Monthly Archives: March 2015

Book Review: The Shy Writer – by C. Hope Clark

The Shy WriterBook: The Shy Writer (second edition)
An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success
Author: C. Hope Clark
Publisher:, Inc
Date: 2nd edition 2007; 1st printing September 22, 2004
Genre: writers’ self-help
Pages: 174
Price:  $14.95$16.75
My rating: A very good help to shy writers – or any writer!


This is one of those purchases as a writer I am very glad I made. The title immediately appealed to me, and I discovered that – in The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success – author Hope Clark, addresses so many things that I can relate to and that describe me – I admit.

There are fourteen chapters, each divided into sections. The chapter titles are:

  1. Understanding Shyness
  2. Defining the Shyness
  3. Reaching Out Reaches In
  4. Controlling the Fear
  5. One-On-One
  6. The Big Bad Throngs
  7. Honing the Skills and Confidence
  8. Shy But Sharp
  9. Gimmick the Name of the Game
  10. The Press and Media
  11. World Wide Web Power
  12. Other People Power
  13. Controversy – When Shy Doesn’t Work
  14. Safe Havens and Natural Feelings

In all these chapters I don’t think Hope Clark missed a thing. Being a shy writer herself, Hope understands it all. She was able to cover all areas of one’s inner struggle with what comes after the writing – the marketing and publicity in any form, including how to cope with the often dreaded book signings. She addresses many scenarios and gives examples pertaining to her own life or of other writers she has met.

Author Hope Clark gives such sound advice and includes links to many sites where helpful information can be found. For the shy writer this book is comforting and reassuring, well worth having.

You can find The Shy Writer on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂





Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – Part 26: One More Time – Second Draft

Welcome back! Over the next several more months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison’s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twenty-six:


“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 26: One More Time – Second Draft

You’ve just accomplished something that few people ever do. You’ve finished the First Draft of your novel. You’ve written it down on paper, or it’s on your computer, or floating around on The Cloud somewhere. I hope you treated yourself to a wonderful celebration.

I also hope you’ve completed that celebration, because the Second Draft looms large.

In my experience, the Second Draft is always easier than the First Draft; however, I’ve also found that each Second Draft turns out to be more difficult than I thought it would be.

Here’s why. When I complete the First Draft, I envision my novel as an amazing work of literature. I’m at the top of my form. I can hear the critics’ applause. Then I begin the Second Draft. The first chapter usually goes very well. Second, not quite so well. By the end of the third chapter, I’m winded. In the fourth, I’m horrified. This novel is NOT amazing. It’s not even CLOSE to amazing. Oh, rats, oh rubbish. The critics will boo and hiss. Oh my poor, poor readers — I’ve let them down eternally. *Sigh* *Whimper*

You get the picture. It’s not the rewriting that’s so tough. It’s the discouragement. I’m not perfect, and, far worse, neither is my novel.

I wallow in self-pity for an hour or two. Then I raid the cupboards for something fattening, and I eat it.





Then I decide that none of that has helped my ego or the novel, so I do the brave thing. I go back and attack the Second Draft not as the wimp that I am, but as the warrior I intend to become, which means I don’t do the easy stuff. I don’t worry about typos, spelling, or even research. Second Draft is all about “major repairs.” I concentrate on two  areas — point-of-view-character development and plotline. I work chapter by chapter, and, within each chapter, I work scene by scene.

I ask myself these two questions:

1. Does this chapter or scene advance my plot onward and upward toward that far off eventual climax? If not, I chart out a quick outline of what I need to do to make the plot work.

2. Do my characters’ actions illustrate what the reader will eventually discover about those characters regarding their motivations,  emotional baggage, needs, and abilities?

Then I rewrite the scene or the chapter.

Over the years, I’ve adopted a “Second Draft coping mechanism.” During Second Draft, I seldom skip backwards within the novel to make minor changes in earlier chapters simply because in Chapter Forty-Seven or Chapter Sixty-Two I decided to add some odd little quirk. I leave myself a note within the manuscript. For example, [“Sue, go back and give Jorn unusually large hands.”] I do the same thing with areas that need more research. [“Sue, look up Eastern European elm trees — shape of leaves.”]

I’ve found that if I go backwards in the manuscript during the Second Draft to make minor changes, I tend to get caught in a loop, and I keep rewriting the same few chapters over and over again, because it’s easier than going on with the remainder of the novel to address plotline failures and weak characterization.

Yes, as I write the Second Draft, I’ll rearrange my words, shorten or lengthen descriptive passages, and sometimes throw in new scenes or new minor characters. Sometimes even a whole new chapter. Nonetheless, in my novels, Second Draft is all about admitting and correcting imperfections on the “big screen” of plot and characterization.

Question for you: Do you write your first draft by hand, record it as an “audible,” or do you work on a typewriter or  a computer? (There’s no wrong answer on this. Every writer should do what is comfortable for him or her. I’m just curious.)

Strength to your pen!


*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two bestselling Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy – all of which went digital in May 2013. She also wrote a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back April 23, 2015, for part 27.

Book Review: Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut EVER! by Jeff Cohen

I’m sure you all know of someone having this experience … either you were personally involved in some way, or you discovered your child’s attempts. Please tell us about it!

Thanks, Erik, for this great review. 🙂

You can find Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut EVER! on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to On-line Security by Wendi Finn

This is a book I think we should look into, even though it’s written for young readers age 10+.
Thanks Erik, and your mom, for your review of this book. 

PS:  I also discovered there is now a workbook to go with this book.

You can find A Beginner’s Guide to On-line Security listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Let’s think SPRING, shall we?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of Winter. It’s time for disappearing snow, no ice, warm days, gentle breezes, birds pairing off and building nests, buds swelling on trees and flowering hedges, early flowers pushing through … oh my … yes! I want all that! How about you?

Let’s think SPRING, shall we? 

Usually Winter doesn’t get to me anymore, although I don’t like being cold; I can tolerate the season and enjoy its unique intense beauty, but this year it’s been pulling me down and sitting on me. And it’s been so constantly cold, way too snowy and icy, that I am just plain ready for Spring! Depression has weighed on me for many months; not so much that I can’t function at all, but enough that I have been low on energy and finding it hard to get and stay interested in anything. I would like to crawl into bed and stay there for … I don’t care how long. Apparently, I have a real thing … a low-grade depression that is enough to keep me in this lacklustre state of mental weariness where I’m wanting to do but lack motivation and energy to accomplish much at all. It’s exasperating, disappointing, and exhausting. I’ve lost my joie de vivre and I’m tired of being tired!

As a result of all that, just one thing that has suffered is my blog — for which I have felt twinges of guilt — and my reading and writing have been making next-to-no progress. I do apologize to you again, my dear reader, for not keeping up with posting here. I hope you will forgive my lack of enthusiasm and commitment and not quit on me.

We had a break in our weather for a few days, but now we are in the beginnings of the receiving end of a few more centimeters of snow. Do we need more? I THINK NOT! 

snow buntings on top of our hedge

This is a flurry of snow buntings, the whitest of winter birds. Do you know what they are sitting on? MY HEDGE! Yes, my hedge is under all that snow. I really am not pleased to see more snow coming down, even though it is pretty. Enough is enough, thank you.

To look ahead a little, today I have this link to share with you that I think will remind us all of the season we long to celebrate. (Or I do, anyway.) Maybe it will give you some new ideas for your gardens. Click on the red words here to see a list of flower names from A to Z. There are no images with the flower names, so we have to “Google” them to see what they look like or search in gardening books. I hope you enjoy the list, anyway.

How have you been surviving Winter? Do you have favourite flowers you can hardly wait to enjoy?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂