Saturday, February 28, 2015

Survival Saturdays #9

Writing advice to help you survive that first draft. 

How to keep your plot moving and your readers reading. 


One of the most important things you can do as a writer is keep your readers engaged.  If the reader gets bored, they won't read. Simple as that. 

One way too keep their interest piqued is to keep a STRING OF LOOPS going. What do I mean by that?  Allow me to explain. 

A loop works very much like:  a plot point, a secret, or a goal. 
I like to picture it like a piece of string that is threaded through the inner workings of the story, but still hidden from view.

Now, a loop does not necessarily last the length of your entire novel, so the trick is to have several loops that intertwine from beginning to end.  Before one loop ends, you should have already begun another. 

Let's say for example that your character has a secret.  For the first third of the book, he's managed to keep this secret up.  But now it is time for the readers to learn just what that secret is.  Before you give it away, however, you should reveal a second secret.  (it doesn't have to be a secret, but it SHOULD have an unanswered question that the reader will crave to know the answer of).  

The first secret is finally resolved, but now there's something new to worry about.


Your character has come clean about stealing that special key.  He plans on turning himself in, but before he can follow through, someone from his past suddenly comes to town. You character doesn't know why this person is back, except that now he knows he can't return that key.

Loop #1: you character admits to stealing the key.  
Loop #2: someone from his past has returned for a reason unknown. 

Not only that, but there is a THIRD loop:  what is it about this person that causes your character to change his mind about returning the key? 

What makes this powerful is not the secrets themselves, but the fact that they overlap. 

If you can keep up a string of such loops, then you will be able to keep your readers glued to the page, unable to put the book down until they have their answers. 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Friday, February 27, 2015

Funny Fridays #9

A little humor can go a long way. 

Marvel edition. 

Just wow. 

Bucky. No.

"Guardians of the Galaxy:  a summary" <<<This is accurate. 


This is one of my favorite things.

'nuff said.

All images are taken from Pinterest.

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Whatnot Wednesdays #9

Info dumps on the life of an aspiring writer. 

And...I'm back!

Taking a week break from the internet is harder than it looks.  I wish it only upon my greatest of foes. has been quite the eventful week for this writer. 

I had a rehearsal performance at a local library for an 8-minute skit that a few friends of mine and I are doing for a competition called Odyssey of the Mind

Here is a description of the guidelines that our skit must follow:

Problem 3: Pandora’s Box 
Divisions I, II, III & IV
In this classics problem, teams will put a video game spin on the story of Pandora’s Box. A gamer character will take on this multi-level game inspired by the Greek myth. The game will include a prologue that depicts the original story of Pandora’s Box, three characters representing different evils that escaped the box, and a power meter that represents the gamer character’s health. To beat the game, the player will advance to the final level where it will release hope into the world.
Cost limit: $125 USD.

It has been a fun experience so far (although the upcoming competition is already making me nervous!), and we actually have our skit just about solid.  The official competition date is March 7th. That's less then two weeks left! (*gulp*)

In addition to rehearsing at the library, I also had my very first road test.  I can't remember ever being so nervous for something in my entire life. 

I was about to drive a stranger around. Alone. On a (busy) city street.  Past the police station.  And he's going to judge me. (And don't even get me started on the parallel parking).

Okay, I know my nerves blew everything out of proportion, but knowing that doesn't always make it better.  I remember telling myself as the instructor got in my car, "Hey, everyone takes this test.  It's no big deal.  And if I fail, I just schedule another test and try it again."

The test begins and the first thing I do, I do wrong.  Oh, good job, Amy.  Great. Start. (Not). 

And THEN, I get caught in a 3-way car freeze.  Everyone waiting for everyone.  The car to my left is waving me on, so I'm about to pull out onto the street when the car BEHIND the one waving me on decides he's just gunna skirt around and completely disregard the fact that someone was pulling out onto the street. (That someone being me). 

Basically, I almost got into a wreck.  During my road test. 
Of course this happened to me. 

But despite it all, I'm proud to say I passed. 


Oh, how I've missed all you guys!  It's good to be back.  Hope you all are having a fantastic rest of your day!

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

See you guys in a week!

Hey guys! This is just a quick post to let you know that I'll be gone until next Wednesday (the 25th). Until then, hope you all have a fabulous week!

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Two-Fifty Tuesdays #8

Excerpts of my writing consisting of 250 words. No more. No less.

The following passage is taken from Chapter Five of my current work in progress, Somnia

     “Why?” He asks me after a decent amount of time has passed.  The atmosphere became uncomfortable roughly five minutes before he decided to speak.  I have no idea how to answer this question.  It is random and lacking any kind of context. I give him a confused look.  He steps closer to my cage.
     “Why did you ruin my life?” he growls. I blink.  Come again?  He looks just as confused at my confusion.  I can only shrug helplessly.  He stands a little straighter and lets out a breath through his nose.
     “You don’t remember me, do you?”  He sounds angry, hurt.  Again, I have nothing.
     “Were we in the same story or something?”  He laughs at this.  I’m not sure what that means.  I watch him silently, apprehensively.  He looks at me differently now.
     “You think you’re one of us,” he says, the smile still on his lips.  But the smile stops before it reaches his eyes.  I don’t think I can trust this man.  
     I suppose answering his question with a yes won’t help much of anything.  But who is the ‘us’ that he’s referring to?  Just the rule-benders like himself? Or all of Somnia?
     “Who am I, then?” I challenge.  He better have an answer for me.  He chuckles again—the kind that sounds like you’re hiding a dark secret.
     “You’re a nobody. An abandoned child who isn’t good for much of anything.”  His mocking tone is what sets me off.  I bang my fists against the ...

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mature Mondays #7

Something that is thought provoking and/or inspiring. 

Darkness Has A Name~

Is it your name?

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Story Starter Sundays #6

Featured writing prompts from Pinterest

Since you have the ability to tell how dangerous someone is just by looking at them, does this world that have secret "gifts" that one might possess? And if so, what gift does this kid have that rates him or her as a 10?

What does it mean to be a 10?  Not all danger is for something physical.  Does this kid cause emotional damage? Mental damage?

Is this kid even human?

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Survival Saturdays #8

Writing advice to help you survive that first draft.

5 Points on Writing Dialogue.


1. Keep your dialogue brief.  
Basically you shouldn't find yourself with pages upon pages of just dialogue. In storytelling you want to SHOW the readers what's happening, not TELL them, and dialogue can often turn into giant info dumps if you're not careful.  Don't have your character SAY they're angry, when you can SHOW it. 

2. Watch out for small talk.  
This comes in all forms. Unless it's crucial to your plot, try to avoid simple day-to-day chitchat. This is idle information that doesn't further the story in any way.  It just takes up space.  Also, try to avoid many short responses in a row.  Responses like "yes" or "okay" can also be expressed with a nod, or a simple gesture. (again, more show vs. tell.)

3. It can move the plot along. 
Dialogue is a fun place to reveal hidden secrets and plot twists.  Often times I like to end a chapter with a single sentence of dialogue that turns the chapter into a cliffhanger. 

4. It should reveal the speaker's character. 
The way your character speaks should reflect the type of person that they are. This can be done both directly and indirectly. This goes deeper than just an accent; their word choice is just as important. Not only that, but also the way they deliver their words as well.  Are they the type of person to speak gruffly? Kindly? Is your character quiet, or do they practically stampede everyone with their words?  However they come across verbally should be consistent with their personality. 

5. It should show the relationships among characters. 
The way your character speaks to his 16-year-old sidekick will probably be different than the way he speaks to his 5-year-old little brother.  Dialogue can reveal how one character might feel about another.  Be it:  love (happy Valentine's Day!), hate, disgust, fear, shyness...etc.  All these kinds of emotions should show through in dialogue.  This will help paint a more vivid picture in your reader's imagination of the dynamic between your two (or more) characters during a conversation. 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Friday, February 13, 2015

Funny Fridays #8

A little humor can go a long way.

This is especially funny because I have a character named Jesse who would do this. 



I'm so tempted to write a short story now. 

Unfortunately this was me today....

Oh dear. 

(All pictures courtesy of Pinterest)

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thingy Thursdays #8

A fascinating object that begged at the chance for a story. 

Today's object was suggested by Faye Gordon

     Emma knew they weren't far behind. She was running out of breath. Faster, FASTER! She had to make it! One short cut, then another.  Alleyway after alleyway.  Then she saw it.  Up ahead was the phone box that she desperately needed to get to.  She wasn't exaggerating when she said this next phone call would save her life. 

     She let the door slam shut behind her and frantically picked up the phone. It rang twice. 

     "Cyberchase," was all Emma said.  She hung up and ran out of the box.  The men were waiting for her.  They grabbed her and pinned her hands behind her back. 
     "The boss doesn't take too kindly to thieves," one of them spat.    
     "It's a shame your boss didn't have any valuable information. Just a waste of my time, now," Emma said sweetly.  Patronizing them.  She wasn't afraid. 
     "Oh, it'll be more than that," another man said.  "You'll enjoy a cell for a few good years at least." 
     Emma just smiled.  She knew something they didn't. 

     A moment later, she vanished without a trace.  The men looked confused--but only for a second.  Then they went about their business as though it never even happened.... 

~24 hours earlier~ 

     Emma took a deep breath.  She was about to go in and see the man that could change her life--for better or worse.  It wasn't anything the man had to say.  It was his computer.  There was just the simple matter of whether or not this was the right guy.  She shrugged.  In a matter of hours she'll know.

     Emma checked her bracelet for the umpteenth time.  Yep.  The microchip was still there.  Her little electronic thief.
     "The boss will see you know," a secretary said.  Emma smiled and stood. She was about to enter when her phone buzzed. She answered on the second ring.
     "Cyberchase," was all the person said.  Then they hung up. 

     Without a word or an explanation, Emma turned around and left the building.  Cyberchase was the code word for a wild goose chase. This was the wrong man. 

     Who was caller?  It was Emma, herself, from the future.  You see, there's a certain phone box at the edge of town that allows you to place calls to your past self. 

     To put it simply:  crisis averted. 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Whatnot Wednesdays #8

Info dumps on the life of an aspiring writer. 

Writer by day, mechanic by night. 

While I didn't get as much writing done today that I wanted to, I DID learn the very important lesson of how to fix a sump pump.  And a snow blower. 

I also learned that I am terrible at fixing either over the phone. 

So as soon as my dad got home he and I went to work.  Turns out that the wire that connects the sump pump battery to it's charger-thing had busted somewhere down the line. 

Thankfully, my dad had some extra battery charger cords that we managed to cut apart and manually reconnect with the sump pump.  With a breath of relief, I am happy to say it works now. 

But my mechanic adventure had only just begun. 

There was a good 1-2 inches of snow on the driveway, and since the rest of my family still had yet to return home for their evening adventures, Dad decided it would be a good idea to go out and shovel.  And tonight we were going to try a new technique.  I would push all the snow to one side of the driveway, and Dad would then come by with the snow blower.  Quick. Easy. Simple. Right? WOULD have been if the snow blower had decided not to fall apart. 

I spent the good portion of 10 minutes searching for the missing pieces in the snow.  I only managed to find the red knob that--well...I must confess that I don't actually know what it does.  Anywho...I found the knob-thingy, but the rest my dad and I had to improvise in fixing. 

And again, there was more rewiring to be done.  

So, while I might not have been able to finish working on chapter 12, I DID learn some valuable life skills involving sump pumps and snow blowers.  Tonight I feel accomplished. 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two-Fifty Tuesdays #7

Excerpts of my writing consisting of 250 words. No more. No less. 

The following passage is taken from Chapter Two of my novel: Guinea Pig Maverick.


     The rusted truck bumps me across endless miles of desert.  It’s safe to say I really am in the middle of nowhere.  Any civilization daring enough to live this far from the city has long since disappeared in the dust from our tires.  The man driving the truck never once offers to make conversation, and I have no interest in starting one.  He is my third hire, agreeing to take me the final forty minutes of my trip in exchange for the money in my pocket.
     The voice on the outdated GPS unit tells us that we’ve arrived—not that we could have missed it.  A fifty-foot wall doesn’t go unnoticed in the middle of a flatland.
     The truck grinds to a stop near the massive concrete fortress.  I thank the man and hand him the cash.  He gives me a wary smile and stares past me at the wall.
     “This a prison?” he drawls.  I crane my neck to see the top of the wall.  Spirals of barbed wire coil around electrified wires.  I don’t remember reading anything about this place keeping prisoners.  Maybe it’s meant to keep people away.
     “No,” I say only because I don’t feel like explaining myself.  
     “You sure someone’s expecting you?” he asks through tobacco-stained teeth.  He counts the bills while waiting for my answer.  I jerk on the door handle and step out of the truck.   
     “Yeah,” I reply over my shoulder. “I’m meeting a close relative of mine.”  
     The man puts the ... 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mature Mondays #6

Something that is thought provoking and/or inspiring. 

I thought I would share with you guys today a video that my grandmother sent to me. 

Born with severe cerebral palsy, Paul Smith is a typewriter artist.  His work is truly incredible. 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Survival Saturdays #7

Writing advice to help you survive that first draft.

My 5 step writing process for completing a chapter.

Step #1:  Outline.
Unless this is my first chapter, this step is usually already done. I like to have the first several chapters outlined before I begin, but I don't always have the later chapters figured out until I get there. If that's the case, then I take a moment to look over my outline to remind myself of what has happened so far in the story.  I come up with a general idea of what the characters should accomplish, and then let the words flow.

Step #2:  Write it.
I try to keep the story goal in mind when I write--not to be confused with the CHAPTER goal.  I mean the end goal for the entire book.  Because a lot of the time I'll come up with something new that may change what happens in the chapter, but usually the story goal remains unchanged.  For this step, I try to write straight through and avoid any kind of editing or rewriting.

Step #3:  Reread.
Once I have the "first draft" of the chapter finished, I go back through the chapter from start to finish to make sure it both flows and doesn't drag on and on.  I also check to make sure it matches the story's plot and meets the goals I have set for that specific chapter.

Step #4:  Refine.
Once I'm satisfied with the direction the chapter is going, I work to expand upon it and correct how things are expressed.  For example, I may change "Mark looked nervous" to "Mark fidgeted with his hands, avoiding Michael's gaze."  I also take the time to add more detail to scenery and senses.

Step #5:  Final edit.
I go through the chapter either one or two more times to correct grammar errors, misspellings, and clarifications.  Once I am satisfied with this step, I move on to the next chapter.

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Friday, February 6, 2015

Funny Fridays #7

A little humor can go a long way. 

Dog edition. 

He's trying so hard to keep himself together. But the excitement.  It shall not be contained.

Aww...he dances your paper to you.

This dog literally cannot even with this slide.


This. Is adorable.

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thingy Thursdays #7

A fascinating object that begged at the chance for a story. 

    A number and a fingerprint. 
     That's what everyone gets. 
     We are required to wear it around our necks on a chain. 
     Why, you ask?  I suppose I can tell you. 

     Why does everyone ask why?  That's what I want to know

     But I don't make empty promises, so here goes.

     I'm not like you.  There.  I said it.  Me and my friends.  We aren't like anyone.  And sometimes, we can't hide that difference. 

     Some people call us demons.  I prefer shapeshifter.  We're not anything evil.  People are just afraid of us.  Afraid because they do not understand.  But that's okay.  I understand, and I'm used to it. 

     I know you're thinking it.  You want to know what exactly I shapeshift INTO.  Well. It clearly isn't human, or we wouldn't need to carry fingerprints around our necks.  The people here always want to know who we are.  Or, more accurately, who we were.  They think that somehow it justifies their ability to judge us.  Treat us like human, and just maybe we will be.  

     I laugh in their faces.

     Who am I? Who are WE? We are creatures of myths and legends.  We are the ones you warn your children about at night.  We are in fairytales.  We are in dreams.  We are in nightmares.  

     But even more than that, we are in your world.  Most of the time we look like you.  But don't think for one second that we ARE like you. 

     The ones that keep us locked away have many theories, but nothing they can prove.  We've been called aliens, monsters, demons.  But it's not always bad.  One time my little sister was called an angel. 

     What the people don't seem to understand is that they see only what they want to see. 
     We are not people.  We are hopes.  Ideas.  Imaginations. 

     And yet we still have fingerprints. Well.  Allow me to explain. 
     There IS a part of us that is human.  In fact, we are nothing more than children.  More like the ghosts of children, to be honest. 

     Please don't think I mean this literally.  I don't. 
     I'm not a human child that has died--no.  I'm the child inside you.  Or--I used to be inside you.  But then you grew up. Very few adults have learned how to keep their inner-child.  The little person full of magic and wonder.  

     So now you see, we can be anything.  Anything at all.
     Why are people afraid of us?  Perhaps it is because they don't want to accept the fact that they have grown up.  Left us behind.  We really are ghosts. 

     The fingerprints we wear are not really ours.  They are of who we used to belong to.
     My it yours?

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Whatnot Wednesdays #7

Info dumps on the life of an aspiring writer. 

GUYS. I have discovered a glorious thing!

In fact, you might even say it's my new favorite thing. 

What is it, you ask?

Nah. I'll wait. Give suspense. 




OKAY. I'm too lazy to add anymore suspense. 

SO. Here's the thing. 

As a writer, I absolutely ADORE background music.  It's usually movie soundtracks, or video game soundtracks that are actually quite amazing.  But just the other day I discovered something greater. 

(Or not, depending on what you consider great.)

(This might be the most boring thing ever.) 

(Why am I still talking in parenthesis?)


What I did, was I played the sound of rain AT THE SAME TIME as some of my quieter background music.  The result?  A heartbreaking, emotional level added on top of the song. 

Let's try it.

Go ahead and press play on that, and then choose one of the songs below for an incredible, gorgeous combination. (You might need to lower the volume a little on the rain.)

I could listen to this for hours. Perfect for writing emotional scenes. 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Two-Fifty Tuesdays #6

Excerpts of my writing consisting of 250 words. No more. No less. 

The following passage is taken from Chapter Nine of my current work in progress, Somnia


     Shep snatches fistfuls of my shirt and pulls me up.  He holds me close, our faces almost touching.  The journal slips from my grip to the grass at my feet.  I let go of the feather and a small breeze takes it.  Shep only holds me tighter, looking me straight in the eyes.  I lean my head back to put some distance between us.  He doesn’t speak until our gazes lock again.
     “Wiles, it’s time,” he whispers.  His voice makes the hair at the back of my neck stand on end.  “It’s time for you to wake up.” 
     I stare at him, unblinking, unbreathing.  Sweat wets my cold palms and runs down my back. My body tense, I feel like I could crumble and fall away to nothing. 
     “What?” I choke out.  My voice doesn’t sound like me.  It’s much higher, and full of fear.  Why do people keep telling me to wake up?  Characters don’t even sleep!  Shep glances over his shoulder and turns back to me with greater urgency.
     “Wake up! Do it now!”  I’m frozen in time.  How does he expect me to wake up when I’m not asleep? 
     I slowly become aware of a strangled battle cry.  Jesse rams into Shep, sending the three of us falling to the ground.  Someone grabs my hand and drags me away from Shep.
     “Hurry, Wiles!” Destiny’s voice pleads.  I look up and see that she’s the one dragging me.  I pull myself back to my feet.  Jesse and Shep ...

God bless,
 ~Amy Rochelle

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mature Mondays #5

Something that is thought provoking and/or inspiring. 

I thought I would share my devotion from January 30th from Rose Marie Jones "The Father's Voice" as it applies to my life as of now. 

"Budding Stub"

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11

     My beloved, I love you.  You know that I love you! For many months now, you have been stubbed, mercilessly chopped off by the corn knife of death that steals and destroys the precious breath of mortal life.

     Left alone to stand, you have born the pain of changing seasons from rain, to cold, to heat. You have felt drowned, frozen, and scorched--but you have nonetheless stood the test.  Your stub has not rotted and deteriorated in character. No, on the contrary, you have endured by yielding to Me all discomfort.  You have bowed before my throne and humbled yourself before Me in your broken, stubby state. 

     While the world was beholding a mournful sight, beneath the surface I was busily and faithfully deepening your root structure, strengthening your root canals, and enriching you below surface level, deep in the secret most caverns of your heart. 

     You have painfully yielded each day to Me, and my promise has been, I will be here for you!

     Now, after much restructuring of the inner heart canals, I am ready to produce new growth on your outward stub. 

     I will now begin leading you into a new season of outward manifestation of that which has been publicly hidden. 

     You are my budding stub! With swelling arms, you will be popping forth with new extensions of my foliage upon you. 

     In your new wisdom and divine revelation, you will begin to produce actual buds of blossoms.  In days not too far from now, you will honestly feel like a blossoming bush once again.  You won't be the same.  You will have new colors and an abundance of blossoms which will emit my fragrance of heaven invested in you. 

     Beloved, your season of mourning has come to its end.  I am on the verge of calling you forth into new power and new fortitude for my glory! Amen. 

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Story Starter Sundays #5

Featured writing prompts from Pinterest


Why would it be considered succeeding?
Did he survive?
Would death have been thought of as success?

Is this a dystopian world?
Why is the wall there?
Is it to protect the people, or keep the people imprisoned?

What is rumored to be beyond that wall?

God bless,
~Amy Rochelle