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Writing Organizations and Recommended Reading

Writing Organizations


To improve the quality and approachability of your writing think about joining a writing organization.


Writing organizations come in many flavors and genres. Here are some of my favorites (with a Pacific Northwest bias):


Hugo House

This non-profit Seattle organization hosts writing classes and readings in a funky labyrinth of a house. The Writer-in-Residence will take a look at your work (for free) and help point you in the right direction. 


The Pacific Northwest Writing Association -- PNWA

PNWA is a Seattle-based writing organization that covers all genres. It holds monthly meetings on craft and marketing and has an excellent writing contest and summer conference.


The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America -- SFWA

This group provides great information about writing, polishing and submitting stories.  SFWA is also at the forefront in the battle to protect authors' intellectual property rights.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators -- SCBWI

One of life's great mysteries is how such a talented group of children's writers and illustrators came up with such a terrible acronym. Don't try to say it, just join your local chapter. SCBWI is a wonderful place to meet other children's writers, attend excellent monthly meetings, and increase your skills and knowledge. 


Whidbey Island Writers Association -- WIWA

What happens when you put a bunch of writers together on an island? They form their own MFA program. Check out the program's residencies.



Recommended Reading


Here are a few of my favorite writing books and blogs.  All are great reads.


The Playful Way to Serious Writing by Roberta Allen

Wonderful writing exercises. Makes you think and write (a dangerous combination).


No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty

This extremely useful book tells you how to write a novel draft in a month. Quick read, fun, great advice.


Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland

I consider this an essential book for writers. Art and Fear discusses the psychology of artists – our psychology – without being preachy. This book is necessary if you want to survive the interior wars of the artistic life.


Seize the Day by Molly Blaisdell

This weekly blog gives specific craft advice and encouragement for writers. Molly keeps her posts short, deep, and useful.


Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, by Janet Burroway

An excellent overview of craft and how the elements of writing (image, voice, character, setting, story) show themselves in various genres. Her “try this” exercises are must-do's.


Books Around the Table by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Laura Kvasnosky, Julie Larios and Julie Paschkis

A joint blog written by four picture book writer/illustrators which explores the world of image and art. I'll admit that I subscribe for the artwork; the insightful advice and comments on the artistic life are pure frosting. 


The Saturday Morning Post by Joe Ponepinto

This blog reads like a journal into the writing life. Thoughtful and inspiring. Every week traces Joe's path through the publishing world. 


Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom Leonard S. Marcus, editor

Ursula Nordstrom was one of the key figures in the development and growth of the children’s book industry in the United States. An intriguing, funny, informative look into the mind of a brilliant editor.


Prompts and Practices by Judy Reeves

Daily writing prompts. Read through the cards that come with this book and they will help you become a better writer. Read them carefully and they may help you become a better person.


The Amazing Story Generator by Jason Sacher

This is a fun book of mix and match prompts. Useful both in the classroom and at your writing desk. "After graduating from charm school a friendly ex-convict is reunited with a long-lost twin."  Who can resist a prompt like that?


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