Category Archives: Fiction Writing Class

Freelancer: Hits, Misses & Mentions


Good Monday morning! I hope the juices of all creatives are flowing like water in a river baptism this fall season . I can’t complain because I’m still loving what I do, although, it can get hard out here for a creative pimp-tress:)

So, today, I’m updating my loyal readers and followers on a few things happening in my neck of the writing woods, with a brief run-through of some of my freelancer hits and misses, along with a big ole congratulatory mention to a well deserving poet and visual artist.

Misses:

You guys recall me writing about how thrilled I was to open an email from Quaker Oats contest a while back, informing me that my delicious recipe submission had been selected?  Well, just like most of the five hundred thousand hopefuls out there, I waited with bated breath, months even, to claim my winning prize…

Not! The three finalists have been selected and yours truly is not on the list. Bummer! But,  because I love to eat my share of delicious foods instead of demonstrating my culinary skills or lack thereof, I’ve gladly moved on. It’s always a good thing when we release and let go, because something great hangs in the balance.

Misses : #2

I will be sharing my thoughts on traditional book publishing from my own experience with Unleash Your Pearls, including the ups & downs one might experience after signing on the  publisher’s dotted line. I will discuss research findings on the industry, including the length of time it takes from initial contract to actual book release. Patience is truly  required and a couple of glasses of spirits can’t hurt much. Anyhew, when those people call my people about my book release, we will have a celebration!

Hits:

I’ve learned not to wallow in feelings of freelance defeat or rejection and to just keep going with other interesting and oftentimes lucrative distractions.  I recently sold my 2nd nonfiction story to the Book of Hope Anthology, scheduled for publication after the holidays.

My contributing story appearing in the “Lessons from Losers in Love”  Anthology recently went to YouTube.

Dr. Alonda Alloway-Higgins, PhD, LSW,  Author and Life Coach

Uploaded a video to talk more about her book and upcoming series:

I’m working on my fourth assignment as part of How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women from Iowa University’s free Writing Workshop. This class is mentally challenging and educationally inspiring. We’re penning new stories to upload every week and so far, the feedback from class participants have been encouraging and useful. My love of learning is evergreen and when I feel the need to advance my writing aspirations, I always do.

There are numerous narratives on the informational highway in regards to getting something for ‘free’ and I’m of the opinion that one should always be a cautionary ‘buyer’. When it comes to free learning modules, however, in the form of free classes in writing, website design or advanced YouTube tutorials in your field of expertise, I’ve found them to be quite beneficial, and in some ways an advantage over many fee based online workshops.

For example, free classes offered by college institutions oftentimes differ from online writing workshops that cost, in that these curriculum based classes are taught by esteemed professors of writing, with several book fellows and awards under their belts and do not in any way, fashion or form, diminish from  a freelance writer’s creative abilities – they can, in fact, impact ones’ productivity and profit-making capabilities.

I’ve taken my share of online fee based and free classes since 2010.  Before the internet surge, I thought nothing of hopping a train in real-time, to attend fee based writing classes at Harold Washington Colleges. So, my advice, when in doubt, is to go for your gusto the way it works for you and don’t be swayed by negative  hype.  If you haven’t done it, then you can’t speak on it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Mention~

A big ole congratulations going out to Henry Jones; Poet, Artist, Entrepreneur and friend out there in Nashville whom I hold in high regard. Mr. Jones just won the National Gifted Artist Neo Soul & Poetry Artist(GANSPA) Award!

Congrats to you, Mr. Jones!

Quote for today:

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin

How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women


Happy  October everyone!  I love to watch the seasons change and fall is one of my favorite times of the year, just because Mother Nature brings vibrant colors that are so darn awesome 🙂  This is also the time for freelancers to take stock and do inventory on their accomplishments and yes, failures, in order to make strategic plans to learn more, grow more and implement better. Knowledge is power and I love learning.

On that note, I’m happy to share information on another upcoming Iowa University’s free fiction writing class. This class, although opened to everyone, is geared specifically toward women stories! Take a look-see  🙂

Registration begins on Oct 11th for Iowa University’s~How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women. I think these 6-8 week classes are valuable because seasoned writers and newbies get to interact on  the class forums, with these alumni professors of writing and teachers who critique your work and offer valuable nuggets to drive your stories to publication. And did I mention that the classes are free?!

Participating writers who take the class are provided class discussions before assignments are handed out and get to share with other writers who become this family of creatives from different areas and stages in their careers. I love this class and recommend it to all who want to up their game. Certifications are available to those wanting to showcase their achievements.

I look forward to seeing you all there. https://novoed.com/how-writers-write-…

As you all know, I will be posting at my sites monthly, preferably on Mondays, but I wanted to get this info out because the time to register is fast approaching and for all of you  Johnnie-come-latelys, you can opt to register later, but who wants to be late for an exciting writing class!

Quote:

freelancers feel more empowered, respected and motivated than ever before. Let’s use that energy to come together and make freelancing better for all.

Yours in solidarity,


Sara Horowitz
Founder & Executive Director
Freelancers Union

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How To Get Better At Your Craft


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This week, I received rejection letters in my email for two short story submissions. I thought, Okay, back to the drawing board, people.

I could have used those competition winnings,for sure, but I learned early on in this business, you don’t cry over cryptic rejections. Trust and believe, those fiction pieces will be proofed and re-edited for submission in due time.

Get this: You can become better at your craft!

Those of us in the business of using our creative gifts, in hopes of making a sustainable living , understand this process. It takes time to create something great! Success will not be a walk in the park. But, every writer,  poet, author, entrepreneur business owner and artist, can become a winner if they keep practicing their craft.

The late comedian Bernie Mac learned the lesson of rejection and practice the hard way. He started doing standup in various venues and really won over the crowd . When he got an offer to appear on stage with Arsenio Hall, at a famous comedy club, Bernie knew he had finally made it.

His wife remembers asking him if he was going to write his monologue for the gig, but Bernie reportedly told her that he didn’t have to write any jokes because they were all in his head.

Needless to say, Bernie Mac bombed. He was mortified and it took him four months to regain his confidence and get back to what he loved doing most.

This time the comedian came prepared. He took notes on some of the biggest names in comedy. He studied their movements, mannerisms, timed their improve; took note of their deliverance and zingers. When The Kings of Comedy came knocking, Bernie Mac answered and became a rising star in comedy, film and television.

A participant in the creative arts have to develop a thick skin and persist. Rejection comes with the territory and are mere stepping-stones to seeing that return on your investment. You have to keep going; take classes in your area of expertise and study the experts.

(Study the experts,creative; don’t try to emulate them. Be yourself)

I can’t guarantee continued practice will make your work perfect, but I do know you will become better at your craft.

Today’s quote sort of put things in perspective for me. I hope it brings a smile.

Enjoy!

“Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.” — Timothy Egan

How To Get Intimate With Your Characters


Howdy, creatives! I hope you’re keeping your imaginations sharp and your creative juices flowing:) Me? Oh, sometimes it’s like my thoughts for creating characters in my stories are running a mile/minute, that coupled with the urge to just create something meaningful and gritty that will make the reader go “No, s/he didn’t!”

In the past, I rarely did research for my characters, preferring to tickle the ole noggin instead, however, I’m applying more thought and research into the character development process that will help move the story forward, and get my work closer to publication.

5616123-the-three-dimensional-models-of-theatrical-masks-showing-human-emotionsThe thing I’ve learned about creating meaningful characters in story,  that works for me, is that they must be well researched, well-rounded individuals and so believable to the reader, that it’s like standing next to a true-to life human being with flaws, strengths and weaknesses just like us! I also know their individual mannerisms, thoughts and behaviors must keep readers turning the page.

When writing my stories, I liken my characters to actors on the stage because, after all, “the whole world is a stage and everybody’s playing a part.” Thanks Smokey Robinson for the great analogy!

These are the components I took away from my class at FutureLearn on getting to know intricate and intimate details of characterization.

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  • Physical/biological: age, height, size, state of health, assets, flaws, sexuality, gait, voice.
  • Psychological: intelligence, temperament, happiness/unhappiness, attitudes, self-knowledge, unconscious aspects.
  • Interpersonal/cultural: family, friends, colleagues, birthplace, education, hobbies, beliefs, values, lifestyle.
  • Personal history: major events in their life, including the best and the most traumatic times.
What process do you use to write great/memorable characters?

 

5 Ingredients To Spice Up Your Fiction


Happy Valentines Day, my Valentines! Have you been rejected by major fiction publications because your story just didn’t have the spice? I cannot tell a lie:) I have, many times. But, you know what, even though writers tend to follow the golden rule when it comes to writing fiction- adding sex, religion and money to the mix,it’s not always about that sizzle. Sometimes it’s the butter that makes a great batter. (famous for analogies I’m not)

is put it in writing

Here are five ingredients that will add spice to your fiction and bring it up a notch!
1. Conflict
2. Action
3. Dialogue
4. Feedback
5 Editing

Whoever said, “Easy reading is damn hard work”, made a believer out of this writer. It’s no secret that in order to become one of the greats (writers) you have to read and write. It’s how creatives learn how the writing process is done. Now go out and write your greatest fiction to date!

Feel free to add your saucy ingredients to writing a great piece of fiction with my readers and always treat yourself special, not only on Valentine’s Day, but, every single day of your life.

How Free Online Writing Classes Can Add Value To Your Storytelling Skills


My brother asked me the other day if I was putting what I’d learned from taking two writing classes to good use. In fact, I am currently working on editing a fiction piece for submission to a huge story contest and I’m using some of the techniques I re-learned in these free online Fiction Writing classes to make my copy shine even brighter.

thonline

Suffice it to say that I read a lot. Once my pain meds kick in to help alleviate the arthritic stiffness in my hands, I tend to write a lot…and I’m capable of telling a good story, like most die hard creatives. I’m also not opposed to spending money to make money on tools to help me reach my publishing goals, but, I’m also not opposed to taking advantage of free online classes either. Both fiction writing classes were free and offered by prestigious universities. (to be clear; these classes also encourage you to apply to their fee based classes after your course completion.)

Recently, I read a quote from an esteemed story teacher/author and lecturer on his blog, that said “You get what you pay for. And that usually applies to ‘free’ on-line writing groups too. Alas.”

If this sentiment is insinuating that ‘free’ classes and on-line writing groups are, essentially, a waste of time? I beg to differ. Classes, both online and off that I’ve paid my hard earned money for in the past, doesn’t even come close to the rewarding experience and valuable writing gems I garnered from these free online university classes…in other words, these classes surpassed my expectations by adding to the value of my storytelling skills!

If you are considering taking a class or joining a writer’s group in your area of interest or expertise, in either an online fee based or free platform, go ahead and do that. Your future professional writing career will thank you.

In the words of author and prolific writing friend, Audrey Chin, after reading an edited version of one revised class story, “The difference between your version 1 and version 2 of Bailey’s is the best demonstration of how much we can get out of feedback and a supportive writing community.”

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What are your thoughts on free versus paid online writing classes? Just curious 🙂

Six Positive Tips to Becoming a Writer-In-Demand


thtype

So, you’ve been told that you have a way with words or that your burning passion to create something meaningful should be explored and that you should, and this is a normal refrain “write a book.”
If you really want to become the writer that you know you can be, then it’s time to set about learning the intuitive basis of freelance writing that can help you become a prolific and sought after writer .
Here are five positive tips to get you started on the road to becoming a prolific freelance writer.
1. Your love affair with the written word will cause you to want to devour books in every genre. You won’t like the works of every author out there, but reading other writers with a critical eye helps strengthen your writing power (Not saying you CAN’T read for pleasure here) 🙂
2. Read and write outside of your passions. If you write children stories; you’ll also need to try your hand at writing mysteries, plays, short stories of fiction and non fiction. I once took a creative writing course where the instructor told me the great news that yes, I was indeed a writer, but now I had to explore writing with all of my might and that meant taking classes in journalism, scriptwriting, play-writing and theater. The more you read, the more prolific you become as a writer.
3. Be prepared for criticisms and disbelief from naysayers. When you tell people you are a writer, many people will examine you for that extra head you’re sporting, or, at the very least think you’ve lost your mind and that you will eventually wise up and “get a real job.”
4. If you taken the necessary steps to achieving your ‘writer status’ then you must decide if you’re going to write full-time or part-time and this is a great decision to make because writers need to have a survival plan in motion to stave off that starving artist mentality when writing jobs seems to dwindle.
5. Write every day. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you place fingers to key board, or pen to paper to begin the process. You can write gobbledygook to strengthen your writing muscles and get your creative juices flowing if you like; whatever works to get and keep you in the habit of becoming a writing habit.
6. Become a life long learner to hone your writing craft. You can add substance to your work by taking advantage of online writing classes or join a writer’s group. There are valuable gems to be gleaned from your efforts.

I am still reeling from, and implementing some valuable writing tips I got from recently completing two free online classes. You can search prior posts where I talk about my experiences and provide links to free online classes.
The late South African author, activist and Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Nadine Gordimer, said in an interview, “Writing is a necessity.” Have you considered the depth of your need to create? If so, then it’s time to let the world know of your brilliance. And when you achieve that “writer-in-demand” status, pay it forward and help another writer by sharing gems from your journey to success.

What frightens you ,but also challenge your growth as a writer?
Side note: I apologize to my readers for the lateness of this post, but I celebrated my birthday, people! Thanks to all for the well wishes and the lovely outing!!

thgirls

Working hard to bring your inner writer to the forefront can deplete your energy so take time out for you and always treat yourself special.