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.

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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

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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!!

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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.

A 2015 Master Plan And Writing Challenge

Happy New Year 2015, everyone! I don’t know about you, but when I sit down to work on my book, I don’t like it to feel like “Work!” To combat “the faltering writer syndrome” a term I coined to describe those natural-born, astute and studied writers who become bombed out and intimidated by the keyboard, while an oftentimes, elusive muse is working havoc with their creative brain cells, begging for release. How taxing is it to feel the need/desire to bring to life what your imagination is feeding into your subconscious receptor in preparation for your readers to enjoy and marvel from, when you’re feeling some other type of way?

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I’ve decided that I’m going to do something slightly off the grid in 2015 with my writing technique to make work fun, enjoyable and joyful. I’m focused on bringing to fruition the vision of myself heaving a sigh of relief after I’ve written the sweetest words every writer strives for- ” the end.”

So, what is my master “writer” plan for the New Year? I’ve decided to honor my craft and cooperate with my need to create…

I’m going to write. I’m going to read, I’m going to participate in writing exercises. I’m going to write love poems, poems of consciousness and awareness. I’m going to sing my lyrics in the shower and pen more lyrics to enter into songwriting competitions. I’m going to write monologues for one-woman shows. I’m going to accept requests from other writers to critique their work. I’m going to take notes and observe, I’m going to enjoy editing:)

I’m going to share good writing news and disappointing writing news. I’m going to shine in this New Year! I invite you to take up my creative challenge to unleash the writer in you and share on the blog with us what you’re going to do differently or more of, to see your writer dreams reach greater heights!

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A few contests to get your cold weather writing juices stirring:

http://www.freelancewriting.com/writingcontests/011515-yemassee-writing-prizes.php http://www.bluelobsterbookco.com/open-for-early-2015-submissions/

2014 Holiday Shout-Out To Authors Who Completed Their Books

Happy Holidays everyone!

I want to end this year 2014 by sending a shout-out to my writing buds who have completed their books and have them ready or in final stages for publication and purchase. Congratulations authors!

41hyOlaMIzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Marcie Hill’s book,62 Blog Posts To Overcome Bloggers Block, is available for purchase in January. Here’s the pre order link: http://overcomingbloggersblock.com/

Publicity Photo - 2006&2007-1

 How do you show your mate you love him or her without

coming on too strong? How do you show them your appreciation while still being respectful? What should one do when they can’t seem to attract a mate? How does one flirt successfully; what are the dynamics involved? What is the effect of marriage on mortality rates? How does a couple know if
their relationship or marriage has been ordained by God?
These are just a few of the questions answered by “The Essence of Romance”, a practical guide for today’s male/female relationships, for both the novice and the expert. So, whether you’re single, married, widowed, separated, or divorced, “Essence” just might help you deal with your situation tactfully and constructively.
The Essence of Romance by
Eve Cogdell
featuring Clara Freeman
GREEN APPLE PUBLICATIONS
FIRST CHOICE BOOKS
ISBN 000-0-00000-000-0
$20.00
Working with Evelyn on her book was an awesome experience, resulting in a wonderful relationship resource for couples and singles. I hope you support our collaboration and purchase a copy of The Essence of Romance either for yourself or as a ‘holiday’ gift for your friends. Contact Evelyn Cogdell at 773-488-4119 for purchasing information.
Pooler-Final-Cover1-199x300Congratulations to Kathleen Pooler for completing her memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead. Read more about Kathy’s book/purchase info at  http://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Pooler/e/B00GIBCKQC or visit her website:

My final holiday /end of 2014 book accomplishment goes out to a favorite cyber connection/friend/supporter and author, Ms LaTanya Davis @reflectionsbooks.org and whose memoir is in ready for editing & proofing. All of you have inspired me to “keep-a-going” and perhaps my year of book accomplishment will come:)
I’m taking a holiday break until January…peace, blessing, love, grace and glory to everyone during this festive holiday season and a new year ahead.
“Always treat yourself special”
Clara.


A Pineapple Christmas Story

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“His son’s been gone for a mighty long time.”
Gail’s grandma paused and shook her wispy head of thin gray hair. “But, John always say he’ll never stop serving folks at his establishment. He should have a couple of cans of that sweet pineapple sitting on the shelf for you to grab hold of.”
The old woman fumbled with the clasp of her well-worn pocketbook.Finally it gave way and opened to wads of aged papers hanging out of loose compartments in the out dated purse. She busily searched every pocket of her prized possession that never left her side, until she settled on what she was looking for. With a triumphed sound she pulled the yellowed paper from her purse with her bony fingers, giving it to her astonished granddaughter.
“You should be able to follow the road to his place. It’s quite a ways inland, but the landmarks your daddy circled in red should be able to lead you there and back… well before midday.’’
Mother and daughter crept out of earshot of their animated elder and shared a moment of muted amazement at what they’d just witnessed in the kitchen. Gail’s’ grandmother was reliving another time and place. Those early days when she was still young and girlish and nearing middle age. She loved family gatherings, especially holidays when she rose bright and early to bake her delicious pineapple upside down cake for the family’s special Christmases.  
But, this day and time was quite different and there was no longer cans of pineapple lining a long ago demolished John & Son’s storefront grocer. Her grandmother was 88 and had bouts of dementia. Gail and her mom always picked her up from the nursing home on Christmas.
The pineapple upside down cake was no longer a family tradition in their home since her dad death 5 years ago from an automobile accident that was caused by a drunk driver. But, Gail’s grandmother, her father’s mother never stopped thinking he would be right here at Christmas, enjoying her special treat.
It was Christmas Day and Gail and her mother couldn’t bear to tell the old woman that there would be no pineapple cake in their house because she and her mother decided to bury that special memory along with her father.
Gail’s mom placed a finger to her lips, “Wait here,” she whispered to her daughter and headed toward her bedroom. She returned with a piece of paper.
“Here’s the address to your Aunt Margie’s new house. I’ve already called ahead. Your dad loved pineapple upside down cake and your grandmother always made it as a special gift for him on Christmas. Your grandmother and aunt Margie spoiled your daddy to no end.”
It finally dawned on Gail why her aunt always had leftover pineapple cake on hand whenever they visited after the Christmas holidays. Gail was giving her mom an extra loving daughter hug and fighting off happy tears, when they heard a joyful voice coming from the kitchen.
“Hurry along now dear and be careful where you step daughter. the roads can be treacherous at this time of year!”
“Don’t worry” Gail responded, with a twinkle. “I have a list and a map. What could possibly go wrong?”

I hope you enjoyed reading my short Christmas tale. I’m editing some of my short story rejections and will post a few of them from time to time. Feel free to share your insights or some of your own shorts.

Peace, blessing, and goodwill toward all!

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Building Characters In Fiction Writing

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The best part of writing short stories for me, in the past, has been building characters from my imagination. Granted, most of those characters weren’t as well rounded as they should have been. Perhaps, that’s why I’ve only placed in fiction writing as a runner up or with an honorable mention,but never won first, second or third place- penning a winning poem is a walk in the park in comparison!

I’ve always done well with my personal writings also, but after numerous rejections of my stories in fiction writing competitions this year alone, I was prompted to do something about it and that’s why I took not one, but two Fiction Writing Classes! Dang, I’m so glad I took the plunge and followed through with something:)

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It doesn’t matter if your characters are for an animated tale, a thrilling suspense novel or a shoot em’ up cowboy in a Western, characters have to be realistic to you and to your readers. I feel I’ve learned a lot more than when I started writing fiction from taking the online classes at FutureLearn and Iowa University. These are free classes lasting 8 weeks and taught by some of the bestselling authors and masters at teaching aspiring writers and authors the business of fiction writing.

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Here are some refresher tips from my FutureLearn Writing class I thought worthy of a fare thee well shout out:

Get to know about your character’s inner life: what they want, think, remember, resent, fear, dream, deny.
Get to know about your character’s behaviour, what they wear, buy, eat, say, work at and play at.
Get to know how your character speaks and how this changes according to context, mood and intention.
See and describe your character vividly, how they look, how they move, their possessions and surroundings.
Focus on your character’s contradictions and conflicts in order to create a complex person and also to generate plot.
Remember the main methods of character presentation: summary, appearance, habit, scene, self-portrait and combinations of these method

What I’m Reading For A Holiday Amazon Review

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I will be reading Kathy Pooler’s new memoir, Ever Faithful To His Lead, for an upcoming holiday review at Amazon.com, courtesy of Story Cartel where you sign up to receive free books for review. I’m one of those long time members who always come back to pursue great reading material when time permits- I promise to get the review done! Go here if you’re interested in joining Story Cartel. https://storycartel.com/?awt_l=OcCo.&awt_m=3lB3fBnhAInXk5r

Also, if you’re in the spirit of continued inspirational reading material and gratitude, make sure to pick up my short ebook to read this holiday season on your Kindle or from Amazon.com:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-authentic-woman-story-clara-freeman/1111834210?ean=9781623092276

Happy Holidays!

Always “Treat yourself special!”

A blog where writers find support, share writing info and concepts. information about their works of fiction, memoir, short story, poetry, plays and other genre of writings

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