La Tavola

~ Jo Thomas ‘Write about what you know,’ people would tell me when I first started writing. The problem is, I didn’t know about anything…or so I thought! I knew I loved food, but I wasn’t a chef, or even one of those foodie types with fancy knifes and a cupboard full unrecognisable ingredients. I just loved to feed my friends and family. I loved the way food brought us around the table together. But what could I really write about? Then, my husband was asked to go and work on the west coast of Ireland. We went over...

Too Many Cooks? It’s Not Just About the Cowboy Beans. . .

~ By Jeff Salter Note: read this true experience (from 6-26-2016) and then tell us what you would write for the very next line. He: “I’m thinking about making some cowboy beans this evening for supper. You okay with my beans?” She: “Sounds lovely.” – – – Later that evening – – – He is browning the meat and hears chopping behind him. She sneaks over and dumps a pile of fragments into the meat. He: “What was that?” She: “Just a few onions.” After some more stirring, he is briefly looking the other way when she squirts in a...


So…my weekend, or The Benefit of taking a Master class

~ By Peggy Jaeger There really should be something done about lousy internet in hotels and conferences! I was at a fabulous conference this weekend and couldn’t blog about it because it took FOREVER to get connected to WiFi. Oh well…better late than never. Friday night I took a master class with marketing guru Jane Friedman. It quite literally changed the way I view all the social media stuff I have to do as a writer who wants to get her book in front of strangers. For two hours she spoke about all the ways a writer can engage readers and get them to — not...

Creativity Through Divorce

~ By Casey Clipper    I’m getting a divorce. There, I said it. Out loud. Admission is half the key, right? Yeah, right, if only. This is a secret I’ve held close to the chest for quite some time now, only recently finally informing people of my personal plight. It’s embarrassing. Even though I shouldn’t be, I am. So, I’ve kept quiet and tried to go about my daily life. Try, being the key word. I haven’t gone into explicit details about my pending divorce, only placing a vague post on social media. My closest friends and coworkers know the...

Seven Rules for Powerful Sentences

~ By Lyn Cote (First published in “Writer’s Forum,” a publication for students, faculty, and friends of Writer’s Digest School, Fall 1998 as “Dramatic Sentences in Seven Steps.”) When I completed my first manuscript, I thought a national day of celebration should be proclaimed.  Imagine my chagrin when I discovered contest judges, agents, and editors weren’t impressed by my 700 neat pages.  They expected not only that each chapter, page, and paragraph be effective, but they also demanded that exacting standard apply to each sentence and even each word.  Didn’t they know that perfectionism of this level put them...

Readers, Writers and Protagonists Setting Healthy Boundaries

Warning: This post makes references to violence and sexual assault. If you’d rather skip this post, we completely understand.  Note: Much of what I share in this post I’ve learned from taking empowerment self-defense and martial arts classes at an organization called El HaLev. Learn more by reading or watching “Beauty Bites Beast” by Ellen Snortland. ~ By Melina Kantor It seems to happen more often than not. I’m getting into a book, grateful for some much needed down time, and then. . . The hero shows up unexpectedly and unwanted someplace where the heroine feels safe. Maybe it’s her...

From Romantic Romance to Ordered Disorder

 ~ Miriam Drori  Want to know how to approach writing non-fiction when you’re most used to romantic stories? Don’t ask me; I didn’t do it. You didn’t? No. But you’ve published that lovely romance that’s set in a really exotic place called… Jerusalem. You’re right. My romance, Neither Here Nor There was published in 2014 and my new non-fiction book, Social Anxiety Revealed, is out on August 22. There you are, then. There I’m not. You see, I wrote the first draft of Social Anxiety Revealed back in 2004. I was still working as a technical writer then and...

#RWA17: Is this ADULTING?

~ By Peggy Jaeger Something new at RWA this year was the adult coloring wall. Yeah…I know. This phase of adults reverting back to their younger years and doing things they did as children was originated as a means of connecting with your inner child to relieve the stress of being a, well, a grown-up. I’ve never felt the urge to color as an adult – even though I dabble in painting – and this seemed a little over the top. But…. it was really cool. The walls were covered with historical book covers from AVON authors and there were buckets...

How to Use Your Travels to Make Your Story Sparkle

~ By Rachel Magee Vacations. We all love them. Just the sound of the word can bring stress relief. We plan, research, save for and dream about them all year long. And when the time gets near, we go shopping, buy new outfits and struggle to cram them all into our over-stuffed suitcases. No? Just me? Well, moving on, then. If you’re anything like me, you’re never truly on vacation from writing. I may get away from the norm, but my creative mind is always spinning. Vacations fill me with inspiration for new stories or ideas for my current...

Contest Entries, Part 2: Understanding POV

~ By Laura Trentham  This is Part 2 of my observations from judging lots of RWA contests for unpublished manuscripts. I really love judging, not only to give back to a process that gave me my start in publishing, but by critiquing someone else’s writing, I discover weakness in my own. Part 1 focused on the actual beginning of your story and the delicate balance of backstory in the first three chapters. Now, I’m going to discuss a craft item that affects not just your first chapters, but you entire book. Deep POV. First, let me say, this is...

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