Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Inspiration for your writing and your spiritual life in one great author

  • New and seasoned writers will enjoy and be inspired by one of my favorite writing friends, Carma Dutra. She is a great critique partner and a member of The Childrens Writers Coaching Club where we both are working on honing our skills. Here is her story. Be sure to visit her websites and sign up for her informational newsletters. It is great information
    for both new and experienced writers. Her new site is an inspiration
  • for your spiritual life as well. Enjoy!
Carma's own words.......

Unlike many writers who have known all their lives they wanted to write, I did not discover my passion for writing until I was a grandmother. In addition, writing for children was not my first choice.

As an adult college student, my writing skills were developed and honed. Soon, my classmates wanted me to edit and help write their essays. This built my confidence as a writer, editor and wordsmith. As I look back this was all in preparation for what was to come.

I began writing a monthly column for the regional news paper and after a couple of years decided it would be nice to earn some money for my writing. So, I began researching how to find a job as a writer. About this time I came across Suzanne Lieurance’s website. Signing up for Suzanne Lieurance’s writing course was the best decision I made. Suzanne is the director of the Children's Writers Coaching Club and numerous other writing services. www.workingwriterscoach.com

Through numerous classes with Suzanne and her professional staff of writing instructors, I learned how to craft various types of children’s stories and writing techniques. But most of all I received encouragement and developed camaraderie with other writers.

In addition I learned about the business of writing and what publishers and editors look for. I also learned a variety of ways to market my skills through blogging and social networking.

My writing service Carma’s Word, offers help when you need a ghost writer or proof reading and editing for your novel. In addition, I can help with developing blog content, creating newsletters and article writing.

My children’s writing blog Carma’s Window, provides information and tips on a variety of writing and information from well known authors. In addition, I conduct interviews with established children’s authors and write book reviews.

My newest venture is a new blog titled “The Lord Willin’” I will be writing on a variety of spiritual issues and inspirational topics. Today’s world is hungry for comfort and love. Using relevant biblical teachings, my hope is to encourage, inform, inspire and comfort those in need, Lord Willin’. .

Carma Carma's WordCreative Writing Services

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Personal Writing Goals-

I promised you early on that I would share my own writing goals for two reasons:

1. To help me to find my writing focus.

2. To encourage you to set goals and find your own writing niche.

I am finding that if I don't set goals, it is like driving into an unknown area without the map. I set smaller goals on a weekly list which are helping me to work towards the larger and long term goals. This is what I have so far:

A. I want to write easy readers with a health or first aid focus. I have several ideas twirling in my head, one focusing on an eccentric nurse and her mascot who go around teaching elementary kids lessons on health, safety, and first aid but with a quirky and funny type twist. This idea could be a series of several books lending itself to worksheets, healthy eating kits, school programs, and any number of ideas to promote the topics. It would compliment the current health curriculum and state standards assisting teachers in a fun and active way.

B. I want to create a series of fictional characters that are based on realistic emotional and physical characteristics that show how kids react and deal with a serious illness. I vision my character as an elementary aged student who battles a disease and must also battle how the peers and family members handle what is happening. I want to introduce the character in a picture book and then offer easy readers or chapter books growing with the reader as the character grows. The purpose of this series is for the reader to empathize or for a child dealing with the same thing to have a vehicle where they can say Yeah, that is exactly how I feel... fear, pain, worry, whatever...

C. I want to write articles and informational products related to pediatric health, special needs kids, pediatric nursing, and how to products in the pediatric arena... just not sure where to go with it just yet. In the mean time I continue to write health articles and educational material from a nursing focus just for the payment and to acquire writing clips.

So, those are three goals I would like to focus on. Of course, I have other dreams as well, to write chick lit, romantic or suspense romance with medicine weaved throughout in a series of books created around common characters. And I would love to do more nonfiction children's books like biographies on people in history who have impacted our medicine today, so I am always making notes on a vast list of ideas.

I try to work on A,B, or C at least three times a week. The blog at http://heartfeltwords4kids.blogspot.com/ offers resources and items for parents and kids who are dealing with an illness or special need, grief, or cancer. This new blog at http://terri-forehand.blogspot.com will focus on writing information and tips for new writers offering links to all kinds of children's writers and courses.

From here, I will continue to be part of the Children's Writers Coaching Club under the direction of Suzanne Lieurance, http://www.suzannelieurance.com/ . You can join me there by clicking on the icon on the right. It is a great place to get started when trying to find your focus.

Let me know how your goals are coming along. Send along any helpful tips on writing that you may have found useful so the rest of us can learn too. Assisting each other is part of writing to the heart of the matter. Together we will succeed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beverly Stowe McClure

I don't know about you, but sometimes I wonder if published and famous authors are real people... their success seems almost unattainable.

  • I am finding out that famous authors are REAL people and they network, offer tips to beginners, and have a great web presence that those of us learning can tap into.

Beverly Stowe McClure is one of those famous and published authors whose website is a wealth of information for the new writer. She is the author of Rebel in Blue Jeans and other great books for children and teens. Visit her website at www.beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com and be prepared to discover tips on writing and other great information for writers and readers alike.

Check it out and let me know what you find. It changes often, so visit frequently to keep current on publishing trends and up to date writing tips. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Author...Kathy Stemke

Congratulations to author Kathy Stemke on her newly published book about the days of the week. Kathy is a great example of an author who has found her niche, slant, of focus.

There are a number of authors who write fun educational books about everyday things like the days of the week but Kathy's focus is on movement, rhythm, and action.

Visit her website and blogs for more great tips and to study what she has been so successful at doing with her writing for children. This is how we learn from others and put into practice some of the things other writers do as we search to find our own niche or focus. You can also purchase her e-book directly from her site to share with the children you know.

Kathy Stemke's websites:





Check it out and leave her a comment and while you are there check out her post about her library visit where she read the book she is working on now. You may find a picture or two of kids having fun or even Smokey the Bear.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Goals for this Blog....

I love writing, and I love watching children get excited about reading and learning so I want to write what children will love to read. Now, how do I go about learning to do this.

First, I eluded in an earlier post that I would share the three main goals I have for this blog. Part of the plan for this site is to be transparent about the writing process that I am learning so we can learn and progress together.

  • I also encouraged you to list your own goals for your writing.

Goals are sometimes difficult because we set our goals way too high initially and then we get disappointed when we don't reach them, or at least that has been my experience.

So here is the plan: make the goals simple to start with and make your goals attainable. I think that I work best by setting two sets of goals, those that can be reached this week or this month, and those that I want to attain in 6 months to 1 year.

The key is to spend some time each and every day doing something that will help you reach your goals. Re-evaluate what you are doing on a weekly basis to see what is working and what isn't and then make a change if you are not on track. Sounds easy enough, but the hard part is saying NO to the tasks that do not help us reach our goals. I have a real problem doing this part. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, cell phones, television, and any number of other equally distracting things occur on a daily basis to mess with my plan to achieve my goals. But I want to be a writer so I refocus and start again everytime I get off track.

Now for the goals for this blog:

  1. I want to offer the best resources possible to the new writer by posting about great authors, books, websites, and courses that have been helpful to me. Right out of the gate let me say that the writing courses offered by published author Suzzane Lieurance have been the most helpful and most encouraging to me personally. Check out her website at www.workingwriterscoach.com or www.suzannelieurance.com for a full array of her services. These courses have made me believe I can succeed as a children's author in time.
  2. I want to post short character pieces, story starters, and some short stories to get input from you, the reader. How will I ever know if I can really write if I don't expose myself to others and let them read something I have written. That goes for you as well. I will also encourage you to offer small samples of your work for the readers here to experience and comment on. How about it, anyone brave enough to share something?
  3. I would like this blog to be a place where I develop as a writer with a platform and something to say. I want to gain a following of readers that I can count on to be honest with me and I want this blog to be a place where new writers gain information, skills, and the confidence to give it a try so we can all be honest with them.

So, what do you say.... shall we give it a spin and start by writing for 30 minutes a day. If 30 minutes is too much, try breaking up into 10 minute snippets. Just get something on paper at least a couple of times a week. Let me know how you progress, and I will update you as well. Join in the fun and let's see what develops. In the mean time, please check out Suzanne and her services. She may be just what the writing doctor ordered to get you in high gear.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Check out this great source for writer information...author Donna McDine..

I have found another great source for new writer information. And the great thing about finding new sites, is that they contain links to more sites and more sites after that. It is called networking and it is a great way to make new writing friends and to soak up as much information as you can to improve your own writing skills.

Check out published author Donna McDine. Donna is not only a published and accomplished author, she is the marketing manager of Stories for Children Magazine http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org/

Spend time at both her website and her blog and soak up all that she has to offer. There are writing tips, author interviews, publishing information and links, and her take on writing for children. You will not be disappointed at what you can find, so make plenty of time to take notes and read all that she has to offer. Take time to make a comment or two as well, sign up for her newsletter, and tell her I sent you her way. You will find more information than you can soak up in a day, so plan to visit her site often to keep current.



Check it out and let me know what you think... and don't forget to sign up for my newsletter as well. You can never have too much information when you have a passion for writing and want to learn more......Blessings and happy writing.

Margot Finke, author who will make you kids love to read

I have been blessed to be part of the Children's Writers Coaching Club under the guidance of Suzanne Lieurance, and it is here that I have met Margot Finke, author of books for reluctant readers.

Margot is a successful author, writing coach, and instructor for the members of the club as well as other writers who sign up with her for personal coaching and critique.

Just one visit to her blog will give you a tickle and you will not only learn something to help your writing, you will find great book ideas to share with your kids.
Check it out and be prepared to have some fun. Rattle snake jam, anyone?

Margot Finke * Critiques - Writing Help - Books: http://www.margotfinke.com/ * Hook Kids on Reading - http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/ * Books for Kids + Writing News - http://margotfinke.blogspot.com/ BUY any Autographed Book from my website, and receive a FREE LINK to me READING that story! ========================================

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beth Erickson, Editor, Publisher,Writer, and someone you should know.

I have found a very helpful site for new writers that offers many resources and advice. The site is at www.FilbertPublishing.com
Beth Erickson is the Editor and Publisher of WritingEtc found on the site and she authors a great newsletter with invaluable information for the new writer, regardless of genre.

Check it out and sign up for her free newsletter. In the mean time read an article she graciously allows other writers to post to their sites. It is a wonderful piece of advice about how to look at the scenes you want to create. Try the exercises suggested to improve on your own writing and let me know how it works for you.

Enjoy the article. And thank you Beth for your generosity.

Wide Angle Lens

Billie Williams

Excerpt from Writing Wide: Exercises in Creative Writing

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.” -- Henri Cartier-Bresson, French Photographer & Artist

When you use a wide-angle lens on a camera, you do so to get a panoramic view of your subject. Why would you want to do that? Shouldn't you focus, center your picture, compose it of close-knit items? As with your writing, some times you need to see the broad picture in order to focus on the single most important element, be it story or picture.

If you were to take a panoramic view of an event in your life and write down everything you can see, feel, or hear in detail, you begin to see what makes up a scene, or the setting, in your writing. As you look at the big picture, you pick and chose details to tell your readers that may be pertinent to understanding your story people and the story itself. However, you need elements from the big picture, the panoramic view, to make the setting feel real. It is these subtle nuances that make a scene come to life.

I recommend that you try this as an exercise with at least five events from your life. Try to make the events as varied as you can; say a happy, sad, fun, loathsome, and perhaps interesting event. Ten would be even better, but you can always add to this list, and you should regularly. It will help you see details. It will help you become more aware of details that set the stage and make it believable. This will help you develop settings with a feel for time and place in your story.

After you have the broad view of your story, you decide where your focus will be. Use the same focus on your protagonist and your supporting characters. Go so far as to do a character sketch of each. By doing this it will help you focus to a single center of your picture. You will need to answer the questions, “What does my main character want?" that is the focal point. The rest of the picture composes itself as other characters decide their needs. Each character is deciding what s/he is willing to do to achieve his/her goal.

Think of an extended family portrait, each person is connected to the others some how. So to are your characters in your story. Each character’s life touches someone else in your story in a significant way or h/she would not be there. Like the panoramic photograph, all things are connected in some way. Every character some how depends on or needs one of the other characters to fulfill a need or goal of their own.

For instance, think of your protagonist as the main/father/mother figure of the family. S/He is responsible for his/her own actions. Whatever she does however affects the rest of the family/cast of characters.

If she robs a bank, the family is drawn into that. Perhaps the oldest child drives the get-away-car; maybe the aunt provides a hiding place, etc.
Fill out your story with things from your panoramic view of things you know to be true for your story.

You could begin with an outline – I know the dreaded word -- outline – but it could be what you need to take each item from the panoramic view of your story and connect them through scene and chapter via the outline. Think of it as a blueprint for the stage setting, or the map for the treasure hunt, what ever it takes to get you to pick apart your story and make an outline/tree of where the story is going to take you.

Put another way, we could say start your picture from a single portrait – it may be a very fine portrait indeed, but it tells us little of the story behind it. If you were to take that portrait and add his/her favorite chair, a small table, a book, perhaps a piano your character starts to become a person rather than just an image on a piece of canvas. If you start with your center and build a panoramic view – you will have fleshed out your character and in so doing your story.


1.) Take a picture of someone from your life, maybe an old school photo of just that person. Write out in detail all you see as you show us who that person is. You cannot add any background that is not in the picture. Would we know your friend or family member if we saw them on the street from the way you described him or her? Does this person have a story to tell based on physical appearance only?

2.) Look at a magazine photo or one of your own that has a panoramic view and tell in vivid detail what it contains so that if some one were blind they could see what you see in their minds eye.

New Blog and New Ideas.... writers and authors for children

So you want to be a writer.......

I have wanted that since 8th grade English when we read Hawaii and watched the movie version with Elvis Presley. I have wanted it before that when the Pokey Little Puppy wagged his way through one of my favorite Golden Books and I promised myself that someday I would write a story to be turned into those gold bound versions of a kids book.

I have taken courses including courses at The Institute of Children's Literature and my first online fiction writing class in 1984 which gave me my first computer included in the price of the course.

Like you, I have shelves lined with books on fiction and nonfiction writing, writing for children, and finding your niche. I have made tiny baby steps and I have submitted and been rejected to prove that the efforts are not quite where they should be. I continue to study and hone my skills, and most days ask myself if this is still what I want.

The answer is a definite YES. This is still what I want. But, like the picture here, it can be a long and dusty journey. So the question is what have I learned and where am I headed?

  • I know that writing is a skill that can be learned, but doing it well does not promise you a published book.
  • It takes small steps to learn and progress, it takes finding a focus or slant, and it takes learning more than the skill of writing.
  • It takes learning the business side of publishing, marketing, and building a platform.
  • It helps to have a mentor, a coach, and a few writing critique partners to keep you focused.
  • It takes discipline
  • It takes writing... that means making yourself put words on the page or the computer screen every day.

I will be sharing my progress here on this blog to encourage other writers like myself who have not experienced the rush of success but still answer YES. Hopefully we will find others who will share and guide us as we work towards the goals we set for our writing careers.

I would encourage you to check out the 6 week writing course offered by published author Suzanne Lieurance. It is affordable and it is filled with the basics to get your career jump started. I am taking the course myself, so come join me and let's see how far we come together.

Check out her website too for more great information. www.workingwriterscoach.com

I am going to start today with 3 things on my to do list.

1. Make a writing plan for this week

2. Set 3 goals for this blog

3. Set 3 goals to focus my writing.

I will let you know how it goes. What will you do today to forward your writing career? Feel free to email or make a comment so we can share in your progress. Happy writing.


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