Volume 1, Issue 3 ~ April 15, 2011

I’ve been incognito the past couple of months.  I apologize for that.  Today I have a couple reviews for you.  The Power to Write, a writing how-to by Caroline Joy Adams is reviewed.  Check it out, especially if you need a little help getting started as a writer, or find yourself blocked.  Second, I’ve reviewed Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.  I’ve enjoyed this little, paperback style mag for years.  If you like mysteries, and haven’t ever read the magazine, you should.  It’s a wonderful collection of short stories, brought to you every month.  Finally, I’ve connected you to Robert Lee Brewer’s recent blog entry in which he provides Speaking Tips for Writers.  Read on.

THE POWER TO WRITE – review

The Power to Write; a Writing Workshop in a Book. By Caroline Joy Adams. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2003. 180 pp.

More “inspirational” than “how-to,” The Power to Write seeks to do just that: empower the fledging writer.  Getting started is hard, and that’s where Caroline Joy Adams assumes her reader to be…at the start of a writing career.  To that end, she presents seven themes to help get the reader off the couch and to the keyboard.

Part 1 is dedicated to helping the writer create an ‘intriguing story’ and separates the book into chapters which she calls ‘keys.’  (Warning:  this is a cute device.  If you shy away from cute, beware).  She opens with key one which encourages the reader to delve into their store of memories, experiences, and emotions.  From this seemingly endless pool, the spark of story can emerge.  Key two discusses the ‘powerful opening.’  Key three focuses on creating the most emotional experience possible for your future reader.  Then key four has the new writer ask six important questions of what they’ve written thus far:  what is the main conflict, who are your characters, when is your story set, where is it set, what events take place BEFORE your opening – but aren’t in the story, and why your story is worth telling.  She goes into each of these questions in depth, and they are well worth paying attention to.

Part 2, devoted to helping ‘develop and refine your writing voice’ is comprised of three ‘keys.’  Key 5 helps you focus on adding sensual touches (sight, sound, taste, touch, scent) to your writing.  Key 6 helps you look for your unique voice, and key 7 is designed to help you find the courage to share your work.

One part instructional, two parts inspirational, Caroline Joy Adams has created a nice recipe for a writing workshop.  (Cute warning again:  you may love her calligraphic inspirational quotes adorning each chapter.  But then again, you may find them corny).  All in all, this is a cozy little read.  You can blitz through it fast, or take your time over a cup of coffee.  My advice?   Advanced writers take heed:  this one isn’t for you.  It’s for the beginning writer who needs a little help taking that first step over the threshold.  If you’re just starting out, pick up a copy…and DO the exercises at the end of each chapter.

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine – review

If you love mysteries, then you should be reading Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (known as EQMM).  As the January, 2011 edition proclaimed, the mag has been on news stands for seventy years!  That’s an impressive achievement.  They’ve achieved this record by presenting good, solid mystery stories in each issue.  So good that many of them have won prestigious literary awards, including the Agatha, the Edgar, and many, many more.  Nearly every year, since 1946, the magazine has included at least one award winner.
Ellery Queen contains a variety of mystery styles.  These include hard-boiled detective stories, “cozies,” psychological suspense, crime noir, and more.  There is a Department of First Stories, which debuts the work of a new fiction writer.  There is also the Black Mask, which caters to Chandler and Hammett fans.  The Review section provides a first-look at new novels, to help you narrow down your book store choices.  And don’t forget the Puzzle – an action packed crossword filled with mystery.
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine?  Highly recommended.
LYNX – to My Name is Not Bob
Robert Lee Brewer’s new blog entry discusses what he considers the 10 keys (plus a bonus) that a writer needs to keep in mind when beginning to speak publicly.  Now how many of us don’t want to present at a conference, or get on Oprah?  Anyone?  We all do!  It’s a given, though we might be scared silly.  In a nutshell, his hints are as follows:
1) Make your introduction brief.
2) Use the podium.
3)Use the microphone.
4)Encourage audience interaction.
5)Act confident.
6)Be organized.
7)Slow down.
8)Make personal, add humor.
9)Stop before you’re asked to leave.
10)Provide next steps and/or a conclusion.
BONUS)Provide handouts.
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