Posts Tagged ‘Woven of Water’

Thank you, dear Luisa Adams (author of the exquisite memoir Woven of Water ) for telling me that Maxine Hong Kingston’s being at A Great Good Place for Books Wed. April 25, 2012 7:00pm

MAXINE HONG KINGSTON AND PHYLLIS HOGE - Hello, House
Start: April 25, 2012 7:00 pm

A Great Good Place for Books welcomes our good friend, Maxine Hong Kingston, author of I Love A Broad Margin, and her friend Phyllis Hoge reading from Hello, House on Wednesday, April 25th at 7:00 p.m.
6120 LaSalle Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

* * * * * * *

Rita Lakin says on her website:

Blog Appearances

Every first Friday of the month I contribute the the Lady Killers blog. Visit the fabulous blog here.

In August 2011 I wrote about my experiences writing in a very male-dominated ’60s Hollywood on indieWIRE’s Women and Hollywood blog.

* * * * * * *
Ginger Rogers died in 1995 yet her name (and what her name stands for) lives on.

* * * * * * *

What Do Maxine Hong Kingston, Rita Lakin, Ginger Rogers Have In Common? They speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. These 3 luminaries and their perseverance have inspired me immensely. I celebrate them by spotlighting them in my workbook Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW.

What do you have in common with people you admire? You too can build your name recognition by following the examples in my workbook. Start by going to my website: http://writingcoachteresa.com
You can preview the 2 exercises for Day 1 of the workbook at Amazon

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

As editor/story consultant, Teresa LeYung-Ryan identifies themes and universal archetypes for clients. As author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW, she says: “Make your name synonymous with the issues you write about.” Teresa has built her own platform happily; her novel Love Made of Heart is used in college composition classes. She says her novel and her play Answer Me Now carry the theme closest to her heart: mother-daughter relationship. http://writingcoachteresa.com for Coach Teresa’s Blog and other resources. “Reach out, not stress out, to materialize your dearest dreams.”

Coach Teresa, what’s new with your mastermind group members?

Linda Lee is busy writing her book, being co-president of Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter, getting ready for San Francisco Writers Conference, creating beautiful websites for her clients that reflect their businesses.

Mary E. Knippel is busy helping her clients create their vision boards / collage / success stories and perfect content for their websites, facilitating events at Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter and getting ready for San Francisco Writers Conference .

Lori Noack is busy with her new company Vintage San Francisco (women’s clothing and accessories 1950-1980) and managing the Italian Garden Flat.

Luisa Adams, author of Woven of Water, is busy with Spanish class, her book group, being celebrity author at her grandchildren’s school and everywhere she goes, and inspiring your truly and many other fans.

 

Martha Alderson is busy consulting her clients and promoting her wonderful new book  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master.

 

 

Rebecca Martin and her staff at Dear Jane Inc. help people find jobs!  Cheers to global workforce! Sign up for her helpful newsletter. Watch Rebecca’s videos on her website.

 

 

Teresa LeYung-Ryan (yours truly) is practicing  my own mantra: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams.”  I’ve listed my services at Thumbtack.com & Craigslist.org and updated my website http://www.WritingCoachTeresa.com

  • Ask Coach Teresa to show you shortcuts on your PC; how to crop photos and add captions; create signature block in email setting, a blog, facebook page, YouTube channel, online press room, and more.
  • Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (a workbook for anyone who has anything to promote—available in print edition $12.96  and as an E-book $9.81).  You can sneak preview the 2 exercises for Day 1 on Amazon. Customer reviews (from writers and entrepreneurs) also on Amazon.com Please support your local bookseller: http://www.indiebound.org

 

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan has helped over 1,000 writers take steps to further their careers.  http://www.WritingCoachTeresa.com Please click on [Coach Teresa’s Blog] for more resources. Contact her  @gmail.com  (her email ID is:  WritingCoachTeresa ).

Meet Coach Teresa at an event; details:  click here

  • Thursday Dec. 1, 2011 6:00-7:30pm at WNBA meeting at San Francisco Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Room
  • Sunday, January 8, 2012, 2:30-5:00pm at California Writers Club—Redwood Branch
    • networking; general meeting; “Writing-Career-Make-Over with Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan”
  • Thursday, January 12, 2012  Teresa LeYung-Ryan will be Linda Joy Myers’s guest on  National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) teleseminar
  • February 16-20, 2012 at San Francisco Writers Conference
  • March 24, 2012 at WNBA’s “Meet-the-Agents/Speed Dating”

Happy Writing and Platform Building!

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

 

 

04 November 2011

Manuscript Consultant/Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here, visiting dear pal Karyn in Australia . . .

I wish to remind all writers to please reward your work with authentic details. Your story deserves thorough research (yes, even for memoirs).

Example: The first time I stepped off the sidewalk to cross a street in Sydney, I was “reminded” by a moving-vehicle where I was (my setting). You see . . . folks here in Australia drive on the left side of the road (What does that mean for pedestrians? What does that mean for other drivers?).

What else about “left” ?  Walk on the left side when possible; on escalators, stand to the left and pass to the right.

Utensils:  fork in the left hand and knife in the right while eating.

What’s the big deal?  It’s a big deal if you have your protagonist as a stranger in Australia or if you set your story in the U.S.A. but your character is Australian (then the U.S.A. would be foreign territory for her/him).

I encourage everyone to conduct research and get proofreaders for your manuscript (yes, even for memoirs). Authentic details hook readers.

* * * * * * *

06 November, 2011 I’m back in California. As I think about the messages in this post,  I remember when Luisa, Martha and I conducted:

“Write Your Compelling Story—the Power of Authentic Details”

with Luisa Adams, Martha Alderson, Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Luisa’s memoir Woven of Water is a beautiful example of employing authentic details and plotting nonfiction.

By the way, please check out Martha’s new book The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Writing Career Coach/Manuscript Consultant

Author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (print edition & eBook edition)
Author of the novel Love Made of Heart (inspires adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families)

Martha Alderson (famous for her book Blockbuster Plots – Pure & Simple, Scene Tracker Kit and DVDs for writers of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays) is on Blog Tour for her new book The Plot Whisperer–to be featured on Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan’s blog– check Coach Teresa’s Oct. 18, 2011 post for chance to blog-chat with Martha and also win prize from Coach Teresa. The Plot Whisperer belongs on every writer’s shelf; the golden contents in  The Plot Whisperer belong to every serious writer’s heart.

Martha Alderson on facebook

 

 

*********************

Tuesday, October 18, 2011,  7:30pm  IN PERSON

Cheers to beloved Martha Alderson – book launch party for her new book The Plot Whisperer !

Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola, CA

*************************

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan on facebook

 

Love Made of Heart turned 9-years-old this month!

Love Made of Heart inspires adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What else is October recognized for? According to the Chase Calendar of Events:

October

  • Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month
  • Animal Safety and Protection Month, Natl
  • Antidepressant Death Awareness Month
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication Awareness Month, Intl
  • Bake and Decorate Month, Natl
  • Bat Appreciation Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Natl
  • Car Care Month
  • Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month
  • Celiac Disease Awareness Month
  • Children’s Magazine Month
  • Chili Month, Natl
  • Chiropractic Month, Natl
  • Church Library Month
  • Co-op Awareness Month
  • Crime Prevention Month, Natl
  • Cut Out Dissection Month
  • Cyber Security Awareness Month, Natl
  • Dental Hygiene Month, Natl
  • Depression Education and Awareness Month, Natl
  • Disability Employment Awareness Month, Natl
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Natl
  • Dyslexia Awareness Month
  • Eat Better, Eat Together Month
  • Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month
  • Emotional Wellness Month
  • Family Sexuality Education Month, Natl
  • Financial Planning Month
  • “Gain the Inside Advantage” Month, Natl
  • Gay and Lesbian History Month
  • German-American Heritage Month
  • Global Diversity Awareness Month
  • Go Hog Wild–Eat Country Ham Month
  • Go on a Field Trip Month, Natl
  • Halloween Safety Month
  • Health Literacy Month
  • Liver Awareness Month, Natl
  • Long-Term Care Planning Month
  • Medical Librarians Month, Natl
  • Menopause Month, World
  • Month of Freethought
  • Organize Your Medical Information Month
  • Orthodontic Health Month, Natl
  • Photographer Appreciation Month
  • Physical Therapy Month, Natl
  • Polish-American Heritage Month
  • Popcorn Poppin’ Month, Natl
  • Positive Attitude Month
  • Protect Your Hearing Month, Natl
  • Raptor Month
  • Reading Group Month, Natl
  • Rett Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Right-Brainers Rule Month
  • Roller Skating Month, Natl
  • Sarcastics Awareness Month, Natl
  • Self-Promotion Month
  • Spina Bifida Awareness Month, Natl
  • Spinach Lovers Month
  • Squirrel Awareness Month
  • Stamp Collecting Month, Natl
  • Starman Month, Intl
  • Strategic Planning Month, Intl
  • Talk about Prescriptions Month
  • Vegetarian Month
  • Work and Family Month, Natl
  • Workplace Politics Awareness Month

The bold recognition relates to subject matters/themes/issues in Love Made of Heart

Martha Alderson aka The Plot Whisperer on Blog Tour–to be featured on Coach Teresa’s blog Oct. 18, 2011

Remember to check this blog on October 18, 2011 to blog-chat with Martha Alderson about your plotline!

 

Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson flanked by Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan & Memoirist Luisa Adams (author of Woven of Water)

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

Love Made of Heart inspiring adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families.

“Coach Teresa, what should I do before hiring an editor?”

Look at Your Manuscript with an Editor’s Lens

By Teresa LeYung Ryan

Writing Career Coach; Manuscript Consultant; Author

Since writing a story with the intent to engage the reader is so much like meeting a stranger and wanting him/her to be interested in you, you’d want to hook the reader’s attention in the first quarter of your story (starting with the first page, oftentimes with the first line).

I love working with diligent writers who want to transform their manuscripts into page-turners. However, there are things you can do before you give your work to an editor. Let me show you how you can help yourself.

The big four elements to look for in your manuscript:

  • Planting hook(s) or story-question(s);
  • Grounding the reader with the three Ws (Who? When? Where?);
  • Showing (not telling) what the protagonist wants;
  • Paying attention to language and rules

Let’s learn from the pros.

Planting Hook or Story-Question:

In The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston hooks us with the first line: “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you…” Then, Ms. Kingston transitions into her story with: “Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one . . .”

Grounding the Reader with the Three Ws:

In Woven of Water, while the story timeline spans from 1957 to 2005, Californian author Luisa Adams brilliantly shows us who she was as a girl (not with a year-by-year narrative, but with a single exquisite chapter). Because she grounded us with “who, when, where,” we eagerly follow as she (the middle-aged woman) takes us into her enchanted world of a “cottage in the forest.”

Showing What the Protagonist Wants:

In The Other Mother, young Carol Schaefer wants to ask questions: “Was there any way to keep my baby? Was there anyone who would help me find a way to do that?”

Elizabeth Gilbert hooks us with “I wish Giovanni would kiss me…” in her memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Simple as that.  She’ll have other desires as her story moves forward, but, right there on page 1, she’s clear about what she wants.

In Love Made of Heart, protagonist Ruby Lin is thinking: What have I done?  I watch the uniformed police officers escort my mother from my apartment.

Paying Attention to Language and Rules:

Read the first five pages of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and you will see how this wordsmith plays with language and rules. (You can “bend” the rules to create flow, but you must not ignore the rules.)

Are you saying: “Coach Teresa, that’s my style–I don’t like to use commas all that much. You might see typos but that’s your job right to correct them? I write like I talk. Okay.”

I say: “Read your manuscript out loud.  Do you really talk like that?  If you hear yourself pausing in a sentence, that’s probably where you’d put a comma. You are a writer; use correct spelling.  Do use vernacular that is indicative of your story-world; however, will your reader hear the differences in speech patterns in your characters OR will they hear just one voice in all the characters?”

Sentences Deserve Your Attention:

Remember Groucho Marx’s line “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas…”? That sentence got a lot of laughs. But, what if you didn’t want to be funny (ambiguous in this case)? Watch out for those misplaced modifiers.

How would you rewrite these poorly constructed sentences?

  • He likes to fish near the Farallon Islands and they jump when they’re hungry at dawn or dusk.
  • She insists on knowing when I come home and leave, not to be nosy, but for safety reasons.
  • Being cautious as not to step on the dog’s tail, the children tip-toed away from him while sleeping.
  • My husband still in bed snoring, I have always enjoyed rising before dawn and I eat my toast and drink my green tea on the terrace.

To improve your sentence structuring and other skills, I recommend these books:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Woe is I: Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

More Advice:

  • In all the stories referenced above, the authors present memorable experiences by employing authentic details, unusual story-worlds, and poetic language. You want to do the same for your story.
  • Also, the stories have another vital component–all the plotlines have what Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots, Pure and Simple, calls “Cause and Effect” linked scenes. Another must-read blog: Plot Whisperer
  • When you’re writing non-fiction and do not have the luxury of rearranging the sequence of events to create a page-turning plotline, you can engage the reader by using concise expositions to leap over blocks of time in order to focus on the core themes and fast-forward the story. A helpful website: Linda Joy Myer’s http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
  • You the author must show the reader what the protagonist wants, even if the protagonist doesn’t know at first.
  • We don’t have to “like” a protagonist, but, we do need to connect with him/her on an emotional level.
  • Read my colleague Vicki Weiland’s “Vicki’s Four Questions” © on her blog: http://vickiweiland.wordpress.com/vickis-four-questions-%C2%A9/

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd? Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns. I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams.

My best wishes to you!

Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung Ryan

Coach Teresa edits manuscripts for authors who want to attract agents  & publishers  OR  want to be their own publishers. She specializes in contemporary novels, thrillers, children’s & YA novels, memoirs, short stories, and anthologies.

22-Day Platform-Building Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan helps authors identify their themes to hook agents' and publishers' attention.

author of Love Made of  Heart

author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days

To comment on any of my columns (blog posts) or to contact me, just click on the blue title bar of the post, fill in the boxes and press “submit.”

 

What to do before hiring an editor for your manuscript?

 

My advice for narrative non-fiction writers is the same for fiction writers.

“Look at Your Manuscript with an Editor’s Lens”

by Teresa LeYung Ryan–Developmental Editor/Manuscript Consultant/Writing Career Coach


Since writing a story with the intent to engage the reader is so much like meeting a stranger and wanting him/her to be interested in us, I will focus on “how to make the first quarter of your story a compelling read.”

I love working with diligent writers who want to transform their manuscripts into page-turners. However, there are things you can do before you give your work to an editor. Let me show you how you can help yourself.

Does your manuscript pass these tests?

  • Planting hook(s) or story-question(s);
  • Grounding the reader with the three Ws and the big C (Who?  When?  Where? Circumstances);
  • Showing (not telling) what the protagonist wants;
  • Paying attention to language and rules

Let’s learn from the pros.

Planting Hook or Story-Question:

In The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston hooks us with the first line: “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you…”   Then, Ms. Kingston transitions into her story with:  “Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one . . .”

Grounding the Reader with the Three Ws and the big C:

In Woven of Water, while the story timeline spans from 1957 to 2005, Californian author Luisa Adams brilliantly shows us who she was as a girl (not with a year-by-year narrative, but with a single exquisite chapter).  Because she grounded us with “who, when, where” and the “circumstances” as to why she had left her love affair with water, we eagerly follow as she takes us into her enchanted world of a “cottage in the forest.”  Another device to ground the reader is the employment of sensory details (not long descriptions).  Sensory details put the reader in the scene/story world.  Re-read one of your favorite author’s books. Study from the masters.

Showing What the Protagonist Wants:

In The Other Mother, young Carol Schaefer wants to ask questions:  “Was there any way to keep my baby?  Was there anyone who would help me find a way to do that?”

In Eat, Pray, Love, Elisabeth Gilbert says: I wish Giovanni would kiss me.

In Love Made of Heart, my protagonist Ruby Lin prays: Please don’t end up like Grandmother (while witnessing police officers escorting her own mother out of her apartment).

Paying Attention to Language and Rules:

Read the first five pages of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and you will see how this wordsmith plays with language and rules. (You can “bend” the rules to create flow, but you must not ignore them.)

In Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison’s protagonist Bone is a girl.  Bone’s voice is convincing in dialogue and in internal monologue. Brilliant use of dialect.

Sentences Deserve Your Attention:

Remember Groucho Marx’s line “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas…”? That sentence got a lot of laughs.  But, what if you didn’t want to be funny (ambiguous in this case)?

How would you rewrite these sentences?  See the misplaced modifiers?

  • He likes to fish near the Farallon Islands, they jump when they’re hungry at dawn or dusk. (the islands jump?)
  • She insists on knowing when I come home and leave, not to be nosy, but for safety reasons. (who is not nosy?)
  • Being cautious as not to step on the dog’s tail, the children tip-toed away from him while sleeping. (who’s sleeping?)

To improve your sentence structure and other skills, I recommend these books:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Woe is I: Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

More Advice:

  • In all the stories I referenced above, the authors present memorable experiences by employing authentic details, unusual story-worlds though real, and poetic language. You want to do the same for your story.
  • Also, these stories have another vital component–all the plotlines have what Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots Pure and Simple, calls “Cause and Effect” linked scenes.  Another must-read blog:  http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/search?q=first+quarter
  • When you’re writing non-fiction and you do not have the luxury of rearranging the sequence of events to create a page-turning plotline, you can engage the reader by using concise expositions to leap over blocks of time in order to focus on the core themes and fast-forward to the next scene.  A helpful website for memoir writers: http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
  • You the author must show the reader what the protagonist wants, even if the protagonist doesn’t know at first.
  • We don’t have to “like” a protagonist, but, we do need to connect with him/her on an emotional level. Perhaps what he/she wants is also what we want.
  • Story-telling is a skill learned, practiced, and mastered. May you practice with joy.

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd?  Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns.  I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams. My best wishes to you!

To read other posts in my blog (about writing contests, publishing opportunities, more tips on platform-building), click on [ Home ] and scroll down  OR key in words in the search box to find specific posts. Example: if you key in the words: poetry anthology 2011 into my blog’s search box and click [search], you will see my post containing info about the  Las Positas College Anthology and other contests for other genres (Thank you, Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman!) To read the entire version of a post, click on the title bar of that post.

To see my website for all my books, go to:  http://writingcoachteresa.com

Reach out, not stress out!

Sincerely,

Build-Your-Writer’s-Platform Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung Ryan–Developmental Editor/Manuscript Consultant, Writing Career Coach, Author, Publisher

Teresa specializes in editing fiction and narrative non-fiction with themes on the human condition.

She likes spunky protagonists in thrillers, women’s novels, memoirs, and children’s literature.

Love Made of Heart is:
• recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association

• read by students at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, CCSF, and many other colleges and high schools.

• used in Advanced Composition English-as-a-Second-Language classes
• archived at the San Francisco History Center

Teresa says: “The more you read, the more your own writing will flow.”  
Please click here for my blog’s home page  http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/

My fun workbook is now available through Amazon!

BUILD YOUR WRITER’S PLATFORM & FANBASE IN 22 DAYS: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Your-Writers-Platform-Fanbase/dp/0983010005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297630400&sr=1-1

http://lovemadeofheart.com/BUILD-YOUR-WRITER%27S-PLATFORM-&-FANBASE-IN-22-DAYS.html

 

What Should I Do Before I Hire an Editor to Review My Manuscript?

The question is answered by Teresa LeYung Ryan–Book Doctor/Manuscript Consultant, Career Coach, Author

 

Nina Amir, creator of Write Nonfiction in November http://writenonfictioninnovember.com/ had invited me to be her guest-blogger in 2008, to help answer that question.  My advice for narrative non-fiction writers is the same for fiction writers.

“How to Look at Your Manuscript with an Editor’s Lens”


Since writing a story with the intent to engage the reader is so much like meeting a stranger and wanting him/her to be interested in you, I will focus on how to make the first quarter of your story a compelling read.

I love working with diligent writers who want to transform their manuscripts into page-turners. However, there are things you can do before you give your work to an editor. Let me show you how you can help yourself.

As an editor, the four biggest mistakes I encounter are manuscripts that are weak in these elements:

  • Planting hook(s) or story-question(s);
  • Grounding the reader with the three Ws (Who?  When?  Where?);
  • Showing (not telling) what the protagonist wants;
  • Paying attention to language and rules

Let’s learn from the pros.

Planting Hook or Story-Question:

In The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Maxine Hong Kingston hooks us with the first line: “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you…”   Then, Ms. Kingston transitions into her story with:  “Whenever she had to warn us about life, my mother told stories that ran like this one . . .”

Grounding the Reader with the Three Ws:

In Woven of Water, while the story timeline spans from 1957 to 2005, Californian author Luisa Adams brilliantly shows us who she was as a girl (not with a year-by-year narrative, but with a single exquisite chapter).  Because she grounded us with “who, when, where,” we eagerly follow as she takes us into her enchanted world of a “cottage in the forest.”  Another device to ground the reader is the employment of sensory details (not long descriptions).  Sensory details put the reader in the scene/story world.  Re-read one of your favorite author’s books. Study from the masters.

Showing What the Protagonist Wants:

In The Other Mother, young Carol Schaefer wants to ask questions:  “Was there any way to keep my baby?  Was there anyone who would help me find a way to do that?”

Paying Attention to Language and Rules:

Read the first five pages of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and you will see how this wordsmith plays with language and rules. (You can “bend” the rules to create flow, but you must not ignore them.)

Sentences Deserve Your Attention:

Nina Amir’s post on her blog  http://writenonfictioninnovember.wordpress.com/2007/11/ is a must-read.

Remember Groucho Marx’s line “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas…”? That sentence got a lot of laughs.  But, what if you didn’t want to be funny (ambiguous in this case)?

How would you rewrite these poorly constructed sentences?

  • He likes to fish near the Farallon Islands and they jump when they’re hungry at dawn or dusk.
  • She insists on knowing when I come home and leave, not to be nosy, but for safety reasons.
  • Being cautious as not to step on the dog’s tail, the children tip-toed away from him while sleeping.
  • My husband still in bed snoring, I have always enjoyed rising before dawn and I eat my toast and drink my green tea on the terrace.

To improve your sentence structure and other skills, I recommend these books:

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
  • Woe is I: Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

More Advice:

  • In all four stories (The Woman Warrior, Woven of Water, The Other Mother, Angela’s Ashes), the authors present memorable experiences by employing authentic details, unusual story-worlds though real, and poetic language. You want to do the same for your story.
  • Also, these stories have another vital component-all four plotlines have what Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots, Pure and Simple, calls “Cause and Effect” linked scenes.  Another must-read blog:  http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/search?q=first+quarter
  • When you’re writing non-fiction and do not have the luxury of rearranging the sequence of events to create a page-turning plotline, you can engage the reader by using concise expositions to leap over blocks of time in order to focus on the core themes and fast-forward the story. A helpful website: http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
  • You the author must show the reader what the protagonist wants, even if the protagonist doesn’t know at first.
  • We don’t have to “like” a protagonist, but, we do need to connect with him/her on an emotional level.

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd?  Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns.  I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams. My best wishes to you!

Do you know a writer who wants to go to a writers’ conference but can’t afford it? Encourage her/him to ask family and friends to chip in (what better Christmas gift or birthday gift!).

For non-fiction authors: Writing for Change Conference http://www.sfwritingforchange.org/

For both fiction and non-fiction authors:  San Francisco Writers Conference http://sfwriters.org

Sincerely,

Teresa LeYung Ryan

Book Doctor/Manuscript Consultant, Career Coach, Author, Publisher

Coach Teresa edits manuscripts for authors who want to attract agents  & publishers  OR  want to be their own publishers. She specializes in contemporary novels, thrillers, children’s & YA novels, memoirs, short stories, and anthologies. She likes spunky protagonists.

Love Made of Heart is:
• recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association

• read by students at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, CCSF, and many other colleges and high schools.

• used in Advanced Composition English-as-a-Second-Language classes
• archived at the San Francisco History Center

GraceArt Publishing is the publisher of Build My Name, Beat the Game: 22 Days to Identify & Develop My Writer’s Platform to Attract Agents, Acquisition Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention.

Teresa says: “Reach out, not stress out, when building your writer’s name/platform.”  

To comment on any of my columns (blog posts), just click on the blue title bar of the post, fill in the boxes and press “submit.”  Please click here for my blog http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/

at the Alderson GardenDear pal Martha Alderson (the international plot consultant) and her husband Bob invited us to their home for a barbecue, so, another dear pal Marie Elena (the metaphysical consultant) and I, with our husbands, carpooled to Santa Cruz.  The 6 of us headed for The Hook, and it was a great day to do that—sunny, cool and breezy.  Surfers were out.  I called up our buddy Luisa Adams (who, with her husband, would have been with us too if she weren’t at her Enchanted Lake).

On the return trip from The Hook,  Martha wanted to walk on the beach.  Sure.  We drove all this way, let’s get onto sand.  Hmm… we had to maneuver around boulders.  I slipped on kelp and my right knee landed on something coarse. I thought  Oh now you’ve done it— it’s going to hurt  like crazy later, so, I turned back toward higher ground.  That’s when the tide rolled in and soaked my right pant leg. “Never turn your back to the ocean,” Martha advised. What a wonderful metaphor!

As we continued walking back to the house,  I thought about how Marisa (my friend who died last week) would have loved being in the water.  Here’s to you, Mountain Lake Turtle!  When we arrived at the house, I took out the Neosporin (I always have it in my bag).  Imagine my surprise when I rolled up my right pant to see that my knee was neither bloody nor bruised.  I applied some ointment anyway.  Maybe Marisa was thinking of me too.

I had a lovely time, eating, listening to everyone’s stories and my husband’s ukulele, taking a few photos, enjoying the blue sky.

8 hours later, I’m home. After tidying up my kitchen, I see in my in-box an email from Judith Marshall, telling me that her interview is on http://www.theauthorsshow.com/ Good going, Judie!  Articulate and candid.

I see on the schedule that Margaret Davis will be on the show on June 2nd.

24-May   Judith Marshall    Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever – novel
2-Jun       Margaret Davis     Straight Down The Middle -  novel

Happy New Week, Everyone!

Sincerely,
Teresa LeYung Ryan

Build Your Name, Beat the Game: Be Happily Published is the 22 minutes for 22 days workbook. http://WritingCoachTeresa.com
I am so happy to announce the opening of the Love Made of Heart online store where you’ll find gift items for yourselves, women, children, moms and babies, friends and pets.  http://lovemadeofheart.com/Love-Made-of-Heart-Online-Store-&-Gift-Shop.html

I’ve been hearing about Smart Cookies on the radio, so, I Googled “Smart Cookies”

http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/money/debt/slideshow1_ss_showus

Oprah.com webpage says: [Last year, 24-year-old Katie Dunsworth decided it was time for her and her friends to stop spending, start saving and get richer. Katie saw Oprah's Debt Diet show and decided to take action. The show motivated Katie and four friends to start a money group and get smart about their spending, saving and investing. They call themselves the Smart Cookies. As a team, the women set up weekly meetings, confess their debt, make a plan to "pay it down" and start investing. "Really the one thing that came across is we need to be held accountable," Katie says.]

In my professional life, I belong to a smart group too. Smart woman Linda Lee and I, Writing-Career Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan, invited 5 colleagues and formed a master-mind group.  Each woman had specific goals, different interests, but we had one thing in common–we were all writers. At our first meeting on March 29, 2008, we set up rules, goals and commitments, and pledged to support each member of the group as well as the group as a whole. 7 women.  7 colleagues.  We called ourselves the Savvy Seven and met once a month.

Savvy Seven standing Teresa, Mary, Lori, sitting Luisa, Martha, Linda, Rebecca

Linda Lee, founder of Smart Women Stupid Computers http://smartwomenstupidcomputers.com/ and AskMePc  http://askmepc.com/

Teresa LeYung Ryan, Writing-Career Coach Teresa http://writingcoachteresa.com http://writingcoachteresawordpress.com http://www.LoveMadeOfHeart.com/

Mary E. Knippel, Creativity Mentor http://openuptoyourcreativity.com/

Martha Alderson, International Plot Consultant  http://blockbusterplots.com/

Luisa Adams, award-winning writer, author of Woven of Water http://www.rp-author.com/Adams/

Lori Noack, founder of Lori Noack Arts Management. She’d be a super executive director for any organization.

Rebecca Martin, founder of Dear Jane, a Career Advisement Company http://www.dearjane.info/

Each member of Savvy Seven has accomplished her goals & commitments; each one is pursuing new dreams.  March 2010 will be our second anniversary.

I visited my dear pal Martha Alderson’s most helpful blog for plot  http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/ Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple by Martha Alderson

Hi, Martha,
Your plot coaching is priceless. I like your analogy “Do like Hollywood movie directors and cup your hands around one eye like a telescope. Write about that one moment in your story.”

As a manuscript consultant, I get to read stories that carry profound themes and I know my clients have spent years working on their projects.

A mistake I often come across is not enough “showing…with sensory details” and too much “summarizing” or “editorializing.” That’s when I’ll ask my client “Have you looked at Martha’s blog or book?”

I guest-blogged on Nina Amir’s about how to make one’s manuscript compelling http://writenonfictioninnovember.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/how-to-make-your-manuscript-compelling/

In that post, I referenced The Woman Warrior, Woven of Water, The Other Mother, Angela’s Ashes–all four memoirs have smooth plotlines with what you’d call “Cause and Effect” linked scenes.

I see your new post:
http://plotwhisperer.blogspot.com/2009/10/when-scene-just-wont-do.html

Happy New Year, Int’l Plot Consultant Martha! Thank you for doing your magic!

Sincerely,
Teresa LeYung Ryan
Writing-Career Coach/”22 Pages Manuscript Consultant”

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