Apr 042014
Proofreading difficulties

Proofreading: this writer’s bane

Recently, a professional editor edited my manuscript. His work underscored a fact I’ve already faced. I suck at proofreading. (Before you gleefully start looking for errors, I have to confess that John and/or Justin look over my posts before I publish them.)

One repeated error arose from my ignorance of a grammar rule. You’re all probably aware that when I own up to being related to Aunt Nancy, she becomes my aunt Nancy. I wasn’t. Continue reading »

Mar 242014

writers-blockWhile in the throes of my most recent bout of writer’s block, I made the following observations:

  1. Dee Wallace is disproportionately represented in the number of movies we keep on hand at our vacation cabin.
  2. I have a difficult time wrapping up conversations.
  3. Every time I go shopping in a department store I become irrationally paranoid that people think I’m there to shoplift.

On the surface these things may seem unrelated to the condition of writer’s block, but upon further scrutiny, it would appear as if, somewhere along the way, my psyche might have gotten short-changed on balls. Continue reading »

Mar 192014

redwoodsThis year I had a wonderful time at the San Francisco Writers Conference and am committed to returning next year. It was a weekend full of great dinners, wonderful people, and amazing discussions on the power of prose. A very valuable aspect of attending these events is that you learn about other upcoming events, and one of those that I would like to share with you today is the “Women Writing in the Redwoods” writing retreat, presented by the San Francisco Writers Conference.

 You can click on the following link for the beautiful flyer, but as you wait to click, let me tell you why the retreat looks great. Continue reading »

Mar 172014

ron cappsMany veterans find they need to write, and it makes sense. Men and women of the armed forces go through several intense years. Whether it was serving time overseas or just working their butts off on the home turf, they go through a lot to keep America safe. It is no surprise that they want to express themselves and find some way to share their stories. Lucky for them, there are many great programs for current military and veterans.

Continue reading »

Mar 122014
Choices include small Publishing Houses

The choices can be overwhelming

For the new or aspiring author, publishing options can be boggling. The debate isn’t limited to self-publishing versus traditional publishing. If you choose to go the traditional publishing route, you have to decide whether or not you need (or want) an agent and which publishers to target.

I’m far from an expert about the publishing world. However, I found a niche that is (so far) working for me: a small publishing house. Hopefully, my experience will give you some clarity on your own decisions as you face your own labyrinth of options. Continue reading »

Mar 032014

manuscript_250px_2Six years…and that’s not counting the revisions. Entire residential subdivisions have sprung up around you in less time. New sections of interstate have been constructed. National monuments refaced. Six years ago, you helped elect a new President and have since come to regret it. Six years ago you had no children. Now, you have two. In six years, the few wily strands of gray hair you once had have spread across your head like tundra. Dictators have been deposed. Big-name celebrities have died. And all along, you’ve sat right there at that chair, staring out past the blinking cursor of your computer screen through a window as the seasons have paraded past. Continue reading »

Feb 242014

1900119_10152292751333383_1749696764_nWhile studying the craft of writing at the Johns Hopkins University, I had the pleasure of meeting many soon to be published authors. They were hungry for the craft, ready to show the world what they can create with mere words on the page. One of my classmates, an especially ambitious young writer named Kelly Ann Jacobson, recently published her first novel and agreed to share her thoughts on writing. You can find more information on Kelly and her novel at her website, www.kellyannjacobson.com. Continue reading »

Feb 032014

To the fiction author, the answer is of course that books on writing are extremely helpful. There are some great books out there, and many of you may be asking why I think this is even a question. I raise it because in the screenwriting world there are many professional screenwriters who advise to never read the books on how to write a screenplay, or at best to read them once to see what they are all about and then toss them and forget what they said. I am still undecided in the world of screenwriting books, but in the world of fiction I have to say books on writing can be of tremendous help, and some are incredibly interesting. Continue reading »

Jan 272014
Writing good enough critics

Is my writing good enough? Writers are often their own worst critics

Warning: This post contains hero-worship.

We all wonder if our writing is good enough. Good enough for an agent, a publisher, a reviewer, our cat.

Last fall, I followed Rachel Thompson’s exchanges with a not-to-be mentioned book guru who was slamming all self-published authors with a broad brush. She, and her commenters, made many valid counter-points (better slams). Proud as I was of Rachel (whom I met once for a few seconds at SFWC13, so we’re almost friends), I have to admit the whole episode made me quake in my boots a little. Putting my writing “out there” might just be akin to showing off the new dress my mother made to the mean girls on the playground. No Matter how great of a seamstress my mom was, mean girls are, well, …mean. Continue reading »

Jan 182014

I am addicted to education, almost as much as I am addicted to writing. But there comes a point when we must all ask ourselves where our priorities lie. If you are considering a writing program such as an MFA or even just a local class, this is certainly a question you must ask yourself. There are many benefits to such programs, but as writers we have to make sure to juggle the time accordingly and remember that writing comes first. Continue reading »

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