Sign up for our FREE Email Newsletter

Monday, May 25, 2020


Walk Your Way to Better Blog Tour (And Giveaway)

This is a book about walking your way to better. Everywhere you turn, people, podcasts, and gurus promise a simple path to the life you want. But few of them work. Why? Because simply reading the words is rarely enough to call your heart and mind to action. This book is different. Each section provides a thought-starter, insight or story. But I don’t want you to just read it. I want you to read a section and then lace up your sneakers and head out the door. Because while walking, your brain processes in a unique way, enabling you to recognize the things that are truly holding your back and the changes you actually need to make. You will literally Walk Your Way to Better. Along the way, you will forge a powerful connection between your mind and your body. And bonus—you’ll feel better and become fitter.

Print Length: 363 Pages
Genre: Motivational Self-Help
Publisher: Kibo Press
ISBN-10: 1734257601
ISBN-13: 978-1734257601

Walk Your Way to Better is available for purchase now on

Book Giveaway Contest

To win a copy of the book Walk Your Way to Better by Joyce Shulman, please enter using Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on May 31st at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author, Joyce Shulman

Joyce Shulman, founder and CEO of 99 Walks and Macaroni Kid reaches millions of moms each month with hyper-local and national e-newsletters and websites, social media content, video and her Weekly Walk podcast. Having created a one-of-a-kind digital platform, she connects families to the wonders of their own communities and inspires women to chase their dreams and crush their goals.

Her most recent endeavor, 99 Walks, is on a mission to combat loneliness and improve fitness through the simple act of encouraging moms to walk together. Her mission? Nothing short of getting a million women walking.

Throughout her two decades as an entrepreneur, Joyce has guided SAHMs, teachers and even MBAs to success. Joyce shares how moms need to “take care of mama bear” and avoid the “martyr mom syndrome." Her experience in business and leading mompreneurs makes her a coveted speaker where she shares tactics for beating burnout, fueling creativity, goal crushing, how walking can fuel productivity and performance, and more.

Joyce received her Bachelor's in Business Management from the University of Maryland and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. John's University School of Law. After law school, she spent more than a dozen years as a New York City lawyer where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.

A self-confessed idea junkie, in 1998, Joyce abandoned law firm life to liberate her entrepreneurial spirit and focus on the things that are most important to her: family, community and empowering women to chase their dreams.

Find Joyce online at:

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: First of all, congratulations on your book, "Walk Your Way to Better." What inspired you to write this book?

Joyce: Thank you! This book was truly a labor of love and something that I’ve been working on, in a variety of ways, since I started working closely with women a dozen years ago. It was driven by primarily two things: my love of walking as an incredibly powerful way to untangle my thoughts and my observation that most of us just don’t allow ourselves the time and space to think about our dreams, our happiness or the steps that we can be taking to live the life we want to live. I thought if I could marry those two things by pairing stories and research and thought starters with walking I could deliver a formula that could really help women begin to move forward.

WOW: What a powerful combination! I'm a huge fan of walking myself. I feel like it clears my mind and helps me focus in a way no other exercise does. For those who doubt the power of a walk, what would you say to them to change their mind?

Joyce: Oh my gosh, so much. Many of us are at least somewhat familiar with the research around what walking can do for our bodies (which is incredible) but the magic is what walking does for our minds and mood. Research shows that walking can help combat depression, boost our mood, improves our decision-making abilities and fuels our creativity. Simply put, it is one of the simplest ways to care for our bodies while simultaneously caring for our emotional well-being and enabling our brains to work at their best.

WOW: You emphasize in your book that this is not a book about losing weight. I love that you say that! What do you hope readers take away from reading this book?

Joyce: I hope everyone discovers at least two dozen thought-starers or ideas that are exactly what they need to contemplate to set them on a path toward the life they really want to lead. And, that once people begin giving themselves the time and space to walk and let their mind percolate on the things that are important, they will quickly realize how profound the impact on their lives is.

WOW: This book includes two elements, walking and writing. How come you bridged these two activities together?

Joyce: For me, as for many people I’ve spoken with and interviewed, walking is where I do my best thinking. For all the reasons we talked about, that’s no accident, walking truly enables your brain to work at its very best. And, frankly, as a super busy entrepreneur and mom, I am always looking for maximum efficiency, so if I can get some exercise, be in nature and generate my very best idea all at the same time, well that’s a huge win. I wanted to share that with as many people as I can because the practice is so simple and yet truly life-changing.

WOW: How inspiring! You recently did a podcast interview with 40 Plus Fitness and something you said on there resonated with me. You addressed a paradox of feeling like we have to do for other people and not take care of ourselves. I think that speaks to so many people, especially these days. How does your book address that?

Joyce: In the dozen years that I’ve been working closely with women, I continue to hear the same thing over and over -- this incredible pressure to put everyone else first and put yourself last. We have to stop perpetuating the myth that sacrificing our entire self somehow makes us better parents, or being overwhelmed with busyness somehow makes us better people. We got caught up on this conveyor belt of busier, busier, busier, and more, more, more until we got to the point that we are not serving anyone -- not the people we love and certainly not ourselves.

WOW: I absolutely agree! So, what are you working on next? What can we look forward to from you? 

Joyce: I’m showing up in all the ways I can, especially right now. I go “live” every morning to share a thought of the day in the 99 Walks Facebook Group and continue to do whatever I can to help people -- women in particular -- navigate the constantly shifting sands of our new reality. And I’m writing about my second favorite topic -- creating community -- which is so critical to our happiness and well-being. I often say that we were not meant to raise our families by ourselves, at the end of a long driveway, behind a white picket fence, we were meant to live in supportive communities.

WOW: You are such an inspiration! I appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today. Best of luck on your tour!

Readers, check out Joyce's TedX talk: "How More Walking Leads to Less Loneliness"

--- Blog Tour Dates

May 25th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

May 26th @ Karen Brown Tyson's Blog
Stop by Karen's blog today and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about how you become inspired to write a book.

May 28th @ One Sister's Journey
Visit Lisa's blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

May 30th @ One Sister's Journey
Stop by Lisa's blog again today where you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman where she talks about why do women need to take care of themselves. A timely post in this day and age!

May 31st @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Visit Anthony's blog today and read his review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 2nd @ Lady Unemployed
Visit Nicole's blog and read Joyce Shulman's guest post about beating brownout (the precursor to burnout).

June 5th @ Wellness Connection Utah
Visit The Wellness Connection today and read thoughtful insights into Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 6th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Stop by Anthony's blog again where you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman on how walking can help with loneliness.

June 8th @ Reviews and Interviews
Visit Lisa's blog today and read her interview with Joyce Shulman, author of the book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 10th @ Bookish Tay
Stop by Taylor's blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 12th @ The New England Book Critic
Visit Victoria's blog today and read her insights into Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 13th @ Simply Nourished Wellness
Visit Stephani's blog today and you can read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 15th @ Jessica's Reading Room
Visit Jessica's blog today and make sure you read her review of author Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 17th @ Bookish Tay
Visit Taylor's blog again and you can read a guest post written by Joyce Shulman about how to keep fear from standing in your way.

June 19th @ Coffee with Lacey
Stop by Lacey's blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 19th @ Second Wind Leisure
Stop by Terri's blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better. You can also read a guest post written by the author about the power of yet.

June 20th @ Cafeyre
Visit Karoline's blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 21st @ Simply Nourished Wellness
Visit Stephani's blog again and you can read a guest post by author Joyce Shulman about the value of walking. Don't miss it!

June 22nd @ And So She Thinks
Visit Francesca's blog today and read her interview with Joyce Shulman, author of Walk Your Way to Better.

June 23rd @ The Frugalista Mom
Stop by Rozelyn's blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 24th @ Cathy C. Hall Writes
Visit Cathy's blog and read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 25th @ D-Mom Blog
Don't miss Leighann's review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 26th @ Deborah Adam's Blog
Stop by Deborah's blog today and read her review of Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

June 27th @ Deborah Adam's Blog
Visit Deborah's blog again today and you can read a guest post by Joyce Shulman about the commitment to women walking their way to better.

June 28th @ Bev A Baird's Blog
Visit Bev's blog today where she reviews Joyce Shulman's book Walk Your Way to Better.

***** Book Giveaway Contest *****

To win a copy of the book Walk Your Way to Better by Joyce Shulman, please enter using Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on May 31st at 11:59 PM EST. We will choose a winner randomly the next day via Rafflecopter and follow up by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, May 24, 2020


Interview with Sara Wright Covington, Runner Up in the WOW! Q2 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest

Sara Covington is a freelance writer, girl mama, and thrift store junky. A lover of language since the age of six, she used her over-active, sometimes completely irrational, creative brain to write stories instead of doing her math homework.

After a ten year career in advertising sales, sales management, and sales training, Sara “retired” and began working from home as a writer and columnist for North Alabama lifestyle magazine No’Ala and No’Ala Huntsville. Her column “Cryin’ Out Loud,” about her messy-at-times journey through motherhood can be read on her website She frequently creates web and blog content for small businesses and is a regular freelance writer for Alabama Magazine and the Huntsville Business Journal. Sara has been a contributor for NPR’s Sundial Writer’s Corner and her creative nonfiction essay entitled Breathe was selected for honorable mention for the Q3 Women on Writing Creative Nonfiction Contest. She has an undergraduate degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Alabama. In her free time, she wrangles 3 little girls, cooks amazing meals right from a box for her unsuspecting husband, and frequents thrift stores when she should be doing laundry.

Read Sara's relatable essay here, and then return for an interview with the author.

----------Interview by Renee Roberson

WOW: As a mom who has lost several female friends as our children grew older and drifted apart as friends, “Damages” hit home. How did you first get the idea to write about this experience and how did it evolve as it went through the revision process?

Sara: Gosh, this was actually a tough one to write. Honestly it was more of a journal entry I never really expected to see the light of day. I kept picking it up and putting it back down for months. And it definitely evolved, which is why I think I needed to keep putting it back down. I wanted to get to a neutral place where I could write it without playing the victim or placing blame. Some of the comments I’ve gotten from people who have read it have been that they wanted more information about what happened exactly, but I intentionally kept it vague and put all of the details of the friendship fissure aside (fissure is a new word I’ve stolen from Chelsea Clammer) and just tell a story about my emptiness over losing this person. Also my therapist suggested that ;)

WOW: Knowing you’re the mom of three young girls (I loved your blog post “Girls, Girls, Girls (and 9 Observations I've Made From Raising 3), I have to ask about time management. Do you have a set schedule that you utilize to work on creative and freelance work? How do you carve out time to write?

Sara: Sooooo much estrogen in my house. And I literally began laughing out loud when I saw time management that question. I’m terrible at time management. I’m super disorganized, so this whole quarantine for Corona Virus has really rocked my world because of the home schooling. I’m ashamed to admit that my creative process looks a lot like my laptop staying open on the kitchen table all day and me running over to jot notes down in between feeding kids, breaking up fights, and screaming lots of empty threats.

WOW: We do what we have to do! You are not alone. Knowing your love of words, who are some of your favorite authors and why?

Sara: Daphne du Maurier is probably the first author I fell in love with. I remember my mother reading Rebecca to me when I was 10 or 11, and it’s still one of my favorite books of all time. The whole Gothic novel genre just really sticks in my soul.

I’m from the South, so Rick Bragg and Pat Conroy are kind of deities down here too. As far as an author’s voice I most identify with, I love reading Erma Bombeck. She was a pioneer of motherhood humor.

WOW: I agree with all of the above! As part of your freelance writing business, you create content for a number of businesses and nonprofits. What are some things you’ve learned about content creation since you started, and what advice would you give to other writers looking to add similar offerings to their own businesses?

Sara: The main thing I’ve picked up is that every business owner’s voice is different. I worked in sales for a very long time, and when you have a journalistic background, you develop pretty good skills for asking questions. Anytime you are helping someone establish a voice for their company or product, it’s important to ask enough questions to determine who they are, who their target audience is, and what their longterm goals are. Sometimes things have to be done in phases. (just like any relationship).

WOW: Yes, interviews are so important when getting to know a client or an interview subject. You mention on your blog that you love to frequent thrift stores. Do you have any stories of some amazing finds you’ve stumbled across?

Sara: My favorite find of all time is a cognac-colored leather trench coat. I think it’s probably from the 70s, but it’s classic. I’ve also found some black Jimmy Choo pumps, a first edition of Gone With the Wind (on a discount table), a Givenchy scarf, and too many pieces of art to count!

WOW: Those all sound like pretty fantastic finds. Thank you for taking time out to answer our questions, and we look forward to reading more of your work!

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, May 23, 2020


An Offer to Publish!

I had an incredible morning. A great interview (I’m looking for a new teaching job)... and I was even dressed in a pants suit barefoot for it! When I checked my email once I zoomed off, I found one that made me stop breathing for a moment. It was from a publisher, and before I even opened it up, I could see it didn’t include the word “unfortunately” in the first sentence. Fabulous!

Dear Mrs Roslawski,

Thank you for your patience during this process, I understand it can be tedious awaiting responses from publishers regarding your writing. However, we have now completed our evaluations of your middle-grade fiction ‘The Massacre of Greenwood’.

My colleagues and I have been discussing various aspects of your story and have agreed that your novel is well-written with an absorbing narrative that may educate some younger readers, we see potential in the work. We believe that it deserves a chance to reach the general readership and this can be achieved with the marketing capabilities we can provide.

Imagine a huge grin spreading across my face after reading those first two paragraphs. I continued to read...

image by Pixabay

As I’m sure you know – as it is explained on our website – we receive hundreds of submissions each month, many of which are rejected. When we accept a work, we can offer either a traditional publishing contract or a contribution-based publishing contract. In this instance we would be able to publish your work under the ABCD Publishing House banner and wish to make a contribution-based offer for ‘The Massacre of Greenwood’.

Please consider this offer carefully. This will be a one-off, finite figure. Any future costs, to cover marketing over the lifetime of the book, will be covered by ABCD Publishing.

At this point, my grin was gone.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many different routes to publication these days. In fact, I was researching some options, and came upon this article that tells of 11 different ways to get a book published. It even includes the pros and cons of each path.

Luckily for me, I’d done my homework, so I knew about ABCD Publishing. I knew there was a fee ($5,000, I think) that was the one-time “contribution” for those authors who didn’t wow them enough for a traditional contract. Since $5,000 will buy a lot of chocolate books plane tickets, it was thanks, but no thanks.

So it’s not only “buyer beware.” It’s also writer beware. Certainly, there are instances when a vanity press makes sense. There are authors who go the micro-pub path… and it works out fantastically for them. There’s even crowdfunding for books… which has me intrigued.

Just do your homework… Or your grin might turn into a grimace if you leap into something because you’re overeager and say yes to something before you find out exactly what’s being offered.

And now I’m headed to find out a decent DIY way to cut my hair. Desperate times call for desperate measures...

Sioux is a teacher (currently job-hunting), a freelance writer and a nest-supervisor. (These days, while sticking so close to home, I've become obsessed with a robin's nest on our carport. I think the babies are almost ready to leave the nest.) If you'd like to read more of Sioux's writing, check out Sioux's Page,

Labels: ,

Friday, May 22, 2020


Friday Speak Out!: Inspiration for The Pelton Papers: A Novel

by Mari Coates

Inspiration. Where does it come from? If I search it out, it eludes me, flits off and leaves me alone. I knew I wanted to write about the artist Agnes Pelton long before she began speaking to me and long before I first saw her mystical abstracts. I’m not a writer of fiction who makes things up. I need an anchor—an image, a place, a person. Fortunately, I had anchors galore: the portraits Pelton painted of her close friends, my grandparents; that same year my mother and uncle as children; a later pair of desert landscapes; a view of her windmill studio on Long Island.

I also had transcriptions of my grandfather’s letters and had seen his beautiful large-format family photographs. I found that he and I shared a penchant for imagining the lives of others, tagging his photographs with captions about his neighbors in his rural New York City neighborhood. I was inspired by the joy evident in these images. Really, though, it was the simple fact of his own life—here so vividly and then gone—another introvert who, I felt, would welcome my intrusion into his life and thoughts.

So, I began a novel about him. While reading through a series of letters he wrote from California in 1906 to family in Brooklyn, I found a reference to his friend Agnes Pelton and decided to bring her into the novel: another artist of fragile constitution, raised as he was in the very conservative Protestant sect called Plymouth Brethren.

But once I saw Pelton’s abstracts, the landscape of my imagination was flooded with color and upended by an urgent need to understand. Who are you, I asked Agnes. I began using my daily train commute to start scribbling. I recommend it: a pad of paper, a pen or pencil, and whatever pops into one’s mind. It was on one of those mornings, mulling over how she had come to make these astounding works, when a voice came to me and said, “I want! I want to make BIG pictures that COVER a BIG piece of paper!” All right, I thought, let me help you with that.

* * *
photo by Lynn Shepodd
MARI COATES lives in San Francisco, where, before joining University of California Press as a senior editor, she was an arts writer and theater critic. Her regular column appeared in the SF Weekly with additional profiles and features appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Monthly, Advocate, and other news outlets Her stories have been published in the literary journals HLLQ and Eclipse, and she is grateful for residencies at I-Park, Ragdale, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods, which allowed her to develop and complete The Pelton Papers. She holds degrees from Connecticut College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Find her online at
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 21, 2020


Why Consistency Is So Important to Your Writing (and What Should We Do About it?)

One thing that may have many of us feeling unsure or out of sorts right now is the conflicting information that can come with stories and information about the current pandemic. Some of it is because we live in a 24/7 news cycle, and scientists and doctors are making new discoveries daily. Some of it is rumor and hype. But when I talk to my friends and family, this is one topic that's often brought up: Everything feels so inconsistent. People are asking: Who do I trust?

Think about your best friend or a relative you are close to. You've established trust and a bond, and one of the ways this happened is because the person was consistent. He or she followed through on promises and showed up when s/he said they would. S/he was always there for you with consistent behavior.

So consistency is important to human beings; and as you know, human beings are your readers--at least for now, until we teach other creatures to read or life is found on another planet. (I'm only kidding--sort of.)

When I was thinking about this post, I thought of many, many ways that we have to be consistent when we write or because we are writers. I decided I would turn this topic into a series of blog posts. Today's post gives you an overview of the topic; and then in other posts throughout the end of May and into June, I'll provide some tips in different areas for how to be consistent in your writing and keep your readers happy!

Here are some areas where consistency is important both in your writing and in your career:

  • Point of view character
  • Worldbuilding
  • Characters' descriptions
  • Characters' names
  • Characters' motivations and feelings
  • Spelling (i.e., U.S. vs U.K.)
  • Formatting
  • Branding
  • Correspondence
  • Social Media
and more...

This is where you come in. Where do you think it is crucial to be consistent, in both your stories, novels, essays, or whatever you write and in your career and marketing. Is there an area where you excel or one where you struggle? Please let me know in the comments. Plus, if you have any questions in this area, please also leave them in the comments, and I will answer them in following posts.

Here's to being consistent in an area of our lives we can control--our writing! 

Margo L. Dill is a writer, editor, and writing coach and instructor, living in St. Louis, MO, with her nine-year-old daughter and her one-year-old lab mix dog, Sudsi. To take Margo's next novel writing course, go here and sign up before June 5! She will help you be consistent when writing your novel or memoir. 

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Interview with Dreame, A Network Reading Platform

Dreame is a popular online fiction reading platform that has paid writers more than $6 million for their amazing works during the past two years. Today we had the chance to interview an editor at Dreame, who is going to share her insights into how she's helped writers earn income through the platform.

WOW: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today! So, why authors should consider writing online?

Dreame: It's all about growing your readership. Online reading platforms usually have a large audience base. Take Dreame for example. Readers on Dreame are growing rapidly. Currently, we've reached 20 million readers. The fiction published on Dreame is blessed with greater exposure and Dreame authors are witnessing growth both in their royalties as well as in the number of fans.

WOW: That's incredible! How can authors make their books popular and increase income by writing online?

Dreame: First of all, it is important to choose the right audience. You want to choose readers who have a preference towards your writing genre. If you are a romance fiction author and your works are preferred by female readers, you should not go to a platform where most readers are fond of horror fiction. On Dreame, readers have a preference towards female fiction, as 98% of them are female.

Secondly, diligence is important. Readers are always waiting for the latest chapters. If you keep them waiting too long, their enthusiasm for the story may decline. Regular updates can strengthen their relationship with readers. Interacting with readers also helps.

WOW: I completely agree. What benefits are available to Dreame authors?

Dreame: Dreame provides a way for authors to monetize their writing. Lucrative royalties are offered to books that join the pay-to-read program. We built a payment system, so authors can see clearly how their income accumulates. To get more readers, Dreame provides opportunities for promoting stories not only on the Dreame app, but also further marketed on the external channels with costs covered by Dreame.

Plenty of writing contests are held on Dreame every month. Currently, the Multi-Professional Billionaire Writing contest is open. 1st Place receives $1500; as well as $800, $500, and $300 for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Place, respectively. Check out the details here:

WOW: That contest sounds like a lot of fun! What type of support do you provide authors?

Dreame: One of the authors I worked with had a day job unrelated to writing, which didn't give her the confidence in her writing ability. But what she's achieved today is something she never expected. Now, she has over one million readers and earns a lucrative income each month. The first thing I did was help her find the right audience to match her writing style; and then I encouraged her to make better use of the resources that Dreame offers. Participating in writing contests, writing challenges, online discussions and other activities can bring more exposure to the author’s writing. The platform also offers writing guides, and online courses as well. Now, she's a full-time author whose work stays on the top-ranking charts at Dreame.

If writers have any questions, they can email us at or check the Dreame website.

WOW: Thank you so much for chatting with us today.

About Dreame

Dreame is a network reading platform, providing readers with excellent content, and authors with a platform to present their work. Dreame has been the home of over 150,000 fictional works by more than 60,000 authors. Through the shared readings and knowledge, readers around the world can connect and enjoy a good book.

Dreame is available in many counties to help readers recognize the magical power of books. It aims to build a link between love and passion, and bridge a gap between different countries and cultures.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


3 Things to Consider When Selecting Details for Your Story

Last week, I read Dibs! by Laura Gehl. This picture book is about Julian’s attempts to deal with his toddler brother, Clancy. The next three paragraphs contain several plot spoilers so consider this a warning.  If this bother's you, skip down to "Do they help set a mood?"

Julian’s solution to having a little brother is to call dibs on the things he most wants. These include a solar system plate, an astronaut costume and star cookies.

When you are working with a limited word count, you have to carefully choose each detail. Most fiction picture books are 500 words or less so no word can be wasted. Some flash fiction is almost as short so, again, every word has to count. Here are three things to consider about the details in your own writing.

Do they help build a theme? One of several themes in Dibs! is outer space. When Clancy, the little brother, starts calling dibs, he claims the neighborhood bakery, the source of the star cookies, the White House, and NASA. Eventually, Julian dons the astronaut costume and heads into space to rescue his brother. Earlier in the story, he could have called dibs on a cowboy plate, gingerbread cookies, and a toy hard hat, but the details Gehl chose built up the space theme.  Doesn't sound like something that will work in your story?  This isn’t the only reason to choose specific details.

Do they help set a mood? If you read horror or other books with spooky scenes, keep your eyes open for setting details that have been chosen to set that eerie tone or an ominous mood. The approach to a house where someone has disappeared may include skeletal trees, dead flower beds, and outbuildings with dark windows that look like eye sockets. Set a more upbeat story in a similar place, and you would use a different set of details such as lush evergreens, winter gardens that include holly bushes full of cheerful red berries, and windows that sparkle in the winter light.  Don't see this working for your story either?  Not to worry.

Do these details show what is important to your character? Last but not least, you might decide to include a detail because you are describing something that is important to your character. Your protagonist may wear her grandmother’s wedding ring. If she is a photographer, she is going to notice light and contrast where a costume designer would notice the fit and fabric of clothing.

Whether you are writing something that is only 500 words or you have the 85,000 words typical of a cozy, paying attention to the details you include can help you strengthen your theme, reveal something about your character, or set the tone or mood for a scene.

Don’t panic if your details aren’t this carefully chosen. Although you can spot these kinds of details in published work, remember that the pieces you are reading have been rewritten multiple times.  You can always smooth out your details in a rewrite.


Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 25 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  

Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins  July 6th, 2020) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins July 6, 2010). 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Older Posts