I’m so excited to share today’s guest post by Emma of Invaluable.com with you all! In this post, she’ll share her knowledge on how to craft a gorgeous signature using a fountain pen. Read on to learn how to use a fountain pen like a pro!
Writing is good for our mind, body, and soul. It’s proven to help us communicate more effectively, it decreases stress, increases productivity, and helps us make more focused, educated decisions. The physical act of writing by hand has even more benefits as it encourages brain development and gives us an outlet to release any anxious, stressful feelings. If you don’t already incorporate writing into your weekly or even daily habits, it’s time to start doing so and reap all the mental and physical benefits.
One of the most crucial steps into developing a long-term, successful writing practice, is by acquiring the right writing instruments. Not only is it fun to gather notebooks, pens, cards, and other accessories for writing, but they’re monumental in changing how easy and enjoyable it is to write. One of the best tools for writing is a fountain pen. They have a unique sense of antiquity attached to them, and write in a way that is smooth and beautiful. If you’ve never written with a fountain pen before, Invaluable created this helpful guide that outlines everything you need to know about them.
First, it’s important to understand the anatomy of your pen. The main parts of it include:
Nib: The metal tip of the pen that physically touches the paper. Nibs come in different sizes that determine the line width.
Feed: Made of either plastic or ebonite, the feed acts as a vehicle for ink delivery, connecting the neib to the pen’s reservoir.
Barrel: This is the exterior of the pen, and sizes differ based on preference.
Converter: These are small filling mechanisms that fit right onto the pen and take the place of an ink cartridge. Converters work with bottled ink.
Cartridge: These are disposable capsules attached to the back of the pen that supplies them with ink.
Once you understand all the moving parts of your pen and how to fill them with ink, then you can focus on technique and how to write with one. There’s a lot that goes into it, and everything from how you hold the pen to the amount of pressure applied is an art. While Invaluable’s post goes into detail, here are some quick, summarized tips for writing with your fountain pen:
Hold the pen between your thumb and index finger.
Make sure the pen creates a 40 to 55 degree angle with the paper.
Position the nib so that the metal side is facing away from the paper.
Keep fingers and hands rigid.
Though ballpoint pens require constant pressure, fountain pens require very little.
Use light strokes.
Once you’ve practiced and mastered the technique, then you can enjoy all the writing benefits fountain pens have to offer. Invaluable also included a helpful infographic on quick writing tips and how to craft the perfect signature using your fountain pen. Check it out below, and start your writing practice today!
Hello there to all of you readers of Notebooks and Novels, and a big thank you to Micaiah for giving me this chance to guest post on her gorgeous blog! Because she asked me to come up with something literary related, I’m here today to recommend you books – but not just for you.
Chances are that if you’re an avid bookdragon like myself you look for every opportunity to promote your bookish tastes in your younger siblings, younger cousins, nieces and nephews. Those open minds are as ready as a sponge to soak up all the information you can offer them. So here I’m here to be helpful, by listing, by genre, books that your 8 to 13 year old charges are sure to adore.
^^ note: since I don’t really read the modern MG fiction anymore most of these are “older” books ;D what I used to read in my day lol
ANIMAL FANTASY: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
HISTORICAL FICTION: Goodbye Marianne by Irene N. Watts
The first book of the Escape from Berlin trilogy, this book tells the sad story of Marianne Kohn, a young Jewish girl whose life is being torn apart by WWII. Losing family, friends, and freedom, she has to escape the country all alone. Though a more serious type of story, this is a great place to introduce younger readers to historical fiction and one of the most heartbreaking eras of history.
CLASSIC: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
It’s quite possible that your young friends might know this one, but I JUST COULD NOT LEAVE IT OUT. This series introduced me to fantasy and I’ve been in love with the world beyond the wardrobe ever since. Not only is there a whole new land to discover, but we have mythical creatures, exciting plots and adventures, conflicts between good and evil, the most loveable cast, and wonderful allegory. You just cannot miss recommending Narnia – it’s a classic for a good reason.
ADVENTURE: The Cooper Kids series by Frank Peretti
Eight Indiana Jones style adventures from the perspective of children AND Christians. Jay and Lila Cooper follow their archeologist dad on many excavations and research projects, often unearthing strange and sinister mysteries in the process. I love how Peretti weaves mystery/thriller stories for children and does not shy away from including the supernatural – even though most of the mysteries do have logical explanations. But not always. And therefore these books will not let go of any reader who dares to set foot in them.
SUPERHERO: Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World by Bryan Davis
Twelve year old Eddie Hertz is a kid inventor and a superhero who patrols streets at night and hopes to become like Damocles – the greatest superhero in the city. But when Damocles loses power and their great arch nemesis threatens the city with earthquakes – it all falls into Eddie’s hands … and that of his sidekick sister. I highly appreciated the sibling relationships, easy to understand explanations of technology and gadgets, as well the PLOT TWIST at the end.
MYSTERY: The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
These books, though originally created some eighty years ago, are timeless. The first one in the series gives you the origin story of four lovable orphaned children – Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. In the rest of the series they solve a variety of mysteries and cases in a variety of settings. These books are not particularly thrilling, or danger-filled, in any sense and as the filmmakers of the recent movie versions pointed out – no one goes to prison at the end. A person is merely healed, emotionally. So while these may be a bit different from the thrillers we expect books to be today – I’d say it’s worth it. It’s a different type of delightful.
^^ btw the movies are amazing too.
FANTASY: Castle Glower series by Jessica Day George
“Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie’s favorite days. That’s because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions.”
I haven’t actually read this myself, but my sister did – and loved it. She says it features a princess trying to save her kingdom; a lot of griffin riding; sinister plots, action, excitement; and great sibling relationships. Since I trust my sister’s judgment 110%, I completely recommend!
TIME TRAVEL: Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborn
My sister was mildly obsessed with this series as a ten year old – and even I enjoyed them. Jack and Annie’s quests and missions into past eras span some 55 books. The first Magic Treehousebooks are for the younger readers, while the Merlin Mission books get a bit longer. I really appreciate the historic details and the plots of individual books – as well as the over arching relationship they develop with Merlin, Morgan le Fay, and other magical friends.
NONFICTION: Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge
I pretty much lived off these books in my childhood. Not only are they well written and educational, they’re sure to inspire young readers and teach life lessons from the stories of Christian heroes. From childhood to death, these approximately-20-chapter biographies highlight the most amazing moments and accomplishments of these people – showing how they grew up to fulfill their calling – and all in real story style. There’s no series I’d recommend more than this one, and that’s saying a lot.
GRAPHIC NOVEL: Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton
Geronimo and Thea books are a great hit in my family – everyone needs them. Geronimo Stilton and his gang of four are generally time traveling in the comics – always trying to thwart the plot of their archenemies the Pirate Cats . While a bit cliché at times, it’s extremely entertaining and laugh-worthy. Personally, I like Thea Stilton comics even more, even though they are about college life drama, helping the environment, and solving mini-mysteries. I’ll also take the moment to express my displeasure that Papercutz is discontinuing the graphic novel series – ABONDONING THESE LOVELY MICE FOR SOME PINK PAMPERED PONIES … err unicorns. However, read the existing editions – you’ll have a blast!
So that’s that, friends! Hope you all got some good ideas especially with Christmas rolling around. Be sure to let me know in the comments what middle grade books you want me to recommend to my siblings!
So long for now and stay awesome,
About the Author
Lisa Elis is a busy high school junior from Canada who spends her free time chasing many literary interests. She’s also into art and design, orchids and sunshine, plus all things that grow her wanderlust. Find her scrambling to post every week at www.thisinkwell.blogspot.com.
I’m super excited to be hosting Tessa Emily Hall of Christ Is Write here on Notebooks and Novels today! Her next first devotional for teens, Coffee Shop Devos, releases next month, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on a copy! =D
About Coffee Shop Devos
There’s something special about spending time at a coffee shop with a friend–engaging in a meaningful conversation, then leaving refueled and ready to tackle the rest of the day. What if your quiet times with God energized you the same way?
Coffee Shop Devos offers a warm atmosphere that will inspire you to discover your God-given purpose and live to your greatest potential. Choose your devo flavor in the Menu of Contents based on your current need. Then lean into deeper intimacy with Christ through reflection and prayer. Along the way, you’ll pick up tips and recipes for making your own coffee-shop beverage–regular or decaf–to enjoy while you read. And don’t forget to share your journey with your friends! #CoffeeShopDevos
Each of the 180 challenging and motivational devotions will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated–almost as though you’ve shared a steaming pot of brew at a coffee shop with your Creator.
Click here to pre-order Coffee Shop Devos on Amazon.
Click here to mark Coffee Shop Devos as “to read” on Goodreads.
Doesn’t it look fantastic? I’m excited to get to read it! =D But for now, I’m happy to get to read this lovely guest post that Tessa wrote. It’s not only encouraging, but it is also a challenge for us to discover who God made us to be and what He put us on this earth to do. I’m excited to get to share this with you all! =) Happy reading!
Have you ever felt different from others your age? Maybe you’re not into the same hobbies your friends are into. Perhaps you’re not as social, don’t have as many followers on social media, or don’t care about shopping.
This is how I felt in middle and high school. Like I stood out. Like I was the only introverted girl my age—the only one who preferred to stay at home on the weekends and write rather than hang out with friends.
I felt like something was wrong with me. Why couldn’t I fit in?
The thing is–I didn’t want to fit in. I didn’t want to become someone that I wasn’t just so I could receive acceptance. Yet even this made me feel as though I needed to be “fixed”.
It wasn’t until I grew closer in my relationship with Christ that my desire to receive approval from man began to fade. It wasn’t until then that the truth laid out in Psalms 139:13-16–which says that every detail of myself was selected with a purpose–that I began to accept who I am. And during this time, I had a realization:
My “imperfections”–what I once thought were flaws–are actually the very traits God will use to further my calling.
You see, the enemy doesn’t want me to love who I am. Instead, he wants me to resent the very aspects about myself that God views as beautiful. Why? Because he wants me to refrain from embracing my potential and pursuing my calling. A calling that could result in the furthering of God’s Kingdom.
But now that I’ve learned this tactic, I can allow God to transform these “flaws” into strengths. Just as He originally intended. No, not even so I can gain human acceptance–but so I can play my role in building the Body of Christ. So I can tap into my fullest potential and pursue my calling.
Does this mean perhaps God created each of us in a way that could aid us in pursuing our unique path? Does this mean He gave us our personality, strengths, gifts, desires—and, yes, quirks—for a reason?
I believe so. I believe He purposely crafted each us differently so we could contribute to the work of His Body (The Church) in various ways. He wants to send His message throughout the ends of the earth, and we are His hands and His feet (1 Corin. 12:12). The way He formed us is directly correlated with how He wants us to further His ministry on earth.
What I once viewed as a weakness — being introverted — was actually a God-given strength to help me fulfill my calling: writing.If I wasn’t an introvert then I wouldn’t have the ability to stay quiet and observe in a social setting. I would also probably go crazy if I had to stay at home and write for hours on end!
What is it God has called you to pursue? You might not know the entire picture, but perhaps you have an understanding how you’re different. You’re familiar with your personality type. You understand your various strengths and interests. What if these unique facets that make up you are arrows pointing you toward your unique calling—or at least hints that could give you a glimpse into what He might want you to accomplish on this earth?
My challenge to you … Spend time with God today. Ask Him to help you accept every part of who you are–yes, even the “flaws”. Then, see if He reveals ways you can begin to tap into your potential and pursue your unique path.
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic books to show teens they’re not alone. Her first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House September 2018. Tessa’s passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent for Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PURSUE Magazine. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.
Guys. YA author Taylor Bennet’s novel Porch Swing Girl is finally here! =D I’ve been staring at it longingly on my Goodreads shelf for too long, and now and I finally have it! AND OH MY WORD IT IS SO GOOD. Seriously, if you don’t have a copy of Porch Swing Girl, go grab one. Now. I mean, it’s Hawaii. And shave ice. Who could say no?! And LOOK AT THAT COVER. Just look at it.
Luckily, I got to interview the author of this amazing story. Taylor is not only a great writer, but she’s also a super great person. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her and her writing through this interview. =)
When and why did you start writing?
I honestly don’t have a good answer for this, because I’ve literally been writing since before I could write (if that makes any sense at all!) My earliest memory of “writing” would be from when I was around four years old. I got the grand idea to write my mom a book for her birthday but, because I didn’t know how to spell, let alone type, I asked my dad to help out. In the end, I dictated a rambling narrative while Dad sat at the computer and typed it up, word-for-word. Another early writerly memory is of sitting at my mom’s old electric typewriter and pecking out pages full of gibberish for hours at a time. So basically, I’ve been in love with words for my entire life. But I never got serious about publication until I was in middle school.
What is your upcoming novel, Porch Swing Girl, about?
Porch Swing Girl is about a sassy, stubborn teenager named Olive Galloway (yes, she’s the Porch Swing Girl) who gets dumped at her grandmother’s house in Hawaii after the tragic death of her mother. Olive is desperate to chase her dad back home to keep him from doing anything drastic, but an empty pocketbook keeps her stranded. She starts working at the Shave Ice Shack with one of the local guys to raise the money needed for a ticket home, but she discovers that one of his friends is harboring a painful secret. And suddenly, Olive begins to question every decision she’s made since coming to Hawaii…
What is the hardest part about writing? The best part?
The hardest part of writing, for me, is coming up with a strong plot. I’ve lived a “fairy-tale life” as I like to call it and, admittedly, I haven’t gone through a lot of hardship. Sometimes (all the time) I want to go easy on my characters and give them a life just as glorious and beautiful as mine. But, alas, happy days don’t make for compelling stories. Thankfully my editors (and my mom!) are more than happy to help me brainstorm.
The best part about writing is definitely having the freedom to “visit” new places and make new friends. I happen to have a chronically overactive imagination, and I was always the kid that wanted to play pretend and act out scenes from storybooks. Truth be told, I’d still do that if I could get away with it 😉But then I discovered that I could—by writing! I can create characters, settings, and hop onto the pages to play the what if game as long as I want.
What message do you want readers to take away from your writing?
I want readers to see God’s grace and goodness in everything. I want to show them that, even in the darkest night, God is still good. His love and grace cover over everything in our life. And we, as Christians, can be the light of the world. We can brighten the darkness and make life beautiful because of Him and what He’s done for us.
What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give to aspiring teen writers?
Wait. Don’t feel like you need to get a publishing contract before you turn eighteen. That was my goal, actually, and it was a good one to have, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should strive for the same thing. The teen years are so full of change—of decision-making and pressure and just…life—that there’s no reason to rush your writing career. Take it slow. Write because you love itand see where that takes you.
About The Author
Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which will be released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads. Buy her novel Porch Swing Girlhere.
Isn’t Taylor the greatest? =) Have you read Porch Swing Girl yet? Have you ever been to Hawaii or eaten shave ice? Be sure to leave Taylor a comment! =)
Guess who did a guest post? MMMMMMEEEEEEEEEE. =D Click here to head over to my friend Audrey Caylin’s lovely blog, where you’ll find me rambling about five places to find inspiration for your writing when you desperately need it. And while you’re there, be sure to leave a comment and stick around! Audrey has an amazing blog, and she’s one of the most inspiring bloggers out there. =) I hope to see you there!
I’m super excited about today’s post, because today my bloggy friend Jeanette van As has taken over Notebooks and Novels! I’m not going to hang around too much more, but before you continue, you need to know that Jeanette is an absolutely amazing person and her words are super helpful and encouraging. Read on, and be sure to visit her blog when you finish! =)
I’ve loved writing since . . . well, since I could write, I guess! I love the feeling of getting lost in a world I’ve created, seeing characters come to life as a story unfolds, and the exhilaration on days when the right words just seem to flow. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years, and I hope some of it will be helpful 🙂
Write what you love.
Writing isn’t easy. If you write a genre you don’t even like reading, it’ll just make things harder. You’ll be far less likely to finish your story and you won’t enjoy the process at all.
Moreover, what you’ve written will reflect your lack of passion, and it shouldn’t be that way. Writing, like all art, has to mean something to you, or it won’t mean much to anyone else. When you write, you strive to create something that adds sparkle and song to normal life. You can’t do that if you don’t write about what matters to you.
Remember your readers.
When you write, don’t try to write for everyone, lest you end up pleasing no one. Choose a target audience. Decide who you would want to read and enjoy your work, and then write for them.
Ask yourself about your audience as you write. Which issues are relevant to them? What sort of humour would they appreciate? What kind of characters would appeal to them? Questions like this will help “tighten” your writing, making it more focused.
Be careful not to be too wordy. It can be tempting to use a string of adjectives like, “The house stood empty. Ruined. Abandoned. Desolate.” Very often, though, less is more.
Try not to describe things to death or state the obvious because you’re scared your readers may miss something. Leave a bit of the figuring out to them and let them use their imaginations to fill in the details you haven’t stated explicitly. They’re smarter than you think! 😉
Put yourself out there.
Often the scariest part of writing is taking the manuscript you’ve agonised over for months and emailing it to a friend to read, clicking “publish” when you’ve spent hours crafting a deeply personal post, or swallowing your fear and finally entering that writing contest.
It’s terrifying, but it’s true. If you want to grow as a writer, you have to put yourself out there. Pour your heart into your writing, and share it with others. Start blogging. Submit an article. Invite people to read what you’ve written and ask them for constructive criticism.
This is when you start to grow. It’s not easy, and it requires lots of prayer and deep breaths, but it is so worth it!
Write for God.
God is the One who created you with a love and talent for writing. Remember this, and let your writing be a song of thanksgiving to Him.
Give your writing to the Lord and ask Him to use it for His glory. He may use it differently than you expected Him to, but you can rest in the fact that He will work all things together for the good of those who love Him. And He’s got the Master Plan for your life and your writing. 🙂
I’m Jeanette, and I’m His 🙂 I’m a nutty South African bookworm, writer, muso and drama queen. I love Middle-earth, Narnia, Discworld . . . oh, and all things Celtic! I recently started blogging and it’s been quite a journey so far. I’d love to have you come visit! Click here to visit Only by Grace.
*applauds* Wasn’t that great? Thank you so much, Jeanette, for being on Notebooks and Novels! Be sure to chat with Jeanette in the comments and check her blog out. =)
Today, I’ve had the opportunity to swap blogs with YA author Tessa Emily Hall! =) Check out my post on researching for your novel over at her blog here. Enjoy reading! =) I hope to see y’all in the comments!
At 18-years-old, I faced a crossroads in my life: Pursue my heart’s desire to write, or settle for a stable career. A career that most people would consider to be a “real job” as opposed to being a writer.
I wasn’t at this crossroads for too long before I remembered I have absolutely no other passions or gifts that aren’t related to books and writing. (Other than acting, which isn’t necessarily considered a “real job”, either.)
Now that I’m 23 and have been journeying along this writing path for seven years now, I can say with confidence that, yes, writing isa real job. No, it’s not just a hobby. If it was just a hobby then I would not be making an income right now.
Think about the text we’re exposed to every day: Textbooks. Novels. Non-fiction books. Magazines. Newspapers. Newsletters. Ads. Manuals. TV and film (scripts). Catalogs. Greeting cards. Website copy. All of this text is written by a human, a human who was most likely paid to provide their content.
Young writers, be encouraged. There are many avenues that provide opportunities for you to offer your gift of words. Don’t let the naysayers convince you that this world does not need your ability to paint sentences with ink, or that you can’t make a living by working with words of some sort.
You may be saying, “Yeah, but it’s nearly impossible to make a living as a novelist.” That may be true. Being a novelist alone doesn’t necessarily pay the bills—unless you strike gold and become a huge best-selling author. Unless you establish a loyal readership and produce multiple books per year. And unless you can cultivate other streams of income in areas that would allow you to contribute your expertise in this field.
So if you’re at a crossroads, struggling to understand how to make a living as a writer, here’s a list of writing/book-related jobs that would give you the opportunity to work in the field of your passion.
·Become a freelance editor
·Become a freelance writer
·Become a greeting card writer
·Become a journalist
·Teach writing/editing courses—online and offline
·Work for a publishing company
·Work for a literary agency
·Work at a bookstore
·Tutor kids in creative writing/English
·Offer marketing/promotional services for authors
And in case you’re asking, “How are you doing it? What path did you choose after high school?”
Great question! After I graduated high school, I enrolled in a community college. About a year later, I pursued a Creative Writing degree at Christian Leadership University. I am now a part-time student and juggling the many hats I wear in the industry. Here’s what my roles look like:
·I’m an author
·I work as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary
·I work as a YA Acquisitions Editor at Illuminate YA (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint)
·I’m a freelance writer
·I’m a freelance editor
·I teach workshops at writing conferences across the US
·I manage a Christian teen magazine I founded, Pursue Magazine
·I coordinate blog tours for authors
·I teach creative writing to young writers through my online mentorship, Write Now
Remember: You’ve been given your ability and passion to work with words/books for a reason. Do your research, receive wise counsel from your parents and advisors, and then prayerfully make decisions that concern your future. But please, if you feel as though you’ve been called into this field, then whatever you do, don’t writeit off due to lack of faith. (Pun not intended!)
Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teens they’re not alone. Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens lead her to a career as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. Tessa’s first teen devotional will release with Bethany House in 2018. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.