Thursday, December 31, 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR

 


With the New Year here, it's a good time to get your story started. 

There are so many 'time' quotes. 

One that comes to mind is: 

 "No such thing as spare time. No such thing as free time. No such thing as down time. All you got is time. Go." ~ Henry Rollins 

Another one is: 

“We all have time to spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But, once passed, it’s gone forever.” ~ Bruce Lee 

And a final one I love is: 

“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.” ~ Unknown 

I thought this time of year is the perfect time to talk about … time. 

It seems that when the end of the year comes around  and the New Year pokes through, most of us reflect about the things we've done and the things we haven't done. 

I've been thinking about my own children's stories … the ones I've had on the back burner because I've been too busy ghostwriting for others. Hopefully in 2021 I'll find the time to work on my works-in-progress. 

So, if you've thought about being the author of a book, but don't know how to write, or don't have the time, or just don't want to put the effort into it, look into getting help.

 Whether you look into taking some online classes, reading lots of books on writing, looking into hiring a writing coach, or even hiring a ghostwriter, take that to-do off your list. 

Get started today! 

 


 

 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Suzanne Lieurance


 In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives.

Today, Suzanne Lieurance shares her experience.

~~~

  As 2020 comes to a close, I have to wonder if I’m still a writer.

I haven’t gotten much writing done in months.

You see, both of my parents died this year.

My father died in January, so 2020 did not start off well.

Then, in March, the pandemic quarantined all the residents in the assisted living center where my mother was living. She was having a hard time, so after several weeks, my husband and I packed up everything we owned and moved from Florida to Nashville to take care of her.

We were lucky. We were able to rent a nice, large home down the street from my younger brother and his family, so they could visit with us and Mother often, even if only from the window, or inside at a distance, with a mask.

We hoped my mother would fare much better under our care than she had in near isolation at the assisted living center. But that was not to be. She was home with us for only one week when, overnight, she lost all use of her hands and feet and could no longer do anything for herself. We had to feed her, change her, brush her teeth and hair, prop her up in a wheelchair (after getting her in the chair with a hydraulic lift), wipe her nose, scratch her head, read to her, sing to her, tell her stories. We became her entire world– when she wasn’t hallucinating. Much of the time she communicated with people we could not see or hear.

The pandemic made it difficult to find paid caregivers, but we finally got some part time help. And, after a few weeks, my mother’s doctor referred her for Hospice care, so a nurse and an aid started coming in two to three times a week.

I don’t know what we would have done without Hospice. I knew nothing about helping a loved one die comfortably and peacefully at home. But that’s what Hospice allowed me to do for my mother for the next nine weeks – let her slowly die at home with us, in peace, without fear or pain. The Hospice people guided me every step of the way on that journey with my mother, and that is what I am most grateful for this year.

No, I didn’t get much writing done in 2020.

Mainly, I wrote my parents’ obituaries.

How I wish I could have written other things instead.

My writing tip for 2021:

Be kind to yourself. You don’t need to write every day or when there are other things you must do. Just don’t give up on your writing. Come back to it when you are able to.


For more writing tips,
be sure to visit writebythesea.com and get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge. Once you're a subscriber, you'll also have access to a Private Resource Library for Writers.

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 35 published books, a freelance writer, and a writing coach. 









Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Linda Wilson

 

 

In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives.

Linda Wilson is up next.

The year 2020 has brought unspeakable hardships due to the onslaught of Covid-19. Did any good come of it? Though like everyone else I’ve had my own challenges, I have had experiences that I can be thankful for.

•    Zoom meetings: I think like most of us, I believed zoom was something a fast car did. That was before March, of course. Soon after our first shutdown, suddenly friends, colleagues, soul mates, fellow classmates, and for me, my group piano class, took the first baby steps toward learning how to visit virtually. Now we’re pros.

•    Our Albuquerque SCBWI chapter expanded to include members from all over New Mexico, southern Colorado, and western Texas. No longer are we confined to meet only at libraries and community centers in Albuquerque. We meet once a week at our virtual coffee house, once a month for our critique group, and often to hear visitor-speaker programs and local as well as national conferences. We’ve enjoyed meeting this way so much that we’re going to continue meeting with Zoom from now on, as well as in person when the time comes.

•    When I moved from Alamogordo in southern NM to Albuquerque, I had to say good-bye to the eight students in my group piano class. Now we meet once a week and play piano for each other.

•    Since my husband’s boxing program, Rock Steady Boxing, a nationwide program for “fighters” battling Parkinson’s disease, closed down in March, I’ve met with several members once a week to exchange notes and offer each other support.

•    Shopping: I marvel now at how much I was “out” before March, shopping, meeting friends for lunch, and more. Others have told me they were doing the same thing. At first in March, it was difficult to stay in one place—home—for such a long time. But I’m used to it now and have learned a new kind of reality: finding that it’s not so bad staying home. I get a lot more done and have found a certain kind of peace that I didn’t possess before March.

•    Seat Time: A lot more writing takes place at my desk now. I’ve become more productive. Before March, I worked on one project at a time, I now understand, because I didn’t make time for more. Since March I’ve continued to edit Book 2 in the Abi Wunder series, revised two picture books, both in different stages of development with an editor and an illustrator, and am working on my third picture book. I found a company to produce an audiobook of Secret in the Stars, the first book in the Abi Wunder series. The audiobook is finished and will become available soon.

So, for all the problems Covid-19 has brought, I have found that, sad as this year has been, there are reasons to be thankful for some of its fallout.

A tip to make 2021 your best year yet: Set realistic goals NOW. Make your goals brief. Set a deadline. Post your goals where you can see them every day. Cross each one off after you’ve reached it. Take stock, say in 6 months, and reset your goals. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.


 

Linda Wilson: Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, is available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor. The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. 

Follow Linda on https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com.






Monday, December 28, 2020

Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Carolyn Wilhelm


In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives.
Carolyn Wilhelm is up next.

Happiness is 2020 in the Rearview Mirror

Dear Readers,

Everyone must be looking forward to seeing 2020 in the rearview mirror. Hopefully, 2021 will be a much better new year. 2020 has felt like we were living in a different country.

2020 began with my local writing group finalizing an adoption anthology manuscript for me to format and upload to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. While working on it, I was still blissfully unaware of the coming pandemic. In Minneapolis and waiting for a grandchild to be born in Seattle during the spring of 2020, we stayed home in case of any needed travel.

Seattle became a “hot spot” for the virus, as we all remember. In February, our neighbor was going to travel there for her great-aunt’s birthday when the airline sent her a voucher and announced the flight was canceled. Oh, so now what? We never did schedule our April flight and have yet to see our grandson in person.

Minnesota’s first elementary school to close after people tested positive just happened to be the one where I was volunteering weekly. Volunteers were the first to be told to say home. The information hit close to home, as did news about Seattle.

With nothing but time on our hands, you would think my husband and I (both writers) would work on manuscripts. Instead, we stayed glued to the TV as we followed the news. Worry, not creativity, filled our brains. I’m sure readers can relate!

Finally, life is coming back into focus, and we can see ahead a few months. Dear readers, I hope you are also beginning to see the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, although it is not over. We are not out of the woods as yet, of course.

What is a writer to do?
1.       Write
When stress is high, smaller writing pieces are useful as they required less energy. Dust off older works that were begun and dropped. Find files to save or finally trash. Expect less of yourself. Be kind to yourself.
2.       List
List ideas for when life is brighter and ideas begin to flow, even if you can’t work on them at this time.
3.       Read
Checking on Goodreads, I was surprised I have read over 100 books in 2020. Notice plots, characters, and words when reading. It is sure to be a positive impact on writing at some point.
4.       Listen
Listen to stories as you talk to people on Zoom or the phone. Some writing ideas stem from conversations.
5.       Think
There has undoubtedly been more time to think, plan, and wonder if you have been part of a lockdown or quarantine in recent months.
6.       Review
Do you remember books from high school or even from reading to your children? What stands out? Reviewing such older books on Goodreads is an idea for short writes and documenting favorite reads.  
7.       Absorb
Walk in nature, listen to music, tend plants, and take more time to appreciate what is going well despite living through this extraordinary time. Our brains do need some down-time.  

I hope everyone has a much better new year!
Thank you for reading, Carolyn


Carolyn Wilhelm
is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Story Revision Checklist

Sometimes progress feels slow,
but take the time  to revise, and your
story will sparkle.

Once your first draft is written, you can begin revising. Looking at one piece of revision at a time can be helpful. After I finished the first draft of Book 2 in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, I let the manuscript rest while working on other projects. About three weeks later, I was amazed at how much revision was needed. Every single page of my 30,000-word manuscript has #2 pencil cross-outs, squiggly lines, and deletions—every one! 

To be effective, it’s good to have a revision plan. I stuck with a general revision the first time. That included condensing long-winded paragraphs, finding better word choices, making dialogue sound kid-friendly, and replacing “telling” with “showing” passages.

Again, I put the manuscript down. I wanted to begin again with fresh eyes. While the story rested, I shared my story outline and a few chapters with my critique group. They helped me think through flaws in the manuscript that I couldn’t see. Also, I lined up my beta readers, fellow authors and friends who love to read and have offered to give me their opinions. But before I showed it to them, it was time to move on to complete the revision process.

The next revision began a thorough analysis and can be accomplished in parts.

My first question: What do I need to re-think? Does the title work? Are the plot points in place? Does the story have an arc? Does each character have an arc?

Is the story structure solid?

The first sentence, first paragraph, and first chapter are critical. For more tips, please refer to my article “Writers: First Paragraph Essentials”: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/10/writers-first-paragraph-essentials.html 

Does the story have enough conflict? Stakes?

Are there any characters who don’t have an active role in the story? If so, they either need to be taken out or given an active role in the plot.

Are there any scenes that don’t move the story forward? Any scenes that drag? You need to find ways to change the scenes that aren’t working.

Is the story told mainly through dialogue and action? Description can be added, but sparingly. Condense to a minimum and spread out any description “dumps.”

Is the main character’s flaw/need evident in the beginning, and satisfied/solved from what she’s learned by the end? Does she grow and change by the end?

Are the facts accurate?

Are the details specific? Check for anything vague or general.

Do a drama check. Heighten the drama wherever you can.

Is the story told from the main character’s viewpoint? For example, any description you introduce needs to be seen through her eyes.

Make sure the main theme shines through throughout your story. Do the minor themes bolster the main theme?

Books that have helped me the most: Elaine Marie Alphin’s boom, Creating Characters Kids Will Love. Her example on page nine is especially helpful:

His sneakers were braced against the roof’s shingles. Slowly, Benjy took one hand off the sill and gripped a lower shingle instead. Then he took a deep breath, told himself very firmly not to be afraid, and let go of the sill with his other hand . . . Why couldn’t he have been a few inches taller? Benji cursed his height silently. Even just a couple of inches would have meant his toes might have been able to feel the bench beneath him. But wishing wouldn’t make him grow.

Also helpful are books by Chris Eboch: You Can Write for Children and Advanced Plotting.

Recently, I’ve been reading and enjoying the graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. I bought Guts, and even though my book is a chapter book and not a graphic novel, it helps to read passages now and then to remind myself to “talk” like a kid.

While writing my first book, Secret in the Stars, I had to disengage from disappointment after finding many glaring errors, when I thought the book was done. This must be the armor people talk about that writers must grow and wear, and perhaps why people admire authors so much. For the fortitude and single-mindedness it takes to do the seat-time, on and on, until we are finally satisfied with the finished product. Whatever it takes.

While writing Secret, I thought the amount of revision it took was excessive. Now that I’ve written multiple books, I understand how much revision is required. Lots. A good way to look at it is: the hard work of getting the words on paper is done. It’s time to play! Revising allows you to play with what you’ve written, rethink better ways of showing what the characters are going through, and re-do anything that isn’t working. When you’re finished, after careful attention to every detail, you can take the guesswork out of the many aspects of your story, and feel sure of your work. You’ve earned the title of a professional author.

Snail photo: By Linda Wilson


Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery, Linda's first book, is available at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor. The next book in the Abi Wunder series, Secret in the Mist, will be available soon. Follow Linda on https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Writing Through 2020, Or Not with Carolyn Howard-Johnson


 

In light of the unprecedented and scary year we've had, we thought it'd be a good idea to share our 2020 in regard to how the year affected our writing and our lives. 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson will kick off the posts.

-----

Here’s to 2021!

Covid and 2020 provided me with more adventure than might be expected. We planned part of a ‘Round the World Bucket trip on the Pacific Princess—the part of the world we had never been to, the east part of the Africa continent. Just before we left we learned of a new dreaded disease out there, but considered how well the world had kept everything from ebola to SARS relatively isolated in the last few years and that it might be our last chance to see this rather isolated part of the world. At least it feels isolated from where we live on the coast of California. Many would consider this a mistake. It wasn’t.

By the time the world was shutting down we had already boarded our small ship of 700 passengers, most of whom had been on the ship for a good, long time (Consider it sufficient for to be considered a quarantine.) Everyone was still healthy. No one had been exposed to what we were calling “The Corona Virus” at the time. We visited Melbourne and Perth, both places in Australia we hadn’t visited before. That’s when we learned that stops in other faraway places like Bali, Thailand, and Shanghai had closed their ports. Ports continued to be closed to us as Covid grew and our ship substituted several ports on the West shore of Australia we had never been to and probably would never have thought of going to. 

It was very difficult for the Captain and cruise line administrators. Information changed day to day. Decisions were made and remade. Plan and then change plans. It finally looked as if we would be able to go to Sri Lanka, but they closed that port to passengers, too. We docked, took pictures of the skyline while the ship loaded food and other supplies and then we left, waving goodbye to a few port workers on shore. 

Columbo, Sri Lanka


We still wished, hoped for Africa which we knew had not reported an outbreak yet. But one by one our ports were cancelled. Seychelles. Reunion Islands. We floated on the Indian Ocean for about two weeks, a ghost ship with nowhere to go. A ghost ship with great food, good entertainment from flexible entertainers who had been aboard since Sydney, a lovely balcony and, yes, our computers where we could (yay!) write!

Eventually the ship’s captain announced that Princess’ CEO would address us via video in our cabins. Our ship would return to Australia and we would be evacuated to our homes—wherever that might be—at the cruise line’s expense. Why Australia when no place else in the entire world would welcome our wandering ship? I reasoned that it was because we were still Covid free and therefore no risk. But no, it was because by that time we had floated ourselves back to waters under their jurisdiction. It was as if we belonged to Australia, no matter how dangerous we might be—all of us with our Perriers, our margaritas, our champagne toasts...and plenty of time to, yes! Write!

That was just the beginning of our adventure. We still had to get back to Los Angeles and that wasn’t nearly as much fun. Not as relaxing. Much more scary. But I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything other than my impossible dream, that the world had never had to suffer this pandemic. I mean, I have an exciting story to tell my grandchildren and my online friends. I have been mostly completely isolated since then (voluntarily), learning to survive by relying on deliveries and Zoom.
 
So, Karen asked for a tip: How about an idea to ponder instead. Writers have the best of two worlds. The one we live in and the one in our heads. The one in our heads can keep us company regardless of our circumstances. I have heard of prisoners who write books without computers, pens, or paper. I once visited a cramped, attic-like room in Florence where Michelangelo once hid from a Pope who wanted to take him into custody. The walls were white and covered with frescoed drawings in black and white that were easily identifiable as his but rarely known outside of Florence. Michelangelo would have had a view from a rooftop window located under the eaves to inspire him, the city of Florence with Tuscany beyond. Creativity is a blessing. It may not be a uniquely human blessing (depending on our definition of creativity), but we humans can turn to writing in good times and bad. Memoir and journaling (and making other art) are healers and joy-makers; they are the stuff of life itself. 

Carolyn Crafting

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, a former publicist for a New York PR firm and was an instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program for nearly a decade. She is an editor with years of publishing and editing experience including national magazines, newspapers, and her own poetry and fiction. Her multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter is in its third edition from Modern History Press
 
Learn more about the author and her career-boosting books at https://HowToDoItFrugally.com

 

 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

SEASON'S GREETINGS

 


Wishing everyone a healthy and safe Holiday Season 

and a Healthy and SAFE New Year!

 

My all-time favorite motivational quote is by Mark Twain:

"It's not what you've done that matters, it's what you haven't done." 

 

If you've been putting something off that you've wanted to do, like write a book or publish an article in a magazine, make 2021 the year to do it.

 

 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Resolutions You Can Keep

 


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

We are nearing the end of 2020 and what a strange year on many fronts. I will be glad to turn the calendar page for 2021. As a writer, what I like to do is think about the year ahead and make plans. Years ago I used to make resolutions but most of them were broken before we reached February. Now I make resolutions which I can keep.
 
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If you are like me, you have goals, dreams and plans for the New Year. I encourage you to write down these resolutions or plans or goals. You want to make them specific actions so you can hold yourself (or your partner can hold you) accountable to carry them out.
 
Over 25 years ago in 11 days I wrote a diet book by Carole Lewis called First Place. I took such a crazy writing deadline because the publisher was determined to have the book inside the bookstores for January. If you look at bestseller lists, often in January there will be several diet books about losing weight. In our overweight society, many people resolve to lose some pounds in the New Year. They begin with such great resolve and commitment.
 
To become a proactive author, I want to suggest several resolutions or goals that you can keep throughout the months ahead. I encourage you to use these ideas to create your own goals. Make sure you make each one specific, measurable and action oriented.
 
1. Plan to consistently talk with others about your books or products. As the author, you should take the primary responsibility to market and tell other people about your books. There are dozens of tools and ways to do it. Your method should be a way that serves other people (helps them) and doesn’t pound them with “buy me” messages. The “buy me” message is a turn off and the service to others is an attraction. Can you take your book and create a teleseminar or take chapters from your book and turn them into magazine articles or blog posts?
 
2. Resolve to Persevere. Are you trying to publish something which is getting rejected? You are in good company. Just check out this article from bestselling novelist James Scott Bell called Rejecting Rejection. Possibly you have not made the right connection to get your work published. Are you consistently submitting your work? Often when I ask writers about this detail, I find they haven’t been consistently working on getting their book pitch to the right editor at the right time and the right place. I don’t believe that I’m a great writer. I work hard at improving my storytelling and writing—yet I am persistent and preserve. I’m determined to a fault. Nurture this quality in your own life in the weeks and months ahead.
 
3. Resolve to take better care of yourself. Over the last few years, I’ve worked hard at getting more consistent sleep, taking a daily multiple vitamins and a commitment to regular exercise. Also I attempt to watch my weight and eating patterns to be in balance. Am I perfect? No, but I continue to consistently work at these elements and build regular patterns into my life. With a pandemic this year, my weight increased but several months ago my wife and I began changing our eating patterns and working on weight loss. Currently I'm at my lowest weight in over 20 years and my blood pressure has lowered and other health benefits. It's all part of my resolution to take better care of myself and something I encourage you to do too. Your goal will be different for your lifestyle and situation but do consider this area of your life.
 
4. Resolve to learn a new skill then practice it repeatedly. Maybe you want to develop your storytelling skills. Or maybe you can learn from a how-to book or take an online training. I use all of these methods to keep growing in my abilities and skills.
 
5. Resolve to do more writing. It takes more than a resolution to increase your writing. You need a plan. Do it consistently and set a reasonable word count then do it day after day. No little elves come out and write your words. You have to sit in your chair, get your fingers moving on the keyboard and do it.
 
6. Resolve to do more reading. Writers are readers. Read widely and varied types of books. I read but also learn from listening to audiobooks.
 
I’m expecting great things will happen in the coming months. How about you? Are you setting goals and moving in this direction? Take action today. As you look at the new year, are you creating resolutions you can keep? Let me know in the comments below.
 
This article is my final post for the year for Writers on the Move. I want to wish all of you a tremendous holiday season and Happy New Year. May you enjoy the season and have special things happen in your life and writing.
 
Tweetable:

How do you make resolutions you can keep? Get ideas here for your writing from this prolific editor and writer. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has  190,000 twitter followers

Friday, December 18, 2020

Tips For Success

 

 Tips for Success: Descriptive Writing  by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Descriptive details make your stories and articles successful. But you must promote your work. Get your work in magazines, post online, or write the book or script you’ve been envisioning!

I’m reading The Story Cure by Dinty W. Moore. Chapter 2 presents beginnings that work and those that don’t. For today’s readers, we need to start strong and get to it. Dive into the story without lengthy flourish but not stiff hard-as-rock description. Dinty also cautions against awkward similes, and lengthy exposition that makes for taking a nap.

In addition, Rebecca McClanahan talks about descriptive writing denoting an atmosphere beneath our stories, poems, or essays. The language of description shapes the tone, and points to an underlying theme, the depth of the subject. Descriptive writing creates mood. There is so much more to our writing than scene, characters, dialogue, figures of speech, senses, mood and POV. Let’s call it atmosphere. How we pull a message all together matters; our delivery matters and effects how our readership can or cannot receive our message.

Sounds complicated, so how we proceed? I suggest, write your message from your heart first. Make it personable. As you polish the draft, consider the tips and techniques offered here to help polish your piece. For example, maybe the overall tone, voice inflection and body language, doesn’t support the theme or premise of the essay. You’ll want to make changes to align the tone with the theme.

Scenes bring the reader a firsthand view of the action. Exposition describes the what and the why. Using scenes, exposition, and telling shape the narrative. Blend and balance for delightful reading.
Readers want personable, well-written works they relate to, and find beneficial. Let’s give them our best shot.

Do you have words from your basket to share with us? Please add your favorites as you share on social media. We’d enjoy seeing them! Don’t have favorites yet? Consider sensory adjectives, strong verbs, and nouns from online lists or Thesaurus.
Nouns List:  https://www.thoughtco.com/learn-the-most-important-english-nouns-4087688
Strong Verb List: http://boyden8la.weebly.com/uploads/2/1/9/7/21975608/strong_verbs.pdf

Book List:
•    The Story Cure, a Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir, by Dinty W. Moore
•    Word Painting, by Rebecca McClanahan

Earlier Post links in this series—Descriptive Writing for Fiction and Non-Fiction:
Write Strong:   http://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/10/tips-to-make-characters-real-write.html
Tips for Balancing Action and Exposition: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/11/tips-for-balancing-action-exposition.html
 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts. 

Visit her writer’s website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   

Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Available on Amazon --- Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love   https://www.amazon.com/author/deborahlynstanley

Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer    https://www.facebook.com/deborahlynwriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour

 


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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Books Reviews by Carolyn Wilhelm


 

As a contributor to Writers On the Move, I decided to get to know the authors beyond reading their bios. So I purchased one book from each person and will sum up what I learned while reading. As you might expect, there was a wealth of information from fantasy to caring for someone with dementia. I feel ready for anything armed with these new books. 

Karen Cioffi - (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Writers on the Move) Children's Author, Ghostwriter, and Online Marketing Instructor

I read two books by Karen Cioffi, Walking Through Walls and How to Wr/te a Children's Fiction Book. I read Walking Through Walls first and was glad I did as it is referred to in the writing for children's book. 

How to Wr/te a Children's Fiction Book is jam-packed with examples of several authors and readers. It helped to navigate all the information as I was already becoming acquainted with the author. It is too bad I didn't have this book before self-publishing! 

Walking Through Walls is a story of twelve-year-old Wang who wants to be rich and famous. He studies the legend of the mystical Eternals. Everything is not as it might seem, however, so he has some surprises and growing-up to do. 

Debra Eckerling - Write On Online & Guided Goals 

Being a teacher, I was drawn to Eckerling's book, Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. I found more than I expected by way of journal pages and prompts as the prompts were comprehensive and more in-depth than usual in the classroom. Pictures were included for most prompts, which helps children who usually "see" something to write about in photos. I doubt any writing student would say he or she didn't know anything to write about using this book! 

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson - Multi Award-winning Books for Writers 

I have already read many books written by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and I can honestly say I highly recommend them all for aspiring authors. Editing tips, frugal book promoting, great first impressions, and even a book about focused tweeting for retailers will help any new author. As authors soon find out, they are responsible for book promotion as the publisher does not do everything anymore. She has a book on blogging and one guide to frugal in-store promotion. I love her poetry books, especially Sublime Planet, about global warming. Well, I just purchased another of her books, so I must have them all now. 

 Suzanne Lieurance - Award-Winning Author, Freelance Writer, Writing Coach 

Snapshots from Real Life: Personal Stories to Warm the Heart and Tickle the Funny Bone was what I selected to learn more about Lieurance. And learn, I did. She is a writing teacher, and I found out she knows how to teach writing, as evidenced by the stories she gathered from her writing class for this anthology. I was laughing out loud while reading heartwarming stories of everyday life. There were a few stories with engineers – my husband is one, too, and we have had similar mishaps while he handled the kitchen for me. And watch Grandpa's false teeth if he has any sudden move with his mouth open. The stories were so enjoyable. 

 Deborah Lyn Stanley - Writer, Artist, Editor 

Deborah Lyn Standley's book, Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God's Love, is heart-tugging and a detailed journal of how to care for someone in every way (including bathing) with kindness. She stresses we should remember the person inside is still the same one as before the illness, and to consider that in everything that is done to care for him or her. If you are ever caregiving for someone with dementia, this book is a must read. It is a love story.  

W. Terry Whalin - Helping All Types of Writers 

10 Publishing Myths: Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed is full of wisdom from Whalin, who has spent many years in the publishing business. There is one chapter for every myth, and each chapter ends with a myth buster. The actions used to succeed in the book industry are included in this text. I have heard every one of the myths. If an author has questions about the industry, this book is the quickest way to find the truth. Authors will have more confidence if they read this book and gain from Whalin's experiences. I especially recommend it for authors of Christian writing. 

 Linda Wilson - Children's Writer 

Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery (Abi Wonder Mystery series book 1) was the book by Linda Wilson that I read. Although intended for tween and teens, I was engaged in the story, which held my interest through the end. The characters were not the usual, and Abi does know how to keep a secret. It is a fast-paced mystery with surprises along the way. I highly recommend it as there is no romance, which can often ruin middle-grade books for many children.  

Carolyn Wilhelm - Author, Educator, The Wise Owl Factory 

A Mom - What is an Adoptive Mom? is written by Carolyn Wilhelm and her daughter Betsy Wilhelm. And Betsy happens to be adopted. This is a wonderful book showing that a mom is a mom no matter what. She's the one who knows if you like the crust on your sandwich. She's the one who "understands why you can't sleep without your favorite blankie or stuffed animal." She's the one who comforts you and encourages you. She's the one who loves you. This is an important book about adoption. (Review by Karen Cioffi) 


Carolyn Wilhelm
is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY. 

 

 


 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Setting Self-Care Goals

Setting Self-Care Goals

When was the last time you set self-care goals?

Any time of year is the right time to take care of yourself. However, the holiday season is the perfect reminder to take a step back and think of what you need to do to have more of that essential work-life balance.

Last month, I posted a self-care goal every day as part of #BeNicetoYou November. Here are some of the highlights.

10 Self-Care Goals


1. Take a Walk. Walking gives you a physical and mental boost. It can be short or long; around the block/your home. The point is to give yourself a break, step away from your computer, and shake up your routine. 

2. Set a Dream Goal. Part of self care is allowing yourself to dream. What do you want to do? To create? Reach for the stars.

3. Set an Attainable Goal. In addition to dream goals, it's important to give yourself some easy wins.

4. Meditate. Whether it's 5, 15, or 50 minutes, take some time to sit still, breathe, and reconnect.

5. Start a Project. Bonus points if you choose a back-burner project.

6. Take a Dance Break. This is my favorite way to hit the reset button.

7. Learn Something. Want to pick up a new hobby, language, or skill? Spend some quality time on YouTube, and educated yourself.

8. Disconnect. Take a few hours to unplug and chill out.

9. Curl Up. With a good book, a puzzle, or your phone.

10. Make Soup. Preparing and enjoying comfort food - soup or otherwise - is the ultimate self-care goal.

Make a point to do something to take care of yourself each day, Whether it's a few minutes or an hour. Your body will thank you. Plus, you will be happier and much more productive,

Read all of my November self-care goals.

* * *

So, what do you think? How do you take care of yourself? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments.


Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChatLive on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Good Things Come in Fives: Five Editing Myths, Five Edits for Your Query Letter


Editing IS Marketing: Boning Up on First Impressions

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers

First impressions are important. We all are aware of that as we brush our teeth and try to unknot the rat's nests from the back of our hair each morning. In fact, first impressions are part of our marketing efforts, too. Whether we authors are trying to get an interview or a TV appearance or marketing our books using e-mail or social networks, editing is an essential part of that first-impression effort. Generally that first effort is a query letter or proposal. Thus editing equals great first impression. That makes it an integral part of a marketing campaign.
 
Here are a few tips to help writers avoid blunders in the documents first seen by those who can make or break a writing career or at least say “nay” or “yea” to the project that counts—the one you’re working on now. First up are five myths that can sabotage your efforts and five tips to make your query letter the selling machine it was meant to be follow. All are little tidbits from the winningest book in my #HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor (https://bit.ly/FrugalEditor).
 
Five Editing Myths Waiting to Trip Up Your Campaign to Market Your Work
•    If your English teacher told you something is okay, it is.
(Nope. Language rules and style guidelines have changed since you were a sophomore.)


•    If a manuscript or query is grammar-perfect, you'll make a great first impression.
(No! Lots of things that are grammatically correct will annoy publishers, agents, and other gatekeepers like feature editors.)


•    Always use your Spell and Grammar Checker.
(Maybe. Some well-known editors suggest you don't use it at all, but The Frugal Editor gives you dozens of ways to make it your partner instead of your enemy.)


•    Your publisher will assign a top-flight editor so you don't need to worry about your manuscript.
(Maybe, but don't count on it. Besides you can be a better partner for an editor—whether she is assigned to you by your editor or you hire one for yourself-- if you know something about the process; you'll know better when to nix her suggestions! In any case, I suggest hiring an editor of your own before you submit your manuscript.)


•    Formatters and editors will take care of the hyphens, ellipses, and all the other grungy little punctuation marks that English teachers avoided teaching because they knew basic grammar but nothing about publishing.


(Chances are, you'll catch even great formatters and editors in an error or two if you know your stuff!)

Five Things to Avoid for a Pristine Query Letter
 
We are selling our work when we approach any gatekeeper, an editor, an agent, a contest judge. Here are five little things to pay attention to when you edit your query letter so you'll look like the professional you are.
 
•    Don't tell the gatekeeper you always wanted to write. You can think of something more pertinent to your cause (and something more original!) than that.
•    Don't use the verb "quote" when you want the noun "quotation." Some stylebooks will tell you that it's okay, but agents can be a picky lot. Use zero-tolerance grammar rules for your queries.
•    Don't pitch more than one book at time. You want to give just one of them your best shot.
•    Don't call your novel a "fictional novel." By definition, a novel is fiction.
•    Don't overdo exclamation marks, question marks, or the use of sentence fragments. (Yes, fragments are acceptable when they're used for a good reason.).
 
Here's one last suggestion for fiction writers, a take-away from the best writers’ programs around: Avoid using italics for internal thought. In the in the sample chapters you must include with your submission. In your synopsis. And any other place they rear their very pretty little heads. Italics are being used more and more these days and lots of writers see how convenient and easy they make writing fiction. But those in the know see this as indication that the author hasn’t master important techniques like point-of-view, transitions, and dialogue tags. The best (and busiest!) agents and publishers recognize it as such and might be tempted to reject rather than spend valuable time grooming an author for the big time.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction, a former publicist for a New York PR firm and was an instructor for the renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program for nearly a decade. She is an editor with years of publishing and editing experience including national magazines, newspapers, and her own poetry and fiction. Her multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter is in its third edition from Modern History Press (https://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII) and won USA Book News' best professional book award and the Irwin Award. The Frugal Editor (https://bit.ly/FrugalEditor) is top publishing book for USA Book News and Reader Views Literary Award. Her other books from Modern History Press are The Great First Impression Book Proposal: Everything You Need To Know To Sell Your Book in 30 Minutes or Less(https://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) and Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers (https://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII).
 
Learn more about the author and her career-boosting books at https://HowToDoItFrugally.com




Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Characters or Story - Which Comes First?



Contributed by Karen Cioffi

Many articles about writing for children and other genres suggest knowing your characters inside and out before beginning the story. In fact, information suggests that the author build the story around the characters after they are fully developed.

While this is good advice, and many experienced authors recommend this technique, there are some authors who occasionally watch their characters unveil themselves right before their eyes.

This is such an interesting method of writing. Your character introduces himself and gradually reveals bits and pieces, and blossoms as the story moves along. Sometimes a story doesn’t begin with this intent, it just happens. This is known as the seat-of-you-pants method of writing.

You do need to be careful with this method though, you may lose track of all the bits and pieces that make up the character. So, a good way to keep track of those quirky telltale marks, expressions, behavior patterns, and physical features is to note them on a separate page or character card as they become unveiled. 

You wouldn’t want your character to have brown eyes in one chapter and blue eyes in another - unless of course, it’s a science fiction or paranormal and part of the storyline.

So, is there a right or wrong answer to the question of which comes first, characters or story? 

That depends on the writer.

While it may be important to know your characters, and even have a family and background established for them, even if they are not used in the story, you can also become acquainted as you go along.

As your story develops you may find out if the character is fearful in certain situations, or if he is heroic. Sometimes it’s impossible to know this about a person, let alone a character, until circumstances create the possibility of the question.

It's one’s environment and circumstances that help develop his or her characteristics, fears, hopes, and so on. The same holds true for your character.

Using an example:

How would a child who never saw a mouse before react to one? There’s no way to answer that question until it happens. So, having the story help develop the character can be a useful tool. But, again, be sure to keep track of all the new features your character unveils along the way. 

This story was originally published at: Characters or Story – Which Comes First?

 


Karen Cioffi
is an award-winning children’s author, successful children’s ghostwriter, and author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move.

For more on writing, stop by Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.
 
Let's connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice

Check out Karen's Books at: https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/karens-books/


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