Northwest Arkansas Writers
The Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop is a group of people who enjoy writing for fun and profit. Our members come from many different walks of life and present a varied set of views on the world and everything in it.

This variety is evidenced by the stories that are shared within the workshops themselves. We are delighted by the characters we meet, as we hear them come to life.

If you are working on a piece of fiction or non-fiction, take a look at the rest of this site or drop by a meeting and see if honest critique is what you need. Write on!

Velda Brotherton will be at the Fayetteville Public Library!

Flavors of the Ozarks: Linking Past to Present

WHEN: Saturday, May 10th, 10:00 A.M.
WHERE: Fayetteville Public Library, 401 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville, AR

Click here for more info!

Editors talk about their Pet Peeves!

Ever wonder what editors really hate? The following is shared courtesy of Nicole Darienzo, an editor with The Wild Rose Press. It was originally published in the blog, Behind The Garden Gate.

Here, in their own words, are their responses (all very tongue in cheek). I caution you though, there is power in these words – they may be tiny but, alone or combined with others, they have the power to Drive. Your. Editor. Crazy.

     Spinning/Turning on her heel — I mean who really does that??? Ballerinas and figure skaters spin on their toes; I don't know anyone who spins on their heels LOL. I realize this is supposedly showing someone making a fast or angry exit — but it stopped being original about thirty years ago. Now it's just overused and cliché.
     AT as in “this is where we’re at” or “where are you at?” I can’t believe how much this poor little word has fallen into such improper use. If you’re using it in dialogue to show a certain characteristic fine but otherwise…don’t do it. No really. Don’t!!!
     And of course, my big bug-a-boo: "she thought to herself" (uhh, who else is she gonna think it to?) That one drives me crazy yet I hear it and read it over and over. And over!
               — Nic D’Arienzo

     Mine is the word LOOK. To me, that is one of the vaguest words in the dictionary because it describes absolutely nothing. I want a stronger verb Showing HOW or why. I often give four different scenarios to one sentence of She looked up, each showing a totally different emotion and thus proving that if you can replace look with that many scenarios, it isn't painting the picture needed in an often tense or emotional moment.
               — Stacy Holmes

     Mine is LOOKED — or glanced, or peered or stared or, well, you get the idea. I try to explain to authors that when in a specifi point of view, everything is what that person sees (or hears or tastes) so it's redundant to keep telling us they were looking at something.
               — Cindy Davis

     One of my drives-me-crazy peeves is the dangling participial phrase thing. You know: Going outside, the heavy, warm air overwhelmed me.
               — Roseann Armstrong

     THAT THAT THAT THAT... I just saw THAT 500 times in the last paragraph I was editing. But seriously how many times can you use the word in a story??? The same for THIS, and the over use of THE. And em-dashes. I just sent a story back where I highlighted those little buggers. Came up over 200 times in a 300 page story.
               — Lill Farrell

     THAT. I am truly beginning to hate the word. Then there is the ever present OMG or LOL now. If you are actually using it in a “text” within the story, fine but otherwise…give it a rest.
               — Lori Graham

     I had a MS last year that I sent back to the author to remove the THATs. He took out 1000.
               — Cindy Davis

     I don't ask for THAT to be replaced anymore, not since I got the ms back with them all changed to WHICH.
               — Nan Swanson

     When explaining it to authors, I phrase it as “putting your manuscript on a low-that diet”
               — Laura Kelly

     THAT is definitely way over used.
               — Darlene Fredette

     I've lately come to hate the word NOW. He washed his hands and now stood in the doorway. If he's in the doorway, it's happening now! Also overused or incorrect use of ellipses and emdashes and verbs that tell: Saw, Heard, Felt, Moved, Watched, Thought, Knew, Reached
               — Diana Carlile

     My biggest one is "he/she knew." Ex. She knew the wind was blowing. Instead of the simple sentence. "The wind was blowing." (or something more vivid than that.) I explain to authors that if we are in the character's pov, the reader already knows it is what that character knew.
               — Allision Byers

     Mine is "exit" as a verb. Blah, blaher and blahest. No color, no emotion. I blame CSI and advise my authors to use it only in police/military reports and stage/computer directions. Another is "smirk." Way overused, and incorrectly. It isn't a straight synonym for "smile." Look it up.
     "Drug" instead of "dragged." Argh. I'll accept it in regional dialect, but not in narration, unless the narration is also in dialect.
     "Peek" instead of "poke." "The gun peeked out of his pocket." Oh really? And what did the gun see when it peeked out of his pocket?
               — Kinan Werdski

     When our POV character is observing someone else and says, "She picked at an imaginary speck of dust (or thread, etc,) on her skirt." How does our POV character know what the other character is imagining they are picking at? And 'a single tear tracked down her cheek' Maybe it's possible, but does anyone really cry out of only one eye?
               — Ally Robertson

     I hate "wearing/wore." It's such obvious scene setting, and especially when the list of clothing goes into every tiny detail. Personally, boxer or briefs is something I'd rather remain a mystery...unless that's ALL they're wearing.
               — Maggie Johnson

     One of my pet peeves is paused. She/he paused. "blah blah blah." If the character is going to pause they need to have a body action or do something other than just pause. I have an author who uses pause to death.
               — Johanna Melaragno

     I had a project so full of exclamation points, by the time I removed them all, the ms was two pages shorter.
               — Kinan Werdski

     I’ve just been through a ms where everybody just does everything just right just about all the time. I just hate just now. Oh and add quite to my meaningless list. I hate it when all the characters do is smile, giggle, grin or chuckle. Didn't realize the smirk was supposed to be an equivalent. Always thought what unpleasant people when there was a lot of smirking going on.
               — Anne Dugid

     Walked and looked are at the top of my list, but my all time topper is the word (WAS). Yes it can be used but if a stronger verb can be used in its place...use it. When there are two or more (was, were) in a run it becomes jarring and confusing.
               — Cover artist Debbie Taylor

     POV issues — inserting one character's thought or interpretation into the other character's paragraph. "As if" or "as though" are clues to this structure.
     – Jolene gazed upward, as if thinking of what to say next.
     – Thomas ran a hand over his face, feeling the rasp of his beard, and waited for her answer.
     Placing more than one character's action/thought/dialogue in the same sentence or paragraph.
     An author relaying emotion through one-word adverbs. "She said abruptly" instead of "she snapped."
     two-word dialogue tags that add nothing "he said" or "she asked." Better to use an action tag that shows the character doing something.
               — Leanne Morgena

And that’s it! Now keep in mind some of us have been doing this a long time, and maybe we get a little frustrated now and then. But at the end of the day we love our authors and want them to learn from our experiences. All the editors quoted here agreed to share their thoughts to help YOU become a better author.

More Tips from Velda!

Here are some promo sites she's run across and is trying out:

Find, Read, Love: Facebook pages, an interesting concept.

Other Facebook Pages: Indie Authors, Ozark Writers, Incredible Indie Authors, Ozark Writers League, Social Buzz Club

BookClubReadingList      *Not Free*

Good Reviews Group on Goodreads

Pinterest: IncredibleAudioBooks

Links for Writing advice:

Jobs & Markets

Publishing/Marketing Resources

Online Writing Communities

For the complete list see the May/June 2013 issue of Writer's Digest

Velda Brotherton has a new audiobook!

Go to Amazon and check it out!

NWA Writers Winners Circle, November 2012 – Ozarks Writers League Contest

Contest or Award
Ruth Burkett Weeks BOOK OF THE YEAR! "Soldiers from the Mist"
Keli Wright Gene Andereck Short Story
Flash Fiction
Russell Gayer Flash Fiction 1st HM
Brenda Black Short Story 3rd HM
Nancy Hartney Gene Andereck Short Story 2nd HM

NWA Writers Winners Circle, October 2012 – Ozark Creative Writers conference

Contest or Award
Russell Gayer Humorous Short Story
Ozark Writers League Award
Mighty Mo Award
Poet Laureate Award
Surprise Flash Fiction
1st HM
Staci Troilo The Storyteller Magazine Award 2nd
Dave Bahnks Showcase Award
Humorous Short Story
1st HM
3rd HM
Jim Davis The High Hill Book Award 2nd HM
Nancy Hartney Travel Article 1st

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