Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Crazy World of Publishing

In this crazy business of publishing, where we really have no idea what’s going to happen next – FaceBook changing every few minutes, people posting bad reviews on Amazon to harm another writer’s numbers, ebooks outselling print books, getting a book “published” with absolutely no editing -- I’d like to tell you a success story.

Ten years ago Jackie Rod attended my Fiction Writing class at LSUS. She had recently retired after teaching for thirty-one years at both the high school and college level. A newbie to the writing world, she was passionate about learning and, by the end of the quarter, she was hooked on writing. Not for money – although, of course, that’s nice! – but because she loves every minute of it.

Over the years I have watched Jackie’s progress from a novice to writer but, more than that, I’ve watched her life change to revolve around writing. Of course, her family and close friends always come first, but she’s immersed herself in the writing world, including taking additional classes, going to workshops and conferences, and honing her craft. Along the way, she’s made hundreds of friends and met some of the really big names in publishing.

On top of that, she shares what she’s learned, paying it forward to anyone who is willing to listen. She regularly teaches writing classes, conducts workshops at writing conferences, edits for newbies and multi-published authors, meets with writers for lunch, and judges contests for several writing chapters. She’s made dozens of wonderful friends and has built a “tribe” of people who, in turn, share their knowledge and experience with others.

Jackie's first foray into the publishing world was writing short stories which appeared in several anthologies published by a small press about six years ago and she now has a dozen anthologies under her belt. The most recent project was an anthology, Forever and Always: A B&B Anthology, set in Shreveport, Louisiana. Nine authors have imagined what stories the walls of the Victorian home on a shady street would tell over the years from 1905 to present day. Jackie’s story is set during the Vietnam Era, when lovers were separated by a war across the ocean, as they often have been.

She has also published a collection of her stories, Georgia Stories on My Mind,
 Georgia Stories on My Mind
with heartwarming stories about strong women living in small towns in Georgia. Sweet as a Georgia peach, relationships are paramount in these stories of love. Her books are available on Amazon and at several independent bookstores in the Atlanta area.

Jackie belongs to Romance Writers of America (RWA), Atlanta Writers Club, Georgia Romance Writers, NOLAStars, and Walton Writers, and is a valued member of them all.

My point? For Jackie, and for me too, writing isn’t just about producing book after book, fighting with social media, or money. It’s really about the relationships you build in a crazy world. It’s the laughter around a table, where the people at the next table lean back in their chairs to figure out what you’re talking about. It’s the joy of a friend’s book doing well. It’s the creativity of brain-storming sessions where weird and wonderful ideas are exchanged.

And, ultimately, it’s the life-long friendships you find. Jackie is my forever friend and I honor her for all she does for other people.

I also love her books. J

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Art of Action

Characters do more than just talk at each other. They move – with grace, in anger, to disguise emotion – and movement tells even more about them than their words.

Understanding and using action to tell a story is both powerful and organic – a naturally evolving way to strong characterization.

What is body language? Google it on the web – you’ll find dozens of books by experts from all sides:  psychology, business, spiritual growth, forensic investigations and many, many more, all useful in their own way. I even watched a fascinating TV program the other night on spotting lies and bought the book because of it.  

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Creative Tool Box for Writers

A Creative Tool Box for Writers

How do we write books? How do we tell our stories, whether it’s a novel, a memoir, a screenplay?
I work with new writers almost every day, whether as students, contest entrants, or clients, so I get asked about “process” all the time. I’ve learned a whole bunch about how people write over the years and I’ve discovered two things:

1.   Everyone has a process.

2.   Any process can be tweaked.

My best suggestion for any new writer is to write. A lot. About anything. Don’t worry about getting it right or perfect. It doesn’t have to make sense. Just write. Learn your own process, even though it may change over time.

Maybe you know exactly what your story is about before you start. Or, you invent it as you go along. Most of us land somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, with an idea of what we’re writing but allowing some inventive creativity as it flows from our fingers.

Any way you write is okay. Really. Allow yourself to find your path. 

Then, take a deep breath. Take two or three more. Now’s when the hard work begins.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

4 Tips on Writing Your Own Obituary

Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.

 – Brenda Ueland

How is our story told? Sometimes, the only opportunity we have is through an inch-high notice in the newspaper – an obituary – which may be written during the throes of grief by our families.

Writing your own obituary can be difficult. After all, it’s “The Last Hurrah” and, for most of us, may be the only time we’re mentioned in the newspaper. Do you really want it to be nothing more than your birth and death date, funeral arrangements and names of close family?

Imagine if you could tell your own story. If you could:

Ø have the opportunity to say what you want to say about yourself.

Ø include items that your family may not be aware of or have forgotten.

Ø alleviate some of the stress of your death for your family.

Ø have your wishes honored.

Ø exhibit your personality instead of a resume.

Ø leave a lasting legacy for your descendants.

How do you write an obituary? By creating a document that reflects who you really are. Here are four tips to get you started:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dispelling 5 Scary Myths about Blogging

I’ve always been afraid of blogging.

“You have to have a blog,” they said.

“You can’t sell a book without a blog,” they said.

No pressure, right?

So, I took a class last weekend from the amazing Edie Melson, from The Write Connection, who patiently and kindly walked me through the process of setting up this blog. Thanks, Edie! 

She taught me a lot I didn’t know. A lot I NEEDED to know. And, a lot that helped dispel some scary myths I believed about blogging.

We all are nervous about the unknown. But understanding what it’s all about can help a lot.

Here are five myths about blogging, scary or not!

Myth Number One You can’t sell a book without a blog.