What you can Expect from Creative Writing Institute
• The individual attention you so richly deserve
• Your own private tutor six days a week
• Prodding when you lag behind
• A challenge to become more than you are
• A personal relationship with your tutor
• Unbeatable prices
• Rapid progress
• Personal encouragement
• Start your course within 24 hours
• Save time and money
To rescue storm tossed lives, one by one, and escort writing students from their present level to their highest potential.
* I took two Creative Writing courses at our local college several years ago and made no advancement in creative writing skills. Once I found Creative Writing Institute, and sent a short manuscript for evaluation by Lynn Carroll, I knew this was the most hopeful doorway for me and signed up. After only three lessons of Creative Writing 101, the drive to become a student and writer again was confirmed and on I went. My tutor, Jo Popek, cheered me every inch of the way. Even the busy CEO, Deborah Owen, took time to write encouraging words. What a great staff. Betty C.
* I just wanted to let you guys know I was assigned to create a newsletter in my technical writing class. We had to write articles based off a fake company we created. I, of course, chose to "own" a used bookstore. So the articles in my newsletter had to be about things people who shop at a used bookstore would read. I wrote several articles, turned them in, and got and 100%! She said my articles were amazing, informative but encouraging, and she absolutely loved them. I wanted to thank both of you and let you know. You really have trained me well! You have given me skills that will help me with future jobs, and school! Thanks!! Arial P.
* This is exactly what I've searched for - [Introduction to Poetry] - poetry forms and rules, punctuation and line breaks. I constantly stumble over the latter. I deeply appreciate your comments and suggestions. There is nowhere else for me to turn for help. Thank you for spending your valuable time teaching this class. I've searched hard for a [poetry] class like this one and am excited to find it at CWI. Terri C.
* I have been absorbing more than I ever dreamed. The dynamic non-fiction course is just that. Dynamic. My dearest friend and writing buddy has her master's thesis in the Library of Congress and has been reviewing my assignment analyses with me at the end of each lesson. She can't get over how extensive the material is that is being taught. > Lynn answers all my questions promptly, satisfactorily, and with humor. Thanks for everything. Shirley D.
* The [Creative Writing 101] course provided the kind of detailed comments and suggestions for my writing that I have been craving and have not received in other face-to-face classes. Diane M.
How to Win a Contest
by Hugh Wilson
If you want to win a writing contest, the first thing you must do is study the rules. Many entries are disqualified because the story has not met every requirement. If the rules state a maximum of 1000 words, a 1009-word story, however brilliant, will be disqualified.
Assuming you’ve done that bit right, the judges will be looking at four elements:
Don’t let those official sounding words put you off. They are only words. Let’s look at each and see what they mean to us as writers.
Winning stories come from second, third, and tenth thoughts. Some contests give you a theme – “Wedding Day” for instance. What’s the first thought that comes to mind? Whatever it is, forget it. You can bet your last dollar that everyone else will have thought it, too. Make your story have a unique angle.
Don’t “wrack your brains” to get ideas. Relax, get your conscious, critical mind out of the way, and allow ideas to bubble up from your subconscious. In other words, daydream.
Ask yourself who, what, where, when, how, and “what if?” Let the trains of thought go where they will. There are NO new ideas, but there are new angles and that’s what makes one story different from another.
Example: what if a shy looking woman sits alone at a wedding? At the reception, she avoids conversations, eats and drinks, then quietly leaves.
Back in her lonely, one room apartment she scans the Forthcoming Marriages column in the local paper to see where her next free food and wine is coming from.
You won’t go far wrong if you remember three little words: keep it simple.
Don’t try to impress the judges with long, obscure words and “writerly” language. Like any other reader, they want a story that is easy, involved, and interesting.
Don’t stop to admire the view. Every sentence must move the story forward. The reader doesn’t want flowery descriptions of a rose garden in the moonlight. He/she wants to know what the girl is doing there at two in the morning and what happens next.
A story has three distinct parts to think about: beginning, middle and end.
The beginning introduces the main character and what the story is about. The middle develops the theme and keeps the reader hooked. The ending must be believable, sum up all the facts and leave the reader satisfied.
Too many otherwise good contest entries simply stop when they reach the maximum word count. Slice and dice your story until you can produce a great conclusion.
Always write your story specifically for that contest. Don’t be tempted to re-cycle an old story in the hopes it just might fit the requirements. It won’t. Inserting a theme sentence into an old story will be obvious to the judges.
Above all, enjoy writing it and the judges will enjoy reading it.
The Writing Rut
by Deborah Owen
The only difference between a writing rut and a coffin is that the coffin has the ends filled in. Take a serious look at your position in life and judge yourself.
When was the last time you spent one hour writing?
When was the last time you completed a project?
When was the last time you submitted something?
When was the last time you sold something?
Don’t look now, but you’re probably in a writing rut. Answer these questions:
Do you procrastinate writing?
Do you procrastinate learning?
Do you select your market before you begin writing?
Do you analyze published articles in your prospective market?
If you don’t write, don’t study, don’t research markets, and don’t analyze what your markets print, how do you expect to make progress? You’re driving nails in your coffin and giving up everything you hold dear. Someday you’ll look back and realize life has passed you by and you didn’t do the thing you valued most.
Are you ready to say, “I want to bust out of my coffin/writing rut. How can I do that?” Now we can help you.
1. Do you want to write fiction or nonfiction?
2. Start reading the genre of magazines that print articles you want to imitate.
3. For the first week, write 15 minutes at the same time every day. If you can’t think of anything to write, write a letter to the girl/guy who jilted you years ago, or write to a loved one who is gone. Practice writings help your mind get in the groove.
4. On the second week, write 30 minutes at the same time every day.
5. If you’re writing a short story, make a rough outline that tells the main point of each scene. Answer 50 questions about your two main characters.
6. Join a writing club, either local or online, and become active in it. These are the people that will give you the most important feedback. Two good online writing clubs are www.writing.com and www.mywriterscircle.com. Writing.com is very large, and mywriterscircle.com is much smaller. Both are excellent.
At this point, you’ve done a self-analysis and taken some steps to correct your course. You’re carving time out of each day to get back on track. What comes next?
Knowledge. Where do you get knowledge? At a writing school. Did you know there are a lot of free writing courses on the internet? But be warned, there is no teacher to grade your work, so there’s no way to tell if you understood the lesson properly and made the proper applications.
Writing is an extremely competitive business. If you enter the selling arena without proper preparation, the chances are good that you’ll get lost in the stampede. Taking writing lessons is not an option. If you want to become a selling writer, it is an absolute necessity. The average writer needs 3-5 courses to learn the basics.
What? No money? We’ve got you covered. Break it into four easy payments. We won’t charge you interest. No administration fee. No registration fee.
Today is the day to kick the head and foot out of your coffin, arise from the writing rut, and take your place as a serious writer. Creative Writing Institute will help you every step of the way, but it’s up to you to take the first step.
The decisions you make today will determine your writing future tomorrow.
Delete as many forms of the verb “to be” as possible, since they usually produce passive voice. That includes is, am, are, was, were, be, being and been. These are dead verbs that say nothing. According to Wikipedia, allowed forms are: become, has, have, had (use sparingly), I’ve, you’ve, do, does, doing, did, can, could, will, would, shall, should, ought, may, might and must. The fact that they are allowed, however, does not make them desirable. Get rid of as many as possible because all of them weaken sentence structure. Likewise, using “could” and “would” will drop you into a trap that you’ll find hard to escape.
Deborah Owen and Creative Writing Institute, Inc., its board and staff make no warranties or guarantees of any kind. Writing success comes from study and persistence. We endeavor to be accurate in every way, but the publishing industry and research material fluctuates almost daily. Deborah Owen, Creative Writing Institute, Inc., its board and staff may not be held liable for damages of any kind.