The Golden Rule of Fiction Writing: Show, Don’t Tell

Hello Writer Bees,

This week, we’re talking about the fundamental golden rule of fiction writing. A technique most writers know as Show, don’t tell. But what is show, don’t tell? How do you use this writing technique? Will it help take your stories to the next level? Let’s explore that, shall we?

What is Show Don’t Tell?

In simple terms, Show Don’t Tell is a writing technique where the writer leaves behind lengthy expositions and explanations. Instead, the plot, it’s tone and characterization are all conveyed through actions, thoughts, and feelings. Showing the audience instead of telling them point blank. At its heart, Show, Don’t Tell is about how readers experience a story. How they learn information and how they draw their own conclusions.

And many famous authors have used this technique in their creative works too. There’s this quote by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov that is often associated with the Show Don’t Tell technique. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Also, Ernest Hemingway shared similar views on storytelling in his notable iceberg theory.

Tips on Using the Show Don’t Tell Rule

  • Set up the Setting: When describing the setting, play with the reader’s senses. Remember, it’s not just about the visuals. Think about how sight, smell, sound, touch and taste tie into a scene. What noises can be heard from the background? What does the texture of a blanket feel like? What are the flavors of a home-cooked meal? No need to go overboard with details but give the audience enough to feel immersed in the world.
  • Digging the Dialogue: How characters communicate with one another can be a telling sign of their relationship. Think about it, you’d speak to a family member differently than a coworker, right? Plus, dialogue is an excellent tool for showing a character’s nature and personality. Someone with an excitable personality is going to have more lively conversation while a shy person may mumble or stutter a bit.
  • Understanding Emotions: When in doubt, pull that flowery language out of your writer sleeves. Every writer has that in their arsenal. Metaphors, similes, and personification can help express emotions and moods in any story. Like “the chill of fear tumbling down your spine“. That sort of wordy goodness. Keep in mind, this poetic style of writing may not suit your specific narrator. For example, my WIP’s narrator, Oscar Fitzgerald, is fast talking and not exactly a poetic soul.

Examples of Show Don’t Tell.

TELLINGSHOWING
She was tired.Dragging her feet, she yawned and stretched out her arms.
The room was filthy.Dirty laundry strewn across the floor. Stains on the paint chipped walls. A rotten smell in the air.
He was a shy guy.Staring at his shoes, his stood on the sidelines of the party. With a soft voice, a blush painted his face as he tried to start a conversation.

Final Thoughts

Does each sentence you write need to follow this rule? Probably not. Exposition can come in handy, if used correctly. Find the balance between showing enough and telling enough. Will the Show Don’t Tell technique improve the quality of your stories? In my opinion? Yeah. By showing rather than telling, the whole story gains a new level of depth and complexity, and it allows readers to fully engage with the plot, characters and overall tone.


What are your thoughts on Show Don’t Tell ? Do you apply this technique to your writing? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you.

Have a question about creative writing or blog writing? Let me know! It may be answered in a post in the near future.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Query Letter’s 270+ Best Writing Contests (Repost)

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying creative and enjoying the warm weather. Still stuck in the editing trenches here, so I’ve yet to frolic in the sunshine.

This post will be quick, but trust me, it’s a goodie.

The lovely folks at QueryLetter.com reached out to me with some exciting information. Recently, they published a blog post titled ‘The 270+ Best Writing Contests‘. In this extensive list, they’ve highlighted over 270 of the top writing contests around. And the best part? There are contests in a variety of genres and word counts. From poetry to flash fiction to non-fiction, all writers are welcomed. No matter what you write, you’ll for sure find something up your alley.

I highly recommend checking out this list. Even as I’m writing this, I’m looking through all the different contests and am tempted to try it out. Inspiration is already bubbling in my head. Challenge yourself and try participating in one of these contests. There’s no harm in taking a chance and throwing your hat in the ring. You never know.


Have you ever participated in a writing contest before? Are you interesting in signing up for one of contests listed? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

A Month of Mystery Posts Wrap up (2022)

Hello Writer Bees!

Thank you to everyone for stopping by for May of Mystery and celebrating detective fiction with me. In case you missed it, here is a wrap up of all the mystery themed posts from this month.

Mystery Writing Prompts

Scene of the Crime

The Greatest Detective

Like a Dangerous Woman

A Note Left Behind

Shrouded in Mystery

Mystery Themed Posts

5 Archetypes of Fictional Detectives

Born a Bloodhound (Detective Flash Fiction)

Writing my 1st Whodunit Draft in a College Writing Workshop

Watson Who?: Tips on Creating A Detective’s Sidekick (Repost)


If you have an idea for another genre themed month, lemme know in the comments!

Stay safe and stay creative!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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5 Archetypes of Fictional Detectives

Hello sleuths!

Welcome to May of Mystery, an entire month dedicated to detective fiction and mystery lovers alike.

At the heart of every mystery story is a detective ready to crack the case. In detective fiction, any character can become a sleuth. Detectives can come from any background, any walk of life, and have differing methods of deduction. Let’s investigate the various types of fictional detectives, shall we? Here are 5 classic archetypes of detectives in mystery fiction.

Amateur Sleuth

This is somewhat an general term for any mystery solver who has no connection with law enforcement. Nor do they get paid in assisting in an investigation. These types of fictional detectives can be adventure seekers, inquisitive reporters or simply nosy neighbors. Regardless of their reason for investigating, Amateur Sleuths are guided by their curiosity and desire for knowledge and justice. Because they may lack the skills a “proper detective”, their investigations tend to be a learning experience for them.

Hardboiled Detective

A staple in noir fiction, the hardboiled detective is one of the more notable archetypes. All a hardboiled detective needs is a trench coat, a gun and their acholic beverage of choice. With their tough exteriors, they have a cynical outlook on the world. Their morals are grey, there is no right or wrong. Protagonists are often depicted as Anti Heroes, or characters who act in self-interest and don’t have typical heroic qualities. An untraditional knight in shining armor, if you will. Perhaps that’s why they sometimes get tangled up with Femme Fatales. Famous fiction detectives such as Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade are noted as quintessential hardboiled detectives.

Private Investigator

Next up, the private investigator, another notable type of fictional detective. Usually self employed or cooperating alongside law enforcement, they follow their own rules and their own means of investigating and deduction. In some cases, private investigators have had previous experience working for law enforcement, and may still have connections. Most of the time, they are hired by clients who are in desperate need of their sleuthing skills. Genius great detective types, like Consulting Detective Sherlock Holmes would fit this archetype.

Little Old Lady

For a more cozy mystery, call on grandma to save the day. From years of wisdom and experience, they seem to have a knack for this mystery solving thing. Using their unassuming appearance to their advantage, they attract little attention and can work around the cops. Instead of having intense interrogations, suspects sometimes confide details on the case willingly. Constantly underestimated, who would think a sweet little old lady could crack the case? The iconic Miss Marple, created by Agatha Christie, is the perfect example of this type of fictional detective.

Kid Detective

Often designed for a younger audience in an adventure-centric plot, a kid detective is another type of detective found in mystery fiction. Though they may not need to be an actual child, this archetype includes sleuths who are minors. These young snoops must sneak passed the suspicious adults without getting in trouble with their parents. They rely on trickery and sneaking around to obtain evidence. Being juveniles, they face difficulty asking questions of adults and convincing police that a crime was committed. The cases they take on never involve violence or truly dangerous situations, their antagonists are harmless. Some would argue that Mystery Inc. from the Scooby Doo Franchise would fall under this category.


What are you favorite types of detective characters? And for all the mystery writers out there, which archetype would you categorize your sleuth under? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Happy sleuthing!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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15 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block (Repost for Camp NaNoWriMo)

Hello Writer bees!

(With Camp NaNoWriMo starting next week, some may struggle with writer’s block during this writing challenge. Don’t fret! To help with that, I’m reposting these awesome tips for beating the block. Good luck to everyone participating! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hope you are are staying safe and writing wonderful work. And if you are feeling stuck with your writing, that’s alright too. Sometimes, it can be hard to get the words on the page. Don’t be discouraged. Writer’s block happens to everyone, myself included.

So today, I’m sharing some tips for beating the block and rekindling inspiration once again.

Be honest and ask yourself, “how do I break out of this funk I’m in?” and “What’s stopping me from writing?” Depending on what you need, there are three courses of action to take. Whatever route you choose, find what works for you.

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Push to Writing – the need to shake up you writing habits.

  1. Write in some place other from your usual spot. No need to chain yourself to your desk. Write in a different room of your home. Or outside. A new, quiet place.
  2. Freewriting: Write the first things that comes to mind, whatever it may be. Follow where the words take you. On a time crunch? Take a 5 minute writing sprint and write as fast as you can.
  3. Set deadlines and stick to them. Reach for a daily wordcount goal that’s achievable and works with your schedule. Even if it’s only a 100 words a day. You’ll be 100 words closer to your finished draft.
  4. Try writing exercises and prompts. They can be a fun, well-needed challenge for some writers and can get the brain working. But where can you find prompts? I post a Prompt of the Week every Monday. Check them out!
  5. Use a different writing tool. Instead of a keyboard, switch to paper or sticky notes or colorful markers.

Recharge – The need to step back from your writing endeavors.

  1. Take a break! A real one. Relax. And don’t think about your story. A little separation from your WIP is fine. Sometimes, lightbulb moments happen when you least expect. I speak from experience.
  2. Go for a walk. Alone, with music, or with a dog. Walks are great. Socially distanced walks while wearing masks is even better.
  3. Get cozy and curl up with a good book. Fuzzy socks included. Let your mind unwind and dive into a whole new world.
  4. Drink some coffee/tea/alcoholic beverage of choice. And stuff your face with your favorite food. Writing is hard work. Treat yourself to that tub of ice cream or bag of potato chips. I won’t judge.
  5. Sleep it off, or just lounge around. Rest, physically and mentally. There are times when the best ideas can come right before you fall asleep. Keep a notepad on your nightstand ready, in case you need to jot down ideas.
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Getting motivated and inspired! – the need to get pumped to write again and find inspiration.

  1. Browse through photos; especially images that relate to your story’s genre. Create an aesthetic board featuring images that remind you of your story. If you are writing historical fiction, keep a folder of snapshots from that time period.
  2. Talk it out. Talking to another person, writer or non-writer, about your ideas can get those creative juices flowing. Find someone you feel safe with and who encourages you. Don’t waste your time with people who judge you harshly.
  3. Read some quotes from some famous authors. Gather inspiration from the authors who came before you.
  4. Connect with other writers. The writing community is a fantastic group of creatives. Make friends, chat about WIPs, support each other through those tough times. It’s nice to have someone in your corner, to have that support system.
  5. Be okay with writing trash. Not everything you write will be perfect. And that’s fine, that’s what editing is for. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for the story that future readers can connect with. That’s the real goal, isn’t it?

How do you get through writer’s block? What’s your advice to a writer who is struggling? Let me know if the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky.

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The Bechdel Test and It’s Impact on Fiction Writing

Hello Writer Bees,

In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite female creators, Alison Bechdel. But more importantly, the important test she invented and how it impacted the writing world.

Who is Alison Bechdel?

Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist best known for her 2006 graphic memoir, Fun Home. Originally, she was known for the long-running comic strip. In 2012, she released her second graphic memoir Are You My Mother? Two years later, she became a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award. As a figure in the LGBTQ community, her journey with her sexuality and gender non-conformity is at the heart of her work.

While in college, I read Fun Home and absolutely fell in love with Bechdel’s candor regarding her life. Highly recommend the book, Fun Home is a memoir like no other. And right now, I’m listening to the Fun Home Musical’s soundtrack as I write this post. (Yes, there was a musical!)

What is the Bechdel Test?

Sometimes referred to as the Bechdel Rule, the Bechdel-Wallace Test or the Mo Movie Measure. In short, the Bechdel Test is a test that measures female representation in fiction. And it can be applied to all mediums of fiction: Books, movies and T.V. shows. Now let’s be clear, failing these criteria does not mean it’s a poor representation of fictional women. However, the test does show the active presence of women in fiction, how involved they are in a story. If you are curious about what movies have passed and failed the Bechdel Test, check out bechdeltest.com, a database where users classify if a film meets the Bechdel Test criteria. To pass the test, a piece of fiction should follow this simple list of rules.

Bechdel Test Rules

  • The movie has to have at least two women in it,
  • who talk to each other,
  • about something besides a man
  • Bonus: Two women must be named.

Why is the Bechdel Test important?

While these rules sound easy enough to accomplish, you’d be surprised how many works of fiction fail this test. Underneath these simple guidelines is a deeper meaning. The Bechdel Test draws attention to gender inequality in fiction. Representation matters, writer bees. Women need stop being written off as sideline characters that revolve around the male characters. Women can take on the lead role and have an active presence in a plot. In truth, the Bechdel test raises important questions to all creators. How integral are the female characters in the plot line? Are their story arcs fleshed out and full of depth?

As a lady writer myself, the Bechdel Tests makes me look at my own female characters differently. To be more mindful about how women in any creative work are depicted. Personally, I take this test as a challenge and a standard to strive for.


What are your thoughts on the Bechdel Test? Do you think your work would pass the test? Who are some of your favorite female characters in fiction? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you!

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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5 Subgenres of Romance Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bees, 

With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, let’s talk about the lovely subgenres of Romance Fiction.

Historical Romance

Rev up that time machine and travel back in time with a Historical Romance. As the name suggests, this love story takes place in the past, usually before 1950. Historical periods such as the Victorian era, Medieval Times, or the Roaring 1920s are examples of possible setting used in this romance subgenre. No matter the year, the time and place of a plot may impact a couple’s relationship. Rules of courtship and class can apply to characters and their relationships. When writing a historical romance, historical accuracy and research is crucial. Describing and understanding the clothing and culture of a time long ago will bring a certain era to life for your audience.

Paranormal Romance

Twilight

Love can be magical. And in a paranormal romance, it really is! In this romance subgenre, elements of fantasy, paranormal or sci-fi are at the core of the plot. Not necessarily restricted to magical creatures only, a Paranormal Romance could include any non-human creature, from ghosts, to fairies, to the ever-irresistible vampire. That being said, there’s an opportunity here to explore a human x non-human relationship, or a couple from different magical backgrounds. Truly, the possibilities are endless. Incorporating fantasy elements in a love story requires solid worldbuilding. If magic is real in that world, create a magic system and know who can use magic and how. If the story involves a non-human creature, what specific characteristics apply to that race?

Contemporary Romance

If you’re looking for a modern day happily ever after, perhaps a contemporary romance is more your speed. This romance subgenre focuses on current conventions and topics, for a more modern approach. Subject matter may include online dating, LGBTQ storylines and workplace romance. Main characters don’t fit the mold and may not live up to what’s considered attractive by society. Often times, the heroine is an independent woman with a career. This romance subgenre encompasses all shapes, sizes, colors and sexualities. When writing in this romance subgenre, remember that love isn’t perfect. Create characters with flaws and challenges and place them in realistic dating situations.

Erotic Romance

Fans Self GIFs | Tenor

Things can get steamy quickly in this romance subgenre. Erotic Romance centers around explicit, sexual interactions between lovers. It’s not total smut, but let’s just say vividly detailed sex is a major component of the plot. Relationships grow and develop through scenes of physical intimacy and intense chemistry. Often, characters are cliché and unrealistic, examples being a curvaceous cutie or six-packed hunk. If I’m honest, this is not my favorite genre. However, if I had to give a piece of writing advice, it’d be to focus on the character’s physicality, the way they move and how they interact with others. During intimate moments – not just sex scenes – be mindful of how body language is written. Readers want to feel swept away, and maybe a little turned on, when they read this kind of story.

Romantic Suspense 

Romance plus adventure equals an exciting romance subgenre. Romance suspense involves action, suspense and intrigue as the couple tackles situations like a murder mystery or criminal plot. In some stories, there is a threat on one person’s life and the other must act as protector. Or perhaps they protect each other. Characters that play well in this romance subgenre can be detectives, superheroes, members of law enforcement or even femme fatales. Regardless, in the end, the heroes form a strong romantic relationship, hopefully leading to a happily ever after or grand finale kiss. Whether there’s a mystery to solve, a villain to defeat, or a race against the clock. Romantic Suspense can be thrilling story for many readers.


Like this post? Then check out the 5 Subgenres of Mystery Fiction Explained.

What’s your favorite romance subgenre? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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5 Subgenres of Horror Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bugs!

Since we are officially in spooky season, I wanted to dedicate a couple posts this month to horror writing. Horror fiction is intended to frighten the audience senseless. A lot of people love a good scare. As a genre, horror can come in a variety of shades of darkness. Today, I’m breaking down the most notable subgenres of horror fiction.


Gothic

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The gothic horror subgenre is a healthy mix of horror, mystery, death and a little romance. And some would say it’s the true beginning of horror fiction and the jumping off point for other horror subgenres that developed over time. The macabre takes takes center stage in this type of story. Setting plays a key role in gothic horror. The atmosphere must be dark and moody, usually taking place in a castle, religious abbey or haunting estate. The theme of death and love are prevalent in the plot. It’s a dreary, decaying world full of ominous omens and unexplainable events.

Example: The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Monster

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Let’s do the monster mash. A true classic in horror genre. Typically, the plot centers around a character(s) encountering a creature. Creatures of the night are either the result of scientific experiments, born from fantastical means, or simply urban legends come alive. Iconic monsters including – but not limited to – werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies etc. An argument could be made the even gigantic monsters like Godzilla would be included in this horror subgenre. Sometimes in the narrative, there are underlying themes of duality, an internal conflict between good and evil. It’s an interesting battle to explore within characters. Is the monster really a monster at all?

Example: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Paranormal

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In the paranormal subgenre, it’s all about the fear of the unknown. Evil spirits, wicked witches and demonic entities wreck havoc and chaos in the lives of mere mortals. Ghosts, demons and haunted houses tend to fall under this category. Exorcisms – whether the holy kind or the high-tech ghostbuster kind – occur in paranormal horror. Similar to the Monster horror subgenre, antagonists can have supernatural abilities and there’s usually a struggle between good and evil. However, paranormal creatures are derived from mythical, other-worldly origins. And let’s be honest, the things that go bump in the night are often what scares us the most.

Example: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Killer

A killer is on the loose! For this horror subgenre, the story focuses on a central killer. The main antagonist can be a supernatural entity or a natural born psycho. Whatever their reason, the killer’s sole mission is to annihilate anyone and everyone they deem a target. With elements of a thriller and/or crime plotline blended in, building suspense is crucial in this kind of story. You want the reader to feel like the killer is breathing down their necks and lurking around every corner. Will the killer be brought to justice in the end? That’s entirely up to the writer. In horror, no one is promised a happy ending.

Example: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Psychological

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Send readers into a living nightmare. Throw rationality out the door and turn the mundane into something terrifying. Characters in psychological horror have either fallen into madness or are trapped in extraordinary situations. Surreal imagery or bizarre visions experienced by the protagonist only add to the insanity. For this horror subgenre, the narrative would benefit from a tight viewpoint, not a multi-narrator piece. A single character’s internal conflict can be just as compelling than an external conflict, if written well. Phobias, paranoia and one’s deepest fears are explored in this type of plot. In psychological horror, there’s not overarching monster or antagonist, the real monster is the human mind itself.

Example: The Shining by Stephen King


Personally, I’m not a fan of excessive gore. However, as a mystery writer, I sometimes must describe a corpse or a crime scene, for the sake of the fictional investigation. A little bit of horror can go a long way in any genre.

What’s your favorite subgenre of horror fiction? And if you are a horror writer yourself, how would you categorize your story? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love hearing from you.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

(With Preptober and Nation Novel Writing Month right around the corner, I’m reposting these tips to help you survive this crazy writing challenge. Stay safe and stay creative, writer bugs! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hello Writer Bees,

Signing up for NaNoWriMo this year? You’re going to need all the help you can get.

This guide will help you survive National Novel Writing Month.

Find the Time 

To reach 50,000 words goal, you’ll need to write about 1,667 words a day. Come up with a plan, find the best time for you to write.  Make that time commitment. Schedule what part of your novel you will work on each day. Decide whether you are a day or night writer. Create a routine and stick to it as best you can. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, it’ll happen to everyone.

Set Up Your Writing Space

Establish your writing space. A place to be organized and creative. A place where you can focus and write and hopefully not be disturbed. Dedicate a work area, with all your research and inspiration materials nearby. Make sure you have all your needed resources close at hand. Whether it’s at home, at the public library, or at the local coffee shop, find your cozy corner of the world.

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Keep Resources Close

This coincides with creating a great work space. Notes, historical sources, journals, character profiles, outlines. Everything.  Keep all research material organized and in reach, in case you need a reference.  Use time in October to gather information and prepare for the writing ahead. Because I’m writing a story set in a specific time period (1920s), I have bookmarked a couple of historical resources, just in case. I also have a book of photos of Brooklyn in the 1920s that I like to glance through for inspiration.

Writers Require Nourishment

Be prepared with all the snacks and beverages you’ll need to get through a month of writing. I’m talking leftover Halloween candy. I’m talking caffeine, and lots of it. I’m talking the comfort food that makes your heart happy. Also, I’ve heard some even meal prep ahead of time. IF you have time, consider prepping meals in advance and leaving them in the freezer. Look, some would suggest eating healthy, and while that is true, sometimes, you need a bag of salty potato chips. And no one will judge you for devouring the entire bag.

Goals and Rewards

Set smaller goals for yourself. 10k, 20k, 30k, etc. And when you reach them, reward yourself. Whether its with your favorite movie or favorite meal, celebrate those little milestones. During National Novel Writing Month, every word counts. So, treat yourself and do something special for you once you reach a certain word count. Whatever makes you happy and relaxed, do that. This will keep you motivated and encourage you to keep going.

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Outline

Whether you are a planner or a pantser, have a general idea for a story. Develop your characters. Establish some kind of plot line, even if its a vague idea. Note the key scenes of the plot. It’s important to have an outline. And remember, use the method that feels right to you. Every writer has their own way of planning a story. Do what works for you.

Have a Support System

We all need someone in our corner, supporting us. Find some writing buddies. Consider attending write-ins and writing events. Find the people in your life you trust, who you can talk openly to. A significant other, a friend, a teacher, a classmate. Have someone to express your worry or doubt or just iron out ideas with. Someone to cheer you on through the absolutely ridiculous journey that is NaNoWriMo.

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Surround yourself with other writers. And hey, feel free to add me as a writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo website. My username is LadyJabberwocky.


What’s a necessity in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Let me know in the comments!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Pen Name VS. Real Name: The Great Author Debate (Repost)

Hello writer bugs!

(This is a repost. I’m busy getting ready for all spookiness coming in October. Hope you all understand. Also, I signed up for the Amazon Affiliates program again, because I completely failed the first time. Clicking the links helps support this blog. Thank you, writer bees! Stay safe and keep creative! – Love, Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky.)

I’ve noticed a heated debate within the writing community. When you finally publish a story, should you use your real name or a pen name? For aspiring authors, it’s a tough question. Have no fear, I’m here to help!

Today, I’m taking a look at the pros and cons of both sides of the argument, to help you decide what name will be printed on your book cover.

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Pros of a Pen Name

  • The power on anonymity: Some people find freedom in using a new moniker. And If you are sharing a personal life story, you can keep it private. Your boss and your church friends won’t have any idea.
  • Choose a more ‘writerly’ name: Create a memorable, eye catching name that suits the genre you are writing in. Pen names give you a chance to give yourself the name you’ve always wanted.
  • Dip your toe in multiple genres. Be fluid and experiment in various genres with multiple personas. And if you fail to sell enough books, simply reinvent yourself.

Cons of a Pen Name

  • Difficult Marketing: It’s harder to spread the word on your book under a nom de plume. Keeping your true identity a secret may hurt your book promoting process.
  • Struggle with building an author-reader connection. And it takes some time for the name to gain recognition.
  • Establishing a brand new persona. With a pen name, you may have to balance a double life. That might mean managing multiple social media accounts and writer websites etc.

Authors That Used Pen Names


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Pros of Using Your Real Name

  • Pride: That’s your name on the cover of the book. Sweet success belongs to you. Some writers dream about seeing their name in a bookstore. It’s a major accomplishment.
  • Easier to promote your work with your real name. Friends, family members, neighbors etc. will know it’s you. And you can do more local promos as well.
  • One name, one identity. No need to manage multiple social media accounts or author websites. Also, forget the hassle or confusion of a fake moniker. Readers and business associates know how to address you.

Cons of Using Your Real Name

  • Your name may sound similar to another famous name. That might cause confusion to readers.
  • You may have a forgettable or fairly common name. Shout out to the John Smiths of the world.
  • You are writing within a genre where books written by the opposite gender sell better. Unfortunately, sexism against authors is real.

When you publish a story, would you use a pen name or your real name? And what’s your opinion on nom de plumes? Talk to me in the comments!

Stay safe and keep writing!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)