Getting Personal #81: August Goals Recap


Image Credit: Pinterest

August felt like a long month, but it was full of exciting things! I celebrated another birthday, we had AC all month long, I got addicted to LuLaRoe (More on that later), and my work department moved to a new, renovated office space. Yay!!

Here’s the link to my August Goals:


Here we go!

  1. Register for the fall semester. — Accomplished!
  2. Donate blood. — Accomplished!
  3. Clear out the clothing clutter, once and for all. — Semi-Achieved.
  4. Celebrate my birthday! — Accomplished!
  5. See The Dark Tower. — Accomplished!
  6. Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Update my resume and LinkedIn profile. — Semi-Achieved.
  9. Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Make the Succulent Sphere craft for Savy. — Semi-Achieved.

Here’s the breakdown:

Register for the fall semester. — Accomplished!

  • FINALLY! I triumphed over the course of four hours on Friday, August 4th. I met with an awesome academic adviser, who removed the English prerequisite, and I registered for Legal Writing.
  • I started the class last week, and I’m loving it so far. Our professor is super laid-back, but also knowledgeable. She works in one of the Legal Departments for Dollar Tree!

Donate blood. — Accomplished!

  • Yay! Spencer, my favorite phlebotomist, was there during the drive on Saturday, August 5th. I dropped a pint, and later learned that it went to the main hospital in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Red Cross sends an email to all successful donors and tells them where their donation went!
  • The next drive is Saturday, October 7th!

Clear out the clothing clutter, once and for all. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I got my Donation Bag from thredUP, and filled it to bursting. But I haven’t had a chance to send it in. I feel awesome. This weekend!

Celebrate my birthday! — Accomplished!

  • My mom bought an awesome birthday cake to share at the blood drive!
  • My parents took Al and I out to Spaghetti Eddie’s on Sunday night – Delicious!
  • Mom and Dad found “the gift that I have always wanted” – See the photo below!
  • I took my birthday off from work, and had a shopping spree at MacArthur Mall, and Best Thrift. I also went out to lunch at Uno’s with Al, and his co-workers Kathryn and Frances. They gave me Prosecco, an awesome phone stand, and a journal!
  • Al and I went out on Monday night to Ninja Sushi, and then Sweet Frog for dessert!
  • It was an absolutely wonderful birthday, and weekend. Here’s to 29!

See The Dark Tower. — Accomplished!

  • We saw this on Saturday, August 5th!
  • Even though I haven’t read any of the books, I really liked the movie.
  • I’m hoping for more!

Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Did not accomplish.

  • This just didn’t happen. I’m putting it on the list for September!

Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.

  • Ugh. I wanted this to happen! Every weekend was either busy, or my parents were out of town!

Update my resume and LinkedIn profile. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I successfully revamped my LinkedIn profile – Yay!
  • Still working on the resume. Piece by piece.

Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Did not accomplish.

  • Making this happen in September!

Make the Succulent Sphere craft for Savy. — Semi-Achieved.

  • I have all the things to make it. But, I’m trying to time it correctly so I can give it to her closer to the bachelorette extravaganza!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to four out of 10 goals! Woohoo!
  • The three goals that were Semi-Achieved: I’m happy with my progress with these goals. More to do next month!
  • The three goals that I did not accomplish: Timing is everything. Making time for things is so important!

What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of August?

Come back tomorrow to see my September Goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #73: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 35)

Week #35: Your Neighborhood.

I took this picture last summer, right after we moved in.

In January, we were covered in snow!

What a gorgeous sunrise!

I love where we live! We definitely lucked out! One of the signatures is the crepe myrtle trees that line most of the streets. They’re absolutely beautiful.


Al took this photo a few months ago, right after we bought our bikes from SCAT Bikes, the local bike shop. We love riding around our neighborhood – Very safe and quiet. We certainly work up a good sweat! The only change we’ll make is better bike seats!

As this photo shows, our neighborhood allows us to safely ride bikes whenever we want. We have a nice mix of retired folks, younger couples like us, and a good number of kids. The school buses will start showing up next week!

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in our house for well over a year now!

I’m incredibly grateful that we found a house and a neighborhood that we could comfortably afford! I can see us raising our child / children here for many years.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #57: “Trump has no idea how much health insurance costs”


Image Credit:

Even though this article was published well over two months ago, it sparked a fire in me.

Here’s the link to the original post:

Reading this article, I was appalled. Granted, a lot of things about our current President are appalling. But, I digress.

How much do you pay every month, or every pay period, for your health insurance? (This is a rhetorical question, of course.)

I think we all WISH it was as little as $12 or $15.

Sadly, it’s not.

Al and I both are incredibly fortunate to have decent/good employer-sponsored health insurance. This means that health insurance is one of the benefits at the companies where we work. But, even though our employers offer it to us, it’s far from a simple process.

At my work, we can choose from several different options. Depending on what we pick, that factors into how much money we pay. For me, I’ve elected to pay for my plan out of every paycheck, and it’s automatically deducted.

Toward the end of the year, the two of us will sit down and re-evaluate the plans that both our companies offer, side-by-side. We will figure out if we will continue to pay for our own individual plans, like we have been, or if one of us will go on the other’s insurance plan since we’re now married. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these strategies. So far, it’s worked out that we’ve paid for two individual plans. We will also have other decisions to make when we plan to grow our family. The short answer: Spouses and children are a tad bit expensive (to put it lightly).

I won’t say how much we pay, but it’s much more than $12 or $15 a month. That’s a pipe dream.

I thought this was an interesting link:

I don’t swear by these numbers, but it certainly gives me a good indication at how much prices have skyrocketed!

And, it’s a bit mind-boggling to think/know that every singe state in our country shows different prices.

Recently, I’ve seen multiple arguments / pleas / thoughts about the U.S. needing to convert to “universal health care” or go to a “single-payer system.”

So, what does this mean?

Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and several countries in Europe, offer their citizens “universal health care,” which basically means that health care is provided to everyone, no questions asked. Also, prices are typically lower / more affordable.

That conglomeration of ideas is certainly enticing to many. However, there are trade-offs.

For the most part, many citizens of these countries pay higher taxes.

Non-emergency approved surgery have significantly longer wait times. Sometimes, patients are waiting for at least six months for some surgeries, if not longer.

“Single-payer health care” is sometimes referred to as “Medicare for all.”

The way I interpret it, is that all citizens of a country pay into one pool. That pool of money is used exclusively for all health care costs. In this instance, health care is considered a right, not a privilege.

As some of the sources I’ve consulted point out, the U.S. already has an established single payer system, meaning Medicare and Medicaid. However, only certain people in the U.S. qualify for these programs, such as people over the age of 65, young children, the blind, and people with certain disabilities. Even so, there are strict rules in place. For example, not all states have expanded Medicaid – Virginia is one of those states. If you make too much money, you don’t qualify. And on and on. It’s immensely confusing, and frustrating.

Here’s a list of resources / articles that I found helpful:

In short, health care in the U.S. has become increasingly complicated, convoluted, and expensive. I realize that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fixed some things, but it also created other problems. A lot of the big health insurance companies, along with the pharmaceutical companies, are purely driven by greed. They only care about the bottom line, not about the patients that are trying to get health care and medicine that they need.

I certainly don’t have the right answer.

In my research, I’m all for making health care more affordable. Every American should have equal access to health care at all times. But, making that happen is a tough challenge. In my view, if our country can revamp Medicare and Medicaid and make those existing programs into universal health care for America, that would be a step in the right direction.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #43: “Gunpowder and Tea Cakes: My Journey with Felicity”

Gunpowder and Tea Cakes

Image Credit: American Girl

If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading the two other Book Reviews I’ve written about Felicity’s books:

I think I loved this “Journey Book” more than all the ones I’ve read so far!

I know I’m biased because I live about 45 minutes away from Colonial Williamsburg. Regardless, I love how American Girl has portrayed Williamsburg in the present day, as well as the colonial period.

Our modern girl lives with her dad and grandmother, above her grandmother’s antiques shop. A miniature portrait on a chain catapults her back to 1775, and she meets Felicity and her friends. I loved how the author incorporated the current Williamsburg interpreters into the adventure!

Maybe it was just me (I haven’t counted all of them), but I feel like Felicity’s Journey Book has the most adventures that the reader can choose. It was really cool, but it was part of the reason why it took me longer to read it than the other two volumes.

There wasn’t really anything that I disliked about this book. If you’re looking for adventure, heart-stopping thrills, and an education on colonial times, this is an awesome book to check out!

This reader definitely wants to dive deeper into Colonial Williamsburg and its history. For me, I have no excuse!

5 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #26: “Keep It Fresh Award / Book Tag”

Keep It Fresh

Image Credit: audreywritesabroad

I saw this post on Marie’s library. She loves many types of books!

Here’s the link to her original post:

The Rules:

  1. Post the rules before starting and link back to this post as a reference for other bloggers.
  2. Part A: Answer each of the fruit questions (Each fruit corresponds to a book!), and add pictures, plus why you thought that particular book deserves that particular fruit if possible.
  3. Part B: Choose your favorite fruit (Even if it is one of the fruits in part A). Come up with a question that we didn’t ask, and answer it.
  4. Part C: Create your own smoothie from the fruits in Part A (Imagine a Lemon-Tomato-Apple smoothie ~ yuck), and find a book that would correlate to your smoothie!
  5. Nominate as many and anyone that you think are deserving of this award but it would be nice if you nominated a minimum of 5!
  6. Notify your nominees of the nomination.
  7. The most important rules? Have fun, and of course, keep it fresh!

Part A

Strawberries – Name the sweetest book you’ve read (e.g., sweet in terms of the characters, or if the story takes place in a sweet world, etc.)


Image Credit: Wikipedia

Coconut – What’s a book that you would bring on vacation with you to a tropical destination? (Or if you’re just relaxing at the beach…)

Elin Hilderbrand

Image Credit: Mix and Match Mama


Anything by Elin Hilderbrand!

Pineapple – What’s a book that you didn’t think you would like by judging its cover / summary / the first few pages, but started to grow on you?

Looking for Alaska

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I remember feeling incredibly skeptical when this book was assigned for my Young Adult Literature class during my final semester at Longwood. I hadn’t read anything from John Green until then. But, after this book, I was hooked.

Orange – What’s the juiciest book you’ve read? (e.g., a book with tons of action, romance, etc.)


Image Credit: Amazon

For the life of me, I cannot remember how I found this book, but I loved it!

Watermelon – A watery book (e.g., there wasn’t tons of substance to the book / the details were just too watery, etc. Don’t get us wrong though, we love watermelons!)

The Last Summer of You and Me

Image Credit: Amazon

I tried so hard to like this book, especially since I devoured The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I just couldn’t get into it. This is one of those rare books that I never finished.

Dragonfruit – What’s the most unique book you’ve read? (e.g., unique in writing style, characters, plot, etc.)

dragon tattoo

Image Credit: Paste Magazine

Lemons – Name a book that made you feel sour (e.g., the emotions were just sour, you just felt sour reading the book, or the book includes sour characters, etc.)

This Is Where It Ends - Goodreads

Image Credit:

Check out my Book Review.

Tomato – What’s a wonderful book that you think should be more widely known? Or a fantastic author whom you think deserves more recognition (Since some may not know that tomatoes are actually fruits!)


Image Credit:

I’m so excited that Brubaker Bradley is releasing a sequel in a few months – I’ve been eagerly waiting since January! It’s not a delightful topic by any stretch of the imagination, but I loved it. Check out my Book Review!

Apple – Name a really stereotypical book of a certain genre, just like apples, which a typical fruits. In the end, was that book good or not? (e.g., a very typical contemporary / fantasy book, etc.)

Read my Book Reviews!

Blueberries – Name a book that made you feel blue (Any sad, depressing books that you’ve read.)


Image Credit: Children of the 90s

Most anything by Lurlene McDaniel. I devoured her books in middle school and high school, but most of them are very sad!

Grapefruit – Any bitter books? (e.g., a book that was blue, but more. Do you have any bitter resentments toward characters from a book? Any sour turned bitter emotions? Any uber-hateful villains?)


Image Credit: Amazon

Check out my Book Review.

Limes – Name a funny book that you’ve read because limes add flavor, and so does humor with every book.

The Vacationers

Image Credit: Amazon

Check out my Book Review!

Part B

Limes – Name a book that you can read, or re-read, while drinking your favorite beverage (For me, Corona with lime).

The Last Song

Image Credit: Goodreads

Part C

Smoothie: Pineapple, Oranges, and Limes

  • A book I thought I wouldn’t like by judging its cover / summary / the first few pages, but it started to grow on me.
  • The juiciest book I’ve read.
  • A funny book.

Image Credit: The Odyssey Online

Hands down!


This tag was so much fun, but also challenging!

I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but if you want to participate, please do so!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #42: “A Stand for Independence: A Felicity Classic 2”

A Stand for Independence

Image Credit: American Girl

If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading the review of the first Felicity volume before this one:

Volume 2 doesn’t quite pick up where Volume 1 leaves off, but that is easily forgiven. Like Love and Loyalty, Volume 2 covers the remaining three books of the original six-book series: Happy Birthday, Felicity!, Felicity Saves The Day, and Changes for Felicity.

Felicity turns ten years old early in the book, surrounded by family and friends. There are several surprises to be had – Grandfather gives her an amazing and precious gift, but warns her to be careful and be responsible with it. Mother is expecting a fourth child, and Penny the horse is due to be a mother as well! So much excitement!

Felicity learns an important lesson about responsibility as she outright disobeys Grandfather. She struggles with guilt and shame, but ultimately tells the truth. Will she be forgiven? Will the gift be taken back?

The second part of the book follows the Merrimans away from Williamsburg, and headed to Grandfather’s spectacular King’s Creek Plantation on the York River. I immediately recognized many of the names and places in the book. In my research, the plantation land has long been converted to a neighborhood full of houses and cottages, but the views of the York River are still breathtaking and beautiful. Seeing the modern photos (thank you, Internet), made me close my eyes and imagine what it looked like in 1775. The book helped immensely too – I saw Felicity, Nan, and William enjoying every one of their summer days, outside all day long! How carefree and wonderful.

The summer, however, is not without trouble. Mr. Merriman’s apprentice, Ben, becomes restless and impatient, and decides to run away. Luckily, Felicity comes to the rescue. The weaving of history is incredible. Ben struggles mightily with wanting to serve out his seven years as an apprentice to learn the trade, but the preparations for revolution grow stronger, almost every hour. At sixteen, Ben wants to join the fight. Will Felicity help him?

As summer fades to fall and winter, health issues plague members of Felicity’s family. Penny is due to give birth, but experiences complications, and an old enemy’s help is needed. Grandfather falls gravely ill, and the entire family pitches in to take care of him. The weather is just as violent, and the fight for independence grows stronger. Everyone spends the winter cooped up inside, trying to understand what’s happening in their family, as well as their colony.

Between the two books, I felt so much childhood nostalgia. I was propelled back to the early 1990s when I read and re-read the original six books, staring longingly at the beautiful illustrations. As I finished this book, I felt my excitement growing for Felicity’s newest book, Gunpowder and Tea Cakes. Review coming soon!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #72: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 34)

Week #34: Things You Like About Fall.

At this point, I think fall is my favorite season. The air turns cooler and more crisp. The changing colors of the leaves always takes my breath away. I have fond memories of raking my parents’ huge yard, and then jumping in the piles with the neighbors.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Hopefully this year, Al and I can continue the tradition in our neighborhood that his parents started – Having a portable fire pit in the driveway and letting the kids (and adults) make s’mores, plus gather some candy. His parents’ house was the most popular spot in Jolliff Woods!

And this year, the fall of 2017 will be full of exciting adventures:

  • August-December: Taking Legal Writing (Fingers crossed this is my LAST paralegal class!).
  • September: Heading to Topgolf in Virginia Beach with Al, Beth, Casey, Rachel, and Will.
  • September: Celebrating our seven-year dating anniversary. How is that possible?!
  • September: Savy’s bachelorette weekend, aptly titled “Mimosas in the Mountains.”
  • September: Battle of the Sexes —This looks hilarious! Emma Stone and Steve Carell. I can’t wait!
  • October: Blade Runner 2049 — Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, yes, please!
  • October: Celebrating birthdays – My mom’s, Mia’s, and several other friends.
  • October: The Flash, season 4 premiere.
  • October: Nick and Savy’s wedding!
  • October: Hampton Comicon!
  • October: My Little comes home for a long-overdue visit!!
  • October: Stranger Things, season 2 premiere on Netflix, plus Halloween, plus Al’s epic Millennium Falcon model arrives!
  • November: Thor: Ragnarok — So excited!
  • November: Murder on the Orient Express — Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Michelle Pfeiffer!!
  • November: Celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary!
  • November: Justice League!!!
  • November: Coco — Disney/Pixar!
  • November: Thanksgiving!
  • December: Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

There’s probably other things I’m missing, but those are the highlights!


I love this photo! It always makes me think of fall.

Are you excited for fall?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂



Book Review #41: “Love and Loyalty: A Felicity Classic 1”

Love and Loyalty

Image Credit: American Girl

I was a little apprehensive when I first learned that Felicity was being re-released under the BeForever line. She was originally archived in the spring of 2011. That’s quite a while!

However, I was pleasantly surprised when Al bought my Volume 1 and Volume 2 for my birthday earlier this month. Reading them has brought back so many childhood memories!

If you’ve read the original six-book “Central Series” before, you’ll notice that Volume 1 covers roughly the first three books. In this case, this includes Meet Felicity, Felicity Learns A Lesson, and Felicity’s Surprise.

I easily connected with Felicity’s character, mainly because her stories are set in Williamsburg, Virginia, during colonial times. Having grown up just a stone’s throw away from the historic city (About 45 minutes), Felicity was fairly popular among my friends in elementary school. When we celebrated Colonial Days, I saw many girls dressed in the period clothes that American Girl sold – I felt incredibly jealous!

The “new” Volume 1 opens in 1774. At nine years old, Felicity Merriman is the oldest child, with a younger sister and brother behind her. Her mother is the homemaker, while her father runs one of the most popular shops in the city. He imports many goods from Great Britain, and it quickly becomes evident that tensions are rising between the Loyalists and the Patriots.

Like the other American Girl books, the historical accuracy blew me away. I felt like I was on the streets of Williamsburg alongside Felicity, as she spends time with her family, makes deliveries for her father with his apprentice, Ben, and makes a new friend, Elizabeth. I could easily feel the heat between her Grandfather, a Loyalist, and Ben, a strong-headed Patriot. Felicity herself deals with complications, as Elizabeth and her family are from England, and are devoted to the king.

Rumors of revolution begin to develop, and the theme of freedom runs throughout. Felicity fights to free Penny the horse from her abusive master. Ben wants to be a member of the militia, but knows he’s obligated to Mr. Merriman for seven years of service. One character is jailed, and the families come together to attempt to set them free. The people of Williamsburg are upset with the oppressive taxes, and set out to begin to declare their independence.

As Christmas approaches, Felicity deals with love, loss, and hardship. She learns to be less impatient and more thoughtful. She begins to grow and blossom, and develops a greater appreciation for her family, and for the events surrounding her and her city. She deals with a lot of conflict, but in conflicting times, she perseveres.

Although I miss the beautiful illustrations from the old books, I greatly appreciated the attention to detail. I felt like I was in 1774, and it was hard to come back to 2017!

My review of Volume 2 is coming soon!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #6: Tim O’Brien

Tim OBrien - Quotefancy

Image Credit: Quotefancy

For some odd reason, I’ve been fascinated by the Vietnam War time period for many years. It started around middle school, when I read the Dear America and My Name is America books based in the late 1960s:

  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone? The Diary of Molly MacKenzie Flaherty, Boston, Massachusetts, 1968 (2002)
  • The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty: United States Marine Corps Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968 (2002)

Both of those books were written by Ellen Emerson White. In high school, I read another of her books focusing on that time period, a young adult (YA) book called The Road Home (1995).

I also remember studying the Vietnam War in depth in my 20th Century History class as a senior in high school. In addition to history class, I gave a presentation on Woodstock for my Theory of Knowledge (ToK) class.

Maybe it’s because that was the time that my parents were in college and told me various stories over the years. No one in my family was involved in the combat or action, but I’ve read many books and done a lot of research about the war, and the U.S. involvement.

All that said, I can’t remember when I was first introduced to Tim O’Brien and his books. I think it was Dr. Lynch’s ENGL 150 class when I was a freshman in college. Regardless, as soon as I started reading, I was a fan.

Born in Austin, Minnesota, O’Brien had a younger brother and sister. At the age of ten, O’Brien’s family moved to Worthington, Minnesota. The move greatly influenced his writing, and he uses Lake Okabena in his book The Things They Carried (1990).

O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1968. The same year, he was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam, serving there from 1969 to 1970. In 1968, the unit he was assigned was involved in the now-infamous My Lai Massacre.

After his tour in Vietnam, O’Brien started graduate school at Harvard University, and received an internship with The Washington Post. In 1973, he published his first work, his memoir of his experiences in Vietnam, titled If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home.

Since 1973, he’s published eight other works. His most recent publication was released in 2002.

In the present day, O’Brien lives and writes in central Texas. He’s married and has two sons. He teaches full-time every other year at Texas State University-San Marcos. When he’s not teaching full-time, he teaches workshops to MFA students in the creative writing program.

He has been recognized with several honors and awards. Most recently, he received the $100,000 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, in June 2013.

Going After Cacciato (1978)


Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is the book I remember reading at Longwood. It left such an impression on me for a long time. Cacciato is a member of Paul Berlin’s squad in Vietnam who goes absent without leave (AWOL), trying to get to France.

Critics and readers alike have marveled at O’Brien’s ability to blur reality and fiction, also known as verisimilitude. I think we read this in Dr. Lynch’s class, my very first semester in college, and the discussions we had were just incredible.

The Things They Carried (1990)


Image Credit: Wikipedia

I didn’t read this collection of short stories for any class (I don’t think so, anyway), but writing this post has inspired me to put it on my TBR. This is where O’Brien use of verisimilitude shines.

In the Lake of the Woods (1994)


Image Credit: Wikipedia

Inspired by O’Brien’s upbringing in Minnesota, this book combines drama, mystery, war, and politics. This is also going on my TBR!

July, July (2002)


Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t know what it is about class reunions, but whenever that particular topic is explored, I find myself intrigued. This novel is set in 2000, focusing on the delayed 30-year reunion of the class of 1969. This is also going on my TBR!

What about you? Have you read anything by Tim O’Brien?

Come back next month for another installment of Awesome Authors!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #56: “Changing Telling into Showing”

ML Keller

Image Credit: M.L. Keller

As an aspiring novelist, I subscribe to several WordPress blogs that are dedicated to advice about writing.

Back in July, one blogger re-blogged a post from Michelle Keller, also known as ML Keller – The Manuscript Shredder!

Here’s the link to the original post:

This is something that I have ALWAYS struggled with in my writing. In college, I was told this several times, both in writing and to my face. It stung, but, it’s true.

I majored in Communication Studies, with a Mass Media concentration. But, I also minored in Rhetoric & Professional Writing, through the English department. I always wanted to take creative writing classes, and at Longwood, I got that chance!

But, combining that major and minor affected my writing in an interesting way. Through being a writer, and eventually an editor, for The Rotunda student newspaper, I learned quickly how to summarize my points and quotes for an article, or a column, or a feature. For the newspaper, I knew I couldn’t write a novel.

However, summarizing for countless articles and columns bled into my creative writing. One of my professors, Dr. Steven Faulkner, told me in a one-on-one meeting that he could tell immediately that I was a journalism student. He looked me in the eyes, and said, “You’ve mastered the art of summary.” I still remember him saying that – It’s been eight years now. I was taking his Advanced Creative Non-Fiction class at the time, and I was frustrated that I wasn’t improving my overall grade. I ended up with a good grade, but that conversation has always stuck with me.

In her post, Keller says that changing telling into showing is “hated.” Why?

  • Telling stops your story cold.
  • Telling creates distance from your characters.
  • Telling is boring to read.

Ir’s harsh advice, but I know that I needed to read it.

One of the biggest pieces that stuck out to me was:

“Imagine meeting someone for the first time over coffee and the entire conversation is her talking about people you have never met and her deepest darkest life experiences? You’d probably think she needs some serious counseling, but so many of the manuscripts I see begin this way.”

I’ve definitely filed that away for future reference.

In order to change telling into showing, Keller gives several pieces of good advice.

  • Have your characters argue.
  • Have your characters interact with the setting.
  • Use transitions.

According to Keller, the easiest way to change telling into showing is something that I’ve appreciated as a reader for a long time:

Treat your novel like a movie. If the reader can’t see it on the screen, (in novels the other senses count too) then you are telling.

I first noticed this several years ago, when, oddly enough, I started reading and re-reading the Nicholas Sparks novels. There were times (a lot of them with him in particular) where I would put the book down for a minute, and I felt like I could see the action on the page I was just reading play out in front of me, just like a movie.

Once I realized this, I started looking for it in other books, and with other authors. It became a litmus test for me, in a way. The more scenes I could see or visualize, the more I liked the book.

I definitely want to be able to do this in my own novels. I want my readers to use all of their senses when reading my books.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂