Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Romance author Christine Young of Salem spoke at our July meeting on the topic “Breaking Barriers: How to polish your manuscript to a beautiful shine”. She said it was important for the writer to establish what she called “The WOW Factor”: Create a brilliant first sentence, which could include a cliffhanger that draws readers in and keeps them engaged to the very last sentence. In other words, a real page-turner. It was the first of several of what she called steps to success in polishing your writing to that beautiful shine. Others include: Keep the point of view consistent, to maintain tension, drama, continuity and clarity—in other words, avoid “head-hopping”. In dialogue, use tags sparingly and keep them simple—“he said, she said, he asked, she asked” work well, and often it is fine to not use tags at all, as long as it clear who is speaking. Christine further said, avoid repetition, which she calls a killer that can stop a story dead in its tracks, and she talked about the rules of grammar, which she advised writers to review and heed to help polish their writing. She talked about show versus tell and said including the five senses in your descriptions helps draw readers into your story. Another key step is to edit, tighten and simplify your writing. Eliminate words that add bulk, such as “that”, “and then”, avoid redundancies and watch for things like double prepositions. A global search can highlight extraneous and repetitious words and phrases. Christine stressed it is important to read our stories aloud, which can identify dialogue and scenes that might need revision to better move the story along.

We thank Christine for her excellent and informative presentation as she shared ways to improve and polish our writing. She is the author of several novels. To learn more about Christine and link to her blog, visit her website

The July meeting also featured Celia Leber, 2009 Literary Harvest 2nd place winner, who read her lovely story “One Afternoon”. She also reported on the Fishtrap writers’ conference, which she recently attended. Good job, Celia, and we thank you.

To learn about upcoming meetings and events, click on Guild Calendar on the sidebar.

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