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Rhetorical Devices Are a Writer’s Friends

February 26, 2015 by in category Archives tagged as ,

Guest-blogging today is MM Pollard of Workshops with MM, an editor with Black Velvet Seductions. MM will be teaching OCCRWA’s March Online Class, “Writing Fiction with Impact”


When you hear the phrase “rhetorical devices,” do you break out in a rash? Do you think they are only for lawyers and other people who argue for a living? Do you think including them in your fiction will make your writing sound artificial and too scholarly for your readers?

If you have a rash now, sorry. May I suggest Sarna Lotion? It’s great to ease itching. If you answered yes to the other two questions, we need to talk, seriously.

Good writers use rhetorical devices and don’t even know it. Why? Because writers have been using them since they first wrote stories. You do, too.

If that is so, then why should you take my workshop, Fiction with Impact? Because we will cover twenty of these devices, devices that are suited to all fiction writing. I’ll give you several examples of each device from fiction and a chance to practice. You will learn to use these devices to impact your writing and your reader intentionally, not in a haphazard way.

I promise you won’t sound like a lawyer or Socrates if you use the information you’ll gain from the workshop’s six lessons. Promise.  
“Writing Fiction with Impact” begins March 16th and runs through April 12th. For more information and to register, visit the OCCRWA website.



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New Year, New You, OCCRWA’s January 2015 Online Class

December 16, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , ,
Starting The Newest Yearby Laurie Schnebly Campbell 
Every new year means new opportunities, but that doesn’t mean THIS January we’re required to start doing yoga and losing five pounds and overcoming any writing hiccups.

We could do that in April or October just as well. For that matter, we could do it today. So what’s the big deal about a new year?

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Ask anyone who’s made some significant life change — getting married, choosing a new job, deciding to publish a novel — if they were inspired by a new page on the calendar, and chances are good they’ll say no.

Even so, most of us like the idea of making SOME kind of change as a new year begins. And for writers, it makes sense that the change is frequently related to what or why or how we write.

A student on a laptop : Free Stock Photo

What do you write?

Do you still love it? Have you tried other kinds of writing? What would happen if you did? How did you choose what sort of writer you wanted to become?

Why do you write? What got you started? What does it DO for you — aside from making you elated and making you frustrated, depending on how the story’s doing? Why are you writing instead of, say, fly-fishing?

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(For anybody who explains that it’s because their favorite fly-fishing stream is covered with ice in the winter, that’s a perfectly good explanation!)

Finally, how do you write?

Aside from being a plotter or pantser, do you have rituals? A love or a fear of deadlines? A preference for plot or character, setting or action, description or dialogue, process or product? A particular place or time you like to think up plot twists, interview characters, get your outline or paragraphs down on the page?

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Some of what you’re doing right now, some of what you’ve been doing ever since you began writing, works beautifully for you.

Some of it, maybe not so much.

Which is where we get into the idea of New Year, New You.

If there’s anything you especially love about your writing, or if there’s anything that bothers you about your writing, here’s a good time & place to look at that.

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The past seven times I’ve taught this class, last-day messages have ranged from “it’s such a relief to discover I’m not the only one who works that way” to “I never realized how much I needed this change” to “finally, I’ve discovered what I was missing!”

Everyone’s reaction is different. Some writers are inspired to switch genres. Some might decide to take up fly-fishing (although no one’s reported that yet). Others report a breakthrough, like those who’ve mentioned this class in their first-book acknowledgments.

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If you have any questions on whether “New Year New You” can help with some issue in your writing life, let me know here or privately at Book Laurie Gmail Com — you can figure out where to email, right? — and I promise I’ll give you a straight answer.

Meanwhile, whether or not you use the upcoming new year to inspire any kind of changes in your life, here’s hoping you love the results!

OCCRWA’s January Online Class, “New Year, New You” begins January 5th. For more information and to sign up, visit the OCCRWA website.
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OCCRWA’s November Online Class: The Amazon Bookseller’s Toolbox, with Erica Barton

October 27, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

OCCRWA’s November Online Class starts November 10th and features full-time writer and blogger, Erica Barton. Here’s Erica on her upcoming class:

Do you have a book on Amazon with sluggish sales? Or is your book about to be published on Amazon and you want to promote it? Are you a traditionally published author wondering what you could do to spike your rankings, or a self-published author who is really hoping to see your book hit one of Amazon’s lists?
Well, guess what! It’s easier than you think. Amazon has created dozens of tools to help any author at any stage of their career promote their books.
In this workshop, you are going to find out:

  • What tools Amazon has to sell books on auto-pilot.
  • How to change your Book Pages on Amazon, even if you aren’t the publisher.
  • How to see who is coming to your Book Page and where they are coming from.
  • What to put IN your book so you can make even more sales.
  • Amazon’s cross-promotional tools.
  • A marketing plan from BEFORE your book is published to long after you’ve forgotten how the story goes.

And much more–here’s one example of additional content:

3 Easy Ways to Deal with Negative Reviews on Amazon

Every author gets them, no matter how good the author is.  For example, “Beautiful Creatures” (a book that was made into a movie) has 90 1-star reviews from the Haters, but that’s only 90 bad reviews out of 3,551 reviews total.  And while it may seem like a negative thing, it can actually be good for two reasons.  

1)      Haters often raise the ire of the Lovers who will come to your book’s defense for you. And,

2)      They give an honest perspective to the book which lets potential readers know that there are real people reading the book versus an author bribing people to go in and leave good reviews. 

The facts are these.  You will probably get bad reviews when you run a KDP promotion because people who don’t read your genre are going to pick up your book for free.  Not only that, but there are authors without scruples who will go in and try to tank your book sales by leaving a bad review so that authors will go check out their book instead.  Finally, there are the people who will just hate your book no matter what because they just don’t like your voice or your plot, or whatever. 

In regards to those people, I say don’t let them get you down.  Bad press is still press, and every review kicks up that little number of total reviews.  Get enough reviews and those bad ones get washed out by the good ones. 

But, let’s not dwell on bad reviews.  Instead, let’s talk about how to deal with them. 

It’s Alina again. To check out Erica’s class or sign up, visit  http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassNov14.html

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Time Management for Writers

August 12, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , ,
by Kitty Bucholtz
There is a lot of talk about self-publishing nowadays. The pros being bandied about include having more control, publishing faster, and potentially making more money. But that’s not what I was thinking when I heard about Kindle Direct Publishing in 2011.
I was thinking – this is the business I’ve been waiting for!
Ever since I was a little kid with a Kool-Aid stand, I’ve wanted to own my own business. By the time KDP came along, I’d already had two businesses, both writing-related. But I’d come to dread getting more work each week because I couldn’t tell if my customers were going to be easy and fun to work with or complete nut cases.
Now I have what I’ve always wanted – a business I run mostly by myself. If I hire an outside contractor for something like editing or design and they don’t perform as I’d like, or we have a personality clash, I can hire someone else for the next book.
The down side is that I am in charge of everything. Everything.
So after I published my first book, Little Miss Lovesick, in 2011, I quickly realized I was going to need tools to manage my time. I considered tools I’d already used as a magazine editor and a conference director, and I tweaked them for my new business. I bought books on organization and time management. I tried a lot of new things and took a lot of notes on what worked and what didn’t.
Eventually, I started sharing what I’d learned with other writers, then started an online class on time management for writers. Other creatives started asking questions, so I tweaked the class slightly to accommodate other creative people. I’m excited to say I’ll be teaching the class in person at the California Dreamin’ Conference next March!
Some of the tips I’ve shared with writers include :
•   Start now – You don’t have to wait until January to start planning your calendar; you don’t even have to wait until Monday.
•   Restart – Time management is slippery. Things will always come up that force changes to your schedule. You can hit the restart button at any moment and work around the changes.
•   Write it down – People carry a lot of information in their heads, but even the most organized people compartmentalize and forget things. Writing your target deadlines down on a calendar will help you to keep track of where you are and what still needs to be done.
•   Sticky notes can keep you calm – If you write directly on your calendar and something changes, the new information might be difficult to find. Worse, the scratched out information may be a reminder that you didn’t make your original deadline. That can end up making you feel bad, and no good can come of wasting your energy that way.
I’m excited to share this and much more at my workshop in March. I hope you’ll join me!
If you, too, love the idea of owning your own writing business, if you have a manuscript ready to self-publish but don’t know quite how to start, or if you want to learn how to do it in case you decide to self-publish in the future, I’ll be teaching “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing” next month. This online class offered by OCC RWA runs September 15 – October 12. You can get more information and sign up at http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassSept14.html. Or come to the OCC meeting on September 13 and hear an abbreviated version of the class.
Happy Writing!
KittyBucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story, “Superhero in Disguise,” are now available at most online retail sites. Superhero in the Making will be released this summer.
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OCCRWA’s April Class: Social Media for the Confused and Terrified, with Elena Dillon

April 1, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as

On April 14th we’ll kick off an online class taught by our own Elena, Dillon, and she’s with us here today to talk about the class. Take it away, Elena:

So, I’m a little bit of an information junkie. I love technology. I love gadgets and I love learning new things. When Social Media came about I knew I’d found a new love–all the stuff I’m enamored with in one place.
When a new Social Media platform launches I want to check it out. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. My kids are horrified. “Mom, that’s not for you. That’s for young people.” Hmmm. Not so much. Really the only new one I haven’t started using is SnapChat. I value my sleep and I know my children will be sending me SnapChats all night if I get an account there. 
Besides I really don’t have time for any more, I have books to write!
This April I’ll be teaching a class for Orange County RWA called “Social Media for the Confused and Terrified”.  If you couldn’t tell by the title it’s for anyone who is a beginner at Social Media, anyone who has been putting it off because they don’t want to go to the trouble of figuring it out, and anyone who isn’t tech savvy.
The class is geared for Romance Writers but anyone can use it. I have tons of resources, videos and podcasts to learn from step by step. I will be teaching as much as I can about as many platforms as I can fit in.  The class is going to be more of a workshop format. None of this “sit back and just absorb the information”! We’re going to be doing. We’re going to be helping each other and building our audience.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Don’t be scared. If you need to learn how to manage your Social Media marketing and platforms, this is the class for you.
We will be using each platform but we’ll be doing it together. So sign up. No excuses. I’m going to make it easy. And we’re going to have fun doing it.
Thanks, Elena. Sign up, everyone! No excuses, it’s easy, just go here.
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