Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Other Advice for Writers







By David E. Sharp










My earliest "writings" were theatrical productions I would perform for my parents with stuffed animals portraying all the roles. Well, almost all the roles. I did enlist my brother for any parts that required a more dynamic performance than a stuffed monkey could offer, though the monkey was better at taking direction. Still, we got moderately good reviews and presented many repeat performances.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud
to present, "The Teddy Bear's Lament."

No flash photography, please.
While my early productions were childish and insubstantial, I explored deeper themes in college that dared to ask the big questions like, "What would happen if all the ovens exploded in a fancy restaurant and they had to cook five-star cuisine over a campfire?" and "How would an audience respond to another audience staring at them?" and "How would Count Dracula fare in an Italian restaurant?"

Commentators responded with such discerning feedback as, "What on Earth is the matter with you?" and "Where do you come up with this tripe?" and "Untie me at once! I can't watch anymore!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Writing Out Your Soul










By Shelley Widhalm















Writing is a confrontation with your soul. It digs to let the subconscious come forward, while the conscious part of the mind thought it simply was taking notes and plotting out the story. The subconscious has things to say you didn’t necessarily know about or were too busy to give any attention to … until you have no choice but to listen.

Even if your writing is all about the characters, plot and setting that doesn’t seem like you, there is a piece of you in the words that unravel into the form of story. 




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Quality Queries. Sadly, There's No Magic Wand.







By Laura Mahal














I’m imagining what a query letter would look like if we could really stroll down to number ninety-three Diagon Alley and make a purchase from Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. Of course, the days of snail-mail querying are mostly gone, and literary agencies tend to frown on owl deliveries.

Flashy neon paper that burns up if an agent fails to read the whole thing are so yesterday. If you did hire a magician to help you with your query letter, here are a few things you might expect.



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Nerd or Novelist: A Bit of Both










By Richard Gutkowski














As civil engineering professor, my academic career required some necessary writing traits. They were basic, generic and pragmatic though valuable. Engineering and academic writing are both stylized in specific ways. APA guidelines and writing manuals provide sparse background for fiction writing.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stranger Than Fiction

By David E. Sharp


Sometimes I am asked, "Where do you come up with this stuff?" You've probably heard this question as well. Depending on the inflection, it can sound like a compliment (you're so creative) or the opposite of a compliment (I'd prefer you didn't stand too close to me).

Either way, I've never had a good answer. But I do think everyday life gives us no shortage of idea material to work with.

Some things are just too
weird to be made up.
I've said many times of a real-life situation that if I'd read it in a book, I would have criticized it as not being believable. Only, how do you argue with facts? Sometimes, the events we witness are so astounding they outperform our fictions.

Here are a few examples from my own life:

-The Librarian I knew whose last name was Shakespeare. I begged her to keep it when she got married, but alas… "You don't understand, Jennifer! These things don't happen in real life. When they do, we must not waste them!"

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Make 'Em Laugh









By Kristin Owens











As writers, we search for universal truths and themes that unite us with readers. It’s our responsibility to express the full range of emotions reflecting the human condition. But I am troubled. It seems lately we are on a downslope of despair. Someone pass me a tissue.

At the recent NCW conference, I spoke with many writers about their projects. The majority seemed to have one thing in common: sadness. The woeful plotlines included teen angst, tragedy, long-slow-suffering-death, even dismemberment (thanks to keynote Chuck Wendig for THAT one). How depressing. What happened to happy? 


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Putting on Pants: The Benefits of Writers Conferences

Visit My Website

By Ronda Simmons
























If you attended the NCW conference last weekend, you already know it was THE BEST CONFERENCE EVER! Okay, I may feel that way every year, but it doesn't negate the fact there were amazing sessions, fantastic speakers, and incredible agents and editors. 

I doubt the Fort Collins Marriott has ever been so full of word nerds, well, since last year. Our
This Year's Conference Was a Stunner.
beloved director, April Moore and her crew did an amazing and MAGICAL job pulling this conference together. 


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