Showing posts from June, 2016

Make Time For Family

Several years ago while attending my first writers' conference, I received some great advice from the various agents, editors, and authors that weekend This week, I'm mindful of the hardest, but probably wisest, bit of advice I received:  When you've planned days to spend with your family spend time with them!  Don't stress over writing goals. It's summer, and many of us are making plans for vacation or sta-cations.  I have decided this week and next to focus on family, so An Eclectic Muse will be silent for two weeks. Meanwhile, have a safe and joyful summer!

Editing: Removing Word Repetition

Courtesy of Stuart Miles at My writing group has several writers who excel at finding repeated words in our members' writing.  Why is this important? The Problem In the seventh grade, a student teacher of mine said "um" repetitively. My classmates and I found ourselves counting the number of times she said "um" rather than focusing on math.  It was a huge distraction.  The same problem occurs when a writer over-uses or repeats a word in a short passage of text. One of the most common places this can happen is in first person narratives.  If the writer isn't careful, most of the sentences will start with "I" followed by a verb.  Just like my seventh grade math classmates, the reader gets bored. This issue isn't limited to the word "I" in first person narratives.  It can be any word duplicated within your document. Finding the Repetition Several years ago, a friend proofread my work in progress.  He

Great Writing Critique Groups

Some of our members at an after-meeting meal. What traits does a great writing critique group possess? The other night after our writing group met, several of us talked about why we like our group.  We have a fantastic bunch of writers who give useful feedback while maintaining the writer's self-esteem. Several of our members have attended other writing groups, and their comments on the critiquing approach, or lack thereof, made me cringe. Many groups, it turns out, give little feedback beyond:  "I love this!" I'm sorry, but "I love this" doesn't help the writer progress in their craft. I can get that from my friends and family.  I'm pretty sure I would be unpopular if I showed up at any of these other "critique" groups. When I attend a critique group, I need to hear how to make my writing better. What Does a Good Critique Include? Before you decide to block me from your meeting let me share some of the points we discuss in

A Man In a Woman-Dominated Romance World

This week, I offer a guest post from my friend and fellow writer, John Migacz .  Sitting at a table with a few writer friends, I mentioned that I was searching for a blog topic.   A few suggestions were thrown my way, then someone suggested writing about being a man in a woman-dominated romance world. I thought, “Yeah!   Great idea!” then, “ Wait – what?   I ’ m a man in a woman-dominated romance world?   How did that happen?”   I should have realized this obvious truth at a national Romance Writers of America conference when they had converted all the nearby men ’ s rooms into “women only.” During that hurried ten minute walk to find a non-segregated restroom, it should have occurred to me.   Still, I didn ’ t see myself as a man in a room full of women—I was in a room full of writers.   Being around writers is always inspiring and inspiration has no sex.   Of course sex can give you inspiration, but that ’ s a blog for another day. My MIAWDW (man-in-a-women-domina

Mystery or Fairy Tale?

It's Memorial Day week, so I'm running behind on everything, but I wanted to get our creative juices stirring. School is either out or almost out where you live, so we have to work at our creativity a bit differently during the summer. These plants appeared in my yard a few weeks ago.  They lasted a few hours and disappeared.  I don't know what they are, but my curiosity starting dreaming up stories about them. They are simple and fragile and beautiful, but what are they? A ring of mushrooms, according to legends, means the fairies danced in that spot the night before. These look like tiny umbrellas. Did some minute creature hide under them, protected from a midnight sprinkle? One is rounded at the top, the other inverted. Maybe the rounded one reached the peak of its short lifespan, first, and the inverted one will follow suit. Surely, no one planted them there for me to find... What are they?