August Daily Brainstorming – Setting

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts from Brainstorm Your Book.


Choose a building or structure in your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

Is this building used as a character? If so, what role does it play? Describe its personality.

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

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August Daily Brainstorming – Character

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts from Brainstorm Your Book.


Pick a character, any character, from your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

Does your character have health problems? What are they and how are they controlled?

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

August Daily Brainstorming – Plot

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts from Brainstorm Your Book.


Consider the antagonist from your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

What is the antagonist’s primary goal? What will they gain if they reach the goal? What will they lose?

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

August Daily Brainstorming – Setting

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts from Brainstorm Your Book.


Pick a setting, any setting, from your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

What landmarks exist in the area where your story is set? Describe their locations and significance.

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

August Daily Brainstorming – Character

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts from Brainstorm Your Book.


Pick a character, any character, from your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

Describe any unique physical attributes (visible disability, tattoos or piercings, poorly set broken bones, etc.) and the reasons or causes.

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

August Daily Brainstorming – Plot

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts from Brainstorm Your Book.


Consider the protagonist from your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

What is the protagonist’s primary goal? What will they gain if they reach the goal? What will they lose?

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

August Daily Brainstorming – Setting

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts from Brainstorm Your Book.


Pick a setting, any setting, from your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

Describe the rural and urban landscapes.

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

August Daily Brainstorming – Character

Win a Kindle Fire 7, plus lifetime access to extra Brainstorm Your Book worksheets!

I am going to start choosing a random monthly winner from all commenters who answer brainstorming prompts I will pull from Brainstorm Your Book. To get started:

Pick a character, any character, from your work-in-progress or an upcoming fiction book…

 

What does their voice sound like, and what what words or phrases do they frequently use?

 


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

Mind Mapping: From Brainstorm Your Book

A mind map is one method of brainstorming as an individual: start from one word, idea, or concept, and expand it to find deeper meaning. Beginning with one key concept, you branch off (in any direction you’d like) to enlarge the idea, adding words and phrases, even pictures, like a tree grows limbs. This one concept may end up branching off in many different directions and may spawn new key ideas that need a mind map of their own. You can link parts of the map with arrows or lines, create hierarchical structures or process flows, draw pictures or doodles, and let your mind wander where it will. There is no right or wrong, no call to censor yourself, and no reason not to keep expanding until you just can’t anymore.Mind maps can be small, but the larger they are, the better. This is why I suggest using off-sized unlined paper. (I use a 24” x 36” sketch pad.) Taking yourself outside your comfort zone, even incrementally, forces your mind to look at things with a new perspective, which is the whole point of brainstorming. If you don’t have extra off-size paper lying around, you can use copy paper or the blank mind map pages that follow this section.

I also suggest using colored pencils or markers, because color stimulates the mind. (I have even used crayons when I wanted to take myself entirely out of my normal routine.) Different colors can be used to create segments of related information that apply to different parts of your manuscript, such as different plots or subplots or characters. You can use highlighters for the same purpose, to help you sort your ideas when it is time to transcribe them into your manuscript.

When your imagination skips along from idea to idea, mind maps can easily expand to enormous proportions. (I once covered an entire wall of my office with butcher block paper.) Because a mind map can become unwieldy, I suggest using keywords or short phrases, not sentences or paragraphs, to record the ideas as they come.

Creating your Mind Map

  1. Write your keyword or concept in the center of the page (such as a character for whom you want to develop traits, or a storyline that needs more detail).
  2. Create “branches” for different directions the brainstorming takes you. Use color if it helps you keep track.
  3. Let each branch extend out with as many “twigs” as you need to fully explore your key concept and its offshoots.
  4. If unrelated ideas come up, write them in a different area of the page and come back to them later. They may even require mind maps of their own.
  5. If your mind map gets too big, tape or staple another sheet to the first or use the back of the page.

I have included a neat, clean mind map graphic designed in a computer program as an example, but mind maps in the real world are not neat. They are not organized. They are not pretty. They aren’t supposed to be. Penmanship doesn’t matter (as long as you can read it), nothing need be erased, and the more complex it becomes, the more value it will bring to your work.


To learn more or find additional tools for brainstorming your next fiction project, check out Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel.

Brainstorm Your Book: Planning the Parts of Your Next Novel is a hands-on, pen-to-paper, rubber-to-road workbook to help you generate ideas for all the elements of your next fiction book—character, setting, plot, and theme—to produce a more robust first draft, and more complete later versions. Whether you are writing your first book or your fifty-first, no matter your genre or personal process, Brainstorm Your Book will spark creativity, increase productivity, and make writing your novel a whole lot more fun.

In a series of questions, prompts, and exercises, Brainstorm Your Book probes your imagination, pulling small and large details from your creative mind and the world around you. The workbook will introduce you to your characters and help build solid friendships with them, show you both a bird’s-eye and closeup view of your settings, generate action to drive the plot forward, and enhance the underlying messages in your manuscript. It will walk you, step-by-step, through choices you might never have considered, act as a catalyst driving progress through the whole first draft, and increase your chances of ending with a high-quality finished novel.

Click here to learn more!

For more tools, tips. and tricks to improve your writing, go to Mari’s new Patreon page and sign up!

 

Harry Wentworth’s Last Wartime Christmas…

(excerpt from Chapter 62 of Blind Tribute)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 25, 1864

Harry - Eakins_selfportraitHarry watched the snowfall outside the front window, the setting sun obscured by a billowing grey fog. The blaze in the parlor fireplace pushed back feebly against the cold seeping through the crack in the glass, so he closed the shabby red brocade curtains.

Pine branches on the mantelpiece had scented the air for days, reminding Harry of the unwelcome smell of pitch, so when Mrs. Boyne left to spend Christmas Day with her daughter and son-in-law, Harry had immediately set them out at the curb, hoping it would put an end to the nightmares chasing him ever since she’d started decorating. She had tried to suggest a Christmas tree, but he’d pointed out that the only place for one would be the parlor, and there wouldn’t be room enough for his business associates and a tree. Still, the odor had lingered, mixed with the vanilla and cinnamon of the dozens of cookies, cakes, and pies Mrs. Boyne had been baking for weeks. He had a plate of fruitcake at hand, which he had no intention of eating, to enjoy with the tea she’d left, stone cold in the pot.

He had been invited to spend the day with at least a dozen of his friends and family, including Fleur and Gil, Jim Calvin, and Dax’s friends at the Vulture’s Roost, who were organizing a poker tournament with men who weren’t much for Christian holidays. John Hoyt had invited him to New York. The Misses Hickman had asked him to the boardinghouse. Mrs. Boyne’s daughter had asked him personally. Even Billy O’Riordan’s mother had sent an invitation, about five minutes after she’d received his note offering to arrange Billy’s attendance at her choice of exclusive private high schools, upon which Harry would be happy to advise.

He’d spent the last few days making the rounds of his friends and acquaintances privately, quietly, regretting the few Society invitations trickling in for the first time since 1860, and avoiding the more casual celebrations of those of lesser means.

He’d bought the finest fountain pens and imported liquor from Europe for his colleagues, filled sacks of gold coins for anyone in need of money, and anonymously provided Christmas groceries for those who would have otherwise made do with scrawny capons instead of goose, beginning with every house on his block. He’d opened an account at a kitchen store for Mrs. Boyne, so she could replace her mismatched pots and pans. For Billy, he’d inscribed a leather-bound dictionary, thesaurus, and atlas, surely making every other copyboy envious about his illustrious mentor, even before they heard about his new school.

He’d seen Fleur and Gil for Christmas Eve supper, at his daughter’s insistence. At first, Harry had declined the invitation, insisting they should enjoy their first holidays together with their friends and the larger part of their family. His attendance had required all of Fleur’s newfound tenacity to accomplish, as he was certain they would be forgoing other entertainments to sit at a lonely, three-person table with him.

He’d finally accepted, a bit too late to be considered gracious, because his throat had been choked with sentiment when he should have spoken. In the ensuing discussion, they’d told Harry that directly following supper, Gil’s family would be coming for the tree-lighting, and they all hoped he would join them. He made no promises, other than to be there for a meal.

Before the festivities, during supper, he presented Fleur with the bronze coffer brought to America with the earliest colonial Wentworth, filled with books Harry had selected from his own library, and the hand-inked seventeen-generation genealogy he’d commissioned with blank space where she could add her own children.

He gave Gil a six-berth pleasure boat and an advance copy of the next Wentworth and Hoyt, noting by next year, he hoped there would be a grandchild upon whom he could shower gifts. He had thought to give Fleur her baby book, hidden away from Anne when he left for Charleston, but decided to wait until she was expecting.

Because Fleur had allowed him no other option, he did join the intimate party afterward, and had brought gifts appropriate to each of Gil’s relatives in attendance. Toward the end of the evening, he’d even arranged for Saint Nicholas to deliver candy and toys to Gil’s nieces and nephews and young cousins. Once the children had been given their gifts, they established with the actor he’d hired that they had all been exceptionally good, and confirmed that this visit wasn’t in place of the one each child hoped for later at their houses. Rushing Old St. Nick out of the house to be on his way, they soon began whining at their parents that they wanted to go home. Harry took his leave during the exodus of a dozen people with whom he’d spent a surprisingly lovely evening.

Today, however, would be a true day of rest, which always required solitude. He knew he needed to consider how to address General Sherman’s despicable show of force, as well as the fact that his family, friends, and colleagues were still spread out across the Confederacy, about to be trampled by the annals of history, if they hadn’t been already. But he was determined to enjoy his day, aside from the usual intrusive ruminations.

He didn’t intend to write. He didn’t intend to answer the felicitations sent by cable, nor the post from readers and associates worldwide. He didn’t even intend to read the newspaper. He would do nothing today but drink the hundred-sixteen-year-old Clos du Griffier Vieux cognac he’d imported as his own Christmas present, and enjoy the silence of an empty house. Long since overdue.

He didn’t intend, as he was about to pour his brandy, to be interrupted by loud banging on the front door.

© 2017 Mari Anne Christie. All Rights Reserved


Blind Tribute

blind-tribute-cover-final-versions

As America marches toward the Civil War, Harry Wentworth, gentleman of distinction and journalist of renown, finds his calls for peaceful resolution have fallen on deaf—nay, hostile—ears. As such, he must finally resolve his own moral quandary: comment on the war from his influential—and safe—position in Northern Society, or make a news story and a target of himself South of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city haunted by a life he has long since left behind?

The day-to-day struggle against countervailing forces, his personal and professional tragedies on both sides of the conflict, and the elegant and emotive writings that define him, all serve to illuminate the trials of this newsman’s crusade, irreparably altering his mind, his body, his spirit, and his purpose as an honorable man. Blind Tribute exposes the shifting stones of the moral high ground as Harry’s family and friendships, North and South, are shattered by his acts of conscience.

Buy in ebook or print at major online retailers.

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