Tag Archives: writing workshop

Things to Do Before ____: The Bucket List Tag

Hello writer bees.

It’s been a long week. And if I’m honest, I’ve feeling a little drained. It seems like everyone is struggling during this pandemic, both emotionally and health wise. Really reminds you how short life is, huh?

One of my goals for 2020 is to be more positive. I’m not a motivational speaker. I’m just a writer trying to keep her head above water. And the last time I was about to fall down the rabbit hole of deep depression, I started writing a list of things I hope to do in my life. It’s a note on my phone, titled ‘things to do before ____’. Before what? Before I turned 30? Before I die? It never felt right for me to fill in the blank, not sure why. Regardless, this ever growing list keeps my spirit up when I need it.

Then I stumbled on the Bucket List tag, where you write 10 things you want to do in your life. And now, here we are. This is my bucket list.

  • Write and publish a novel.
  • Get a bunch of tiny tattoos.
  • Go to Disney World and possibly Disneybound.
  • See a Ballet.
  • Mentor young writers.
  • Adopt a rescue dog or cat.
  • Travel to Baltimore.
  • Learn to cook healthy.
  • Visit a NYC Speakeasy.
  • Find a Blog Sponsor for Lady Jabberwocky. (wink wink)

Probably no one will be interested in this post, and that’s fine. But maybe, someone out there will start their own list and feel a little uplifted. I think we all need a pick me up right about now.

Share your bucket list on your own blog/social media or leave it in the comments here.

Stay well and stay safe, everyone.

– Lady Jabberwocky

The Charlatan (Fantasy Flash Fiction)

“Excuse me, kind sirs. Could I have a moment of your time?” A plump gnome woman approached a table with three half orcs clad in leather armor. Cradled in her arms were three cork-topped bottles filled with burnt orange liquid. The opal ring on her finger winked at the weary adventurers. “I’m selling home brewed health potions.”

The group exchanged looks, grunting and crossing their arms. “100 gold for the whole lot.”

A sigh in surrender as she glanced over her shoulder. “Well, I didn’t want to say anything but… See that fellow over there?” Stationed at the lonely table near the tavern door was a figure wearing a dark cloak and a crow like mask. He appeared entranced by the lute playing bard across the room.

The trio of warriors leaned closer, now intrigued. Her tragic tale of woe began. “Would you believe it, a bolt of lightening set his house on fire. Left his face severely burned and hideous scarred.” After setting all three vials on the table, she dabbed the corner of her eye with a handkerchief. “100 gold per bottle would greatly help him get back on his feet.” Her offer was coated with a honey sweet voice.

Coins clattered onto the table.

Hooking her arm in the crook of his elbow, the two strolled into a secluded alleyway, embracing the shadows. “Severely burned and hideously scarred,” He mocked while he counted the coins in the pouch. “You really laid it on thick this time, Poet. Those poor fools.” His cape enveloped her, eyes faintly glowing silver behind glass windows. Autumn leaves skittered across cobblestone streets.

For a brief moment, the opal ring shimmered. Her entire body transformed. A sly grin spread across burgundy lips as she snickered like a conniving witch. Lavender painted her skin. On both sides of her head, ram horns curled. No longer a mere gnome, but a roughish Tiefling.

“The world is built on poor fools.” Poet kissed the beak of his mask, her devilish tail swishing like a pendulum. “Come along, Endymion. We need to make a new batch of Poppy flower tea.” With her masked companion trailing behind, the charlatan disappeared into the night.

“On to the next town.”

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Since our DnD is suspended until further notice, I decided to write this short story inspired by the game and our characters. And it’s based one of my prompts of the week. Stay safe and stay healthy out there, everyone.

Lady Jabberwocky

3 Tips on Writing the Love Interest

Happy Valentine’s Day, Writer Bees and Bugs!

Love is in the air, even in fiction. No matter the genre, a love interest can add complexity and conflict to any story. If your MC is feeling the love, then check out these helpful tips on creating a character’s sweetheart.

Experiment with Chemistry

Love at first sight doesn’t make for an interesting story. Maybe attraction at first sight, sure. For the most part, feelings must develop gradually, not instantly. No matter what stage in the relationship, take the time to build up and explore that chemistry. A great lover could become an even greater foil for another character.

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Also, keep in mind the kind of relationships your characters would pursue. What’s their sexual preference? Are they interested in one night stands and flings? Or are they looking for a serious relationship? OR are they even looking for love in the first place? These factors will dictate how their romantic relationship lives and breathes over the course of the story.

Flaws, Glorious Flaws

Look, how many hot billionaires with six packs are there in the world? Seriously? Don’t create a character that is the ideal partner. Give them flaws. Real flaws. Consider physical and/or personality quirks. Are they short and stubborn? Are they pessimistic with a crooked nose? Be creative but be careful making a completely unlikeable character. Find that balance.

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A romantic interest shouldn’t just be a cookie cutter person. They must be able to stand on their own, as a complete character. Their entire world cannot revolve around another person. Whether the love interest is a main character or a side character, at the end of the day, readers want complex, relatable characters.

The Big Bad Conflict

No romance is perfect. Every couple has their struggles. With an internal or external battle, conflict is needed so things aren’t so lovey-dovey. Maybe one is afraid of commitment? Or are outside forces (society, race, war etc.) are straining their bond? Give the couple obstacles that they can (or cannot) overcome together.

Try tying the their conflict to the overall plot line, that way, the relationship won’t seem forced or out of place. Set the stakes high to ensure the problem is meaningful enough to the characters. Like a problem bigger than leaving the toilet seat up.

Bottom line, love isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, and that’s a good thing. Embrace those imperfections and write a real romance.


How do you guys write love interests? Any tips? Talk to me in the comments. And Happy Valentine’s day everybody!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Become a Patron! // Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter

Bianca and the Mysterious Happenings (Mystery Short Story)

“You suffered a serious loss this summer, Bianca. The school faculty was concerned, even the principal wanted me to check up on you.” Let me assure you, I did not have time to have a conversation with the school’s psychiatrist. Sitting amongst a sea of throw pillows in a cramped office, I adjusted my Edgar Allen Poe patterned socks. On his desk, a wooden crane dipped up and down, moving on its own accord.

“Oh I’m fine.” Reassuring others that I was fine seemed to become a common occurrence nowadays. Students treated me like I was some tragic mess, fragile and ready to crumple at any moment. Hardly. There’s more to my story than that.

“It appears so.” The therapist shuffled his paperwork. My life condensed in a manilla folder. “Excelling in all of your classes. Writing for the school newspaper. Volunteering in the school play.”

My shoulders bounced. “I try to keep busy.” And Chester always did like the theatre.  

“This is a safe place to talk about him.” Mister Raphael reminded.  Yes, because the motivational poster of a polar bear climbing a mountain really made me feel safe to express my feelings. “Grief takes many forms.”

Fingers fidgeted with the sleeve of my wool sweater. My eyes kept glancing at the clock. This meeting lasted 6 minutes and 47 seconds, 5 minutes longer than necessary. Why did I give up free period for this?  Although my jaw tightened, I forced a smile. “He was my boyfriend since freshman year. We were planning to go to the same college together. Get married. Kids. White picket fence.” Excuse the cynicism, it had been a long semester, with more sympathetic looks than I could count. Some of them didn’t even know Chester.

“He’d want me to keep going.” Not very poetic, but very true, nonetheless.

After a couple seconds of silence, I informed Mister Raphael about the pieces I planned to write for the school newspaper. I had a journal filled with notes and outlines for possible articles. While talking about news topics, an eagerness returned to my voice. Are the tofu burgers in the cafeteria really vegan? Did last year’s valedictorian cheat on his SATs?

“And I’m also looking into the recent disturbances at the graveyard.” Mysterious happenings were happening in the Westminster Cemetery. The reporter in me must investigate. The ceiling light flickered above.  “Or maybe I should write about the school’s faulty wiring.”

We share an uneasy, cordial laugh. Then, It was time to leave. “Well, my door is always open, if you need an ear.” 

With my chin raised and a sigh of relief, I exited the office. Ponytail swishing from side to side. The halls were mostly clear, except for a few lingering students and a security guard distracted by his smartphone.

“Grief takes many forms.” Those empathetic words felt lackluster on my lips. I stared at my reflection in the vending machine window. “How am I supposed to grieve when you won’t quit bothering me?” One of the metal rings in the machine spiraled, releasing a snack from it’s grip. A bag of honey wheat pretzels, my favorite.

I couldn’t help but smile. What a charmer, even in death.


Hey Writer Bees! Hope you enjoyed this little scene. Lately, I’ve been playing around with the idea of a having fiction series on this blog, updating with a new chapter each month. This is just a snippet of a mystery plot, following Bianca, the school reporter, and the unusual events happening in Baltimore.

Want to read more of this story? How do you feel about a regular series on this blog? Be honest, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Become a Patron! // Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter

What’s in a Name?: Tips on Naming Characters

Hello hello writer bugs!

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, naming a character is like naming a child.

Whether it’s for a main character or a background character, the names you choose should be significant. Names can tie characters to the setting, to their roots, or just hold a greater symbolic meaning. How do you find the perfect name for a character? I’ve got some tips that are sure to help.

Baby Naming Websites

Baby naming websites for mommies-to-be are actually really helpful. Check out the extensive lists and dredge up some ideas for names. If you are looking for a name that begins with a certain letter or a specific cultural origin, you’ll be able to search names that fit your criteria.

A Name with Meaning

Sometimes, names have a deeper root meaning. And those meanings can fit into a character’s personality. You’d be surprised what some names translate into. Not every reader is going to make those connections, however, you, as the author, will know. A meaningful name may influence a character’s identity.

For my MC, his first name is Graham, which means ‘grey home’. That image really connects with his gloomy and mysterious personality.

Historical Context 

If your story takes place in another time period, keep in mind the historical context. Names that are common today may not have been 100 years ago. Find out what names were common at the time. If you Google something like ‘names from 1920s’, a list of popular names from the 1920s will probably pop up.

Also, check the Social Security Administration website for ranked list of common names of the decade. It’s pretty useful, and it’ll give you a feel for the time period and what inspired names during that era.

Sound it Out

When in doubt, sound it out. Say the name out loud. If it doesn’t sound right, or its difficult to pronounce, or just sounds like a mouthful, then something’s off. Keep trying. Once you’ve found a name that suits your character, it should just click. Like, “huh, that one sounds right.”

Consider the Entire Cast

Try not to have characters’ names sound similar, or readers may be confused. Think about your fictional crew as a whole and note if names sound too alike. By differentiating characters, readers will have an easier time following the story and connecting with individual characters.

One time, in fiction writing class, a classmate had two characters named Flip and Clip. Unironically. Don’t have a Flip and Clip in your story. I’m still confused about it.


How do you go about naming your characters? Lemme know in the comments!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Become a Patron! // Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter

Welcome to Lady Jabberwocky!

Hello Everyone!

Let’s about all things writing and have some fun doing it. From storytelling to freelancing, follow the adventures of a New York writer.

Curious about the ins and outs of freelance writing? Check out the Notes from a Lady Freelance Writer series. It’s the real insight on my job as a freelancer.

Want to improve your creative writing skills? There’s some great advice on fiction writing, simplifying the art of storytelling. Also, participate in Prompt of the Week, with a new writing prompt every Monday. And read some of the short stories here too.

But wait, there’s more!

Take a look at this freelance writer’s services page. Even if you aren’t interested in hiring a writer, feel free to pass it along and share with others who might.

And Follow Me on Twitter for even more writer shenanigans!

Thanks for stopping by!

How to Handle Rewrites Like a Freelance Writer

Since October is the season of facing monsters, let’s talk about what most freelance writers fear and dread during every project; Revisions, rewrites and criticism. Dun dun dunnnn.

Have no fear, rewrites aren’t so scary. And they’ll happen more often than you think.

Setting the Scene

You are a freelance writer, working your hustle. Whatever material your buyer needs written, you put a considerable amount of effort into it. Once completed, you are proud of your finished piece and send it off for review. You’re left crossing your fingers that whatever you wrote is exactly what they ordered, no edits needed. Then, said buyer returns your work to you with notes. ‘Trim this, rewrite this section, change that, add more, fix this.’ Now, you are charged with perfecting your writing. And that may be a daunting task for some.

Has this happened to me? Oh yes, plenty of times. At first, corrections would hit me right in my ego and self confidence. Like “Maybe I’m an awful writer. My writing is garbage. I’m the worst.” Today, I just take it as a challenge. It’s a way for me to become a better writer. Actually, the other day, a repeat buyer sent me back an article with many crossed out sentences, to be deleted or rewritten. While yes, it stings a tiny bit, I cracked my neck and dove right back in to another round of writing, reassuring the customer that I could handle rewrites, no problem.

How to Tackle Revisions

When you are a writer, you have to expect, and be open to, criticism. I’ve seen so many writers get offended by constructive criticism. Don’t take it personally. Revisions are part of the writing process, especially in freelancing. At the end of the day, you are trying to fulfill someone else’s request. Therefore, you must collaborate with another person to achieve a goal, an awesome piece of writing.

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Often times, a client will give you their notes, aspects of your work they want to change. Those comments get turned into your to do list. Once you’ve received edits, go back to the original piece and pinpoint all the errors they mention. Remember, this is the second time you’ll be looking at what you wrote, so it will be with fresh eyes. Make adjustments at the buyer’s request, whether you agree or not. The customer’s always right, right? Once the piece is ready for review again, double check that checklist. Be sure you hit all the points noted and deliver exactly what the client wants.

And keep in mind, there can be multiple rounds of edits. Communication with your client is key.

Living Up to Expectations

It depends on who you’re working for, whether it be a one time buyer or a regular customer. Their expectations might be strict and precise, or might be laid back and they’ll accept anything. The more you interact with them, the more you’ll understand their standards. Trust me, I’ve received everything from minor editorial notes to a long laundry list of notes. It happens. The ‘under revisions’ stage is just one step in the writing process for freelancers.

Clients may offer some detailed instructions, or they may give you a vague topic to run with. Really understand what the buyer is looking for. And if you are feeling unsure about something, or confused about directions, asking a bunch of questions help. In my experience, it’s better to bother them with questions, just to be certain of what they want, as opposed to taking their request at face value and shooting in the dark.

Home Runs

In my experience as a freelance writer, nothing beats handing in work that is error free. When the client says “This is perfect! This is exactly what I was looking for!” It happens rarely, but when it does, I call it a home run, knocked right out of the park. I do a little happy dance in my seat. Savor those moments of sweet victory.

Offering your work up for review can be intimidating. And waiting for possible corrections while an article is up for criticism can be a bit nerve-wracking. I cross my fingers every time I send anything out. But, rewrites happen more often than not. And that’s okay. It’s not necessarily something you’ve done wrong, or not well enough. So, don’t feel discouraged when a paragraph needs rewriting. Remember your skills as a writer and revisions won’t be so scary.

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I want to hear from you guys. How do you feel when given criticism on your work? How do you handle the revision process? Be honest, and let me know in the comments.

Lady Jabberwocky

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