Posts Tagged ‘writing project’

When weaving a story, keep “it” simple.  “It” = story-structure.

One of my favorite stories is E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.  This timeless tale has wonderful hooks, memorable characters, universal themes and a compelling yet simple plotline.   Writers, I recommend your dissecting this book and your favorite books if you want to understand story structure for fiction or narrative non-fiction.


May your writing projects take on new form and new vitality in the new year!


Writing Coach/Manuscript Consultant Teresa LeYung Ryan

author of Love Made of Heart (recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association)

The reason why I love editing thrillers and mysteries is that I enjoy helping authors keep track of the hooks, foreshadowing, the “crime thread” and the thematic plotline.  Also, I like general fiction, memoirs, children’s and young adult fiction–especially when the protagonist is quirky and feisty.

Study Martha Alderson’s resources for plot: and and

After you have completed the first draft of your book and have gained a handle on plot, please contact me if you’re shopping for a manuscript consultant/editor who can help you take your project to the next phrase.  Here’s a testimonial from a client who is writing a most exciting thriller:

“I was an attendee at the CWC-BB and have been working since then with Teresa LeYung Ryan on my novel, The Sacred Heart. Teresa is so committed to her clients and does a remarkable job of coaching and encouraging while wielding an insightful red pen.

Tom Wolfe spoke last week in Charlotte for the public library there and I briefly interviewed him afterwards for The Writer magazine ….He said the basis for his writing continually came back to great reporting and that the key for any writer is getting out of the building and observing people – particularly being on the scene when something happens.

Thanks Teresa, for pushing my reporting skills.”

Don Hudson

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Are there editors/book doctors who specialize in thrillers & mysteries?  Yes.  You’ve found one of them.

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year, Writers!

May your writing projects take on new form and new vitality!


Writing Coach/Manuscript Consultant Teresa LeYung Ryan

author of Love Made of Heart (recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association)

Last week while my husband was at a music workshop, I started a new writing project–a guide for writers to build their names so that they’d have the competitive edge when pitching to an agent or an
acquisition editor at a publishing house  or pursuing the independent publishing route. The guide will serve my clients as well as writers who prefer to learn from written instructions.

The catalyst for my coaching came from their reports:

  • “I landed a big acquisition editor. He helped me with the book proposal over months. Everything looked promising until he pitched my book to the sales people at the publishing house and they asked him: ‘What kind of platform does this author have?’ Just like that I was rejected. I hope they won’t take my idea and let a big-name author write it before I build my fame.”
  • “I’m tired of getting rejection letters from agents. They tell me I’m a fine writer, but, they also tell me that fiction is very competitive . . .”
  • “I’m an expert in my field, and, still I can’t get a publisher to take my book. They asked me: ‘How big is your readership?’ Isn’t that their job, to find the readers?”
  • “I was a ghost writer for a celebrity. He got the big advance from the publisher. I got paid one time, a small sum, and, I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut that I did the work.”
Writing-Career-Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan

Writing-Career-Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan

Here’s a tip from my upcoming guide:  Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, identify the themes in your work.  In my all-time -favorite story, Charlotte’s Web, the themes included: cycle of life; friendship;
self-esteem; courage; loyalty. In Love Made of Heart, the themes included: daughter wanting mother’s approval; woman carrying guilt; traumas from domestic-violence and effects on children; stigmas with mental illness; struggles and courage of immigrants.

When you’re describing your book to anyone, focus on the themes. When  you’re calling in a talk show, make your comment or question relevant to the themes of the program as well as to your book. Be sure to say your full name.

What is fame, really?  Fame is when people hear or see your name, again and again.

Are you writing letters to newspaper editors? Read the paper and see what your community is most concerned with; then write the letter and offer a solution. Pure complaints usually don’t help; succinct proposals offering resources often do help (and get published).

I hope to see writers and readers in the next few months, at these events:

Sunday, August 23, 2009 1:00-3:00pm

Three Stories, Three Writers, Three Paths.

Teresa LeYung Ryan, Martha Alderson, Luisa Adams at San Mateo County Fair/Peninsula Festival

Teresa LeYung Ryan, Martha Alderson, Luisa Adams at San Mateo County Fair/Peninsula Festival

with Luisa Adams, author of Woven of Water; Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots—Pure & Simple; Teresa LeYung Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart; Moderator: Tory Hartmann, author of The Ghost of Harvey Milk and president of California Writers Club-SF Peninsula Branch
Expo Hall–Creative Arts Stage (west of #13 on festival map)—-at San Mateo County Fair/Peninsula Festival
They met through the Jack London Writers Conference and the California Writers Club over 10 years ago.
How are they inspiring the reading and writing community today?

Thank you, CWC SF Peninsula Branch President Tory Hartmann, Bardi Rosman Koodrin and Alexandra King,  for orchestrating this fun gig for us!  Other CWC members at the festival will include:  Tory Hartmann, Christopher Wachlin, Laurel Anne Hill, Joyce Robins, Geri Spieler, Inés Villafañe-León, Jo Carpignano, Lucy Murray, and Linda Okerlund.

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Thursday, Sept. 3rd, 2009  6:00-8:00pm
Library Advocates MEET!
Oakland Main Library – West Auditorium
125 14th Street, Oakland, CA

Teresa LeYung Ryan and fellow library advocates show up at Save-the-Libraries meetings

Teresa LeYung Ryan and fellow library advocates show up at Save-the-Libraries meetings

Find out how we can help the folks who have lost Book Mobile.

Find out how we can help the learners and tutors at Second Start-the adult literary program in Oakland.

Find out how our might voices can influence city council members.

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Saturday,  September 19, 2009,  10:00am–4:00pm in Santa Rosa

Sonoma County Book Festival,  Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, CA


Teresa LeYung Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart

Mary Lunning, aka “Shyne” the poet, author of My Human Heart

Kate Farrell, author of Girl in the Mirror

Marcia E. Canton, Ph.D., co-author of Mentoring in Higher Education: Best Practices

Stop by and say hello to these 4 authors and members of Women’s National Book Association.

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Saturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11, 2009

Jack London Writers Conference
Saturday October 10, 2009  11:00-11:45am


Map Out Your Career NOW:
3 Easy Steps for Fiction and Nonfiction Writers

with Author and Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan

Learn how to:
• identify advocates, endorsers and fans.
• gain recognition through your words and your community.
• build your platform by reaching out, not stressing out.

How do writers thrive in the fiercely competitive industry?  Find out for yourself in this fun

interactive session.

Writing Career Coach Teresa LeYung Ryan says:

“Thank you so much for attending my presentation at the BAIPA conference. One hour was not enough for the resources I wanted to give all of you.”

“How does one person stand out in any industry? Building relationships is one key to success. For you, the writer, 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 you realize your dreams.”

1. YOU ARE AN EXPERT/AUTHORITY OF YOUR EXPERIENCES. You, the story-teller, have the power to entertain, enlighten, and heal the world (one reader at a time). How do you attract the readers? By knowing what the themes are in your stories and making your name synonymous with those themes/messages. [for examples . . . read on.]

2. YOU ARE BIGGER THAN YOUR BOOK. “Reach out, not stress out” to: build your platform/brand; market/promote yourself; gain recognition through your circles of influence. Your book is an accessory of you. When people connect with “what you have to say” on an emotional level, they will most likely be talking about you with their circles of influence.


* I will write book reviews for my favorite authors and sign my reviews with my full name and blog or website address.

* I will learn how to create a compelling plotline by identifying the themes in my story. See how published authors drive their thesis statements, and then examine your project. Study from the books you’d read again and again. [ Martha Alderson is Teresa's plotting coach There are 3 plotlines, according to Martha: Action / Emotional / Thematic Significance ]

Examples [What are the themes in Teresa's novel Love Made of Heart ?]:

* struggles and courage of an immigrant family.

* mental illness and the burden of stigmas.

* family-violence is terrorism at home.

* forgiveness in others and in self.

* I will thank people who have inspired me, supported my goals, mentored me, believed in me, AND, I will tell them about the status of my writing project. Be concise. Then once or twice a year I will give them an update.

* When I meet people, I will introduce myself with my full name, and, if I’m asked “What do you do?” I will respond with a talking-tagline [Elisa Southard is Teresa's talking-tagline coach ]

Examples [How does Teresa build her platform? Articulating the themes in her novel by adding Elisa's "talking-tagline action verbs"? ]:

* Through my stories, I give voice to the struggles and courage of immigrant families.
* Through my writing, I advocate compassion for mental illness and help dissolve the stigmas.
* Through my book, I help survivors of family-violence find their own voices.
* Through my book Love Made of Heart, I show that “forgiveness in others” begins with self-forgiveness.

[See how Teresa crafts each statement to focus on one theme at a time? If she's talking to someone who has introduced him/herself as an outreach coordinator at Community Violence Solutions, which theme would Teresa focus on?]

* I will go where published authors go, learn from them, foster relationships, and share my findings with colleagues. [Check Teresa's calendar-of events at ] Teresa believes in “Pay it forward” as in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel Pay In Forward. When someone does something nice for Teresa, she does something nice for three other people.

* I will attend community / library / bookstore events and blog about the experience.

* I will post a question on my blog and invite my friends to post comments. I will also ask my friends to forward my request to their friends. Make the task easy for people; give them step-by-step instructions; test the procedure yourself before asking someone else to post comments. Learn more ways to build fame through blogging [ Linda Lee is Teresa's cyberspace coach.]

* I will identify the organizations that advocate my messages/themes and post my comments on their blogs and also post those same comments on my own blog.

* I will Google my own name and see “who am I” today in the cyberspace world; then every month (as I continue to take action building my platform), I will see the great progress I’ve made.

* I will help my writer-friends by telling them about the April 16, 2009 event where they can dine with and learn more about identifying the themes in their writing from Teresa LeYung Ryan and other published authors at the “WNBA Authors Showcase” Go to: for more info.

Cheering for all hard-working writers!


Teresa LeYung Ryan who says:

“Reach out, not stress out.”

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