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Sharon Skinner to serve as Arizona State Library Writer-in-Residence at Tempe Library, Feb.-April 2019

The Writers-in-Residence program promotes writing in communities by connecting local, professional authors to serve as Writers-in-Residence at local libraries. Writers-in-Residence spend time at the library during their residency composing new works and providing education for community members. Writers can get expert advice on writing by registering for...

Writers’ Conferences: What’s In It For Me?

You are a writer. You either write, or you want to write. And if you are truly serious about it, you study and hone your craft.

Writing and Editing

You go to the library and check out all the writing books. Especially the ones written for your chosen genre. You read about plot and character development. You learn about manuscript formatting and submitting to agents. You learn the difference between active and passive writing.

Plotting, Not Plodding!

Plotting Clip Art

Plot points, crisis, and climax, oh my! I have been reading up on plotting, taking a deep dive into process and techniques, attempting to distill the information that others have provided in books like The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson, Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen, and The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman into something that I can easily absorb and make part of my ingrained writing process and inform my teaching process, as well.

This is not the first time I have delved into plot at this level. A couple of years ago, I published an essay about plot called “Plot Isn’t Just a Four-Letter Word,” You can find it on line here for free.

Making Emotional Connections Through Writing

Making emotional connections through writing is always at the top of my list of goals, whether I am writing poetry or prose.

connection-673550_960_720

When I tell people I am a writer, I get the usual questions and responses. “What have you published?” “Someday, I’ll write something.” “I wish I had time to write.”

For me, writing isn’t something I want to have done. It’s something I need to do, and not just “when I have the time.”

I have been writing for years, in journals, on napkins and little scraps of paper, hoping to reach out and touch someone with my words, hoping to connect, and always finding some understanding of my own feelings and emotions.

Things I Learned Writing The Matriarch’s Devise

As with every new book or writing project, there are a lot of things I learned writing The Matriarch’s Devise. However, one of the key things I grew to understand on a deeper level is how much trust it takes to bring a story to life and send it out into the world. Here are five things I learned about trust while writing the sequel to The Healer’s Legacy:

Things I learned Writing The Matriarch's Devise

Cover: The Matriarch’s Devise

Writing Fiction and Making the Words Disappear

It may seem counterintuitive, since we work so hard at choosing just the right words when writing fiction, but one of my main goals during the editing phase is to make the words disappear on the page. I do this in such a way that the reader will forget she is reading, instead “seeing” the action in her head. While it sounds like a magic trick, it is in fact a fairly natural state for me. As a visual writer, I see the action as I write it. In fact, as I tell the people who ask me about my writing process, I often feel more like a journalist than a fiction writer, because I simply follow my characters around inside my head and write down what they do and say.

Fade

As a writer, one of the best things I can hear from a reader (aside from how much they loved the story and how much they want more) is that I made them late for work, or caused sleep deprivation because they stayed up all night finishing my book. The last thing I want to give them is the opportunity to set the book down to go do something else.