6 Ways Tabletop Gaming Can Help Improve Your Writing


It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big fan of Pathfinder. I’ve been on both sides of the table, and enjoyed some really well thought out adventure paths and one-shots from a number of different perspectives. Regardless of the story progression or where my character stands though, almost every session shares one commonality: I walk away buzzing with creative energy. 

That buzz is not unlike the kind many writers experience after productive writing sessions. Being able to step into a character, and a world different than the one physically around you, is why we write and why we read. No one can argue that there’s something magical about having that environment created for you, ready made for you to run wild, experience and enjoy. Which brings us to the writing part… the creation of that world, ready-made for someone to run wild in? That’s your privilege to create. (I know, I hear the distant crying and protests, too.)

Here are six ways that being a tabletop gamer/DM can help improve your current work-in-progress. Continue reading

Tips to Improve Your Story by Writing Better Characters


A look at character building through background information that can trickle into the story itself.

Dawn Ross - Aspiring Book Author

Toy Story on Writing Characters

I don’t care whether you have a sci-fi, fantasy, western, action/adventure, mystery, drama, or other genre. The characters in your story are just as important as the story’s plot. Without characters, you have nothing. With mediocre characters, you have a mediocre story. You could almost get away with a mediocre story if you have excellent characters. So how do you build great characters? Here are some great tips:

Write Their Backstory

When I began writing The Guardian of Destiny, I had a very difficult time writing the main character. I just couldn’t get into him. It wasn’t until I really got to know him by writing his backstory from his childhood to the present that made me really understand who he was. When you tell your actual story, you don’t have to provide your character’s entire backstory. Just include the parts relevant to the story and/or a few of the…

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New Year’s Resolutions


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Dirt road in my hometown, September 2016

New Year’s Resolutions are cliche. We all know it – there’s a part of us that cringes every time those three little words are uttered. The idea that we haven’t lived up to our own expectations in the past year, that things haven’t gone as planned and we haven’t been able to cross off as many things from last year’s list as we would have liked. This is coupled with the knowledge that resolutions made on January 1st are usually emotional, and too frequently left by the wayside in a matter of a month or two. It’s that slightly bitter note that none of us wants to swallow that makes us hesitate.

But then the other part, the sweeter side that always convinces us to take another go…the possibility of a new start, a new direction, a new you. That’s pretty tempting.

I could give you all kinds of advice on how to make realistic goals, baby step goals, goals you can actually accomplish in the coming twelve months. But the simple truth is that you already know how to do those things, and you know the secret to a resolution. Your determination, drive and self-discipline are the tools you need. And practice is the only way to learn how to use them.

So I have a list of resolutions, and as with years past I will do my best to try and reach those goals. But there are only three on that list that really, truly matter. These are the promises I make to myself.

  • I am a writer. No matter what else happens or changes or tries to alter me, that is who I am. A writer. Always.
  • I will continue to love and cherish my relationship with my hubby. He has always believed in and loved me and I him. Here’s to another year together and stronger, my love.

And lastly, and possibly the most important…

  • Eevee, my beautiful baby girl, my heart and soul… I’m going to live, okay? I choose to live for both of us.  

All the King’s Horses pt. 1


“I worry for them.” I admit, glancing at our sleeping friends. “We’ve got a week to travel the last 84 miles. I hate to put that strain on them after pushing them so hard in Saeben.” Three weeks ago, the entire guild had taken it upon ourselves to cleanse Saeben, the port town of Andermar, of orcs, and, despite the extensive research and seemingly foolproof plan, the operation went awry. Kip broke her ankle, Morla lost a finger, and Alixa, having had a near fatal encounter due to a misstep in battle, left the guild.

Chasing the Dream

Author’s Note: ALL FEEDBACK WELCOMED. I’m thinking this is the beginning of a book that I’ve had in mind for a while now, but I’m not sure if I’ve found the hook the story deserves. Also, this is my first time trying my luck with fantasy writing, so any advice you can give me is welcomed and appreciated. I hope you enjoy! 

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I reposition my leg underneath me in the uncomfortable chair of the inn. 5 of my guild members are strewn about the room, three in beds, two on the floor. I’d ordered them to bed earlier after a six-hour trek from Landercross, and not a one of them complained.

I unwrap the red stained bandage from my shoulder to peek at the wound underneath, and it oozes fresh blood from the lack of pressure. I need to rebandage it- my makeshift, on the road doctoring of the…

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How to Write an Irresistible Love Triangle


Ah, the love triangle. For the romantically inclined, is there anything more enticing, more gut-wrenching? The passion, the torn desires, the often vastly different futures – it’s simply too much! *back of hand to forehead in fainting gesture!*

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What flower would you choose to best represent love?

Okay, I’ll stop. But in all seriousness, a well-written triangle can have your readers not only emotionally invested in the characters and their struggles, but also in you as the writer. After all, love triangles are so easy to mess up that nine times out of ten, we as readers expect to be disappointed when the possibility of a triangle is presented. But a writer who can pull one off to our satisfaction? Gold.

Love triangles are justifiably difficult to write however and they take up a lot of space, both in terms of actual length and plot. For these reasons, they’re usually not a good idea for stand-alone short stories, which is why we generally only see them fully developed within romance, erotica and YA. That’s not to say one won’t work in a ten-page sci-fi mystery…but you’ve got to understand the basics first, and condense and perfect from there.

Let’s assume you’ve given it some thought and decided that a love triangle will enhance your story. Where do you go from there, knowing how many pitfalls lie ahead? Let’s take a look.

Continue reading

Summoning Pt6


You don’t wait to see how the guardsmen react to the gold now lying unclaimed in the dust. They are each working men, and that single coin could feed a family of four or five for a week. What they do with it is of no consequence to you though, and apparently not to the very grateful farmer ushering his old mare to keep pace with Azure’s energetic gant.

“Thank you,” he says when you’re out of earshot of the gate. “I doubt they would have let me go ‘er they broke a few bones. And for a man like me, broken bones means I can’t work, and no money for a healer.”

“Don’t mention it,” you tell him, reigning Azure in so you can assess one last time that he truly is no worse for wear. “You should be fine from here on, just keep your head down.”

The farmer’s pleased grin droops slightly. “But, um. I’m in your debt, lady. Will ya not at least allow me to give ya proper food at me home? Tis but a day’s smooth ride to the northwest.” Continue reading

8/22/16


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Royal purple morning glory, late summer 2016

Do you guys know what today is? It’s the end of a life chapter. I’ve known it was coming for almost two weeks now, and up until a couple of hours ago, I was approaching it with a mix of excitement and trepidation, trying to enjoy my suddenly finite free time. I was sure that when I got to today, I’d be nervous and jittery and scared, but now that I’m here… everything is okay. Today isn’t my last day of freedom. It’s the final deep breath before a new adventure starts.

Don’t laugh at me, but the reason for my whimsical mood is that I’ve gotten a new job. Without having actually worked it yet, I can’t say with certainty that it will be everything I hope it will be, but from this side looking it, I’m super excited. Finding, accepting and actually wanting this position is more than a career redirect. This is my next step to finding myself again after Eevee. It’s the newest way that I’m going to remind myself daily that I’m not just waiting anymore, I’m living. This job represents a new Whitney, still scarred and bruised, but pushing back to her feet.

I’m not going to change the world. Just my corner of it. But isn’t that how every one of our stories starts? With someone leaving home or coming to town? Don’t ever forget that we’re penning our own stories, every day. ❤