Claim Your Story

Writing Conference, Ashland, Oregon


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Kate’s Quickies:Jessica Morrell: Writer, Teacher, Truth-teller

Thanks so much for the kind words–I worked so hard on those books….

Kate MacNicol's Blog~

Welcome to Kate’s Quickies! This is the place where you get one or two writing links so you can quickly get on with your day and do the things you love — like write.

So how’s your week been? My week was busy-crazy but busy-crazy in a good way. Lunch with a dear friend who I haven’t seen in a year was definitely a highlight AND today my sis-in-laws are having a wedding shower for my daughter.  In my writing life I’m presently writing a synopsis. Ugh. In my reading life I’m reading Thinking Write by Kelly L. Stone, lots of synopsis books too numerous to list:) and fiction-wise, I’m reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

This week’s Quickie if you choose to click on the links, will make you think. It will make you think about what your write, how you write it and what you can…

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notice of cancellation

Summer in Words

I’m sorry to announce that Summer in Words 2015 has been cancelled. I’ve been involved in my mother’s end-of-life care this year and last fall. She died recently and because of the uncertain nature of my schedule and demands of family matters I was not able to spend the many hours needed to organize this delightful conference. Much of the planning, marketing, correspondence happens six -eight months prior to the conference and I was caught up in helping my parents.  I apologize for disappointing people who had planned to attend and I’ll miss those glorious days in June at the Hallmark Inn and Resort.

On a good note, I’ll be organizing a shorter Claim Your Story conference at the Hallmark this fall. Stay tuned for more information.

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Q & A With Melissa Hart

Melissa HartQ: What is your best writing tip?
A: Develop a habit of writing every day.  Carry around a spiral notebook and pen or a laptop and commit to at least ten minutes.  You can write a decent rough draft of a poem, a piece of flash fiction, or a paragraph of a novel or memoir or nonfiction article in ten minutes.  The goal is to make writing a habit–like flossing, only a lot more fun!

Q: Is writer’s block real? If so, how do you tackle/ circumvent it?

A: I don’t think writer’s block is real.  I think it’s possible to think you have no ideas, but a ten-minute freewrite on a major conflict you’re experiencing, or a significant joy, or a question that’s keeping you up at night, or your favorite funny family story, will get your ideas flowing.

Q: What’s your writing process?

A: I’ve structured my life so that when I get an idea for a piece, I can usually sit down and scribble out a rough draft that day.  I write the first draft longhand in a notebook, and then transcribe my chicken-scratch onto the computer.  I write multiple drafts, then have my husband read a polished version of a piece.  We discuss it in terms of his perceptions and editing notes, and then I revise again.  I read my work out loud several times during the process (sometimes to my cats) to check for pacing, flow, and believable dialogue.

Q: How do you make time to write?

A: It’s difficult when I’m teaching a lot and parenting a lot, and I must get exercise daily or I go bonkers.  But the time is there. Often, I’m lucky enough to be on deadline for a magazine essay or article, and that forces me to make time to write, even if it’s late in the evening or early in the morning.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: I’m in the editing stage of my first middle-grade novel, which Sky Pony Press will publish next year.  It’s called Avenging the Owl, about a California surfer-kid forced to move to Oregon and volunteer as a raptor rehabilitator after he accidentally injures a boy with Down syndrome while trying to kill a Great-horned owl that seizes his kitten.


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The most important things are the hardest to say

love writing in the sandThe most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” (Stephen King)