Author Archives: Andrea R Huelsenbeck

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

Guest Post: Avoiding First Chapter Blunders by Ryan Lanz

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Thank you to Ryan Lanz, who blogs about the craft of writing on A Writer’s Path.

Open Book

 

You’ve got your idea. Your characters are fleshed out. The setting is crystallized in your mind.

You power up the laptop, and you place your fingers on the keys. Chapter one.

There’s a magic in that. You can practically feel the readers forming an orderly line to purchase your book, even before you finish the first paragraph. But what do you want to accomplish? What are the things to avoid in your first chapter? In this post, we’ll look at the nitty-gritty of a novel’s first chapter.

What are you looking to accomplish?
In a first chapter, you have several things that you want to accomplish and clue the reader on. This is not an exhaustive list, but let’s look at some common items.

  • Identify a protagonist
  • Establish something the protagonist wants
  • Set the tone for the book
  • Make a few promises
  • Indicate what time/place in history
  • Present an immediate conflict/issue

To continue reading, click here.

Video of the Week #175: Bioluminescence

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Wordless Wednesday/Flower of the Day: Flowering Asparagus Fern

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Check out Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Trio

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I can’t remember why I took this picture, but it’s perfect for today’s photo challenge.

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8 Craft Ideas for Gifts and Christmas Decorations

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8 Craft Ideas for Gifts and Christmas Decorations

When our five children were small and we were barely getting by on Greg’s teaching salary, the best Christmas gift ideas were things we could make ourselves. Life has changed, and I don’t often give handmade gifts anymore, but here are some beauties I’d like to make some day.

  1. Handmade Christmas cards. These can be a family project.
  2. I made these beaded candy cane ornaments with my kids when they were small. We made lots and gave many as gifts and used the rest on our Christmas tree. For extra sparkle, be sure to use red translucent and crystal clear beads rather than opaque red and white.
  3. Many of my neighbors lost trees during two horrendous storms this past summer. If I had known about this rustic Christmas tree project, I would have offered to haul away some of their branches.
  4. I’ve been wanting to make pillowcases this way. I’ve seen them done up in Christmas fabrics, juvenile fabrics, and designer fabrics. Gorgeous!
  5. Remember latch hook rugs? You can use the same technique to make rag rugs. The author used cut-up bed sheets and tied the strips to the canvas, but if you have a latch hook (you might be able to find one at a thrift shop), you could do it a lot faster.
  6. Crafty people, do you have more buttons than you know what to do with? (Did you inherit your Grandma’s prized button box?) Make a button garland.
  7. If you like to embroider, you can make a lovely snowflake/floral mandala.
  8. I find it hard to part with fabric scraps. I believe in my heart I’ll use them someday in projects like this English-paper-pieced bookmark.

Christmas balls

Now it’s your turn. Are you making Christmas gifts this year? Or have you in the past? What was a successful craft project? Share in the comments below.

To All the Veterans: Thank You for your Service

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Monday Morning Wisdom #180

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Monday Morning Wisdom #180

“No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” — Gen. Douglas MacArthur

“Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.” — President John F. Kennedy

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” — Gen. George S. Patton

“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” — Winston S. Churchill

“America without her Soldiers would be like God without His angels.” — Claudia Pemberton

Found on military.com.