Friday, January 31, 2014

Big Things Are Happening

This week, I'm taking a break from doling out advice to make a couple announcements.

1. This blog is changing

Beginning in February, you'll notice some changes on the blog. A couple of our writers have decided to move on to other things. We're sorry to see regular bloggers Taffy Lovell and Deren Hansen leave us. I've learned quite a bit from their posts.

In their place, we are welcoming three new bloggers. Neysa Jensen (1st and 3rd Fridays), Tabitha Thompson (2nd and 4th Fridays), and Michelle Garrett (3rd Mondays) are joining us. I'm excited about hearing some new ideas. Pictures of the new authors will be available soon.

To make room for our new Friday bloggers, I am moving from my familiar Friday spot to Wednesdays. Julie Daines, Yamile Mendez, VS Grenier, and Bruce Luck will continue to enlighten us on their regularly scheduled days. Plus, one of our bloggers we haven't heard from in a while, Joseph Ramirez, is returning for the first Monday of every month.

2. 2014 Professional Writers Series at the Pleasant Grove Library

Close to 70 people attended the first event in the 2014 Professional Writers Series. Here is the list of the remaining events so you can mark your calendars:

February 20
Sharlee Glenn
"The Nuts and Bolts of Writing Picture Books"

March 20
Julie Daines
"First Chapter Perfection: Learn the Elements Necessary to Make Your First chapter Shine"

April 17
Carol Lynch Williams & Cheri Earl from WIFYR
"Navigating a Writing Partnership"

May 15
Editor's Panel with Angela Eschler
"Wooing Agents, Wowing Editors, Hooking Readers- All Your Questions Answered

June 19
Angie Lofthouse
"Making Your Dialog Work For You"

July 17
Margot Hovley
"Teach Yourself to Write"

August 21
Middle Grade Panel with Peggy Eddleman
Middle Grade Panel of Awesomeness

September 18
Young Adult Panel with Julie Daines
"Writing for Young Adult Panel"

October 16
Self-Publishing Panel with Elana Johnson
"indie Authors Tell All"

November 20
Closing Social with Heather Moore

All events take place downstairs at the library, in the theater or in the bigger room. There are people on hand who will guide you to the correct location, in case you don't know the library. With so many attendees and so many great speakers, you'll want to arrive early for a good seat.

Thanks to Taffy Lovell for providing this information!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

LTUE 2014: A Cornucopia of Writing Goodness

by Deren Hansen

Life, the Universe, and Everything 32, which runs from February 13-15, 2014 at the Provo Marriot, is a remarkable (and amazingly affordable) gathering of people fascinated by writing and speculative fiction.

I mentioned the guest list in a previous note, but for those of you still on the fence about the conference, the full schedule is now available. I'm willing to wager that you can find a dozen sessions to help your writing.

If you're a real glutton for punishment, in addition to participating on several panel, I'm giving two presentations:

  • The Hero's Journey and the Virgin's Promise: Patterns and Archetypes for Better Characters, on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 11am.
  • Verisimilitude: How Illusions, Confidence Games, and Skillful Lying Can Improve Your Fiction, on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 5:00pm 

You can register for the full conference or for individual days, so if you're chained to your desk at work until Friday evening there's still plenty to see and do at LTUE on Saturday.

If you're able to attend and you see a tall fellow in a brown sports coat, come say hello. I'd love to visit with you.

Deren Hansen is the author of the Dunlith Hill Writers Guides. Learn more at

Monday, January 27, 2014

Confused About the Term Inciting Incident?

By Julie Daines

As I've been doing various research for presentations on how to write a first chapter, I'm finding a lot of confusion about the term Inciting Incident.

So, because I want to, let's discuss terminology. I'm not saying that I'm the final source of truth in this--we've all heard it different ways--I'm just going to say what I've found in my research to be the most common use of the term.

Inciting Incident: This is the event that makes this day (where your story begins) different than any other day. The event that changes your MC's life, even though they may not know it yet.

Quick movie reference: Tangled, inciting incident is when Flynn Ryder shows up in Rapunzel's tower.

Key Event: This is when the MC begins to actively participate by making a choice that thrusts him/her into the action. When the MC becomes engaged in the story, usually because of the inciting incident.

The key event is often called the inciting incident, along with various other names. This is why there is so much confusion.

Quick movie reference: Tangled, key event is when Rapunzel decides to leave the tower and forces Flynn to help her.

Can the inciting incident and key event be the same? Yes, occasionally they can.

Does it really matter what term I use for them? No, but it's important to understand that both are an important part of story telling.

WIFYR ready for sign-up

Registration just opened for one of the best writing conferences Utah has to offer. Carol Williams puts this thing on each year in June. Every kid lit writer needs to attend this conference.

This will be my seventh and every one has been fantastic. There is so much to learn about writing, about yourself as a writer. This writing thing that won't leave us alone wants some stimulation, it wants to be nurtured. A WIFYR experience will make you a better writer. You owe it to yourself be inspired. Your brain will love you for it.

Do it.

(This article also posted at

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Interview with Educator and Author Alicia Lloyd

Alicia Lloyd is a senior at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Grades Preparation (PK-4) and Special Education. She has a strong passion for working with children and loves to write! Alicia lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania surrounded by her wonderful friends and family. 

Alicia Lloyd’s monster picture book, When the Monsters are Quiet is a 1st grade reading level children's book that helps to teach phonemic awareness and reading comprehension strategies.  

What are some of the things that have influenced/inspired your writing?
I am not sure if anything recently influenced my writing. Sometimes, I would struggle with writing papers for school and would hate doing it. I learned to write with emotion- write something that people relate too. And I always save the best ideas for last. My dad always told me, “Write the ending that is going to make people think or leave a message…make it POP!” I always try to have a “popping end,” also known as a powerful ending.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?
When you write so much at one period of time, you come to a complete block. It gets frustrating sometimes. It is so much easier to sometimes walk away, take a breather, and return later. I find myself taking these steps frequently with the second book I started. If I try to force writing- I will never get the amazing, accomplished, feeling I get after writing something powerful.  

Tell us about your writing space.
I don’t have a writing space. I need my own place first, but I can’t wait to decorate it and make it comfy!

What happens before sitting down to write? (Explain your creative process.)
I get comfy, figure out where I want to sit, and wait for ideas or inspirtaiton. Sadly, some of my best papers were written only a few hours before they were due….crazy, I know!

Is there anything you'd go back and do differently now that you have been published, in regards to your writing career? 
Nothing at all! Thankfully, I’ve had an amazing experience.

Please describe to us your relationship between you and your editor. What makes an author/editor relationship a success?
Lisa Umina is a phenomenal publisher. Lisa Umina is the CEO of Halo Publishing. Since I am 22 years old, I don’t know anyone who has ever published a book before. Lisa was extremely helpful. She knew I was nervous and she made me feel comfortable asking questions to seek how the process works. The process was easier than I originally imagined and I got to be 100% involved with my book. She told me, “I am in the passenger seat and you are the driver,” this made me feel comfortable with what I was about to get into. I thought this process would be stressful and out of my reach but Lisa proved me wrong. She is awesome to work with!

What advice would you give to a new writer?
My best tip is- Please, just do it! Being a new author, I have had the best opportunity to talk to new people. I have heard so many times how people want to get their unsaid words on paper but doubt themselves. I always encourage them just to write something. “No one wants to hear about my problems and that’s the only thing I would write about,” they say. What is ironic though is that people do want to hear about problems, because a lot of people are going through the same things you are or already accomplished. You can always change perspectives. Write your experiences through a character. Writing is a beautiful freedom. It is what is on the inside and no one can tell you that you are wrong.

Tell us briefly about your recently published book and what you feel is the most important topic/sub-message you share.
This book is a friendly way for children to ease their bedtime fears. All children at one point in their lives hear unfamiliar and scary noises while trying to drift off into sleep. As soon as they get scared, they start thinking of all these scary things that can happen. The main message is just to remember that noises can just be familiar noises, like in this case, your mom going to bed. Being afraid of monsters is common however, I am hoping my book sends the message to never be afraid of them.

Use this space to tell us more about your book’s characters. Anything you want your readers to know.
The main character in my book represents my little brother, Zach. I remember him being afraid of monsters here and there, always in his space pajamas and big blue eyes! I like knowing that the adorable little boy in my story represents my brother, leaves a personal touch on my book. 

Can you share the importance of reading with your child and how you added a guide at the back of the book to help parents and educators to do just that.
Reading is a tool that you can practice over and over again and it is only going to benefit you more and more. There is no age that is appropriate to start reading to your child. You can start to read to your child from day one. It still helps them develop and grow each time they hear new vocabulary and fluency. When the Monsters are Quiet is a children’s book that is typically a first to second grade reading level; however, it comes equipped with early reading strategies and comprehension questions, in the back of the book, so parents can start working with their children at home, regardless of age. Three and four year olds are not usually proficient readers yet, but it is amazing to watch a child skim through a book and tell their own story based on pictures. I felt like reading comprehension is an important skill that I wanted to tie in with my book so children can start to learn how to retain important details of the story line. Asking your children questions before, during, and after reading is a great way to start the habit to see how they are comprehending information. Phonemic awareness is another great tool as well. This helps with enunciation. Phonemic awareness is a broad term for many things, however rhyming is usually one of the first steps to reading. I specifically pulled out words that are used in my story so children can start to notice the resemblance of rhyming. Word families are a way to boost confidence! If your child can spell the word can, they also can spell ban, fan, man, pan, tan, and ran. Start with these strategies at home with your young ones, so they can be and feel like star readers in first grade!


You can find out more about Alicia Lloyd, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Follow Alicia Lloyd on Facebook at