NaNoWriMo: A Stressful Week 1

Welcome back to another recap of my NaNoWriMo journey! As most Americans could tell you, this past week has been stressful. This entire week has been as draining as it has been exciting. For the past week, I’ve gotten home from work and attempted to stay as far away from the news and social media as I could. I tried to limit checking for updates and searched for something to distract me. There was a sign saying “hey, writing your NaNoWriMo story might help”. Surprise, that was not how it panned out.

Instead of focusing on my writing, I took a deep dive into other distractions. YouTube? I was there. Knitting? You bet! And, of course, social media took its place as the number one distraction. On top of this, I was getting home every day from work with a brain that felt like mush. A mushy brain is not my ideal when it comes to writing, and I couldn’t figure out how to overcome it. I was on a roll for a few days, pushing through to get a few paragraphs in at the very least. Then things started to pile up, and I lost my ability to power through. Instead, I became an Emily burrito of stress and the mushy brain feeling only grew worse. Needless to say, I did not get much done.

This continued on for most of the week. An endless cycle of stress and a lack of productive work. If you were in the same boat as me, it is okay. Many people were stressing over events and were channeling that stress. They channeled it into outlets other than writing. My favorite outlet was the meme format. Many created funny and sassy memes about Nevada and other states who appear to be slow counters. These memes made me laugh and helped me get back into a good enough mindset to write again. The good side of the internet strikes again! 

Thanks to this newfound determination, I was on a roll at the end of the week. Fingers were flying, words were flowing out of me like honey. The ideal writing situation! I knew that this wouldn’t be a frequent feeling for me during this year’s NaNoWriMo. I don’t have that gift at the best of times, let alone during a year where stressed out is my default state. I’m grateful to have this inspiration while it lasts. It might hold me over until December 1st, or it might tank tomorrow. Either way, I’m glad to be doing this challenge. It reminds me that I can write. That I could someday join the ranks of published NaNoWriMo participants. You can too if you keep pushing through and keep striving to improve your skills.

How are y’all doing with NaNoWriMo so far? Any tips you’ve picked up to help power through the hardships of writing? Let me know in the comments below! This year has gotten me excited to be a part of the writing community. I’d love to continue expanding my list of writing buddies. If you want to be writing buddies, let me know and I’d be happy to beta your story. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Let’s Do This

Welcome back everyone to another year of new characters and weird plot ideas! It’s time for NaNoWriMo 2020, aka National Novel Writing Month. I can’t believe it’s already time to start this challenge. It seems like yesterday that NaNoWriMo was sending me  Camp NaNoWriMo emails in March. Now we’re knee-deep in character sheets and chugging caffeinated beverages. How time flies, especially during the weird year we’ve had. In honor of my third year, I wanted to share some information about my story. I also want to give NaNoWriMo newbies a glimpse into my personal experience.

Before I go into my own experience, let’s get into what NaNoWriMo entails. For those unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month happens every November. Over these thirty days, writers are challenging themselves to write a novel. The rough draft of one, usually. The NaNoWriMo goal is always 50,000 words, which is roughly 1,667 words a day. I have never met this goal, so if you don’t get it don’t worry about it. The main goal of this adventure is to get yourself writing and thinking about writing. To keep it fun, you get badges on your profile when you hit milestones. They also make a community-driven affair. There are countless forums you can join to meet other writers online and get advice. They also have forums in your city, which is great for when they are planning group write-ins. We won’t be doing those this year for obvious reasons, but it’s still a great way to make writer friends in your area. 

As I mentioned, I’ve never hit that 50k word goal. I usually end up writing a bunch of scenes that are hard to piece together. I’m still writing more than usual, so I can’t berate myself too much about that. Last year I threw in the extra challenge of this blog. It both motivated me and increased the nerves I had about writing. I found myself writing more because if I didn’t, there’d be nothing for me to talk about in my next blog post! Because of this, I wrote 13,464 more words than the year before. Talk about an improvement! If you are a NaNoWriMo first-timer, don’t worry about making that goal in the sky. As long as you improve and finish with a semi-formulated idea, that’s all that matters. In the past two years of doing this, my writing has improved. I also feel less self-conscious about my writing. 

This year has been crazy for me like it has been for most people. I worried that November 1st would pop up and I’d have no ideas and only stress. I’m still stressed, but I do have an idea. A victory for myself, I’d say. This year, I’m challenging myself to write the next North American Folk tale. I’m hoping to channel the essence of these stories. I want to create something that fits in among the Johnny Appleseed’s and Headless Horsemen of the genre. I’m not sure how I’m going to do this. In fact, as I’m writing this I have no clue how to write American folklore. There aren’t a lot of papers or books that go into how to write them. Or I haven’t found them yet. I’m going into this with only determination and hope. I did discover an unexpected plus of this genre. Most classic American folk tales are short stories, so I don’t have to climb the 50k word mountain this year. I do want a full rough- draft, which will be both easier and more difficult because of the smaller word count goal. 

Despite going into this blind, I’m excited about this year and my new story idea. I can’t wait to see what I have on November 30th. If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo 2020, let me know in the comments below! Please keep me updated on your project. I’d love to hear what other people are working on and how it’s going. Also, please let me know if this is your first time participating. If you’d like some advice or a writer buddy to cheer you on, I’d be happy to help! This is going to be a crazy awesome month, and I can’t wait to dive headfirst back into the story writing world. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

5 More Poems to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

It’s the spookiest week of the year! In a few short days it will be Halloween, the day I take my final spooky form. It is also sadly the last week of spooky season. In honor of this fun time, I’m back with one last week of spooky content. This week we’re continuing with the wonderful world of poetry. It’s part two! This time we have a mixture of poems outright spooky, and those that capture the eerie vibe of the season. 

  1. “To — — –. Ulalume: A Ballad”- Edgar Allen Poe

It’s no surprise that part two of this list features another Poe poem. He is the king of gothic poetry after all! The tale told in this poem has a melancholy and mysterious vibe that is perfect for spooky season. Poe is great at creating the atmosphere  and setting for this poem. By the time he introduces the characters of this poem, you have a vivid idea of the world around them. He is also great at building suspense. You find yourself wondering what happened that night in October. Then, the poem beautifully brings us with the speaker back into the past when he lost his love. It’s a sad but beautiful poem that is worth checking out. If you want to read this poem,  check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Windigo”- Louise Erdrich 

This poem’s title is named after the supernatural creature from Native-American folklore. The wendigo is a terrifying creature that is created after a human resorts to cannibalism. It wanders with the eternal hunger for human flesh. This poem is from the perspective of this creature. A fascinating way to build suspense and create the eerie tone that makes this poem so great. It’s also a very interesting glimpse into the lore of the Chippewa tribe. Eridich builds a vivid world within this poem. You can hear the woods and touch the objects described in the poem.  If you want a twist on the eerie side of legendary creatures, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Little Orphant Annie”- James Whitcomb Riley

This poem is a mixture of a nursery rhyme and a Brothers Grimm story. In this tale, an orphan named Annie tells stories to scare the kids of the family who employ her. We have another goblin poem, of course. Goblins are perfect supernatural creatures for the spooky season. This poem is a great example of a poem written phonetically. You can almost hear the speaker’s accent as they remember Annie’s tales and personality. I love this one because, as I said earlier, it reminds me of the Brothers Grimm tales that used to spook me as a child. If you want to dramatically read a spooky poem to a younger sibling or child, this is a perfect option. It is the fun side of spooky, and is fun for all ages! As long as there are night lights nearby, of course. If you want to read this tale to your friends, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “The Haunted Wood”- Issac McLellan 

This poem tells the story of a haunted wood, as you could probably guess from the title. It is another poem with a great atmosphere. McLellan even uses language that reminds me of a story that is recited around a campfire on a cool autumn night. He also uses great language to make the world of this poem vivid. This poem gives us a glimpse into the stories of the souls who are buried in the wood. You can hear the echo of these characters as you read on. As a sucker for an atmospheric spooky tale, this is a great poem. If you want to take a trip into the woods, check out the link in the poem’s title. 

  1. “Beyond the Last Lamp”- Thomas Hardy

This list wouldn’t be complete without more ghosts. In this poem, Hardy takes us on a journey down a lane. A lane that brings the speaker to a common sight…or is it? If you could not tell by the rest of this list, I love spooky poems that have a vivid setting that adds to the eerie feeling. A lane itself is not eerie. A lane past the last light during a dark, rainy night adds a new edge to this story. Anyone who has walked in a rainy, dark wood knows how it elevates any normal situation. Add in some specters and you’ve got a poem perfect for the Halloween season. If you want to go down the mysterious lane, check out the link in the poem’s title.

What did you think of these five poems? Are there any spooky poems that you love to read that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below! We are just a few days from the spookiest time of year! I hope you are able to celebrate it safely. I recommend having a movie marathon or a spooky reading session. Let me know in the comments what your plans are for this Halloween. Next week starts NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. In honor of my third year, I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo themed content for the month of November. Join me next week for the start of my 2020 writing adventure and possibly a snarky writer’s woes. Thanks so much for reading and happy Halloween!

13 Relatable Author Quotes about Writing

Writing can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s exciting to create new worlds and characters. On the other, there are parts that feel like pulling teeth just to get an idea down. When we’re in the depths of writing despair, it often feels like we’re alone. Surely none of those amazing published authors have these problems! Thankfully, that is not the case. In fact, many published authors go through the same trials as you when writing. Writers have a few words about writing that are very relatable. I’ve compiled thirteen that I’ve found especially relatable.

  1. This quote about deadlines that is too real.
  1. Ernest shows up a lot on this list, because he speaks the truth.
  1. True for both writing and life.
  1. This quote from Stephen King about the curse of adverbs.
  1. Again, true for both life and writing.
  1. Words of wisdom if you’re struggling with your first draft.
  1. Soothing words for anyone who feels confused about the writing process.
  1. Neil knows how we all feel at the beginning of a writing session.
  1. Dorothy understands the writing dilemma.
  1.  Perfect for the introvert in all of us.
  1. Ernest is back with more relatable words.
  1. A writer’s most feared weapon.
  1. Finally the most accurate quote about writing.

What was your favorite quote? Do you have a favorite quote about writing? Let me know in the comments below! I always love hearing other writer’s perspectives on writing. This will be my last writing-themed post before we enter into NaNoWriMo. I’m planning on giving it another shot this year, this time with a new genre focus. I’ll have some more information about it in my next writing post on November 3rd. In the meantime, let me know if you are participating in NaNoWriMo in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading and happy writing!

5 Poems to Get You Into the Halloween Spirit

It’s spooky season time! If you have read any of my blog posts this month, you’ve probably noticed that I love Halloween. With Halloween, comes a lot of spooky content that is sure to get you into the spirit. Whether you are a movie fan or a book lover, there’s something for you. There’s more than movies and books to get you into the Halloween spirit, though. Throughout history, there’s been enough spooky poems to make even Edgar Allen Poe happy. I’ve found a few that will get you into the spooky spirit!

  1. “The Raven”– Edgar Allen Poe

It wouldn’t be a spooky poetry list without mentioning Mr. Poe at least once. This is one of his most iconic poems. It also includes one of his most iconic lines, where a raven speaks the words “Nevermore”. This is a great poem to check out if you are in a mood for a spooky story. It channels the eerie feeling of a foggy Fall evening. The mood that Poe does so well, and it prevalent in almost all of his poems. If you want to continue down this eerie aesthetic, Poe is the perfect place to start. If you want to read more of this poem, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. Goblin Market”– Christina Rossetti

“Goblin Market” is a different kind of vibe from “The Raven”. This poem reminds me of old fairy tales like those written down by the Brothers Grimm. There’s a mixture of a seemingly light-hearted character and a dark situation. The poem tells the tale of two sisters who come across a goblin market. It is said that those who eat the fruit of the goblins are never the same, and yet one girl is still tempted to visit these mysterious creatures. If you are a fan of that Grimm vibe and goblins, this is a poem for you. It’s spooky factor falls in the risk of this tale instead of straight horror. Still, it’s worth a read during this season. If you want to take a safe trip to the market of goblins, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Song of the Witches” from Macebeth– William Shakespeare

Like Poe, my list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this poem from the scottish play. This poem is what people imitate when they pretend to be witches. Shakespeare’s influence can be seen through the witch costumes  and bubbling cauldrons we see on Halloween night. His poem also is a bit more light-hearted compared to the others on this list. Maybe not in the context of the play. Outside of the murder plot, this poem is a fun thing to recite when you’re passing candy to children. Bonus points if you are dressed as a witch. Even if we can’t trick-or-treat this year, you can still enjoy the fun side of Halloween with this poem. If you want to read the full version of this spell, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Mary’s Ghost: A Pathetic Ballad”– Thomas Hood

Now we take a sharp left from more light-hearted to super dark. If you aren’t a fan of bones or graves, turn back now. This poem was written by Thomas Hood in the 1820s. During this time, there was a surge of medical students robbing graves to study anatomy. There were even a few students who decided to make their own corpses. In this tale, Mary is the poor victim of one of these grave robbings. This poem goes a bit into what they have done with poor Mary’s bones through the eyes of her ghost. Her ghost appears to a young William, who has to wake up to all this terrible news. Not a fun way to wake up, I’m sure. This poem has a good mixture of dark Regency era history and a bit of spooky vibes. If you want to take a trip into the darker side of history, check out the link in the poem’s title.

  1. “Ghost House”– Robert Frost.

Last but not least, this wonderful poem by Robert Frost. We’ve talked about witches and skeletons, now it’s time to hit on another common symbol of the spooky season; the haunted house. This poem does an awesome job of painting a picture of this decrepit house. It feels like you are walking through an old house full of dust and creaky floorboards. What remains is something that feels eerie in the dark, even if it was once a lovely house. This poem is told from the point of view of a mysterious presence, who may not be alone. It’s an interesting spin on spooky old houses and the ghosts that live within them. If you want to visit this eerie house, check out the link in the poem’s title.

Have you read any of these poems? Is there a poem you love to read during the Halloween season? Let me know in the comments below! I’m sure many of you will be thinking “what about this poem” or “how could she forget this amazing work?” Well friends, I might have a solution for you. This is only part one of my poetry list. It was so hard to narrow it down to five, that it ended up being ten wonderful poems that I had to split up into two parts. In two weeks we’ll be taking another trip to spooky poetry land, so get ready! Any spooky poetry recommendations are still encouraged, of course. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and happy reading!

5 Tips to Creating Dynamic Characters

There are countless parts of the writing process that make you want to tear your hair out. World building? Difficult. Plot? A mountain to climb. But there is a part of writing that feels as intimidating as crafting a good twist: creating characters. Creating your characters can be as easy as throwing some traits together and calling it a day. Creating well-rounded, dynamic characters is more of a nail-biting process. You want them to jump off the page, but still feel like real people in the world you’ve created. When creating my own characters, I’ve found a few tips that have helped me make my characters more dynamic and relatable. 

  1. Research is key

For those who love starting a story blind, this may be a nerve-wracking step for you. However, research can be a useful tool when creating your characters. It’s not just for worldbuilding! If you have a bare bones idea of who you want your character to be, use those bare bones to learn more about your character. This research is very important if you are writing characters in a different time or if they are someone with a different life experience from you. If you want your character to be a suffragette in England during the 1910s, you need to research the ladies of that movement. If you want to write a character who is a part of a community that you are not, interview someone in that community to get an insight into their experiences. The information you gather isn’t something you necessarily have to replicate when creating your character. Instead, use this research as a lens to sharpen your character. It’s like the glasses of writing! 

  1. Character Sheets are (sometimes) your friend

Character sheets are either the bane or savior of a writer’s existence. They can be a great tool, but also a bit overwhelming. A character sheet is a long document where you write down many different facets of your character to help flesh them out. Everything from their favorite color to their morals is on this sheet. It’s a great tool to help you humanize your characters. It’s also a great guide for those times you get stuck writing. How would your character react to a situation? Consult your character sheet and you’ll be able to determine how their reactions will alter the plot. If you’ve tried a character sheet before and got overwhelmed, you’re not alone. I often get overwhelmed by the details you need to use to fill out the sheet. Try filling out some basic information on the sheet as a jumping off point. If you discover things later down the line about your character, you can add it to the sheet. Once you’ve finished your draft, you can use this sheet to make sure that the character’s actions are consistent.

  1. Use visual references for your characters

If you are a visual person like me, sometimes describing characters can be hard without visualizing them first. If you are someone who draws, try drawing your character using the descriptive words you already have. Adjust these descriptors as needed once you have your character drawn out. I sadly did not get the drawing gene, so I use a different approach. I call it the “movie book cast”. Think about people who you would cast in a movie version of your book. What about their appearance and body language is similar to one of your characters? Use their inspiration to help make your descriptors more concise.  

  1. Take inspiration from your own favorite characters

There are many books that inspire us to write within a certain genre. Characters do that as well. This means it’s time for one of my favorite things, a list. First, write down what you already know about your character. What are their traits, their morals, etc? Then, make a list of characters who have inspired you. Write down their attributes, and pick out a few that you think would go well with your character. It is very important that you use this as inspiration, not as a copy and paste deal. If you love Elizabeth Bennett, don’t put a new name on her and put her into your story. Instead, think of why you love Elizabeth and use these traits as inspiration to create your own character. 

  1. Don’t be afraid of flaws

When writing a story, a compelling tale is a must. How can you accomplish this with perfect characters? Newsflash, you can’t. Characters need to have flaws just like real life people. If you write a perfect protagonist going on a hero’s journey, there’s no point to the story. How will they grow if they’re perfect to begin with? This is when research and the good old character sheet come in handy. Use the information you gather from these to help determine these flaws. Are they a frustratingly perfect hero on a quest? Think about why they are going. Many times characters begin their journey for the wrong reasons, which is where the flaws begin to appear. Flaws are what make your characters relatable and interesting. It also makes your story interesting. No one cares about someone who can go through hardships without batting an eye. If you’re not sure where to begin, reference tip number four. What are the flaws of your favorite characters, and why were they present? Use them as a jumping off point to help you figure out how to humanize your own characters.

Creating a dynamic character in the world of your imagination is hard, but so worth it. Once you have them fleshed out, the story seems a little less intimidating. What is your process for creating characters? Have you ever tried these steps before, and did they help you? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that these tips can help you with character creation, especially during the upcoming NaNoWriMo. We have about a month, but it’s never too early to start planning. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!

4 Reasons Why You Need to Read Good Omens this Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times to read books. This is when I can let my mystery and fantasy nerd run wild in the spirit of spooky season! These books can be read year-round, but there’s a great atmosphere when reading them between the months of September and November. One of the books I love reading this time of year is the classic by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens. This book is full of attributes that make it a fun read when the leaves start to turn. Not convinced? I have four reasons why you should reconsider!

Image from Giphy

  1. Crowley and Aziraphel’s dynamic 

Crowley and Aziraphale are the main characters of this story, and an unlikely duo. Crowley is a demon formerly known as the snake in the garden of Eden, and Aziraphale is angel previously on guarding duty.  A demon and an angel? Friends? It’s an interesting dynamic that Gaiman and Pratchett play into well. These two are a bit like a celestial odd couple, sassy remarks and all. Crowley and Aziraphale have known each other for roughly 4,000 years, which adds an interesting layer to their relationship. They make many quips about “my side vs. your side”, but they’re still fond of each other. These two create a good bit of the humor and plot points that make this story exciting. So many quotable moments are ahead of you with these two. 

Image from Giphy

  1. The humor

I must give a disclaimer when discussing the humor of Good Omens. This book is written by two English authors. That means the humor is very British, aka dry and sarcastic. If that is not your scene, then the humor of this book may not be for you. As a lover of British content and sarcastic humor, I gravitated towards this book like a moth to flame. A lot of this humor comes from the twists that the authors concoct. I don’t want to give everything away, but the obstacles put in the characters’ paths are both interesting and funny. Another thing that adds to the humor of this book is the character dynamics. There are many characters in this story, all of whom play a part in the coming apocalypse. As the characters come together, you get a fun mesh of different personalities playing off each other. And, of course, the word choices are perfect to add that dry British humor to this story.

Image from Giphy

  1. So many ways to enjoy the story!

Are you a reader? A fan of booktapes? Or maybe you prefer to enjoy storytelling through tv or movies? Well, this story is for you! One of the awesome things about Good Omens is the many ways you can enjoy the story. There’s the classic novel, which is a great way to enjoy the story. If you are more of a book tape fan, Audible has multiple versions that you can enjoy. The BBC has a dramatized version of the book tape told by different actors. It has also been adapted for the screen! Amazon Prime recently released a miniseries version of Good Omens starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. The miniseries has some changes, but it’s still a very faithful adaptation of the book. Pick one, or all, and you’re sure to have a great time!

Image from Giphy

  1. The world building 

While this story is about the end of the world, it still has a great use of world building. The book and the miniseries are great at introducing you to the world Crowley and Aziraphale live in. While the setting is England, the world of these characters involves a good bit of supernatural and otherworldly entities. For example; the story does a great job of describing Heaven and Hell, as well as those who inhabit them. My favorite version of this is when the story goes on to describe how, if ever, angels and demons dance. This is even better in the miniseries, where they use visual gags to add humor and get the point across. They also use verses from Revelations as a jumping off point. Often they flip them on their head as well, which adds a fun depth and twist to the world. 

Good Omens has been a fun part of my life since I first read it in college. I was happy to join the multitude of fans who love this book. It’s a fun, satirical book that is a perfect read to enjoy on a cool fall day. Or any day, really. Have you ever read Good Omens? What did you think about it? If you end up watching or reading this story in the future, please let me know. I’m excited to hear more people’s thoughts. Also, if you have any books that you have to read every fall, please let me know in the comments below. I would love some new book recommendations. Thanks so much for checking out my post, and happy reading!

4 Great American Folklore Podcast Episodes to Check Out

Today marks the official first day of fall! It’s finally the season of ghost stories told around campfires. Around this time, folklore also makes a reappearance in droves. Folklore here in America often features the woodsy forests and mysterious vibe that brings fall to mind. They’re also fun stories to tell around a campfire during the spooky season. To get myself into the fall spirit, I’ve been enjoying folk tales in many forms. More recently, I’ve been enjoying them in podcast form. Are you interested in taking a dive into some American folklore? I’ve got a few podcast episodes that you need to check out!

Image from ATTWD

  1. And That’s Why We Drink- A Ouija Board Lemon and Poetized Martinis, Episode 188

Do you like telling spooky stories with your friends? This is the podcast for you! Join Em and Christine as they tell paranormal and true crime stories. You’ll be charmed by their friendly banter and fun tangents. They’ve covered countless stories, from windegos to con men. Em is the paranormal storyteller of this gang. In a recent episode, they told the classic tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It’s a tale that’s bound to get you into the Halloween and fall spirit. This story, originally by Washington Irving, is given new life by Em as they paint a vivid picture of the spooky story. While adding in their signature peanut gallery comments, of course. I don’t want to give much away, but you could say there’s a “loaf” of great asides this episode. These comments bring in a modern look at this folklore, and often leads to a bunch of inside jokes for the ATTWD fans. You might find yourself in the future enjoying a glass of wine with Christine or a milkshake with Em as you listen to their next great telling!

Image from Myths and Legends

  1. Myths and Legends- Bad Dad, Episode 159

It’s time for another look at a Washington Irving tale. He was a big part of American folklore after the American Revolution, so it seems appropriate to include another one of his stories on this list. Jason Weiser hosts and Carrisa Weiser produces this show that takes a modern look at the classic myths and legends of cultures around the world. Jason’s retelling of these stories often involve sarcastic comments and hilarious quips. Plus weekly creature that is always as intriguing as it is odd. In this episode, Jason respins the yarn about Rip Van Winkle. He does a great job of telling these stories so that the jokes and comments that Irving wants to get across will resonate with a modern audience. His occasionally sassy comments about the writer himself are an added plus. 

Image from Our New England Legends

  1. New England Legends- 3 Strange Beats From the Woods of Maine, Episode 133

Like many early American folk tales, these tales take place in the Northeast. Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger cover the tales of three odd beasts that loggers claim to have seen in the mysterious woods of Maine. Jeff and Ray always start off their episodes with the atmosphere of the legend’s location. This’ll get you in the mood for the retelling. In this episode, they start off with the sounds of the forest and felling trees. They even pretend to be loggers gathering with their buddies to begin these tales. These two then proceed to fit well told stories of three different beasts into the span of 11 minutes! These episodes may be short, but they use every second wisely. It’s another bingeable podcast for more American folktales and legends to enjoy on a fall day.

Image from The Folklore Podcast

  1. The Folklore Podcast- Slenderman, Episode 1

This podcast takes a unique look at Folklore. Mark Norman hosts this podcast. He is often joined by members of the Folklore Society and others specialized in the study of folklore. This podcast is more of an interview or discussion style podcast, where Mark discusses the details of the folklore theme with a guest. In the first episode, Mark speaks with Dr. Andrea Kitta about a new American folktale. Slenderman made news back in 2014. They discuss the origins and motives of Slenderman, as well as the impact modern technology has on his tale. As they discuss, it’s fascinating to watch the creation of a new legend unfold in front of our eyes. This is especially true for the 21st century, when it seems unlikely that new legends could pop up. This episode brings the spook factor, along with some great academic insight into this modern legend. 

Have you listened to these podcasts? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you have any great recommendations for the spooky season. I’m always up for adding more podcasts to my lists. I hope you enjoyed the writing and experience of these podcasts. They are just a few of the great ones out there ready for you to check out. Hopefully these will help you get into the fall season and expose you some more American folklore. Happy fall everyone, and happy writing!

A Reader’s Mystery Challenge

I love Agatha Christie. If you have visited this blog before, you’ve probably gathered that. Her sharp wit and intriguing plots called to me when I delved deeper into the world of mysteries. I knew of her, as many people know of Arthur Conan Doyle and Shakespeare. Just the main facts and a bit of knowledge about the stories that made them famous. As I lived with a Sherlock Holmes lover for many years, I knew a fair amount about his creator. But I didn’t get into Agatha’s world until later in my reading career.

Agatha Christie lived an extraordinary life, and had a writing career that many writers would dream of. Overtime she wrote 66 detective novels, 14 short stories, plays, and romance novels. How the woman managed to create and solve that many mysteries still baffles me. She is an inspiration to me both as a writer, and as a woman. She traveled all over the world and wrote these locations into her novels. She even disappeared when she was younger and evaded the police for eleven days before reappearing. What an awesome lady! In some ways, I hope to be like her when I grow up.

This year marks the 100th anniversary for the release of her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The first time the world met the eccentric but lovable Hercule Poirot. The man whose sharp wit still attracts readers today. I didn’t have the chance to read this Poirot story until very recently, when I was able to listen to an Audible version. It certainly started him off with a bang! In honor of this anniversary, I have revisited a goal that I jokingly made one November evening. I had just finished The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which I threw across my dorm room because of my frustration with Agatha. Not at her lack of plot or writing style, far from it. I was livid that she was so good! I couldn’t figure out how she managed to put her red herrings in the perfect spots. I imagined her laughing to herself, thinking about how I, around 90 years later, would suspect the correct culprit. But I would be thrown off by a tiny nugged she planted, and ignore the other signs until the final shoe dropped. After that evening, I set a goal for myself. Before I die, I want to read all of her work.

This goal is not a crazy one. There are people the same age as me, or younger, who have already completed this goal. But the vast world of books is large, and so is her catalogue. Still, I want to go on this reading quest. At first, I foolishly believed I could read all of these works by my 26th birthday next March. Seeing as I have only read 8 of her books and plays so far, that was a dumb idea. Instead, I decided to push the date to a slightly more feasible time. Before I turn thirty, around five years from now, I want to finish these books. Five years seems like a long time to finish 70-something books, especially when I try to read 40 books a year. But, like many readers, I have books I want to read every year. And many of her novels feel at home in the crisp autumn air more than the balming heat of summer. This means many of the mystery novels I read aren’t opened again until the first of September. Despite all of this, I am determined to read all of these stories. I can do it! And you can too!

Have you read all of Agatha’s stories? If so, which ones were your favorite? This list is a bit overwhelming, so a few suggestions would be a great jumping off point! If you’ve never read an Agatha Christie, I highly recommend checking them out. Especially if you love mysteries with a good plot twist. You might even decide to join me on this quest to read them all. Trust me, I have a feeling it will be worth it. Happy reading everyone!

10 Fall Themed Writing Prompts

It’s finally fall! Even though it’s still hot where I live, I am determined to get into the fall spirit. September is the beginning of one of my favorite seasons. A season where I want to jump headfirst into everything cozy and fall-themed. This is the season where I get out Agatha Christie and dip into the spooky section of my bookshelf. But what about my writing? How can I bring it into this cozy and mysterious world as well? Enter the magical world of writing prompts. I often forget about all the fall-centric writing ideas, so these are a great way to get into the fall mood. I’ve come up with a few prompts that are sure to get you into the spirit of fall, and get your creative juices flowing!

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What did you think of these prompts? Are there any fall-themed prompts that you like to reference for inspiration? Let me know in the comments below! Also, please share any stories that stem from these prompts. I’d love to see the different perspectives on these ideas, and where they take y’all. I am very excited to get started on using some of these myself. Hopefully they’ll give me some inspiration for my NaNoWriMo story. Or even ideas for a new character. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy writing!