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Darlene Elizabeth Williams

Darlene is a historical fiction author and reviewer. She operates the popular Darlene Elizabeth Williams HF Reviews. Sometimes, Darlene will be sidetracked into a contemporary story - as in this case! Several of Darlene's short stories have been accepted for publication and included in anthologies. Darlene is currently at work on her first historical fiction novel, based on a true story.

Story: Leaf Chronicles

Interview

Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

Q:
What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
A:
Let the inner critic go and just write. Even if it's garbage the first round. That's the best advice I've heard, but the most difficult to follow. I find myself editing as I go. Old habits die hard!
Q:
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
A:
I'm definitely not a "pantser". I need all my ducks lined up before I jump into anything of substantial length. For a novel, it's a timeline. I can usually wing it for short stories, but I write notes for ideas to incorporate.

Reviews

Margaret Alice

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I loved how you personified a leaf. By giving the leaves human thoughts, you gave a great lesson of living our lives to the fullest. It was funny how the leaves had human worries, which reflected badly on us because it highlighted how superficial and silly humans can be at times. I thought it was a unique choice for the contest. Although, it did feel a little too long. Thank you for reviewing my story, "The Fate Continuum." Good luck!

Susan Gale Wickes

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And, all these years, I thought leaves lived a fairly simple life. Seriously, I enjoyed reading this from start to end. It's an imaginative tale and I found it to be very entertaining. At first, it seems to be a story about leaves but, in reality, it is so much more. Good luck!

Betty

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Intriguing story. I was transformed from being human to being a leaf! With this, came a condensed - yet a magnified sense of my human condition. I found myself laughing and later shedding a tear. Metaphorically this story took me from birth to death - from joys to fears and my light and darkest moments, and concluded with my inner most hopes.

BellaW

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Wonderful work Darlene! Brilliant and unique take on life. Loved it!

Not Budding

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I just didn't get it and couldn't even get through half of it. I found it painful.

A L Motsy

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What a wonderful character to choose in personifying birth, life and death. I was somewhat relucntant to read it in the beginning, then I found myself captivated by this little leaf and it's anxious worries of what was to happen to it. The imagiantion of this writer is shown wonderfully in this piece of work!

Ed Griffin

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As someone else said, "I'll never look at a leaf again in the same way." Despite my initial cynicism (the neighboring leaf) this author pulled me in by her great imagination. Here I was in the middle of a story. How would it end? What would happen? It was a hero's journey in the classic sense of Joseph Campbell.

Anna Belfrage

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i Darlene, It took me some time to catch on - what, a story about a leaf? - but once I did, I really enjoyed how perfectly consistent you were throughout the narrative. This was definitely a leaf speaking, its existential queries defined by what (very little) it knows about life. There's also something quite comforting about the ending, a gentle reminder to us all that there cannot be life without death, and that maybe we need not fear this natural full stop quite as much as we do.

My Write Side SAM

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She made me care about a leaf! Beautifully written with a real look at what and how a leaf might act. I love the concept of a leaf community. I will never look at a tree again the same.

Ginger M.

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This story was quite surprising for me. Knowing what the author does on her blog, I expected something a little more grounded in reality. Although the subject matter is one of life's hard truths, the story was written with such a whimsical and refreshing bent that I feel as if I now know her a little bit better. Thank you, Darlene, for sharing your touching and lovely take on this precious gift we call life!

Karen Magill

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I will never look at a leaf the same way again! You are a writer to watch out for!

Busyfingers

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What a unique take on life! It is indeed a fitting analogy that resonated about the fears, insecurities and challenges that face us as human beings. Most importantly, our reactions to them and how we grow. It was well-written and poignant.

DawnW

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Having been a Hospice Volunteer, and ran children's bereavement groups, and read Freddy The Falling Leaf many times, I love this story! I always wished for a story that would be more interesting to older kids and explained to a higher level of thinking the fact that death is a part of life. This story does it very well, clearly, compassionately and logically. What more can we ask for? I think this could be a very important book for many! All ages and stages of life can relate to the positive message, and suggestion of what we cannot control. I'm really excited! Thank You Darlene for including me! I'm delighted and highly recommend this most necessary story in a culture that still does not talk enough about death and dying!

DeEtte Anderton

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I enjoyed this story very much. As many others have said, it is charming. I don't remember every reading a story from a leaf's perspective, and following this one through its life cycle made it an interesting allegory.

Marie Fostino

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I really enjoyed reading this story and how it related to life. It was very charming and quite an imagination. In life we wonder why we are here, what is our purpose. While young we are afraid to die, until we get older and understand life better. Yes I must say your story was charming. Well done Darlene.

Kymber Lee

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I have to agree with the word 'charming' I really loved this story! I'm so glad I got the opportunity to read it. My life is a little richer now.

Ella

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I'm not a great reader of short fiction, but that did not detract in any way from the enjoyment I felt whilst reading Leaf Chronicles. I thought it was a very inspired way to describe the journey through life and a brilliant analogy with us, humans. So many points in that poor little leaf's development I could identify with, and so many I could recognise in others. My children, my friends, my co-workers, cliques at work (pre-lonely-writing type). Despite the low wordcount, I did feel like I knew the main character well enough to cross the road and figuratively shake his hand. I wanted to. There is a strength in that leaf that many of us wish they could find within themselves. Beautiful story. Absolutely loved it. Well done, Darlene!

Paulette

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Charming and novel approach to a fundamental question of all time, that of being. It captured right away with the question, "How did I come to be..." and moved along authentically for very different characters. An enjoyable read.

Ramon

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Hi Darlene- First of all your story was well written and for the most part well edited. However, I have to point out the very first line. “I know (present tense) we were (past tense) in buds, but how did the buds get there (there? or here? the MC is stating that it knows that it is in a bud. Since it's the MC talking in a first person POV, it seems to me that it would be ' here ' in the MC's location. I point this out because the opening of a story is SO important. You set the readers expectations. Even though the rest of your story was well edited, I expected more mistakes and that removes me from the story. Okay, nitpicking aside, I liked your story overall. Your language was interesting and varied. You developed believable characters from an unlikely object of nature. It kind of reminded me of the movie, Antz. Your MC was self-deprecating and a bit of a whiner, yet you turned him into a mild hero by the end of the story. However, I still found myself drifting out of your story. I asked myself why? The answer that I could came up with was-- everyone who has lived through a change of seasons already knows the plot. There was no plot twist early on to keep the reader (me) wondering what was going to happen next, thereby engaging me to excitement and the desire to keep turning the pages. I think with some editing, plot revisions, and some minor change of language, this could make an excellent children's book. Good luck!

Lisa Rose

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Sorry, but I thought this was going to be a silly story when I started it. I have to admit, I was wrong. It is really quite charming, I'm glad that I kept reading. If you have the time, please read my story, 'Drift Away' and let me know if you like it, by leaving a review.

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DECEMBER 18th 2012
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DECEMBER 7th 2012
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America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!