Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beginner's Mind

Yesterday I gave the workshop, Reaching Your Audience: Writing for Magazines, at RIC's Summer Writing Institute. A dynamic group of students of all ages attended. They had exciting ideas and projects to share.
Part of the joy of being on faculty was getting to hear the other speakers. Patricia McCormick was our luncheon speaker. She talked about how blessed the students were to have "beginner's mind" as yet unsullied by the experts' rules on writing. Then this morning, I was reading Writing from the Heart by Nancy Slonim Aronie. She writes about trying to return to the place before the judging and labeling and narrowing of vision. She has a great line-Don't should on me!
My bible study for today curiously echoed this idea, in opening one's life to the Holy Spirit.
So for today, I'm going to practice being and seeing with fresh eyes.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Institute at RIC

I'll be part of the faculty for this year's Summer Writing Institute at Rhode Island College. Here are the details:

“Calling All Writers!”
Putting Your Talent To Work!

3rd Annual ASTAL Summer Institute Writing for Young People
June 24, 25, 26, 27, 29 & 30, 2009

Once again this summer the Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature (ASTAL) at Rhode Island College is offering an institute for people who are interested in learning to write for young people. Participants will write and interact for six days of working with award-winning authors who serve as their instructor/mentors; they will also attend presentations about book publishing featuring editors and publishers and they will meet and hear from guest authors. The instructor/mentor to student ratio will not exceed 1:8 to provide maximum opportunities for individualized instruction and feedback during work sessions. Enrollment will be limited and students will be accepted in the order that we receive the applications by the strand indicated.

Option 1 Full registration
Participants will enjoy everything the Institute has to offer!
Cost: $894 for credit $750 for non-credit

Option 2 "Cashing in on Your Imagination: Becoming a Freelance Writer," June 27, one day workshops
Participants will join Institute participants for a day long program exploring aspects of freelance writing to turn talent into cash in these difficult economic times. Cost: $100

Option 3 Speakers Only
Participants will have the opportunity to attend the author presentations from 9-10 on June 24, 25, 26, & 29 and Luncheon on June 27. Cost: $70

Option 4 Luncheon, June 27
Participants will get to enjoy a luncheon with speaker and book fair with discounted prices. Cost: $30

For more information or to register for this event please visit

Novel Writing

I've been reading up on novel writing, in preparation for leading a workshop for my critique group. We all seem to struggle with how to structure such and long, unwieldy beast.
One helpful hint that I've found is to launch the book with an "inciting incident," one that threatens the MC's basic sense of self. Then craft "set pieces," or scenes with high emotional impact, turning points along your character's path to the "inner cave," crisis point, and resolution. Jot these all scenes down on index cards that you can shuffle, remove, or add to until your plot line makes sense.