Posts Tagged ‘Write Nonfiction in November’

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Coach Teresa . . . starting a new format with my blog posts

Since I wear 3 hats, as writing career coach & author who helps you Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days / editor & manuscript consultant who helps you identify themes and archetypes / novelist of Love Made of Heart who encourages adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families, I wish to divide my post into 3 sections.

As 22-day Platform-Building Coach:

Promote yourselves by linking your names & your projects to these recognized events.  According to Chase Calendar of Events,  November is:

  • Adoption Month, National
  • Alzheimer’s Disease Month, National
  • American Diabetes Month
  • American Indian Heritage Month, National
  • Aviation History Month
  • Banana Pudding Lovers Month
  • Diabetes Month, National
  • Diabetic Eye Disease Month
  • Family Caregivers Month, National
  • Georgia Pecan Month, National
  • Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month
  • Inspirational Role Models Month, National
  • Lifewriting Month, National
  • Long-Term Care Awareness Month, National
  • Lung Cancer Awareness Month
  • Marrow Awareness Month, National
  • Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month
  • Pet Cancer Awareness Month
  • Pomegranate Month, National
  • PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month
  • Vegan Month
  • Today November 16, 2011 is United Nations: International Day for Tolerance
  • the fourth Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A.
  • November 11, 2011 is Veterans Day

Every month is relevant to marketing your literary work. Day 19 of my workbook Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days demonstrates the beauty of linking your name to a date that is celebrated or recognized for the entire month–you’ll have a whole month to re-use one piece of writing.

 

As Editor & Manuscript Consultant:

Give yourself reasons to plot & write and replot & rewrite!

November is National Novel Writing Month (founder is Chris Baty)

Write Nonfiction In November (founder is Nina Amir)

December is International Plot Writing Month (founder is Martha Alderson, The Plot Whisperer)

Read or reread a book – I’m reading Nothing Can Scare Me Now: Managing Breast Cancer So It Doesn’t Manage You by Juliane Cortino (a colleague at Women’s National Book Association)

 

As author of Love Made of Heart:

I found “Veterans and Mental Health: We Owe Them Better”  blog post by Mike Fitzpatrick, NAMI Executive Director

Last year, more than 1.2 million veterans were treated by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) health care system, about a third for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That is an increase of about 25 percent from four years before, as troops return home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Washington Post reports that approximately 18 veterans die from suicide every day. Yet in survey released in September, the VA reported that 70 percent of its doctors, nurses and social workers believe the system lacks the staff and space to provide adequate mental health care. More than 37 percent said they cannot schedule an appointment for a new patient within 14-days.

* * * * *

Mr. Fitzpatrick,

Thank you for writing this post to shed light on what we can do to advocate for better care of our veterans and their families. I linked your post to mine dated November 16, 2011 http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/ so that my blog fans can get resources for their loved ones. My beautiful mom (not a Veteran but was an orphan during World War II) suffered mental illness all her life and I use my writings to honor her. In September I met NAMI Sonoma County board member Ron Shaw at the Sonoma County Book Festival.  Rosemary Milbrath, Executive Director at NAMI Sonoma County, has contacted me and I hope to deliver my Heroes, Tricksters & Villains interactive workshop to the Sonoma County community in California in 2012. Sincerely, Teresa LeYung-Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart; mental health advocate

* * * * *

I hope to see you when I’m at these forums:

  • Thursday December 1, 2011 at Women’s National Book Association get-together at San Francisco Public Library Main Branch
  • Sunday January 8, 2012 at California Writers Club–Redwood Branch “Writing-Career-Make-Over with Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan”

Please click here for details.

“Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Sincerely,

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

 

 


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/

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