Navigating The Wilds Of Writing Conferences

It’s the most wonderful time of the year,  conference season.  With this in mind, how do navigate through the massive selections? How do  you select the best ones for your writing journey?

Tips To Successfully  Natigate The Conference World:

  1. The Hunt: Start with research. Google, check out, Writers Market and talk to fellow writers about their preferences of conferences.
  2. Preparing For The Wild:  Narrow the list. Select the conferences that best match your writing goals. Realistically, no matter how wonderful the list seems, you can’t attend every conference. Even if you have a magical money tree in your yard, you don’t have unlimited time.
  3. Double Check For Sightings: Tighten up your current writing projects. At  conferences you may encounter opportunities to pitch your novel.  Be ready!
  4. Step Boldly Into The Woods: Pick, Pay & Attend The Conference. Be friendly, you are among your peeps (editors, authors, agents and fellow writers) and you share the love  of  craft.




The Power Of Frost

Your book begins with a couple verbally ripping each other apart or the villain  beating the hero,  it sounds exciting. Presenting an emotion fueled scene does grab the reader but every so often try the power of Frost. A cold anger can cut threw bone and slice through soul. Imagine a spouse finding their beloved in bed with some else. The reader is expecting a heartbroken character to rage or wail in pain. What if the cheating was the one unforgivable act, the one that wilts the love? Instead of  being wounded, he or she is numb and calm. How devastated would the cheating spouse be? No explanation or apology is accepted. The result is  the guilty character in desperate mode and in greater agony than the innocent one.

A killer without emotions chills the readers’ soul. The lack feeling suggest that either the man/woman is a monster unable to express feelings or that he holds the victim in massive disregard. The power of the Frost transform heated motive to scary calm.

Play with Frost next time you want to add emotion to a section.

It’s More Than Pimples & Pizza

A thousand years ago we were teens. Time moved to slow and many of us just hoped to survive hormones. Our world was limited to the scope of school, parents and friends. Some of us faced the challenges of dysfunctional families or battled weight issues. Fast forward to present day, teens are far more complex and so is their literature.

It’s time to dive into the realm of young adult literature. Okay, you may be horrified by the prospect writing it. Be bold enough to read it. Start with the award winning Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. The book is set in the inner city, reflects on race relations and has banned by Texas school districts. Open the pages of  Gayle Forman’s I was Here. See the battle fought by people with mental illness and the devastation felt by their loved ones. Journey back in time to the flapper period in New York with Libba Bray’s Diviner series.  Allow her added theme of paranormal to give you goosebumps.

Young adult literature today is often brilliant, complex, gut wrenching and inspiring. It offers an enriching experience for not only the reader but also for writers. Dive in and learn why this is an expansive market. Discover the ways society has changed for youth and how they are trying to shift the negative tide.

Write Anyway

This week we experienced horror over the tragedy in Florida. Words can barely express the pain and despair that many of us feel. It’s time to pour the feelings onto the page. Use your voice to write your local politicians or channel the emotions into your characters. Your voice is a gift, a tool to share with others and a way to express some of the pain.

Curl up in a ball with a pint of ice cream or sweat it out in a cycle class if necessary but when you’re ready, come back to the page.

Don’t allow horror to become the new normal, to silence your voice.

Love Is On The Page

As we draw close to Valentine’s Day, it is the ideal time to put love on the page. Select the story, poem or essay that will be the focus of your adoration. Commit to finishing a draft of a chapter (for shorter pieces, a complete draft). No corrections or overthinking are aloud.  The task is to love your craft and express your gift.


Prepping For 2018 Writing Success PT 1

Now is the time to prepare for a successful writing year. Let’s divide the process into three parts.

We’ll begin with the creation of an inventory list. Divide a page or word document into 2 columns. On the left side list all of your current writing resources (i.e. writing software, pens, blank journals, etc.).

Use the right the right side to create a list of needs (i.e. 2018 Writers Market, writers group and professional memberships). Create a simple plan to take care of these items (tap into your piggy bank, contact local libraries to find a writers group).

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3.

Ready, Set, Succeed!

2017 is drawing to a close and 2018 is racing towards us. Let’s embrace it, fill it with our words and send them out into the world. The remaining posts for December will focus on preparing for a mega successful new year. We will plan to reach our goals in the areas of word count, quality work, editing and publication (traditional or self-publication).

Stay tuned for inspiration and success tips.


Turkeys, Ham & Drama

It’s the most stressful time of the year, the perfect season for harnessing drama.  Work parties, family gathering, shopping and traffic jams provide ideal writing material. These unavoidable situations have some redeeming qualities.

Instead of devouring pies or hiding in the pantry to escape, take notes. Okay, don’t pull out your tablet or a notepad, its best to be discrete.

Be a sponge and absorb the oddities that only occur during the holidays. Is there a section of your manuscript that needs an over the top character? Could a passage use a does of extra emotion? Tap into the behaviors inspired by holiday madness. 

Observe, write and have a small slice of pie.

Merge The Past With The Page

We have all hit the writing wall, the place where we are faced with a lackluster character. However, we have a storehouse of materials that can solve this dilemma. 

Does he/she need to express the pain of first heartache in a young adult novel? Read back through your journal from your teen years. Need to tap into the pure joy of new friendship experienced from a nine year old’s perspective? Close your eyes and recall how you felt when you met your first friend.

Between journal entries, memories and convserations with people who have known us for decades, we can harvest emotions that infuse life into our characters.

Go ahead, stroll down memory lane but  pause along the way to take notes. 

The Power Of Deception

I was a preschool teacher, have tried sky-jumping and I’ve repo(ed) a car. Most of us have the played the game called Two Truth and One Lie. This ice breaker is an ideal way to develop a complicated character and plot filled with twists.

  Imagine a person who is perceived one way by the world but who is hiding a secret. Beyond what strangers, friends and loved ones see is the secret identity. The househusband may be a paid escort while the kids are in school and spouse is at work. The retired serial killer could be the sweetest volunteer at animal shelter. Beyond its sweet charm, a Midwestern town is home to the largest pack of werewolves in the US.

 Stir mischief into your plot by adding a dash of deception.