Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Positive Traits Thesurus Giveaway

Happy New Year!

To start things off with the first giveaway of 2014, I’d like to offer one PDF copy of THE POSITIVE TRAITS THESAURUS.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00066]

*A large selection of attributes to choose from when building a personality profile. Each entry lists possible causes for why a trait might emerge, along with associated attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and emotions
*Real character examples from literature, film, or television to show how an attribute drives actions and decisions, influences goals, and steers relationships
*Advice on using positive traits to immediately hook readers while avoiding common personality pitfalls
*Insight on human needs and morality, and how each determines the strengths that emerge in heroes and villains alike
*Information on the key role positive attributes play within the character arc, and how they’re vital to overcoming fatal flaws and achieving success
*Downloadable tools for organizing a character’s attributes and providing a deeper understanding of his past, his needs, and the emotional wounds he must overcome

THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi is a great resource and part of their trilogy of resources for writers including: THE NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS and THE EMOTION THESAURUS. I have all three books on my Kindle and reference them often when writing both middle grade and romance.

You can find lots of great additional information on The Book Shelf Muse here.

You can find out more about THE EMOTION THESAURUS here.



Negative Traits Thesurus

In order to be entered for the giveaway of THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS, please leave your email address and one positive trait of a character in your work-in-progress. I will announce the winner on Friday, January 10. U.S. and International entries. One comment per entry.

Good luck!


Sometimes the Magic Works

Happy New Year! I like to start January by reading an inspirational book about writing. There is not a lot that is easy about writing. Whether it’s the process of writing the book, the submission process, or the what happens after the book is published process– writing is just hard work. So, in January, I like to build up my writing warrior by reading a book about writing.

The year, I read, Sometimes the Magic Works, by Terry Brooks. 


I heard Terry Brooks speak at the Get Lit at the Beach Readers Weekend in Cannon Beach last spring. Terry Brooks is the founder of the Get Lit at the Beach Readers Weekend which takes place the second weekend in April and is sponsored by the Tolovona Arts Colony. I haven’t read any of his fantasy books, but I enjoyed hearing Terry Brooks talk at the Get Lit at the Beach Readers Weekend.

Sometimes the Magic Works begins with a story about Brooks’ path into writing and publishing in the fantasy genre. He tells the reader how his manuscript landed on the desk of an editor who was just starting a fantasy line. Later, he tells us that his popular Shannara series, came out the same year as STAR WARS.

Brooks is not an author who achieved instant fame. He wrote book after book for years and years and years before he took the leap to quit his full time lawyer job and write full time.  One of Brooks’ series, The Landover series, which begins with the book, Magic Kingdom For Sale-Sold, is written during that time when he is taking that leap to be a full time writer. All of which Brooks talks about in his writing book, Sometimes the Magic Works.

Over the New Year holiday, I was in Cannon Beach and took a walk on Chapman Point Beach. I walked down the beach and realized a section of the beach which was usually inaccessible was now accessible due to a low tide. I jumped down and over a pile of sand and onto a section of the beach I had never walked on. As I stood there, looking out at the sea, I was reminded how this section of the beach is always there, but it wasn’t open until the tide receded low enough to clear the path through the rocks. The opening only lasted as long as the tide was out, but, over the next few days, every beach walk I took in the evening, that section of the beach was accessible due to the low tide. Every time, I walked through the large rocks where the water usually runs, I felt as if I was an explorer who had just landed in a whole new world.

In his book, SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS, Brooks says in order to be a writer, you must have three things: Passion, Determination, and Instinct. Each has a place in a writer’s life; each acts as a balance for the others.

I believe that it is these three things which allows the writer to be at that moment when the magic works. It is the moment when we pitch just the story the agent was looking for, the moment when our story hits just the right blogger or reader who buzzes it to other readers, or the moment when the story’s final plot point clicks into place and we finish that final draft.

And just like that beach, I think these parts of our writing life that are always there, but they don’t open until the time is exactly right, and then the tide goes out, and we walk onto that whole new beach.

Happy New Year!


Highlights Fiction Writing Contest

Highlights Magazine is hosting it’s annual fiction writing contest.  They are looking for stories for beginning readers in 500 words or fewer. They welcome stories of any genre (mystery, historical fiction, sports, humor, holiday, friendship, etc.) as long as the stories are intended for kids ages 6–8.


Three prizes of $1,000 or tuition for any Highlights Foundation Founders Workshop. (For a complete list of workshops, visit http://www.highlightsfoundation.org.)


All entries must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31, 2013.

To find out more about the Highlights Fiction Writing Contest go here.



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Editing Stained Glass Summer

I’ve been working on edits for my upcoming novel, STAINED GLASS SUMMER. (December 2011). The manuscript is in the line-edit/ copy edit stage, and I am thrilled to be working with a great editor!  She is really helping to put the shine on this manuscript! As I work through my editor’s notes, I’m finding some patterns.

1. Delete tags as much as possible. Tags are “He said” and “She said.”

2. Check for Filter Words: Delete “I know,” or “I can see that.” These phrases take the reader out of the immediacy and intimacy of being in my main character’s Jasmine’s voice. My advisor, Liza Ketchum, said a similiar thing when working on my thesis during my third semester of Vermont College. Here’s a great blog posting about “filter words”


3. Check for repetitive words. My two favorite words in this manuscript seem to be “point” and “smile.” I solved this by doing a “search” of the manuscript for those words, and then replacing or rewriting the sentences as much as I can.

4. Consistency! One downfall of this manuscript is it’s been in many, many different versions. Jasmine has been fifteen, fourteen, and twelve. Sammy has been ages seven and five. The story has been told in first person present, first person past, third person past, and then back again to first person present. All of this adds to up to a lot of little spots in the story which aren’t consistent. Thankfully, my editor has eagle eyes and picks those up! I think, for me, this story is so familiar, I don’t even read those places in the manuscript anymore! I read what I think is on the page, rather than what IS on the page.

5. Age relevancy. This goes along with consistency. There were a couple places in the manuscript where Jasmine does or says things which are too old for her at age twelve. One noticeable place was when she drinks lattes in the Seattle airport. In my early versions of this story, Jasmine was a smart, saucy teen. Lattes seemed relevant. At a very innocent age twelve, lattes are no longer work. So, now Jasmine drinks Italian sodas! I actually stole this idea directly from an experience I had with my mentee about a month ago. We went to a writer’s cafe to work on an interview for the Musa Blogs. I asked her what she wanted to drink, and she told me she’d never had an Italian soda. So, we both ordered Italian sodas. My mentee is eleven. Jasmine is twelve.

I’m learning a lot as I work through the edits, and I’m sure that will transfer into editing my next novel, WEAVING MAGIC. (April 27, 2012)


Resources Writing the Picture Book Workshop

The following are some of the resources and handouts from the Picture Workshop at the University Library on Saturday, October 8.


Resources for the Picture Book Writer

Where the Wild Things Are Exercise

Picture Book Structure

Other Useful Resources We Discussed in Class:

Carla Sonheim’s Mixed Media Drawing Book

Carla Sonheim’s Classes-She runs the Silly Class which I talked about. This is the class where each morning, we receive a short (ten minute or less), fun and silly drawing assignment to do via our e-mail. I participated in her January class and loved it!

Writing the Picture Book for Educators--This is the class I teach through Seattle Pacific University for Educators. You’ll need to look under the category of Reading, Writing and Communications. This is a year-long distance learning class that you complete at your own pace. Educators earn five continuing education classes. A great way to work on your picture book and get feedback from me!

Thanks everyone! It was a great afternoon!

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