Blogiversary – 6 Years On


Yes, I’ve been gone a while, but! I totally have legit excuses, and here they are:

  • I have no excuse.

I’ve had all the time in the world since work ended back in May (10 months ago!?) despite some traveling around Australia before my sudden move a month later. But honestly, a part of me was glad I was asked to move because for some reason, just moving back home for lack of anything else planned/going on felt like a defeat (it still does), something to be ashamed of.

So I moved to a new house, in a new neighborhood, on a new coast (for the record, I’m not fond of New York for extended stays), and it was an adjustment. Is an adjustment. The unpacking of my stuff, plus all the stuff I had to go through from the actual moves my parents did since I last saw them in California, well… Let’s just say t’would be a cat heaven (because of all the boxes, ya know). It took me weeks to even get to sleep in my room, and even more weeks to go through said stuff (actually– I still have some work to do 😅).

I looked for jobs, slowly at first since I was almost always job hunting in Australia, applied for a few, and somehow– got confused, overwhelmed, and yes, a bit scared. So I got lost.


Writing wasn’t in the picture, at all. I started reading more though, which I’d completely neglected in the last few years. It wasn’t all bad, I did get to meet friends after over 10 years, but looking for jobs while unsure what I want to do added to the confusion and indecision. Add to that the societal pressure of “next, next, next!” or “It’s easier to get a job if you’re employed.” or “Gotta start somewhere.” and I dug a very uncomfortable hole I’m having trouble climbing out of.

While I am slowly pulling myself together (towards the light, I hope), I want to finish a new short story inspired by evasive sleep and submit it for publication(s). I want to edit at least another short story and submit it to other places. I may not be writing every day, but I sure am proud when I do, even if I write three craptastic sentences. Gotta start somewhere, right?

I know I’m an erratic/inconsistent updater, something I’m working on because it’s a chronic problem to let things go when down in the dumps, but that’s also why I couldn’t update. How can I write about writing, if I’m not even doing that? I want to start living life again, instead of watching it go by. This past year fell short on my hopes and expectations, but even then there were gems to be found. So thank you for reading this far and sticking with me. 🤗

In other news, it’s been a while now so forgive me if I mentioned it last time, but I gave my blog a makeover! I’m quite pleased with it. 😊 Also! If you’re on Twitter, I’m (slightly) more active on there, give me a holler @JusteWriting. I might lurk more than I post, but I do interact more with writers.

On that note, Happy Monday (after cursed daylight savings), and Happy Blogiversary to me~


How do you write when your mood sours or your heart’s not into it? Do you write a set amount of words or time per day or week? Do you write better if you read, or in between books?

Never forget 11.3.11.

All the Types: Stories & Supporting Characters #DIYMFA

Happy nearly-June! 😨

How did we get here– why isn’t time pausing?? My watch flat-lined two weeks ago, but the calendar’s still going! (Rude.)

Fell off the wagon as usual… My work contract ended a couple of weeks ago, and I just came back from a 10 day trip celebrating that accomplishment. Ok no, it was more a “let’s see Australia while I can” trip with the bonus of friends. And so! I’ll be moving in less than a month. Again. 🤪 Considering that a holiday, too. Ideally– a writing retreat! Let me just– (inflates all the hope).

Anyhow, I’m jumping back on the wagon after a fascinating talk with my Airbnb host.  Dedication > motivation.

Thank you Captain! (Source)

Combining two prompts into one this week, because holy moly there’s still 6 left! (Okay maybe 7.) Slow and steady is the way to go, said the turtle. 🐢

First up, let’s talk supporting characters!


I have to choose!? Deer oh dear… 🦌

Gabriela talks about five essential supporting characters types:

  • the Villain
  • the BFF/Sidekick
  • the Love Interest
  • the Mentor
  • the Fool

I probably would pick Villain as my (first) favorite, because the opposition of the two forces/values/ideas drives the overall story. Think Harry Potter and Voldemort. Now subtract the villain. Not much of an epic showdown, eh? ⚡💔😭⛅

Opposing values? Why certainly. As J.K. Rowling mentions via the Mentor (Dumbledore), Tom Riddle and Harry have very similar backgrounds and ancestry (ish, that really is another topic for another blog), yet the values they espouse are contrary to one another.

Now of course, without the other supporting characters the rest of the story would be much too bland. Harry without Hermione and Ron (BFFs)? Hah! Good luck kid, enjoy magic (and certain death). 👻 Harry without Cho/Ginny (Love Interests)? Debatable, but they do help his character development, as do Neville and Luna (Fools).

But what about Draco!? Ahh, yes. Well, I’d still categorize him as a Villain, but a minor, day-to-day irritation. He’s irking, and maybe threatening, but not really when compared to big Voldy-death over there. I won’t even touch Snape, because I’m getting off topic enough as it is, and I didn’t meant for this to be a Harry Potter analysis (which other people do a lot better).

Recapitulating, perhaps the Villain is the second half of the main course (steaks vs fries? A delectable combo!), but the other supporting characters are all the spices and sauces making the dish come alive (picky eaters not considered for this particular analogy). Maybe I shouldn’t compare characters to food though, because we all can’t smell them through the pages, and we’re quite unlikely to eat them! Except on cake… Let there be cake! 🍰

Ahem. A quick side note, if you’re crafting or developing your villain, why not have a laugh while doing so! If you haven’t, and even if you have, feast your eyes on the Evil Overlord List. I’d forgotten how hilarious it was!

Moving on! 🏃‍♀️

Coming in a close second, let’s talk story type.


I’m a sucker for underdog stories and epic save the world stories! Avengers? Black Panther? Wonder Woman? Batman? X-men? Daredevil? Superman? (Etc, etc, too many to list!) Yeah. I’m there for that, 100%.

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So much love. Too many feelings! (Source)

Truth be told, I don’t think I ever stopped to consider why I react so strongly to those stories (there are tears, trust me). Because they do what I can’t, for starters. They have strong moral integrity, even if they struggle with defining “what’s right” half the time (can’t blame them, the world ain’t black and white).

Because I love it when good/justice prevails over evil, who wouldn’t? Of course that entirely depends on your interpretation of good and evil…

I wish we had actual superheroes, but I love the ‘regular’ heroes we do have: firefighters battling crazy fires and savings lives, policemen going above and beyond, service members abroad and at home, citizens acting like literal heroes, etc. Seriously, props to you all is an understatement.

Probably the main reason I love underdog/heroic stories is because it’s so damn hopeful. Yes, there will be dark times, tough spots, harder decisions, but at the end of it all, there is light, and good, and justice (and ideally peace). The optimist in me thrives on that hope. That the world can change, and be changed!

Powerful stories shape powerful impressions. I guess writing is a superpower too. 😉 Now watch me harness my (newly discovered) superpower and change the world! 😊

Write on,
Ali J.

Do you have a favorite supporting character archetype? What about story type? Is writing your superpower? What are you harnessing it for? Share your thoughts below!

Contests & Blog Updates

Happy (very belated) Chinese New Year! 🎉🎊🎆🐕

Dogs are finally getting the recognition they deserve (again). But what about dogs under the couch/car/table? Underdogs too shall be recognized. 🐶👑 Ha. Ha ha? 🐾 (I need some fluff cuddling…)

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5 Year Anniversary

Image result for celebratory banners

Happy birthday blog! 🎉🎂 You’re nearly old enough for kindergarten!

I was going to write a longer, perhaps sentimental, post, yet sadly– I failed to draft this appropriately ahead of time, woke up with a killer migraine, and slept over half the day. Welcome to life. 😬😴

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Cinematic Short Story Contest Update!

Squeeeeeee! 🤩

Ahem, forgive me. The email took me by surprise this morning (pros of living in a different timezone?), but very excited to announce I’m a semifinalist for Screencraft’s Cinematic Short Story Contest!! 😍


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Fear Not Resistance, It Lights Your Path #DIYMFA

I’m back, as promised! (Wait, I can actually keep those??)  A bit later than I promised, but I made it back, so that’s a win in my book.

DIY MFA Book Club has actually ended, but I still want to answer all the prompts (im)patiently sitting in my inbox, and no one can tell me otherwise, so hah! 😇

Today’s prompt is a bit harder to tackle:


“Resistance comes from fear, and fear has a purpose.”
Gabriela, DIYMFA

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Best (Worst?) Practices, An Odyssey #DIYMFA

Happy February!

I meant to answer this prompt earlier, but I had a story to write for NYC Midnight‘s #shortstorychallenge2018! Sad to say procrastination grabbed a hold of me by Wednesday, throwing all productivity aside (engaging all the fear monsters though), but I managed to write 1,500 (aka most of it) on Saturday and of course had a last minute full on editing session before resubmitting. Judges be all judgy. Que sera, sera!

I’m well behind on prompts, so I’ll try my best to catch up, which may mean more than one update a week (gasp)! Our first prompt this week:


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