Friday, May 6, 2011

Paying it Forward

Fiction writers spend lots of time with imaginary people - we have conversations with fictional characters, we argue with them, and spend hours putting their words, actions and thoughts onto a blank screen or page, depending on the author's work preferences.  However, writing is not a solitary life.  We have families and friends and other writers to hang out with.  And I will admit, hanging out with my fellow writers is always interesting - we discuss the business of writing, the craft of writing, and have a million odd little conversations about zombies, murder, cats, chips, and basically "fill in the blank."

As an aspiring writer, I had the good fortune to meet many published authors who shared their knowledge of the industry and writing with me.  One author, Kate Elliott, even spent time critiquing my first book, POISON STUDY and her comments improved my story tremendously.  Of course, I thanked her many times and treated her to dinner, but I really couldn't help her with her writing (except to tell everyone how great her books are :)  My favorite is JARAN - LOVED that book!).  So I had decided long before POISON STUDY was bought that, if I ever was published, I would help other aspiring writers.

And I've kept my word :)  It really wasn't hard to do as I enjoy it very much.  I have writing advice articles on my website (, I teach writing at Seton Hill University's MFA writing popular fiction program (I also am a graduate :).  And I mentor students in the program.  It's a great low residency program for anyone wishing to write genre fiction - and it's one of only two such programs in the USA.  Here's a link if you're interested in finding out more:

Seton Hill is very committed to genre fiction and we have a whole faculty room filled with published authors from every genre.  One day, Dr. Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, who were hanging out together like writers do, decided that we should share our knowledge with everyone and they sent out a request for articles.  Well, two or three years later (can't remember!), MANY GENRES ONE CRAFT has been published and is available for all those aspiring authors and for all those authors (like me) who think you're never an "expert" when it comes to writing.  I'm always, always, always learning :)

I wrote an article for the book.  It's titled, Dumping the Info Dump - which is how to avoid dropping in huge chunks of information in your story.  I've inserted links to an excerpt and to the book on Amazon below.  All the articles in the book have been written by the mentors, faculty, guests, students, and alumni of the Seton Hill MFA writing program so I'm not the only one paying it forward :)



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