|Thank you to all those who contribute to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the USA!|
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Share Your Knowledge. Teach a Class on Writing by J.Q. Rose
School starts after Labor Day in Michigan. I know some of you have kids who returned to the classroom a lot earlier. Students go back to school, but what about you? Yes, you can take a writing or marketing class. How about teaching one?
If you're a writer, you can teach a writing class. Now, don’t guffaw at that statement. Who better than a working writer to shepherd a group of folks who are hungry to set down words on the page? You remember the thrill of writing down your thoughts. Some of you may even remember the favorable response from friends and family who loved your story or article. Perhaps you are still in the glow of seeing your name on a published article or book. Don’t you want to help someone achieve their dream?
Teaching writing can be a volunteer job or a paid position. I began teaching a class on writing life stories after a writer in my writer’s group shared a diary that her great great grandfather kept in the 1800’s. This was an eye-opening experience for me. Encouraging folks to write/record their lives as a historical record of their times and as a gift to future generations has become a mission for me.
In the beginning I wondered if all the studying, reading, outlining and decisions on areas to cover would be worth it. I am happy to report that I have had successful, paid for workshops since 2004. Not only have the proceeds lined my pocket with spending money…yes, it is not a huge money maker..but the responses from participants have warmed my heart as I see them leaving the class confident and ready to begin their life story and to organize it. They are inspired to write the information down for their families and finally accept that their life is worth living and sharing it with others.
Think about it. Choose your topic that you know you can teach and begin working out a workshop and a way to market it. The results for you will be satisfying and I guarantee you will learn more about your own writing through the exercises.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Difference Between a Blurb and a Synopsis by J.Q. Rose
Blurbs can mean a testimonial about how wonderful your book is. The blurb is written by a respected person in the topic you have written about e.g. a distinguished horticulturalist says delightful things about your non-fiction book on gardening or an author (usually not your best friend) will expound about your book. These testimonials are found in the back of the book cover or front of the book cover or front of the book to testify to a reader the merits of the information provided in a non-fiction book or entertainment value in a novel. You need these blurbs before publishing so the publisher can insert them into your manuscript.
The other blurb is a short teaser, about a paragraph long, to get the reader's interest to actually look into your book and decide to buy it/read it! It introduces the main character and her conflict, but NOT the resolution. You gotta buy the book to discover how she figures out her problem.
Don't confuse this blurb with a tagline or log line which is only about one or two lines long.
Here's my TAGLINE for my cozymystery/sweet romance, Coda to Murder: Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.
|Coda to Murder|
Here's my BLURB: Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.
Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.
Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?
Here's my TAGLINE for my non-fiction ebook for MG girls, Girls Succeed!: Inspiring and empowering girls to achieve success in their dream careers
Here's my BLURB: An interactive e-book filled with dreams and passion to inspire, entertain, and empower girls. Fifteen remarkable career women in a variety of occupations share their stories about their work and the path
When submitting your book to a publisher, editor, agent, you will need to have the tagline and blurb written as well as a synopsis. The synopsis tells the whole story line. You must reveal the ending too. (I know that goes against your writerly principles, but the person considering your manuscript needs to know.)
As the writer, you know every nuance of the story and want to explain every character down to the waitress who takes the main character's order at the restaurant. Don't do it! Stick to the main character and major characters, not all the little players in the story.
Be sure to have someone who is familiar with your manuscript read through your synopsis before submitting it. They can see the big picture of the story better than you can.
This blog post by Chuck Sambuchino gives you five tips on writing a synopsis for a novel. I have never heard of capitalizing the main characters when you introduce them in your synopsis. Have you?
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I am in the process of creating my blurb for my WIP. Here's the rough draft of it. I've written about five. It ain't easy, is it? I need to make it catchier, so I'll keep working on it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
After getting many opinions on the title for the WIP, I have decided on, for the moment, Deadly Undertaking.
Blurb: Dead bodies are the everyday routine for a funeral director, but discovering a murder victim in the garage of the funeral home is not part of a normal day. Lauren Staab believed she would be helping care for her mother stricken with Alzheimer’s disease and keep the books for the family funeral business. Defending her family against suspicion of murder and keeping watch for the killer to return do not fit into her plan for her life in her quiet town of Mayfield. She has her sick mother, her dad, a shadow man, and the funeral business to handle. Lauren certainly doesn’t need a murder or a handsome police man to stir into the mix of her complicated life.
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Time for back to school. I know our kids don't return till after Labor Day, but many of you have kids already in school! So to celebrate this very special time of the year (some kids are not cheering that school started) I have discounted 50% off the price of Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women! This book is a great resource for teachers and homeschoolers and has a Reader's Guide to accompany the interactive book.
BOOK LINKS: If you would like to download a sample which includes the Table of Contents listing all the careers in the book, please go to
and all major online booksellers.
The Reader's Guide is organized into units for study. The themes are Careers, Passion, Persistence, Trailblazers, Feeling Different, Being the Best You Can Be, Overcoming Obstacles
Sunday, August 17, 2014
What's Your Choice? Outliner and/or Seat of the Pants Writer? by J.Q. Rose
When you begin your story or novel, do you use an outline to guide your writing or do you just begin and let the ideas/characters/plot take you in the direction of the story? Letting the words flow along with no pre-planning means you are writing by the seat-of-your-pants thus gaining the title of a “pantser.” We have lots of discussions at The Writers Chatroom among the newcomers and regular attendees of the Wednesday evening chats, as well as guest authors on Sunday nights, as to the best method of writing a story or novel.
In an article by Robert Campbell, Outlining, in Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America, this mystery writer admits he never used an outline. He preferred William Faulkner’s method of setting his characters on the road and “walk beside them, listening to what they have to say.” Campbell admits writing without an outline causes him to start down paths that lead to dead ends, but he discovers a lot about a character spending time on pages upon pages that he may have to discard. However, he feels that at least, he exercised the writing muscles.
Later in his writing Campbell discovered outlining using his “word processor” or even hand writing a simple outline. He also makes up documents before starting the story such as Chronology, Cast of Characters, Address Book, Timeline of History, Notebook and Agenda which “sketches the goals, desires and probable actions of each principal character as I move through the body of the book.” He builds on each of these documents as the work-in-progress (WIP) evolves. Campbell cautions that at no time is anything engraved in stone. He remains flexible with each chapter.
In my current WIP I tried the pantser and not so strict outline process and discovered just like Campbell, my many paths lead to dead ends. I really don't like cutting a bunch of scenes or re-writing to fit that once-brilliant idea into the story when it really isn't necessary.
It really makes no difference whether you need a map, guidelines, outline or just an idea to freely write a story. The important thing is to write. Don’t be paralyzed by constructing an outline, then never writing the story. With no outline, you may write paragraphs, pages, scenes, chapters, etc that will need to be cut for the final draft. But many authors incorporate those leftover pages into another future story or save them to share with readers on your blog to give them an extra treat to the behind-the-scenes editing you did to produce the finished product.
Pleeeeeezzzz…just write! It’s in you. What a shame if you don’t let it out on the page.
Monday, August 11, 2014
|Grandsons on the shores of Lake Huron--a moment captured with my camera|
Time is flying by too quickly. When the sand in an hour glass slips through to the bottom, we can just turn it over and start again. But time doesn't stop for us. We ride it like a rocket ship through the ages and stages of life. At times we need to slam on the brakes of that rocket ship (if they have them?) and take time to be present in the moments of our lives.
I'm putting my foot down on those brakes this week to be mindful of the moments in my life. This is especially important this week because we have the opportunity to be with our grandchildren. Our thirteen and fourteen-year-old grandsons are ready to go fishing with the grandparents anytime. Eagerly the twelve year old grandson sets up the board games knowing he's going to beat Grandpa. The nine year old likes to be in the kitchen cooking up goodies. And my five year old granddaughter can't wait to come over to find toads in the window well and get dirty in the garden picking beans and digging potatoes.
Can you see these children all grown up? I can. Their time with us will go so quickly. Friends, sports, activities in school will fill up their lives. I know this because all my grandparenting friends tell me this happens as the kids grow up. Time spent with the grandparents is squeezed into little moments when they are free, instead of the entire long, luxurious days of summer.
I decided this week I'll take the time to appreciate the present. I will be mindful of every moment and imprint it on my mind to keep in my heart forever. I want the experiences and to capture each one so one day I can pull them from my memory box and I'll smile at the memories.
How many of these summer days and evenings do we take for granted? What gorgeous sunsets have we missed this year? And what delicious food have we just scarfed down and not even tasted?
I hope you have the opportunity to take time to be in the present and appreciate those moments by immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of each one.
Have a wonderful week! I 'll be back next Monday probably sun-burned, happy, and exhausted.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
TIP: If you have lilies, removing the pollen from the center of the flower will lengthen the blooming time and reduce the smudging of the petals with the pollen. We call this "picking the lilies' nose." Remember this tip for Easter time when the Easter lilies are filling your room with their sweet fragrance.
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My WIP: Critique Groups
My Work in Progress (WIP) received a jolt of energy after sharing the first chapter with a couple of authors this week. Working on a manuscript can become so absorbing that after awhile, you need a break and time to come up for air. Get back in touch with reality and there's no better way to do that than to share the writing with a crit group.
Getting together in person or online with fellow writers can give you the shot in the arm you really need to keep going. Of course some groups can really get you down too, so don't go there. Critiques should be done gently. If a member has a problem with a ms, the member can point it out, but should have suggestions to correct what she perceives as a problem.
Thankfully I am blessed to be associated with writers who can do this for me. And by sharing that first chapter this week, that's what happened. Their excitement about the chapter was contagious and now I'm rip roarin' ready to get that re-writing done.
Another benefit of critique groups is the camaraderie shared in the meeting. We meet for coffee, share our lives, and just enjoy conversation with real human beings. It's like a breath of fresh air to escape for a bit.
I asked questions yesterday about the methods of re-writing from the many wonderful authors on the Insecure Writers Support Group. Please take a look at their in-depth answers in yesterday's post on how they go about re-writing their stories. So interesting. I really appreciated their taking time to give so much information about their process.
Next week I plan to have several chapters of the funeral home story ready and available for you to take the first peek. Yes, I'm fired up!!
Have a grand day/evening whether you are just beginning it, in the middle of it, or getting ready to settle in for the night.
Are you in a critique group? Has that been a good experience for you? Share your process of re-writing with us. If you're a reader, do you like to know the author's process of getting that story done and published?
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Internet Writers Support Group --What is IWSG? Founder of IWSG and author Alex J Cavanaugh explains the group's purpose is "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"
The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month, The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought provoking posts. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page.
Writer's Re-writing Tips by J. Q. Rose
I was thrilled to finish the first draft of my mystery work-in-progress last week.
Now begins the fun part, the re-writing.
There is no great writing, only great rewriting.Justice Brandeis
Actually I enjoy slogging through the manuscript and "fixing" it up, slashing sentences, paragraphs, or even full scenes. adding the motivation or the one touch that pulls the heart strings of the reader, and finding that perfect verb to illuminate the action. Ah, what joy.
Now that I am ready to finish this third mystery, I would like to learn methods other writers do when re-writing their manuscripts.
What tips can you share with us to help make the re-writing more productive?
- Do you read through without making any changes to get the flow or pacing of the story? Find the muddle in the middle?
- Do you begin by fixing grammar errors and typos?
- When do you check if characters and descriptions of locations are consistent throughout the entire story?
- Do you perform all these steps in one reading?
- Do you keep each chapter separate and save it to its own file in MS Word? Or do you write all the chapters in one file? Or do you use a writer's helper like Scrivener to keep track of chapters, scenes, characters, etc
What nugget of information can you share with us? Please leave a comment below. We'd appreciate all the help we can get!