A Comparative Review of CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS for Golden May Editing

We don’t read action scenes for the action. We read to see how hard a character will fight for what they desire most.”

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If you’ve never been to AnotherHartmanAuthor before, then hi! My name is Leigh Hartman. I’m in the fourth year of my writing journey with an intense interest in Pennsylvania history. I realize the title for this post reads as though I’m part of Golden May. I am not. But I am honored they trust me enough to review their workbook, CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS.

Reviews. Whether they’re posted up on Amazon, Goodreads or here on my blog, a funny feeling washes over me each and every time. Did I say the right things? Who is this review really for – the writer? The reader? The publisher? In truth, reviews are for everyone. And that is a terrifying thought.

Why? Because reviews are incredibly public opinions concerning another’s work. Not only that, these days, opinions are picked apart and, if the individual on the receiving end doesn’t like what you have to say, the very real possibility of your review magically disappearing isn’t all that far fetched.

Why, then, am I reviewing CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS for Golden May? The answer is simple: I love non-fiction. Okay, I love non-fiction and fiction. In my never-ending quest to find new resource materials, you better believe I jumped at the chance to review and see if another method of creating believable characters could work just as well, or better, than my current one.

In today’s blog post, I’m going to compare this guide with that of author KM Weiland’s character interviews to see which better matches my style. Because, in the end, you’ll never know what works best unless you try it out.

CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS can be broken down into three key parts:

01


Advice

02


Activities

03


Completion

Plot twist!

When Emily Golden and I connected over this opportunity, I told her initially that I would be using this to work on my WIP’s antagonist. However, upon further reflection, I realized I didn’t want to give anything away anything for Project Firedamp, especially anything about my story’s baddie. I will touch upon all four of the above points as this post progresses, working with my newest character named Lady Irene. She will appear in a new web story series I’m writing for this very site.

PART 1. The Advice

“All stories make a point, beginning on page one. Which means that as a writer you need to know what that point is, long before you get to page one.”

-Lisa Cron, Story Genius via workbook pages

Have you ever read a self-help book and thought, “Okay, get to the point. This is too much information”? Another thing a reader needs to consider is how they’ll receive what’s presented. What I first appreciate about this guide is its straightforwardness. There’s no beating-around-the-bush or anecdotes. The second thing I like about CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS is it was created by two editors with years of experience in the biz. Not only that, Emily confirmed the status of my grammar. I’ll gladly take that advice any day of the week!

PART 2. The Activities

Call me stubborn if you’d like, but I sometimes have a difficult time accepting change. After working with the character interview pages for Project Firedamp for so long, it was hard to switch gears. But did I liked the idea of activities over a list. Let’s begin.

The First Activity

Draft your story point. Consider why you’re writing this story, and who you’re writing it for. […] You’re aiming for a one-line statement: the message you want to share about how the world works.

Lady Irene’s heart is in turmoil. Her life, turned upside down the previous year, still affects her daily life. Stuck in a rut, she believes she’ll never go back to normal. Okay. This isn’t a single statement. Let me give it a real whirl:

Hope always follows fear.

Hmm – I think that’s actually pretty good! It matches the story’s overall arc which will, hopefully, be pertinent to 2020’s conditions.

It’s also at this point I’ll begin world-building. The opening scenes will play a very important later on in the story.

The Second Activity

Let’s take a look at the seven (or five, whichever you prefer) stages of grief. They are:

Shock
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Testing
Acceptance

Lady Irene, in deep grief, absolutely refuses to acknowledge she’s passed any of these stages. She’s alone in her journey – though perhaps not as alone as she thinks. Irene’s setting herself up for a spinster existence, one no one else wants her to experience. She believes she’ll never escape this, nor the expectations placed upon a Victorian woman in 1853.

What beliefs can you think of that are in direct contrast to your story point? List them out and consider which which one is the most succinct, holds the greatest emotional impact and stakes, and will provide your character with the most intriguing struggle.

The Third Activity

What internal and external goals can you give your character that are incompatible with their inner obstacle?

Internal Goal: Our lady wants to get out but hasn’t realized just how desperately she needs to figure herself out before it’s too late.

External Goal: She wants the strange happenings and her tears to end, and things back to what they were.

The Fourth Activity

Lady Irene feels her time slipping away. Everyone abandoned her… including her Julian.

If Lady Irene cannot solve the mystery behind things which never happened before in her home, she fears she’ll go insane before her twenty-fifth year. She must discover whatever the messages left behind for her mean, lest she remain in her grief stricken state forever.

Okay , this needs some work!

What dire thing does your character fear will happen (whether real or imagined) if they don’t achieve their internal and external goals? Are they serious stakes? […]

The Fifth Activity

Now this is where I’ll end things because
No writer wants to reveal too much!


PART 3. Completion

Within the last pages of the guide there are charts you can work from to build your own. It shows how each of the previous parts works together to clearly showcase your character’s main motives.

While I may have done these pages differently from the intended results, the guide did force me to look past the interview style of building up a character.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “Where’s this duel? Where’s the comparison part she promised us?”

So how does CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS
differ from KM Weiland’s character interviews?

Craft Complex Characters

1. Looks at motives from the smallest to overall
2. Focuses more on the protagonist’s obstacles
3. Guides the writer to zero in on why they’re writing the story

Character Interview Method

  1. Details character’s mannerisms, demographics, personality, etc
  2. Can be used for protagonists, antagonists and secondaries
  3. Easily modifiable to fit your characters’ needs

Do I think they’d make great companion resources for creating well-rounded characters?
Absolutely!

As it turns out, both guides were created with very separate goals, but still the same overall one in mind: to help you finish your story and finish it well.

With all that being said, keep your eyes peeled for a Victorian ghostly tale coming next month to this site –
THE GILDED CONSPIRACY, featuring our Lady Irene.

And don’t forget to check out CRAFT COMPLEX CHARACTERS by Golden May Editing, available for purchase this weekend. Be sure to vote in the poll below, and feel free to let us know in the comments below what tools you use to create your characters


Music That Drives My Writing | The Joe Hisaishi Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing all my favorite Joe Hisaishi scores. I hope you’ll also check out other posts in the “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, Part 5: The 1940s Edition, Part 6: The SyFy Edition, Part 7: The James Horner Edition, Part 8: The Hans Zimmer Edition, Part 9: The John Williams Edition, and Part 10: The Michael Giacchino Edition. This is Part 11: The Joe Hisaishi Edition. Perhaps you’ll find some new music to love!

Today I am cheating. Why? Because all my favorite songs are rolled into one giant concert. I don’t mind taking a short cut this week, because this is my absolute favorite video of all time. It’s the 25 year anniversary for Studio Ghibli, and Hisaishi wrote many scores for Miyazaki’s fabulous films. The scores I adore the most are from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away.

This video is nearly two hours long, and I’m jealous of absolutely everyone who got to be there!

This week’s Music That Drives My Writing post will be the last in this series. As much fun as it’s been to put all my favorite songs in one place, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things! Check out the announcement here for the next blog series.


Music That Drives My Writing | The Michael Giacchino Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing my favorite Michael Giacchino scores. I hope you’ll also check out other posts in the “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, Part 5: The 1940s Edition, Part 6: The SyFy Edition, Part 7: The James Horner Edition, Part 8: The Hans Zimmer Edition, and Part 9: The John Williams Edition.
This is Part 10: The Michael Giacchino Edition. Perhaps you’ll find some new music to love!

1. “Main Theme” from Star Trek: Into Darkness

This was the first score I ever heard – or the first one which caused me to look him up – of Giacchino’s. Love or hate this version of Star Trek, its score is certainly one of my favorites.

2. “Life & Death” from Lost

Lost is another one of those shows you either love to death or love to hate. I stopped watching it because college in 2005 > television. But I remember loving its score.

3. “Night on the Yorktown” from Star Trek: Beyond

Fight me if you will, but I firmly believe this to be one of the most gorgeous themes in all Star Trek.

4. “If You Don’t Make It, It’s Your Own Damn Fault” from Land of the Lost

This film came out in 2009, but this score gives me early 1990s vibes.

5. “Commitment” from Jupiter Ascending

If you want to indulge in a really weird, confusing film with bad sound editing, watch Jupiter Ascending. The budget was all in the film score and CGI. Certainly not writing a coherent script… But I like the music, so it has that going for it, I suppose.

6. “As the Jurassic World Turns” from Jurassic World

How can you not love this epic piece of art?

7. “Peter’s Lament” from The Book of Henry

I’ve never seen this film, but the beginning of this lament sounds similar to Night on the Yorktown and I love it.

8. “Declaration of Indo-Pendence” from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Looking for something to write a great action sequence to? Look no further than the scores for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!


Music That Drives My Writing | The John Williams Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing my favorite John Williams scores. I hope you’ll also check out other posts I have for this “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, Part 5: The 1940s Edition, Part 6: The SyFy Edition, Part 7: The James Horner Edition, and Part 8: The Hans Zimmer Edition.
This is Part 9: The John Williams Edition. Perhaps you’ll find some new music to love!

1. “The Raiders March” from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc

Iconic. One of the most recognizable scores in all Hollywood. I dare you to fight me on this one; or am I just channeling Indy??

2. “The Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back

One of the most classic musical cues in film history. When this march is played, everyone knows this tune whether they’re Star Wars fans or not. There’s also something magical about really good orchestral live performances.

3. “The Throne Room” from Star Wars: The Last Jedi

An amazing job on this medley by some very amazing young musicians.

4. “Flight to Neverland” from Hook

One of my favorite films from childhood is Hook. This song is one of the main reasons why.

5. “Main Theme” from Jurassic Park

And you thought I’d forget about Jurassic Park.

“Without John Williams, bikes don’t really fly. Nor do brooms in Quidditch matches. Nor do men in red capes. There is no Force. Dinosaurs do not walk the earth. We do not wonder. We do not weep. We do not believe.“

Steven Speilberg

6. “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Ok. This a contender for the “most iconic piece of music in Hollywood history” prize. I mean, it basically set the tone for the whole Harry Potter film franchise.

7. “Viktor’s Tale” from The Terminal

Where Hans Zimmer excels at capturing drama and grandeur, John Williams perfectly captures whimsy and story telling in his themes.

8. “Sayuri’s Theme” from Memoirs of a Geisha

Anything this man composes is pure gold.


Music That Drives My Writing | The Hans Zimmer Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing my favorite Hans Zimmer compositions. Did The Lion King make the cut?

I hope you’ll also check out other posts I have for this “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, Part 5: The 1940s Edition, Part 6: The SyFy Edition. and Part 7: The James Horner Edition. This is Part 8. I hope you find some new music to love!

1. “Time” from Inception

I’ve yet to see half the films represented in this list, but from the first, ahem, time I heard this score, I most definitely was hooked!

2. “Now We Are Free” from Gladiator

Put those earbuds in for the full effect and I promise you won’t regret it. Maybe the applause portion at the end.

3. “One Day” from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

One Day is the second track in this amazing live medley. I love how this particular piece contains musical elements from the other films.

4. “Cornfield Chase” from Interstellar

Another film I know absolutely nothing about but still adore its score. It’s so “syfy” and mysterious and hopeful.

5. “Mombasa” from Inception

The first time I ever heard Mombasa was by 2CELLOS. I didn’t realize, at the time, it’s origins. I love the original as well as 2CELLOS’ version.

6. “This Land” from The Lion King

Oh how I’ve wished this track was longer from the first time I heard it in a York, PA movie theatre the year it came out.

7. “Honor (main title)” from The Pacific

I’ve never seen this series, but I’ve definitely heard the music before. Goosebumps from beginning to end! Every. Single. Time.

8. “Main Suite” from Planet Earth II

Anything this man composes for the Blue Planet/Planet Earth series is pure gold.

9. “Main Title” from The Crown

Mesmerizing. Magnificent. Magnanimous. Magnifique. And every praiseworthy word in between. The Crown‘s producers went all out for its score and it shows.

10. “The Dragon Scroll” from Kung Fu Panda

I had to share the scene because, even with the voice acting and effects, it must be listened to as a whole to get the full effect!

11. “The Blue Planet” from Blue Planet II

To quote one of the posts in this video’s comment section, “[Zimmer] A man who can tell stories without a single word.” I couldn’t agree more.

12. “Seven Worlds One Planet” from Seven Worlds One Planet

Just sit and listen. I don’t think you’ll need any of my commentary for this one.

13. “All I Ever Wanted” from The Prince of Egypt

A favorite film since childhood with an absolutely gorgeous film score. Even if you aren’t religious, give this story a chance.


Music That Drives My Writing | The James Horner Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing my favorite James Horner compositions. Let’s just say I had a difficult time keeping myself from including the entire Titanic soundtrack.

I hope you’ll also check out other posts I have for this “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, Part 5: The 1940s Edition, and Part 6: The SyFy Edition. This is Part 7. I hope you find some new music to love!

1. “Alfred, Tristan, The Colonel” from Legends of the Fall

2. “Becoming Spider-Man” from The Amazing Spider-man

3. “Never an Absolution” from Titanic

4. “Southampton” from Titanic

5. “Main Title” from Apollo 13

6. “Final Contest” from The Karate Kid (2010)

7. “Jake’s First Flight” from Avatar

8. “Jack Dawson’s Luck” from Titanic

9. “My Family Is My Life” from The Legend of Zorro

10. “The Machine Age” from Bicentennial Man


Writing Goals 2020 | Progress Report

Earlier this year I decided to follow that new goals tag and make a list of seven things I’d like to accomplish with my writing in 2020. Now that we’re nearly halfway through (crazy), I thought I’d take a look back and give a progress report on how things are going. Let’s take a look at the seven things I want to complete(ish) in 2020.

GOAL 1 – Finish Project Firedamp ⇝ Status: ??????

I can’t stress enough my embarrassment on how far behind I am on this particular goal. Being the slow writer that I am, I thought to write at least one chapter per month. Perhaps two if I finally get into the swing of things.

That hasn’t happened.

Just a few weeks ago I decided to finally set up a writing schedule. All my well-practiced procrastination instincts are having trouble conforming to a schedule I made myself. I can confirm that I’ve finally solidified how this series is going to work in the future. It took a while, but I’m thoroughly excited for everything that’s going to happen in The Firedamp Chronicles realm!

UPDATE: The writing schedule failed. I’m currently seeking editing/critique help for Project Firedamp, because I now recognize certain issues which need addressed sooner rather than later.

GOAL 2 – Tour more historical sites ⇝ Status: on hold.

For this particular goal, I purposefully put it off till the weather got warmer. This is also due to the fact that many of the sites I want to tour have very specific tour hours and time frames. I have a small list of sites around Pittsburgh I want to visit come Spring and Summer. Will I share that list? Perhaps. But those locations may give away too much of my story’s plot so, we’ll see!

UPDATE: Due to everything being closed until at least July, I cannot yet plan those visits.

GOAL 3 – Bring more story themed decor into the house ⇝ Status: changed.

Shabby chic decor is to Victorian as a grandchild is to their grandparents. True shabby chic equates to “cluttered,” “floral,” and “eclectic.” However, my biggest goal, when it comes to my home, is to maintain an organized, comfortable environment.

So I’m out to find more practical pieces – things I can use every day because I won’t dust fake flowers. Here’s my Pinterest board of DIY crafts I want to eventually put together. There’s still plenty of time left in 2020!

UPDATE: I’ve reorganized my office and decluttered a lot more things. The pile of donations for my church’s annual flea market has finally gone to church, and I’ve decided to just go practical in my decor.

GOAL 4 – Visit the Library of Congress ⇝ Status: on hold.

This visit is so very much in the works! No mind you, I began looking into this about a month before everything with COVID19 went down, so now I’ve got coworkers telling me to cancel cancel cancel. While I understand everything going on right now, the trip is for three months from now – in late June. I’m hoping that, not only will things have calmed down by then, but the library will be open to visitors again.

Because ever since that one scene in the first National Treasure film, I’ve wanted to go to the second level and look for secret books with codes to a treasure map’s key. The bus tickets have been purchased (a whole $6 – thank you Megabus!), arrangements to stay with my aunt’s family have been made. June trip to DC here I come!

UPDATE: Sadly my coworkers were correct. I held out hope for a long time, but the Library’s own closure until at least July has put this goal on hold. At least I only lost $6 in bus fare.

GOAL 5 – Build a Paper Organizer ⇝ Status: scratched.

This one’s tricky, because good wood costs a pretty penny. Budgeting is the name of today’s game, and I want whatever project I build to last. “But Leigh, why don’t you just go to Joann’s or Michael’s and buy an organizer?”

Fair point.

There are two benefits of building my own: 1- I can customize it to fit wherever it’s going to go and 2- I want it to have spaces for both paper and smaller cubicles for pens/colored pencils. It’s a tall order, and only something customized can fulfill both those requirements. This project’s planned for early Spring, when it’s a bit warmer.

UPDATE: As I’m now working a lot of overtime, I decided to table this goal. Instead, I’ve purchased a modern and sleek organizer to match the rest of my office’s decor. I can get overzealous at times. I also realized I didn’t want something big and chunky taking up space.

GOAL 6 – Write in Tennessee (aka go on vacation) ⇝ Status: On Hold.

The more I look at this particular goal, the more I don’t think it’s in the cards. Especially with the D.C. trip. It’ll most likely be combined with Goal 4 – Visit the Library of Congress. In fact – let’s change the title right now:

GOAL 6 – Write in Washington D.C. (aka go on vacation)

GOAL 7 – Hand copy a novel ⇝ Status: null and void.

And last but not least, let’s discuss hand copying a novel. This goal started off strong. I picked one of my favorite stories – INKHEART by Cornelia Funke. Hand copied a chapter a day – got up to chapter five. And then my hand had had enough. Kudos to all you who choose to hand write your stories before digitizing it.

Needless to say, I’ve given up on this goal.

For the time being.


So what have I actually accomplished? Blogging ahead, 2020s Five Question Interviews series, and buying more books than I can read right now. Three things not even on the list! At least I can say I’ve booked some critiquing help, so that’s progress.

How are you with your writing goals?


Music That Drives My Writing | The SyFy Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. In today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing five “syfy” albums I can listen to from beginning to end.

I hope you’ll also check out other posts I have for this “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, Part 4: The Film Score Edition, and Part 5: The 1940s Edition. This is Part 6. I hope you find some new music to love!

1. “Passengers” composed by Thomas Newman

If I’m being completely honest, I’d say Thomas Newman’s soundtrack MADE the film for me. Even with all of Passengers’ visuals and CGI, this album stuck itself in my head like flies on poo.

2. “Star Trek: Insurrection” composed by Jerry Goldsmith

Since I couldn’t find the full Star Trek: Insurrection film score on Spotify, here’s a compilation album to enjoy!

3. “Transformers” composed by Steve Jablonsky

Say what you will about the franchise; its film score is the best thing about it. I listened to this score nonstop while I was in China in 2008. That was 12 years ago. Autobots is an awesome song.

4. “The Rocketeer” composed by James Horner

Not every syfy film has to take place in space. I’ve adored The Rocketeer since childhood, and this score still gives me goosebumps.

Seriously – watch the film. It’s old school Disney at its finest. I promise you won’t regret it!

5. “Apollo 13” composed by James Horner

I’m a huge James Horner fan, what can I say? If you aren’t, what are you even doing with your life?

Honorable Mentions

  1. Jurassic Park
  2. Firefly
  3. Back to the Future
  4. The Host
  5. The X-Files

I Unplugged the Television For A Month. Here’s What Happened.

We humans make choices every day. Sometimes collectively, but mostly individually. We are creatures of habit and prefer sticking to our routines like flies on poo. Unless something dramatic happens and our simple pleasures suddenly disappear, we’ll follow that path indefinitely. I’m one of those creatures with a terrible case of procrastination.

Procrastination has truly had a profound impact on my writing (or lack thereof). Since this self-revelation, the one that showed me I proudly I wore that procrastination on my sleeve over the past few months, I’ve also come to realize how disappointed I am in myself. I’m writing, but blogging and working on other things. None of that work’s been directly connected to my manuscript.

Change. It’s such a short yet daunting word. One that us creatures of habit try to avoid as much as possible. I’ve worked retail and food service for fifteen years, so you’d think I’d have an easier time with it as change is so constant.

Then March 2020 came in the United States. A time when life changed life for us all. With everyone else indulging in Netflix, Disney+, and more social media than ever before, I wondered if it was time to finally conduct a no-television experiment. Let’s see what happened:

WEEK 1. April 1-11

You may wonder why this week is extra long. Honestly? Because I completely forgot about this experiment. But an organic change already happened during Week One, plus a few weeks before that, and I wouldn’t have noticed unless I hadn’t opened my Kindle. Apparently, less TV time equates to more book time. Imagine that!

It took a damp, drizzly March evening to get me to crack open a book for the first time in a while (one that wasn’t non-fiction), and my mouth dropped when I read its insights page. Of course it’s clear to you that I’ve never explored this function, and set a low reading goal for myself – to read twenty books in a year. 500 books in a year sounded like an absurd goal to start with. Better to set expectations low and work up!


WEEK 2. April 12-18

I used to have a huge “to be watched” list on my Netflix account. Now it’s down to two items – Merlin and a Korean drama called Mr. Sunshine. The only shows I have on repeat are old Star Trek series I can’t help but watch over and over again. It’s a simple thing, but they bring me joy.

I also used to religiously watch The Price is Right in the mornings, but even that annoys me now. Too many Type A personalities. So my TV remains turned off, and I’m slowly whittling down my “to be watched” on Netflix. But honestly? I’ve no desire to. Why? My focus has shifted completely back to books, writing, and learning more than ever before.


I’m also incredibly happy to report that I’ve updated the “On My Bookshelf” page here on my website, something I actually have to do yet again. Yay!

WEEK 3. April 19-25

Week three. Not only am I watching less television, even with the family, I’m watching less YouTube as well. Beauty community drama videos, kpop music videos, and old episodes of Judge Judy were constantly in my “Watch Later” list. Now it’s filled with more practical videos like organizing and new recipes to try.

Update 1: I’ve removed my subscription from several more channels. I’ve even removed many more shows from my Watch List on Netflix; I no longer have the desire to even start new ones.

Update 2: I’m also incredibly happy to report that I’ve updated the “On My Bookshelf” page here on my website, something I actually have to do yet again. Yay!


WEEK 4. April 26-30

By this week, I didn’t want to even turn on Netflix except for a few episodes of Star Trek here and there. You’d think, because I began my two weeks off work due to statewide pandemic mandates, that my viewership would increase. I’m pleased to report that it, in fact, went down. The majority of my entertainment now comes from, surprise surprise, actual books again. And I think that was the desired outcome of this experiment to begin with.

Whenever I find myself craving entertainment, my TBR (to be read) pile called my name. The only time I even look at a television now is after family dinner nights and The Masked Singer is on.

This last week is also the week I’ve worked more on my own novel series than I have in the past two months. “I don’t have time,” I’d say. When, in reality, I let my “procrastination” get in the way of real productivity.


There’s more to life than always airing your grievances on social media. There’s more to life than always being connected, on top of pop culture, or indulging in drama videos about people on YouTube you truly know nothing about.

Truth be told, this “experiment” began in late March. They say time changes habits, be they good or bad, and this past month certainly proved that to be true. Conclusion: television and media and other media outlets do not, should not, control your life. For the longest time I let it control mine, and I’m done complaining about political ads.

We all have it within us to write our own narratives. We don’t always have to keep to the status quo, especially if our life’s status quo doesn’t make us happy anymore. And I wasn’t happy. I thank God every day for my desire to write stories.

It’s time to use, and I mean truly use, this gift He’s given me.

The Proof is in the Reading Timeline!


We all have it within us to write our own narratives.


Music That Drives My Writing | 1940s Edition

It’s no secret that music breathes life into my writing sessions. I am very much driven in my craft by a song’s flow. For those who know me, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, and this method has yet to steer me wrong. For today’s musically charged post, I’m sharing ten songs from the 1940s that drive my writing. This is also a great playlist for 4th of July fireworks, or to play on a train (not even kidding about the train). My love for music of this era comes from my Grandma Redman. When I spent afternoons with her as a kid, she always had either these tunes or the Oldies on the radio.

I hope you’ll also check out other posts I have for this “Music That Drives My Writing” blog series – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3: the Kpop Edition, and Part 4: The Film Score Edition. This is Part 5. I hope some of the names look familiar!

1. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters

2. “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller

3. “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman

4. “Begin the Beguine” by Artie Shaw

5. “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head” by Dean Martin

6. “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin

7. “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra

8. “Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny Oh!” by The Andrews Sisters

9. “Lazy River” by Bobby Darin

10. “I’ve Got A Gal in Kalamazoo” by Glenn Miller