Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Writing Coach Elaine Ash Helps Writers Rewrite Until It's Right.
Originally published in Roadmap Girl's Book Buzz 


In March, I had the pleasure of hearing Los Angeles writing coach, Elaine Ash, speak on the topic of "Self- Editing for Authors" at the monthly Sisters in Crime meeting. If you've never been to a Sisters in Crime meeting, and you're an aspiring crime writer living in the vicinity of their meeting place, the South Pasadena Library, I urge you to attend their free meetings, which always feature a riveting speaker.

Elaine Ash is an engaging speaker who shows up with a well organized and entertaining presentation that included a handout with insightful tips guaranteed to get any writer's motor running. The headings included:

  • "Develop First - Everything Else Can Wait"
  • "Get The Most Out of Your Writers' Group"
  • "Too Many Characters"
  • "Deconstructing Successful Novels for Structure"
  • "The Feather Edit"
As a publicist and book reviewer, the "too many characters" totally resonated. For me, few things are more frustrating than settling down to read a newly published indie novel, only to find a few pages in that I need to write down the 10 characters who were introduced before I got to page 4 (and draw a map of the tangled backstory while I'm at it). As readers, we wish someone had tipped off the writer that confusion overload can lead to a reader closing the cover, never to open it again--unless it's for love or money.

I can honestly say that writers should never trust themselves with "The Buck Stops Here" self-editing approach. To be truly successful, most writers need a specialist who can tip them off when the story isn't working, and guide them back on track.

What makes Elaine Ash's presentations so educational is her ability to combine her prodigious analytic gifts with solid knowledge of screenwriting fundamentals (Hollywood may not have invented story structure, but they sure as heck have refined it). With her blonde curls and radiant smile, she comes off like a helpful angel--one who knows a little theatrics can add sizzle. She even supplied an actor to read bits of passages to drive home points. 

 And one more thing:

Don't you just love the term "feather edit"? Doesn't it make you want to do one right this very minute? One more example of how La Ash gets writers to rewrite until it's right.

For more info, including Elaine Ash's author bio, etc., check out her blog at:
Elaine Ash Edit: Author & Book News

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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

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