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Q: I wrote my first short story and I can't wait to publish it. What should I do now?


 Publishing Your Story While publication is never guaranteed (unless you're self-publishing, but that's another post), there are a number of things you can do to help your story find a home. Start with this seven-point guide: 1. Don't rush. Is your story ready for publication? One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is sending out th...

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Three Reasons Writing Workshops are not Just for Writers


A word after a word after a word is power." –Margaret Atwood Writing isn't just for writers, it's for anyone with a small business to promote. You might think as an author and book editor that most of my clients are other authors. Think again. People don't write new books every month. Many people take years to finish a first draft. If I waited unti...

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The Biggest Mistake Working Mothers Make


My new article is out in the latest Wrapt.   On Balance: The Biggest Mistake Working Mothers Make Got hot nit gekent zayn umetum, hot er beshafn mames. "God couldn't be everywhere, so He created mothers." A Yiddish proverb I won't write about work-life balance or for many of us, work-life-work balance. It's not because I think you've read...

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Want to get Published? Try Flash Fiction


When I tell people I teach a virtual flash fiction course, I sometimes get strange responses, even laughter. Isn't flash fiction just really short fiction? What's the point of taking a specific flash class? No, flash is its own genre deserving of its own class, and it's still underrated as a way to break into publication. I say "still" because I ta...

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Writing for Adults? Four reasons to take a children's workshop

Writing for Adults? Four reasons to take a children's workshop

​A big thank you to fellow Canadian scribe Kathy Steinemann for hosting this guest post on her site today.  When my youngest child was finally old enough for me to leave her without feeling guilt-ridden, I decided to attend a writing seminar in Montreal—an ocean way from my home. You know, those seminars you're always reading about and thinkin...

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Are you sure the problem is show don't tell?

Swiss summer Slow the pace

​Thank you Kathryn Schleich for having me as a guest on your blog. 'Show don't tell' is common advice. It's been unpacked in dozens of blogs. Luckily, this won't be one of them. That's because it's repeated so often, it crowds out other important writing errors such as, pace. Pace is all about rhythm and speed in a story. Think: how much time has e...

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Increase Your Productivity: Find a Writing Partner - 7 Things You Need In A Writing Partner


Thank you to Writers Write for guest posting this blog.   You can increase your writing productivity by partnering with another writer and critiquing each other's work. But not any good-natured writer will do. If you really want to improve your writing productivity, look for these seven things in your next critique partner: Someone who wr...

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What Can Flash Fiction Do For Novel Writers?


Thank you to Writers Helping Writers for Guest Posting this blog.   Book publishing is a tough, competitive business. Still, there's no reason to make the road harder to travel. Enter flash fiction—an excellent way to break into both fiction and nonfiction book publishing. Flash fiction pieces are very short stories that still include the...

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The Writing-Marketing Balance


Thank you to the Book Designer for guest posting this blog.   We hear it all the time, "How can I possibly market my existing book while writing my next book?"or "I don't like marketing. I just want to write." But the reality is that to be successful as an author, most of us need to continually do both–marketing AND writing new books. The...

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Want to get published? Try Flash Fiction


This week I was thrilled to be a guest on C.S. Lakin's site LiveWriteThrive. Thank you again."The exploding number of flash publication opportunities as a way to break into novel publishing also offers a break for writers who might be burnt out with a novel or short story. Specifically, you get a break from following those longer manuscript rules, and we all need a break from “the rules” once in a while to recharge." Read the rest.

Are You a Serial Smile Writer?


Writers must write emotion. That's a given. But many writers lean too heavily on stock emotional body language when they describe their characters: the wink, the nod, the yawn, the shrug and that American favorite, the smile. North Americans smile more than people from other cultures. And we don't just smile (way) more, we smile bigger and brighter. Scroll through a brief comparison of photos of American vs. Chinese leaders and you'll see it, too. As an editor, I don't go more than five pages without spotting it in first drafts for longer pieces and there's a rare Flash piece without at least someone smiling by line four. From the first grin in a draft, it's everywhere, way too much of it. For many writers it is a crutch whose sell-by-date has expired. So short of moving to Russia or Japan and imbuing a whole new body language vocabulary, what's a...

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The Forgotten Character in Story: Your Story World


Setting is an often overlooked story element for many writers.  I cannot tell you how many short fiction submissions I've received that take place No-where in No-time. When queried the most common answer I receive from writers is, "this story can take place in anywhere USA." Or, "It doesn't matter. They could be in any modern city." If you've ever sat down to write fiction or non-fiction and used this approach to setting and location it's way past time to stop. This response couldn't be more wrong. There are several key points for you to remember about your story world. Today I will discuss one of them. Remember this: no one has ever been to your story world except for you. Consider the world you live in every day. Who inhabits that world? You do. Nobody else. You have a unique perspective on your world. Not sure? Don't think you're very different from anybody else?...

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Five Ways Living in One Language Affects Your Writing in Another

Diction. Slang and other everyday words sneak into our vocabularies. If you don’t live and write in the same language, it takes an extra effort to root out unintended foreign words from your work.Names. Many writers spend time enhancing their work with thoughtful character names. But when you live in one language and write in another naming story characters can be frustrating. Names from your adopted country often seem awkward in your mother tongue, or worse become words that take the reader out of the story. On the other hand, mother tongue names may appear mundane.Setting. If you choose to write about your adopted country, it may appear too exotic or you may worry you lack the background to make the country come alive. How long do you have to live somewhere to feel you have the authority to write about it, especially if the country operates in a language that...

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The Art of Short Story Writing: Four Jerusalem Workshops

The JWWS network, in conjunction with Temech, is pleased to announce our FOURTH SESSION for all women writers…The JWWS Writers’ Educational NetworkFor WomenRegistration is via Temech’s office (02- 538-8665, press 0 and say you are calling for JWWS/ Writers’ Courses) and tell them you are registering for the next JWWS course that is to begin on Jan 19th. To ensure your place you must pre-register. These JWWS courses will be a pre-paid and pre-booked only in advance option.Price for full course, all four sessions: 200 NIS per personPrice for only one session at a time: 75 NISper personHurry to reserve your spot – spaces go quickly!_____________________________________________________The JWWS Session FOURCourse Title: The Art of Short Story WritingCourse Instructor: Gila GreenCourse dates: Jan, 19, 26, Feb 2, Feb 9th  Tuesday mornings, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 pmCourse Description: Get your creative story juices flowing!This course is for anyone who wants to sharpen her short...

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How not to Write Flash Fiction

I read a lot of Flash Fiction. Over the years I’ve noticed that some writers continuously flounder over these common misconceptions and mistakes. If you’re trying to master the art of Flash Fiction writing, these eight “don’ts” might help you jump up to the next level. Don’t approach Flash Fiction as though it’s just a very short story. Flash has its own set of rules and the king of those rules is this: you have no time. This means spending the first eight lines on background and leaving minimal space for any action to occur is sure to flop. Don’t do it.Flash Fiction is supremely brief. But the buck stops there. You can write non-fiction flash, romance flash, fantasy flash and any other genre you feel passionate about. For some reason many of the submissions I receive in my Flash Fiction courses forget all about genre, so focused are they on...

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Should writers in Israel hide?

When I submit my short stories should I hide my Israellocation? This is a real question participants in my classes ask me. Most often these writers use an American address of a relative or the address of a friend overseas in their submissions. They genuinely believe that an address in Israel lowers their chances of acceptance in literary magazines and journals and, as the odds are already so stacked against new writers, they figure: who needs the handicap of an Israeladdress? I admit that it never occurred to me to alter my Israeli address in my submissions and I’ve been submitting stories since 2005. Is this naive? I don’t think so.  If a publication does not want to print my story because I live in Israel, I do not want to be published by that publication. Is that too simple? So, how have I answered these writers? I tell them the...

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Where do writers’ ideas come from?

In the last two days I’ve been asked how I get ideas for writing stories. Two nights ago at a PTA meeting just before the homeroom teacher asked me if I’d come in and speak (again) to the girls. And the next day at an open house for my daughter’s ballet class. I don’t get ideas, I look for ideas. It can be really hard work. I don’t see why ideas for writers should come from a source any different from ideas for what to make for dinner. For me the latter can also be really hard work. When I have to make dinner on a regular weekday I whip through the kitchen, opening cupboards, vegetable bins, the freezer and dairy drawers: what have I got at hand? The same is true for writing. I consider genre (historical? satirical?), I consider format (should I try for another short story for a...

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