Hi, I’m Yvonne McArthur, a writer, word-lover, and adventurer.
I grew up in the highlands of Guatemala where I off-set my book worminess by tramping up volcanoes, swimming in caldera lakes, and eating a LOT of mangoes. I studied creative writing at Houghton College in the boonies of New York State and, after a bit of soul-searching, traveling, and tromping through piles of slushy snow, chose to return to Guatemala, the land of eternal spring.
When not at my day job or my standing desk, I go for walks with Lily, my canine sidekick, ride my motorcycle (code name Mo), or muck around in the kitchen, the garden, or my amateur pottery studio.
After several interesting day jobs including renting surfboards at a surf hotel, working as a personal caregiver for two young ladies with disabilities, and teaching English to kids in China at 4 am, I decided to earn my living by doing what I REALLY love: putting words on a page, and then fiddling with them until they flow and glitter or fill the belly like warm bread.
My biggest focus lately has been writing SEO blog posts, which is incredibly fun. However, I’ve also enjoyed writing product descriptions, photo captions, website content, and more. It’s always a ride.
Editing gives me the same feeling archaeologists must have when they brush away sand to uncover the beautiful forms hidden beneath. It’s a process of discovery, refining, and polishing, and I love it.
One of my favorite editing activities is helping other writers by doing a developmental edit of their books. In fiction, I’m especially passionate about story structure, great dialogue, and story-driven characters. In non-fiction, I focus on helping writers engage readers through concise beautiful writing, well-organized content, and story-telling elements.
The novel-writing dream
Ever since I was a kid with dorky bangs and a propensity to read books in cypress trees, I’ve dreamed of writing a novel. When I was 23, I decided to give it my first honest go. At the end of 30 days, I had written a 50,000-word manuscript a la Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). The story had no plot, no antagonist, random cows, ferret smugglers, and a toga-wearing ghost who’d faked his own death. The main character landed himself in prison for accidentally trafficking in Godiva chocolate.
Let’s just say this: the only place to go from there was up.
Learning how to structure a novel, how to write good dialogue, how and when to reveal which elements of the story, and how to write in a way that communicates clearly has turned out to be a lot more complicated than I expected. But I’ve stuck with it for an embarrassing number of years now, and I don’t plan on quitting any time soon. I’ve had a bout with carpal tunnel, agonized over plot holes, feared failure, feared success, and in short, developed a rebellious refusal to surrender. Thanks for being part of the ride!
Want to learn more about my writing process?
Head over to the Writing Nook.