Month: March 2010

Writing Flash Fiction, with Michael Wilson

I interviewed Michael Wilson, author of Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write, Revise, and Publish Stories Less Than 1000 Words Long, on The Writing Show. Click here to listen. Michael is the creator of the JumpStart Jar, and publishes two blogs:

1. Grist for the Muse: The creative writing resource that gets you writing and keeps you writing.

2. The 15-Minute Writer: Helping you achieve your writing dreams in just 15 minutes a day.

You know you want one of these! I do!

For a list of my other interviews for The Writing Show, click here.

Thanks for listening!

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19th Annual Western Reserve Spring Writers Conference


Writers will gather on March 27th for the 19th Annual Western Reserve Spring Writers Conference at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, OH. From 8:30 in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon, participants attend their choice of three hour-long classes. Among the variety of topics this spring are “Writing for Children: Words and Illustrations” (Annette Sheldon), “Creating Credible Characters” (Debbie Alferio), and “The Scoop on Agents” (Holly Jacobs). Each hour contains four subjects to choose from, and everyone is encouraged to hop classrooms within the hour if there’s more than one they’d like to catch. The conference ends with a networking reception, refreshments, book sale, and author signing.

Unique to this conference is “Forming a Writers’ Group”, a special session facilitated by Diane Campbell Taylor. Her work has been published in The Plain Dealer and Grit magazine. The goal is to help writers get together to form their first writing group. “This is a wonderful, shot-in-the-arm way to learn more about the craft and business of writing and to make friends with other writers. Many writers groups – and success stories! – have been born as a direct result of these conferences,” says Conference Coordinator Deanna R. Adams. Deanna has just released her new book, Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Roots. (Deanna has also written a fabulous memoir called Confessions of a Not-So-Good Catholic Girl. I interviewed her about it on The Writing Show.)

The cost of the conference is $65, and for an additional fee of $10, writers can register for prearranged editing sessions with award-winning editor Nancy E. Piazza, a published writer with 21 years of editing experience. She works with novels, short stories, nonfiction books, articles, essays, memoirs, blogs, and letters for aspiring and published writers through her business, Writeperson Ltd.

For more information, including the bios of all the conference presenters, and to register, please click here. Enrollment is still open. Hope to see some of you there!

I Won Second Place in the Procrastinating Writers Blog Essay Contest!

I wrote a post called Let Your Light So Shine back in December, and mentioned I was working on an essay for The Procrastinating Writers Blog essay contest. I’m thrilled to announce my essay won second place! You can read it here if you’d like. I’ll also be writing a guest post for The Procrastinating Writers Blog which should be posted around the end of March. Stay tuned and thanks, as always, for reading!

12 Steps to a Writing Life


In 2008, I joined a writers group for a few months. We did some writing exercises, one of which was to write 12 steps for writers, inspired by The 12 Step Program for Alcoholics Anonymous. Here’s what I wrote.

12 Steps to a Writing Life

Hello. My name is Alanna. I am a writer. This is my version of Writers Anonymous: 12 Steps to a Writing Life (I write them in the present tense because they are never finished, they are things I must do over and over again).

1. I admit I am powerless without writing- that my life is empty without it.

2. I believe the muse can pour the words into my brain, down my arm, through my fingers, into the pen, onto the page.

3. I make the decision, sometimes hourly, to write no matter what else is going on in my life. No excuses.

4. I make a searching and fearless inventory of myself and the world around me, and write it down, as I see it.

5. I admit on paper the exact nature of my flaws through my characters and stories.

6. I am entirely ready to let the characters speak for themselves, and not force the characters into a mold or stereotype.

7. I humbly apologize to the characters when I do try to control them.

8. I make a list of all the characters in my story, and I am willing to listen to all of their backstories, even if it’s time consuming, and even if the information doesn’t go into the finished story.

9. I allow the characters and the story to evolve and change whenever possible, except when to do so would block the progression of the story.

10. I continue to take inventory of myself and the world around me, and write it all down, as I see it, and if I dance around the truth, I rewrite it.

11. I seek, though daily writing practice, books, classes, and my writing community, to improve my craft and discipline, to the best of my ability, and to draw inspiration and knowledge from these various sources to achieve my writing goals.

12. As a result of these steps, I have experienced a creative awakening, and I try to carry this message to other writers and would-be writers, and to practice these principles in my writing life.