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Posted Friday, March 4, 2011, at 7:54 AM

The title of this blog, "The Mad Author," comes from the idea I've always had that writers are akin to mad scientists, taking something from almost nothing--the germ of an idea, a snippet of conversation overheard, a colorful character seen--and creating something whole, alive and wonderful.

At least we hope our finished product is wonderful. It can also turn out monstrous, taking on a life of its own, turning on us and lumbering out into the world to cause us embarrassment and shame.

But with hard work, from the skeleton of an outline to the heart of characterization, our creation can stand tall and proud, something fully fleshed-out and wondrous to behold.

If you have any interest in writing, I hope you'll find this blog helpful. For several years I've taught writing throughout the Midwest. This blog will proceed through the steps of creation in the same order as my day-long seminars. We'll start with our reasons for writing, organizing, and helpful publications; we will proceed with the mechanics of writing effective dialogue, sentences and paragraphs; then we will move on to query letters, literary agents and finding a publisher.

You are invited to submit questions. Please keep in mind that writing is subjective, as is the writing process. I'll answer your questions as best I can, from my own learning experiences over a long writing career. Other authors may disagree with some of my answers. That doesn't mean I'm right and they're wrong, or vice versa. It means simply that we each come to our own conclusions via our personal experiences.

Keep in mind also that this blog is written in a conversational tone. I'm not going to worry obsessively about making every sentence perfect, since that's not how friends talk to each other (one another?). So, if you spot the occasional dangling participle or misplaced modifier, well, so be it.

And so we begin our journey.


Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I can't begin to tell you how long I've waited for something like this in our area.

-- Posted by farmergirl.sp on Fri, Mar 4, 2011, at 1:01 PM

This is great Jean! I know you will be able to help other aspiring authors - just as you have done for me! Looking forward to learning more wonderful tips from you!

-- Posted by lesliemeans on Fri, Mar 4, 2011, at 8:54 PM

Great idea Jean. Looking forward to learning more from you.

-- Posted by storylady on Sat, Mar 5, 2011, at 7:45 AM

The second para of this blog tells exactly what happened to me. I look forward to your advise to prevent a re-occurrence to me and my readers!

-- Posted by Firstogo on Sat, Mar 5, 2011, at 10:45 AM

Jean, I'm so excited for you and looking forward to your blog. I'll be one of your biggest fans!

-- Posted by OR.girl on Sun, Mar 6, 2011, at 1:00 PM

Thank you all for the nice comments, in this forum as well as the emails I've received.

Leslie Means, above, is the author of ELLA B. BELLA AND THE MAGIC PINK SHOES, a wonderful children's picture book, with illustrations by Kim Heinrichs of Spencer.

-- Posted by JTennant on Sun, Mar 6, 2011, at 2:56 PM

Wow, a friend sent me the message that Jean is starting a blog on writing, and I can't wait to see more of it! I attended one of her workshops last year, and after a 6 hr day I came away with more useful info than I'd gotten in other weeks or even months long classes.GG

-- Posted by ggilmore on Tue, Mar 8, 2011, at 2:54 PM

Jean, I'm very excited that you have this Blog to help develop writing skills which will make writing interesting and fun.


-- Posted by wordgardener on Fri, Mar 11, 2011, at 12:07 AM

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Jean Tennant has been writing professionally for more than 30 years. Beginning with short stories, newspaper and magazine articles, she eventually branched out to full-length work, with several novels published by Warner Books, Kensington and Silhouette. Now the owner of Shapato Publishing, LLC, in Everly, Iowa, she teaches writers' workshops throughout the Midwest, for which her schedule can be seen at: www.jeantennant.com. Jean lives in Everly with her husband, Grover Reiser, and their dogs, Kirby and Dakota. Favorite quote: "Outside of a dog, man's best friend is a book. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx.
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