Billi Joy Carson made a repeat performance at Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore last week. She began by announcing she had just finished updating her “grammar supplies” page on her web site at: Editing Addict. (Thank you Billi Joy. This is a fantastic resource!)
Billi Joy’s talk was an energetic pep talk for writer with grammar thrown in. Her first point was to read, read, read; especially in the genre you want to write in.
If you are held up by not feeling adequate in some area like spelling or grammar take the time to learn. Build a toolbox of knowledge. Visit Billi Joy’s site for ways to do this.
Some of the books Billi Joy shared with us were:
The Handbook of Good English by Edward D. Johnson
Writer To Writer by Cecil Murphy (She said to also check out his newsletter.)
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide.
Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
The Chicago Manual of Style
Billi Joy Carson and friend, Madison Farrell, who writes young adult fantasy. Visit her blog here.
And one of my favorite quotes as a genealogist/researcher that I didn’t expect to hear from a grammarian. lol
“You don’t have to know everything; you just have to know where to find it.”
Whenever this came up during my school days I tuned out; boring. That is until the teacher had to say “onomatopoeia” a few times.
I always learn interesting things from Alan, but this time I had fun too. I had no idea focusing on figures of speech could bring so much interest to writing.
Some of the ones you may be familiar with are personification, simile, metaphor, implication, allegory, hyperbole, and oxymoron. Alan mentioned many more and gave fun examples to go with them.
I went on the internet to check some of my spellings and was overwhelmed by the number of Web sites that focus on figures of speech. I’m going to make an effort to study more of these.
Thanks, Alan, for making writing a bit more fun and interesting.
Steven P. Wyner spoke at Dog-Eared Pages Used Books a couple of weeks ago. He writes fiction set in the Phoenix area, where he has lived since 1981. One of his pet peeves is inconsistencies in books and movies and he set out to write well-researched stories that Google searchers won’t be able poke holes in.
As a paralegal and ghost writer Steve draws on a number of cases he has viewed over the years. He uses various characters and composites of people he has known to develop the characters in his series of books.
Murder on Camelback Mountain was a fun read about a private detective caught up in a local murder as a suspect. Herb Nash introduces himself and the city to the reader in a fast-moving story.
When Steve sat down to write the characters started “jumping out of the keyboard.” He then moved on to interview them just like he would the clients he interviews for the lawyers he works for.
He suggests that writers visit the place and “inhale” it.
Murder on Camelback can be found on Amazon or through his Web site. The second novel in the series will be available soon. He has already started writing the third.
Full of energy and ideas, Ann N. Videan was the guest speaker at the Friday Night Writes at Dog-Eared Pages bookstore recently. The good news is she will be speaking for the Writer’s Connection Workshop at Desert Foothills Library, in Cave Creek, Arizona on June 5 from 1:00 to 3:00.
Ann opened with the advice, ” Don’t ignore your intuition.”
She gave us a list of resources and ideas for all aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing.
Some of her suggestions included:
Read what you love and what informs you.
Start networking through local and national clubs.
Join critique groups on-line and in person.
Make time to write.
Market while you are writing. Use social media, the press, and word-of-mouth.
Her favorite books on writing are: Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon and The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler.
Ann also explained the differences between ISBN numbers, Barcodes, and Library of Congress numbers.
To learn more about Ann Narcisian Videan, her books, and her services for writing, editing, self-publishing and word-of-mouth marketing visit her blog here.
To learn more about the Writers Connection at Desert Foothills Library and find out how to register for Ann’s free workshop visit here.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Pablo Picasso
Although talking about writing Billi Joy Carson started her recent talk at Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore with this quote. As an Editor, Ghost Writer, Blogger and a number of other titles Billi Joy knows about the love/hate relationship many writers have with grammar and editing.
One example, that some of you will remember from the movie/book Love Story was how e e cummings actually changed his name so he could break the rules of capitalization and punctuation.
As you can see from Billi Joy’s photo she is full of energy and humor. She made grammar fun, even for this reluctant editor.
A few helpful suggestions Billi Joy shared were:
**Readers don’t read like you talk so don’t write that way.
**”Enthusiasm always trumps good writing.” Her example was the Twilight series, which I haven’t read, so judge for yourself.
**If you submit “lazy work” to major publishers you won’t make it through the first read. Even a misplaced comma can put your manuscript on the back burner.
Some of the books Billi Joy suggested are:
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide
Writer to Writer: Lessons Learned From a Lifetime of Writing by Cec Murphey
The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style by Robert Hudson
New World Thesaurus
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary
Chicago Manual of Style: 16th Edition (fiction) and the Associated Press Manual of Style (articles)
Decide what your actual goal is.
Are you writing just to make money?
Are you writing to reach out to just one person and make a difference?
Another great meeting at Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek, Arizona featured Marcia Fine.
Marcia grew up with her grandmother and mother in South Florida. She knew from an early age that her family had a unique story. Her grandparents were from Warsaw. Although they left before the Nazi invasion many family members didn’t make it out. As an adult she received a stack of letters written in Polish, Yiddish and High German from her grandmother.
She pulled the story together into a novel based on her family history. Paper Children: An Immigrant’s Legacy is an amazing story of three women coming into their own. It has won numerous awards and led Marcia, a past English teacher, business owner, and motivational speaker to share her talents with others.
At DFL Marcia had the audience write about their own memories. She helped, through various questions, to find the stories that need to be written and get started on that important journey. Try writing about the following question from her list: Were there any family feuds?
You can learn more and see the cover photo of her grandmother by going to Paper Children on Facebook and pressing “like.”
Marcia shared actual letters with the audience. The Nazi emblem has been stamped on the envelopes.
Marcia is currently touring Arizona as the winner of One Book Arizona a literary program for promoting local authors. The Blind Eye is about parallel stories set in 15th century Portugal and Spain when a family is forced to flee because of their religious beliefs. The story links to a modern woman with a new career and an unexpected romantic relationship.
Marcia’s writing career started with a series of satyre books about her life and some of the people she has known since moving to Scottsdale, Arizona. She had the room laughing along with her as she read from many of her books.
One Book is a nationwide literacy program which started in Arizona in 2002. Each year adult, children’s, and now teen books are chosen for everyone to read and attend community events.