Writing Workshop: Creating Great Characters

Yep, that's right, Writers on the Move has another helpful workshop geared for writers. As a writer I know the importance of learning my craft and that means attending informative writing workshops that help me on my writing journey. So, be sure to register this week!

Here's the basic information you'll need:

Title: Creating Great Characters
Presented by: Maggie Ball
Date: December 07, 2011 (Wednesday)
Time: 5:00 - 5:45 PM EST (U.S.)
Format: Live Webinar
Handout: Yes
Cost: Free

Workshop Description:

Think of amazing characters, such as Sherlock Holmes, Scarlett O'Hara (Gone with the Wind), Tarzan, Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird), Peter Pan, Charlotte (Charlotte's Web), T. S. Garp (The World According to Garp), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), Harry Potter, the list goes on and on.

Characters are at the heart of every great story and every fiction author needs to know how to create good ones. Think temperament, intelligence, appearance, physical characteristics, quirks, moods, mannerisms, and so on. Great characters need to be real, engaging, and motivating; they need to keep the reader reading. They need to touch something in the reader; they need to be remembered.

Join Maggie Ball as she discusses characterization.

To register for “Creating Great Characters” email Maggie Ball at: maggieball@compulsivereader.com

Details to attend the LIVE WEBINAR will be provided upon registration.

There will also be a bonus PDF workshop handout included and registered attendees will receive a recording of the live webinar.

For the full details CLICK HERE.


Until next time,
Karen Cioffi

Book Marketing How-To Lauded as "Invaluable" by Midwest Review

The Frugal Book Promoter, second edition
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
Author’s Web site: www.carolynhoward-johnson.com
ISBN: 9781463743291
Paperback $17.95
Paperback on Amazon
Kindle Edition

Reviewed by Jim Cox, editor of The Midwest Review
Originally for The Midwest Review and Newsletter

Carolyn Howard-Johnson draws upon her many years of experience and expertise as a professional book publicist and marketing specialist to author "The Frugal Book Promoter". The 416-page compendium of commentary, advice, tips, tricks and 'real world' techniques on how to authors can obtain nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with their publishers will prove to be an invaluable, practical, profitable, and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional reference.
It should be noted that the Midwest Book Review is cited four times.

Of special note in this newly expanded and completely updated second edition are the sample letters query letters, media releases, blog entries, trade show invitations, phone pitch scripts, email auto-signatures, and tip sheets. Simply stated, "The Frugal Book Promoter" is the single most valuable addition any aspiring author or novice small press publishers can add to their personal and professional book marketing reference shelves -- and has a great deal of enduring value for even the more experienced publisher marketing directors and publicists.

Three Ways to Powerfully Reawaken Your Creativity

Three Ways to Powerfully Reawaken Your Creativity

A writer’s life is often filled with many demands, challenges and conflicting priorities. As a result, many writers experience chronic stress which can negatively impact their craft and dampen their sense of creativity. Here are three simple yet powerfully effective ways to breathe life into your writing and reawaken your sense of creativity and passion.

1) Let Go of Your Biggest Writing Disappointment

This week, choose to let go of you greatest writing disappointment and enjoy a vast sense of personal freedom. For this exercise you will need a 3 by 5 index card, a pen, a helium balloon and approximately 15 inches of string or ribbon. Prior to beginning this exercise sit quietly and take a few deep-cleansing breaths.

Think about the area of your writing life that causes you the most heartache or sense of failure. This could be the fact that you have reached a certain age and have yet to publish your work. Or perhaps you are most troubled by the lack of support you receive from others who urge you to concentrate your efforts into “a real job.” Maybe you feel hopelessly blocked and every time you sit down to write you hear the harsh, critical voice of your six grade English teacher whispering in your ear. Write down your life’s greatest writing heartache and stressor on your 3 by 5 index card.

Next, attach the index card to your helium balloon with the ribbon. Go outside with your balloon. Spend a few minutes thinking about how your greatest stressor has affected your writing and creativity. Gently release your balloon into the air into a wide open space. As your balloon drifts into the sky, imagine that your greatest writing disappointment is floating out of your life forever, just like this balloon. Imagine how wonderful and freeing it feels to have this problem completely removed from your life. Envision that you are giving this problem back to the universe, back to God or back to any power greater than yourself. Whenever negative feelings resurface; picture this balloon floating away in your mind's eye. This exercise is a great way to let go of anything that seems out of your control. It can be repeated as needed to release problems in any area of your life and help renew your creativity.

2) Set Your Intention Each Day

Each day upon awakening, ask yourself. “What is my intention for the day?” This is really just another way of asking yourself “What do I want for myself and what am I willing to allow into my life?” Examples of daily intentions are “Today I intend to write for at least thirty minutes or get 1500 words on paper.” or “My intention today is to connect with other writers and discover new ways to market my book”. Other examples of intention include “My intention today is to extend kindness to every person that I encounter” or “Today I will experience inner peace no matter what happens.” On many days, your intention may not be related to your writing but can powerfully effect your creativity. Most people give very little thought to their daily desires. Chaotic, overscheduled lives often cause us to live in an unconscious way. As a result, we wind up creating lives that cause dissatisfaction and are not in alignment with our deepest longings. Intention is a powerful tool that will help you manifest your writing goals by gently guiding where you place your attention every day. You may find that once you begin setting an intention each day, you feel the need to make drastic life changes related to your job, relationship status or family life. Or perhaps the only things will change is the way you view life and your newfound sense of prolific creativity. Declaring a daily intention will help you clarify your values and determine what will truly bring you happiness, both on and off the page. In addition, your awareness will shift and you will attract the people, experiences and things that you want into your life.

3) Start a Gratitude Journal

Gratitude is a powerful feeling that can help us reconnect with a sense of creativity, purpose and passion. In these troubled economic times, it’s easy to focus on the problems that surround us and experience anxiety about our future. By spending a few moments appreciating what we have each day, we can gently guide our minds into a more creative, receptive state. It is extremely helpful to maintain a journal of appreciation and thankfulness. Many people find the mere practice of keeping a gratitude journal helps them to stay focused on their personal and professional writing goals. Writing a gratitude list is also a great way to remedy a case of writer’s block. Each night before going to sleep, make a list of all the things that you are grateful for in your life. Learning to appreciate the things that you already have creates a tremendous sense of joy. As you author your nightly gratitude list, review your day and feel thankful for all the positive things that happened to you and helpful people that crossed your path. Some people find it useful to analyze the events of the day in sequential or reverse-chronological order. Remember that there is nothing too small or trivial to feel grateful about. Examples of items of on a gratitude list include “I am grateful for my son’s beautiful smile.” “I am so thankful for this bed I sleep in." or “I feel grateful that I have a car that runs and that I had the money to repair the flat tire I had today.” As you write your gratitude list, focus on the positive emotion that feeling thankful evokes within you. When you feel as if you have completed your daily gratitude list, take a few moments and see if you can think of anything else to appreciate. It is also beneficial to fall asleep reciting your gratitude list silently to yourself. After keeping your gratitude journal, you will be amazed at all the new and fresh ideas that your gratitude has awakened within your mind.

Aileen McCabe-Maucher is a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist and registered nurse who has helped many people find inner peace and discover their unique life purpose. Aileen has fifteen years of experience providing individual and group counseling to a diverse client population. She is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Widener University, University of Delaware, and The Gestalt Therapy Institute of Philadelphia at Bryn Mawr College. Aileen studied yoga and the chakra system at The Yoga Lifestyle Center in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the book, The Inner Peace Diet, which was published by Penguin/ Alpha Books and released nationwide on December 2, 2008.

A free sample of Aileen's books, The Inner Peace Diet, and Find Your Life Purpose Now: Recipes for Making Your Dreams Come True can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Aileen-McCabe-Maucher/e/B003IUBRLK

Long Sentences Like a Good Wine Endure Through Time

Good Wine Endures Through Time
When did long sentences go out of style? Have we have been taught that in order to grab the attention of the reader we must do it in as few sentences as possible, because we know that the reader’s attention span is very miniscule? Instead the reader’s attention has been captured by the electronic age and it is increasingly harder to get people to read. However, in our rush to capture the reader’s attention have our sentences become less vibrant and less meaningful? Do you strive to become a better writer by writing stronger sentences?

Literary greats have endured the test of time with their sentences that are vibrant and full of meaning. These sentences tantalized our senses like an excellent wine with dinner. Have we become unable to appreciate vibrant verbs, the provocative adjectives, the descriptive adverbs that make a sentence more robust and vibrant? Have our words been reduced to simple sentences on a page? Do you carefully choose each word of your sentences and how it fits with the overall meaning of the piece?

The longer sentence, where every single word is the best that can be found and a word or phrase could not be cut from it without sacrificing something essential; is like a puzzle where every piece is need to complete the picture. Below is an example from the opening of Virginia Woolf’s essay, “On Being Ill.”

“Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to view, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us by the act of sickness, how we go down into the pit of death and feel the water of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist’s arm-chair and confuse his “Rinse the Mouth —- rinse the mouth” with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heaven to welcome us – when we think of this, as we are frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.”

This sentence has 181 words and each word fits like a puzzle. One does not lose the meaning by the time we get to the end of it. Do not fear this sentence because of the number of words as the flow of words sounds like music. It is pleasurable to read, graceful, witty and intelligent. Do you read your sentences to others to hear how they sound? I wonder what Virginia Woolf would say if you told her that short sentences do not reflect the vigor and meaning of longer sentences, but they are in style today.

Happy Reading!

Rebecca Camarena is a virtual book tour coordinator with  Pump Up Your Book.  She is a freelance writer in Southern California with a background in Journalism and Literature.  Her published articles cover a variety of topics from health, weddings, book reviews and animals. You can find her at

Hollywood Daze
Paperback Writer,
Writing Daze,
Dogs Rule Cats Drool,

Writing is for Life

On days when I wonder if my works in progress are actually progressing or moribund, I cheer myself by singing a happy tune and rejoicing in the success of others who came to the writing table later in life.

And the passion and enthusiasm for writing that  keeps authors writing into their eighties, nineties and beyond, also seems to contribute to success.

 Self publishing at 97
Star contender this week has to be Nora Percival, self-publishing for Kindle at the age of 97, with help from author Scott Nicholson.

A retired editor, she was 88 when her first book, Weather of the Heart, was published to critical acclaim. The painstakingly researched memoir documents her family’s life in Russia where they lived through civil war and famine. Her father fled the Russian Revolution to safety in America but not until 1922 was he reunited with Nora and her mother in New York.

The sequel Silver Pages of the Lawn is the romance of her love story with her first husband, poet Herman Gund,
told through their letters.
Three of her books are already available on  Amazon.

Editorial Memoirs

British literary editor Diana Athill retired in 1993 aged 75, after which she produced five books of memoirs, one of which, Somewhere Towards the End, won the Costa Award in 2009.

She worked with publisher André Deutsch and his authors including Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, John Updike and Mordecai Richler to name only a few.

Last year, aged 93, she appeared in the BBC documentary Growing Old Disgracefully. This year saw the publication of another book of short stories, Midsummer Night in the Workhouse.

If you haven’t anything to say...

One of my favourite authors, Mary Wesley was 70 when her adult novels were first published . Her books sold three million copies and included ten best sellers before she stopped writing fiction aged 84.

“If you haven’t anything to say,” she supposedly said, “don’t say it.”

I doubt if that thought ever crossed the mind of British author Barbara Cartland, the Queen of Romance. She wrote 723 romantic novels and totalled an estimated one billion sales in 36 languages. Famous for her spiky eyelashes and her love of wearing pink, she featured in the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s most prolific writer.

She lived to within weeks of her hundredth birthday, “still scribbling” according to a friend, and her books carry on selling in many parts of the world today. Whatever you think of her writing, the sheer ability to produce a book a fortnight, even by dictation to a secretary, is an amazing feat.

World’s Oldest Blogger

A review of the golden authors past and present of the publishing world would not be complete without a mention of the world’s oldest blogger Bernando LaPallo from Arizona. Now 110, his latest blog post was published on his birthday in August. He is author of Age Less and Live More and is reported to be working on his second book.

Secrets of Success

All these authors have taken publicity in their stride and played to their unique strengths. The initial marketing blurb may have promoted them on account of the late blossoming of their careers, but they also worked hard at connecting with their readers be it through public appearances, radio and television appearances, blogging and/or belonging to social networking sites.

Of course not all of us can have the advantages of Barbara Cartland who also happened to be the mother of Princess Diana's stepmother.

But we can pay heed to the best lesson of all.
Never Give Up.
 Read the article that inspired this post:

* * * * *
Anne Duguid is a senior content editor at MuseItUp Publishing. She blogs at Slow and Steady Writers and at the moment is passionate about creating a new Joomla! website. The WIP? A romantic suspense series.

10 things I've learned in one month of marketing my book

This is my first post for "Writers On The Move" and I am so thrilled that I was invited to contribute to this blog. I am sharing one of my more popular posts from last month. I have learned that indie writers are always looking for marketing tips. If you see anything useful please take it and good luck. And if you know any helpful marketing tips; please leave a comment share with other struggling indie writers. I hope you enjoy.

It's my one month anniversary. I began this blog a little over one months ago; September 17 to be exact. I feel like a whiny girlfriend wanting to celebrate every little milestone. But I think it's important to note any noticeable achievements I've made in regards to my marketing plan so all of us small indie authors/publishers have at best a road map on what to expect when marketing our books.

So, here we go and I'll do it like David Letterman, just probably not as funny. Note: this information is assuming you already have your book published and available to the public.

10. Keep a journal. Its important to have some documentation for reference of your daily activities so you can better keep track of what you're doing. Mine is this blog.

9.Connect with other writers for moral support. It's important to surround yourself with positive people, like-minded artsy people; not folks that are going to tell you to get over it and try to convince you that what you're doing is just a pipe dream. I don't tell "regular" people my business because "regular" people are buzzkills. I don't even share too much of what I'm doing with my own husband because he's not an artist and doesn't get it. "Regular" people don't share my passion for writing, it's all dollars and cents to them and the last thing I wanna hear is, "so, how many books did you sell?" or "Is there any money in that?" Ughhh, get the hell away from me dude. So, I only talk about this to fellow writers.

8. "Big" magazines are willing to negotiate. Don't be afraid to contact an ad rep. I Googled, the top ten teen magazines and contacted the kind folks over at Girl's Life magazine. My hands shook the whole time wondering if they would even talk to a small fry like me. But, not only did they talk to me, they were willing to throw in a lot of extra sweeteners for my business; more than they advertised online. They want your business so they may not be as out of reach as one might think. I'm considering advertising with them the first of the year or early spring.

7. Be prepared for the giveaway. I purchased 10 books this month for giveaways. To date I have given away 8 books with two left to go. For me 10 books a month is manageable. Maybe for someone else, it's 5 books a month or 20 book. And don't forget to budget for postage. Ask for the book rate at the Post Office, it'll take 7-10 days to get to the winner instead of 3-5 days but its way cheaper than First Class.

6.Connect with book bloggers in your genre. This is crucial. Find a blog directory in your particular genre and start working your way down the list. I made it my job to send out 10 emails a day asking YA bloggers if I could participate in a giveaway, interview or guest post in exchange for a review of my book. Out of 10 emails I'd might get one response. Some of them didn't have time for reviews but agreed to a giveaway. Book bloggers need giveaways to maintain their site. It's a two way street, they need the giveaway and we need the exposure. I would have at least one giveaway going per week.

5.Get a website and book trailer. It's a no brainier. I have a website for the book series but not a personal author's website. There are plenty of do-it-yourself sites where you pick a template and just add photos and information. The one I have cost only $9.99 per month and is super easy to use. If it's possible try to create a book trailer and place it on Youtube. I created my own trailer using stock footage. And don't forget to connect it to all of your social media as well.

4.Social media is a must. I'm not a fan but its a must. I got a Twitter account for myself and a separate one for the book. Don't forget a Facebook "Like" page for the book and make sure to connect everything to your website, your e-mail, your book trailer, your FB account and the Twitter account.

3. Just go ahead and pay for a Facebook ad. A Facebook ad is inexpensive, simple and easy to create, just make sure you have an attractive ad and able to sell it in about 50 words or less. If you've ever had to create a classified ad it's similar to that. I went through a couple of ads before settling on the one I'm using now. You can connect your FB ad to either your website or your "Like" page. Pay attention to the demographics as well. Mine were United State, ages 14-18, male and females interested in literature and reading. They have demographic choices down to the zip code and personal hobbies and activities. The bids for cost per click is negotiable and can be changed at your discretion as long as it falls within the "bid range". On the weekends where user activity was high, I paid $0.40 per click but on for example a Tuesday where user activity was low, I only paid $0.19 per click. You're allowed to set your own budget, dates and even time of day the users will see your ad. Super useful for exposure, not sales. To date with a two week ad; over 70,000 people have seen my ad at least 3 times. The first week I sent the ad directly to my website and the second week I sent my ad directly to the "Like" page. I prefer the "Like" page because I know exactly who's interested in my book and I can vet them later as potential customers. I've had 4 sales as a direct result from my FB ad. So, again, its good for exposure, not sales.

2. Goodreads.com is another must. I didn't know about Goodreads.com until I received my first review from one of the bloggers. It's like FB but for bookworms. You can create an Authors Page where you can upload your books, write reviews, find friends, join groups, upload your blog, excerpts from your book, participate in giveaways for your book, and of course connect to your FB and twitter account. I spend a good part of my day managing my Authors Page. the resources are endless.

1.Be productive everyday to keep yourself inspired and focused. Hey, guys if you like this; sign up and take the one year journey with me. http://vicihoward.blogspot.com or http://www.thechickfriendsrules.com

The Writer’s Block – tips for smashing through your blocks

Writers are writers because they write.  Sounds simple enough, but the reality is they write because they can’t not write.  It begins in many different ways…a diary, journal, maybe a short poem, eventually leading to the realization that one is a writer.   

Hitting a creative block is frustrating territory for a writer.  I have known fellow writers to stop writing for months because they were overwhelmed by their inability to move their story forward.  Why they are stuck is not as important as a willingness to jump back in. If you are experiencing a creative block try one of the following strategies.

1.     Natalie Goldberg suggests scheduling daily timed writing practices where you keep your pen moving as a way to develop your writing muscle.  I don’t engage in daily timed writing but I have found that this technique helps me break through blocks when I’m feeling stuck.  It’s simple…when the timer starts you begin writing and keep the pen moving.  Start with a 10 minute session. Eventually increase to 40 minutes if possible.  I have done this practice where I end of up with three pages of gibberish:
“This is stupid I can’t think of anything, I’m stuck…stuck…stuck. I’m soooooo frustrated.  I don’t know where this character is going…blah blah blah. I don’t like doing this. What is the point?  I’m moving my pen but going nowhere. This story is really stuck…nothing..nothing..nothing..” 

Eventually at about the 8 minute mark something sneaks through my mental chatter and I am writing and don’t want to stop.  For me, the trick is in keeping the pen moving.  If I stop the pen then my mind says “I don’t know what to write” and the page remains blank.

2.     E.B. White said, “Write about it by day, and dream about it by night.”  When struggling on the direction of a piece or how to end a story, trying using your dream state to nudge your work along.  Put a notebook next to your bed and climb into bed.  Then, write down the issue you’re struggling with.  Close the notebook, ask the universe to help you discover the answer and go to sleep.  When you wake up before you climb out of bed, write down your first thoughts.  Try this for at least a week or until you unlock your block.

If allowed to grow, writer’s block can fester and became a wound so big it kills a manuscript.  Before that happens, I use one of these strategies to push through.  What do you do when you are feeling stuck? 

Mary Jo Guglielmo is an intuitive life strategist that helps clients push through their blocks, envision their path and take the necessary action to live their true north. For more information check out  www.donorth.biz

Have You Considered Writing Greeting Card or Fillers for Extra Cash?

As authors, we struggle to balance writing time, marketing time, and family life with paying the bills and bringing in adequate income. Have you considered writing fillers or greeting cards to bring in added funds? Writing fillers and verse can take less time, marketing is not such an issue because you submit and don’t have to continue to have a marketing plan for one or two cards or puzzles, and they can be fun.

Writing greeting cards or fillers is the ultimate in writing tight. You have to make your sentiment known in fewer words than a story, novel, or magazine article. You must touch the emotional side of the reader or buyer for cards and grab the interest of the reader immediately for writing fillers. Some of the same rules apply to writing fillers that apply to greeting cards.  

  • Study the market. Writing for a greeting card company is as important and professional as writing for a publisher. Knowing your market and what is being published will help you hone your writing skills to meet their needs. The same goes for fillers. Does the magazine you target use puzzles, quotes, brain teasers, or number games? Writing requires you to know your market.
  • Write your words or verse as if you are writing it for a friend. If it appeals to one person, more likely than not, it will appeal to the masses. Write your filler in the same way. It should be aimed at a single reader because if one reader likes it so will others.
  • Be specific. If the card is for a friend, say so. If it is for a mom, dad, sister, aunt, etc make sure your words are special to that audience. If the puzzle is for a child, send it to a children’s magazine and if your filler is more for adults, don’t try to send it to a kid’s publication.
  • Target specific publishers that fit your writing style. Don’t try to rhyme if that is not what you are good at. Don’t try number puzzles if you are not good at math.  Write what you feel in your heart and then write it tighter to fit your target.
  • Be persistent. Write everyday and continue to hone your writing skills.
  • When you are ready to submit, follow the writer’s guidelines just like you would for a magazine or book publisher. If they say to put one verse per index card, then do it. If they don’t want a word search filler, then by all means don’t send them one. Guidelines are meant to weed out those that are not professional. Make your submission shine by following every guideline suggested.

Writing fillers or for the greeting card market can be very rewarding and satisfying. Don’t forget the E-card and online markets for greeting cards and fillers too. Research the greeting card market, look at your local stores for the types of cards that are selling, and then tweak your writing to fit the target you choose. It can be the best writing move you make to advance your career  in a forward direction.

Terri Forehand
Author of The Cancer Prayer Book

Calling Authors, Do you have a blog for your book?

Do you have a blog for your book? If you don’t have a blog for your book, why not.

The time to begin a blog and promotion for your book to create a following and desire in readers for your book is before you write it. Trying to promote your book after you’ve written it, is like locking the barn door after the horses are gone.

With the changes in the publishing business occurring almost daily, it is up to authors to get their head into a business mindset. Traditional publishers want to know what type of marketing plan the author has in place as well as what kind of following they have.

A completely different set of dynamics come into play when authors decide to self-publish their book. The bottom line is still promotion and marketing to sell their book unless they are writing books for fun and not money.

When an author self publishes their book, it is up to the author to proofread the book for errors and get them corrected before the book gets into the hands of the readers and reviewers.

Authors need to ask the following questions:

Are the facts and locations correct?

Are there any spelling errors?

Have I used the correct word?

Are there any formatting errors?

Are there any orphan words?

Are there any punctuation errors?

Is the font readable?

Is the capitalization correct in all places?

Is the tense consistent?

Is the dialogue correct for the character in their location, time, and age?

Are there hooks to keep the reader engaged?

These are a few of the items authors need to examine before publication, and while proofreading their copy of the completed published book before it reaches the store, and the hands of the reader. Reviewers will appreciate it.


Robert Medak is a Freelance Writer/Editor/Reviewer/Marketer and sole proprietor of Robert J Medak Writing & More. His URL is http://stormywriter.com

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Using Personality Typologies to Build Your Characters

  Contributed by Margot Conor People often have asked me how I build such varied and interesting character profiles. I’m fond of going into ...