Stuff I found helpful this week

10 bits of blizzard therapy from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter (WBUR’s CommonHealth Blog)

A train stuck in the snow during the winter of 1881. Man on top of train provided for scale. (Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)

A train stuck in the snow during the winter of 1881. Man on top of train provided for scale. (Photo: Minnesota Historical Society on Wikimedia Commons)

From the post:

But “The Long Winter” offers, I would argue, the best of all antidotes to feelings that this is a horrible, awful, nasty winter. The trick is to compare our current winter woes not to our usual milder weather but to a dire prairie winter: the kind of winter when young Laura would wake, shivering, to a frigid house buffeted by blizzard, spend the dreary day twisting hay for heat and grinding wheat for the coarse brown bread that was her family’s last remaining food, crawl back into a cold bed and shiver until the shivering itself made her warm enough to fall asleep.

The Path to Deepening Your Protagonist (WritinGeekery)

A detailed roadmap to using your character’s flaws to create a richer reading experience for your readers.

Picking a Juicy Secret to Jazz up your Character (WritinGeekery)

How you can use secrets, big or small, to strengthen your narrative.

(Can anyone else tell I’m thinking about characterization this week?)

Why my new book bombed (The Incompetent Writer)

A post about someone else’s post, but with analysis that I found to be even more helpful than the original post. Confused yet?

Related Links: 



About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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One Response to Stuff I found helpful this week

  1. Pingback: Death by pie, public domain images of fish, and Jane Austen’s hand-copied sheet music | BostonWriters

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