Jackie LearnsToWrite


I pretty much took the month of November off of the blog for anyone who was wondering.  I was able to participate and be a winner of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November!  The idea is that you needed to write 50,000 words in the month of November, which is the size of a novella or short novel. It was a really great experience.   It was the first time I ever wrote anything of this magnitude, and I learned a lot about what it takes to write one and about my own writing habits.

  • I definitely was a procrastinator, writing just over half my novel in the last week of the month.
  • Plantser: I benefited from a general outline of my story that I had made as well as a lot of freedom to adjust or add to the framework (Planner +Pantser)
  • My writing pace is about 1,500 words per hour
  • There is a LOT of editing to be done if I want to get my novel into shape
  • It was a really cool and fun experience!

My make-shift novel cover is my photo above, and as you can see the title is Explorer Corps.  Hope everyone else had a great November!


Notable Quotable with Charles Dickens

Here is some practical advice from Charles Dickens for today’s motivating quote:

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” -Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was a renowned British writer from the 19th Century.  His works are well known and include Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol, among others.

References and Further Information

Bio. “Charles Dickens Biography.” From

Brainy Quote. “Charles Dickens Quotes.” From

Fantastic Writing Pointers

I’m going to make this post short and to the point.  I just discovered this freelance editor Ellen Brock on youtube.  From the videos I’ve seen so far, she has great insight into writing pointers, strengths and weaknesses.  A large variety of video topics are available from How to Plot a Novel to How to Write a Character Flaw to The Top 5 Mistakes Amateur Authors Make.  With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, I highly recommend these great resources 🙂

Her youtube channel is here:



Character Driven Novel

Basically, a character driven novel is one in which book concentrates on the character’s development.  In contrast, plot driven novels may feature external events and plot twists more prominently.

Author Robyn DeHart writes a great summary of how to plan for such a work that includes selecting a theme to focus on, deciding on the lesson the character needs to learn, and then developing how they will learn that lesson, i.e. the character arc.  She concludes that the latter essentially constitutes the plot. Click here to read her article.

From a slightly differing perspective, writer Rachel Giesel says that while the plot may seem to take a background role in character driven works, it does exist and can serve as a catalyst for the characters. She argues that plot and character development should go more hand in hand.  She also provides some advice on how to plan a character driven novel  and includes some worksheets free to those who sign up on her website.  Click here for the link to the article.

Goodreads lists several well-known examples of character driven novels including:

  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  • The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, and
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others

In contrast, examples from Goodreads’ plot driven list includes:

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Ready Player One by Earnest Cline, and
  • Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, among others

After looking into what a character driven novel is, I am beginning to realize that some of my favorite works are character driven.  I had usually just assumed that I would focus on writing more plot driven works, but now I’m beginning to question that assumption.  How about you? Do you have a preference for reading or writing character versus plot driven works?

References and Further Information

DeHart, Robyn. “How to Plot a Character Driven Book In 3 Easy Steps.” From

Dorrance Publishing Co, Inc. “Character Driven v. Plot Driven Writing: What’s the Difference?” From

Giesel, Rachel. “How To Plan a Character Driven Plot in 4 Steps.” From

Goodreads. “Popular Character Driven Books.” From

Goodreads. “Popular Plot Driven Books.” From

Notable Quotable from Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury recommends a special diet for writers:

“Just write every day of your life.  Read intensely.  Then see what happens.  Most of my friends who are put on this diet have very pleasant careers.”  -Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is Pulitzer winning author who wrote fantasy and horror.  He lived from 1920 to 2012.  His well known works include Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Martian Chronicles.

References and Further Information

Bio. “Ray Bradbury Biography.” From

Shafrir, Doree.  “24 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Write More.”  From

Blog Tour: A Time To Rise

Today the final book of the Out of Time Series, A Time To Rise was released!! I haven’t read the last book yet, but I just know it’s gonna be good 🙂  This series has been wonderful so far!  And here’s 5 reasons why you should jump on the bandwagon and read the series too!!

  1. Creativity:  This author @NadineBrandes has so much creativity in her books.  Her dystopian setting is so unique: cities with tight rope walking, futuristic inventions, and clocks that tell everyone when they will die (among MANY other things!)Village
  2. Writing style: I love the author’s writing style.  Some of her literary devices are so fresh and fun!  I often don’t give much extended thought to these, but hers just stuck out!!writing-1209121_1280
  3. Emotions: I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, it’s great!emoticon-1611718_1280
  4. Characters: Parvin is so human.  She definitely has her weaknesses, but shows such growing strength.  The romances in the story are so pure and sweet as well!
  5. Message: The story has a deeper message about faith and shalomGrowing faith


So, order your copies, get reading, and enjoy this fantastic series!! 🙂


And don’t forget to come to the Facebook party!!

#ATime2Die   #ATime2Speak    #ATime2Rise    #OutofTimeSeries

Aesthetic Board Inspiration for Creative Writing

The following is an aesthetic board I created with pictures from Pixabay. Anyone is welcome to use it as inspiration for writing!

Here’s a possible prompt: Their new marriage has been a dream. Joyce and Jared have been enjoying urban living. But when Joyce’s mom gets very ill, they find themselves facing a very different life than they had imagined.

For more on aesthetic boards, click on the link to my post. Hope you enjoy a little Monday inspiration!

Happy writing! 🙂


Writing Exercise: Literary Devices

This is a follow up to my last post describing 10 literary devices.  For my post I tried to mostly come up with my own examples of each device, and it was sometimes a little challenging.  I think this makes for a great writing exercise, so, now it’s your turn!  I’m taking my last post but leaving the examples blank.  Can you come up with a sentence using each literary device?  You may want to refer to the references listed at the bottom for further explanation and examples of each device!

Review: What exactly are literary devices, you may ask. Well, literary devices are tools used by writers to add depth, artistry, and imagery. They are common and therefore identifiable to the audience (the readers). And there are a LOT of possibilities. This post will define 10 of these tools.

Allegory: Using concrete examples to explain a more abstract idea.   E.g.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Allusion: Referencing a well known person, place, work, or other cultural reference. E.g._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Anaphora: Taking the beginning of a sentence and repeating it for aesthetic emphasis.                                                                                                                                                           E.g._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cacophony: Using words with sounds that sound unpleasant together.               E.g._________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Foil: This device is actually using a character whose oppositeness to another provides emphasis.

Foreshadowing: Cluing the reader in on what may come.

Hyperbole: An extreme exaggeration to make a point.

Portmanteau: Mixing two words together to fashion a new one.

Spoonerism: Swapping the initial letters of words for potential effects of wit or humor.

Synecdoche: naming a part with the intent of referring to the entire thing.                    E.g.________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


How did it go? Did you have a favorite one to use?


Flash Fiction: Border

I stood at the border, a wrought iron fence. My parents helped carry my suitcase.  Once across, I would be enclosed for 4 months.  There would be no return until Christmas.  A tear rolled down my cheek.

Mom knelt and wiped the tear with her thumb. “You are going to have so much fun once you settle in.”

I felt dad’s warm hand on my shoulder. “I’m so proud of you,” he smiled.

Inside me, hope and fear waged a battle.  I gulped and tried to remember my passion for learning. Chin up, I led the way to boarding school.

-100 words

Daily Prompt: Border

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