April 17th, 2021

April 17th, 2021

Hi! How have you been? How was your week?

Some awesome news!

This week’s writing tip will be provided by my first-ever guest contributor, Anna Volante (@TopKnotCopy). Amazing, right? I think so!

I would really love to see your writing prompt responses each week as well. This week, I’ll be writing a piece based on this week’s writing prompt which you can check out at the bottom of the newsletter.

Do you enjoy the writing prompts I provide each week? Also, I’d like to hear about writing sprints. Are you doing any daily or weekly?

Writing sprints are amazing for boosting creativity and digging yourself out of the deep, dark hole called writer’s block.

In one of the discord servers I’m a part of, they give out several daily writing sprints: some are 1 hour writing sprints, and some are as fast as 15 minutes. Let me tell you right now I will get nothing written if I’m forced to stay within a 15-minute time constraint, haha!

Jacob Thomas

Jacob Thomas

Author

Jacob Thomas is a children’s book & humorous fiction book writer, father, person with autism, someone’s best friend, pluviophile, bibliophile, and so many other things!

This Week’s Writing Tip

This week’s writing tip comes from my first ever Guest Contributor, Anna Volante (@topknotcopy)!

About Anna:

“As a child, I spent most of my time at the library or playing video games with my family. I loved the escape of fantasy worlds more than anything else.

​I abandoned reading for pleasure when I got older and dove into academia. I thought my future was in museums. I duel majored in Anthropology and Near Eastern Civilizations at the University of Michigan before moving to California where I received my MA in Museum Studies from the University of San Francisco. I had dreams of writing exhibition scripts, of curating, of taking part in the dissemination of knowledge I believe so deeply in.”

Learn More

Image of Anna of Top Knot Copy - Image Credit Belongs to Anna of Top Knot Copy

“Holy adjectives! Is there such a thing as too many in your content?

Of course. By using the common sense our noodle provides us, we can deduce that sentences don’t need three adjectives. And as much as I hate to say it as an adjective lover, most sentences can do without any.

However, adjectives add flavor to your writing. We use them in our daily language to provide the listener (and reader) more information about the noun they describe.

Imagine reading about a new video game described as “A world of adventure” vs “A bizarre world of haunting adventure.” The latter tells you what to expect from the game. It feels like an experience.

The trick is to use adjectives that add concrete descriptions to your copy. Or ones that evoke emotions.

Or, if you can, find a noun that’s more precise.

You don’t have to cut all your adjectives out just because you’re told it makes your content concise.

As always, my friends, you’re the writer, the creator; you get to decide.”

– Anna (@TopKnotCopy)

What Do You Think Of This Week’s Writing Tip?

Book Giveaway

But I do still want to talk about the latest book giveaway contest that I’m doing.

Next up on the book giveaway list is a complete box set of the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald.

A perfect gift for Judy Moody uber-fans! Everyone’s favorite exuberant third-grader is celebrated like never before with a GIANT set of her first twelve adventures.

From bad moods to saving the world, solving mysteries to predicting the future, Judy’s many memories — and moods — provide hours of entertainment.

Whether they’ve followed Judy for years or are encountering her for the first time, readers will get a thrill from this cool, colorful, and totally RARE boxed set.

RULES FOR THIS GIVEAWAY:

Must be subscribed to my email newsletter, which of course YOU already are but here’s an added bonus: YOU can invite as many people as you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, increasing your chances of winning!

Once I reach 100 email subscribers, I’ll announce the winner!

Latest Blog Posts

Flash Fiction WIP

I wanted to do this flash fiction piece for #FlashFictionFriday but decided halfway through I would turn it into something…a little more.

read more

Author Life

This week, I haven’t had much time to write anything in my latest manuscripts. As I said before, my mental health complications got in the way of, well, just about everything this week.

But that’s okay, too. Sometimes we need a break – not force ourselves or otherwise, it’ll turn out to be nonsense.

Truth is, I’m not okay. And it’s okay that I’m not okay right now. Why? Because it means all my scars, all the events I’ve been through in my life were and are real – never a dream. And how I feel about the experiences are valid. The greatest thing about it all?

It means that get to control and decide what happens next in my life.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending” – C.S. Lewis.

A friend of mine on Instagram reached out to me when I posted about struggling to be a single dad at 33 years old. A little bit later in the conversation, they mentioned my frequent discussions surrounding the topic of not just my mental health but mental health in general inspired them to be more open about their own mental health struggles.

You never know who you’re changing for the better by being your truest self. I don’t do it to inspire others but to merely vocalize what I’ve internalized for many years. But, if by happenstance I change someone’s life in the process, well, the more confident I become in sharing.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Have you heard about the SCBWI?

It is an international professional organization for authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults.

SCBWI

Benefits of joining the SCBWI include Promotional Opportunities, Awards and Grants, Regional Chapters, Information Resources, and More!

One of the best benefits is the promotional opportunities where you can increase your sales and readership by participating in many marketing and outreach programs, win grants and awards, boosting your visibility.

I’m considering registering for the Arizona chapter.

“The Arizona region covers a large geographic area with a diverse membership of individuals at all stages of writing, illustrating, and publishing in the children’s book marketplace.” – Sharon Skinner – Regional Advisor SCBWI AZ

Follow the Arizona chapter on Facebook & Twitter

Would you like more resources and news about the SCBWI?

This Week’s Writing Prompt

Every week, I’d like to give you, my wonderful newsletter members, a writing prompt challenge.

The goal each week is to challenge you in writing a short story in seven days with the prompt that I provide every week. You can share your results on your blog, in my email, or on social media. Or maybe a mix.

Take a look at this week’s writing prompt and feel free to leave some feedback.

Turn one of the last texts you sent into a story.

April 10th, 2021

April 10th, 2021

Hi! How have you been? How was your week?

Well, my week wasn’t as productive I would have liked. I still haven’t done any writing for any of my manuscripts as of late.

That’s a problem.

Though, I am putting plans together for this coming week: how much time I’ll devote to exercise, writing, working, etc. Writing, exercising, much less planning becomes more difficult when living with a mental illness or two. There are depression and anxiety, and there is PTSD.

My depression and anxiety (panic attacks) have been getting in the way of quite a bit this week, especially after finding myself back at the same Target where the confrontation I spoke of recently took place. I am taking “medicine” for it all but often times it feels as though it’s not enough. Or maybe there are some things I haven’t addressed yet that are subconsciously exacerbating the aforementioned.

If you’re living with a mental illness, you know how this feels. Regardless, I’m always here for you to reach out to.

Jacob Thomas

Jacob Thomas

Author

Jacob Thomas is a children’s book & humorous fiction book writer, father, person with autism, someone’s best friend, pluviophile, bibliophile, and so many other things!

This Week’s Writing Tip

Sorry, I don’t have a writing tip this week /shrug/.

Book Giveaway

But I do still want to talk about the latest book giveaway contest that I’m doing.

Next up on the book giveaway list is a complete box set of the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald.

A perfect gift for Judy Moody uber-fans! Everyone’s favorite exuberant third-grader is celebrated like never before with a GIANT set of her first twelve adventures.

From bad moods to saving the world, solving mysteries to predicting the future, Judy’s many memories — and moods — provide hours of entertainment.

Whether they’ve followed Judy for years or are encountering her for the first time, readers will get a thrill from this cool, colorful, and totally RARE boxed set.

RULES FOR THIS GIVEAWAY:

Must be subscribed to my email newsletter, which of course YOU already are but here’s an added bonus: YOU can invite as many people as you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, increasing your chances of winning!

Once I reach 100 email subscribers, I’ll announce the winner!

Latest Blog Posts

Flash Fiction WIP

I wanted to do this flash fiction piece for #FlashFictionFriday but decided halfway through I would turn it into something…a little more.

read more

Author Life

This week, I haven’t had much time to write anything in my latest manuscripts. As I said before, my mental health complications got in the way of, well, just about everything this week.

But that’s okay, too. Sometimes we need a break – not force ourselves or otherwise, it’ll turn out to be nonsense.

Truth is, I’m not okay. And it’s okay that I’m not okay right now. Why? Because it means all my scars, all the events I’ve been through in my life were and are real – never a dream. And how I feel about the experiences are valid. The greatest thing about it all?

It means that get to control and decide what happens next in my life.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending” – C.S. Lewis.

A friend of mine on Instagram last night reached out to me when I posted about struggling to be a single dad at 33 years old. A little bit later in the conversation, they mentioned my frequent discussions surrounding the topic of not just my mental health but mental health in general inspired them to be more open about their own mental health struggles.

You never know who you’re changing for the better by being your truest self. I don’t do it to inspire others but to merely vocalize what I’ve internalized for many years. But, if by happenstance I change someone’s life in the process, well, the more confident I become in sharing.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Have you heard about the SCBWI?

It is an international professional organization for authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults.

SCBWI

Benefits of joining the SCBWI include Promotional Opportunities, Awards and Grants, Regional Chapters, Information Resources, and More!

One of the best benefits is the promotional opportunities where you can increase your sales and readership by participating in many marketing and outreach programs, win grants and awards, boosting your visibility.

I’m considering registering for the Arizona chapter.

“The Arizona region covers a large geographic area with a diverse membership of individuals at all stages of writing, illustrating, and publishing in the children’s book marketplace.” – Sharon Skinner – Regional Advisor SCBWI AZ

Follow the Arizona chapter on Facebook & Twitter

Would you like more resources and news about the SCBWI?

This Week’s Writing Prompt

Every week, I’d like to give you, my wonderful newsletter members, a writing prompt challenge.

The goal each week is to challenge you in writing a short story in seven days with the prompt that I provide every week. You can share your results on your blog, in my email, or on social media. Or maybe a mix.

Take a look at this week’s writing prompt and feel free to leave some feedback.

Turn one of the last texts you sent into a story.

April 3rd, 2021

April 3rd, 2021

Hi! How have you been? How was your week?

Did you finish last week’s writing prompt?

Don’t worry, neither did I.

There was so much happening this past week, it’s ridiculous. Let’s start with the fact I came in contact with possible sex traffickers in front of my local Target store.

Long story short, the situation was quickly reported to police by yours truly but it still left a mark. Listen, I was in the Army for several years. There was much I expected to find and see during my time as a mortarman/infantryman. Safe to say, I found about half of those expectations and content with the fact I didn’t experience the second half. But I didn’t ever expect to come across a situation such as confronting possible sex traffickers, much less the idea of confronting sex traffickers in my town.

It left a mark for several days after because it directly involved my 16-month-old daughter and myself. Frankly, my hands kind of shaking right now, if I’m honest, typing that last sentence.

Let’s change gears for the rest of this newsletter, yeah?

Jacob Thomas

Jacob Thomas

Author

Jacob Thomas is a children’s book & humorous fiction book writer, father, person with autism, someone’s best friend, pluviophile, bibliophile, and so many other things!

This Week’s Writing Tip

This week’s writing tip also comes from Gary Provost, like last weeks writing tip:

Longer words are not always better.

Quick Point:

Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway, who lands on almost everybody’s list of great American writers, was a miser when it came to syllables and words. Almost 100% of The Sun Also Rises is written with words no longer than two syllables.

What Do You Think Of This Week’s Writing Tip?

Latest Blog Posts

Flash Fiction WIP

I wanted to do this flash fiction piece for #FlashFictionFriday but decided halfway through I would turn it into something…a little more.

read more

Author Life

This week, I haven’t had much time to write anything in my latest manuscripts. What I have been able to do is catch up on reading Magnus Chase, Pokemon Adventures Vol. 1, and My Hero Academia Vol. 1.

Fun Tip: If you ever get nostalgic like I always do, put on some Pokemon Red music as you’re reading Pokemon Adventures Volume 1. Trust me, you will be elated.

Earlier this week, I picked up a new composition book at Target as I had already filled up the pages in all my other ones. It’s ridiculous how expensive they’re getting. Yeah, I could have purchased them from Wal-Mart but let’s just say I have personal issues with that company. But I digress.

Yesterday, I stopped by my mother’s place to assist her with some things around the house as she is not able to do so much anymore these days. Five minutes after arriving, I was surprised with a small but kind of heavy Amazon Prime box.

Turns out, she had ordered a TON of composition books that were on sale! She had mentioned the price I paid for ONE book and started doing some digging for some deals herself.

Thanks, Mom! Love you!

Side Note: I will never be ashamed of my love and respect for my mother, even at 33 years old. I’m honored to be her son. Yes, I am a grown man. Yes, I own and manage a successful business. Yes, I am a father. But I will still show respect and love for her as she has shown the same, even during difficult times.

Needless to say, I’m ecstatic about these new books and am looking forward to breaking open the box.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Have you heard about the SCBWI?

It is an international professional organization for authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults.

SCBWI

Benefits of joining the SCBWI include Promotional Opportunities, Awards and Grants, Regional Chapters, Information Resources, and More!

One of the best benefits is the promotional opportunities where you can increase your sales and readership by participating in many marketing and outreach programs, win grants and awards, boosting your visibility.

I’m considering registering for the Arizona chapter.

“The Arizona region covers a large geographic area with a diverse membership of individuals at all stages of writing, illustrating, and publishing in the children’s book marketplace.” – Sharon Skinner – Regional Advisor SCBWI AZ

Follow the Arizona chapter on Facebook & Twitter

Would you like more resources and news about the SCBWI?

This Week’s Writing Prompt

Every week, I’d like to give you, my wonderful newsletter members, a writing prompt challenge.

The goal each week is to challenge you in writing a short story in seven days with the prompt that I provide every week. You can share your results on your blog, in my email, or on social media. Or maybe a mix.

Take a look at this week’s writing prompt and feel free to leave some feedback.

“Write about someone who goes to great lengths to avoid being pranked on April 1st, only to realize they had the date wrong and it’s already April 2nd.”

March 27th, 2021

March 27th, 2021

Hi! How have you been?

Me?

Well, I was sick for most of the week. I’ll spare you the details but it wasn’t pretty whatsoever. Breathing is still a wee bit rough and the coughing makes it feel as though I have several broken ribs. Because I was sick, I didn’t quite meet my writing and reading goals alike.

My goal for writing included finishing writing a humorous fiction/children’s book inspired by the Junie B. Jones (Barbara Park) and Judy Moody (Megan McDonald) series both. And my goal for reading was to finish reading a YA Novel, Magnus Chase (Rick Riordan).

Sadly, neither of these happened. I’ve been on some heavy medications thus my focus is all but temporarily out of order – haha! Though, I will say I was able to make it through a few chapters of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost on Friday.

Friday, I learned some excellent tips I could well use for copywriting purposes, helping to better connect with my online audience as well.

Jacob Thomas

Jacob Thomas

Author

Jacob Thomas is a children’s book & humorous fiction book writer, father, person with autism, someone’s best friend, pluviophile, bibliophile, and so many other things!

This Week’s Writing Tip

This week’s writing tip comes directly from above, Gary Provost.

I’m taking this week’s tip back to the basics with Gary’s view on Pyramid Construction. Simply put, Pyramid Construction means getting to the point at the top with the 5 W’s – “who, what, when, where, and why” – in the first paragraph, and developing the supporting information under it.

Quick Point:

Each part of a pyramid-style story should include information that is less important than the information that came before it. Use pyramid construction only for any short story or story you know that might be cut.

Don’t use anything in paragraph 12 that the reader must know in order to understand paragraph 7.

Usage Example (From Gary Provost):

Without Pyramid Construction

The flames could still be seen at dawn, flickering lights at the bottom of the canyon. Ethyl Murdock stood by, chuckling. “That’ll show them Detroit folks,” she said.

Ethyl Murdock had just pushed her brand-new Dodge van off a cliff when she spoke those words…

With Pyramid Construction

Mrs. Ethyl Murdock of Elgin, Illinois, pushed her new Dodge van off a cliff yesterday afternoon after the truck broke down for the sixteenth time since she bought it just a week ago.

At dawn today the flames from the van could still be seen flickering…

What Do You Think Of This Week’s Writing Tip?

Latest Blog Posts

Flash Fiction WIP

I wanted to do this flash fiction piece for #FlashFictionFriday but decided halfway through I would turn it into something…a little more.

read more

Latest Book Haul

Pokemon Adventures 01 - Collector's Edition by Hidenori Kusaka - Art by Mato

Pokemon Adventures 01 – Collector’s Edition

My Hero Academia Vol. 01 by Kohei and Horikoshi

My Hero Academia Manga – Volume One

My Hero Academia Vol. 02 by Kohei and Horikoshi

My Hero Academia Manga – Volume Two

This week, I wanted to change up my usual selections: a throwback and two from a show I’m struggling to get through the first season on.

Pokemon has always been a staple in my life of geek and nerddom so it was only natural I impulsively buy Pokemon Adventures 01 (Collector’s Edition) from my local Barnes & Noble. As such, MHA being an anime also, I figured I would go for the recommendation from the cashier and see what I’m missing from the show.

Have you read any of these mangas? What was in your latest #bookhaul?

Passing Of A Titan

It is sad to report the literary world lost a living legend this week at 104 years old: Beverly Cleary

Learning of her passing this week still felt like a punch in the gut if I’m honest. Beverly Atlee Cleary was an American writer of children’s and young adult fiction. One of America’s most successful authors, 91 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide since her first book was published in 1950.

Runaway Ralph, Henry & the Paper Route, and Ralph S. Mouse were some of my favorite titles of hers while growing up. She is also well known for her “Ramona” series, Ramona the Brave, Beezus and Ramona, and more.

I look to add her books to my collection so my daughter can know the love and joy felt from each book, to hear her voice, and more.

What was your favorite Beverly Cleary book?

Beverly Cleary - Born April 12th,1916 - Passed March 25th, 2021

This Week’s Writing Prompt

Every week, I’d like to give you, my wonderful newsletter members, a writing prompt challenge.

The goal each week is to challenge you in writing a short story in seven days with the prompt that I provide every week. You can share your results on your blog, in my email, or on social media. Or maybe a mix.

Take a look at this week’s writing prompt and feel free to leave some feedback.

“Write about a mischievous pixie or trickster god.”

March 20th, 2021

As I said, it was nearly two years ago now when I felt powerfully motivated to write as many stories as possible. Now, I feel as though I’m slowing down. Am I slowing down or focusing more on specific niches? Or is it depression? Burnout? Well, all could be high possibilities. I’m human.

I began diving into some new reference guides as a result, including Gary Provost’s 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing. Relearn a few classic rules of the trade. In the book, he includes nine ways to overcome writer’s block. A lot of great insight. One of the methods, the last method – in fact, was “Ask Yourself Why You Are Writing”.

The tip starts out with something direct:

“Do not write until you know why you are writing”

What are your goals? Are you trying to make your readers laugh? What are you trying to persuade the reader to do? How about the characters of your story?

If you cannot answer the question, “Why am I writing this?” then you cannot wisely choose words, provide facts, include or exclude humor – Gary Provost – 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Basically, you cannot complete a project without all the right tools.

So, #WhyAreYouWriting? Comment Below!

Jacob Thomas

Jacob Thomas

Author

Jacob Thomas is a children’s book & humorous fiction book writer, father, autistic, someone’s best friend, pluviophile, bibliophile, and so many other things.

Follow his blog today!

Recent Blog Posts

Flash Fiction WIP

I wanted to do this flash fiction piece for #FlashFictionFriday but decided halfway through I would turn it into something…a little more.

read more

NEWSLETTER WINNER!!!

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Who won my first ever #BookGiveaway contest?

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas - Jacob Writes On

Up for grabs for this first book giveaway is A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas!

Synopsis“Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.”

READ MORE

And The Winner Is…

Congratulations…!!!

Author Amanda Anderson

Congratulations, Amanda!!

I’ll be in touch with you on Instagram for details on where to send A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas!

Follow Me on Instagram: @jtwrites