Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Latest From Word Harvest

In This Issue
Five great things about Santa Fe

Writing tip

Need a second opinion?

Quick Links
Anne Hillerman's Books
2010 Hillerman Prize Winner Tricia Fields

Welcome to our newest newsletter. We hope you will find the writing tips of value, and that you'll consider joining us for the 2011 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference, in Santa Fe, November 10-12, at the beautiful Hotel Santa Fe, the city's only Native-owned hotel. Jean and I are excited about the upcoming conference. We're happy about our expansion from last year to include more well-known non-fiction and mainstream fiction authors on the faculty, along with our friends from the world of mysteries. Judges are at work selecting the winners of the Tony Hillerman Prize for Best First Mystery novel and the Mystery Short Story contest.The winner will be announced in November. Stay tuned.

Warm wishes,
Anne and Jean

Five great things about Santa Fe (besides our conference)
The New Mexico History Museum-This recently-opened museum tells the complex story of our beautiful state.

The Plaza-This square is not only the end of the Old Santa Fe Trail but also a great place to buy Indian jewelry or pottery directly from the Indian artist who made them.

Chile-You can eat red and green chile for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Sunsets-Take a drive up Old Taos Highway for a great view of the day's end over the beautiful Jemez Mountains.

Three major independent bookstores-The Ark, Collected Works and Garcia Street Books each has its own focus and clientele.
Writing tip: 1,000 words a day brings success
By Sally Denton, 2011 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference Presenter

These are my tips. Although they are all clich├ęs, they work for me:

Write 1,000 words a day, five days a week. Finished, edited, polished, words. Words that you don't go back the next day and change. If it takes two hours to write a thousand perfect words, be grateful and reward yourself by spending the rest of the day doing something you love to do. If it takes 12 or 14 hours, be grateful that you finally did it and reward yourself with a great dinner and glass of wine. Ninety percent of the time it takes 6 or 7 hours, which is a wonderful block of time that leaves you with several hours to also enjoy a hike, read a book for pleasure instead of work, pay attention to your long suffering family, friends, and pets.

Hold this rule inviolable and do not take phone calls, surf the Internet, write emails or emerge from your study until you've got your thousand words. Then, enjoy every weekend with gusto!

Write about what you know. While this adage is typically applied to fiction, it is equally critical for non-fiction. One must be in complete command of one's material. If you don't know the subject you're writing about, immerse yourself in it until you do. Only then will you find your authentic voice.

Trust and respect the reader. Less is almost always more. I just completed a book about 1933 that has stunning, even eerie, parallels to contemporary politics, events, and people. While it is tempting to draw those parallels for the reader-FDR and Obama; the Great Depression and the Debt Ceiling Debacle; the Liberty League and the Tea Party-I find it much more compelling to engage the reader to such a depth that the reader draws the parallels for himself.

Show Don't Tell. I am not of the school of writing-which one often sees in full display in nonfiction writing-in which each paragraph begins with a sentence that tells the reader what she is going to read, followed by several sentences of content, followed by a concluding sentence telling the reader what she just read. I prefer to let the story unfold through the actions of the characters.

Sally Denton's seventh book, The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right will be published by Bloomsbury Press in January 2012. Her most recent book, The Pink Lady: The Many Lives of Helen Gahagan Douglas is being issued in paperback at the same time. She will present "Non-fiction, Fiction and True Storytelling" with Don Bullis, Doug Preston, John Vorhass and Virginia Scharff at the Tony Hillerman conference Nov. 10-12 in Santa Fe.
Need a second opinion?
Being your own editor can be tough, if not impossible. Authors Sean Murphy and Tania Casselle have joined the Hillerman conference this year to offer a second opinion, professional, face-to-face, 20- minute critique. The two authors will evaluate short fiction, non-fiction essays, synopses, and first chapters of novels or non-fiction books. Even better, they will offer a price discount to those who sign up for the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference.

Submission deadline is October 1, 2011. Price is $165 per submission for those registered for at least one day of the conference (or pre-conference workshop) and $200.00 per submission for those not registered for the conference.

Sean and his wife Tania live in Taos and teach writing around the world. Sean has taught at several WORDHARVEST programs, always to rave reviews. You'll find more information here.

Thank you to our colleague Karen S. Elliott. She calls herself a "voracious, nit-picky proofreading shark," and she has kept us out of trouble for months by helping with our newsletter. If you need a second set of eyes for your projects, Jean and I highly recommend
her. Karen has made significant changes to her recent blog and shares grammar, punctuation, and proofreading tips you can use. Contact Karen via her blog.


Anne Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg

Connie Gotsch Host Write On Four Corners KSJE FM, Farmington NM Author two award winning youth novels ‘Belle’s Star,’ and ‘Belle’s trial,’ based on the life of a real dog and written from her point of view. Available from Artemesia Press at and, and Anazon,com Belle’s Star was a New Mexico BookAward in 2009 and 2010; First Place for Juvenile Fiction New Mezxico Press Women and National Federation of Press Women Communication Contests 2010’ Silver Mom’s Choice Award 2010.
Belle’s Trial’ won First Place for Juvenile Fiction in the 2011 New Mexico Press Press Women’s Commuication Contest, and a Silver Mom’s Choice Award for 2011. The book received an Eric Hoffer Award nomination for 2011.

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