists-deepest-fear-to-unveil-the-heart-of-the-character-arc/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2018 10:00:11 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1661

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Fear. The often unnoticed or else ignored shadow lingering behind characters or even right beside them as they attempt to achieve their story goal.

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As I was pondering stories in general a while ago, it struck me how many times characters are afraid within the overarching stories they live in. How many times they’re glancing over their shoulders, fighting back old memories, and purposefully avoiding certain situations even when it endangers their lives.

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These fears are always tied to an event in the past: a “Ghost,” as it’s called in the writing world. An event happens that haunts the character like “a ghost.” The character becomes afraid. And if that fear isn’t overcome, the character can end up acting in accordance with it for the rest of his life, often without even knowing it.

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But sometimes there comes a moment when the character must get over this fear or else. Or else his world is going to be destroyed, his family killed, and he’ll lose the Thing he Wants Most.

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If you didn’t already catch on, I’m talking about character arcs here, and how you really, really need to know what your character’s Fear is if you’re going to write a good one.

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HOW MUCH DOES FEAR ACTUALLY AFFECT US?

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To switch to the real world really quick, let’s pause a moment and think about how present fear is in the average person’s daily life. I believe fear is tied very closely to our motivations for nearly everything. To give a silly example, we brush our teeth because we are (unconsciously) afraid of getting cavities. We obey traffic laws because we’re afraid of getting in accidents or getting a ticket. And we would likely put ourselves in harm’s way because we’re afraid of a loved one getting hurt.

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Fears like that aren’t a bad thing at all—in a way, they help us stay prudent and sensible, and the focus is not on the thing we’re avoiding but the thing we’re striving for (healthy teeth).

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But the bigger fears are the problems, the ones that rule over us. When we relentlessly pursue success to the detriment of health and relationships because we’re afraid to fail, when we don’t form friendships because we’re afraid of being hurt, and when lash out at others because we’re afraid of weakness being revealed, that is unhealthy fear.

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In other words, fear becomes a problem when it creates unhealthy behaviors.

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Back to the fiction world, that is exactly the “Lie” that the character is suffering from at the beginning of the novel. He believes a certain thing, and that belief invades his life in the form of an unhealthy behavior.

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Where does that belief come from?

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Fear.

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And where does that fear come from?

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The Ghost.

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In other words, characters are afraid of a certain type of pain because of the Ghost, and to avoid suffering that certain pain, they develop unhealthy habits, behaviors, and beliefs to cope with the hurt caused by the Ghost and to make sure they don’t experience it again.

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Grasping this concept of avoiding a certain thing (or preventing it from happening again) can be transformational in figuring out how your character lives out his Experiment in Living at the beginning of his character arc. If you’re ever stuck in wondering “how would a character act if they believed they are unworthy of forgiveness?” back up. What are they afraid of? Being hurt? Then they’ll probably have a lot of self-defense mechanisms up, like being distrustful and putting on shows of strength.

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Sounds a bit depressing, right? Fortunately, this isn’t where the story ends.

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THE HEART OF THE CHARACTER ARC: BANISHING THE GHOST

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How do we overcome our greatest fears?

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A heavy question, but for the sake of this post, let’s keep it simple:

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We overcome our greatest fears by facing them.

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So for your protagonist to get the fear out of his life, he’s going to have to face it and rise above it. The character arc (at least a positive one) is about the character overcoming the wounds the Ghost has created… i.e. the unhealthy habits (like lies and vices) and fears the Ghost has created.

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Essentially, the entire point of the plot is to pull the character out of his fear. The plot forces him to:

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1) realize he actually has fears affecting his life (Act I)

2) realize his fears are making his life/others’ lives miserable and change must happen or he’s going to lose something he loves (Act II)

 3) face the fear, rise above it, and prove he can stay above it (Act III)

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In a way, the entire (positive) character arc is about leading your character out of fear and mending the wounds the Ghost and the fear of it have created.

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That’s at the core of your story.

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What about theme?

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There I’ll say two things:

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1) the theme is in the movement from the character’s Lie to the Truth. In nearly every case.

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2) this “structure” is just a thought I had the other day that helped me immensely in outlining, so I can’t vouch for it working/being present in every novel 😉 Pride and Prejudice never explicitly states if Elizabeth is afraid of never finding a husband (I don’t think she is). Yet in Persuasion, Anne seems certainly afraid of making up to Captain Wentworth/finding a man who loves her, and in the latter part of the story she rises above that (no spoilers, but that novel is genius). Similarly, in A Time to Die, Parvin is afraid of not being remembered. Is she afraid of that later in the novel, or in the series? Not in the same way; she moves beyond her first fear

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This method was a “lightbulb” moment for me because of one reason:

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Readers can relate to being afraid and struggling to overcome fears.

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On that note, here are a few final tips for utilizing fear in your novel:

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1) Make the fear relatable to the audience. We can all relate to fear in general, but having one that’s easy for your target audience to sympathize with can be most powerful. A YA novel where the MC is afraid of losing his job? Maybe relatable, but not so much as, say, an MC afraid of never finding his place in the world.

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2) Remember that the fear will always be of suffering. Humans hate pain; we try to avoid it. So do characters.

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3) Your MC is always going to be afraid of psychological suffering. Physical suffering is bad, yes, but it’s the wounds in our minds and hearts that hurt the most. That’s what hurts characters most too.

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4) Try to never mention that your MC is afraid. Ever. I tried this in a recent manuscript and the results blew me away. The subtly adds so much power. What’s so powerful about a sentence that reads “Tom was most afraid of being alone” when that can be shown in the story?

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5) Be careful what you’re doing to your readers’ emotions. Something in us always wants to see the protagonist overcome their fears; it inspires us to do the same. If they don’t, it can be a powerful warning to the audience, but it can also be depressing.

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Thank you for bearing with me in this long post! Looking at our stories from different perspectives and with different techniques often opens up more possibilities for creativity and depth, so I hope my ramble on fear proved helpful 😀

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Write on,

Audrey

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Tell me your opinion! Have you ever looked at character arcs this way? What is your protagonist’s fear and how does it impact his/her life? How do you hint at your protagonist’s Ghost throughout the story? Feel free to flail about character arcs and themes because I love all that stuff 😉

P.S. Sorry for any weird formatting…Wordpress 5.0 and I aren’t friends yet 😛

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{HOW TO BE A JOYFUL WRITER} tips for rediscovering joy in your passion http://audreycaylin.com/2018/11/how-to-be-a-joyful-writer-tips-for-rediscovering-joy-in-your-passion/ http://audreycaylin.com/2018/11/how-to-be-a-joyful-writer-tips-for-rediscovering-joy-in-your-passion/#comments Sat, 24 Nov 2018 10:00:33 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1638

 

Sometimes being a writer is the most exhilarating experience in the world…

 

And other times, being a writer can be the most miserable thing ever.

 

If you’ve written for a consider amount of time, you’ve probably experienced this: flying…then falling. Having the most amazing writing day ever only to hit rock bottom the next morning. Or, worse, to be having the time of your life one moment, then the next, become incredibly depressed and discouraged about your writing.

 

Even before I became a serious writer, I still had those ups and downs—days when inspiration came, and days when writing was a joyless task. Last year proved to be especially like that, and for days I wondered if writing was even worth it anymore when I considered how much I stressed about it and loathed sitting at the computer to get words down.

 

I’ll just say it:

 

Sometimes writers really hate writing.

 

My question is: why?

 

Do creativity and inspiration really come and go on a whim regardless of what we do? Is it impossible to be consistently content and joyful as we pursue our craft? Or do we have the power to change our attitude toward our writing, and just aren’t utilizing it?

 

Questions like this were spinning in my head as I came back from Realm Makers this past summer, determined to fall in love with writing again and see it as a joy, not a duty.

THE PROBLEM IS NOT OUR WRITING

 

I believe writing becomes joyless for three reasons:

 

1) we hit a hard spot in our stories and realize that writing is hard work and we don’t feel like doing that hard work (aka editing).

 

2) we look at our writing and decide it’s absolutely terrible so why bother to keep trying?

 

3) the magical Inspiration Fairy leaves us unmotivated and uninspired, so we assume writing will be a cheerless task until the Inspiration Fairy comes back.

 

To tackle the first point, I’ll just say this: writing is hard work. As my mentor told me, there is no magic-bullet for writing. Sometimes (a lot of times) it’s just work. Thinking. Rewriting. Editing. More and more thinking to solve plot problems, bring characters to life, craft beautiful sentences, and remember that stupid grammar rule you keep forgetting. There is no way around that.

 

We have to ask ourselves: is the hard work worth it for us? Be honest. It’s okay if the answer is no—I can guarantee it will be some days, in which taking a break would likely be a good idea. But in the long run, we have to figure out if the hard parts of writing are worth the highs that also come. If the answer is yes—then sit down and write. Push through the hard part and the better part will come if we just stay patient.

 

For point two, we need to stop believing lies and believe this instead: writing is a craft that takes a long time to master, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and have the power to inspire people in the meantime. Accept where you on the journey, get encouragement, and keep going and remember why you love this so much.

 

Point three is harder to tackle. To figure it out, we have to take a look at the Inspiration Fairy who makes writing so easy and fun and sends us loads of plot bunnies.

 

Remember that magic bullet I mentioned?

 

The magic bullet is the Inspiration Fairy.

 

In other words, the Inspiration Fairy does not exist.

 

(I’m sorry 😛 )

 

So what is this thing that we think is the Inspiration Fairy?

 

That, my friend, is our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

LIFE: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

 

When writing suddenly becomes “joyless,” we writers often panic. The Inspiration Fairy has left. Our WIP is terrible. No, worse—we’ve lost our writing talent. It’s vanished like the Inspiration Fairy. We can’t write anymore, inspiration is gone, there’s no reason to do this, and we should go collapse on the couch and read cheesy novels for the rest of our lives.

 

Or we can stop looking so closely at our writing lives and look at what else is going on in our lives. You know: work, school, relationships, other commitments. Remember them? We often lose sight of them when we’re frolicking through fantastical worlds.

 

Yet Life is still there, perhaps more so than we realize.

 

Thing is, what’s happening outside of our writing lives affects us largely when we write. Just had an argument with someone? Of course the words aren’t coming for that scene. Stressed about a deadline? That’s probably why you can’t focus. Stretched thin with a ton of commitments? Well, where do you think your brain is going to get that extra energy from so you can write?

 

Tense relationships, looming deadlines, lack of sleep, guilt, fear—you name it, and it affects how you write.

 

So perhaps the question isn’t how to be a joyful writer, but how to be a joyful person.

 

That could be a whole post (or book) unto itself, so instead I have some tips for how I’ve come to be joyful about my writing again.

 

1) get your priorities straight. Are you writing when you should be studying or helping your family? If your conscience is anything like mine, focusing on writing will be near impossible. Your writing will always be there. Just put it in the place it needs to be. If it’s God’s will that you write, He’ll give you the time to do it, so long as you’re striving to serve Him the best you can.

 

2) stop attaching your identity to your writing. This is so easy to do as a writer. Our writing is terrible—we’re crushed. We, who have the Holy Spirit Himself residing in our hearts. Placing our self-esteem on something so earthly and fragile just isn’t going to work (I’ll be writing an entire post about this in a few weeks). If your writing is your all in all and the determiner of your joy—yes, you probably won’t be a very joyful writer or person.

 

3) remember what your writing is. It isn’t life and death. It isn’t the beginning of everything or the end of everything. It’s beautiful. It’s fun. It just isn’t the end of the world if life takes you away from it or you’re unable to do it. Embracing this is so freeing.

 

 

It’s terrifying and crushing when writing suddenly stops being a joyful activity. Instead of wallowing in that despair and waiting for the Inspiration Fairy to return, step back and look outside of your writing: your life, your relationships, your commitments. Putting writing in the right place on your list of priorities and being okay with slowing down to keep up with other things in life can be a huge help in bringing joy back to both your normal life and your writing life.

 

Write on,

Audrey

What are some of your tips for regaining joy as a writer? How do you deal with the absence of the Inspiration Fairy? (or what do you call the Inspiration Fairy? 😉 )

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{WHY YOU SHOULDN’T PUBLISH YOUR BOOK} three reasons that beautiful dream of yours is bigger than you thought http://audreycaylin.com/2018/11/why-you-shouldnt-publish-your-book-three-reasons-that-beautiful-dream-of-yours-is-bigger-than-you-thought/ http://audreycaylin.com/2018/11/why-you-shouldnt-publish-your-book-three-reasons-that-beautiful-dream-of-yours-is-bigger-than-you-thought/#comments Sat, 10 Nov 2018 10:00:40 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1625

 

What is the primary reason you’re writing your book right now?

 

If you ask a bunch of unpublished (and published) authors this question, you’ll probably get an answer like “the idea is cool, I love writing it…and I want to get it published.”

 

It’s weird to realize that I never started thinking like that until several years ago. Before that, I was repulsed by the idea of publication. Putting my ideas out there for the world to see? That was crazy! And pointless! I just loved to read my own writing.

 

Then things changed a bit, and now with every novel I write, I imagine it being a published book one day.

 

Good thing or bad thing?

 

Possibly a good thing, because publishing is a wonderful way to share your God-given storytelling talents and let others experience the beauty of the story you’re telling.

 

Possibly a bad thing, because should every book we write be published?

 

As I thought about this more, I realized my answer was a solid no. I don’t think every book we write should be published. Especially when we’re first starting out as writers, I don’t think a lot of books we write should be published.

 

Am I crazy? Maybe. But read on to get my two cents on this 😉

#1. YOUR WRITING MAY NOT BE GOOD ENOUGH

 

Sorry if I sound depressing here! 😛  But think about it. Would you really want your book to be published if your writing isn’t the best it can be?

 

With CreateSpace and Lulu, self-publishing allows so many writers to get published nowadays. Sometimes it allows for very well written books to get into the world (like K.A. Emmons’ Blood Race series), but it also allows for not well-written books to get into the world.

 

The result is threefold:

1) the wonderful avenue of independent publishing gets a bad name, making it harder for good writers to publish their books through it without a sort of stigma

2) writers who publish those not well-written books and then try to pitch their next book to publishers may have a harder time getting a contract

3) the world honestly does not need books that are not the best they can be.

 

I don’t mean that a lot of books are terribly written and that terrible books don’t deserve to be read. A lot of them are good ideas and solid stories, but with more tweaking, more editing, and a bit higher level writing, they could be amazing and not just mediocre.

 

Do we want to publish mediocre books?

 

From a Christian perspective, what is a mediocre book bringing to the reader? Entertainment? An okay story? Why not wait another year or two until our writing is better so we can give readers a fantastic story?

 

Of course, you don’t want to edit the same manuscript over and over again for eternity just to get it fantastic. There must be a point where you acknowledge that you’ve done all you can.

 

There’s also another point: stories change people. They change thinking, acting, and believing. Stories are powerful. Whether you realize it or not, the reader is going to finish your story as a changed person.

 

How is your story going to change them?

 

With the book you have right now, maybe you need to go through more edits. Or maybe the whole idea just isn’t matured enough and you need a new one, or you’re not sure what you’re trying to say with this book. But this is for certain: there’s no reason to publish a book that is not your best work and will not be bringing something strong and powerful to the reader’s life.

#2. YOU MAY NOT BE READY

 

When we’re waiting to get published, it’s so easy to idolize what it’s like to be an author. Book signings! Lots of fans! More publishing contracts! Writing all day long!

 

Is that what publication really is?

 

I’ve stalked plenty of authors on social media, and through their posts I get the feeling that it isn’t all it’s made out to be. Most of them still have other jobs, struggle to meet deadlines because they can’t get enough time to write, and get burnt out. There are nasty reviews of their books, no inspiration for new books, and that haunting feeling that their writing is getting worse.

 

It’s a balance. Being published is awesome sometimes, and not awesome other times. It’s like writing as an unpublished writer, only with more responsibility and pressure.

 

Publication has joys, but it also has hardships. Before seeking to be published, I think we should ask ourselves if we’re really at a point in our lives where we’re ready for this. Like marriage. Do you get married to someone “just because you can?” It’s a commitment, and we have to be ready for all the joys and hardships it brings.

 

When I was fifteen, I wanted to publish my book. It would be perfect! Looking back, I am so so thankful that God didn’t let that happen, because I’m certain I would have exploded or crashed and burned terribly. Even today, I don’t think I’m quite in the position to publish a full novel. And that’s fine. Getting published isn’t a race. When you’re ready, go for it. But don’t rush it.

 

 

#3. PUBLICATION IS NOT THE GOAL—IMPACTING PEOPLE IS

 

Do we write stories just to have them published?

 

I think this is such an easy trap to fall into as an aspiring author, especially today. It’s so easy to just write stories and publish as many of them as we can as quickly as possible.

 

Yes—stories are beautiful things to share. They change people. They’re powerful. If done well, they can bring people to Christ.

 

But do we write just to get published?

 

When I’ve asked people why they write, I get a lot of different answers, but most are along the lines of inspiring others, glorifying God, or just having fun creating stories.

 

None of those equal publication.

 

Our stories can inspire others without being published: they can inspire our friends, our families, or even ourselves. They can glorify God through the beauty we create, even if others don’t see it. And we can sure have fun without publishing our stories.

 

I think publication is a means to these ends. Not the end itself. Some of us may be called to use the means of publication to reach these ends, but if you’re not called to that, or you’re not ready for it, there is no shame in that. God can use your stories whether you publish them or not.

 

Think about this: what if the person you’re meant to change by your writing is YOU?

IN SUMMARY….

 

Publication is a Big Awesome Thing. It’s an amazing goal and a beautiful dream. And because of that, I don’t believe we should rush toward it if we or our novels aren’t ready.  Nor do I think we should glorify it as the height of being a writer. Discerning what we’re meant to do as writers and what our stories are meant to do and then patiently following through is the goal.

 

If you’re certain you want to get published and are aiming for that right now….

 

…I’m not a published author (yet), but I can guarantee that it’s going to be worth the wait and all the hard work 😊 (and when your book comes out, PLEASE TELL ME so I can read it and fangirl about it <3)

 

Write on,

Audrey

Whew! Long post today! Are you planning on getting published? Indie or traditional? What’s your novel about? I’d love to hear from you!

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{TWO YEAR BLOGGING ANNIVERSARY + GIVEAWAY} looking at the past, looking at the future, and thoughts about having a platform http://audreycaylin.com/2018/10/two-year-blogging-anniversary-giveaway-looking-at-the-past-looking-at-the-future-and-thoughts-about-having-a-platform/ http://audreycaylin.com/2018/10/two-year-blogging-anniversary-giveaway-looking-at-the-past-looking-at-the-future-and-thoughts-about-having-a-platform/#comments Sat, 27 Oct 2018 09:00:41 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1608

 

I have officially been blogging for two years.

 

And I officially can’t believe it.

 

Not because I’m thinking, “Wow, it’s been two years already?!” Instead, it feels like it’s been forever since I started my blog. It feels like ages since I went onto Blogger and hit “Create A Blog.” There was so much I didn’t know then. I can’t wrap my mind around how much I’ve changed as a person, a writer, a child of God.

 

Here’s what’s waiting for you below in the mini-party I’m throwing today.

 

– Vlog

– Thoughts on having a platform

– GIVEAWAY (SO GO SCROLL MADLY TO FIND IT AND ENTER…or nicely listen to my musings and sign up at the end 😉 )

 

VLOG

Yes, I filmed a video of myself *crickets* I won’t say I’m awkward and unprofessional on camera…. but I will say it’s weird filming a video of myself while all my other posts are written; I can’t polish my words while talking and I have a hard time publishing something that sounds unedited. But because I love you all and I think it’s way more personal to film a video and talk rather than write my thoughts… behold my vlog  😉

 

(if the video doesn’t play, click HERE)

I hope you enjoyed watching me ramble 😛 😉

THOUGHTS ON HAVING A PLATFORM

When I was thinking of what I wanted to do for my blogversary (fancy term for blogging anniversary), I had zero clue what to do. I didn’t want to look at stats, because looking at stats is awkward and isn’t what matters most to me regarding this blog—you guys do. Your sweet, encouraging, hilarious comments on my blog and Instagram and your passionate, inspiring posts on your own blogs are what matter to me. You matter to me.

 

The biggest misconception I had as newbie blogger two years ago was that building a platform was about me.

 

Now, when I sit down to write my newsletter, I stare at the screen for several minutes because…I have to write about myself? Isn’t that self-centered (even when I want to talk about myself I still think that 😛 )? I just want to hear about you all and give you something.

 

There are still times when I sit down to write a blog post and think, “this would be way easier if I just gave a writing update or something.” And while I definitely think it’s important to share who you are as a person (otherwise, you’ll never get to know anyone 😛 ), I’ve come to realize that having a platform is more about giving who you are.

 

Giving your talents. Giving your time. Giving your energy and your joy. Maybe that involves sharing about yourself, but only to aid the process of giving.

 

Social media and blogging can seem to promote ‘taking’ or ‘gathering.’ Views, comments, followers, likes….more, more, more. You watch those little numbers tick up on the screen and think you’re wasting your time. So what if all those numbers are people too? You want more. Bigger. Better. More people reading your writing is a good thing, right?

 

True. But is that the goal? Is the goal of a platform or even a blog just so you can get a bunch of people to read your writing?

 

If it is, I’d have quit soon after I started (granted, I almost did several times).

 

I think so many writers get frustrated with their platforms because they miss what a platform actually is and what they should be doing with it. Or maybe I’m misunderstanding what it is. I certainly can’t give someone a five-step process to getting 10,000 subscribers.

 

Personally, I’m glad I can’t. Because upping those numbers would be so addictive that I’d forget each one represents a soul infinitely valuable and redeemed by the blood of the Father’s only Son.

 

When you’re focusing on the numbers and forget what they represent, platform becomes something it shouldn’t: a game. A way to up those $$ and then…do whatever you do with money. Buy things you need and don’t need.

 

Is that the primary end of platforming?

 

As Christians, our goal for platforming is to reach souls for Christ. Does that mean we have to reach every soul or ten thousand souls? Does not Christ Himself leave the ninety-nine to go after the one?

 

What if He wants you to go after that one with him? Will you feel less successful than if you had stayed to help the ninety-nine?

 

One of my favorite passages in John’s Gospel is the last words that Jesus speaks to Peter. “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

 

What is it to us if we don’t have the platform size we want? What is it to us is the email list isn’t growing, if the blog is losing views compared to other peoples’ blogs? Seriously? What is it to we who have gained Christ—the All in All?

 

Maybe it’s my opinion, but I think platforming is just like living in real life—you can’t always reach the ninety-nine (though great if you do), but it’s just as well to reach the one if that’s what He wishes.

 

Yes, work on your platform. Put effort into it. But don’t obsess over it. Plant the seeds—maybe that post is reaching someone who desperately needs it, even if they don’t comment and thank you. The comments and the thank yous and the hearts aren’t the reason why you blog.

 

You blog to reach those people who need your words — even if you never know who some of them are.

GIVEAWAY

 

Musings aside… ARE YOU READY FOR A GIVEAWAY?!?

 

Silly question. Most of you are bookworms 😛

 

If you didn’t watch my vlog, then I can finally tell you what I’m giving away: a copy of Gillian Bronte Adams’ Orphan’s Song.

 

Guys. This trilogy. It ripped my heart to pieces. So I’m kindly going to offer one brave soul the opportunity to have the same thing done to them.

 

Enter below 😉

 

Note: I’m planning on only having this for U.S. peeps…but if you are international and you win, we can figure something out. I’m totally ignorant of shipping costs, to be honest 😛

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Before you run off…

 

THANK YOU

 

Thank you for your comments, your prayers, your support. Thank you for reading my thoughts here and for sharing your thoughts, either in the comments or on your own blogs, because they are such big blessings to me. YOU are such a blessing to me. YOU are the blogging community I love so much. I am so so thankful for you and how God has brought you into my life.

 

Keep being lights, my friends <3

 

Blessings,

Audrey

Thank you for letting me take some of your time this Saturday morning! Why do you blog? Have you read Orphan’s Song? What’s your favorite thing about blogging (or your favorite book)?

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{HOW TO WRITE STORIES THAT MIRROR REALITY} tips for creating a story that resonates with readers http://audreycaylin.com/2018/10/how-to-write-stories-that-mirror-reality-tips-for-creating-a-story-that-resonates-with-readers/ http://audreycaylin.com/2018/10/how-to-write-stories-that-mirror-reality-tips-for-creating-a-story-that-resonates-with-readers/#comments Sat, 13 Oct 2018 09:00:02 +0000 http://audreycaylin.com/?p=1586

 

Fiction is the mirror of reality: the stories we tell are essentially reflections of the ones we see lived and live ourselves in real life.

 

I think one of the primary purposes of writing is to show people reality. Not tell them about reality (that’s what non-fiction is for) but to show them things that actually happen in the real world, and that allows them to glean ideas and insights about life.

 

This level of realism will come naturally to at least some degree for every writer. After all, we do live in the real world, so that’s what we base our stories off.

 

Yet sometimes…it doesn’t work so well. Because reality can be easy to live in but hard to put down on paper, whether it’s realistic descriptions, emotions, or fight scenes (I still remember when I was told my fight scenes are more cinema-worthy than realistic XD)

 

To solve this dilemma, here are four tips for learning how to write about reality.

 

1. READ GREAT BOOKS

Many authors before you have already attempted to put reality into the pages of a book. Many have done it quite well and left a wonderful book for you to read and analyze so you can learn their methods.

 

Your task: read those books.

 

But don’t just read one kind of book. If you read only YA…that’s the only perspective you’re going to get of the world: raw but hopeful. Life is more than that.

 

Read books from thousands of years ago, hundreds of years ago, decades ago. Read Homer and Plato and St. Augustine. Read Shakespeare and Dickens and Austen. Read Lewis and Tolkien and Orwell. Then read J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins and Bryan Davis. Read widely, and while not one book is going to give you all the methods for writing reality, together they’ll make up enough pieces for you to put the puzzle together.

 

Read non-fiction too, because those authors are attempting to explain reality, and explanations and portrayals of reality are what you’re after.

 

Basically…just read a lot 😉

 

2. REMEMBER EVERYONE ISN’T YOU

Fun fact: we all view life differently. Our past experiences and personalities shape who we are, and every single one of us has a past that’s different from someone else’s and a personality that isn’t quite like anyone else’s.

 

That’s amazing. But it can also make it difficult to accurately portray certain characters and circumstances in your novel

 

For example, I’m an introvert. I just get my energy from being alone. I can write extroverts, but I really have to think about what it would be like to be an extrovert. How do they view the world and certain situations?

 

Every character is going to be viewing the storyworld differently. If you write from various POVs or write a bunch of different novels and in every one the characters view the world the same…you have a problem. Because you’re writing about how you view the world, not how these imaginary people do.

 

That’s where characterization and character voice come in, and just thinking outside the box and beyond your own ideas of thinking. For me, life is a journey and a masterpiece in the making—something to work on but enjoy. But for someone I know very well (*cough* I know you’re reading this 😉 ), it’s a puzzle and a maze that can be analyzed and information can be gained from one step that helps you on the next. And every single person is going to have something a bit different. Remember that when you’re writing, and your book will be 10x more realistic.

 

3. DON’T FORGET ABOUT EMOTIONS

Life is emotional. We humans are emotional beings. We are logical, yes, but we are also emotional, and emotions are so interesting because we feel them but sometimes just can’t understand them.

 

Not every character is going to be super emotional, but they will all experience emotions. Their emotions will affect how they think, how they act, and how they view the world around them. If a story lacks emotion, it feels fake, simply because real life contains lots of emotions and when someone’s reading a story, they want to feel those emotions too.

 

Writing realistic emotions is another topic, but DON’T overlook this element or assume that it will just come naturally. A bit of thinking and organizing is needed to properly convey emotions in novels and especially to have the right ones come up at the right time.

 

4. LIVE

The best way to write about reality is to experience lots and lots of reality.

 

I believe that a lot of writers get tripped up on this point. We spend so much time writing our own stories, reading other people’s, and reading writing craft books that we forget to actually live.

 

Life is where every bit of inspiration for your stories will come from. Life is where you’ll get the emotions and the ideas and the characters needed for a brilliant story. While reading and writing are great, there is no greater teacher of storytelling than the Author of life itself, and He gives you a story to live each day in order to get inspiration for your own.

 

I personally don’t think being online counts (and here I am online writing blog posts twice a month 😉 ). There ARE a lot of cool, fun things that can happen online, but it still isn’t REAL. Though people share things about their life online, we can often make false assumptions based off those things we see and end up with an altered sense of reality. That being said, I do think the Internet is a wonderful way to connect and I have so many incredible friends whom I’ve met online <3

 

Yet real life is still different than social media and the Internet. It’s different to talk to someone while looking them in the eye than it is to message back and forth on a computer screen. You can laugh, see them smile, and read each other’s body language and emotions. Those are the sort of things that you need to be able to accurately write when telling a story.

 

So…get out and live 😉

 

 

One of the most powerful things a story can do is transport a reader into another world that allows them to experience reality. And if you can nail down that element of reality in your novel, the power of every other element—plot, characters, theme—will be that much stronger.

 

Write on,

Audrey

Tell me your opinion! What’s your favorite tip for writing realistic novels? What are some great novels you’ve read that have mirrored reality? I’d love to hear!

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