Writing in the Pines – Don’t You Owe it to Yourself?

The information about my new writing retreat is now available on my website. Please follow this link to view the information —  http://angelaffoster.com/writing-in-the-pines-retreat-september-23-24-2011 Our host will be Carolyn Tuckner of Pine Needle Quilting Company in Pine City, just one hour north of the Twin Cities on I35. We will begin our retreat Friday afternoon, September 23rd and continue through Saturday, September 24th. Our focus will be on scene and character building. This retreat is a multi-genre class suitable for fiction and nonfiction writers. We will have class time, writing time and sharing time with plenty of writing prompts to keep you writing. We will enjoy s’mores by the campfire Friday evening (if the weather cooperates) and...

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Family Circle Fiction Contest

FAMILY CIRCLE FICTION CONTEST http://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/fiction/2011-family-circle-fiction-contest-rules/ — NO ENTRY FEE Deadline September 9, 2011. Limit 2,500 words. Can submit up to two entries. Must be a legal resident of the US and 21 years of age or older. One grand prize is $750, a gift certificate to one mediabistro.com course, one year membership mediabistro.com and more. Second place $250 and membership. Third place $250 and membership. The grand prize may include publication in Family Circle. Runners-up may be published at the Family Circle website. This entry is from www.fundsforwriters.com Thanks, Hope...

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Foreshadowing in Your First Pages

This post is a continuation of how to write effective first pages. Today’s subject is especially intriguing—foreshadowing. So what is it? Foreshadowing entices,  hinting at the story you intend to tell. Below is an excerpt from the first paragraph of my chapter The Man in the Moon, from my memoir Falling Away (note the foreshadowing in bold): Theresa has her father’s new Lincoln—a white boat of a car with leather seats, an 8-track tape player and windows that open and close with a push of a button. Theresa is the new girl in our junior class. She’s tall with dark curly hair that hangs in a mop to her shoulders. Her nice clothes can’t hide the fact that she doesn’t have a flat stomach or lean legs like all the girls want, but she has a driver’s...

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Back Story in First Pages

Back story is part of the set-up a writer needs to establish in those first pages. But how much back story do you need? The answer is—not much. You need only the information that is essential to understand the story your are telling.  Remember, your first pages are there to entice your reader to continue turning the pages. Don’t bog them down with back story in those important first paragraphs and pages. Keep it sparse. Clean. Get your reader asking questions. Don’t answer them—not yet, anyway. Go through your first pages and highlight all your backstory in yellow. Then return to those highlighted sentences and analyze them. Does this information need to be introduced right here or could you save it for later? Or try deleting the back...

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The Importance of Setting in First Pages

My second component for effective first pages is set up, including that all important setting. Setting grounds your readers.  Until my minds grasps some feel for where we are in time and place, it can’t engage with the story. Setting doesn’t always have to be where you are in the world, sometimes it can be something as simple as the coffee cup you are holding in your hand, the sounds of traffic outside on the street, and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.  A woman straightening her hat and anchoring it in place with a hat pin will place your character in a much different time than a woman bending over to tie the laces of her running shoes. Writers often put in too much setting or not enough. You don’t need a lot to anchor your reader,...

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