Tag Archives: writing advice

Writing Wins and Woes: Words From the Wise

344I’ve agonized over how to become a successful writer. I’ve researched other writers, different genres and read books on how to write in a way that matches all the criteria for good writing. But the more I research, the more I try to better my writing the more I feel that there is no one secret for success. And quite honestly, some of success is just plain luck. However, here are some writing words of advice from the pros; those who wrote and won.

Ray Bradbury: Consume myriads of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, music until you’re so full you explode with ideas. Write them down as soon as you get them before they escape.

Stephen King: Find the latent stories buried inside. Dig them out and take a leap of faith.

Frank McCourt: Sit and be quiet. Memories and details will resurface. Write what demands to be told

Andy Rooney: Don’t wait for an idea to come. Demand an idea to come.

Tom Clancy:I use three questions: What if? What next? What now? Think about if  what if happened, then go with it.

John Grisham: I prepare an outline of forty to fifty pages before I even write.

James Michener: Be goal oriented instead of self oriented. Don’t think I wish I had a book out, just write the book.

Andre Dubus: Never quit. Nobody cares whether you write, and you can’t get fired, so you have to care.

Ernest Hemingway: Write what has not been written or be better than dead men that have written something.

Tom Robbins: Pay attention to the rhythm of language. Don’t say the sun came up. Say the sun came up like a big, bald head.

Madeleine L’Engle: Write dutifully day after day, doing the best you can. When the magic comes, it’s a gift.

Larry L. King: Write and rewrite. When you’re not doing those, read.

Danielle Steele: Find a cozy corner where you feel secure and write.

Michael Chabon: There are three things you need to be a successful writer: Talent, luck and discipline. Only one of these can be controlled.

Herman Wouk: Write a certain amount each day five days a week.

Nora Roberts: Write what you would read yourself.

Hope this is all helpful. Here are some words of advice from me: When you don’t know what to write, write anything. Write about your job, your house, your pets, your kids, Write about all the messes in your life. Something will eventually come of it. Happy writing.

Writing Wins and Woes: In Search of Eternal Life

150We all want to live forever. Since time began, people have been in search of eternal life; sometimes it’s eternal youth as well because let’s face it, who wants to live forever growing older and more deteriorated every day.  No, we want to be fresh and young, both in mind and body.  As a Christian, I have the hope of Heaven where I will receive a new body that will last throughout eternity. As a writer, I love to toy with the idea of immortality on Earth.

This is why I am super excited to share my blog with you today on Jessica Khoury. I first found out about Jessica’s books from my teenage daughter. She had read Origin and loved it. Since I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy, I read it also. The book is both creative and entertaining. It is about a genetically engineered immortal girl whose fate is to create a whole race of eternal beings. To protect this future, she lives in a test tube so to speak, in a protected environment in the Amazon rain forest surrounded by scientists. But she escapes like the boy in the plastic bubble and meets a native boy named Eio that she falls in love with. So there’s the conflict.

But I’m not here to review Jessica’s fantastic book. I’m here to talk about Jessica Khoury and her writing. She wrote her first book at four years of age. It was handwritten and stapled together. I can recall writing books like this myself when I was a kid. My first book was a heartwarming story of a girl and her dog. Jessica’s was a fan fiction piece sequel to Danny and the Dinosaur.

Jessica was born and raised in Georgia, but she now lives in Columbia, South Carolina.  Her inspiration is the mountains around her, her travels, stories and her faith. She was homeschooled then went to Toccoa Falls College to earn her bachelor’s degree in English. She almost gave up writing when she failed to sell her first fantasy novel in 2011 but on a walk one day magic was born when an idea came to her mind of a girl surrounded by glass walls and living in a jungle. So Origin was created.She wrote the first chapter that night and finished it in 30 days.

Jessica has since written two other books in the Corpus series: Vitro and Kalahari. She also has a book newly minted that is an Aladdin retelling called The Forbidden Wish. 

I reached out to Jessica via Facebook messaging, and she very nicely answered my writing questions.   Here are her writing words of wisdom. She sets goals to write everyday usually 2000 words and she rewards herself for reaching them. She usually writes in the afternoons and/or sometimes late at night, but she also has to do social media and marketing as well. Her writing advice: “The advice that often helps me is to let myself make mistakes. When I get writer’s block, 99% of it stems from fear of messing up. So it’s important for me to tell myself that it’s okay to write badly so that I can continue to move forward.”

Learn more about Jessica Khoury on her web page.  http://www.jessicakhoury.com/#!bio/cee5

Writing Wins and Woes: Recognizing the genius

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Okay, so you know you’re a genius. You’ve written a story, a book, a poem etc. and it’s great. It’s better than great. It’s phenomenal. Someone else has read it (probably a family member, but they’re objective, right?) and they said, and I quote, “Yeah, it’s good.” That’s a tad understated with your work of art but you’ll take it, so you send it in to a publisher. And they send you a letter of congratulations, nominate you for an award and pay you oodles of cash (okay, paypal money). Yay! Yeah, right. Actually, they send you back a brief email saying your piece is not right for their magazine/publication etc. They don’t even tell you why they don’t want your masterpiece. Huh? What planet are they from anyway?

Believe me, I feel your pain. I’ve been there. Let’s just say at least 400 times. People just don’t recognize the genius and what’s sad, you don’t always either. So what’s my word of advice? What can you do when someone/anyone doesn’t recognize your true talents?

1. Get a second opinion. It’s like when you see a dr. and you don’t like his prognosis. See someone else. Let someone else read and or critique your piece. Make sure it’s not a family member or even a close friend. You don’t believe all your friends and family will be honest with you if they don’t like your stuff, do you?

2. Revise it. I know you will get the advice if it’s been rejected, it’s probably no good. I don’t agree. Sometimes, it just needs fine tuning. Look at it again and revise it.

3. Change it completely. Suppose it isn’t as genius as what you thought, but maybe the concept is good, give it a total make over, but keep the essence.

4. Send it out again, and again and again. I will attest that you can sell something that has been rejected to someone else. I’ve done it, more than once. Just because your story has been around the block doesn’t make it bad.

5. Set it aside for awhile. I have many set aside stories. They are my children. I can’t wait to get rid of them, but I want them to succeed. I don’t want them to grow up homeless. After awhile a place may materialize that is just right for this story, or I might think of something I want to change about it. Who knows?

6. This may be in the revise it category but I don’t think so. Make it shorter or make it longer. Maybe your story needs more detail or less detail. Only you can know that.

7. This goes with number 4, but I’m too lazy to add it. Research where to send it. Read the stuff the magazine/publishers like in their publication. Does your story fit? Does it sound remotely like any of the stuff they publish? That’s really important. Yeah, sometimes publishers change it up a bit for true genius, but sometimes even genius doesn’t wash with topics publishers don’t like or are overdone in their opinion. They often tell you in their writer’s guidelines what they don’t want to see or do want to see. Respect that.

8. Keep believing in your genius. This, I believe, is the hardest one of all. When you’ve been knocked around a lot and told you’re no good, you tend to start believing the press, but don’t. Just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true.

So, you’re a genius and you know it. Prove yourself right and write.

Writing Wins and Woes: Being a little wiser

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I just wrote a very wise post but unfortunately, wordpress didn’t know that I wanted text with my picture. Ever since WordPress’s blog changed, I can’t figure anything out anymore. Before the change, I chose what I wanted, Text, picture or link. Now, I don’t know how to add the image and the text together and there’s only Beep, Beep, Boop. I’m not interested in Beep, Beep, Boop. I just want my picture with my text.

Rant over. Okay, What I said before was that I am a little wiser as a writer now. I don’t put all my hopes and dreams into every submission. I no longer cry over every rejection. I realize there will be a lot more rejections than acceptances. I found out my acceptance percentage was 12 % and I realize I’m excited about that. Also, I submit to places I’m more likely to be published in. I started out submitting to The Sun, Ploughshares, Highlights and Cricket. Now, I submit mostly to ezines, small presses and those just starting out. I’m just glad to see my stuff anywhere. Sometimes, I shoot for the stars, but mostly, I’m thankful just to be published here on Earth.

This week, I did get two rejections. One was from T. Gene Davis Speculative Blog, and another from Tales of the Talisman. I was disappointed but I didn’t shed one tear. I just looked for other avenues. That’s what wise writers do.

The Three P’s of Publishing: How to Publish Your Prose and Poetry

The Three P’s of Publishing: How to Publish Your Prose and Poetry.

I thought this was worth sharing. I especially liked the quote, “keep up a certain positive momentum as we edge toward that publishing goal”.

She also advises people to put their rejections in a special box and reward yourself when it gets full. This puts a whole new spin on rejections. Read the article if you write. It’s valuable.

Writing Wins and Woes: A Writer’s Blog

What is your favorite thing to write about? I love to write about dragons, among other things. Dragons are fierce, dominating, and powerful. When they are around, people take notice. See any similarities? Yes, this is how every writer wants their work to be approached. I want to be a fierce writer that conquers (in the publishing world, of course)

So far this month, my domination has been lacking. I had one acceptance from Guardian Angel Kids. I am so thankful for them as they continue to accept a majority of my work.
I haven’t had so much success with my resubmit to Knowonder! I still haven’t met their approval although they’ve invited me to try again with this story. My other resubmit to them I haven’t heard back about yet. I had another rejection from The First Line. I’ve tried there repeatedly, as well. No luck. The first story I submitted to them, they said they liked but they had too many stories similar to mine. Ever since, I’ve never even merited another personal rejection. I wonder what I’m doing wrong.

I sent another story to Daily Science Fiction. I’ve been rejected by them over and over again. I know they like flash stories and mostly, science fiction. I like to write flash stories but I prefer fantasy over techno mumbo jumbo. I like science fiction. I just find it difficult to write it without sounding laughable.

I submitted one story to Timeless Tales, another to Enchanted Conversation, because I love fairy tales, and two to the Photo Flare Contests. I urge any writers out there to submit to Melinda’s contests. The regular contest pays $50 and her flash pays $10 like mine. All stories must be in by next week. Details can be found on her blog on my sidebar.
While we’re on the subject, please enter my contest as well, Paint Splashes. Details found here:

This week besides the Photo Flare Contest, I submitted to Guardian Angel kids for their Unique Art issue. If you enjoy writing for kids, I urge you to try writing there. Details are again on my sidebar.

Thought for the Day: I know they say, write what you know, but I say, write what you love. What do you love to write about? I’d love to know.,