Writing

Improve Your Writing: Senses

Writing conferences offer a lot of great tips on how to improve your writing. One tip that’s always stayed with me is to use at least three different sensory descriptions in a scene. Using at least three senses helps readers visualize the scene better and it makes the scene more real. Here’s a snapshot of… Read more »

Children’s Book Publishers and Reading Lists

If you’re interested in writing for children, it’s essential to learn what kinds of books different children’s book publishers produce. You need to know if they are the right house to give your story life. But how do you figure out if the publisher is right for you and if you are right for that… Read more »

Tools for Writing a Novel

I’ve been to many conferences were successful writers share their tools for writing a novel, and I now have my own set to share. I am working hard to get my current manuscript done – and basic proofreading corrections made – before February 26. The novel is called DNF (Did Not Finish) and it’s middle… Read more »

What a Writing Coach Offers

In 2017, I embarked on a new part of the writer’s journey and became a writing coach. My first client is actually a young man interested in a challenging creative writing program in the area. We are working together to help him set goals and achieve them. One aspect of his writing that doesn’t work:… Read more »

Girls Write Pittsburgh

Remember when we were in school and we had to write essays or copy lines as punishment? Why do some people make writing a punishment when it’s so redemptive? It’s like running laps when you messed up in phys ed or on another sports team. Running doesn’t punish me. It saves me. Girls Write Pittsburgh… Read more »

Highlights Foundation Workshop: Novel Beginnings

In March 2017, I returned to the Highlights Foundation for my second workshop, Novel Beginnings. Our amazing instructors were Clara Gillow Clark and Kelly Going (who writes as K.L. Going). This year I was in the Lodge, which I enjoyed just as much as the cabin. Another difference from my October 2015 visit: snow.  … Read more »

Six Word Stories Part 2

Who doesn’t love good six word stories? They are short and sweet. I am so lucky to be able to visit classrooms and hang out with kids. As a writer, there’s nothing more valuable than learning from and listening to your target audience. So when I had a chance to go into my son’s sixth… Read more »

How a Book Smells

I love how a book smells. I love that slightly dusty, dry papery smell mingled with the chemical odor of ink. Unfortunately that smell can often fade, but it’s in my memory. Writers are encouraged to use smells in their books because when our brains read the description of the smells, our sensory areas light… Read more »

Writing Prompt: The Lost Potato

Do you see that? There on the ground? It’s a potato. It’s just sitting there, all by itself, on the sidewalk. How did it get there? This lost potato is the perfect writing prompt. I can think of lots of stories about how that potato ended up there. Send me your stories about the Lost… Read more »

Room for Improvement

Running has a finish line, but with stories, there’s always room for improvement. Virginia Wolf wrote that it’s essential for women to have a room of one’s own, and I don’t disagree. But there’s another room that’s also essential. Room for Improvement. I don’t usually write stories for specific contests, but I will revise them…. Read more »