Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: Cate Nolan


Seekerville: The Journey Continues

Learning Craft From Children's Books - Part 2


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was summoned out of retirement to fill in for the rest of the year after a teacher abruptly quit. The good news is I am loving the experience. The bad news is it leaves little time for writing.

However, sometimes my worlds align. This happened recently when we had an author visit to the classroom. The author, Sarah Scheerger, wrote a book called  Operation Frog Effect. It's a middle grade book about a fifth grade class told as journal entries their teacher assigned. My students loved the story and were so enthusiastic about the opportunity to ask the author questions.

Learning Craft From Children's Books - Part 2

I loved seeing their enjoyment, but I particularly appreciated Sarah's discussion of author's craft, so I thought I'd talk a little about that today.

Operation Frog Effect is told from NINE points of view. Eight of them are students and one is the teacher. Sarah did a really effective job of differentiating the characters, and she explained to the students how she did it.

One character is a girl named Emily. Sarah admitted that this character was most like her and the character's conflict was based on something she experienced in middle school. She used punctuation to develop Emily's character, using a lot of question marks to show her uncertain feelings and a lot of exclamation points to develop her girlish middle school character. As a middle school teacher, I definitely felt she nailed this character's personality and you felt her pain at her friendship troubles.

Kayley is the mean girl, but she's not a stereotypical mean girl. She is "doing it for Emily's own good" because she thinks Emily needs to make new friends (since her besties are going to a new school in September). She is also arrogant and condescending, thinking she knows better than her teacher. The author created this persona within one diary entry just with her word choice (which makes it really good for helping students to understand how word choice affects tone).

Sharon writes all her entries in verse.

Blake is an artist, so his entries are told in illustrated cartoon blocks.

Learning Craft From Children's Books - Part 2

Henry plans to be a movie writer/director, so his entries are all told in script form complete with stage directions

Cecelia has decided to write her journal entries as letters to her abuelita, so they are a mix of English and Spanish with glossary entries as she pretends to teach her abuelita English words. 

Kai has the fewest entries, but his are written as messages to the class frog (who jumps out of Blake's pocket in the opening scene and is adopted as a class pet). His are mostly updates on what is happening in the class.

Sarah was also really honest with the students about the difficulties of being an author and the uncertainties of a publishing life. She explained that for all her books that are published, she has at least again as many that were rejected, but she keeps writing because she loves it! She spoke about writing what she believes and how that sometimes comes into conflict with what publishers want.

As a writer, I am in awe of the creativity and work that was required to produce such a stunning array of characters. Just like I spoke about in my post last month, I am reminded that children's books can be a great source to study for writing tips.

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving - So Thankful

 As I was getting ready to do my post, I had something in mind, and I was looking for an older post I had done either here or on Yankee Belle that had to do with green bean casseroles. I never found that post, but I found one from 2019. As I was reading through it, I couldn't help but think of all the ways our worlds have changed since then, but all the things that are the same - the things that matter - faith, family, friends.

So, rather than the post about writing and green bean casseroles that I had in mind, I decided to update the 2019 one. 

This Campbell's soup commercial gets me every time (even though I loathed green bean casseroles). So thankful is a good ear worm to have.

My family had a tradition that I imagine is shared by many others who gather on Thanksgiving Day. Before diving into the turkey and all the trimmings, we joined hands in prayer and then shared what we were most grateful for that year.

Today, on this Thanksgiving Eve, let us gather around a communal Seekerville table and share that tradition.

We here at Seekerville are so very thankful for all of you who come each day to talk reading and writing, who share your lives - the good and the bad, and who make Seekerville a community. 

So today I hope you'll share - what are you thankful for in 2021?

PS: Christmas music will be on round the clock soon, if it isn't already, so I was curious. What about Thanksgiving music? I thought this song captured the day so well.

Introducing Anna Zogg and Frontier Secrets Plus a Giveaway

 One of the things that has always impressed me about the writing community is the willingness of writers to help others in need. Rather than seeing fellow authors as competitors, members of this writing community are happy to lift each other, to support, to give advice, to give comfort, and when needed, to pray.

Today, we at Seekerville are blessed to be able to help a fellow writer. Anna Zogg has a new book that released yesterday as part of the Love Inspired Historical limited release program. Normally, a book release day is a joyous occasion, but sadly, rather than celebrating, Anna is busy caring for her husband as he wages a battle against cancer.

Earlier this week, Anna posted an update on Facebook about her husband's transition to hospice that ended with this:

Anyone who knows John knows he is full of life, laughter and has a unique perspective that cancer cannot extinguish. Most importantly, though, is his eye is fixed on "the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).


Since Anna doesn't have time to promote her book, we want to do it for her.  We also want to ask you to join us in prayer for Anna and her family as they work through this incredibly difficult time.

Frontier Secrets:

A woman seeking a new future.

A cowboy with a shadowed past.

Untamed Wyoming is nothing like polished, restrictive Chicago—that’s why Ellie Marshall likes it. On her uncle’s ranch, she’s free. Free to practice her calling in medicine. Free to finally connect with her uncle. Free to explore her feelings for mysterious cowboy Rhett Callaway. In this strange place, Rhett is her constant—the one she trusts to help and protect her…especially when sinister machinations on the ranch come to light. But will Rhett’s murky past drive him away just when Ellie needs him most?

Remember what I said about how writers love to help?

The amazing Shannon Redmon created a book trailer to support Anna's book.

Anna and several of the Seekers have offered to give away copies of Anna's book, so if you would like a chance to read Frontier Secrets, be sure to let us know in the comments (and specify if you prefer print or ebook)

There are so many things we can chat about today. 

Are you happy that Love Inspired is doing some historicals again? I know so many readers were disappointed when the line closed. 

Let's talk about the books you love to read. 

Have you been the recipient of help within the writing community? 

And finally, please join us in prayer for Anna and her husband in this difficult time.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6 and some vacation photos

 It's the end of July, and I've spent the last three weeks in Maine, so it seems only appropriate that I choose a book written by an author from my new home state as this month's favorite craft book. 

Ask writers to list their top ten craft favorite books on writing and inevitably their lists will include Stephen King's On Writing

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

 I first read On Writing in the early 2000s, shortly after it was released. I remembered really enjoying the book. I'd never read Stephen King before - not a fan of the horror genre - but I was immediately impressed with his storytelling ability. 

As I prepared to write this post, I borrowed a copy from the library because my old copy was unavailable due to being in the middle of a move. I have to admit, although I remembered liking it a lot, I had no idea what it was about (other than the obvious - writing), so when I began to look through it for a refresher, I immediately got caught up in reading it. The book begins with an irreverent look back at King's childhood which left me somewhat aghast but also hanging on every word. As I was rereading it  I was struck by similarities to Roald Dahl's Boy: Tales of Childhood. Both books really make you see just how the experiences of their early lives fueled their imaginations and provided fodder for their stories. 

Because I'm A) in the midst of a move, and B) helping my daughter who just got out of the hospital, I didn't have time to finish rereading the book, so August's post will go more into the actual writing advice part. 

In the meantime, I'll leave you with some photos of Maine, the state that inspired much of King's writing.  It's rained almost every day of the three plus weeks I've been here, and when it wasn't raining, the fog settled it. But I love this kind of weather, so I'm happy. 

We have had some bursts of sun, and Fenway seems happy with his new home.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

My daughter and I recently "hiked" up the mountain (in our car). This was the view from the top.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

The harbor is gorgeous on a sunny day...

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

There has been so much rain, that toadstool villages have emerged! 

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

The webs spun by grass spiders have totally intrigued me. If I was a children's book author, I'd just have to spin a tale of tiny creatures living under the toadstools and leaving sparkling webs on the dew-laden grass.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

Good thing I love the foggy days because there have been a lot of them this summer.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos
Somewhere at the end of the breakwater is the lighthouse. We could hear the foghorn, but the lighthouse wasn't visible, and if we turned and looked back toward shore, this was the view.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photos

So back to writing, have you read On Writing? Does it top your list of favorites? We'll talk more about it in August, but please share your thoughts or tell me about how your summer has been going.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books #5 Writing from the Inside Out by Dennis Palumbo

 Hey everyone, Cate here.

This is Debby's usual spot, but she's on deadline right now, so we swapped weeks. Given the topic of today's post, that's actually rather appropriate.

This month's craft book is an oldie but a goodie - Dennis Palumbo's Writing from the Inside Out. The subtitle is Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within.

As I was choosing a book to focus on this month, I spied this one on my shelf and was immediately transported back to that day in 2000 when I first bought and began to read it. Yup, over 20 years ago. I can testify to how long it's been sitting on my shelf based on my sneezes when I opened it to refresh my memory.

Opening this book was like sitting down to visit with an old friend. You immediately remember why you are drawn in. In this case, as soon as I read about the author alone in a rustic cabin in Carmel, CA with "only eleven or twelve bad pages, strewn about the room, two wastebaskets filled with crumpled paper" pacing and "rereading the same dozen pages," I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

As I was rereading the book, it dawned on me that my craft books are really divided into two main categories: Craft and Writer's Life.

As a pre-published author, I devoured both. I wanted to glean any bit of wisdom I could from those who had gone before me and made sense (and word magic) out of this writing process. I was a sponge absorbing all the advice.

But the books I preferred fell into the other category. Those, like Bird by Bird and this one (Writing from the Inside Out) spoke to my writer's soul. They let me feel like I was part of the secret club. They got me. They understood, really understood, that writing is not always (or even often) the blissful existence our more innocent selves might have imagined.

Writing is work. It can be fun, but it's hard work. It's hours spent staring at a blank screen or page on a day when the ideas won't flow. It's those crumpled balls of paper spilling from the trash can or the endless versions of a computer file. It's beautiful and uplifting (when it's working), and it's demoralizing and terrifying (when it's not working). It's messy first drafts, editor revisions, line edits and last minute changes. It's joyous and frustrating. It imparts a euphoria or has you pulling your hair out.

There are a lot of books that document the writing experience because authors love to talk shop and that often means sharing their own misery along with the successes.

I've always found it helpful to know I'm not alone in what I'm experiencing. There's comfort in knowing that no matter how big a hole you've dug for yourself, another author has been there before and, if you're lucky, can offer a figurative rope to pull you out.

Writing from the Inside Out is one of those kinds of books.

Dennis Palumbo is a highly successful novelist. Interestingly enough, he is also a licensed psychotherapist. But before he was either of those things, he was a Hollywood Screenwriter. The opening chapter that I mentioned above? It was his experience trying to write the screenplay for the Peter O'Toole movie My Favorite Year.

And despite all the horrid writing times in that cabin, he went on to be nominated for a Writer's Guild Award for Best Screenplay for that script. That serves as a good reminder that, no matter how arduous the task, the result can be glorious - if we keep at it!

Larry Gelbart starts off the forward to the book saying 
Be warned: 
This is not a how-to book. It offers nary a rule, formula, nor recipe that will allow you to turn out a best-selling novel or a fabulous, million-dollar screenplay.

He adds:

It is not that handy-dandy kind of book and that is just as well. Never before have so many of the smugly expert advised so many of the seemingly inexpert on how to write successfully... The pages that lie ahead provide far more valuable insights and practical tools for the working and/or would-be writer. Instead of a how-to, what Dennis Palumbo has written is a how-come book.

 I love this Amazon blurb from Gary Shandling:

"Dennis Palumbo has great insight into a writer's psyche.... Every writer should have a shrink or this book. The book is cheaper."

So, a craft book from someone who is a writer and a therapist. Win-Win.

What do you think? What kind of craft books do you prefer?

Cate's Favorite Craft Books - GMC by Debra Dixon

 Before I begin, a caveat - I can't say GMC by Deb Dixon is one of my favorite craft books (for reasons which I will explain), but there's no doubt it's an important and beneficial one.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books - GMC by Debra Dixon

You see in many ways I could be that cautionary tale veteran writers could use to terrify newbies. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, when I first began to write, I had no idea that there was such a thing as structure or that stories followed any prescribed formula. 

I should amend that comment. I was not consciously aware of it. But because I was an avid reader, and had been for my entire life, I had a somewhat intuitive sense of story structure even if I didn't know that's what it was.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books - GMC by Debra Dixon

So, picture my happily writing away without a care in the real world, lost in my own wonderful story world. But then I took a break from writing for a while - children, work, grad school, there just weren't enough hours in the day to make it all work, and writing took the back seat. 

Cue the violin music.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books - GMC by Debra Dixon

No, seriously, the reason I'm explaining that is because I so very clearly remember coming back from my self-imposed writing exile to attend a writer's conference. And I remember being confused because of all the buzzwords I was hearing - and the buzzword that was on everyone's lips was GMC.

GMC. I had no idea what they were talking about. It was like everyone else was speaking a different language.

Finally, some kind soul clued me in to Debra Dixon's book (which had been published while I was off on writing hiatus).

I read it. I saw it's value (which it clearly had since everyone was talking about it!), and I ignored it.

I didn't want to write conflict. 

I liked happy stories.

I didn't want to make them be mad at each other.

Are you laughing at me yet?

I'm going to use a photo of the back cover, because I think this shows why the book is so important.

Cate's Favorite Craft Books - GMC by Debra Dixon

GMC is apparently also a really popular topic here on Seekerville.

If you're interested in looking more into it. check out some of these posts:

Mindy's Engaging Openings

Missy had one in the Archives - Battling Through Your Manuscript...Once Scene at a Time

(Note: Missy really gave a detailed explanation of how she uses a GMC chart.)

Then there are all these GMC posts in the Seekerville archives!

So tell me, are you a GMC chart maker? How do you handle planning the goals motivations and conflict for your characters.

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series #3

 Anyone who has ever talked to me about writing knows that plot as a verb is my idea of a 4 letter word. 

For a very long time when I first began writing, I didn't plot ahead. I just let the story unravel as my fingers typed away (or filled pages of notebooks). I still need to do that to some extent because it's how my brain works. I can't figure out a story unless I'm actually telling it.

However, the reality of the publishing world is a bit harsh. My fervent wishes to the contrary, my editor is not going to offer me a contract on an opening chapter followed by the words and then a bunch of things happen and they fall in love and live happily ever after.

So I've had to learn to do some plotting. Let me tell you, it's been a struggle! 

But over the years I've learned that whether I choose to acknowledge it or not, stories need structure.

I think of the image of this bridge.

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series #3

I wouldn't want to drive across that bridge if the engineers who designed it hadn't properly planned the structure. But what does that have to do with story structure?

There are dozens if not hundreds of books out there offering to teach you how to plot your novel. I've read some and skimmed more. I've done workshops (I highly recommend Michael Hauge's The Hero's Two Journeys). Read dozens of articles. 

But one book stood out in the way it helped me understand how to structure my stories - James Scott Bell's Super Structure: The Key to Unleashing the Power of  Story. This craft book uses 14 signpost scenes to help you plan your story. They have wonderful names like The Care Package, A Kick in the Shins, Pet the Dog - and my favorite - The Mirror Moment. Look at the bridge above. See how it is perfectly symmetrical. In your story, the Mirror Moment is that scene exactly in the middle of the book where the protagonist has to confront himself (as in the mirror) and make a decision. The rest of the book hinges on it. 

The book is set up so that each of the 14 signposts has it's own chapter that thoroughly explains its purpose and how to use it.

But there's a deeper reason I love this book.

The blurb on Amazon says:

Super Structure represents over two decades of research on what makes a novel or screenplay entertaining, commercial, original, and irresistible. Contrary to what some may think, structure is not a nasty inhibitor of creativity. Quite the opposite. Properly understood and utilized, structure is what translates story into a form readers are wired to receive it.

I bolded those lines because I think that's what appealed to me. 

The beauty of this book is that it can work for each of us in our own way. Sort of like play dough, we get to mold it in a way that fits our style while keeping the same central backbone of structure. Plotters can use the signposts as they outline their novels. Mist writers like me can use the same signposts to make sense of the ragged mess of story we’re left with after speeding through that first draft. As Bell indicates, we’re not all that different really. The pantsers are simply writing that outline as a rather long, somewhat rough first draft.

In the book, Bell uses many examples from books and films to show how these signposts work to support great stories. He takes you through step-by-step explaining the role and location of each signpost. It’s amazing! One of the first things I do when planning a new book is make a doc outlining each of the signposts.

Bonus:  Missy Tippens did an article on another of James Scott Bell's books, one I like to think of as a companion book to SuperStructure. Really this one came first and it focuses completely on the Mirror Moment. You can find Missy's article in the Archives of the original Seekerville. A Look Inside a Writer's Mind - Working from the Middle of a Story.

So what do you think?

Today I'm offering a copy of the ebook version of Super Structure. Be sure to let me know in the comments if you're interested.

Image from Pixabay

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series - #1

 Hello my Seekerville friends. Cate back again. These months just fly by, and suddenly it's my turn to post again. Honestly, it feels like just yesterday that I was chatting with you all about your feelings about craft books.

There was a wide range of thought on the value of craft books for a writer. No surprise there. Our thoughts are as varied as our personalities and our writing styles. One refrain that was oft repeated though was people, who like me, use craft books as a jumping off point to take a new skill and then practice it with our own writing.

After that discussion, I decided to devote some time to discussing some individual books that I love. I can share them with you, and you can tell me if they're new to you or if you know them and have thoughts of your own to share.

As I mentioned above (and in the previous post), I tend to use writing/craft books more as a jumpstart than as something to read through all at once. There is however, one notable exception to that pattern.

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series - #1
This is the old faithful one I have. 
I've been through multiple copies.

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series - #1
This is the new version.

Bird by Bird was one of the very first books on writing that I ever bought. It is also the only one that I have read and reread completely. It was really life-changing for me because reading Anne LaMott's witty, somewhat irreverent, brutally honest reflections on the writing life allowed me to acknowledge that I could still be a writer even if I was not always in love with the process. 

Writing is hard work, and Anne LaMott doesn't flinch from that. 

But she also gives you ways to help cope when it all seems overwhelming.

One of the best pieces of advice in the book refers to a story from when Anne and her brother were young. He was totally overwhelmed by a school project on birds. She describes how he was sitting at the table, surrounded by piles of books and paper and pencils. Her father came and sat beside him, put his arm around him and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."

It seems so simple, but for the struggling writer or student, Maybe that struck such a chord because I remembered a similar project when my daughter was in 5th grade. We were up until 5 o'clock in the morning because the project was so massive that it overwhelmed her to the point she had no idea where to even begin.

I have quoted that bird by bird solution to many people over the years. In fact, I just offered it to my daughter the other day when she was again feeling overwhelmed with a big project she has to deal with.

Hand in hand with the 'bird by bird" strategy of writing comes advice to write in "one inch picture frames" - another strategy to help the overwhelmed writer's brain.

Have you ever sat down to write but felt totally overwhelmed by the size of the project? Do you find attempting a full length novel to be daunting? If so, this strategy may help you. To quote Anne Lamott, all you have to do is "write down as much as you can see through a one-inch picture frame."

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series - #1
I remember a tweet from my editor Emily Rodmell that went like this:

"How do you write three books a year?

One book at a time, one chapter at a time, one page at a time, one word at a time."

In the same vein, Anne Lamott quotes E.L. Doctorow. "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

This reminds me very much of how writers rave about typing on an AlphaSmart because they could only see a very small rectangle of text. The temptation to fiddle was not as great.

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series - #1

Those two pieces of writing advice are in just one chapter of the book. They're the two that have stuck with me even though it's been decades since I first read the book. There is plenty more to keep you inspired. 

Because I like to share books I love, I'm offering to give away a copy of Bird by Bird to some lucky reader who is interested. Be sure to let me know in the comments if that is you!

So have you read this book (or any of the author's other books)? Share your thoughts on the book, the advice, or anything else you feel like talking about.

Coffee's on. Let's chat!

Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series - #1

Free photos thanks to Pixabay

Welcome Guest Heidi Chiavaroli


I have loved split-time stories since before they were known by that name. The first I recall reading were written by Barbara Michaels (Patriot's Dream) and Barbara Erskine (Lady of Hay) and both had a hint of the supernatural. So naturally I'm thrilled to welcome Heidi here today to discuss writing in that genre.

Heidi's publisher is generously giving away one print copy (U.S.residents only) of The Orchard House, so please let us know in the comments if you are interested.

Welcome, Heidi.

                            My Journey to the Split-Time Genre

Heidi Chiavaroli

When I began writing, I had only one kind of story in my heart: historical. Quite simply, I loved history. Couldn’t get enough of it. I loved the research. I loved visiting historical places, imagining the real people who lived hundreds of years earlier.

So, despite the rejections that flowed in, I wrote in this genre for eight years. But even after I improved my craft and started winning contests, I couldn’t clinch that elusive contract. One agent told me that while my writing was “quite good,” historicals were tanking.

About that time, Susan Meissner’s The Shape of Mercy fell into my hands. I gobbled it up, quickly followed by A Sound Among the Trees, Lady in Waiting, and A Fall of Marigolds. It was like a whole new world had opened up to me. Not only was Susan’s writing pure gorgeousness, but she did something incredibly unique to me: she created two story worlds—two timelines—in one story, bringing them together in perfect harmony by the end.

I couldn’t get enough and searched out more authors and more books as well as dipping my toe into the world of time-slip fiction. I also shifted from writing third-person to first-person POV.

As soon as I completed my first dual timeline novel, The Edge of Mercy, I started getting interest from agents and editors. I seemed to have found my niche, along with my voice. My second split-time novel, Freedom’s Ring, earned me my first publishing contract. And now, four books later, I still can’t get enough of this type of story.

Welcome Guest Heidi ChiavaroliWelcome Guest Heidi Chiavaroli

A split-time book shows how characters and their legacies outlast them. And while we may have come much farther in technological advancements in the last couple hundred years, we share the same heart struggles as those who’ve come before us. Pain, fear, love, grief, joy—these are all as timeless as humanity. And we can learn from the journey of those who’ve come before us.

Another fun aspect is exploring real historical people. In my latest novel, The Orchard House, I dug up all I could on Louisa May Alcott. Not only was it super fun to visit Concord, Massachusetts, for research, but creating characters in the present day who would be directly impacted by Louisa and her books gave fresh meaning to this beloved woman’s legacy.

Welcome Guest Heidi Chiavaroli

Sage advice dictates writers who have already established themselves not stray too far from their genre, but time-slip encapsulates both the contemporary and the historical, making it a sometimes-easier go-to transition than other genres.

If you’re trying to break into the industry and having little success, consider trying something new. Change what point of view you’re writing in. Try to write in the shoes of a character you wouldn’t normally gravitate to. Maybe change genres.

You never know what might be around the next corner (or time frame!).

Have you ever tried to write something completely different? How did this work out for you? Did you find it freeing or frightening?

About the Author

Welcome Guest Heidi ChiavaroliHeidi Chiavaroli writes women’s fiction, combining her love of history and literature to write split-time stories. Her latest book, The Orchard House (February 2021), follows the lives of two estranged sisters who find forgiveness and reconciliation through the little-known story of author Louisa May Alcott’s time as a Civil War nurse. Visit Heidi online at

Creating a Playlist for Your Novel


This time of year, most people's playlists probably are All Christmas All the Time.

But let's take a break from Christmas for a few minutes and talk about music that inspires us to write.

I'm sure we'll hear from some of you that you need silence to write. Or maybe you prefer instrumental background music or one of those videos of Music for Creating.

I have writer friends who love to listen to movie soundtracks while they write. 

This was a really popular one:

I've used the soundtracks from both The Patriot and

I'd love to hear about your preferences.

I prefer a curated playlist that connects me to my characters and story.

Sometimes, there's a specific song that resonates with the story. For example, when I first started writing Christmas in Hiding, I needed a song for my Callie to sing whenever she needed to remember trust in God and praise him even when things weren't going as she'd planned. When I found this video, I knew it was perfect.


In fact, because it serves as such a wonderful reminder to me, it's the first song that now goes into every playlist, and it's the first one I play to begin each writing session.

Christmas in Hiding had a few other songs as well, particularly this one from the TV show Nashville (which had some great music!). The lyrics kept me going when I would have given up during the writing process.

In January Texas Witness Threat releases. I had a fabulous playlist for that. What I love about it is that all I have to do is put the playlist on and immediately I'm in the story.

Of course I started with "How Great Thou Art." 

Some of the other songs in this playlist were:

Rachel Platten's "Fight Song"

"Timing is Everything" from Trace Adkins - This one matched up so perfectly with the opening scene of my book.

There's a part that goes like this - 

I remember that day

When our eyes first met

You ran into the building to get out of the rain

Cause you were soaking wet.

Of course in my book, Christine then witnesses a murder before she runs into Blake, but these lines also resonated:

And I could've been another minute late
And you'd never would've crossed my path that day

In her case, that made the difference between life and death!

I had a novella out in a wonderful anthology called Faithful Women. I found an absolutely perfect song that I also just added to my newest playlist because I love it so much.

I recently had to switch the order of the books I'm working on because of some changes in release schedules. I had an absolutely perfect playlist for the book I was working on - one that revolved around this song.

and this one

But I'm working on a different book now, so I need a whole new playlist. So far I've got only three songs - 

"How Great Thou Art"

"Broken Vessels"

and this

That's enough to get me started, but I'll add other songs as I come across them. It's not something that can be forced. If the song isn't right, it doesn't work as motivation.

So let's talk. If you're a writer, do you do playlists? Do you need silence instead or maybe some other type of music? 

If you're a reader, would you be curious to know the playlist an author created to go along with the book? 

Learning Craft From Children's Books - Part 2Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving - So ThankfulIntroducing Anna Zogg and Frontier Secrets Plus a GiveawayCate's Favorite Craft Books #6  and some vacation photosCate's Favorite Craft Books #5  Writing from the Inside Out by Dennis PalumboCate's Favorite Craft Books - GMC by Debra DixonCate's Favorite Writing Books Series #3Cate's Favorite Writing Books Series - #1 Welcome Guest Heidi ChiavaroliCreating a Playlist for Your Novel

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