Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Creative Writing Workshop

I just completed presenting a month long workshop on creative writing for the county schools continuing education program. We had a terrific, creative group of adults. It was a pleasure to work with them. Their enthusiasm for writing was contagious. Their questions and ideas stirred me to new thinking. And my constant research to present the different elements of writing was an adventure in discovery.

I tried to introduce and expand on as many topics as I could in that short time–character development, dialogue, plot, theme, setting, conflict, POV, show, don’t tell, and more. On top of all this, we devoted time to writing!

I relied a lot on Stephen King’s book On Writing and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones as resources. I am including a list of books I feel would be great additions to their library. Do you have outstanding books you would suggest for new and veteran writers?



 Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Author: Anne Lamott

Chicago Manual of Style

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing

Author: The Editors of Writer’s Digest

Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books

How to be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play

Author: Barbara Baig

The Elements of Style

Author: William Strunk and E.B.White.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Author: Stephen King

Publisher: Scribner

On Writing Well

Author: William Zinsser

Reading Like a Writer

Author: Francine Prose

Publisher: HarperCollins

Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times

Editor: John Darnton

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Author: Natalie Goldberg

Publisher: Shambhala


FREE Writing Books for Your Kindle

If you have a Kindle, go now to get helpful books on the art and craft of writing at


The Blank Page

Some days when I sit down to the computer, pull up MS Word, and see that blank page, I am overwhelmed. My mind is as blank as the page. So I click on  Chrome and check out my Facebook page, check and write emails, throw in a load of laundry, sit back down at the desk.  I open up the blank page again. You would think with all the time I spent away from the page, my mind would have figured out something clever or inspirational to write. But most often, that is not the case.

Finally I begin adding words to the page because as Audrey Shaffer of the Writers Chatroom said, “Bad writing can be cleaned up and turned into good writing. A blank page can’t be edited into anything usable.”

I think we are all guilty of thinking the first thing we put on the page has to be excellent, has to be perfect, has to flow. Realistically we know, it can’t be. We know we will actually have to WORK at making the piece perfect through re-writing and re-vising.

The important thing is to get something down so you CAN work on it to make it better.

Best-selling Nora Roberts is attributed for this great advice–“You can’t fix a blank page.” Every writer should have that saying hanging above his/her desk.

Get started now!

Authors Conference FREE


Exciting news! A first of its kind–a free conference at the Muse It Up Publishing blog  presented by authors at Muse It Up. The topics are aimed at making you a better writer offering information on character development, researching, social media, critiques and more. Each day a different workshop is offered, so yes! 30 different ways to help you in your writing journey.

Sign up to be eligible to win free books when you participate and discounts for readers.

Every day at noon..99 cent books–yes! full priced books on sale for one day only for 99 cents!!

I will be presenting a workshop on June 9 on Writing Memoirs. I hope you will be able to join me anytime that day. Looking forward to seeing you in June.

Blood and Guts or Emotions

In her article explaining an upcoming editing workshop at Savvy Writers, Jill Elizabeth Nelson says–We’re going to have fun “getting violent” with our readers. They’ll love us for it! “But,” you say, “I’m writing a cozy mystery,” or, “My book is a relationship saga,” or “I’m penning the next great literary classic. The most violent event that takes place is a paper cut.” Then it’s time to learn a simple truth of our craft—outward violence in any genre is boring blood and gore if we omit the psychological and emotional impact that stirs our reader’s depths. A single sentence or paragraph of introspection can perform more emotional violence on our reader than pages of car chase or gun fight. Unless we engage our reader at their core, they are likely to close our book and lay it aside.

But wait a minute, I thought readers liked the action scenes of shoot ’em up, car chases, bombing, and paragraphs of blood and gore. And yet, another author told me she writes horror, but not the blood and guts kind poured out on the page, but rather horror through the emotion of primal fear.

First, I don’t read books of torture and gore. I couldn’t even read The Lovely Bones because it was told by a teen-age girl who was murdered. The writing was so well done, I couldn’t read it. Does that make sense? So how could I write a horror story? Sunshine Boulevard is a mystery/horror story. I wrote it using my pen name because noone would believe I wrote such a story. (And maybe a bit of hesitancy to let people know I could write such a book.) But as Ms. Nelson suggests, it is horror brought about through emotional suspense, not through blood and guts spewing throughout the work.

Ms. Nelson’s workshop is intriguing. I would love to take it but I will be traveling. I certainly hope she offers it again.

Savvy Authors is a website for all writers. I joined it and am learning my way around the many topics and information. So much to see and learn. Perhaps you would like to check it out.

What are Agents, Editors, and Publishers Looking For?

The title of this post is borrowed from an informative article I read on the Muse It Up Publishing Blog. What DO Publishers and Editors and Agents want from a writer? If I could discover the secret to that mystery, I would be a rich person! The post on my publisher’s blog is informative and offers points for you, the writer, to look for when writing and then submitting. 

One point the author may have overlooked is luck. Yes, luck. Oprah defines luck as opportunity meeting preparation..something like that. When an email arrives saying a pub is looking for a certain kind of story, you may have the exact one they’ll want. You will be prepared to submit it because it’s been discussed with a critique partner, edited for grammar errors and spelling, and written in the format the publisher lays out in their guidelines. So that may be regarded as luck or as being in the right place at the right time.

I still believe in luck and a few prayers too….

How Do You Write the Ending of the Story?

Writers always work hard to make the first sentence in a story pop to hook the reader. Do you put as much thought into writing the ending of your story? Afterall, the ending is a reward to the reader for finishing the book and it should tie up all the loose ends of the sub-plots and main plots in a satisfactory way. When the reader closes the book, she should be happy she spent the time in those pages with your characters and story.

Published author Marsha A. Moore posted a very informative blog about writing the ending. Please check out these important points to ponder as you begin writing the end.