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REGISTER NOW TO GET YOUR MANUSCRIPT READY FOR PUBLICATION!

Writers, have you written a short story? A column for a newspaper? How about a pretty good poem? A novel? Do you think your work is good enough for a publisher or agent to look at it?

If you’ve never attended a writers’ conference, you have no idea what you’re missing. It’s one of the first and most important steps you can take to become a published writer.  There’s so much to know … and learn about the writing/publishing business.

This July 16th to the 21st at the 28th Montrose Christian Writers Conference, we have an excellent line-up of faculty members who will help you with writing skills, promotion, poetry, picture books, editing, agenting, finding a publisher, and a host of other essential information. Besides three WIPs and four Major Morning Seminars, we also are offering 43 afternoon classes to help you hone your manuscript or find that publisher:

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

 

Indie Publishing vs. Royalty Publishing. What’s New?

(Faculty Panel Discussion)

Why Drama?

Formatting before Beginning

Fiction: Character Building (Part One)

21 Ways to Overcome Writers Block

Get the Most out of the Conference

 The Art of Collaborative Writing

Fiction: Character Building (Part Two)

Conducting High Profile Interviews 

Blogging 101

Creating a Viable Stage Production

Shock the Clock: Time Management

Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to  Market

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

Powerful Sentence Structures

Fiction: Setting and Description

Write for your Life

Prayer in the Life of a Writer

Creative Blockbusters

Making your Fiction Matter

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Blogging 102

Format and Performance Know-how

Writing Compelling Devotions

No Market for your Book? What to Do

Putting Characters in Place

PUGS Specifics for Christian Writers

Writing for Guideposts and the Guideposts Contest

Graduation Time; What’s Next?

Bible Studies that Sell

Real “Artist-Ship”

Aspects of the Editing Process

Breaking into Anthologies

Social Media 101

Sharing the Fun of Drama

Column Writer as a Platform Builder

Peace in the Literary Storm

Writing for Picture: Magazine or Picture Book for Children?

Understanding the Business of Writing for Publication

Selling Personal Experience Short Stories

What’s an Edit?

Irresistible Queries and Proposals

Proofread with Excellence

Writing the Profile Piece

To check out the weekly schedule and the faculty members offering these classes, please go to http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

I hope to see you at Montrose in July!

Marsha, Director

 

 

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Nov. 9, 2015

Fiction That Wows Your Reader (Part 5)

Writing Outside the Box

stock-photo-happy-child-playing-in-cardboard-box-kid-having-fun-at-home-303306602

First, let’s define the term “outside the box.” What in heaven’s name does that mean? “Write outside the box.”

Well, in plain language, it means to write a plot and develop characters that don’t have a normal humdrum boring story line or everyday blah life.

As a short exercise in my presentation, I always cite some average boring story lines and ask my class to change the plot so that it’s outside the box. One example I cite is the following:

“A little girl finds a nest of baby bunnies in her back yard.”

Now, of course, everyone is immediately drawn to the “outside the box” famous children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, where Alice finds a whole new world, not a nest of baby bunnies.

Several years ago, I presented this workshop to a group of writers and asked how to change the story line. One fellow in the back of the room raised his hand and said, “How about if a big rabbit finds a nest of little girls in his back yard?”

I said to him, “Sir, you are DEFINITELY thinking outside the box. Go for it.”

Just for the fun of it, I’m going to list about 10 different story lines. Analyze each one. If you can change the plot to move it outside the box, do so. But some of the story lines are already outside the box and are, in fact, famous stories or books written by best-selling published authors. See if you can identify those that are already great plots.

So, which of these would you like to continue to read?

  1. A little girl saves enough money to buy a horse at auction.
  2. A bitter sea captain of a sailing ship hunts for a white sperm whale to kill him.
  3. A newly married couple tours Paris, France, and enjoys all the sites.
  4. A boy is shipwrecked on an island with only a wild stallion that won’t let him get near him.
  5. A middle-aged woman works at Wal-Mart, saving enough money to take a trip to Hawaii.
  6. A young pioneer woman is left alone on the prairie in her covered wagon when her husband falls from his horse and is killed.
  7. The neighbor’s cat has a litter of six kittens underneath a little boy’s porch.
  8. A collie dog, sold and taken away from the boy he loves, travels a long distance through life-threatening dangers to return to his boy.
  9. A young unmarried girl decides to marry her childhood sweetheart.
  10. An unmarried woman on a plantation in a southern state faces the harsh reality of post Civil War life and the loss of all she held dear.

Well, how did you do? Did you analyze the boring plots and the character development and decide what you could do to make them better? (Numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9)

And did you identify the best-selling books/movies in numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10?

MOBY DICK

THE BLACK STALLION

LOVE COMES SOFTLY

LASSIE, COME HOME

GONE WITH THE WIND

When you analyze what makes these million-dollar story lines what they are, you’ll be on your way to writing, possibly, the next great American novel. And all the while you’re writing, keep on reading. Read tons of books, especially in the subgenre in which you are writing, and learn how the masters did it. Maybe someday, your name will be on a best-seller list with the rest of them!

Marsha (Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

Montrose Christian Writers Conference http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

******

(More Shameless Promotion)

Book2.On.Victory.Trail.Cover

ON THE VICYTORY TRAIL

 (Book 2 in the Keystone Stables Series)

Skye faces the challenge of her life when her best friend, Sooze, develops a brain tumor.

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On Writing: How to Start and Maintain a Local Critique Group

 The most valuable tool you’ll ever have to become a better writer is the local critique group. If you are not involved with one, please seriously consider starting and maintaining one. Here are the guidelines to help you get started: 

    1. Contact any local writer you know. Post notices in grocery stores, mini marts, and post offices with contact information.
    2. Have a set time and date for your first meeting. It can be at your home or in a local restaurant, library, community social room at a mall, etc.
    3. Pick one person to be the leader of your group—it probably should be you since the group is your idea—or rotate by having a different leader every time you meet. Choose a central location to meet. (Our group, average of five members, meets at a local Starbucks inside a Target store.)
    4. Several days before the meeting, email or call everyone to find out who’s bringing something to critique. The leader then plans how much time will be allotted to each writer at the meeting. Example: we have a two-hour meeting once a month. If five of us bring something to be critiqued, we each get about 20-25 minutes total time for the critique. It’s best for the leader to have a timer. We usually limit our pages to about five typed double-spaced pages, but that depends on how many writers want to be critiqued.
    5. At the meeting, open with the sharing of news, i.e. someone has been accepted for publication, someone is speaking somewhere or having a book signing, writers conferences, etc.
    6. Each person who has something to critique should bring copies for all members. The author has a choice to:

 

            a.    send his work to each member via email attachment ahead of time to have the other writers critique his work and bring a printed version to the meeting

            b.   have his/her work read aloud by another member while the group critiques with pen

           c.   have the work read silently while the critiquing is being done.

      7.    After the reading, each person, other than the writer, discusses the manuscript.  The leader should “control” the input by giving each person at the table a turn to speak, going clockwise or counterclockwise. The author is encouraged to offer his/her input. Also, the leader should prevent discussions and personal trivia that chase rabbit trails and have nothing to do with critiquing the manuscript. Then the critiqued copies are handed back to the writer. Fellowship and sharing can take place before or after the entire critiquing session is over.

     8. Before dismissing, the next date for the critique meeting should be set.

THE ART OF CRITIQUE-

1.  offers a chance to communicate with each other.  First, tell the writer what you enjoyed about the story and its strengths. Be positive about something.

2.  allows review of what you think needs work: boring opening, weak characters, weak plot, unnatural dialogue, etc.

3.  prevents the members not to “over-critique.”  Each writer has his own individual voice or style of writing. Other than correcting obvious punctuation, word usage, grammar, and spelling, try not to rewrite the work (especially poetry).  Too much critiquing will then morph the author’s work into your work, which is defeating the purpose of the critique group.

4.  As the author of the work, you should process the critique comments. Decide if the critique really hit home.  Some writers don’t change anything unless they get at least two or three comments about the same area of work. Try not to be offended. Critiquing is a valuable tool to make you a better writer. To err is human; and we’re all human! Be ready to accept change.

5. Remember, you are the final judge of your work.

HAPPY WRITING AND CRITIQUING!

Marsha

www.marshahubler.com

www.susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

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