New one-on-one email coaching services

My wrists are feeling pretty good, so I'm going to be open to scheduling some one-on-one email coaching services. However, because of book deadlines, I won't be able to start any coaching until October. If you know you want to take some coaching from me and you're okay starting later this year, let me know so I can schedule you. In addition to Synopsis one-on-one coaching ($35) and Characterization one-on-one coaching ($35), I am also adding Deep Point of View one-on-one email coaching for $45 and Self-Editing one-on-one email coaching for $45. All my one-on-one coaching lasts four weeks, which gives you a bit more time to get in your homework for the lessons and revise them and resubmit them for additional feedback if you desire. The structure of my one-on-one coaching is the same as my worksheets, but with the addition of my personalized feedback on your specific manuscript. Only one manuscript/character per coaching session, please. Again, I will not be schedul

New!! Self-Editing worksheet and price drop on Characterization and Deep POV worksheets

NEW SELF-EDITING WORKSHEET! After Katie commented on my author blog about my Self-Editing class, I realized that I could just offer a self-editing worksheet for those of you who wanted to take my online class but couldn't because of timing or cost. So here it is! Self-Editing Worksheet $20 You've finished your novel! How do you make sure you have a good character arc, strong story structure, good pacing? How can you smooth over rough writing patches, eliminate episodic writing, or increase emotional intensity? My Self-Editing worksheet combines a variety of techniques that I have taught in online workshops into one place, with tips to help you refine and polish your manuscript. By the end of the worksheet you'll have: 1) A good large-scale view of your story structure and character arc, and knowledge about how to fix any problems in that area 2) Tips for how to revise more emotion into your writing 3) Tools for solving pacing issues 4) A deeper look at tech

Story Sensei classes in August and a new service

Online classes in August My wrists are starting to feel better, so I’ve decided to hold four online classes in August for anyone who’s interested: Synopsis writing online class ($30) August 1 - 15 Characterization online class ($30) August 1 - 15 Self-Editing online class ($40) August 15 - 30 Deep Point of View online class ($40) August 15 - 30 Each class (except for Self-Editing) is essentially the same as my worksheets, but in the class, I’ll be giving individual feedback on your homework. Many people have taken my classes multiple times, each time using a different manuscript, because they found the personalized feedback more helpful than just using my worksheets. At the bottom of the post is more information on each of the classes. Pitch Coaching For those of you going to RWA conference at the end of this month or perhaps ACFW conference in September, I am now offering pitch coaching to help you write your pitch and even practice it if you’d like. You will email

Just write crap

It seems like this happens for every single book I write. I’m in the first quarter of the book, struggling to get the words down. It feels like slogging through New England clam chowder. Then I suddenly remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just write crap. Edit later. Somehow I always forget this. It has happened at some point in every single manuscript I’ve completed. I have to remind myself to just get the words down, no matter how awful they are. The first couple thousand words really ARE crap, but then after that, my right brain creative side takes over and suddenly I’m writing words that are actually rather good. Or at least, words I wouldn’t shudder to read aloud to my mother, the English teacher. :) So if you’re in the first quarter or third of your book--or no matter where you are in it--just remind yourself to get the words down, no matter how execrable they are. Just power through it, don’t cringe at the triteness of your phrases and the cliches popping up like we

Endorsements for worksheets?

Hey guys, If you've bought and used my worksheets and want to write an endorsement for me, please email me at storysensei {at] gmail [dot} com. I'll post your endorsement on my Endorsements page and also include your name and website if you want, just let me know. Thanks! Camy

Q and A: Passive Voice

I recently had a question on Facebook about passive voice, and Heather let me answer the question on my blog. Thanks Heather! Mrs. Tang, can you recommend resources for overcoming passive voice. PV keeps sneaking it's way into my story! I didn't see a entry about PV on your Story Sensei blog. Any advice? Camy: When a writer mentions “passive voice,” there are actually two different things they could mean. (Or sometimes, they mean both!) 1) passive sentences, meaning sentences with passive verbs instead of active verbs Or 2) a passive writer’s voice, meaning the writing itself is rather stale rather than active and vibrant PASSIVE SENTENCES: Passive verbs like “was” and “were” are small and almost unnoticeable, but they tend to distance the reader from the story. By replacing passive verbs with strong action verbs, you can improve the prose dramatically. For passive sentences, I have a quick and dirty solution that I use all the time. First, I write the manusc

Q&A - Character Voices

I got the below message from Michael, who graciously agreed to let me answer his questions on the blog in case some of his questions are those some of you are curious about, too. Hi Camy, Do you have any tutorials, suggestions, tips on how to ‘hear’ a character’s voice? It is a problem that continually vexes me. I have some evil dudes and their voice, the sound of their voice, is not something I’ve been able to hear in my head. I’ve searched on you tube for evil voices, experimented with voice altering software and tried to imagine it. And sometimes, when I imagine the voice, I can hear how I want it to sound, but I can’t retain the memory of so lose it for the future. To hear the character’s voice, or at least a close approximation, would do so much for writing their dialog. What do you do? Do you have that problem? Any solutions out there for aspiring writers? Camy: That's a good question! I often have to resort to different measures to be able to write different ch

Deep Point of View Worksheet

Hey guys! I have a new worksheet available for download! I have had a lot of requests for my Deep Point of View online workshop, but I haven't been able to hold it because of time and because I've been trying to cut back on my Story Sensei stuff due to my sore wrists. So instead of holding my Deep Point of View workshop, I've made my notes and workshop into a .pdf worksheet that you can download for less than the cost of the online workshop. Those of you who have been hoping to take my Deep POV class can now download the worksheet and get all my tips and tricks. Deep Point of View Worksheet $15 Want to rivet your reader to the page? Want to make your writing richer emotionally? Want your characters to be more vivid? Learn ways to draw the reader into the mind, body, and soul of your characters through deep point of view techniques. By the end of the worksheet you’ll have: 1) Ways to strengthen the emotional writing and draw the reader deeper into the character’s

New design!

Thanks to suggestions from Meredith Efken and Randy Ingermanson , I now have a new blog design for the Story Sensei blog! How do you like?

New PayPal button!

I feel extremely proud of myself because I figured out how to insert a PayPal button for anyone wanting to purchase my Synopsis worksheet or Characterization worksheet ! The process to buy one of my worksheets should be extremely streamlined now. You can pay via PayPal and immediately be taken to a page where you can download the worksheet. If anyone buys my worksheet and it doesn't work, please email me immediately at storysensei {at} gmail {dot} com.

Seekerville: My Self-Publishing Experience

Seekerville: My Self-Publishing Experience : "Camy here! I just recently self-published the fourth novel in my Sushi Series, Weddings and Wasabi , and it came out a few weeks ago in bot..."

Update on my schedule

Hi guys, My telephone mentoring schedule is free right now, but because of a limit on the time I can spend typing at the computer, I'm afraid I have cancelled all my critiques and one-on-one synopsis or characterization coaching for the rest of the year to try to help my wrists heal. If you'd like recommendations of other freelance editors who can critique your work, I can suggest: Mary DeMuth ( ) Cheryl Wyatt ( ) Fiction Fix-It Shop ( ) Sharon Hinck ( ) Just email them through their websites and let them know that Camy suggested you contact them about critiquing.

New prices, schedule posted

Hi guys, As I mentioned last year in November, I'm raising my prices this month. You can check them out here . Also, my telephone mentoring schedule is free right now, but because of a limit on the time I can spend typing at the computer, I'm afraid my critiquing schedule and one-on-one synopsis or characterization coaching schedules are booked until July 2011. If you'd like me to put you on my schedule then, please email me. If you'd like recommendations of other freelance editors who can critique your work sooner than I can, click the link above for suggestions.

Q&A - Beginning Writer

I got the below message from Savannah, who graciously agreed to let me answer her questions on the blog in case some of her questions are those some of you are curious about, too Hey Camy! I just started reading your story sensei blog, which is great! I have a few questions about your last post! Shoot! I am starting my first novel! I want to write & even though the chances for success are small you gotta chase your dreams right?! Yes! I took a short writing course & only have basic knowledge & decided go jump in. After about 4, 0000 words I'm stumped. Like your last reader am wondering if the story is to big for me or idea is no goos BUT you say you need no special powers! When you talk about fleshing it out does that mean I may need to study the craft more before I attempt a book? You don't need any special powers. Yes, you might need to study the craft a bit more in order to feel confident enough to continue. Or you might need to just set aside your i

Q&A - Borrowing plots

I got the below message from Tonya, who graciously agreed to let me answer her questions on the blog in case some of her questions are those some of you are curious about, too. Hey Camy! I just found your story sensei blog & think it's fabulous :) I have a few writing questions for you though I obviously want to be a novelist. I took the CHristian Writers Guild Apprenticeship & decided to start working on my first novel. I've gotten to a point where I'm simply stuck. I feel like I have an idea of what the book is in my mind but what I'm writing isn't conveying it. It makes me wonder if my idea is above my skills levels when it comes to conflict & dialogue etc. Camy: No. A writer doesn't need some sort of advanced skill or superpower to write out the idea in her head. It could be just that you need to think it through more, mull it over, or learn some plot skills in order to fully flesh it out. So I'm seriously considering setting i

New! Characterization Worksheet

Hi everybody, I got several requests for another worksheet like my Synopsis worksheet, so I have put together a .pdf worksheet that combines all the lessons from my Characterization class. If you've already taken my Characterization class, this worksheet is exactly the same as the lessons you got, just without any feedback from me on your homework, naturally. :) This 35-page worksheet will help you develop your story characters. By the end of this worksheet, you will have: 1) a solid grasp of who your character is—and I’m not talking just favorite ice cream flavor 2) your character’s flaws and heroic qualities to make him/her truly sympathetic to the reader 3) the character’s unique qualities to make him/her stand out from all the other characters on the Barnes and Noble shelves. 4) your character’s desire and external goal (you’d be amazed at how this can change from your original ideas about your character as you dig deeper and discover who your character is!) 5)

NaNoWriMo tip: tactile stimulation

Sorry I've been AWOL, but I've been on deadline for several books, which takes up my blogging time! In honor of NaNoWriMo , I thought I'd post a few quick tips for writing while on NaNoWriMo that can help you achieve your goal of 50,000 words written on your novel this month. This is one of the best weapons in my arsenal: Tactile Stimulation This might not work for everyone, but of all the people who have tried it so far, it has worked for them all, so chances are, it'll work for you, too. Basically, when you stimulate your hands (or your body, really) with tactile, kinesthetic stimulation, it enables you to think creatively and focus on thinking creatively. When you're trying to write a novel in a month, you don't have time to sit and stare at the blinking cursor. Trust me, I've done that for HOURS. Hours of wasted time. I discovered that if I have something in my hands that doesn't require too much brain-power, I can suddenly focus on my

Picking an Agent

This is a compilation of a series of blog posts I wrote on picking an agent. Picking an agent #1—FINISH THE MANUSCRIPT Yes, I’m shouting. Before I go into some tips on how to pick an agent (and possibly receive an offer of representation), I want to point out this very important part of the submission process. For some people, this is a no-brainer, but I’m always amazed at people who’ve never heard this piece of advice. Before you query that agent (or editor, for that matter), finish the manuscript. There are TONS of writers who never finish that first manuscript, and agents know this. Therefore, if they are interested in your story, they are going to want to see the full, completed manuscript. For one, they want to know you finished it. For two, they want to know if you can sustain your brilliance in the first chapter throughout the rest of the book. Many novels sag in the middle because the writer loses steam. If that’s the case with your manuscript, it’s not ready to s

New blog by Abingdon Press fiction editor Barbara Scott!

Barbara Scott is Exclusive acquisitions editor for Abingdon Press fiction and she has just started a new blog! Check it out! The Roving Editor Exclusive acquisitions editor for Abingdon Press fiction. More than 30 years experience in newspaper, magazine, and book publishing. Mentor, teacher, editor, author, speaker. Lover of God, family, and friends.

What I’m bringing to the ACFW Conference

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.08.2010 The highlight of my year is always the ACFW conference in September. It’s my favorite conference for so many reasons, some of which are: 1) the friends I get to see there 2) the industry professionals I get to meet 3) the workshops 4) the nice hotel (I am SO not a “roughing it” girl. I need room service.) I’m terrible at forgetting what to bring every year, so this year I figured I’d make a list. And I also thought it might be a useful list for other people who might be going to conference, too (not just the ACFW conference, but any writer’s conference). So here goes, in no particular order: 1) business cards and/or bookmarks . For me, bookmarks are usually easier. 2) A one-sheet of my latest proposal. Dineen Miller did a great blog series on One-Sheets: , , , , and examples here: http://www.dineenmiller.