Ten Things Your Author Website Should Contain

The key to online visibility for an author/writer is a superior website. It is the foundation on which to build your writing career. A quality website can bring notoriety, popularity, respect and brand recognition. Conversely, a poorly-crafted URL may give you little notice in the digital world.

Following is a list of the ten items a writer’s website needs:

  1. Biography of the author
  2. List of books written by the author
  3. Calendar: dates where readers can meet and interact with the author
  4. Photos of the author, plus past events, appearances, speeches
  5. Links to purchase books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other websites
  6. Subscribe to e-newsletter
  7. Links to the author’s Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest fan pages
  8. Link to book trailer(s)
  9. Author’s blog
  10. Contact page: where readers can write a fan letter or request an appearance

Some authors like to have their latest book or a main character take the lead on their website, like Lee Child (www.leechild.com), whose character, Jack Reacher, is the focus, or “The Passage” book trilogy, by Justin Cronin (www.enterthepassage.com). Others opt for a themed website, like Janet Evanovich’s (www.evanovich.com) site, that exudes a decidedly mysterious feel, or Kansas Writers Association’s own B.D. Tharp (www.bdtharp.com). Ms. Tharp writes hen lit, or adult women’s literature, and her website is warm, homey and female-friendly.

Your website doesn’t require an artsy design; however, it must have solid content. A basic template with great information will draw your readers in. “Your website is like the frame around a picture. Many authors spend more time on the frame than they do on the picture,” according to Thomas Umstattd, Jr., CEO, Author Media.

Purchasing the latest version of Dreamweaver does not guarantee you will be up to the job of URL architect. Website builders don’t come cheap, if you’re hiring one. There are some economical ways to do it, if you aren’t married to a computer genius. Helpful sites like (www.AuthorWebsites.com) and (www.elance.com) offer ranges of services to construct and host your ideal site.

A simple, well-kept author website can build a loyal following, as well as your own confidence. Researching like-genre sites may help you find ideas to use (or not!) as a template. The most important thing to remember is focus on your readers.

“When you type in an author’s name, his/her website is first thing that comes up. To be the first result that pops up in a Google search is reason enough to have a website.”–Annik LaFarge, author of The Author Online: A Short Guide to Building Your Website Whether You Do It Yourself Or You Work With Pros

Blogging: The Diary You Want Everyone To Read

I have a standing date with my computer on Monday night for the last five years. During the previous week, I take notes, compile thoughts and research. I spend at least two hours crafting a cohesive essay. Once finished, the piece is uploaded to Female in Motion’s Blogger site and Networked Blogs sees that it makes its way to my Facebook fan page, Twitter feed and BlogFrog community.

Why keep a blog? Some of the reasons could be to educate the public on a subject you are an authority on, to earn money, to create a platform for a cause or mission, to share a hobby or interest, to express yourself, or to advertise a business. Writers in today’s competitive market are finding agents and publishers encouraging them to blog in order to create interest in their books.

  1. Design a blog. According to TechGainer, the top five blog hosts are Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, LiveJournal and Xanga. For most users, it takes around thirty minutes to build.
  2. Determine the look of your blog. Do you want sleek, sophisticated images, or a warm, homey background? Templates are available on the blog sites, or you can drop in your own visuals.
  3. Decide what purpose and content your blog will contain. Do you want it to be directed at your readers, or other writers?

Do not keep a blog:

If you have to force yourself on a daily or weekly basis to blog.

If you routinely complain, “I don’t have anything to write about!”

If you’re using it as a dodge not to write your book…or another book.

I have learned some things about blogging in the last five years. It’s vital to write well. No shortcuts. No sloppiness. Use good, concise prose…with proper grammar. Keep a schedule. Post every day, week, or month. You may run the risk of losing readers’ interest if you post seldom or sporadically.

Make sure your blog’s focus is something you are passionate about. If not, it won’t keep you motivated to write every day, week, and month. I keep a file with ideas and notes for future blog posts. It also contains links to interesting articles I have found. I’m never out of ideas. I just keep replenishing the well. It takes discipline at first, and then it becomes muscle memory.

Link your blog to Hootsuite or Networked Blogs to manage the frequency and content of your postings. Never stop tweaking the look of your site. It’s refreshing. If you want to do any add-ons or gadgets, you can refer to help features on the site or just Google it.

A blog is a long-term commitment to share your writing with the general public, or at least your corner of the worldwide Web. The environment you create in your books should be recreated in your blog. It’s a great way to stay connected and current with your readers. If they see you care about them, they will respond in kind.

A blogger is constantly looking over his shoulder, for fear that he is not being followed.” –Robert Brault, American writer

The Dramatica Theory to Story Structure

Plot, climax, rising action, falling action, structure; all terms writers use when talking about stories, but often their exact definitions tend to elude us. One would think that with all the brilliant minds that have written stories over the course of history, we would have found one definitive method of writing that worked for everyone, but unfortunately, it seems we’re always finding something new, something better, something that works for us.

It was Aristotle who first defined the structure of a story.  Since then, we have seen an explosion of different methods and theories of story structure, each having its place and each being extremely useful.  We have seen the advent of the Index Card Method (http://www.screenwritingtricks.com/2008/10/story-structure-101-index-card-method.html), the Deep Structure Method (http://www.right-writing.com/published-novelstructure.html) and the Snowflake Method (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php).  Personally, I have found that I prefer to use Dramatica Theory for structuring my novels.

To explain why I enjoy using Dramatica, it’s probably best to explain what it covers.  First, it is incredibly rich and detailed and breaks down story structure into the following aspects:

  1. The Grand Argument
  2. Character
  3. Plot and Plot Progression
    1. The differences between plot and storyweaving
    2. 3 and 4 Act Plots
    3. Storyforming and Dynamics
    4. Story Encoding
    5. Storyweaving

For a writer like me (e.g. not that sharp and needing gobs of help), Dramatica Theory provides a nearly step-by-step method for developing a story.  BUT!  The great thing about Dramatica Theory is that it gives the writer a tremendous amount of wiggle-room as well.

Writers can usually be grouped into one of two camps; pantsters and plotters.  Pantsters are those authors that write from the “seat of their pants”.  Plotters, on the other hand, love to plan every step of the story before getting started.

The best thing about Pantster writing is that the story can grow organically and take many amazing twists and turns that the writer never intended.  Their most formidable problem though is they tend to suffer horribly from writer’s block.

Plotters rarely suffer from writer’s block because often, they never get around to actually writing.  They spend years developing entire worlds, languages, family histories, but never writing their story.

Dramatica Theory, in my opinion, helps alleviate the problems in both camps.  I can have a novel plotted within a month but with enough room for me to let the story grow as I write, thereby allowing me to become a quasi-plotter.  I can write from the hip, but have plenty of structure available to keep me from hitting a wall.

If you are interested in trying Dramatica Theory, you can find the entire theory at the Dramatica website (http://www.dramatica.com/).  Glen Strathy has created a website that provides an excellent condensed version of Dramatica if you aren’t interested in the complete theory.  His website is available at http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/index.html.  Give Dramatica a shot and maybe it will work for you!

 

Darin Elliott works as a Laboratory Technician for Leading Technology Composites.  Married for the past twelve years to his wife Misti, he is the father of three children and grandfather to one grandson (with another on the way).  Darin writes in the science fiction and horror genres with a style reflective of Clive Barker and Philip K. Dick.

His writing methods can be found at his literary blog Webgoji’s Ramblings: http://webgojiramblings.wordpress.com/

Sliding Doors Between Reality and Fiction

You’re halfway through the climatic final scene in your work-in-progress. Typing furiously for four and a half hours, you’re finally making some real progress. That’s when it happens…

 “Mom, I’m hungry! It’s 7:30. We ate all the chips an hour ago.”

 You glance up from the monitor and realize the sun has set and the room is dark.

 “I’m coming!” you reply, as you drag yourself from a fiction-induced stupor.

Like Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in the movie, Sliding Doors, wordsmiths live parallel lives. Once we enter the imaginary world of our characters, re-entry into reality is difficult and prone to have emotional repercussions. The anxiety associated with this stressful feeling is much like Mommy guilt. You just don’t feel like you give your best to either side: writing or real life. Which is more real, anyway?

As an author, you live your life through the characters you create. These fictional beings live in an alternate universe to your “real” life, but when you are interacting with them all day, every day, the lines tend to blur. Dianne Christner, author of four Amish Christian fiction novels, broke out in hives for an entire week, while writing scenes where her protagonist suffered an allergy attack.

I spent one week in July as a kid, reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, wrapped in a blanket and shivering on the couch. I had given myself over to the fictional world. Readers who love books do that. Writers who build those worlds do the same.

Although I write primarily non-fiction, I still find myself preoccupied with an awkward sentence or paragraph, unable to fully participate in sparkling dinner conversation or the most mundane household chores. It’s like I’m only awake when in the prose world and merely a zombie in the sphere of dishes, groceries and cat-box duty.

Spending time with other writers will help ease the guilt and anxiety associated with prose-related reality shifts. Stop for the day mid-paragraph and mid-sentence. Your brain will have worked out the conflict during the night, and you’ll easily get up to speed in the morning. Finally, try to have set “office hours” for writing, and when quitting time comes, punch the time clock.

When I am fully present in one reality, the other suffers for it. I don’t want my family to get less of me than they deserve, but I need to write to become completely myself. So when I’m facing a deadline, my loved ones are forewarned that I will be mostly absent in body and mind for a while. After the heat is off, I take a few days to reconnect with reality. And clean the bathroom.

“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.”–Sharon O’Brien, American author/editor

Becoming a Sought-After Public Speaker

As promised, the following is a sequel to last month’s blog post, “Planning a Unique and Popular Book Event.”

You are an expert on (at least) one topic: your book. All that research you did for the project can come in handy for a speech topic. A great way to increase sales of your book and get word-of-mouth buzz going is visibility. Finding ways to increase your presence in your hometown is vital to the popularity and shelf life of your tome.

Effective speech making is a superior strategy in the battle for market visibility. After you determine a few topics you can speak on, make a list of potential venues. These could be: club meetings, school events (think Career Day), senior centers and homes, church or civic groups, writers groups, book clubs, sports banquets, Chamber of Commerce dinners (they’re always looking for speakers), and morning TV or radio newscasts.

Be prepared. Give the speech in front of family at the dinner table. Then invite friends over for coffee. Use your lunch break to speak to your co-workers. Try your speech out on your bowling team or poker buddies. Soon you’ll be able to do that speech in your sleep.

Be a techno-geek. Use multimedia tools. Craft a basic PowerPoint presentation with slides, word and music. Know how to use it, backward and forward. Make a general template once, and then customize it for different events. Most public places have a large TV screen or projector available. If you’re particular, you may want to invest in your own audio/visual equipment.

Be an expert. Know everything there is about your speech subject. You don’t have to be a PhD., just be knowledgeable and passionate. People will respond.

 Be memorable. The best way for folks to remember you is to be authentic. Know your speech well enough that you never look down to your notes. Be flexible and if someone asks a question in the middle, go with it. Appear relaxed, but command attention.

Call your contact person the day before to confirm. Put on the “uniform” you picked out for speech-making. This will make you feel more confident. Make sure you have a box of books in your car at all times, and when you speak, take a few inside. If you have no background in public speaking, join a local speaker’s bureau or Toastmaster’s club or take a few speech classes at a community college.

Before you leave, make sure the group leadership knows you have more speech topics in your back pocket. Shake hands with guests at the meeting, make eye contact and tell them you were honored to be invited to speak. Distribute business cards and bookmarks.  A well-written thank you note sent a few days later will impress.

Jan Dunlap, author of the Birder Murder Mystery series, is a popular speaker at bird watcher club meetings, nature centers and retirement communities. Find a niche in your area and scratch it! Use your knowledge to become a sought-after speaker and it will parlay into book sales.

Be sincere; be brief; be seated.”–Franklin D. Roosevelt, on speech making

Thinking Outside the Box

Last weekend, our monthly KWA meeting was all about Thinking Outside the Box, that pesky thing that tends to place boundaries on how we can be successful.  The following brief synopsis was provided by our own H.B. Berlow, the facilitator for the day’s proceedings.  Be sure to leave a comment below explaining how you’ve been successful thinking outside the box!

Why is it that people tell you not to try something different?   Is it because they think you’ll fail?  Or because what you’re trying to do is just so out of the realm of the usual that it almost doesn’t make sense?

Well, that’s why you’re a writer.  Remember: doing something the same way all the time and expecting different results is crazy.

Looking for an agent used to be as easy as getting the latest copy of the thickest book you could find that listed every agent, editor, and publisher known to mankind. The problem is that once it was printed, it was practically obsolete.  Writer’s Market offers an online service for a monthly fee that is updated regularly. In the Digital Age, that’ called Real Time.

But take it one step further. Figure out what books are similar to yours.  Go on to Amazon.com and look those books up.  There is a section called CUSTOMERS WHO BOUGHT THIS ITEM ALSO BOUGHT.  Now, you have more books similar to yours. A Google search will help identify the agents.

You know you need a platform. So, you start with Facebook, then add a Twitter feed, and ultimately get a Website or a Blog. Independently, they will not draw in as large a crowd as you might think. You have to make sure your Blog posts automatically hit Twitter and get onto Facebook. More importantly, you want to have something to say.

But why just post commentary and profound thoughts? Consider the visual components as a substantial way to impress your targeted audience.  Book trailers are a relatively easy thing to create on your own.  Windows Movie Make, your digital camera, and some creative thought and you have just given your audience a tangible visual.  Or a board on Pinterest with captions from your book. Show them scenes and locations. You might even take a photo of a person that resembles your main character.

The most important thing is that technology does not have to be used in a strict and rigid fashion. A typical household will have computers and digital cameras. From there, the possibilities are endless. As long as you network, keep in touch with other writers, musicians, artists, you will be able to expand beyond the box and even beyond your dreams.

H.B. Berlow studied filmaking and creative writing at the University of Miami in the 1980s and was involved in the Boston Poetry Scene in the mid 90s.  He has been a member of KWA since 2007.  He was recently the featured writer on Keyhole Conversations, Writers Who Cook.  His novels, Kansas Two-Step and Quick, are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu.  H.B. also blogs at The Tikiman Says

Planning a Unique and Popular Book Event

KWA member, author B.D. Tharp, center, autographs her book, Feisty Family Values, at a Derby Public Library event last year, for Dee Paige, left, and Marilyn Monson, right.

 

Table. Check.

Comfy chair. Check.

Attractively arranged pile of your books. Check.

Plenty of pens for autographs. Check.

You are happily ensconced in a corner of the local book store or library, ready to host your first book signing. There’s only one thing missing…readers to buy your books. Perhaps the best venue for your book event isn’t where you think. It’s time to get creative.

Ask yourself some questions. What are the occupations of the characters in your book? Do you reference a type of business or restaurant? Is there a favorite meal, pastime or hobby of your protagonist? Compile a list of possible locations relating to your novel.

Make the first move. Cold call a bunch of venues, or stop by with a big smile and a color flyer. Some will say no right away. As battle-worn writers, we’re used to that. Be persistent; you’ll find that many groups are looking for interesting people to fill spots in upcoming events.

One prolific author in my small hometown had a book talk and signing of her new kid’s book at the local children’s art center. She’s also an art teacher, so her event was well-attended. She is a singer in a gospel group, as well, so copies of her books are always available at the concert venues.

If your genre is:

Young Adult or Children: Try schools. Think book fairs, festivals and parents night.

Romance or Women’s Fiction: Try hair salons or spas.

Historical Fiction: Think re-enactments, museums, powwows or encampments.

Science Fiction/Fantasy: Try comic book or video game stores.

All others: Think senior centers and communities, festivals and fairs, restaurants, boutiques and shops, nature centers and farm and art markets. Don’t forget online groups! Have a virtual event or host a blog tour/hop. You can send autographed bookplates to buyers.

Prepare a short “script” to repeat in calls to local businesses and clubs. Email a photo, bio and book synopsis, based on their firm/group’s interests. Have a press release ready to drop in the latest event’s particulars and send off to area newspapers.

Have a copy of your book cover enlarged to poster size and laminated on poster board at a local print shop. Buy a tripod to display at the venue. Order a few extra posters and distribute to area book stores.

If you want people to show up, talk it up! Have friends and family post photos, reviews and advertisements on their FB pages, Twitter feeds, Pinterest, church bulletin or website. Team up with other authors in your genre for a special event to be held at a larger book store or community center.

Pick out a uniform. Or a couple of them. That way you can throw it on at a moment’s notice or when you’re hustling home from your day job. Make sure these clothes are comfortable and make you feel confident. Call your contact person to confirm your book event the day before.

It’s time to set an inviting display table. Did your main character always have fresh flowers on her desk? Or was he an antique collector? A sports fan?  If your main character has a passion for peppermints, put a bowlful on the table for guests. Hand out bookmarks or business cards for future events.

B.D. Tharp, author of Feisty Family Values, arrives early for book events and spreads a lacy cloth on her display table. She writes women’s fiction, and this subtle step sets the stage. Ms. Tharp also brings a dish of chocolate. Clever woman!

Remember to ask the reader to slowly spell their name when you’re signing their book. You don’t want to cross out an error, or rip out a page. Have two or three standard phrases to accompany your autograph.  Try “Celebrate love!” for a romance novel, or “Stay curious!” for a spy/mystery thriller.

If this is a regular book signing, don’t think you’re chained to the desk. Grab a book or two and stroll around the store. Smile and look customers in the eye. Say something like, “Hi! I’m in the store today signing copies of my new novel! Care to have a glance?”

“Stack the deck” at your first few events with friends and family. They can lend moral support and even ask a few questions. Soon, you’ll be handling these book signings like a professional—because you are! Don’t forget to write a follow-up thank you note and assure your host a VIP slot for next time. Next month, I’m continuing this subject of marketing with a post on public speaking. That’s right, writers…a sequel!

(Special thanks go to H.B. Berlow, B.D. Tharp and Samantha LaFantasie for their invaluable help in the creation of this blog post. Bookplate!)

Character Development

      Atticus Finch. Holden Caulfield. Hamlet. Jane Eyre. Anna Karenina. Madame Bovary. According to The Fictional 100, by Lucy Pollard-Gott, PhD, these characters live on in our imaginations. There are basic personality types that all players in a story should embody. These tips will help you construct a framework to design your memorable characters.

People-watching is a great way to find new characters. Once you meet someone memorable, try interviewing them, like a reporter. Ask meaty questions, like “What would you do if someone stole from your mother?” or “What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?” If it’s impossible to speak to them, you can always conduct the interview in absentia. Use your literary license to speak for them.

What are your character’s value statements or core beliefs? All players have goals, vices, motivations and dreams. No human is purely good or evil. What is important to them? How would they act in a given situation? After you gather data, create a timeline for your protagonist’s life. Fill in the details as you become acquainted with them.

A personality assessment test will give you insight into your character’s…er, character. The Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment is widely used in business to determine an employee’s strengths (and weaknesses). StrengthsFinder 2.0 identifies your top five of 34 themes, such as Achiever, Activator, Empathy, Futuristic or Strategic, while the Kiersey Temperament Sorter II sorts subjects into four categories: guardians, rationals, idealists and artisans. You can find these tests on the companies’ websites. Simply answer the questions as if you were your character.

Once you determine your character’s personality archetype, the next hurdle is an emotional dilemma or internal conflict. James Scott Bell wrote, in Conflict & Suspense, “The stakes in an emotionally satisfying novel have to be death.” This might be physical, professional or psychological death. They must make a choice.

If you want your reader to care about your story, they have to care about your characters. Readers will emotionally connect with your characters if you give them some type of flaw. It should be a vital inner flaw, one that is in opposition to their strengths. If they’re extremely organized and well-dressed, they might be a control freak. If they are courageous, they may be overprotective. You don’t want your character to be superhuman. There should be an internal struggle going on inside your characters. The object of your story is to have your players face, and ultimately overcome, that conflict.

Janet Evanovich, prolific novelist and author of How I Write says, “It’s important to tell a good story, but it’s critical to have memorable characters.” She continues, “Once your reader has met a compelling character, he will want to know everything about him—where he’s been, where he’s headed, what he’s all about. He learns this by watching the character in action, by watching him make decisions and choices.”

Does your reader have to love your character? No, but they must feel something. The opposite of love is not hate, it is ambivalence. Readers connect with characters that have strong opinions, make them think, fight back against adversity, and take huge risks. Their stories are eternal, in your readers’ imaginations.

The Complete Writer

Writers talk about inspiration and where story ideas come from; characters and their names and quirks and personalities; locations and locales, whether they are gritty or exotic; where the story is going and how to get there.

Writers talk about agents and publishers and query letters and pitches; self-publishing versus traditional publishing; their blog or their web site or their Facebook page or their platform.

Listen to a writer’s conversation and you’ll hear the words “genre,” “voice,” “style.” You will hear impassioned mention of favorite authors, struggles with editing and revision, and the next writing conference or organizational meeting.

What you don’t seem to hear is any mention of the work week, a pending vacation, how the family is doing, a great new recipe. These are mundane items, to be sure. But writers are Human. They live as others, paying bills and taking out the garbage. They do laundry and mow the lawn.

It is that Human aspect that seems to blend into the background when the Art and Business of writing takes the lead in any conversation. This is ironic considering that the Human experience is so prominent in good writing.

N.M. Kelby’s book “The Constant Art of Being a Writer” intimately outlines the ongoing process of writing, from inspiration through marketing and the myriad steps in between. There is much truth to the word “constant” in the title.

But consider that it is important to contemplate the other side of the equation. Are you a writer who deals with his life or a person trying to become a writer? Is it necessary to differentiate? Should you separate these two entities or merge them into one?

We do not live in an age of patronage from wealth purveyors of art, grants and scholarships notwithstanding. The majority of writers are spouses and employees, possibly homeowners with family and friends, a series of responsibilities that determine our continued existence and functionality within society.

No one denies the fantasy: Wake up. Have some coffee and breakfast. Settle in for a bit of writing or research or editing. Make appointments. Send query letters. A little blogging. A little social networking. No clock to punch for someone else. Perhaps, one day, it will be so.

In the meantime, we must acknowledge, develop, and integrate the Human and the Artist into one being. We must recognize that our experiences and daily routines inform our writing by giving us the detail that enhances our stories. The dialogue we hear is spoken by our characters. The grocery store or shopping mall we visit becomes a locale in our scene.

Alternately, developing our sensitivities and sensibilities, allowing our imaginations to soar and accepting a creative impulse, will most certainly make us better people and more fully realized Human Beings.

This is the Complete Writer.

 

H.B. Berlow studied filmaking and creative writing at the University of Miami in the 1980s and was involved in the Boston Poetry Scene in the mid 90s.  He has been a member of KWA since 2007.  He was recently the featured writer on Keyhole Conversations, Writers Who Cook.  His novels, Kansas Two-Step and Quick, are available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu.  H.B. also blogs at The Tikiman Says

Writing Marathons

A writer rarely has the opportunity to just wallow in the writing, to enjoy it like chocolate covered strawberries.  Most of us feel obliged to our writing, serving the story or poem, and each effort requires a ‘product,’ an outcome that serves a purpose.  Maybe it will be the next scene or chapter, maybe we’re adding to our chapbook of poetry.

I was recently invited on a Writing Marathon at the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine.  The experience reminded me to take joy in my writing.

Writing Marathons come in many forms, all with the central tenet just to write in a continuous burst with no censoring or internal critiquing.  Digital forms of this include the writing challenges shared on Twitter, where followers across the country stop, drop, and write for a set time.  At its most extreme form, National Novel Writing Month is a Writing Marathon.

For me, however, getting away from my normal writing workstation can really break down a rut, especially visiting a place as lovely and verdant as the Bartlett Arboretum.  Sitting at my home computer makes me feel like I need to get some ‘work’ done.  And writing doesn’t always have to be ‘work.’

A location Writing Marathon can force me outside of my normal expectations, and can make me open that inner writer’s eye and take note of my surroundings.  I’ve also learned that what at first can seem like a fruitless description on the grassy hillside can later inform my description of setting in my latest Work in Progress.  Rather than squishing me into ‘guilt mode’ for wasting time, Writing Marathons are fun!

The format for a location Writing Marathon is simple.  Start with a group of friends, writing materials (I prefer paper and pen to keep things simple), and a location (I’ve been in both urban settings like Oldtown in Wichita, as well as more ‘natural’ settings).  Then simply follow this form:

10 minutes of continuous writing (actually, all ‘writing time’ is meant to be continuous)
Writers share (this should be done with no feedback from listeners. It’s too easy to slip into critique mode, and this has a tendency to squish the freedom of just writing.  Listeners are encouraged to simply say “Thank you for sharing.”)
15 min write
Share
20 min write
Share
25 (or sometimes 30 min) write
Share

For our particular time at the Bartlett Arboretum, writers brought and enjoyed a picnic lunch after our morning of writing.  It became a wonderful time..  Members agreed to share some of what they wrote.  If you would like to see samples from the participants, visit April in Wichita.  I have found that the seemingly random ramblings of my journal later become diamonds to mine for my own poetry.  But a Writers Marathon isn’t just for poets.  Members of our group included a science fiction writer, an essayist, and a playright.  And the material produce reflected our own media preferences.

Future Writing Marathons will be arranged for this summer.  If KWA members are interested in participating, feel free to contact me at aprilpameticky@hotmail.com.