Posts Tagged ‘essays’

December 28, 2019;  January 25, 26, 2020

By Teresa Jade LeYung

Every year, I sponsor my Immigrant Experience Writing Contest (short stories, essays, monologues) offered through California Writers Club San Francisco Peninsula Branch and The Literary Stage at the San Mateo County Fair You do not have to live in California in order to enter any of the writing contests. Some contestants will enter an excerpt from a long piece of work (novels, memoirs) without investing time to rewrite the pages so that the piece would engage the reader with a beginning, middle and ending.

As a theme consultant and a writing coach, and a fan of a few television series, I have found another inspiration when teaching my clients how to show archetype-driven plotlines.

One of my favorite characters is Rhoda Morgenstern in the situational comedy (sitcom) RHODA  portrayed by Valerie Harper.

One of my favorite episodes is “One Is A Number” (Season 4, Episode 4, written by Charlotte Brown). I love this episode because this is a stand-alone piece. I do not have to  know the backgrounds of the characters.  The script clearly shows what the main character (protagonist) wants and how she goes about getting it.

Act 1 – we see relationships, the protagonist’s personality and what she wants.

Fellow: “Rhoda, it was really nice of you to invite me to breakfast.”

Rhoda: “Gary, I did not invite you.” (with a smile)

Gary:  “Well, then it was nice of you not to kick me out.”

Rhoda’s sister Brenda arrives to tell her why she can’t go out to dinner and the theatre with Rhoda tonight.


Act 2 – we see Protagonist pursuing what she wants.

Rhoda calls friends; they cannot go with her.

She asks her boss; he doesn’t like going to theatres.

She even asks Johnny Venture, the  fellow she has been turning down; he cannot because he’s judging a beauty contest tonight.


Act 3 -  Protagonist reveals what the real Antagonist is.

In her apartment, Rhoda paces, she picks up the theatre tickets and puts them down again.

She gets on the intercom with Carlton the doorman.  She tells him why she doesn’t want to go out alone at nighttime – she fears what people could be thinking of her, how they would judge her.

Archetype:  Carlton is the unexpected ally and mentor


Act 4 – Protagonist has overcome Antagonist.

At a restaurant where tea tastes like coffee (Rhoda is escaping from pouring rain), she meets:

- a taxi driver who is eating his spaghetti dinner

- an old woman named Marie who says she is a stewardess on a rocket on the Martian Space Patrol

- the waitress named Bea who says: “What are you doing out on a terrible night like this?”

Rhoda:  “Tonight was a big night for me. I was trying to do something alone.”

Bea: “You married?”

Rhoda: “Divorced.”

Bea: “Sounds like you’re already doing something alone.”


Act 5 -Protagonist has been transformed.

In her apartment are her allies – her sister Brenda, Brenda’s boyfriend Benny, Gary, Johnny.

Rhoda comes home.  She says: “I had a great time. It was wonderful.  It’s great to go out alone, I found out. I mean, you meet terrific people…. You would have loved it….”

Her boss Jack arrives.  “You’re not dead.”

Brilliant line.  Rhoda is the opposite of dead.

She has realized a new life. She can go out alone and enjoy herself. She has learned to look at people. She wants to share her discovery with her sister and friends.

They want to leave.

Rhoda says: “You had to be there.  I love you all, even if you didn’t get it.”

“Brenda, look at me. Have you ever seen your sister in better shape?”

After Rhoda closes the door, she reaches into her bag and pulls out Bea’s hat (souvenir from mentor archetype) and puts it on her head.

I love how sitcom character Rhoda Morgenstern shows beginning, middle, and ending  through an archetype-driven plotline! Thank you, Ms. Charlotte Brown!

Cheering for all Writers and Readers!

Story Theme Consultant Teresa Jade LeYung - photo by Mary E. Knippel, creator of Your Writing Mentor



As a story theme consultant, award-winning writer, and platform-building coach for pre-published and published authors, Writing Coach Teresa Jade LeYung helps her clients identify their core themes and transform their manuscripts into novels, biographies and memoirs.



Author / Writing Coach/ Platform & Fanbase-Building Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here to praise the fine writing and editing, publishing and distribution of the engaging, informative, and educational articles and poems in Street Spirit – the monthly newspaper with the tagline “Justice News & Homeless Blues in the Bay Area“  While we pay handsomely for live theatre tickets to see the timeless Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, do we close our eyes when we see poverty and injustice on sidewalks, BART stations, and storefront doorways?

Here is a short short list of the remarkable stories, essays, tributes, articles and poems from recent issues. And, don’t forget the art and photographs!

“How We Find Our Silenced Voices and Learn to Sing”   by Janny Castillo – a retelling of a story by Marguerite Annie Johnson, but you may know her best as Maya Angelou.

January Poetry of the Streets (poets Claire J. Baker, George Wynn, Joan Clair, Judy Joy Jones, Mary Rudge)

Are Homeless People Beautiful? by Osha Neumann

Silicon Valley’s Brilliant Design: Homeless Families in the Rain by Carol Denney

“Remember the Children Born On Our Streets”  and  “Dave Ferguson’s Lifelong Mission of Opening Doors” both articles by Lydia Gans

“History and commentary on blues and social justice”

“On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, let us recognize that extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere. Let us recall that poverty is a denial of human rights. For the first time in history, in this age of unprecedented wealth and technical prowess, we have the power to save humanity from this shameful scourge. Let us summon the will to do it.” — Kofi Annan

Street Spirit is a publication of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)  that reports extensively on homelessness, poverty, economic inequality, welfare issues, human rights issues and the struggle for social justice. For the past 17 years, Street Spirit has been dedicated to empowering poor and homeless people and giving a voice to the voiceless, at a time when the voices of the poor are virtually locked out of the mainstream media.

American Friends Service Committee shoulders the entire printing costs of more than $3,000 per month to give more than 100 homeless vendors a positive alternative to panhandling, and to give our readers a progressive alternative to the corporate-controlled mainstream media. Help us remain an independent voice for justice! Please donate or subscribe to Street Spirit.

To read more about what Street Spirit is

If you wish to donate to Street Spirit through American Friends Service Committee, click on

American Friends Service Committee

“We are committed to this Spirit-led journey, undertaken to see what love can do.”

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service.

AFSC’s work is based on our belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. These principles animate our work for peace and justice in scores of communities in the United States and in our international programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

AFSC was founded in 1917 during World War I.  In accordance with their Quaker faith, the new organization gave young conscientious objectors ways to serve without enlisting in the military or taking lives.  They drove ambulances, ministered to the wounded, and stayed on in Europe after the armistice to rebuild war-ravaged communities.

In 1947, the American Friends Service Committee and British Friends Service Council accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for the work done during and after the two World Wars to feed starving children and help Europe rebuild itself.

Committed to the principles of nonviolence and justice, the American Friends Service Committee seeks in its work and witness to draw on the transforming power of love, human and divine.

We seek to understand and address the root causes of poverty, injustice, and war. We hope to act with courage and vision in taking initiatives that may not be popular.

To read more about American Friends Service Committee

The art of homeless artists, reviews of gallery showings, profiles of artists and more

Index of back issues of Street Spirit

Cheers to the Folks of Street Spirit – monthly newspaper with tagline “Justice News & Homeless Blues in the Bay Area”


Teresa LeYung-Ryan with her Love Made Of Heart trademark - photo by YBK









Teresa LeYung-Ryan is “Platform & Fanbase-Building Coach Teresa” and Manuscript Consultant and  . . .

author of:

Love Made of Heart: a Mother’s Mental Illness Forges Forgiveness in Daughter Ruby (novel used by college professors)

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

Coach Teresa’s Blog at





  • Click here for Writing Contests  through Literary Arts Division of the San Mateo County Fair – many genres (including novels, memoirs, short stories, fantasy, science fiction, essays, poetry, children’s, immigrant experience) – open worldwide – $10 per entry -  online entries due April 1, 2014   5:00pm Pacific Standard Time. Cheers to Literary Arts Director Bardi Rosman Koodrin, sponsors, judges, all contestants!



Check out my blog post  “Coach Teresa says: Who or What is the Antagonist in Your Story?“  before you send your manuscripts to agents, acquisition editors, or writing contests.

Remember that a story, even a short one, has a beginning, middle, and end.  A “snapshot” of an event is not a story.  A story must have a main character, even if that character is the only character.

Writing Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan cheers for Writing Contest Creators, Sponsors, Judges, and Contestants!



Teresa LeYung-Ryan   aka  22-Day Coach Teresa helps clients identify their themes and archetypes; she is the author of:

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (workbook for all genres)

Love Made of Heart: a Mother’s Mental Illness Forges Forgiveness in Daughter Ruby (novel used in college courses)

“Talking to My Dead Mom” monologues

Creator of The Immigrant Experience Writing Contest

Coach Teresa’s website

To subscribe to Coach Teresa’s Blog , please click here.

First, what is a writer’s platform? Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan here to answer that question–”Making your name stand for something—to attract targeted consumers who are likely to buy what you have to sell.”

” What are you selling? Your literary products—articles, columns, stories, poems, essays, speeches, scripts, books.”

“Making your name stand for something–the something being the subject matters, issues, and themes in your writings.”

“Targeted consumers? They are the readers who read the subject matters that you write about.”

My clients ask me: “Coach Teresa, How long does it take to build my writer’s platform?”

My answer: “When you stick to something for 21 days, you develop a new habit.  Do the exercises in my workbook for at least 21 days. On the 22nd day, you graduate with the tools to build your writer’s platform.”

So, how long does it take to build your writer’s platform? Only 22 days!

May 5, 2011:

Author Joan Gelfand asked me today: “Teresa, what happens after you build your platform?

My response: “After I build my platform, I fortify it, then I retrofit it.  Building my platform and then abandoning it doesn’t serve me.”

Margaret Davis, author of Straight Down the Middle, says: “Instead of the usual pep talks, Coach Teresa’s workbook consists of a series of exercises which are thought-provoking, and always fun.”

Speaking of fun, I had a fun day fortifying my own platform and helping fellow members of WNBA.

Thanks to my pal Mary E. Knippel‘s lending me her Flip camera, I produced 4 short videos today–to share my expertise about platform-building for writers. I’ll post the videos on YouTube next week.

Then, I packed the Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter (WNBA) membership roster, name badges, name tents, the thank-you gift for our chapter president (Lynn Henriksen),  and went cake-shopping for tonight’s celebration. The event was at the San Francisco Public Library-Main Branch.

What an exciting meeting!  Established members (guiding lights) showed up; talented new members showed up:

Lynn Henriksen will mentor the new incoming chapter president or co-presidents

Kate Britton wishes to stay on as Membership Chair

Christopher Payne wishes to stay on as Treasurer

Teresa LeYung-Ryan wishes to stay on as Secretary, mentor committee chairs, and continue to show members how to build their own platforms with the help of the WNBA platform.

Mary E. Knippel wishes to stay on to mentor committee chairs and help them coax their creativity.

Birgit Soyka wishes to be WNBA Liaison to BookShop West Portal

Elizabeth Pomada, former chapter president, will continue to be a guiding light for WNBA, promoting our chapter through San Francisco Writers Conference, ASJA, and other affiliations.

Michael Larsen, former chapter president, will continue to be a guiding light for WNBA, promoting our chapter through San Francisco Writers Conference, ASJA,and other affiliations.

Leon Veal will continue being our liaison at San Francisco Public Library and San Francisco Project Read

Jane Glendinning is also affiliated with California Writers Club-Berkeley Branch

Patricia Tsang, M.D. is also affiliated with California Writers Club-San Francisco Peninsula Branch (and the Asian Heritage Street Celebration this year)

Janine Kovac is also affiliated with LitQuake (San Francisco’s Literary Festival)

Apala Egan is also affiliated with California Writers Club-South Bay Branch

Claudia Boutote is also affiliated with Harper One, publisher in San Francisco

Joan Gelfand is immediate-past president on national board of WNBA; she recommends our chapter sponsoring smaller events, and more of them, so that members get to co-chair one event in their region. This distribution of duties would benefit all members.

Linda Joy Myers, founder of National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW), offered to share her expertise in teleseminars.

Linda Lee, our webmaster and cyberspace guru, offered to share her expertise in webinars and make webinars a benefit to members and a revenue tool when we sell the products to non-members.

* * * * * * * * *

We honored Lynn Henriksen; she made the past 2 years fun for us. Thank you, Lynn!

Vicki, Leigh Anne, Kaye, Barbara, Judith, Ricky, Elisa, we missed you at this meeting/party. See you soon!

Cyberspace Guru Linda Lee and I had a chance to chat after the meeting.

Cheers from Writing Coach Teresa!


Teresa LeYung-Ryan, board member, San Francisco Chapter of Women’s National Book Association

Hope to see members in or near San Francisco on Thursday June 2, 2011,  6:00-7:30pm
Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter MEET UP
Mary E. Knippel (Creativity Mentor) & Teresa LeYung-Ryan (Writing Career Coach) will be present to mentor members and conduct “round-table MEET UP”
San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Latino/Hispanic Community Room (you can bring food into this room) at lower level,
100 Larkin St.(or use 30 Grove Street entrance), S.F., CA 94102
RSVP by emailing:







Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW Available through   Check out the reviews!   Coach Teresa created the fun workbook to help fiction and nonfiction authors gain a competitive edge.  Whether you want to be your own publisher or sell rights to another publisher, attract readers and more readers now!   After you order Coach Teresa’s workbook, email her to receive an exclusive bonus on platform-building. Teresa’s email address is on her website

Hello Writers,

I am Teresa LeYung Ryan. My clients call me Writing Career Coach Teresa. Who are my clients? They are writers just like you:

• authors who have invested years writing their projects and needed to hook agents with a marketing pitch in their query letters.

• authors who have self-published their books, and deserve more readers.

• writers of fiction and nonfiction, tired of rejections, tired of publishers telling them that they don’t have a platform or fanbase.

What is a platform anyway?

Making your name stand for something—to attract targeted consumers who are likely to buy what you have to sell. Let’s hear that again.

Making your name stand for something (the themes/the subject matters/the issues in your writing)—to attract targeted consumers (people who buy the kinds of books you create ) who are likely to buy what you have to sell (your literary works).

Join the community of authors who write fiction (novels, short stories, graphic novels, novellas), narrative and creative nonfiction (autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, essays), prescriptive nonfiction (how-to books), poetry, speeches, and other genres . . .  and have gained a competitive edge with my workbook: Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

What these authors have to say:

Ruth Silnes is a published author of three books, one of them a how-to book. Ruth says: “Thanks to Coach Teresa’s workbook I learned how to contact a star. Carol Channing wrote a review for my latest book.”

Kate Britton is looking for an agent for her novel; she’s also considering self-publishing.  She says: “Through Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days . . . you’ll find out some pretty interesting things about yourself and what your platform is really all about.”

Margaret Davis, a published novelist, says: “Instead of the usual pep talks, Coach Teresa’s workbook consists of a series of exercises which are thought-provoking, and always fun.”

Lynn Scott, author of narrative non-fiction (memoirs), says: “Coach Teresa is a whiz in the ways a writer can get noticed.”

Join these successful authors today!

Go to Amazon and search for Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days.  After you order my book, contact me through this blog post (click on the title bar of this post scroll down to get boxes, filled in the boxes, and click the “submit comment” button) and you will receive a free tip on platform building.

In the meantime, check out the resources at my website

I’ll see there!

And remember, “Reach out, not stress out.  Help your readers find you!” with Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days


Writing Career Coach Teresa  Build Your Writer's Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days

Hi Teresa,
Thought you may be interested in this self-publishing article in the Sac Bee.  Ken Umbach is in the article and gives great advice!
Margie Yee Webb
Thanks, Margie!  What a helpful article by Allen Pierleoni at The Sacramento Bee. . . which answers the questions “How do I self publish? Is it difficult?  Is it costly?” beautifully.

After you read the article, please check out these organizations

Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA)

Northern California Publishers & Authors (NCPA)

California Writers Club  18 branches in California

Women’s National Book Association


Publishing Panel: Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010 • 2-5 p.m.

San Francisco Main Public Library


Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan

Self-publishing gets easier with online tools

By Allen Pierleoni
Published: Monday, Aug. 9, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1D
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 9, 2010 – 1:09 pm

You, too, can be an author.

In print and online, self-published authors have never had so many choices of where and how to place their memoirs, novels, cookbooks, essays and poetry.

Among those there to help them is Bob Young, co-founder of the giant online publishing company Lulu. Young says “the new publishing model” will not be dependent on best-sellers – the lifeblood of traditional publishing – but on niche publications.

“Our most successful authors generally fit into specialized knowledge-based categories,” said Lulu spokesman Jonathan Cox. “They write about business, economics, computers, the Internet, art.”

Among the major players accommodating aspiring writers – in a few cases, established authors as well, such as John Edgar Wideman (“Briefs”) – are Amazon (CreateSpace and Digital Text Platform), Author Solutions (parent company of AuthorHouse, Xlibris and iUniverse), Barnes & Noble (PubIt!), Apple (iBookstore), Lulu, Smashwords, Scribd and Fastpencil.

Profits from sales are split between publisher and author, with publishers getting 20 percent to 30 percent and writers getting 70 percent to 80 percent.

Self-published authors can choose to have their finished products as e-books downloadable to a variety of e-readers (including Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad), other mobile devices and PCs, or in traditional book form, or both.

They’re doing so in viral numbers. Last year, 764,448 self-published titles appeared – an increase of 181 percent from 2008. That compares with 289,729 titles from traditional publishing houses, according to the R.R. Bowker Co., which compiles bibliographic data.

Ideal for untested writers; not great for literary stars

E-books account for an estimated 5 percent to 10 percent of all U.S. book sales, according to book industry consultants, but within five years they could account for up to 25 percent.

On Friday, Dorchester Publishing announced that it will abandon its traditional print publishing business in favor of “an e-book/print-on-demand model.”

The decision came after sales of its mass-market paperbacks, its specialty, fell by 25 percent last year and have been even worse in 2010.

Jim Milliot, co-editorial director of Publishers Weekly, said the self-publishing movement “isn’t making any of the big publishers nervous, but they’re certainly watching it.”

“If they have a fear, it’s that one of their large-name authors will go out on his or her own,” Milliot said. “But what keeps the big authors tied to their houses is big advances. You’re not going to see a John Grisham go running to Smashwords.”

As e-readers, e-books and e-bookstores become more ingrained in our culture, the digital self-publishing model gets the most buzz.

Usually, the digital model works in conjunction with print on demand, in which a paper book isn’t physically printed until it’s been presold. That’s a double whammy for an author – an e-book and a paper version of the same title.

Start typing

How does a writer turn an electronic manuscript into an e-book? The process is simple.At www.barnesandnoble/pubit, for instance, the directions for the digital self-publishing template advise: “Set up your account (with us), then start loading files and cover art for … your e-books. PubIt! converts digital files to ePub format, the most widely accepted format for e-reader and mobile devices. … Now millions of readers can buy your e-books” through online bookstores.

Kenneth Umbach of Citrus Heights uses Lulu as a publishing platform for paper and digital books.

Through his Umbach Consulting and Publishing, he has produced his own titles (a collection of columns from the weekly newspaper Senior Spectrum, and a how-to-publish handbook) and those of others. Sales have been “modest,” he said.

Probably his company’s biggest seller was “Capitol Crimes,” a collection of mystery stories by members of the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime, published partly as a fundraiser.

Umbach advises aspiring self-publishers to be aware of add-on services for sale by tech publishers, from editing to promotional packages.

“Hire someone with expertise in laying out your book, and have a set of competent eyes editing it,” he said.

Publishing is just one step

One of the conceits of self-publishing is that it democratizes the process, allowing anyone to put a book in the marketplace and name his or her price. There is no longer the need for an agent, an editor or a monolithic publishing house.The nature of success changes, too.

“For successful authors, writing the book is the beginning,” said Cox of Lulu. “They maintain blogs, speak at conferences, stay active in online forums that potential readers are likely to visit.”

“Success is different for every author,” he added. “Some just want to share an idea with the world, so they give away their books or sell them at cost. Others want to build a personal brand. Many want to make money.”

Lulu has paid “millions of dollars in royalties to our authors,” Cox said. “Some earn a couple of dollars over the lifetime of their books. Others earn thousands of dollars every year. We have one author who has earned more than $196,000″ from a technical book.

“The market is broad and diverse,” said Amazon spokeswoman Sarah Gelman. “We think that our Digital Text Platform makes it possible for authors and publishers to offer more titles, at better prices, to Kindle customers. We also think this will allow more authors to make a living at their craft.”

Milliot of Publishers Weekly cautions: “For a new author with no established audience, the chances of succeeding are not very high.”

Some find fame

But there are success stories.Unable to break into traditional publishing, Boyd Morrison placed “The Ark” on Amazon’s Kindle bookstore. Sales were so great that Simon & Schuster – one of the publishers that had rejected the thriller – bought it and printed it in hardback.

Frustrated by publishers who turned down her novel “A Scattered Life,” Karen McQuestion published it online. The e-book sold nearly 40,000 copies and now McQuestion has a movie option.

J.A. Konrath says he’ll make $100,000 this year from Kindle sales of his thriller “Whiskey Sour.” That despite book critics calling the title “formulaic” and “cliché-ridden.”

Which brings up the issue of quality. If anybody can publish anything, how good will most of it be?

“In the ‘old days,’ after 30 rejection letters, you’d stick the manuscript in a drawer,” said Milliot. “Today you send it to (an online publisher). By far the lion’s share of self-published material – both print or digital – would never be published (in a traditional way) because, frankly, it’s not professional grade. That said, there is some good stuff out there.”

Laura Miller, co-founder of the online magazine, took self- publishing to task from the perspective of a former book editor who worked in the mainstream New York publishing industry.

In a brutal yet telling essay for, she wrote in part, “Civilians … can talk as much trash as they want about the supposedly low standards of traditional publishing. They haven’t seen the vast majority of what didn’t get published. Believe me, if you have, it’s enough to make your blood run cold, thinking about (it) being introduced into the general population.”

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Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128

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