How I Found Amazing Mentors and You Can Too

In my previous post, I mentioned several mentors I’ve had. Each of my mentors has made significant contributions to strengthen my writing. But, someone asked, how do you find a mentor? It’s a good question. This is how I found amazing mentors and you can too. Know Yourself The first step in finding a mentor is assessing your own strengths and weaknesses. Are you solid with dialog but need help creating compelling characters? Do you have a weakness for long passages of description or backstory that slow your story’s pace? Are you great at beginnings but get bogged down in the middle? Be honest with yourself. Identify what you know and what you don’t know. If you don’t know how to even start, then you need to hit the books. Start learning the basics. That was where I started–with a correspondence course that taught me basic storytelling. How Much Do You Want It? It can be difficult to believe in yourself when you face the computer or the blank piece of paper. And your can-do attitude will take you a long way. Believe in yourself, in your ability to find the answers you need, and in your desire and ability […]

One Way to Learn to Write

When I decided to get serious about writing, I took a correspondence course. It was my first step in one way to learn to write. As I mentioned in my earlier post, “Writing is Easy…Until It’s Not,” this course was by mail. It doesn’t matter much which course it was, what matters is how I chose which course to take. This is one way to learn to write. It’s not the only way. I loved re-reading old childhood favorites and science fiction. So I figured I should learn one of those two genres. I thought writing for children would be the easier of the two genres. (Writing for children is not easy!) I looked for some one-on-one mentorship and studied each class syllabus. The structure of the class and what it covered had to make sense to me. I also weighed the course instructors. Criteria for instructors included: were they authors, what had they published when had they published, and did I like their work. Then I mailed in my sample writing and fees and waited for the first lesson. The lessons were not difficult for me, though by this time I was a new mom and had a hard […]

How to be awesome reading your work aloud

How to be Awesome Reading Your Story Aloud

Reading fiction aloud can sound like music. Reading prosody, is the term for that musical style of reading. In other words, it’s reading with expression.  And reading with expression is how to be awesome reading your story aloud.  But as a writer, we spend a lot of time alone with our thoughts and our keyboards. Preparing to give a reading can be daunting. You’re filled with questions and doubts. Where do I start? What do I read? How much do I read? How do I get through the reading without sounding like an idiot? What do I wear? Stop. Take a breath. This is your guide on how to be awesome reading your story aloud.   First hint: Don’t hide behind your book. Talk to Your Host Preparation begins with knowing more about what’s expected. Ask your host: will you be sitting or standing? At a table or a podium? Will you use a microphone? Do you check in? When and where? Is it okay to sell books after the reading? Can you ask for signups for your email list? Is it okay to bring props or bookmarks? How long are you expected to read? Sometimes how long you read is […]