Volume 19 Number 2

"Every time I make a scene work or create a moment that rings true or read a compliment from a reader or a client, I store it away and all of those moments have formed a collage in my head.”

B. Lynn Goodwin
January - March 2016

Managing Editor: B. Lynn Goodwin

Webmaster: Paul Goulart

If you are enrolled in any creative writing or MFA program or are a creative writing blogger and would like to be an intern for Writer Advice, please e-mail Lgood67334@comcast.net.

Look on the Announcements Page to see what some of our former finalists are doing now.

Writer Advice Announces An Experiment in Contests for 2016

In 2016 Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com, is offering four contests, one per issue: (Flash Memoir; Flash Fiction; Openings of MG, YA, or NA; and Openings of other prose genres).

Lower fees

New due dates

Same detailed responses.

Whether you’re writing fiction or memoir, entice us. Grab our attention. Make us want to know more. Give us reasons to care. Specific directions for each genre are below. Please note the new submission deadlines.

Your cover letter must include your contact information, but we don’t need either a summary or your publishing history. We’re looking at the manuscript, not the query, and we’ll ask for your bio if your work is selected for publication.

Send your work to us through Submittable

I’ll tell you what’s working and identify anything that trips me up. You’ll get perspective and insight. The prizewinners will be published.

  1. 1

    Starting on January 2 and due by March 1 for Spring: (Apr- June) Flash Memoir –a story or vignette from life, told as you remember it. 750 words or less. Fee: $12. First prize: $125. Second prize. $50. Visit www.writeradvice.com for additional information.

  2. 2

    Starting on March 2 and due by June 1 for Summer: (July-Sept) Flash Fiction – a story that is fiction. It may have begun with an event you remember, or it may be the way you’d like to see something happen. 750 words or less. Fee: $12. First prize: $125. Second prize. $50. Reimbursed fee for any other pieces shared.

  3. 3

    Starting on June 2 and due by September 1 for Fall: (Oct-Dec) Scintillating Starts of MG, YA, or NA novels. Grab and hold your reader. 1000 words or less. Fee: $15. First prize: $160. Second prize. $50. Reimbursed fee for any other pieces shared.

  4. 4

    Starting on September 2 and due by December 1 for Winter: (Jan-Mar) Scintillating Starts for fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction. Grab and hold your reader. 1000 words or less. Fee: $15. First prize: $160. Second prize. $50. Reimbursed fee for any other pieces shared.

 An Interview with B. Lynn Goodwin:

Writer Advice Editor and Author of TALENT

 

 

Jill Hedgecock was the first person to interview me about my coming of age novel, TALENT. People wrote back. One, a writing peer, said she learned a lot about me. Another said she got insights into the way I think. I liked Jill’s questions, and writers liked my answers, so I am sharing the interview here.

A bit about TALENT: Fifteen-and-half-year-old Sandee Mason wants to find her talent, get her driver's license, and stop living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared while serving in Afghanistan.

She discovers that real life doesn’t have a script as she deals with loss, the manipulation of Bri’s best friend, her burning ambition to find her talent and figure out what happened to Bri, and unexpected bits of joy that pop up when she least expects them.

One reviewer said, “Sandee makes lots of mistakes, but emerges as a role model for other students. She is the type of character, I want my students to emulate in their own individual ways.”

Another said, “The author’s insight into the thought processes of teenagers is evident throughout the novel…. Complicated layered characters and compelling plot twists kept me turning the pages…. I didn’t want the book to end. I hope this is the introductory novel of a Coming of Age series about Sandee.” I hope this reviewer is right.

A third one said, “Talent is a page-flipping read!” I’d love to see your reviews added to what is already on Amazon.

Read the interview below. Then get a copy for yourself, a friend, a library, a teacher, or any aspiring thespian. There’s a lot to love in Sandee’s journey. Please help us spread the word about it.

JH: Can you give us some highlights from your new book, Talent?

BLG: Fifteen-and-half-year-old Sandee Mason wants to find her talent, get her driver’s license, and stop living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared while serving in Afghanistan. You can read the first chapter at http://blynngoodwin.com/an-excerpt-from-talent/.

It’s a good book for teens, parents, military families, and those who love shows and drama. There’s no crowd like the drama crowd. I know because I used to teach drama in high school and college.

JH: Describe your most memorable moment as an author.

BLG: Just one? Every time I make a scene work or create a moment that rings true or read a compliment from a reader or a client, I store it away and all of those moments have formed a collage in my head.

JH: What authors have most influenced your writing?

BLG: I’m often influenced by whomever I’m reading. Today that would be Travis Hugh Culley, author of A Comedy and A Tragedy, who is telling a story I wish I had heard before I taught high school. Earlier it was Mary Karr, or Elizabeth Gilbert or David Arnold, whose wonderful debut, Mosquitoland, reinforced my love of the YA genre and of teens discovering who they are.

JH: Describe your path to publication.

BLG: The music for “A long and winding road” just came up in my head. Followed by “To dream the impossible dream…” Followed by a line Cicely Tyson said at the beginning of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. “Where to start? Where to start? So here are My 9 Unique Steps Toward Publication:

Long ago I directed a high school production of Oklahoma!

A few years later I created Sandee, Diego, and maybe Jenn as characters in a series of 9 articles describing warm up and improvisation activities for a high school drama class. It was called “Dear Diary” and published in Dramatics Magazine.

I decided to use those characters in a novel about a high school production of Oklahoma! I used the format of a rehearsal schedule to help me build plot and tension and thought it was good until the rejections came in.

I put it aside while I worked on Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com, interviewed authors, reviewed books, and later used my draft for submissions to an online critique group.

Later still I took a Media Bistro class called “Writing the Young Adult Novel” where I learned the plot of TALENT was thin. I remember typing that the narrator, Sandee, needed to prove that she was as good as her big brother, and as I wrote the words they rang true. The instructor loved the idea.

I put it aside again while I wrote You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, which had some agent interest.

Went back to TALENT after I blogged for Caregiver Village and Inspire Me Today and continued with Writer Advice. I decided that Sandee’s older brother, Bri, disappeared while serving in Afghanistan. The stakes around sibling rivalry and loss escalated.

Eventually I decided I wanted this published before I died and resolved to put it out to anyone who read YA. I told myself I would take the first offer from either an agent or publisher, so when Eternal Press, now an imprint of Caliburn Press, which is part of Spero Press, sent me a two-sentence acceptance, I took it.

A year and a half later, I have a whole new appreciation for the challenges small publishers face today.

JH: What are the biggest mistakes you see as an editor?

BLG: It’s hard to find my own mistakes because I’m reading what I think I wrote instead of seeing what’s actually on the page. In other people’s writing, I frequently find description for its own sake and erratic pacing. Sometimes characters want nothing. Sometimes I feel indifferent towards them. Sometimes the writing is passionless. Sometimes grammar and spelling are either “creative” or optional.

JH: Do you think a social media presence is necessary for authors?

BLG: Only if you want to increase your sales by letting people know about your book. <g>

JH: What is favorite writing prompt?

BLG: “Today I want…” or “I am proud to say…” or “If only…” or “As we join our story today…” I’ve probably written over a thousand prompt over the last 12 years for a free-writing group I am in. I should do something with them besides keeping them in a file on my computer.

JH: What is your greatest writing weakness?

BLG: I get incredibly tired sometimes, but I’d call that a condition rather than a weakness. Maybe I’m spread too thin, but it’s exciting to have lots to do. I don’t like to focus on my weaknesses. I’d rather not give them any more space, focus, or spotlight-time than they already have.

JH: I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about B. Lynn Goodwin. To learn more visit her websites: www.writeradvice.com and http://blynngoodwin.com, where you can find the opening chapter of TALENT.

TALENT is available at Amazon, and is being added on other sites.

You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers is available at Amazon.

Lynn is open to all invitations for guest blogging and invites those who’ve published a YA, NA, or MG to contact her about guest blogging opportunities on blynngoodwin.com. She’ll open the field to more genres later in 2016. She also runs a Manuscript Consultation Service,

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Jill Hedgecock’s award-winning writing has appeared in magazines and anthologies. She serves as the Program Coordinator Mount Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club. Her love of writing is equaled by her passion for reading. Visit her blog.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Talent

    Sandee Mason wants to find her talent, get her driver’s license, and stop living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared while serving in Afghanistan. Copies of B. Lynn Goodwin’s Talent on Amazon, BN, and elsewhere on 11/01.

  • Shorts And Briefs

    Shorts and Briefs by Gregory Fletcher is a collection of short plays and brief principles of playwriting, with cover blurb support from Christopher Durang, Tina Howe, and Charles Busch. A craft book that entertains and applies to all of creative writing.

  • Manuscript Consultation

    Is Writer Advice's Manuscript Consultation Service right for you? Let's find out. Email the first 750 words of your work. I'll answer questions, say what I love, and make suggestions. Send to Lgood67334@comcast.net. Put Manuscript Consultation Request in the subject box.

  • Journaling

    Journaling: Gateway to Self Discovery is available by special arrangement. Contact Lgood67334@comcast.net for information.

  • Your Ad Could Be Here!

    Contact Lynn for more information.

  • Writing Heals

    Writing heals. Whether you are a current, former, or long-distance caregiver for a parent, spouse or special needs child You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers can help you process stress and find solutions. Click on Journaling for Caregivers to order the book or visit www.Amazon.com.

  • Writing After Retirement

    Writing after Retirement paints a realistic portrayal of what it takes to get started in the industry. Learn about: • Linking one's writing to current activities • The nuts and bolts of writing • Planning one's estate • New career paths • Writing opportunities • Practical advice on how to take that first step

  • On The Rim Of Wonder

    One reviewer’s thoughts: “Juliana Lightle empowers people in her poetry collection, On the Rim of Wonder. ‘Choose. Be who you want to be; do what you want to do.’ … My only response can be, ‘I will!’

  • Poetry Resource Guide

    The Ultimate Poetry Resource Guide.

  • The Pinata-Maker's Daughter

    Scholarly Carmen Principia jumps into college socially unprepared in The Pinata-Maker’s Daughter. First, there's her weird roommate. And the men! Radical protester, Franco, who shares her Hispanic heritage, or frat rat Joe, who makes her laugh? Follow her hilarious, heartbreaking adventures. Buy at Amazon.

  • Unlikely Teachers

    Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict by Judy Ringer A practical tool to generate clarity, power, and flow in your life, Unlikely Teachers offers stories, reflection, and practice. Click on Unlikely Teachers to order or visit www.Amazon.com.

  • The Frugal Editor

    Writers can be in charge of their own careers in this economic downturn with Carolyn Howard-Johnson's multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. www.howtodoitfrugally.com

  • Book Printing

    ECPrinting has been providing affordable high quality book printing for small publishers and self publishers since 1955.

    www.ecprinting.com
  • Your Ad Could Be Here!

    Your ad could be here. Contact Lynn for more information.

  • Upgrade Your Browser?

    Having trouble viewing this website? Try upgrading your browser IE, Firefox, Safari or Contact Lynn to receive the contest rules or interview via email.