Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have a Wonderful Holiday

The tree is up, the gifts are all wrapped, the house is clean and decorated. We're just waiting on Santa now. So from my house to yours - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Entertain Your Readers – Essay Writing Part 3

Your essay may be informative, insightful or inspirational, but no one will read it if it’s not entertaining. Try to begin with a hook, a part of the story that is compelling or amusing and will keep the reader engrossed.

Tell the story in your own voice, the way you would relate it to a friend. Let your personality come through but don’t lose clarity. Focus in on your theme, the unifying idea that runs through your narrative.

Be truthful, your reader will empathize with you.

Use dialogue, metaphors and description.

Bring your essay to a satisfying conclusion with an insight that your reader will identify with.

Edit and rewrite. Put it aside for awhile then edit again.

Oh, and it’s okay to be creative – a few little white lies won’t hurt and may benefit your story

Friday, December 19, 2008

Streams of Consciousness - Essay Writing Part 2

Okay you’ve picked a topic for your story but then you look at the blank page or computer screen and freeze. That first sentence can be daunting. Don’t be intimidated.

Let’s say your subject is a vacation gone wrong, the plane was delayed, your luggage was lost, and the hotel was by far the worst dump you ever stayed in. All these things are going through your mind in no particular order. Where to start?

Just put one word on the paper – I, we or they - and go from there. Just start writing. It maybe chaotic or fragmented. Your thoughts and memories don’t always flow in a linear fashion. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation or time line. Just get everything on the page. This is sometimes called stream of consciousness – a continuous flow of thoughts, feelings and memories.

Maybe your first memory is how the airline found your bags after you got home – write it down. Then you think of a funny incident at the hotel - write it down. The more you write the more you’ll remember. Give it a rest for a day. When you go back to it things will come into focus.

That Eureka moment will happen and you’ll suddenly see that your fourth paragraph will make a great lead-in. Pretty soon you’ll be moving whole segments of your narrative and your beginning, middle and end will become apparent. It’s a satisfying moment.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to Write a Personal Essay - Part 1

I just finished up a short piece of creative non-fiction aka personal essay and I started thinking about how I started thinking about starting.

First comes the topic. If you’re writing for a particular publication the subject matter may already be decided for you. If the choice is yours and you have no restrictions you might choose a personal experience. A situation that is poignant, funny or inspirational would make a great story.

Perhaps you have a person you want to write about. We all have someone we admire. Perhaps it’s a friend who succeeded despite a debilitating illness, a teacher who influenced your career choice or maybe a parent who taught you a life lesson.

Your choices are endless – hobbies, pets, vacations, a special holiday or the day you bought your first house. Write about what you know and it will be a labor of love.

Next time – How to get past that blank page.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Vampire Series for Adults

With all the hoopla about “Twilight” I feel compelled to write about a vampire series for adults –Every book in the series is great, I suggest you start with the first one - “The Companion.”

The story moves from Regency England to Egypt and Squires is equally at home in both settings.

She gives her vampires a new twist by infecting them with a parasite, and the grisly passages depicting how the hero contracted his “companion” may not be to everyone’s taste.

The hero is Ian Rufford who was captured in Egypt and infected by the woman who enslaved him. When he meets Elizabeth Rochewell, on a ship heading from Egypt to England, he’s drawn to her. She’s attracted to him as well but his dark past, revealed in flashbacks, keeps them apart.

It’s a love story, a paranormal and an historical thriller. If you love vampires this is a must read.

To find out more about Susan’s books and read an excerpt go to her website at: