Poetry Writing Workshop 9-9-2015

Join me and others from the Writer’s Writing group for our first poetry workshop!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at the Coastal Carolina Community College library at 6:30 p.m. The college is located on Western Boulevard in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Parking is free.

For this first poetry workshop, the focus will be on reading and writing poetry and verse for enjoyment and inspiration.

During the workshop, we will

* Learn tips and tricks for poetry writing

* Write poetry using prompts and literary devices

* Share our creative work

* Encourage each other

* Have FUN

* Learn how poetry can enhance your life and your writing–even if you don’t write poetry.

You don’t want to miss out on this enjoyable evening. Bring a notebook, something to write with, and a beverage.

You do not need to be a member of the Writers Writing group to attend—everyone is welcome but please R.S.V.P. below as space is limited.

Hope to see you there!

For more information: poseysalem (at) gmail (dot) com or http://www.meetup.com/JacksonvilleWriters/events/225074679/



Great Books for Writers – One

During the most recent meeting of my Writer’s Writing group, we decided to start making lists of writing books that we like and want to recommend. In this way, we will be able to post our book list to our group’s Facebook page and share the information with each other. As I was working on my book list, I decided to share it here, at Cool Cat Writers.

The following books are where I am living, now. I’m finding inspiration, honing my craft, and writing more than I expected. 🙂

Books to Improve Writing

The Elephants of Style: A Trunkload of Tips on the Big Issues and Gray Areas of Contemporary American English  by Bill Walsh

Keys to Great WRITING: Mastering the elements of Composition and Revision by Stephen Wilbers

STORY Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James

Books to Stir up Your Writing Gift

The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice by Laraine Herring

A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies that Work  by Jack Hart

Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer’s Life by Bonni Goldberg

Children’s Writing Books

The Writer’s guide to Crafting Stories for Children by Nancy Lamb

Writing Picture Books: A Hands-on Guide From Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul

What are some of your favorite writing books? Please share with us.


10 Tips to Write Stronger Sentences

“Words are our tools in trade.

They are our medium of communication.

They form a bridge of thought

between the writer’s mind and the reader’s.

To find the right word, is sometimes

to find a treasure.”

Steven Dunham, author of the The Editor’s Companion

Recently, a reader ask me, “Could you share some tips for writing stronger sentences?” During our weekly gathering of Writer’s Writing (a writing group in coastal North Carolina), I asked my colleagues to develop a list of  10 tips to share on the Cool Cat Writers blog:

  1. Use strong, active verbs to move the writing and reader forward
  2. Avoid passive voice whenever possible
  3. Make sure that your subject and verb agree (in person and number)
  4. Rework sentences to remove extraneous prepositional phrases
  5. Never end a sentence with a preposition
  6. Vary the sentence length readers can get lost in long sentences. Using too many short choppy sentences close together inhibit reading flow
  7. Say what you want to say using the least amount of words – get to the point
  8. Use short, simple terminology – no dictionary needed
  9. Never start a sentence with a conjunction—conjunctions are connectors—(examples: and, but, because, as, also, after, although, however, instead, nevertheless, or, otherwise, so, since, than, therefore, though, unless, until, when, while, and yet)
  10. Avoid vague words (examples: many, most, very, really, just, about, soon, et cetera)

Just keep writing,

~ Posey

Day 12 of the 30-Day Writing Challenge

Blogging: How to Benefit, Not Bore Your Reader

People ask me, “How do you find interesting things to blog about and how do you find the time?” For me, it is a regular battle to write consistent blog posts. Blogging is not difficult, but to produce content that counts (for the reader) takes time, thought and effort. As writers, we desire to produce content that others want to read and will enjoy. Put simply, we want our writing to benefit not bore the reader. If I just blathered on, ad nauseam, about the boring minutia of my life or any crazy thought that popped into my head, blogging would be a breeze. I do not consider that content nor writing worthy of a blog.  So why is it hard for me to blog? Perhaps, it is difficult to take time to consider the topic thoughtfully and write it in a way that the reader will appreciate. I find the following questions helpful as I plan the content for a blog post or any writing project.

What do I want to say?

The topic of the blog post must be settled prior to the commencement of writing. Finding inspiration is easy for me, especially for this blog. Everywhere I look, I see inspiration: the landscape around me, my children’s younger years, our pets, my earlier days, questions or thoughts I have, and information I would like to share. Inspiration is all around me; it is all around you, too. If you need more specific writing prompts or suggestions click here.

Why is the chosen topic important?

As writers, we need to consider why the chosen topic would be interesting or helpful to our readers. If the content bores the reader, we should use it as a private journal entry or delete, instead. Take a few moments to jot down why the blog topic would be important. Will it inspire, humor, inform, entertain, or cause the reader to question and ponder?

What do I want my readers to take away?

We are a busy population. Most people would tell you they have too many things to do on any given day. When you add that many “must dos” to all of the “want to dos” and factor in the “wish I could dos” there may not be enough hours in the day. If people are going to spend time reading a blog (article, story, or verse) they want to get something for the time they spent to read. Always, ask yourself, “If the reader could get only ONE thing from my blog post–what do I want that to be?” Write it down. Next, explain what you want to give them and how you plan to do that.

I mentioned earlier that it was easier for me to produce content for this blog. I have two other websites with blogs, and I must admit, I am woefully behind in posting to those blogs. The content on those sites requires more research and is less creative than this one. I find it more difficult to carve out the longer amount of time it takes me to prepare, research, and write those blog posts. My work and business require daily writing, but I was looking for something more. I wanted an outlet for a different type of writing, a channel that would allow written expression in more creative ways. On this blog, I DAILY make the commitment to write something every day for thirty days. When the 30-Day Writing Challenge is finished, I will continue the daily habit of writing. I will write and post to all three blogs (yikes!) on a regular schedule that will accommodate my life. I will consistently write the stories and poems that roam through my mind.

So what is the ONE thing I would most like you to take away from this blog post? NEVER scrimp on the quality of your content, the amount of work to produce it, and lastly the value it gives your reader.

Posey Salem March 12, 2015 ~ Day Five of the 30-Day Writing Challenge.

Has your advertising slogan got ‘it’?

Make “it” interesting, make “it” resonate, and we will share “it.” Thanks, Word Jazz, for an engaging read.

Word Jazz

ImageHave you noticed that, in the world of branding, there’s a lot of it about?

By which I mean, of course, the pronoun ‘it’ – the gender neutral, third person pronoun that can stand for just about anything.

Take, for example, Jaguar’s ‘Don’t dream it, drive it’ or L’Oréal’s ‘Because you’re worth it’. Or how about EA Sports’ ‘It’s in the game’. ‘It’ clearly gets around a lot.

But what’s it all about?

At its most basic, ‘it’ can be used as what linguistics call an anaphor, used to refer to something that’s already been introduced. For example:

Ronseal. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
VISA. It’s everywhere you want it to be.
American Express. Don’t leave home without it.
Red Bull. It gives you wings.

Other times, ‘it’ can be used to refer to that culturally-conventional concept of ‘desirability’, ‘sex appeal’ or ‘X-factor’…

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How to Become a Better Writer

Write Every Day

Have you ever wondered how to become a better writer?

Here’s one secret to better writing —

Write Every Day!

We’ve talked with lots of writers who want to continue to grow and develop in this craft called creative writing. Everywhere we go, everything we read about writing says the same thing – WRITE!

Keep reading to learn seven ways to become a better writer. Then join us in our Cool Cat Writers 30-Day Writing Challenge! How can writing every day help you to improve your writing? Here’s our top seven list

Top 7 Ways Writing Every Day Will Improve Your Writing

Writing every day helps you to:

  1. Develop the HABIT of a writer 
  2. Increases your CREATIVITY 
  3. WORK THROUGH writer’s block 
  4. Improve your VOCABULARY 
  5. Improve the QUALITY of your writing 
  6. SEE THINGS through a new lens 
  7. SHARE your life and thoughts with others

 Now for the 30 Day Writing Challenge!

Today is March 8th. Did you know that the number eight is symbolic for New Beginnings? Well it is, so let’s make some new beginnings together. For the next 30 days, write something every day.

We promise that we will write every day, and we will post what we write to this blog. We’ll even post things that we just started and that are still in progress. You don’t have to finish everything, each day, but take the time to work on or write something every day. Please share your writing progress with us either in the post comment section  or you can email us here. Together we can cheer each other on, encourage us to keep going, and maybe we can even help you through a rough spot in your writing. We are NOT looking for perfection here, BUT we are looking for consistency! All of us together will develop new writing habits that can last a lifetime.

One of the great things about writing is that it’s FREE or very low-cost. If you have a computer, or paper and a pen, or a blank book, or even a notebook from the Dollar Store ~ then you can write every day. In tomorrow’s post, we will give you a list of 30 things that you can write about during the 30 Day Writing Challenge. You don’t have to write about these things–please write about whatever you want. We want to give you some ideas because everyone gets stuck, sometimes. Writing prompts are a vehicle to get the ideas flowing again. So let’s start writing!

If you are joining us after the challenge has started or even if we have finished DO NOT let that stop you! You can start your own writing challenge any day or any time. The challenge doesn’t have to end after 3o days. If you are pumped and on a roll—just keep writing. We look forward to hearing about your writing adventures, please share with us.

Just keep writing,

~ Avi and Posey

Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers

Awesome, inspiration for writers

Jens Thoughts

CA: Premiere Of Paramounts' Remake Of "The Manchurian Candidate" - ArrivalsWant to know what Stephen King says about writing?

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”

4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”

5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”

6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time…

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