Writing, Writing Resources, writing tips

Merry Christmas and Happy Writing with Helpful Links

Joy Noel

 

It’s almost tamale making time so I’ll be deep into making various traditional and vegan tamales with the family. But before that happens, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope you are enjoying your time with your loved ones and continuing or making new traditions.

The time between Christmas Day and New Years Day is a perfect time to read a new book, journal, or decide your writing goals for the new year.

I’ve collected a few posts on writing that I hope you find helpful:

  1. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers. 
  2. Anne R. Allen’s Blog: Author’s Alphabet of Useful Resources.
  3. Poets and Writers Magazine: 484 Small Presses Seeking Manuscripts.
  4. Brian Hutchinson of Positive Writer: You Are Good Enough.
  5. Debbie Ridpath Ohi of Inky Writer, Guide for Kidlit/YA Writers also shares comics on writing:
A Writers Christmas Wish. Debbie Ridpath Ohi comics

6. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers. Great thesauruses of settings and emotions.

7. K.M. Weiland of Helping Writers Become Authors offers advice on writing craft.

I’ll leave you with her “Writers Manifesto.”

A Writers Manifesto

Happy times with your family and friends. Be well.

Books, France, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Renni Brown, self editing, Shelly Lowenkopf, Toni Lopopolo, writer routines, Writing, Writing Resources, writing tips

Tips for an Incredible Writing Weekend

It is the evening of my departure for my month long adventure to France. Some anticipatory butterflies are fluttering through my stomach. 

My bags and travel apps are packed. (And yes, I do need to recharge the battery). 

The kids have heard the Riot Act in a couple of different versions. Everything seems like a go, but I’m sure once I’m on the airplane I’ll remember one or two things that are sitting on my dresser at home and not in my suitcase. 

I know I’ll miss my family, my boyfriend, my dog Chip, (but not KiKi the cat- the feeling is mutual). What I didn’t expect was something that crossed my mind a few minutes ago. 

I’m really going to miss my writing ritual. 

The one where I roll out of bed, stretch, push the power button on my laptop,before I go into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and return to my swivel chair with a big mug of steaming coffee, a dash of half and half, and my peanut butter toast. For two hours, sometimes more, I type, refill the coffee cup, and blow crumbs off my desk.

When my friend Amada and I arrive in Upper Normandy on the 1st of September we will have to  establish new writing routines. Luckily both of us are early morning writers and both of us like quiet. 

During this Labor Day weekend, I’m sure you will want to squeeze in some time to put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. With that thought I’d like to share some tips for your writing weekend. 

1-These 10 gems for first time novelists to think about are from former St. Martin’s Press editor Toni Lopopolo, Agent in her “Bare Knuckle Writing Workshops.” One of the most important tip is: 

Mistake # 9: Poor Self Editing Skills: FTNs haven’t learned to self edit by editing other writers’ fiction, or by reading the recommended books

Sure, you can pay for a professional edit (anywhere from $4 a page to a flat rate of $ 2000) or you can learn how to self edit, make your story stronger, and save the $$$ for a trip abroad or a new roof.

2-A terrific book, Self Editing for Fiction Writers (How to Edit Yourself into Print) by Renni Browne and Dave King (Editors at William Morrow and Writer’s Digest) is a must for a writer. I belong to a writing group, a writing club, and recently the Goodreads pick for our online writer’s group, Wordsmith Studio. This book has been a must read for all three groups. 

The topics which first time novelists find hard to grasp and usually lack in their stories are:

  •  three dimensional characters, 
  • maintaining point of view, 
  • interior monologue, and 
  • voice

This handy reference book delves into subjects such as showing and telling in a way as to engage the readers’ emotionsEach of the 12 Chapters has a checklist so that you can apply the concepts to your work. 

If you’re not at the self editing stage yet, here are some amazing questions and tips about story, from an instructor I’ve had the privilege to meet. 

3-Shelley Lowenkopf is an editor, writer, and Professor Emeritus at USC. In his Seven Things You Write A Story to Discover you are asked to consider the who, what, where, why and more of story. The question, “Why should we care?” is most important.

We tend to care about stories dramatizing experiences that squeeze characters in ways similar to the squeezes and pressures we have experienced.  We care if someone we identify with is vulnerable.” 

 If the reader doesn’t care, they will stop reading. End of story. 

4-For those of you who are in the throes of revision here’s a handy guide that explains editing marks-you know those scribbles all over your work in progress or manuscript.  

Author’s Success Platform

I’m going to skip tip # 5 for another day, another post, because this one is longer than I anticipated. IF you have a 5th tip let us know in the comment section. We really want to know.


Now, I must get back to the suitcase on the floor and cast out some unlucky clothes. 

And remember, before you start your Writer’s Weekend please:


 Au Revoir Mon Ami’s.

Encouragement, Jane Friedman, Kirsten Lamb, Rachel Gardner, Self Publishing, Writer Unboxed, Writing, Writing blogs, Writing classes, Writing Resources

How to Save Time for Writing





There are few things I like to do other than write or find writing resources to help me become a better writer. Sure I miss watching my favorite television shows, coffee with friends, walking the dog, and watching my kids grow (I’m lying they are all 18-25, they’re grown). Sometimes I prefer to write than go on a date but perhaps that will change when the right one comes along. How I save time for writing besides the aforementioned is to look for shortcuts, i.e. good advice. Why reinvent the wheel? 

When I find great resources I believe in sharing them to help the next writer in his/her endeavor. Many publishers, agents, and authors have blogs that help writers become better. I usually stay away from any with bells and whistles on their blogs (flickering ads) or anyone admantly pushing their book. I don’t mind that their book cover is on their sidebar I just don’t want flashing arrows pointing to it or their ad popping up on my screen.
In the past few months I’ve found that I’ve kept returning to the same bloggers, who I believe are experts in the writing field. These are, in no particular order:
Jane Friedman‘s blog. She featured Writing Advice That Saves You 5 Years. It links to Steal This List. She has an archive of free advice for writers and is an editor at Writer’s Digest, a magazine I finally subscribed to after reading it at the library for four months.

And for plot and structure, I know no better teacher than The Plot Whisper. I learn better when I can read something and hear something. TPW has YouTube videos on each lesson, for FREE. 

Kirsten Lamb is the Queen of Blogging and Social Media. Her post The Right Way, Wrong Way, Smart Way caught my attention and is well worth the read. 
Rachell Gardner is a literary agent who has resources for writers who want to improve their craft and prepare themselves for publication. 
Writer Unboxed was started by two aspiring writers who began a community of contributing authors. They are “about the craft and business of fiction.” 


Deciding to go the e-book route and self publish, Joe Konrath’s blog tells it like it is-to him. He makes a lot of sense (he has sold books the traditional way) and now sells tons of his books, for e-readers. 


Also check out some more of my favorites listed on Top Ten Blogs for Writers


These resources save you time and money because many people pay for the kind of information these writers give and you can read them whenever you carve out 10 minutes. If you haven’t fulfilled your dream of writing a family history, memoir, magazine article or essay, here’s your chance to start again in the new year and save time to watch your children grow or go on that date. 
Portable MFA in Creative Writing, Writing, Writing Resources

Portable MFA in Creative Writing from NY Writers Workshop

Today I ran across a writing resource with a very interesting title “Portable MFA in Creative Writing.”   Before we get to that I want you to imagine that guy in the info commercials and hear him say: “but wait, it’s FREEEEEEEE.”

Thank the cool people at GalleyCat for the resource. Now click on the link and start your download  to Kindle or your PC.

“The eBook version of the New York Writers Workshop’s Portable MFA in Creative Writing is currently free on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble. It’s a great value for any writer during these tough economic times.
Check it out: “Get the core knowledge of a prestigious MFA education without the tuition. Have you always wanted to get an MFA, but couldn’t because of the cost, time commitment, or admission requirements? Well now you can fulfill that dream.”


A disclaimer: I haven’t read this yet so can’t comment on the content, yet, but I’ll get to it sometime in the next week or two between the other two books I’m reading: “Ocotillo Dreams,” and “Beyond Fear-A Toltec Guide to Freedom and Joy.”  
August 24, 2011:

Okay, I couldn’t wait to read “Portable MFA,” so here’s the 411:

 IT’S WELL WORTH THE DOWNLOAD, GET IT NOW IF YOU WANT TO LEARN A THING OR THREE ABOUT WRITING FICTION, (okay, enough yelling).

Tim Tomilison gives an in depth guide to writing good fiction. There are so many gems in these pages that you will find yourself highlighting and making notes. The other sections are:

Personal Essay and Memoir
Magazine Writing
Poetry
Play-writing

The expertise of the NY Writer’s Club is evident in this well put together e-book. Thanks NYWC for your valuable gift to writers.