Tooting My Horn Tuesday for WOW! On Fiction and Voice

The latest issue of WOW-Women on Writing is out and it’s packed-PACKED-with tons of terrific info for the fiction writer!

No matter how much I think I know, I always find more that I need to know from WOW! So I’m going to be busy reading this fine morning. Well, all except for the article on voice. But only because I wrote that article.

I had a few writer friends give me a hand with the article, and I know you’ll want to see what they had to say, too. I have a feeling my regular readers will recognize a couple names…Donna, Madeline, and Beth often drop in here at the Hall of Fame. I’m so glad they pitched in their voice!

So, here’s VOICE: Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are by yours truly (and friends). I hope you enjoy it-and if you have a favorite story or novel, rich in voice, share it with me here. I was so taken with one of the writers’ favorites that I went straight to the library to check it out. It was a wonderful read, too. (For extra points, see if you can guess which book I checked out!)

And you know what? I kinda lied. I’ll probably read my article again.

Finding Something Friday: Baseball Beauties and VOICE

I found my latest ramblings up on Baseball Beauties today, so I thought that might be a fun way to start this fine Memorial Day weekend. But I also had a bit of a brainstorm (which doesn’t happen often), so I’m throwing that in, too. Kinda like that ball from left field.

You know that Baseball Beauties is a site for fans of the female variety. But there’s more to being a fan than gender. Like where to sit, or how to get the Mojo working. And today’s topic, when to leave the ballpark. Take a look at Speaking of Categories of Baseball Fans. (And what the heck? Here’s a bonus, ’cause it’s a holiday weekend: The WHOLE world is Watching Your Error, in which I give a little insight into what I like to call “Growing Up a Hall.”

Now it’s on to the brainstorm. I’m getting ready to write an article for WOW-Women-on-Writing on that elusive beast we writers call VOICE. And I asked WOW readers/writers to give me a hand. And then I thought, “Wow! I should ask all of you scathingly brilliant readers/writers, too!” So, shoot me an email (cathyhall55 at hotmail dot com), telling me about your fave novel and include your thoughts on why the VOICE of the novel makes it so special/strong/unique, etc. If I use your comments, I’ll give you a little link love, so be sure to send your website/blog url, too. And whee! You might end up in the next issue of WOW!

I think that’s it. Except for one more thing: have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

Linda Joy Meyers and The Power of Memoir Giveaway!


The WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour is stopping by Cathy C’s Hall of Fame today with Linda Joy Meyers and her recently released The Power of Memoir. And that’s a good thing. Because not only do you get to share Linda Joy’s insightful thoughts about Accidental Enlightenment, but you also get a chance to win her wonderful how-to book!

Let’s see what Linda Joy has to say on writing in Accidental Enlightenment:

As a memoir writer and therapist, I’m always on the lookout for the small slices of life that make a story. Whether we realize it or not, we weave small stories as we go about our everyday life. What happens on an ordinary day as you drive to the store? You could have a lovely ride where you see all the beauty of the world-red roses and yellow tulips, a beautiful dog, smiling children; or if you’re having a bad day, you might have a small rear-end accident, irritating, but you’re grateful that no one was hurt. A trip to the store could change your life-meeting someone new that clicks, or encountering an old enemy that sends you careening into dark places you thought you’d escaped.

No matter what we’re doing in life, there are many ways to understand the meaning of certain moments, especially the accidental ones. This is also true with writing.You might start a piece about a lovely memory-a summer day when you picked blackberries, then find yourself writing about a scary man or a tornado or your dead grandmother, or the time you were punished for breaking a dish-memories you’d forgotten for years. Some writers feel a little bit crazy or like they are doing it “wrong” when they begin in one place and end up in another, especially when they find one of their darker stories sitting down at the writing table like an uninvited guest.

The “accidental” writing is an opportunity, if you choose to view it that way, a chance to look deeply into our souls, a chance to heal and soothe old wounds. But we need to be willing to serve the dark guest at the table, to ask questions whose answers we are not sure we want to hear. After a while, you may find yourself writing in your gratitude journal. Writing can turn us around like that.

If you sit down and write for 10 minutes, not stopping to answer the phone or listen to the whispers of the inner critic, you can create a space for something new to happen. You might think you know what you plan to write, but what if something different comes out? Can you take a chance to let some other part of yourself step in and express the “something else” of your life?

You could begin with: “I remember…” Another writing session: “The best day of my life was…” And, “I wish it had been different…”

As you can see by these prompts, you begin to create an open space where you discover stories and yourself. Allow your hand, your mind, and the story to lead you to an accidental encounter with yourself, with the truths of your life.

One of the foremost researchers in the area of writing as healing, Dr. James Pennebaker says, “Story is a way of knowledge.” This is a very exciting idea, because it means that we don’t have to know what we are going to say. That we can count on the greater wisdom of our deeper self to take us where we need to go. Just as on that car trip, we can find ourselves in unexpected places. Don’t worry about getting stuck. if you keep writing, you will find your way to where you need to go, accidentally enlightened by your writing and your stories.

Write for ten minutes today, and discover yourself!

I LOVE this idea! I’m kinda crazy about Linda Joy Meyers, too, though we haven’t met. She’s been a therapist for 27 years, and she’s used this experience, as well as her MFA in creative writing from Mills College, to conduct workshops on healing and writing. And this work has influenced her ground-breaking book, The Power of Memoir.

Inside its pages, you’ll find the steps you need to take to write your healing story. Steps like “Understanding Your Reasons for Writing” or “Organizing the Narrative Arc.” But you’ll also find answers to questions about publishing, and you’ll read stories from workshop writers.

But what I like best about this powerful how-to book is that you don’t need to write a 60,000 word memoir to appreciate what Linda Joy has to say. Maybe you just want to write a 1,000 word essay. But you want to get to the heart of your writing. The Power of Memoir can lead you there, 10 minutes at a time.

Okay, so now you’re wondering how you can get your hands on this book, right? Leave a comment. In fact, you can leave a comment anytime through Sunday, ’cause I know some of you don’t get a chance to stop by till the weekend. Monday morning, I’ll draw a name from the comments and some lucky writer will get The Power of Memoir. Oh, and leave me some contact info…either an email or your blog address, so that I can let you know you’ve won.

And finally, just so you know, no one paid anybody here at the Hall of Fame. I received a lovely copy of The Power of Memoir, which I’m giving away. So there.

Finding Something Friday on Writing-World.com, The Muffin, and Me

I found the holiday edition of my free newsletter from Writing-World.com in my inbox this week. And that means I found “Santa Baby for Writers” by yours truly!

I do so wish I could share Santa Baby with you (the song, not my SB, the Beneficent Mr. Hall) but it’s only available in the newsletter. I can give you the sweet link to Writing-World here so that you can dash away and sign up. Then, you’ll get the latest newsletter, full of all things from the world of writing, including Cathy C. Hall’s cool Yule song for writers. Absolutely free!

And after you sign up for Writing-World, dash away over to the WOW! Women on Writing’s blog, the Muffin, to see who went on and on for Friday’s Speak Out guest blogger. The topic’s “After Nano: Rewrites Can Be (Sorta) Fun.” Off you go to The Muffin

Okay, I admit that wasn’t much of a surprise. But it’s not like today’s post was titled “Writing-World, the Muffin and Yul Brynner.”You knew I’d be coming up sooner or later. Or more or less.

Turns out, it’s more. ‘Cause I’ve been a very busy little elf the last few days, making over the Cathy C. Hall website. Nothing too drastic; Gladys the Goose is still there, doing her thing. And I hope I’ve made my thing more about humor writing, and less about “waterfowl writing.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It’s just that all I want for Christmas is…well, Santa Baby’s heard that song before.

Relationships + Writing = WOW!

I have this funny kind of writing relationship with my mother. I write about my mom…and she doesn’t think it’s funny.

Oh, lots of other people do. People like editors buy my funny essays and publish them in books or newspapers or magazines. But the one time I shared a humorous published story about mother dear, she wasn’t very dear at all.

It started out well enough. She laughed a bit at the beginning of my mother-daughter tale. She thought it was funny when I poked fun at my foibles. But somewhere between the middle of the story and the point where I explained how I’d learned everything I (didn’t) know from my mom, things turned a bit dicey.

So, if you ever come across anything I’ve written, and Mom’s in the piece, I hope you’ll laugh–and love my funny mom as much as I do. But don’t mention it to her, huh? ‘Cause when it comes to my writing about Mom and putting it out there for all the world to see…well, mum’s the word.

What’s my Mother-Daughter writing relationship have to do with anything today? So glad you asked! Today I’m participating in a mass blogging! WOW! Women on Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We’re celebrating the release of Therese Walsh’s debut novel today. The Last Will Of Moira Leahy (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers. Visit the Muffin to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit Therese’s website (www.theresewalsh.com) to find out more about the author.

Therese, by the way, is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a blog for writers about the craft and business of genre fiction. I’ve learned an awful lot about writing from Therese and her cohorts on that blog. I didn’t learn the trick to writing about a mom, I guess. But I did learn that to get published, one must write and write and write some more. And then one day, your finely-written debut novel can be the subject of a mass book blogging! (Warmest congrats to Therese Walsh on The Last Will of Moira Leahy!)