Melissa Frey

Fiction Writer, Freelancer for Hire, and Paleo Enthusiast

Category: Inspiration (Page 2 of 3)

Six Foolproof Ways to Incorporate Reading into Your Life

Six Foolproof Ways to Incorporate Reading into Your Life

Finding time to read.

Seems like a daunting task sometimes, doesn’t it? I know it does for me. I love it,  I absolutely do, but sometimes other things just get in the way.

Over the past few months, I had some books that I needed to read for my job in very specific time frames, so I had to figure out how to make it work. I haven’t been great at it, but here’s what I’ve learned.

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On to the Next…(A Super Short Update on the Codex Series)

Since I finished my book a few weeks ago (yay!), I’ve started working on the next one in the series! I’m learning a few things along the way, so I thought I’d send out a quick update detailing the things I’ve learned in the process.

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It’s Been Nine Years in the Making…

It's Been Nine Years in the Making

After nine years of outlining, writing, rewriting, editing, re-editing, reading, revising, printing, reprinting, handwriting, and staring at a computer screen for what had to have been hundreds of hours, I finished my first novel! From the first draft started in 2008 (I wrote 1 whole page that summer, then got stuck and sat on it for a year), through many moves, both in-state, out-of-state, and even overseas (and back from overseas), life events, blood, sweat, and tears, to the early morning hours of June 20th, 2017, The Secret of the Codex has finally reached its graduation day. Seriously – it feels like I’ve been raising a child and they’re finally graduating and going out into the world (without the messy diapers and temper tantrums – you parents are saints).

So I wanted to talk a little bit about what I learned along the way, give you some insight into how I’ve grown over the last 9 years. Because every experience can be a learning experience if you let it.

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Love Is Worth Surviving For

Love Is Worth Surviving For

I’ve been delving a lot lately into the theme of my book, The Secret of the Codex. (Soon to be books, once this first one is completely finished!) James L. Rubart says that the theme of your life (and writing) can be discovered by the themes of your 3 favorite movies. Mine are:

World War Z
Day After Tomorrow
Dante’s Peak

So, in light of this concept, I went back and rewatched 2 of them. (I had plans to watch the third, but work is super busy right now. Plus, I’ve seen Day After Tomorrow like 30 times, so I feel confident I can speak knowledgeably about this…)

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Why Fiction?

So before I get into the details of my book (which I’m so excited to share with you I can hardly stand it), I wanted to explain why I write fiction, and why you should care. (Plus a bit of insight into my writing process which may or may not cause you to want to have me committed.)

Storytelling has been around since the beginning of language itself, and has almost always been used to illustrate a point.

Stories are relatable and easy to understand at a basic, human level. We connect with stories because they reflect our experiences or give us insight into experiences we’d never had in an understandable way. Great communicators use stories to teach us important truths, truths we’d never understand any other way.

Because of this fact, fiction is powerful. Yes, it can be a welcome escape from the monotony of everyday life, but there are more important things going on, under the surface. There are underlying moral (or amoral) themes, lessons to be learned, and viewpoints to consider. And when a person is incited to change by the telling of a simple story, the power of fiction is on full display.

Great fiction reveals to the heart what the mind is too intelligent to understand. [Tweet this]

In my writing, themes I didn’t intend to show or didn’t even know were there showed up, and it astounded me. I’ve heard it said that a story shows the struggles the author is dealing with at the time they wrote it, and can I just say… I may or may not have some trust issues. Ahem.

So as you venture into my fictitious world with me and meet my characters, read their thoughts, see how they react to what happens to them, I hope you’ll be looking for the lessons unintentionally woven throughout the pages. It pleasantly surprised me when I looked back on what I’d written – I hope it will do the same for you!

 
Oh, and before I go, that bit of insight into my writing process as promised…

I said above that the themes in my story just showed up out of nowhere. Well, my characters kind of did, too. There was some intentionality – and sometimes randomness – in initially creating them (I got one last name off a headstone at Arlington National Cemetery!), but once they were created and I got to know them (stay with me here), I basically just wrote down what they told me happened. That’s the crazy part.

But it’s true, and I’ve heard other authors say the same thing! My characters are more real to me than many other actually real people, probably because I know them so well. Once I’d created them and set them loose in the story, they did what they would do based on who they are and I watched, writing it all down. There was even one scene that I knew someone had died in, but I didn’t know who until I wrote the part where my character walked into the room. Creepy, maybe, but so cool.

So stick with me, and try not to call the insane asylum. I’d appreciate it.

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