Always Learning. Always Writing.
RSS icon Home icon
  • The Helpful

    Posted on January 30th, 2013 jean 2 comments

    Come see what I built!

    I’m moving my writing posts over to The Helpful! That means the great posts you’ve come to enjoy here will now be found over on The Helpful But don’t worry if you have linked to something here, your link will still work as the archives will still be here, hiding, waiting to be snooped through.

    Come see what I've built

    Click here to read the latest post on How to Write a Killer Scene. And if you have subscribed to the posts on so you don’t miss one, you can do that over on The Helpful Writer as well!

    I look forward to seeing you there!

    Thanks for reading.

    Tweet the news: Jean Oram’s writing tips blog has moved to The Helpful!

  • What I’ve been Working On: (AKA… The Fall: Tales From the Apocalypse)

    Posted on October 1st, 2012 jean 6 comments

    I’ve been a bit busy lately working on some ‘secret’ projects… and today I am proud to share one of the things I’ve been working on.

    1) I’ve been enjoying writing chick lit again. Yes, I’ve decided that even though agents are having troubles selling it, it’s my passion, so why not write it and see what happens? See what kinds of opportunities I can dig up.

    2) I decided to try my hand at writing a short story. Which kind of helped bring about #1, actually. I decided to write a chick lit genre short story to see if I could get something accepted for the Elephant’s Bookshelf Press’s upcoming anthology, The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse. (To tell the truth, I had been tempted to try one since reading J. Lea Lopez’s short story, The Adventures of Sasquatch, in Spring Fevers (also by Elephant’s Bookshelf Press).

    The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse

    Cover for The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse (Available October 29, 2012)

    Right now you might be thinking, Uh Jean? Chick lit? Tales from the Apocalypse? Hello? These things don’t jive. Well, I broke the mold with my short story, Crumbs. In fact, quite a few stories in the upcoming short story anthology did. How do I know? Read #3.

    3) I’ve been editing. No longer bits here and there for friends and the odd manuscript, but a very LARGE project; pro bono. It’s called… The Fall. Yes, I edited the anthology as well. And no, my story (so they tell me) wasn’t accepted *just* because I was editing the book.

    So there it is! I’m going to be in The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse coming out later this month! (October 29th, 2012) More details about all the wonderful other authors can be found on Elephant’s Bookshelf Press’s blog.



    More about Crumbs:

    Crumbs is about a 20-something photojournalist, Anastasia, who has always wanted the attention of the hottie who lives across the street. Now, with the world in shambles after a flash 11-day world war, this gal has the perfect excuse to not only catch his eye, but also gain more than precious crumbs of attention as she holds the one thing he needs in this decimated land.

    How about you? What have you been working on? Have you tested your boundaries lately? If not, why not? You just might surprise yourself.

  • Mud Vs. Finger Paints

    Posted on January 11th, 2012 jean No comments

    Quick note: I’m over on Calista Taylor’s blog talking about It’s All Kid’s Play, the importance of play in childhood, and the crossover from fiction writing to nonfiction writing. We’d love to see you there–feel free to drop a comment and weigh in on mud vs. finger paints. That’s right. It’s on like Donkey Kong!

    (And if you are wondering about this crazy Kid’s Play thing of mine and want a little crash course and missed Jemi Fraser’s mini tour of It’s All Kid’s Play, it’s still up on her blog.)
    Thanks and happy Trails!

  • Jean Oram: Profiled

    Posted on December 20th, 2009 jean 8 comments

    Hey, I got profiled!–in a good way. There were no hunky men at a police station trying to figure out the motivations and psychological rumblings behind the woman makes up the enigma Jean Oram. Nope, not this time.

    Aspiring author and blogger, J. Lea Lopez of the blog Jello World asked me to fill out her writer’s questionnaire. Every month she shows off an aspiring darling, and as it happens, December is my month. Yes, you heard right. I am sharing words of wisdom, insider trading tips (okay, not really), what makes me tick (or write), as well as spilling the beans on my library boyfriend over on J. Lea’s blog. So pop on over, there’s free hot chocolate with marshmallows and maybe a little light entertainment.


    P.S. Here’s a strange fact, speaking of Jello, I really suck at making Jello. Yes, it’s true. I don’t know why. I can make layered cakes and brownies and nanaimo bars (For my American readers, these are a three layer bar with chocolate, coconut and graham wafer crumbs for the bottom layer, thick pudding for middle, and chocolate for the top.) from scratch, but don’t ask me to make Jello (or Rice Krispie squares). There’s some weird force field around me and simple treats that most 5-year-olds can master.

    See this? Yeah, I can’t do that. Now you know my deepest, darkest secrets and must share yours. 🙂

  • Like Phone Tag, Only More Fun

    Posted on December 19th, 2009 jean 10 comments

    There’s something going around the Internet tubes. And no, it’s not a virus… it’s a game called (wait for it) Blog Tag! Yes! You can now play tag while sitting, and you won’t even spill your coffee. Does it get any better? (The correct answer is ‘no.’)

    I have to admit, I was blindsided. Calista Taylor snuck up on me while I was drinking a chai latte with friends and tagged me. I just about spilled my chai, I was so surprised. I didn’t even know I was playing! (Aren’t those the best kind of games?)


    So, having been tagged, I get to answer some writing questions that you didn’t even realize you wanted answers to. There are a lot of them, you might want to take a bathroom break first.


    1)What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

    Well, I just wrote this. Oh! You mean… Okay, um, the last thing I wrote was part of a work in progress–that was

    yesterday. The first thing I wrote that I still have is probably some stories in my grade one notebook.

    2) Write poetry?

    On occasion, if a poem comes to me.

    3) Angsty poetry?

    When I was a teenager, but I haven’t been one in awhile, so, no.

    4) Favourite genre of writing?

    Romance is fun because you get to toy with character’s emotions and bring them down and then ‘wham,’ give them the greastest gift of all–love. Aw. I dapple with other genres, but romance is high-speed fun with the top rolled down.

    5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

    Well, there’s a guy character who always wore his shoes in the house and left mud on his friend’s coffee table. That annoyed the character. I’m not sure about reader’s though. I try not to annoy the reader.

    6) Best plot you’ve ever created?

    I think I might be creating it in my work in progress, but I’m not sure. It’s too soon to tell.

    7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

    Uh… huh. Hmmm… ummmm. I dunno. It’s hard to answer these questions because it’s hard to pull it out of your own writing, because it just is. Either that, or I’ve never written a cool plot twist, in which case, that’s just sad and depressing and I thank you for bringing me down.

    8 ) How often do you get writer’s block?

    Never. There are times when I have to step back, go for a walk and let the next scene or move come to me.

    9) Write fan fiction?

    Nope. I’m not avid about a show or series enough to feel the desire to pen myself some fan fiction.

    10) Do you type or write by hand?

    I can type faster than I can write now, so brainstorming and here-and-there notes are by hand, the rest is a la computer.

    11) Do you save everything you write?

    Yeah, pretty much. I’m a natural packrat.

    12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?

    Define abandon. These are my kids, they might get neglected, but never truly abandoned.

    13) What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever written?

    That would be The 15 Date Rule. Not because it is the best, but because it was the most fun to write.

    14) What’s everyone else’s favourite story you’ve written?

    What? It isn’t The 15 Date Rule? Come on! Seriously though, people seem to love Caviar and Lemon Drops. It is pretty good, but it wasn’t quite as much fun to write as 15DR. (It came after 15DR and plotting it, etc, wasn’t as ridden with challenges to keep me on my toes.)

    15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

    Romance, yes. Teen drama, no.

    16) What’s your favourite setting for your characters?

    Honestly, I forget about setting a lot of the time. I’m more concerned with the mood, emotion, motivations, etc. I have to remind myself to add setting into each scene.

    17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

    Of my own–just one. It’s a first draft, so everything else of mine gets to hang back for a bit. I am doing some editing work for other people’s projects. (You can contract me to edit, coach, critique, and more! I do queries, synopses, manuscripts, and proposals.)

    18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?

    Nope. I placed in a contest, but I’m not much of a contest hound. I won first in a province-wide art contest once, does
    that count? No, no it doesn’t. I just wanted to feel special.

    19) What are your five favourite words?

    Leave me alone, I’m writing.

    Not really–I don’t think I’ve ever said that. How about ‘pristine’. That’s a good word. Now, I need four more…

    20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

    They all have pieces of me.

    21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

    They just show up, ready to kick a$$ (or whatever they are there to do).

    22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?


    23) Do you favour happy endings?

    Sure. If it fits the story. It has to be satisfying for the audience, that’s the number one requirement.

    24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

    Sorta. I’ll backtrack to fix spelling. Mostly, it’s full steam ahead in the first draft. My first concern is the get the idea down before it disappears. I can make it flow or grammatically correct on the second pass.

    25) Does music help you write?

    It depends. Sometimes music interrupts, which is really annoying.

    26) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in your head.

    “Cynthia tossed her wavy hair, leaving it tousled, sexy, and perfect in a way that made Beth think of champagne and movie stars.” I wrote that line in one of my edits of Caviar and Lemon Drops and then forgot about it. I reread it months later and got all pissed off. I thought someone had been messing with my manuscript. But the worst part was that they were better than I was. It was an interesting moment when I figured out I wrote it.


    That’s it. You made it to the end. I hope I didn’t bore you too much.

    Now… I get to tag another three writers!

    I’m going to chase after Yvonne Osborne, snag TK Richardson, and grab J. Lea. Lopez because she posted an interview the other day with moi and some of these questions weren’t covered in her interview with herself back in June.

    Hmmm… I’m noticing a trend here… I’ve been a guest on all three of these blogs! It’s tag nepotism at its best. Love it!