Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Truth About Internet Friends

In today's world, having internet friends is a very normal thing, at least for the younger generation. For others, that's very hard to fathom or even scary. Since I got to meet another one of my internet friends in person this week (and loved it!), I thought I'd break down the truth about internet friends.

Yes, I met an internet friend this week at a coffee shop in the city on a rainy day. I survived both the trip and the get-together, and it was awesome!!

If you think that sounds adventurous, the first time I ever met an internet friend, I flew across the country to stay with her family, roadtrip with her and another online friend, and attend a conference ... all over my 19th birthday. (Oh, and we hooked up with like ... five other writers that most of us had not met in person?)

Not only did I live to tell the tale both times, but we also had a really nice time. Beyond that, never was it awkward for me. (Yes, this was surprising because I am a somewhat awkward person when it comes to human interaction.)

So to give a brief overview, here are some of my thoughts:

  • You can have real friends on the internet. Listen, this makes sense. If friendship is based on things like common interests, upbringing, and personality ... shouldn't it almost be easier to find such people online than in real life?
  • You won't know until you try. AKA you might like them online and not in person, but there's only one way to find out. If you do get on in real life, this is how you cement your friendship.
  • Yes, it's still the internet. While it's got it's perks, of course you should be smart about internet friendships. Not everyone actually wants to be your friend. But once you find someone you really enjoy keeping up with online, you'll see what a light such a person can be in the darkness of a very bizarre internet.
  • This is just the newest thing. Yes, internet friends are a newer thing, but they're so cool!!! And, really, how is this different than writing to a stranger like people used to do? At least I have the internet now to do research on them if I'm worried.

I'm very grateful for all of you, whether we ever meet in person or not. :)


If you've private messaged or *gasp* emailed someone via the internet ... then you have an internet friend! Have you ever met any internet friends in person?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

What Keeps Me Writing

If you or any of your friends are writers, you've probably seen all the posts how writing keeps us up too late, makes us hermits, and encourages us to talk to imaginary friends characters. So why do we do it?

Not all of these reasons may apply to every writer, but hopefully they'll provide you some insight.

Mission Field

Some people are very much gifted writers who are called to writing as a vocation or a ministry. This doesn't mean writing is easy for them, that it has to be preachy, or that they even make a living off of it. But it does mean that they're going to stick with it. Because when God gives you such a talent, how can you not put it to work? 

Better Out Than In

Many writers can testify that when an idea for a story comes, it often does not want to leave. At least not until it's been shaped into a story on paper and become an integral part of the writer's life ... that it might chill out. If it's going to take up that much mental space, isn't it worth a little time and effort?

Warning: it's been observed that ridding ourselves of one story often means a new story pops into our head. There may be no curing this disease.

Pros Outweigh the Cons

Yes, writing is hard. But it's also fun! Yes, it takes time and energy, but so do all the best things in life. Think about why you might feel the urge to write in the first place. It might not be for publication. But the further down the writing road you travel, the more likely you are to get swept up into all writing has to offer.

It's a Necessity

For some, writing may mean journaling or blogging instead of writing books. (Or maybe they are a creative writer but write poems or short stories instead of novels.) Oftentimes non-creative writing is more a means of processing or connection. It's a unique activity that can be very helpful for things like memorization and healing. So some may never look like a writer because they're unpublished, and yet be the most dedicated of all.

Explaining why anyone keeps at anything is a tall order. For me personally, it's a blend of all four of those things. Writing is my mission field, something I enjoy doing well, helps me process feelings I tend to internalize, and is so rewarding to see completed. It's not a requirement you always write to be a writer. But because of those reasons I listed ... I think I'll be a forever writer.


Do you see yourself as a forever writer? Why or why not?

Saturday, April 13, 2019

What Makes a Book My Favorite

If you know anything about me by now, it should be that I love to talk about books. I don't always take the time to talk about some of my favorites, but today's the day (so buckle up!).

I'm especially curious why my favorite books are my favorite. What makes a book my favorite? I think the answer(s) differ. Not only from book to book for me, but also from person to person--I want to hear your take on this as well!

Here are a few of my favorites with an explanation of why they achieved that status.

An Old-Fashioned Girl

I've long considered this book by the amazing Louisa May Alcott one of my all-time favorites. Other than the fact that I appear to be partial to the historical fiction genre in books (and period pieces in movies) and this checks both those boxes ... I think the big thing on this one is relatability through time. Polly Milton grows up in this book. As a child, I related to her as a child. As an adult, I could relate to her as an adult. I'm so glad I took the time to reread this one because I could quite literally grow up with her. That was beautiful. Her choosing the right thing even when it's hard has always touched me so much!

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Historical fiction again, ha! I started off by loving this one simply because it was a really, really good book. I didn't expect it to be (and had been putting it off) because it was assigned for school. Sorry, Mom. I don't think I'd ever read such suspense, romance, and espionage. I could not get enough of it, and it's still near and dear to my heart. I figured out the Scarlet Pimpernel's identity when I put to my mind to it. And this is coming from the kid who never solved a single Encyclopedia Brown ... But it didn't take away from the story because he still duped me! It was probably my first exposure to split POV done so, so right.

Sense and Sensibility

I actually just read this one!! And the reason I loved it is quite simple. Elinor. is. me. I've never read a book where I was so 100% a character. So that made the story instantly more interesting. But I also loved how not straightforward it was. Had I not already known who everyone ended up with, I'm not sure I would have guessed? 'Twas very sweet and wonderful.


*ahem* I was surprised at myself for liking this one so much. But is it a surprise?? It's still historical. And it's still all swoony romance (though much less dramatic) with plenty of action afoot. The reason I will continue to go back to this one is the originality, lack of black and whiteness, and spiritual themes. This made some people hate the book. I thought it was brilliant, and I can't conceive how a person could create such a thing. But it's wonderful and requires a reread immediately.

There are other five-star books I've read of course. I rate an obscene amount of books five stars. But these four in particular stand out among my other excellent reads for personal reasons. Beyond that, I think their stories and purposes are somewhat timeless. I mean ... they are mostly classics after all.


Are you willing to share any of your favorite books and why? I'm always on the lookout for another excellent book and curious as to why people love their favorites so much!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

5 Writing Lessons from Charlie Brown

This post was so spontaneous and fun to write. I may have to turn "writing lessons from *insert movie*" into a blogging series this month!

I'm not a die-hard, well-versed Charlie Brown fan. But I don't think you have to be to see that Charles Schultz really knew what he was doing. Or if he didn't ... there's still a reason that his comic strip ran for fifty years. Here are a few things that stood out to me as I paused my walk through the living room to watch a scene of The Peanuts Movie this week.

Character Catchphrases

We all know that Charlie Brown says "good grief." It's part of what makes him iconic. Do you even remember Marcie? She's the girl who calls Peppermint Patty "sir." That probably rings a bell.

As an editor, I often find a pet phrase or styling habit that authors tend to overuse. However ... if a one character is consistently saying something ... it stands out as unique to them. I think little traits like this make a character more memorable.

Pick a Token Object

Not every character should have a catchphrase. That could get annoying very fast. But maybe Linus always has a blue blanket with him. Or Pig-Pen is always in a cloud of dirt. Whether it's something that the character chooses to always have with him (a blanket) or something that stands out to others (the dirt cloud), characters come to life in the details! 

POV Goes a Long Way

Most people can quote any given adult from Charlie Brown. Why? Because they don't speak! At least, not intelligibly. Their waw-wahs are a nice dash of humor. The real power in this decision, though, is that this is an excellent use of point of view! The main characters are a bunch of kids. To them, what do adults sound like? Utter nonsense. So it's more than just funny--it's making a fair point that people can relate to. While the ins and outs of POV can be a pain, it's one of the most vital and engaging parts of a story.

Have Different Personalities

Lucy is bossy, demanding, prone to shouting, and a bit of a know-it-all crab. Charlie Brown tends to get down about life ("good grief"). Schroeder just wants to be left with his piano, and Sally is the epitome of everyone's overly-enthusiastic little sister.

Having such a variety of personalities makes for a much more entertaining ride. Some of you may be really good at this and write character-driven novels. For those of you who are more plot-driven, making sure your characters aren't cookie-cutter is a good way to add some color. I mean, really. Scenarios with Lucy and Charlie Brown must have practically written themselves.

Nicknames Are Helpful

When we see the dude with the hair squiggle, golden shirt, and black-and-white dog, we say Charlie Brown. Yet even a simple name like Charlie easily gets construed. Peppermint Patty (which is actually itself a nickname for Patricia) calls him Chuck. Marcie calls him Charles. And most everyone else uses his first and last name when that's not true of most the other characters.

Chances are, your main character's been nicknamed at least once by some other character. Nicknames people choose often say more about them than who they're nicknaming. Marcie's use of "sir" and "Charles" show her formality without ever having to tell: " the way, Marcie's really formal." Having one character nickname another is a great way to show personality.


Were any of these a new thought for you? For those of you familiar with the Peanuts cast, anything you would add to this list?