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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thursday Post on Wednesday Night

Our family time in Colorado is drawing to an end. Our children and their families are heading home Thursday morning. One family will head east to the Kansas City area while the other one goes south and east to Dallas, Texas. Because we all live in different cities, our times spent together are few. We manage either Thanksgiving or Christmas, alternating them every other year. We make the most of these times.

Lots of memories are brought up. Things that happened when our children were quite small, some from their teen years, college years and weddings. Today is our daughter's ninth wedding anniversary and many memories of her wedding came up at our dinner this evening.

It's these family memories that many of my stories come from. One day, they will all be in  written form for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It's wonderful to tell the family stories around the dinner table, but it's so important to write them down in some form. Otherwise, they get lost through the years. Those stories may not be of great importance to anyone but your family, but they will become treasures as the years go by.

Even so, I've had many readers tell me that my family stories are something they can relate to as ome of their memories are very similar. So please do write those stories and market them and/or keep them for your loved ones. I have and I feel they may be my greatest legacy.

Bad Time In A Beautiful Spot

Wbe e've been enjoying the time here in Vail, CO with our family. Last evening we had a bad experience in a restaurant that came highly recommended.. There were ten of us, and we were seated on the outdoor deck on a beautiful evening. Our view of the mountains and the European style Vail Village buildings was like the kind of thing you dream about when at home doing your daily routine.

We ordered drinks and our meals and sat there reminiscing, watching the people stroll by and soaking up the atmosphere. Then, it all changed. Four people in our group of ten had to send meals back because of being overdone.. That's a pretty high percentage. Our son-in-law had to send his back a second time, and the third platae they brought him was still not right, but he ate part of it. We were all sorely disappointed.. The manager did come out and try to make amends, but what had started out to be a perfect evening was now the opposite.

Our writing world can happen the same way. We send out what we feel is a great piece of writing and we're fully expecting that the editor will think so, too, and snap it up, then send a big, fat check. But often we have to do the same as we did at the restaurant--send it back to the kitchen! We have to revise and send it out again and hope for the best. Not every day can be great, even when on vacation in a wonderful place, and not every endeavor in our writing world turns out perfect. We're hoping for a better restaurant experience tonight, and we can always hope for a better writing and marketing experience when one doesn't turn out like we hoped.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wordsmith Plays Up Poems and Prose

Linda Carlson, moderator of The Wordsmith website, has a gift. She is able to add spectacular graphics to poetry and prose that sets them off to perfection. The most recent effort she has done for me is to publish my poem "A Heavenly Gift."  She has captured this poem about the Kansas tallgrass prairie perfectly.

After the poem itself, there is a rolling show of Kansas praire scenes that take me home immediately. Look at her version of my poem.

This poem was a first place winner in the Themed Category of our Kansas Authors state contest several years ago and has been published several times.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vacation Thoughts

We're in Vail, Colorado this week with our two children, their spouses, and our four grandchildren. We've been looking forward to this family time for a few months. Finding a week that ten people could clear their calendars to come was like Eisenhower planning D-Day. But we managed to do it.

Yesterday, we all arrived at various times of the afternoon, sorted out the bedrooms and bathrooms at the condo. It's a great feeling to see all our family in one place for a few days. And being here in the Rocky Mountains only adds to it. The clear air, beautiful sky and the scenery all add up to one of those special times in life.

Our internet service is limited so I may or may not get to post every day this week. If not, I'll be back to five days next week for sure.

Our son and his family drove up from Texas and on the way, they had an accident. A car pulled out in front of them and Amy had to swerve fast and they landed in the ditch. All four were alright, but they had to get a tow truck and then buy two new tires. Thinking about how close we came to having a real tragedy makes this time together even more of a treasure to savor. It makes you know that we must not take life for granted. It's a gift every single day, even on the days when things don't seem to go our way. Hope today is a good day for all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Sensory Detail Exercise

Yesterday, I wrote a post on sensory details and zeroed in on smell. Today, I have an exercise for you to try that deals with the sense of touch.


Look at the list below. Make a sub-list for each of things that have that feeling. Don't just sit at the computer and put the words down. Get up and walk around your office, your kitchen, bedroom, then go outside and do the same.  Reach out and touch different objects to see how they feel.

1. smooth

2. soft

3. rough

4.sharp

5. cold

6. hot

7. abrasive

8. slimy

9. wet

10. stiff

11. limp

You can also do this exercise in reverse. Make a list of household objects, or things in your backyard. Then write a word or phrase that shows the way they feel when touched.

When writing a story, use sense of touch occasionally. Doing it too often can turn a reader off. I had a friend who was a very good writer, but she overused the simile  technique in her first novel to the point that they became a distraction for me as I read what was an excellent story.

Look at one of your favorite pieces you've written. Go through it line by line and mark the sensory details. Lots? Few? Or none?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sensory Details--Pick One

Our five senses allow us to experience life to the fullest every day. Think about what it would be like to never be able to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Each of the five senses enriches all that we do. One I'd like to explore here is the sense of smell.

Annette Gendler's blog featured an exercise yesterday dealing with the smells of summer. She started a list and her readers added to it. It's a good exercise, but it shouldn't stop there. Use the list to add more to a story or memoir piece you're working on.

Look at these examples using the sense of smell:

Deidre strolled along the boardwalk. The reader has a visual image of the woman, but if we add one more sensory detail, the place is further defined. Deidre strolled along the boardwalk, inhaling the saltwater scent of the sea.


No matter how many years elapse, when I step into Mom's kitchen, I'm reminded of the days when my nose led me there--the aroma of cinnamon, yeast and hot coffee can't be forgotten. The reader can  relate to this far better than if the writer only told us she'd gone back to her mother's kitchen.

It rained this afternoon. Wouldn't the reader see more if it read The fresh scent that followed the rain this afternoon gave my spirits a boost. 


We call the five senses used in writing sensory details. The word detail says it all. For more on incorporating the five senses in your writing, use a search engine like google with the keywords sensory details in writing. There's a wealth of information to be found this way. Making use of the five senses will give your writing a spark that may have been missing.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stop Dreaming and ...

I read a story in the Kansas City newspaper this morning about a woman whose dream involved starting a food van cupcake business. She didn't stop at just dreaming, she set about making it happen. The cupcake vending in the truck was so successful that she started dreaming of a brick and mortar kind of business for her oversized and delicious cupcakes. She got busy and made that happen, too. It's the kind of success story we all like to read about. Read the full story here.

It also made me think about a lot of writers who end up dreaming about being published but that's where it ends. Some writers spend all their time writing, reading about writing, or talking about writing. But they do little or nothing to attempt to have their work published. Why? Let me add that spending time writing is a good thing, and I'm not putting that down at all.

There are many reasons why some writers don't submit their writing to an editor. Sometimes it's just plain fear of rejection. No one likes to be rejected, but if you adjust your attitude a little, it's less painful. When an editor says no, it's not a personal rejection. The story may not fit their publication, or it may be excellent but they have just published a similar story. There are many reasons but hating you as a person is not one of them.

Strange as it sounds, fear of success can also be a factor. If you suddenly start selling your work, more will be expected and maybe you don't want to work that hard. It's then that you need to examine your desire to write and be published. How strong is it?

Another reason it's easier to only dream about seeing your work in print, is that it's darned hard work to market the stories, essays and articles you have written. Time to study the marketplace is greater than most beginning writers are aware of. Checking and following guidelines is of great importance and also time consuming. Putting what you've written in proper submission form also takes time and effort. I've often commented that the writing is the easy part.

If you truly want to see your work published, stop dreaming and do it. Select your best work and start searching for a market. If it comes back, send it somewhere else. As many times as it takes. If you don't try, you'll never achieve the dream. The cupcake lady did it, and you can, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Old Photos As Story Triggers

A cousin sent me a greeting card-sized envelope filled with old black and white family photos she thought I might be interested in. There were about a dozen in all, and as I sat at the kitchen counter and looked at them, so many memories came flooding back. I felt like I was watching a slideshow from the 1940's. My favorite picture was one of me at about age 2 1/2 on roller skates, one older cousin on each side of me holding my hands. These two boys, who were 11 and 12 at the time ended up being more like big brothers to me than cousins.

In the picture, we were standing outside the big, brick apartment building where my family lived in a Chicago suburb. The entry door to our section of the building was behind us. But my mind's eye also saw the brick street in front of the building where cars bumped along on the bricks making sounds I loved . Those boys played a big part in my growing-up years.

Old photos are good story triggers. Spend some time looking at your albums and boxes of pictures, and I can almost guarantee that you'll come up with a story. One magazine that loves stories and photos from days gone by is called Good Old Days.  Check their writer guidelines to see what type of story they're looking for. The same publisher puts out another magazine called Looking Back. Guidelines for this one are very similar.

This is a paying market. I had a story called "Dancing With Dad" published in Good Old Days last February. I'd scanned and sent a couple pictures with my submission. The editor wanted to use the photos but preferred they be scanned professionally and in a higher resolution. She suggested using Kinko's Copy Center. I duly took my photos to our local Kinko's and ended up signing a paper that they would not be held liable as one was a professional photograph. I assured the clerk that the photographer was most likely dead, so they finally relented and copied the picture for me after I'd signed the agreement. It cost me $13 which meant I needed to deduct that amount from the payment for the story. Later, I discovered that I could have scanned the pictures on my scanner setting it for a higher resolution first. Live and learn! I relate this part of submitting to Good Old Days only so you'll be aware of the photo needs if you submit to them.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rainbows in My Life

I've had some nice things happening in my writing life the past few days. Beautiful rainbows shining above the everyday, routine things.

On Friday, I learned that my story "The Girls On The Bus" had made the finalists list for a new Thin Threads anthology with the theme of Moms and Grandmas. Only ten stories will be selected out of the final twenty-one, so the odds are not super good on this one. Even so, I'm very pleased to have made the finals.

On Sunday, another rainbow arrived. I won first place in a June Father's Day contest at Women's Memoirs website, a place you might want to visit. Lots of good stuff there. "Driving With Dad" is about the lectures my dad gave me over and over. How tired I grew of them, but an amazing thing happened years later. Read the story and see if you might be able to relate to it.

Writers have a lot of dark and gloomy times. There seem to be periods where rejections roll in like storm clouds, but then the rainbow appears and chases the stormy times away, at least for a little while. Those few rainbows is what keeps writers motivated to move on to a new story, poem or article.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stick With The Book!

I read recently that a movie based on a popular childrens' book of long ago is soon to be released. I remembered how much kids loved the story of Mr. Popper's Penguins written by Richard and Florence Atwater. The book was published in 1938 and remained popular for many years. My first thought about the movie was that kids would love it and I'd have to tell my daughter to take our two youngest grandchildren to see it.

All that changed when I read a review of the movie this morning. Our Kansas City newspaper awarded it with only two stars. Another review I read online says that it is "loosely" based on the book of the same name. Click the link to read the full piece. Then read the review of the book to see the difference between book and movie. I have not actually seen the movie, but after reading about it, I have no desire to do so.

Which brings me to my point for today. Why in the world do those who make movies take an extremely successful and long-lasting book into their hands and then change it considerably? All too often, the radically altered story in the movie doesn't measure up to the original.

Maybe you would be better off finding a copy of Mr. Popper's Penguins at Amazon or your favorite bookstore. It would probably be cheaper than taking kids to see the movie, and I have a feeling they might enjoy it more, as well. When it comes to a choice between a movie and a book, I'll choose the book every time. How about you?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Need A Good Book To Read?

I finished a book last night that I know will stay with me for some time. A friend recommended Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. The novel is 658 pages, but the story is so captivating that I was almost sorry to come to the final page.

The author is a physician who has written about doctors. Who better to be able to give a clear picture of other doctors and the conditions they treat? The characters are many, but the author has done a masterful job of weaving the lives of all of them together and yet making each one important.

When I first heard what the story was about, I wasn't all that sure I wanted to read it, but I'm glad that I did. The basics are--a British surgeon and a Catholic nun from India work together in a mission hospital in Ethiopia in the 1950's. Sister Mary Joseph Praise gets pregnant and dies giving birth to twin boys who are conjoined by a tube between their heads. They are separated but their father flees when the boys are born and the mother dies during the birth. The twins are raised by two Indian doctors at the mission hospital. The story is narrated by one of the twins. We see all the characters through his eyes, we journey with him through childhood, teen years, and into his middle aged years. We see life in Ethiopia with its political upheavals.

The Los Angeles Times said "Richly written...Shows how history and landscape and accidents of birth and death conspire to create the story of a single life...You may never leave the chair."  I would agree with that statement. I felt compelled to keep reading this beautifully written, moving tale. I cried in at least three places proving that the author has the ability to transfer the emotion in the story to the reader. He made me care about so many of the characters in the book, not just the protagonist.

The book has been on the bestseller lists and would be an excellent choice for Book Clubs to read. It provides a great deal for a good discussion.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Writers As Friends


I got to thinking last night about how many writers I know who have become my friends. The photo above was taken at the last conference my online critique group had in April of 2010. We spent several days together listening, learning, and socializing. Every one of the women are writers, but they're also the kind of people I am happy to have as friend. With the daily back and forth we do with subbing and critting and off-topic chatting, we know one another well.

I've met other writers at conferences but not all have become friends. Even so, many of them have reached out in one way or another, and a friendship grew. I post a lot of my work at an online community of writers and readers  called Our Echo. I've become a regular there and have gathered several friends who also post frequently and make comments. One no longer posts her work there, but she and I have kept in touch.

A few of my writer acquaintances have become bloggers. By reading and commenting on their blogs, our relationship has become a friendship.

Having friends who are in the writing world means you have someone who really understand when you whine about rejections. They are also great people to listen to your grandiose ideas for a new writing project. They are helpful in editing your work, if you ask nicely! And all that works in reverse, You have a lot in common with other writers which is a good base on which your friendship stands.

Take a few minutes today to list all the friends you have in your writing world. And then be thankful for them. You might even tell them that you value their friendship when an opportunity rises.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicken Soup Is Calling

It never ceases to amaze me that Chicken Soup for the Soul publishers continue to find new topics for the anthologies they produce in massive numbers. What started out as one anthology exploded into a multi-million dollar per year business. Good for the publishers and good for the writers who have been accepted for various titles.

I've received calls for stories for two new titles this past week. One is Say Good-bye to Back Pain and the other is Say Good-bye to Stress. Both books will have stories by people who have dealt with and learned to manage both these problems. A medical expert will add some expertise on each subject. Not everyone has had to live with debilitating back pain, but I think it's safe to say that we all have stress in our lives of one sort or another. Learning to meet it head-on and push it out of your life is the type of story they're looking for.  If you want to learn more about these and other books in the works, check out the Chicken Soup website. Be sure to note the deadlines for submission to each book listed.

At the end of December 2010, Chicken Soup released a book called Shaping The New You, which was about getting fit through diet and exercise. Now, these next books on back pain and stress are in the works. It sounds as though there is going to be a full series on medical issues. With the long list of these, we should be set for many more books down the line.

Ever since receiving the notices from the Chicken Soup publishers, I've been raking through my memory bank to determine what I might write about for these new books. I haven't made any decisions as yet, but one thing will start repeating itself in my mind, and that's the one I had better pay attention to. There is no limit on the number of stories a writer may submit, so send as many as you like.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Put Some Life In Your Adjectives

Someone in my critique group sent a clever poem she hoped to submit for a special themed magazine. Lots to like in her poem, but I noticed that in three successive lines, she used a color. Red, pink, and blue. Nothing wrong with that. They are all colors, but they're pretty generic when used to describe something to a reader. In this case it was red lips, pink cheeks and blue eyelids.


Why not vernillion or scarlet lips? How about blush rose or rosy cheeks? Maybe the eyelids could have been cerulean or aquamarine. They all indicate the color but they seem to have a little more life to them. It's not going to make or break her poem if she doesn't change the color names, but it may make it more interesting to the reader.

I wrote a poem about a visit to Claude Monet's gardens in France, and when I changed the color names of flowers in my revision, I liked the result much better. I changed them after a few who critiqued the poem had suggested doing so.

It's not only poetry that will benefit from adjectives that have some life to them. Go through your prose and mark the adjectives, then see if you might change some to add a little zip to your prose. Look for words that describe but do so in a so-so way in the original writing.

Instead of saying "She ate a very big dinner" why not try something like "She ate a gigantic dinner." or "She ate a gargantuan dinner."

Rather than saying "She buried her nose in the yellow flower." try, "She buried her nose in the tawny bloom."

The right adjectives can bring a lot to your writing. Experiment with them, revise some of your older pieces as an exercise. Put some life in your adjectives. Just don't overdo it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Graduation Day--Fifty Years Ago!

The master of ceremonies at our class reunion dinner last night mentioned that June 10th (today!) is the fiftieth anniversary of our graduation day at what was then called Illinois State Normal University. I had a flashback to that very hot June day. The ceremony took place outside in the blazing sun. My parents and youngest brother arrived in plenty of time. They brought one of my close childhood friends along.

I remember refusing to wear a dress under my robe, undies and full slip seemed like more than enough in 90+ degrees. My chair was in the full sunlight, and at one point my arm grazed the zipper on my gown, and it felt like I'd touched a hot iron. Once the event concluded and pictures taken, it was time to pack Dad's car with all the stuff I'd accumulated over the year. Tearful hugs to friends and we were on the road to home. Four of the best years of my life had come to an end. It was bittersweet, being both an end to a happy time but also the beginning of my teaching career. Little did I know then that I would only teach for five years.

Only about 20% of our class came to the reunion. Some have already died, others are in ill health and more either had no interest or other conflicts. I knew the majority of those who did come. Some I recognized immediately while others appeared perfect strangers until I checked the name tag. Good thing they did use large letters which were easy to read! One of the best parts for me was reuniting with my college roommate. Carol and I have kept in touch via Christmas and birthday cards and an occasional e-mail, but I had not seen her for twenty years. In 30 seconds, it was as if we had never been apart.

After the luncheon, we walked over to our favorite dorm with several others who lived there. Fell Hall was the most loved dorm on campus and Carol and I had the good fortune to live there for two years. We'd heard that it had been renovated several years ago, but we weren't prepared for what we found. Our senior year, we lived on the 4th floor in a room with two dormer windows. Our study areas were under those high windows. When we stepped off the elevator yesterday, we saw our door, first room in the corridor next to the lounge. But our room had been turned into two offices! The whole building is now offices for professors and others. The beautiful living room on the main floor that was once filled with elegant furnishings was now a cold receiving area with utilitarian chairs. The beautiful fireplace mantel was still there but the fireplace itself had been boarded up. Progress? Perhaps, but something special now remains only in our memory banks.

And yet, those memory banks are fine. So many memories were triggered at yesterday's events, and I suspect there will be more today at the update on university happenings and the final luncheon. I'm glad I came. I've posed for pictures more in one day than in the past five years altogether! I've smiled more than any human should be expected to, and I've enjoyed it all! Can't wait to get home and start writing.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fifty Plus Years Of Memories

Today and tomorrow, I'm going to attend my fifty year college class reunion. A friend contacted me months ago saying we all needed to make the supreme effort to make it for this special reunion. I've never gone to any of the reunions since I graduated in 1961, so if not now--when?

My university has grown to about six times the number of students in these fifty years. I wonder if I can even find the dorms I lived in. There are new buildings everywhere from what I've been told. I've spent the last week thinking about those college days and one memory after another has surfaced. Fodder for stories!

I've kept in touch with several of my close college friends and several of them will be there. I wonder if we'll recognized one another. I'm no longer the redhead! I have a feeling we will all have some shade of gray now, but the girls we were are still inside. I'm hoping they provide name tags with large print!

Back in the fifties, when I started college, Illinois State was a Normal school, one that offered degrees in the education field only. Now, it's liberal arts, which is the reason it grew to a much larger universty.

I'm looking forward to this two day reunion. Hope to post more about it tomorrow. As I say so often, there are stories everywhere we go. Look around you today. No matter what you do, or where your day takes you, you should be able to find a story worth writing about.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Night Post For Wednesday

Here I am jumping the gun again. But we're off on a road trip first thing tomorrow morning, so it's now or never. We're leaving our house in good hands while we're away, so at least I know my flowerpots won';t curl up and die in the awful heat we're having. Pushing 100 the last couple days. Nice to have someone here watching over things.

We're traveling to the central part of Illinois, our home state. We'll be visiting one of Ken's brothers who has recently moved to a small town near Champaign. It's about 8 1/2 hours from our home in Kansas, so a good part of the day will be spent in the car. It probably won't surprise anyone who reads this blog that I will have a good supply of reading material with me. Also a big pad of paper, just in case inspiration strikes.

Thursday and Friday, I'll leave Ken to continue the visit with his brother and I'll drive on another hour to attend a special event, which I'm looking forward to. It's a place where there will be story ideas in abundance.

Check back on Thursday to see where I'm going and why.

How Many Revisions Can You Make?

Yesterday, I told you about the problem I was having selecting a title for a new fiction story. I asked for help from a writer friend who happily complied with a nice list of possible titles. I'd sent her the story so she'd be able to choose from the subject matter.

Next, I started reading the story through again hoping some phrase would jump out as the perfect title. What happened was that I kept spotting little things that didn't sound right, so I'd change a word here and there. I kept reading the story over again off and on through the day, and each time, I'd find some small thing to change. I even added a full line in a couple spots.

On the umpteenth read last night, I added a gesture to a character that made an entire paragraph more realistic, not just a long dialogue. And I finally sat back and asked myself the right question. What is this story about? Two words popped into my mind, and they became the title. Short and sweet but it's what the entire story is about.

Maybe I should read the story one more time before I print it and add it to my other contest entries. That is what slipped through my tired brain, but I gave myself a firm NO. There comes a time when you can make no more revisions. It's time to say the piece is finished. You could revise a story so many times that it is no longer a viable, marketable story.

We must do some revising, but make it a reasonable amount. Nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect. Get it to a point where you feel pretty well satisfied and send it out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Titles--A Gourmet Touch


I'm working on a short story about an old woman who lives in the Flint Hills of Kansas, the largest tallgrass prairie left in the world. The picture above was taken out on the prairie where the sky meets the hills in exceptional majesty and beauty. 

The story came together bit by bit, and I sent it to my critique group who all were complimentary but also gave suggestions to make it tighter and stronger. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon revising the story and finally felt satisfied. I had a working title and had told the crit group I wanted a better title and was open to suggestions. 

They came up with a couple but they weren't much better than the one I'd started with. So last night, I sent the story to a writer friend whom I knew would be helpful. She did send back a nice list, but she added that some were definite cliches. Those I eliminated right away. I'll mull over her suggestions today and go back and read the story again tonight to see if one fits. Or maybe I'll have a revelation sometime today for a title.

Why all the fuss about a title? Some writers might suggest tagging it with anything that comes to mind. But I think titles are of great importance. When you're in a bookstore or the library, what first attracts you to a book? Probably not the color of the bookjacket, although that can have appeal sometimes. No, it's the title that draws you in or causes you to pass on by. A person reading a literary magazine is going to want to read some of the stories sooner than others and they'll be ones that had intriguing titles. 

The title is your bait that will draw the big fish to your story. So take some time when selecting one. Use something quirky or ask a question. Use a quote from within the text of the story. The title can be taken from the meaning of the story, a comment made within the text, or a strong image the story projects. A proper name can serve as a title, too. If the book or story is a success, the name will live forever. Don't we all know and love a boy and a book named Huckleberry Finn? The unusual first name piques interest.

Some writers start with a title and then write the story, while others add the title once the story is completed. Whichever way you do it, take time to think about it. The title is a gourmet touch to your story. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

One More Published Piece

This has been a good week in my writing world with the essay published in the Kansas City Star on Monday, news of an article in The Best Times newspaper's June issue, and today another essay has been published.

"Why Did I Wait?" is at the WOW! Women On Writing blog today. Read it at http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/  This excellent website for women has a Friday Speak Out guest blog each week. It's the same process as submitting for any other publication--send it in, wait to hear if it is accepted, and then wait a bit longer to see your words in print. The submission address is marcia@womenonwriting.com

The Women On Writing website has much to offer, so I hope anyone who writes or wants to write will visit the website at www.womenonwriting.com

I'm feeling a bit spoiled by all the good news in my writing world this week. Might be a big letdown next week when I'm playing the waiting game once again. Best thing to do in that case is write something new and send it to an editor. Since this looks like a quiet week-end approaching, I just may do that!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Wordsmith

I've recently renewed acquaintance with a writer whom I knew a number of years ago when we both had work published at a website called 2TheHeart. The website began publishing less and less, and the community of writers moved on in other directions.
Linda Carlson is an accomplished poet and prose writer who now showcases her work and that of other writers at http://thewordsmith.faithweb.com/a_ws_home_1.html  Click on Enter and a wonderful world of stories and poems to read will open to you. On the page where you select stories and poetry to read, there is also a submission link near the bottom of the page for writers, published or unpublished, to submit their work for the website.
If your work appears on  The Wordsmith, I guarantee that it will be showcased beautifully. Linda's entire site is filled with lovely graphics and backgrounds. I sent her one of the stories I had published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, and I was amazed at what she did to make it sparkle and shine. Take a look at "Wish Upon A Star" at http://thewordsmith.faithweb.com/njk_wishuponastar.html
Spend some time at The Wordsmith and you'll end up with a fine appreciation of what Linda Carlson has accomplished  and an admiration for her, as well.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Writers--Mind Your Manners!

Last night, we were at a dinner gathering of sixteen people. One of the men asked me if I've had a book published yet. I told him I had not but that I'd had several essays and articles published recently. He's asked me that same question every time I see him.. I wanted to tell him that no, I had not, and quit asking! I'll tell you when it happens. But I remembered my manners and bit my tongue on that last part.

When an editor sends a rejection with a note that specifies the reason, instead of dashing off a nasty note in return, remember your manners and be thankful that the editor took time to point out the failing of the piece. I had one like that a few years ago, and it still bugs me, but I kept my mouth shut. Maybe I will want to submit to that editor again someday.

If you submit something to a critique group and someone gives a scathing critique, the first thing you  would like to do is tell the critter she doesn't know what she's talking about. Or you may want to go into a lengthy explanation about why something was written a certain way. If you have to explain it to a critiquer, then you'd need to do the same for a reader and there's no way to do that. So swallow your retort and set the story aside for a few days, then work on it again. Remember those manners your mother taught you long ago.

Writers need to mind their manners like other business people do. If you blast back at questions or comments by others in reference to your writing, it could haunt you  later. Do the old 'count to ten' and simmer down. Be polite and learn from the comments of others.