Calliope Writing

Reblogged – Description Lists for Colors

Incredible resource for writers. Be sure to save these images–you’ll want to refer to them later!

World of Horror

Today I want to introduce some complete lists of colors for using in your writing.


Here’s another one:


Eye color:


Hair color:


Hope you enjoy these lists!

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Interview with Write Out Loud Instructor Kathryn Ash

Today, I have something a little different for you all: an interview! Kathryn Ash is a playwright with years of experience who says she “cannot remember a time when [she] wasn’t in awe of stories.”

kathryn ash playwright

Meet Kathryn Ash

Read on to find out more about Kathryn and the Write Out Loud program, which is ideal for beginning and seasoned writers alike.

Share a little bit about yourself.

I was never read to as a child, rather I grew up in a strong tradition of hearing stories delivered as if by performance, a tradition that most likely established by my yarn-spinning grandfather who regularly held court at family gatherings with his hilariously convoluted and mostly suspect tales of “life as a poor Kentuckian runaway working on the Mississippi steamboats, hanging out in wild New Orleans in the 1900s and stowing away on a boat to Australia, all before the age of sixteen.” So the thrill of telling and seeing stories rather than reading them was implanted in my mind very early.

For the longest time I was content to perform other people’s stories, as an actor. But in 1992, when the theatre company I was setting up with two other women (JUTE Theatre Company) needed an original story quick, I hurriedly put forward the story that had been rattling around in my head all my life—Bag O’ Marbles. The play had a lot of success over the years, including winning me the New York Dramatist Exchange Award, and marks the beginning of my long affair with writing stories for theatre.

I discovered I also like helping people who want to get their stories out as well, and found the vicarious but none the less rewarding thrill of dramaturgy. I helped put together a program for JUTE that encouraged writers to pen their stories as performance pieces. That program, Enter Stage Write, grew enormously over its lifecycle, creating so many beautiful stories and launching the careers of so many talented writers. It was an amazing ride.

kathryn ash interview quote 1

How was the Write Out Loud program born?

The Enter Stage Write program I mentioned had been running for sixteen years, with an award-winning format, and had had so many theatrical successes to its credit. But JUTE Theatre Company’s Artistic Director realized the need to extend the reach of the company by entering into the digital realm to bring these skills to a global audience. Theatre places emphasis on performance of a story and all the elements of creating that story are geared toward a live audience engaging with it. Theatre is a magical art form in that way, and requires specific skills and processes. Theatre is, however, just one of the many ways stories are developed and delivered, and each has its own peculiarities and conventions. But one thing remains largely the same—the basic elements of the story-making. Whether you read a story, hear a story, listen to a story or see a story, the underlying mechanics—for want of a better word—are present.

JUTE engaged me to create an online course of materials that would be used to inspire all kinds of story-makers (not just those stories for theatre) and give them the basic tools to deliver the story they wanted, how they wanted and in the time frame that suited them best.

Is the Write Out Loud program designed more for beginning writers, or is there value in the course for more seasoned writers as well?

The program is very simple. It deals with very basic elements of how stories are put together, what makes them work, what makes them broken, and what makes them powerful. I personally believe that all of us, yes, all of us, know the elements of story intuitively—when we hear a story, we immediately recognize heroes, we automatically follow structure, ideas of metaphor and notions about thematics are ingrained.

kathryn ash interview quote 2

Story-making is sewn with invisible thread into our minds before we even get to first grade. How, I’m not sure. Perhaps because our parents read stories to us, or told us yarns, or perhaps we inherit it genetically. But you’ve only got to watch a child being read a story, to know they are absorbing the elements of story—and when the story goes off the rails somehow, how quickly they switch off or demand a change in how the story is shaping up!

Write Out Loud is pointing out to us what we humans all already understand about story, but articulates it in a way that helps you use the information consciously instead of just intuitively as a child might. If you have a story you want to tell but just cannot for the life of you think of where to start, this program will kickstart that process. If you know some things, but are missing the information to exercise your story-making skills, Write Out Loud will help you fill in the gaps. It’s practical work because nothing beats a blank page more than writing on it.

A seasoned writer can sometimes find the path to their finished story is getting muddied—time to go back and look at the elements of story. Write Out Loud  will help an established writer step back, think and re-apply their skills with the writing exercises designed to make them clearly articulate their story.

The Artistic Director of JUTE also believes this is a great tool for actors and directors to refresh their skills in analyzing a text….so it works for all storytellers.

The program is described as “the ultimate A-Z of creative writing”—can you share a few topics addressed in the program?

Write Out Loud is divided into nine modules of learning and each elaborates on a topic concerning story-making; Finding Ideas, Defining the Big Idea, Creating a Hero, 7 Stages of Story Structure, Dialogue, Metaphors, and Villains and other Characters. Each module contains several videos that the writer watches, followed by a writing exercise. There’s also a unique section for each module called an Inspiration Spark, either a five minute visualization or image provocation, to help explore the full meaning of each module’s topics. Each module also contains tips and tricks to help you push through challenges.

As a playwright, how do you deal with the ever-dreaded writer’s block?

The ever-dreaded writer’s block! There is a whole section in the Write Out Loud program that deals exclusively with writer’s block and how to work around it.

kathryn ash interview quote 3

For myself, one the best pieces of advice I can give is when you feel writer’s block on a certain piece of work you are working on you should remember to acknowledge that the block is there for a reason. Your inability to move forward in the story very well may mean something has gone wrong with the structure of what you are writing, that you’ve somehow gone off track. You would do well to stop, step back and unpack the structure. Interrogate the work so far—is what the hero wants clear? Is there too much talk, not enough action? Is the hero getting distracted from what he or she wants? Are you writing too much background? If you cannot spot the structural error, my advice is just leave it. Write something else for a while, or engage in some other creative pursuit until the mood strikes you to try again.

Want to learn more about Kathryn and the Write Out Loud program? Visit her website here and Write Out Loud’s home on the Web here.

-Reblogged- 10 Steps to Finishing a Novel
February 22, 2017, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Reblogged Content, writing, Writing Tips | Tags: , , ,

Sage advice.

Lara Willard

The great thing about blogging is that you can’t hear my maniacal laughter. Oh, I’ll give you ten steps all right. Just don’t think that those ten steps will be easy or even consecutive. Think of it more as a twisted game of Chutes and Ladders. You go up a few steps, slide back down to the bottom, go up a few more steps, slide back to the bottom again. You’re basically Sisyphus.

10 Steps to Finishing Your Novel | Write Lara Write

A nicer title for this article might be:

The Creative Process for Writing a Novel

except it also includes processes that are critical, not creative, so maybe:

The Ten-Step Program for Novelists

(Titles aren’t really my thing.)

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen a link I posted a while ago entitled “Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge: Unlocking Our Personas to Get Unstuck” from Ed Batista. In it, he quotes Betty Sue Flowers and her…

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#FridayBookShare – ‘Writer’s Market 2017’

Welcome to another edition of Friday Book Share.

#fridaybookshare readers books recommendation

The Book: Writer’s Market 2017: Deluxe Edition

Okay, so this isn’t the typical book that would be included in a Friday Book Share, but it’s one that I procured recently – and one that I believe every writer should own and updated copy of.

First line of the book

What’s the most important secret to freelance success?

Not terribly enticing.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

The most trusted guide to getting published!

Want to get published and paid for your writing? Let Writer’s Market 2017 guide you through the process with thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. These listings feature contact and submission information to help writers get their work published.

Beyond the listings, you’ll find all-new material devoted to the business and promotion of writing. Discover the secrets to writing better queries and selling more articles, tips for a great conference experience, and insight into developing an effective author brand. Plus, you’ll learn how to write and curate content to grow your audience, connect with book clubs, and make promotions and publicity work for you. This edition includes the ever-popular pay-rate chart and book publisher subject index, too!

You also gain access to:

  • List of professional writing organizations.
  • Sample query letters.
  • A free digital download of Writer’s Yearbook, featuring the 100 Best Markets:

Includes exclusive access to the webinar “7 Principles of Freelance Writing Success” from Robert Lee Brewer, editor of Writer’s Market.

Introduce the main characters using only three words

  • Helpful
  • Money-makers
  • Publishers

Delightful Design (the book’s cover image)


Since I ordered the deluxe edition, I got…


Go me.


One of my favorite features is the section that helps freelancers determine pricing.


But I’m also a fan of how they have their Book Publishers section set up:



Audience appeal (who would enjoy this book?)

Writers. Whether you write poetry, nonfiction, historical fiction, literary short stories, or any of the other many forms of the written word, this book will be your best friend if you want to get your work published and potentially make some moolah.

Your favorite line/scene

The Consumer Magazines section, for sure. This is where I look to decide where I’ll submit my short stories.


Do you own a copy of the Writer’s Market? Have you found it helpful in your writing endeavors?

*Heads up: if you click on the links to purchase any of the mentioned books from Amazon, know that I’m an affiliate. Your purchase will help me keep this blog going (i.e., I’ll earn money to buy books that I will then write about).*

I Demand Your Invaluable Opinion…NOW!
February 2, 2017, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Being Awesome, Books, News, Updates | Tags: , , , , ,

I have some news! I’m going to write a series of eBooks, but I’m having a hard time settling on the topic of the first one.

Here’s where you come in.


What would you want to read about? What would you want to learn about in the writing, editing, publishing, etc., world?

Please leave any and all remarks. I aim to please, and I want to make sure that my first book is one you would want to read.

NaNoWriMo: Scarier than Halloween and Just as Much Fun

Look what day it is…

november 1 nanowrimo

It is officially National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo.

Not sure what I’m talking about? As I explain in Palmetto Publishing Group’s blog post:

NaNoWriMo begins November 1 and runs until 11:59 p.m. on November 30. The goal? To write a 50,000-word novel in this span of time.

If you plan on participating (as I do), following are some tools and resources to help you along the way.

Join Me on This Magical and Chaotic Journey

I committed to participating in NaNoWriMo 2016 in August, so even if I wanted to bow out, it’s a little too late for that now. For that and many other reasons, I want as many of you as possible writing alongside me – and I hope to provide you all with some support, encouragement, and laughter along the way.

First, join my virtual Facebook event, which can be found here. But if you want to stay away from Facebook (or if you don’t have an account), that’s okay! There are several other ways you can connect with me:

  • Buddy up with me on the official NaNoWriMo site! My profile can be found here.
  • Follow me on Instagram and/or Google+, where I’ll occasionally post about my NaNoWriMo progress.
  • Follow me on Twitter, where I’ll be regularly tweeting my frustrations for the world to snicker at.
  • Check out my “NaNoWriMo Resources” Pinterest board (shown below). I pin a variety of articles and images, ranging from motivational quotes to shut up your inner critic, to questionnaires and checklists so your characters will be as complex and realistic as possible, to useful facts such as how a person’s body will react when hit or punched in a specific spot.

For the Writer Who Gets Distracted Easily

I fit this category to a T. I’m a master of procrastination and distraction…and I was stoked to discover Cold Turkey’s tool for writers, which “runs fullscreen and basically turns your computer into a typewriter until you reach your specified goal.” That goal can be time- or word count-based.

Even better news? It’s free! But if you want a little something extra, for a one-time payment of ten bucks, you get bonuses like soundtracks and themes.

*Please note that I am an affiliate with Cold Turkey, and if you choose to purchase, I will receive a kickback (which I’ll use for books…obviously).

For When the Dreaded Writer’s Block Invades

Offical (and Super Helpful) NaNoWriMo Resources

Word SprintsWord sprints are timed bouts of writing that can be amazing for getting your muse ready to rumble. NaNaWriMo offers personal and group sprints. I plan on scheduling a couple of group sprints – I’ll be sure to let everyone know the details well ahead of time so you can join in!

Pep Talks. This collection of pep talks is no joke. If you become frustrated or overwhelmed during this process, visit the pep talk page and get amped up to write again.

ForumsThere is always tons of action on the NaNoWriMo forums – take advantage of it!

Enough Procrastinating. Let’s Write.

I leave you with a passage from one of Daniel José Older’s pep talks. It resonated deeply with me – maybe it will strike a chord with you, too.

Writing begins with forgiveness. Let go of the shame about how long it’s been since you last wrote, the clenching fear that you’re not a good enough writer, the doubts over whether or not you can get it done. Sure, the nagging demons will come creeping back, but set them aside anyway, and then set them aside again when they do. Concoct a hot beverage, play a beautiful song, look inward, and then begin.

Are you ready to get started? Set aside some time later today – at 4:00 p.m. EST, specifically – to participate in a virtual NaNoWriMo write-in here. If you can’t make it today, comment below with how you plan on becoming a NaNoWriMo 2016 winner!

-Reblogged- Write Edit Write: A Private Facebook Group for Writers and Readers

Fellow writer and blogger Kurt Brindley has set up a private Facebook group for all things writing! If you’re interested, either visit his post and request an invite, or let me know you want in and I’ll get an invite sent.

Write on!



So, I’m creating a private Facebook group for writers and readers who are interested in the discussion of all things related to the process and business of writing.

This will be somewhat an extension of what I do with the Newsletter Love subscribers, but on a much more intimate and informal level. The newsletter process is a bit too formal and segmented and involving to really achieve what I would like to achieve, which is: to network, make connections, and improve our abilities and chances for success as writers.

As much as I hate to admit it, Facebook provides a much better environment to achieve this objective.

Like we’ve done with the newsletter, we can do poetry and flash fiction challenges there as well, with the goal of getting the best of the group’s writing onto my blog and out via the newsletter (is there irony to be found there?)

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