2017 Spring News From Lillian

Happy Spring Everyone and happy birthday to all those born in the month of May!

My Next Book

I have an idea for my next book. The working title is Time Travel with Theep & Thorpe. The protagonist is Hazel, a girl who befriended Jonathan, narrator of the first book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space. I’ve been doing research on time travel and posting fun quotes on the Theep and Thorpe Facebook Page. Here’s the link to it if you’re interested in seeing the quotes and other posts there:

https://www.facebook.com/TheepAndThorpe/

One of the challenges of writing this book is dealing with two time periods—the years 2161 and 1910. I have to use my imagination for the future world of 2161, where and when Hazel lives, while striving for accuracy for past events of 1910. I won’t be churning out this book with the speed of light, but I’m excited about the ideas I’ve come up with so far. It’s a WIP—Work in Progress!

Recent Accomplishments

As many of you know, I work at three different jobs. I am a freelance copyeditor, an Indie Author (independently published author), and a tutor for Professional Tutors of America.

I recently edited the third young readers’ book in the Prism Walker Trilogy by Heather Rivera. In the third book of the Prism Walker series, Sara and Molly wish they could cross realms from Earth to Exaltia to visit their elven friends, but they know from experience the portal only opens if they’re needed for a mission. Imagine their surprise when Thorn and Sael show up in their California neighborhood! Even more surprising is the mysterious crystal the elves use rather than a prism to cross realms, causing the Prism Walkers to expect all kinds of trouble to follow. Trouble is indeed what happens when the crystal accidentally transports the elves and the Prism Walkers not to Exaltia but to Mandriland, a land unlike anything they have ever seen.

Fun at the Street Fair with Kathy Bouchard

 

 

A new book marketing opportunity came with an invitation to participate in the Spring Street Fair in Encinitas on Sunday, April 30th. I signed up for a two hour time slot and had a lot of fun handing out bookmarks and interacting with delightful young readers.

 

 

Although the traditional school year is winding down, I am tutoring one fifth grade student to the end of June and another fifth grader through the end of September. I enjoy working one-to-one with these young students, which helps them make academic progress and also builds confidence. They think it’s cool that I’m an author.

What’s Happening Now

This time last year, I was fortunate to have a book launch hosted by my hometown library in Marshall, Texas. This year on Saturday, May 13, my California hometown library of Yorba Linda is hosting a Read Locally festival for several Orange County authors, including yours truly. I share the event with dear friends, Marjorie Miles, Flora Brown, Lynette M. Smith, and Don Westerhaven along with a few others I look forward to meeting. The main focus is on adult books, but they accepted my application as an author for young readers. If you’re in the neighborhood, do stop by.

To hone my writing and book marketing skills, I attend meetings with excellent speakers at SCWA (Southern California Writer’s Association) and PWOC (Publishers and Writers of Orange County) and for fun and inspiration, I attend “Writing with Your Muse” class by the amazing Marjorie Miles. In addition, I’ve enrolled in “The Plotting Workshop” online in hopes of becoming a plotter, but alas, I remain a pantser, just flying by the seat of my pants.

I currently have the pleasure of editing an adorable illustrated children’s book by Martha Ramsey: Mazy and Snub.

Mazy and Snub are delightful beings of light, traveling unencumbered by bodies, time, space, and gravity until an innocent ride on the arms of the Milky Way spins them into Earth’s atmosphere and changes everything. Both overwhelmed and amazed by their cumbersome bodies, emotions, and pesky gravity, they set out on adventures equally comical and dangerous. Readers of all ages will appreciate the metaphorical conundrums of these delightful and endearing creatures as they evolve into earthlings.

 

Custom Book Cover Lillian 2 Official Ebook(1)Click here to purchase for summer reading!
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 Receive a Special Summer Discount of
ONLY $7.99 per book:

Enter this Code E659PFQX

Special Request
If you read and like the book, kindly write a favorable review to post on
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 The Editor’s Corner

Did you know? Lillian is an editor as well as an author.

If you have questions for the editor regarding grammar or punctuation, send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll look it up for you. It’s better to be corrected privately by your editor than publicly in a review!

TIPS FROM THE EDITOR

That Pesky Apostrophe

RULE: Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s.

Follow the above rule regardless of the word’s ending.

Examples

Charles’s friend

Burns’s poems (note: Word Doc marks this as misspelled, so be aware that spellcheck has limits)

The witch’s wand

RULE FOR POSSESSIVE PLURAL NOUNS: If the plural ends in s, just add an apostrophe. If the plural does not end in s, add an apostrophe and an s.

EXAMPLES

The boys’ jackets

My parents’ car

Your bosses’ hats

The women’s dresses

The children’s toys

Lillian can be reached here for all your copyediting needs.

The Joys of Being an Indie Author

Proud Author Shows Off Her Book in Library

indie-author-library-display-and-me

The Joys of Being an Indie Author

What is meant by the popular term, indie author? The term refers to an author who publishes independently rather than going with a traditional publishing house. An indie author is someone who self-publishes or publishes with the aid of an independent publishing company. IngramSpark and CreateSpace are two of several such companies.

I went with CreateSpace based on the success of two of my trusted author friends who had pleasant publishing experiences with them. I, too, enjoyed working with CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon. Once my manuscript had undergone numerous revisions and edits by a professional editor, I felt it was ready to publish. I submitted it without having to be accepted by an agent or a publisher. CreateSpace offers several options to fit the publishing needs of different authors. You can either set up the pages, including margins, page numbers, headings, etc. yourself, or use CreateSpace publishing services at an additional cost to help you create a professional look and layout. The site does offer templates for those with the patience and skill to do it themselves. .I chose to have them format the book interior design and connect me with Amazon.com and Print on Demand. They also formatted my book for Kindle. Once I made the decision to pay them a nominal fee for formatting, they provided me with a team and a phone number to use whenever I need assistance. Everyone on my team is extremely courteous, professional, and helpful.

Because my book was based on specific artwork by Angelo Divino, he worked with Laura Moyer at The Book Cover Machine and me to create an awesome cover. CreateSpace would have worked with me on a cover, but I chose to go with my own design. Opting for a professionally designed cover is highly recommended in order to create the best possible first impression of your book. Many people are attracted to the cover of my book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space, due to the colorful and unusual images of the space beings, Theep and Thorpe.

I was able to choose my own prices and in about six weeks, my book was available for purchase online. A few weeks later, the Kindle version was ready and is now sold alongside the paperback version on Amazon.com. The percentage for royalties is also higher than it would be with a traditional publisher. If I had chosen to seek a traditional publisher or agent, it might have taken months or years before my book was available to the public.

Nowadays, whether you are an independently published author or not, you are required to have an author platform and followers who might buy your book. While writing my book, I became active on social media via Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Author Central on CreateSpace, and numerous online groups for writers. I even started my own Facebook group called Writers. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/528070550569025/) These groups provide links to author blogs and informative articles about writing, publishing, and marketing.

I am also a member of author organizations such as Publishers and Writers of San Diego and Orange County, Southern California Writers Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). The first two are local groups that provide monthly meetings with speakers of excellent quality for the latest tips on being a successful author, indie or traditional. At one of these meetings, I met a rep from IBPA and decided to join in order to have my book presented to 5,000 school libraries. This was done on September 29, and I am awaiting the results to see which school libraries are interested in placing my book.

Indie Author Day

Speaking of libraries, I received a pleasant surprise when I learned about Indie Author Day, held on October 8 of this year. Libraries nationwide hosted unique events featuring indie writing and publishing. I applied and was accepted to participate locally at the Anaheim Central Public Library in Orange County, California. Twenty-five authors were invited to participate in a book fair to sell and sign their books. To be eligible, authors were required to live in Orange County with titles that were self or small press published within the past five years (2011-2016). We donated one copy of each book to be promoted at the Indie Author Day Fair and added to the library’s collection. What a thrill to have Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space available for check-out at a local library! In addition, it is on display with twenty-four other local indie authors.

At this event, I was given a packet of goodies, which included information about Self-e.com with an opportunity to pursue placing my e-book in public libraries in my state of residence. I am in process of submitting to them. More about this to be revealed as it happen. Meanwhile, I look for more opportunities to offer my book to young readers and adults who are young at heart. As the exciting adventures of an indie author continue, I will keep you posted.

My BIG Announcement

Custom Book Cover Lillian 2 Official Ebook(1)Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space

I am so happy to announce the release of my book, Theep and Thorpe: Adventures in Space, March 25, 2016. It is available now at the Createspace eStore and Amazon.com. It’s a paperback book for young readers and for those who are young at heart. The kindle version will be available soon.

The Story Behind the Story

The concept of Theep and Thorpe began many years ago when my artist friend, Angelo Divino, created images of two space beings and asked if I wanted to write about them. Of course, I said yes! Their names came to me first as I pondered the idea of how space beings might communicate. I decided they would know one another by their sound frequencies rather than names. Each sound frequency would be as distinguishable as a human’s voice or fingerprints. Since we can’t pronounce these frequencies, the names Theep and Thorpe are used as a close facsimile.

It was many years later after retiring from full time teaching that I began to focus on writing about these characters in a novel. Thanks to Marjorie Miles’s “Writing with Your Dream Muse” class, the voices of Theep and Thorpe came to me loud and clear. Marjorie leads a guided meditation to invite the mind to relax and be receptive to one’s “muse.” We are encouraged to open our eyes and write whatever comes to us following this very relaxed state. Here is what I wrote:

“Where have you been for so long? Great to have you back where you belong. We’ve missed you, Lillian. Now, within the twinkling of an eye, everything shifts . . .back to where we were before, yet at the point of new beginnings. “

I knew Theep and Thorpe were speaking to me. I had tried to write their story before, but nothing seemed to flow. Now, with the support and encouragement of a writers’ group, the time was right to write my science fiction novel.

Serendipity

Jonathon is a fourteen year old protagonist of the story who ends up in a reform school in outer space in the year 2160. He and other inmates are required to grow their own food. While trying to figure out what farming in the future would be like, I got an email from my friend, Lucy Martin. Her husband, Jerry, had purchased a Freight Farm. I had no clue what that was, but my research and the information they sent me led me to writing about hydroponic farming as part of my book. Thank you, Lucy and Jerry!

More Research

When I needed to write a courtroom scene, I consulted my friend Kathy Bouchard, a retired paralegal. She accompanied me on a field trip to a courthouse where we witnessed ongoing trials. I took copious notes and included those findings in writing the ending of the book. I also watched a lot of TV shows like “Law and Order” and “The Good Wife.”

Additional research was needed to know what kind of weapons might be used in the future. I came up with the term, “flip-phaser,” the type of gun used on Star Trek. It’s a laser gun with a nozzle to flip for different settings such as stun or Kill! Early in the story, Jonathon gets into trouble when he’s caught in possession of a flip-phaser. Later in the book, rail guns are used in a spaceship battle. Rail guns are projectile weapons that can reach vast distances to shoot through walls of naval ships and spacecraft.

Book Promotion

I plan to do an online book launch at the Theep and Thorpe Facebook page soon. I will be announcing the date of the launch in another email and on my FB timeline. A trivia game will be played for fun and the chance to win a free copy of the book. HINT: most of the answers to the questions can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheepAndThorpe/

Special Request

If you read and like the book, kindly write a favorable review to post on Amazon and Goodreads.

Click here to purchase: :  http://www.amazon.com/Theep-Thorpe-Adventures-Lillian-Nader/dp/1530107199/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1459182855&sr=8-1&keywords=theep+and+thorpe

About Bullies

                                                             Custom Book Cover Lillian 2 Official Ebook(1)

 As a reading teacher, I encourage my students to make connections from one aspect of literature to another. For example, a pig in one story may remind me of the pig in Charlotte’s Web. When I read the story by R. G. Frazier, Don’t Blame Hazel, I noticed some similarities and differences to Theep and Thorpe, the story I have written.

Don’t Blame Hazel is a children’s picture book while Theep and Thorpe is a sci-fi novel for young readers. One is set in the present time and the other takes place in the future. Both have characters named Hazel, and they both talk about bullies.

HAZEL

Bullying is something that may appear in the form of verbal abuse such as name calling and ridicule. This type of bullying is aptly portrayed in the illustrated story book, Don’t Blame Hazel. Hazel likes to dress in a style that reminds the other children of a witch. Instead of being accepted and welcomed as a new student in school, she is picked on by Helga and others. They laugh and make fun of the way she dresses, call her names, and hit her with paper airplanes when the teacher isn’t looking.

The truth about the bully, Helga, is revealed after she is transformed into a toad frog. She appeals to Hazel to free her from the witch’s spell. Hazel informs Helga that the spell came from her own fear and insecurity, not from Hazel. Hazel is able to forgive Helga for bullying her, and when she does, Helga changes back into a pretty young girl. Helga and Hazel become friends. Sometimes, it’s easier to make fun of others than to face our own problems.

In Theep and Thorpe, Billy is a bully who takes advantage of a young child who can’t defend himself. He tries to take the child’s backpack with his lunch and computer notebook inside. This makes Quan, the young protagonist of the story, so angry that he unwittingly manifests a phazer gun out of thin air to frighten Billy away. Apparently, anger isn’t the best way to deal with bullies because Quan is the one who ends up in trouble with the authorities and is ultimately sent away to Juvenile Court School in outer space. Billy ends up there as well, but he’s sent by a close friend of the school director, Dr. Weir, to work as a barracks guard at the school. When Quan continues to get into scrapes with Billy, Dr. Weir insists that Quan make friends with him.

Quan is forced into befriending Billy in order to be released from the solitary confinement he got himself into. At first, Billy is resistant to Quan’s effort to be friendly and converse with him, but after Dr. Weir moves Billy from position of guard to a student at the school, Billy starts to feel accepted by Quan and the students on his team. Being accepted by the other students causes the change in Billy from being a bully to being a valuable part of a team. Hazel is Quan’s friend who also becomes friends with Billy.

Both stories have bullies who end up becoming friends with their victims. Most bullies are acting out in inappropriate ways to gain negative attention. I imagine they are lonely and confused. In most cases, they are following a pattern learned from adults and others around them. Many are often neglected and no one has taken the time to teach them more appropriate, positive resolution to their problems. Their unhappiness and poor self-esteem drive them to pick on others rather than to face up to their need for love and affection.
In today’s news there are numerous examples of bullying behavior online, in schools, and in cases of family abuse. The sports figure who abused his fiancé and was suspended from his team is one of many examples of bullying behavior in this country.

These are patterns that have been condoned, ignored, and pushed under the rug for too long. Finally, public opinion and outrage is calling for change in addressing these issues. Workshops are being held to teach school personnel how to handle bullies in a way to end the negative results such as teen suicide and/or abuse. Books like Don’t Blame Hazel and Theep and Thorpe provide excellent ways to teach children about bullying, friendship, and forgiveness at an early age.

In Don’t Blame Hazel, Helga learns that, “being a bully doesn’t make you look good.” In Theep and Thorpe, Billy learns that as a team player, he can use his sports ability and his brain to help solve problems. He no longer needs to pick on anyone smaller or weaker than he is to gain respect and attention. Both books teach that bullies need love too, and becoming friends and allies is a good way to change bullies into productive, nonviolent citizens.

To purchase the book, Don’t Blame Hazel, please click this site:  http://dontblamehazel.com/

 Look for the announcement of publication of Theep and Thorpe in my next newsletter!

About the author:
Lillian Nader (Ed.M) is currently writing a science fiction novel for young readers entitled Theep and Thorpe. She is the published author of educational workbooks and the librettist of the musical, Pandora. Lillian is a retired teacher who does part time tutoring and freelance copy editing at reasonable rates. She can be reached at Lnader1910@sbcglobal.net
Or visit her author’s website at https://lilliannader.com

Which Writers’ Archetype Are You?

 

Pattern Interrupt

“Where your comfort zone ends, your authentic, abundant life begins.” Panache Desai

Do you ever feel that you’re in a rut? Are you experiencing writer’s block? Do you compare yourself to other writers and fail to write at all?

I was recently engaged in an online class called Creative Un-Bootcamp for Writers by Jacob Nordby, author of The Divine Arsonist. One of the recommended books for the course is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Both authors recommend morning pages for stream of consciousness writing from the soul level and artist’s dates.

What is an artist date? Anything that interrupts one’s daily pattern to honor the artistic senses is an artist’s date. It can be anything from a nature walk to a visit to a museum to a weekend retreat for spiritual renewal. The key is to listen to your intuition and follow it.

I also consider taking classes that resonate with my artistic goals a pattern interrupt. Assignments and connections with like-minded participants in the class take me out of the ordinary daily routine and demand stretching to the outer limits of expression.

A huge pattern interrupt for me in Un-bootcamp was the exploration of writers’ archetypes. I learned that there are four different archetypes, and although I resonant with all of them, one is more dominant than the others.

Writers’ Archetypes

  1. Story Teller: Comes from the heart with atmospheric details, dialog, and story arc. The story evolves sequentially with a beginning, middle and end. Lessons about life and relationships are taught through stories. The story teller is also called the Shaman. The Shaman sits by the campfire to tell stories that teach to a tribe, usually one main message.
  2. Professor: Comes from the mind and is linear and detail oriented. The professor makes outlines, analyzes data and teaches “how to” with concrete, factual material. When the professor combines teachings with a story to illustrate the given facts, the teaching becomes more effective and reaches a greater audience.
  3. Herald: Comes from the mind or heart to tell somewhat random events in short articles such as news stories, videos, and blogs. Passion for a particular issue or current event combines mental concepts with heart felt communication. Many bloggers write about emotional issues dealing with relationships, death, illness, bullying, etc.
  4. Poet/Troubadour: Comes from the heart to present abstract, holistic, centralized and romanticized ideas and feelings. The poet communicates through feelings, themes and symbols. One “understands” the message without being able to say why.

Which one of these is most dominant to you? Which one feels right for you as a writer? If you aren’t a writer, perhaps one of these archetypes would work for you now that you know what they are.

I have written nonfiction workbooks on cooperative learning for children (the Professor) Co-authored a musical, and I am currently writing a science fiction novel for young adults (Story Teller) I often write poetry, mostly as a creative outlet to post on Facebook, and I write blog articles about writing.

Which of these is my dominant archetype? After contemplating each one, to my surprise, I found I resonate most strongly to Poet/Troubadour. This is because I am an emotional, touchy-feely type person. So, I am a Poet/Troubadour and a Storyteller.  As a blogger, I am the Herald, and I’ve always been a Professor/teacher. I find it best to try to find balance between the mind and the heart rather than coming strictly from one or the other.

What good does it do to know about the archetypes? Instead of comparing yourself to others, be content to realize you are uniquely talented in your own realm without needing to be like anyone else. For me, knowing my archetype encourages me to write more poetry while continuing to write my novel.

Writers’ Style: Plotter or Pantser?

It is also important for me to realize that although many successful authors are Plotters with story boards and a plot all mapped out before beginning to write, it is OK to be a Pantser and fly by the seat of my pants. I am writing a story with a vague idea of setting and characters and the plot developes as I write….Key words: As I write, not before writing. Some people call this channeling or automatic writing. I call it my style of writing. When not writing, I am thinking about the story, but I don’t know what is going to happen next in the story until I write it.

Here are some quotes from famous authors to further illustrate my point:

Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
– Barbara Kingsolver

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.
– Emily Dickinson

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

 

 

One Lovely Blog Award Nominee

By Lillian Nader

October 10, 2014

Thanks to my friend and writing buddy, Dr. Heather Rivera, I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award. Heather is the author of nonfiction, Healing the Present from the Past, and fiction, Quiet Water, and Maiden Flight. I’ve read and loved them all, and I am pleasantly surprised to be among those nominated for this award.

One Lovely Blog Award Rules:

  1. I need to thank the person who nominated me. check!
  2. Share 7 things about myself that you still may not know. check!
  3. Nominate up to 15 bloggers. check!
  4. Notify the nominees that I have done so. check!
  5. Put the logo of the award on my blog site. check!

Seven things about me you may not know:

  1. I am from Marshall, Texas, the home of Bill Moyers and the Great Debaters of Wiley College.
  2. My first year of teaching was the first year of integration in Marshall; I was a ninth grade speech and English teacher.
  3. I moved to California in 1981, where I met and collaborated on the musical comedy, Pandora, with Larry Marino.
  4. I have entered Pandora in the Fullerton College 26th Annual Festival of Playwrights, and I am waiting until December to find out if selected.
  5. Although I have worked with my dreams most of my life, I attended my first dream work group this week, “The Sacred Dreams” meet-up group.
  6. I have been lifelong friends with twins named Narcy and Narcissa.
  7. I will be reading excerpts from my novel in progress, Theep and Thorpe, at the Writers and Book Festival at SMHAS in Irvine, CA November 1, 2014.

It is my pleasure to nominate:

Carole Marshall: Author of Reading to Jane, a novel, and Maximum Fitness Minimum Risk, a guide available in e-book or hard copy. I met Carole in the New Best Fiction Author contest. Her site is at http://www.spiritexplored.com.

Shawn Allen: Shawn’s lovely poetry is shown here. I met Shawn in online courses for writers. http://shawnallen50.wordpress.com/

Mary Dusing: She describes her blog as “…a mixture of poems, rants, prose and pretty much wherever my head’s at.” I met Mary in the Un-Bootcamp for Writers course by Jacob Nordby. www.blueblithers.blogspot.com

Robb Geweniger: Mostly writing about writing with an emphasis on children’s books. I met Robb in Un-bootcamp as well. http://www.robbterranova.com

Susan Arthur:  Mostly musings about everyday life mixed with my love of photography. Susan was also in Un-bootcamp, and we stay in touch online. http://freezerburned-suddenlysusan.blogspot.com

Marilyn Rice: A British author who writes as one of the characters in her novels and she calls herself Lady M. She writes about her appearances at book fairs and other ramblings in the neighborhood and beyond. http://lookaftereachother.blogspot.com/2014/10/chilwell-last-sunday.html?spref=fb.

Michele Truhlik: For all you dog lovers: http://angelsbark.wordpress.com A blog about life and dogs.

And three more from Un-Bookcamp:

Jasmine Iwaszkiewicz: Find out the Naked truth about Jasmine I. Explore her raw and honest musings on life. http://jasminei.com/

 

Holly Hamilton: Presents a spiritual approach to contemplative action from within. http://ContemplativeActivists.blogspot.com

Renata Somogyi Butera: Her subtitle is “Living, loving, and learning to laugh along the way.” She gives a spiritual message in her daily focus. http://lilypadheart.wordpress.com/

Happy blog reading to all.

 

How I Became a Playwright by Lillian Nader

Pandora

Pandora, A Musical Comedy

All readers are welcome here. I write about writing and my journey as a writer.

It all started when I moved to California after an enlightening psychic reading. Once in California, I took a script writing class. While copying my notes in the waiting room at the South Bay Free Clinic in Torrance, I noticed someone watching me. With as much flair as I could muster, I wrote Script Writing at the top of the page. Larry Marino was the gentleman sitting next to me, watching as I wrote.

“Oh, you’re a writer,” he said, extending his hand. “Welcome to the realm of the impoverished!”

“You’re a writer too,” I said. We shook hands.

This was the beginning of what became the collaboration of our musical comedy, Pandora.

Larry had some songs and the idea of writing a musical about Pandora, but he wanted someone else to write the book. I researched myths about Pandora, learning that she was created by the gods to be the wife of Epimetheus, the brother of Prometheus. I decided to include the story of Prometheus, the titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. Larry accommodated by writing appropriate songs. In fact, Larry was a joy to work with because whenever I came to a point that needed a song, Larry would write one.

He wrote the lyrics and could sing the songs, but Larry didn’t know how to write music. Gene Casey, a friend from my home town, was hired to write the musical score for the songs tape recorded by Larry. We obtained copyright for Pandora with the Library of Congress in 1991.

Although Larry has made the transition called death, I am determined to see Pandora alive and well on the theater stage!

 

About the author: Lillian Nader, M.Ed. is currently writing a YA science fiction novel entitled Theep and Thorpe. She is the published author of educational workbooks and the librettist of the musical, Pandora. Lillian is a retired teacher who does part time tutoring and freelance copy editing at reasonable rates. She can be reached at Lnader1910@sbcglobal.net.

Sweet Support

“It helps if you have someone to talk to; it really helps. I have my husband to talk to. It helps very much if I say to him, ‘I think I’ve painted myself into a corner. Now I have three or four different situations.’ We discuss the solutions, and I pick the one I like best. I don’t think you can write a book completely alone,” says Judy Krantz, author of Scruples.

I imagine if I were to interview all the best-selling authors, each one would speak of some sort of support that keeps them going. In his book, On Writing, Stephen King talks about throwing his first draft of Carrie in the trash. His wife, Tabby, “…had shaken the cigarette ashes off the crumpled balls of paper, smoothed them out, and sat down to read them. She wanted me to go on with it. She wanted to know the rest of the story.” He also says, “Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

I agree with these two authors, but what of the writers who don’t have spouses, or what if their spouses love them but couldn’t care less about their writing, or what if a supportive spouse is still not enough to answer the technical questions or provide motivation to keep writing? I recommend finding a balance between the solitude it takes to do the writing and ways to meet the human need for social interaction with like-minded people.

In my own personal journey as a writer, I have found a number of ways to find support for my creative expression. I live alone, and that helps me find the time to write without interruption. Yet, there are times when I feel the need to interact with other writers.

Local Writers’ Groups

I am fortunate to attend a local writers’ group facilitated by my friend, Dr. Marjorie Miles. A small group of us get together twice a month for free writing activities. We begin with a guided meditation to relax and connect with our Muse or inner voice. The act of writing quickly and without censoring is a lot like therapy for writers. Often, when I feel stuck in my writing, I come to this class for the freedom and joy of self-expression. Many of us attend the group regularly, and we have developed close bonds of love and respect for one another. We never know what we will write and in sharing after writing, find we have written something quite funny, or sad or even profound. One of the main characters in the novel I am writing came to me during one of these free-writing activities. The class is never boring, and I leave it with greater motivation to continue my novel. I highly recommend finding a local writing group near you.

Groups may be found in local libraries, book stores or formed from taking creative writing classes. You may be inclined to start your own group of writers who are willing to meet in a positive atmosphere of camaraderie and support. It is wise to choose carefully and stick with people who are serious about writing and not there to criticize and tear people down. Set firm boundaries for a supportive, creative environment which encourages true self-expression and growth for writers. These groups may consist of free writing activities or as reading response groups where you share what you’re writing at home. If in a creative writing class, be alert to others who seem to resonate with you and see about forming your own group outside of class.

Online Writing Groups

Last year, I entered The Next Best Fiction Author contest online. This led me to become involved in a closed Face Book group of other contestants who shared thoughts about writing, gave each other constructive feedback about the chapters we entered and shared resources such as editors, online courses, etc. One of the people in this group asked if I had a book cover to post. Huh? I didn’t even know writers were having their book covers done by free-lance artists these days. I’m learning a lot about the business of writing in today’s fast changing technology and media trends by associating with other writers.

I also started an open writers’ group on Facebook called Writers, which now has 150 members and growing. We share writing resources, jokes and questions about writing. Many people have had important questions answered by group members who’ve been in similar situations. If you need an opinion or advice about something you are pondering, groups like this can be very helpful.

I have a friend in another group who is having problems being accepted as a writer by some of her family members. When she reached out for support from her group, the love and encouragement that resulted was heartwarming and motivating to her. Online writing groups provide excellent resources from other writers all over the world, often based on their own experience of trial and error in writing, publishing and all things related to writing.

Weekly Check-In Group

My weekly writers’ check-in group is another excellent source of support, motivation and inspiration. Each week, two other writers and I set writing goals for the week, and every Thursday one of us sends out an email saying what the goals were and what actually got accomplished, followed by new goals for the next week. The other two writers respond in kind. We also acknowledge these accomplishments, keeping the tone upbeat and supportive. Believe me, there has been more than one Wednesday night of frantic writing on my part just to keep from having to say, “I got nothing done but hope to do better next week.” It also helps keep me on track in thinking of reasonable goals that can be accomplished within a week’s time. I am the slowest of the three, but I don’t feel pressured to keep up or that we are competing with each other. I have been pleasantly surprised and highly motivated by the encouragement received by my writing partners.

Recently, I received a referral to a site that published chapters one at a time to help writers build an audience for their books. Unsure if this was the right way for me to go, I checked in with my weekly writing partners and my mentor/teacher, Dr. Marjorie Miles. Each of them responded with the requested candid feedback, and none of them had favorable reactions to the idea. They confirmed my initial feeling that this was not the right opportunity for me. It would have ended up being much like a relationship that isn’t strong to begin with but expecting things to change over time. What a blessing to have trustworthy, caring friends to give me the feedback I needed to make the right decision. These are the bonds of trust and sweet support that are built in ongoing relationships with other writers.

Lillian Nader, M.Ed. is currently writing a YA science fiction novel entitled Theep and Thorpe. She is the published author of educational workbooks and the librettist of the musical, Pandora. Lillian is a retired teacher who does part time tutoring and freelance copy editing at reasonable rates. She can be reached at Lnader1910@sbcglobal.net

WRITING: ENJOY THE PROCESS

Writing is a process meant to be enjoyed. There is something freeing about having time for getting one’s thoughts on paper before having to revise and edit. In other words, it doesn’t have to come out perfect in one sitting. With this freedom, I find that most writers are more creatively daring than they might be otherwise. When I work with reluctant writers, I often see a look of relief when I say, “In the rough draft, spelling doesn’t count. Just get your thoughts on paper and enjoy the process.”

The following are recommended steps of the writing process.

  1. Prewriting: There are dozens of ways to generate and organize writing ideas. Some of my favorites are brainstorming with others, word clusters and meditation.
  2. Drafting: Get all your thoughts on paper as quickly as possible without editing.
  3. Revising: Reread your work (preferably aloud) to see if your words are conveyed with clarity and without needless repetition.
  4. Editing: Now is the time to look for misspelled words and grammatical errors.
  5. Publishing: Some ways to be published are hiring an agent, submitting to publishers and self-publishing.

Step1: Prewriting.

First, brainstormingwith others is a good way to formulate your initial ideas and get a sense of what you have passionate feelings about. If the energy isn’t there, keep going until you find something worthy of your writing time. If you process ideas by talking about them, this is a good technique to try.

Second, word clustering is good to access the creative right side of the brain. Begin with a nucleus word or idea circled in the middle of a page. From there, write the first thought that comes, connecting it outward with a line and draw a circle around it. Go back to the nucleus and repeat the process. Word cluster templates can be found on Google.

Finally, my favorite one is meditation: the act of quieting the mind and listening for insights and guidance from within. I suggest sitting down to meditate with the intention of writing afterwards. Set aside some quiet time to be followed by writing. You may surprise yourself—in a good way—with the results.

Step 2: Drafting. When drafting, it’s best to leave your inner critic at the door or in the waste basket. All you need to do is write your thoughts with total disregard of rules and concerns about what people will think. While drafting, you are the only thinker that matters. Too many people allow their fears and inhibitions to interfere with true creative expression.

Step 3: Revision. Now, you want your critical mind to come into play by reading to see if your words make sense. Have you conveyed the meaning clearly? Have you left out words that your mind thought you typed as your fingers flew across the keyboard? Did you show without telling? Here, you also consider if you’ve used the right form of homophones such as hear and here, your and you’re. Revision has to do with accuracy and clarity for your readers. Beta readers or first readers, usually friends who enjoy reading, are helpful at this time to get fresh views and insights of your work. Consider hiring a copy editor and/or content editor before going on to step 4. The phrase, “writing is rewriting,” is applicable here.

Step 4: Editing. Now is the time for the critical left brain to be fully engaged. Use reference books on grammar and punctuation to dispel doubts you may have about your work. Since this is the final step before publishing, you want to polish as much as possible. Once you feel there is no more you can do, you may consider hiring a line editor before publishing.

Step 5: Publishing. The world of publishing has changed quite a bit in recent years due to electronic devices and sources for reading literature. Choices for publishing depend upon your genre, budget and resources. I recommend joining writing groups online and in your community for support in making the right decision regarding ways to publish your work. Often, even with a publishing house behind you, there is still much marketing to do by the author.

Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoirs, blog articles, or technical writing, use of the writing process will help you along the path of successful creative expression. It is my hope that through use of the writing process, you write more often and enjoy it more.

Lillian Nader, M.Ed. is currently enjoying Step 2 of the writing process while drafting a YA science fiction novel. She is the published author of educational workbooks and the librettist of the musical, Pandora. Lillian is a retired teacher who does part time tutoring, freelance copy editing and beta reading at reasonable rates. She can be reached at Lnader1910@sbcglobal.net and on FB at https://www.facebook.com/Lillian.nader