Features (2,372)

Postings from Paramaribo 4

I wanted to share while it was fresh-ish in my mind my favourite of this morning’s presentations on the last conference day here in Suriname.

It’s a literary conference but Surinamese artist Kit-Ling Tjon Pian Gi has provided a strong visual element, from designing the eye catching logo – which blends two of her major influences nature and the Feminine, to being the star of the opening night of the cultural programme that has added an element of fun to the week of stimulating mental…


Added by Joanne C. Hillhouse on May 11, 2012 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Use the Five Senses in Your Quest to Write One True Sentence

Kendra Bonnett, a partner at
Women's Memoirs, is guest editor this week on She Writes.

 A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway wrote, "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know." The author lived by this rule. His letters to friends and colleagues are filled with
references to how he spent a whole day writing and rewriting a single…


Added by Kendra Bonnett on May 11, 2012 at 7:30am — 12 Comments

[REALITY CHECK] When Authors Don’t Try

No one ever said getting published and building an audience was easy.


Wait a minute...yes they have. There are lots of online gurus who say this all the time. Can’t write? No problem! Can’t tell the difference between an infinitive and a run-on sentence? Who cares!…


Added by Zetta Brown on May 9, 2012 at 8:30am — 20 Comments

Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week

"I had a teacher named Colonel John Robert Doyle.... He would read my crummy poetry like it was written by Yeats.... He made the whole thing worthwhile for me," says bestselling author Pat Conroy, remembering his experience at the Citadel.

In support of National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week, I'm excited to share this moving video, which features Michael Chabon,…


Added by Laura on May 8, 2012 at 10:41am — No Comments

Postings from Paramaribo 3 and 3 1/2

No that title is not a misprint…real life in the form of wonky internet service here at the hotel proved a hurdle to my plan to blog daily from the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars conference here in Suriname. Yesterday was a really long day for me (and today got off to a late start...with me spending too much of the late morning session people-watching and scribbling as ideas came to me), so it’s probably just as well…still.

So what made yesterday so long? Well, I…


Added by Joanne C. Hillhouse on May 10, 2012 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Dialogue And The Games Speakers Play

Have you ever known a person who always has a quick, often dismissive, response to every suggestion you offer?

When you're around your parents, do you seem to fall back into behavior patterns reminiscent of your childhood and even communicate differently--even though you're an adult and have been on your own for years?

If you've ever been in an abusive relationship, did your partner typically punctuate each verbal or physical tirade with the phrase, "See what you made me…


Added by Kendra Bonnett on May 9, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments

Postings from Paramaribo - 2

There may be an amendment to this post...as I'm due to go experience a bit of Surinamese culture tonight at a place called Fort Zeelandia...but until then...I have to share how much I'm buzzing from the stimulating opening day of the weeklong conference.

The group is a mix of cultures much like Suriname - which is itself made up of Hindustani, African, Dutch, Jewish, Amerindian, White, Creole, Mixed, and more people besides; on the surface of it, a harmonious co-existence. To this…


Added by Joanne C. Hillhouse on May 8, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Reach Out and Touch a Reader: Using Emotions in Your Writing

When was the last time a book made you cry? When was the last time life made you cry?

What do the two events have in common? 

It's a scene that touches our heart or raises our sensitivities. A child dies. A elderly woman loses her husband of 50 years. A puppy is hit by a car. You have to be practically numb not to shed a tear. But I'll bet you didn't cry just reading those lines, and I'll explain why in a moment.
 It's not just something sad. Scenes of joy…


Added by Kendra Bonnett on May 8, 2012 at 9:28am — 4 Comments

Postings from Paramaribo - 1

I'm gonna do it...wade into the deep end where it feels like my feet can't quite touch the sandy bottom and I'm not quite sure the water will carry me. I'm talking about blogging folks. Usually I'm quite careful about my blogging...what with the words going out into cyber space for ever and ever...but fresh country brings fresh courage, I guess...my only net this week will be the backspace button as I take up the self-imposed challenge of blogging daily, direct to internet, from the…


Added by Joanne C. Hillhouse on May 7, 2012 at 6:30pm — 5 Comments

Using word count to stay on track

People often tell me they would love to write a book but have no idea how they would fill that many pages. "It just seems impossible!" they say. "How do you do it?" they ask.

"Baby steps," I tell them. "Baby steps."

Think of it this way: if you write just one page a day, in less than a year you'll have a book. One page a day! Anyone can do that.

When I'm working on a book, I like to give myself a goal of writing 1,000 words a day, Monday through Friday. To keep track, I…


Added by Maria Murnane on May 8, 2012 at 7:36am — No Comments

"What I Did On My Weekend": Building Character

I promised in yesterday's post that I would put my "What I Did On My Weekend" story demons to rest. This is it.

Sunday I went for a hike. Not a leisurely stroll through the woods. But a gut-wrenching, muscle-burning climb straight up Tunk Mountain (small by western standards but tall enough to qualify here in Downeast Maine). We traversed 1157 feet of elevation in just a mile and a half. We hiked a half mile to our point of ascent, so the round trip was a four-mile…


Added by Kendra Bonnett on May 7, 2012 at 10:30am — 10 Comments

I Survived "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" Stories; You Can Too

I think I have a love-hate relationship with writing. Don't get me wrong, I mostly love it. I'd better; it's been my business for more than 30 years. I've paid the rent as a writer. I bought a house as a writer. I put food on the table as a writer. I identify as a writer and with…


Added by Kendra Bonnett on May 6, 2012 at 7:00am — 9 Comments

Become a Mentor with Girls Write Now

A note from Kamy...

If you are based in New York City, and want to change your life, and somebody else's, please, consider becoming a mentor for Girls Write Now.  Applications are due May 15th.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.  From what I've heard, the secret of Girls Write Now is that the mentors get as much out of it -- as writers, as women, as human beings -- as the girls do.…


Added by Kamy Wicoff on May 3, 2012 at 8:55am — 2 Comments

Use exclamation marks sparingly!

I just finished reading a novel in which the author used a lot of exclamation marks in her dialogue. In fact, she employed them so often that I FELT LIKE THE CHARACTERS WERE SHOUTING AT ME THE WHOLE TIME I WAS READING! (As you can see, using all caps also has that same effect.)

Here is just a snippet of one scene, with character names changed to protect the guilty:

"Erin, this is not a battle!" I retort.

"And it's not a chess game! It's dinner with a nice…


Added by Maria Murnane on May 1, 2012 at 7:24am — 1 Comment

Yesterday - a best-seller. Today - a nobody.

Fiona writes: Over the past few two days more than twenty thousand people have downloaded my new novel The Most Beautiful Thing. They were going like hotcakes. Every few seconds I could click on…


Added by Satya Robyn on April 29, 2012 at 11:38pm — 37 Comments

The Best Writing Advice YA Novelist Kimberly Reid Ever Got

Kimberly Reid is author of the Langdon Prep YA mystery series, featuring a high school girl named Chanti Evans, who's mom is an undercover copy. Book 2, Creeping With the Enemy, is out this week. Since I'm writing an advice book for writers, I've been asking…


Added by Carleen on April 26, 2012 at 8:14am — 6 Comments

[REALITY CHECK] What’s in a name? Your reputation.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. If you do sloppy work, no one will want to deal with you, especially if they don’t have to.


When it comes to writing, “crap” is subjective.  Can you believe some of the crap being published today? Who would…


Added by Zetta Brown on April 25, 2012 at 6:16am — 12 Comments

My Most Beautiful Thing (what's yours?)

Today people all around the world will be blogging about their most beautiful things, in celebration of the release of my new novel…


Added by Satya Robyn on April 24, 2012 at 2:10am — 16 Comments

Remember to say thank you

A couple months ago, I received an email from a woman who had heard me speak at an event out on the West Coast. She had recently self-published a short story as an e-book, and she said that even though she knew I was extremely busy, she was hoping I would give it a read.

The short story was available on Amazon for just $.99, so I bought it for my Kindle. Then, I replied to her email and told her I'd purchased it and was looking forward to reading it.

I never heard from her…


Added by Maria Murnane on April 24, 2012 at 7:00am — 4 Comments

No Free Launches

Sometimes all you have to do is ask. For some of us this isn’t easy. I suspect I take on more than I have to not only because I don’t know how to say no – that’s a blog for another day – but because I don’t know how to ask for help. This comes in part of having been let down and left hanging at times in the past. But it’s probably, as well, a result of my working class background, of never having had anything handed to me.

I also knew though that with no money and fewer reserves, if I…


Added by Joanne C. Hillhouse on April 12, 2012 at 2:00am — 13 Comments

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