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Friday, May 31, 2013

9 Worksheets for Novel Writers

I never cease to be amazed at the amount of helpful information for writers on the internet. Today I ran across an article on Writer's Digest that includes nine worksheets to help you keep track of plot, scenes, characters and revisions...and they're FREE! (Have I mentioned before that free is a great price for me?)

The worksheets are...

Story Tracker (Act I, Act II, Act III)
These worksheets help you outline before you start writing, and/or keep track of your story’s progression as you go.

Story Idea Map
This worksheet is especially critical for writers who will be working without any kind of outline. During the first few days of your 30-day effort, you should complete this worksheet.

Scene Card
Scene cards can be used as an outlining tool before you begin your 30-day effort, or as a daily writing and brainstorming technique. Scene cards can also play a critical role in revision. Index cards can be used instead of the worksheet if preferred.

At-A-Glance Outline
The At-A-Glance Outline offers a quick way to fill in the blanks of your story. It guides you to answer the right questions for each area of your story, the questions that will come up fast when writing.

Character Sketch
Keep track of the qualities of each major character using these sketches. As you become more experienced as a writer, you may want to create your own character profile worksheets.

Character-Revealing Scenes
This more advanced outlining worksheet helps you identify where and how you will reveal important aspects of each major character.

This worksheet helps you consider your novel’s climax, the point where the protagonist faces the conflict directly, with his goal on the line.

Closing & Denouement
Questions on this worksheet analyze the novel’s post-climax scenes with an eye toward tying up unresolved arcs and the novel as a whole.

Reversal Brainstorm
Plan ahead for characters’ changes of heart, new situations, unexpected betrayals and more.

All of PDF versions of these worksheets can be downloaded from HERE.

Hope you find these worksheets helpful.

Happy Writing!

Posted by Jan Christiansen

Friday, May 24, 2013

Plotting a Novel in 5 Steps

While thoughts are still whirling in my brain from Saturday's tips on plotting a novel by Ann Lee Miller, I received an email from her today with a link to a blog post by Rachael Aaron entitled How I Plot A Novel in 5 Steps.

Ann suggested that we post it on the blog for easy access, so here it is!

 Thanks for the tip, Ann...and thanks again for sharing your plotting techniques with us last weekend.

(Don't forget to pop over to Ann's website to check out what she's up to. )


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Local Writer's Conference...

Just learned of another opportunity for us to sharpen our writing skills. The Sisters In Crime - Desert Sleuths Chapter has a writing conference coming up in August, to be held in Scottsdale. 

Here's some brief info and a link at the bottom of the post for more details.

WRITENOW! 2013 Writers Conference
August 16-17, 2013
Millennium Resort – 7401 N. Scottsdale Road – Scottsdale, Arizona

Registration now open!

10th annual event featuring award-winning, bestselling authors Gregg Hurwitz and Hank Phillippi Ryan. 

This is not restricted to crime fiction writers or lovers of mysteries—young adult author Liz Fichera and e-Book publishing gurus Kris Tualla and Connie Flynn will also present workshops.

Details and registration can be found here:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Overcoming Rejection by Dana McNeely

photo courtesy geralt,

 “It is impossible to write without throwing oneself helplessly open,” said Herman Melville. We authors must be brave to offer our writing to others. We hope our writing brings us compliments, awards, and that ultimate sign of approval for the new writer: publication. The thought of rejection, however, can cause us to cringe.

Look for the good

What does the Bible say about fear in I John4:18? Perfect love casts out fear. If we know God loves us, that He is in control, and in fact sent this rejection our way, it’s for our good, right? So be thankful for what God’s doing and keep your eyes open. Look for the good. And if you can’t see it right away, just wait for it, expecting it at any moment. Don’t fear rejection, embrace it.

Learn from the rejection

Did you receive advice? Follow it. Research the weakness that was revealed and practice ways to grow in that area.  Did you receive praise? Expand on that strength. Work to make it even stronger in your writing.

Did you get only a form letter? Pick up a writing craft book by a well-known author or other industry professional whose credentials you respect. Read as if she wrote to you personally. Apply the exercises to your work in process.

Keep writing regularly
Don’t let rejection sidetrack you. Perhaps it isn’t possible for you to write every day, but try to keep (or establish) a writing pattern, a rhythm to your days. Give up an hour of TV or sleep. Find a quiet space, or if that’s impossible, focus your mind to work in the midst of noise.

Try, try again

It’s been said that perseverance is more important than talent to getting published. William Saroyan amassed 7,000 rejections before he sold his first short story.  Alex Haley, author of “Roots”, wrote every day for eight years before small magazines began accepting his stories.  Kathryn Stockett received 60 rejections before she received a deal to publish “The Help”.  Persevere. Build up a huge file of rejections.

Throw yourself helplessly open.

by Dana McNeely, President CWOW

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lindsay Harrel - ACFW 2013 Genesis Contest Semi-Finalist

Bust out the party hats and noise-makers!
Throw the confetti and shout it out...

our own

Lindsay Harrel is a Semi-Finalist

in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest
Contemporary Category!

How cool is that?

Way to go, Lindsay!
We're pulling for you to win the contest!

(Lindsay was also a finalist in the 2012 Rattler Contest)


Two winners of CWOW's 2012 Rattler Contest, Debra Marvin and Jennifer Uhlarik, are semi-finalists in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest and two more of our finalists are semi-finalists in the Genesis Contest - Sara Tipton and Nancy Kimble. Congratulations to all of you!