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On Writing

On Writing

Words of Encouragement to Writers

Since I have been through the process (fire) of publishing a book, I want to reach out to writers working on a manuscript, and encourage them to push through the writers block, accept the enormous amount of time it will take you to work with an editor to make your manuscript the best it can be, and the gigantic amount of time it will take you to research, submit and wait to hear, if you ever do, from the publishers, small presses, and literary agents who received your submission. (If you choose to go the traditional route)   

Over the seven years of writing and producing a book, I always reminded myself, or my hubby did, “Therese, you have never done this before, so you must be patient and learn along the way”.

So, the bottom line is, DO NOT GIVE UP.  MAKE YOUR DREAM COME TRUE!  No one said it was going to be easy. http://elitedaily.com/money/entrepreneurship/6-reasons-you-should-never-give-up-on-your-dreams/

When I finally held the finished product, book, in my hands, I was filled with pride, and, the joy of success was sweet. And, I was pleased that I had produced something that will inspire readers and that a little piece of me will remain beyond my lifetime.

Watching the Dance Huntingtons DiseaseTherese’s memoir/nonfiction book, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s, is available on her author website:   http://www.theresecrutchermarin.com   & on Amazon, B&N, & in Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks file.  100% of the proceeds from the book is being donated to Huntington’s organizations around the world.  

 We can never lose HOPE………………Therese

On Writing

My Dream

We all have dreams and the dream for my book, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s is to accomplish four very important goals.      

The first goal was to write John and my story to show the world what it’s like to live in the shadow of Huntington’s disease for 38 years and the conscious choices we made to fully live our lives everyday.  http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/mindfulness-tips/

The second goal was to honor and create a legacy for my three sisters-in-law, my friends, Lora, Marcia and Cindy, who were struck down at an early age by Huntington’s disease. They were amazing, kind, brave women who loved me unconditionally.

The third goal was to use the book as a tool to heighten awareness of Huntington’s disease around the world. Amazon, with their 11 websites allows me to promote my book across the globe.

The fourth goal was to create a continuous revenue stream to the many Huntington’s disease organizations. John and I will be promoting the book and donating the proceeds to HD organizations for many years to come. i.e. HDSA  http://hdsa.org , Huntington’s Society of Canada  https://www.huntingtonsociety.ca/ , Huntington’s Disease Association UK https://www.hda.org.uk/ , Scottish Huntington’s Association  http://hdscotland.org/ , Huntington’s Disease Association of Ireland  http://www.huntingtons.ie/

To purchase Watching Their Dance, please visit my author website at   http://theresecrutchermarin.com/purchase-book/

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We can never lose HOPE…………..  Therese

 

 

 

 

On Writing

A Fabulous Kirkus Review

I’m just thrilled with the review I received from Kirkus on my book, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, a Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s.  It’s hard to explain the feelings I have, because I have so many.  This review validates my writing skills, storytelling skills, and gives me so much satisfaction and finally justifies all the hours I spent writing my story.   https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/unknown/watching-their-dance/

Here’s what Kirkus Reviews had to say:

A debut memoir focuses on a family wrestling with the genetic legacy of Huntington’s disease.

Crutcher-Marin met her future husband in 1976 while they both attended junior college in California—it took no time for her to be captivated by him. Then, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, John’s three sisters called a meeting and revealed that while visiting an aunt they discovered the family was plagued by Huntington’s disease, a debilitating neurological disorder. John’s mother, Phyllis, and three of her siblings—four out of six overall—suffered from it. The odds that John would eventually come down with it were about 1 in 2, and there was neither a test to definitively diagnose it nor a cure to combat it. When the author met John he was 21 years old, and, generally, the symptoms start to appear between the ages of 30 and 45. Overwhelmed by the prospect that such uncertainty would forever haunt their lives, Crutcher-Marin reluctantly left John, a move encouraged by her own family. She even briefly dated someone else. But she couldn’t bear the separation and eventually returned to his embrace; they wed in 1980 and had a child. But the threat continued to loom over them like a storm cloud, and two of John’s siblings did eventually grapple with, and die from, the terrible affliction. This is a story more about the power of hope than the wages of Huntington’s—a pre-symptomatic test for the disease eventually hit the market, but John refused to take it. As he explained: “I’d rather live my life with the hope I don’t have the mutated gene than find out I do.” Crutcher-Marin writes affectingly about the way her marriage was actually fortified by its precariousness—she learned to love more deeply in the shadow of her husband’s mortality. She also tenderly portrays the plight of his sisters—beleaguered not only by the deadly genetic inheritance, but also difficult childhoods stained by loneliness and abandonment. This is a rare treat—a true story that is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking.

A poignant remembrance of a love forged in crisis.

Kirkus Reviews. … (or Kirkus Media) is an American book review magazine founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus (1893–1980). The magazine is headquartered in New York City.

We can never lose HOPE………………………Therese

On Writing

3rd Rule for Writers

Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend”, says Stephen King.  An adverb adds to a verb. In other words, an adverb describes, modifies or provides more information about a verb in a sentence. So, if you said “I am going to quickly run to the store,” the adverb in that sentence (quickly) would be modifying the verb run.

The most important piece of advice I received when I started attending writers groups and listening to seasoned writers, was to “show, not tell” your story.  This means a writer should portray their characters in situations and conversations that show their emotions or thought instead of telling the readers what is happening.

You can’t force readers to feel anything.  You can only show them (or her) the context in which their own emotions may come out.  http://www.foremostpress.com/authors/articles/show_not_tell.html    http://writetodone.com/john-lecarre-show-not-tell/

Unfortunately, before I heard about this style of writing, I’d written much of my story.  So, I started over and I found that writing my story where I showed my characters emotions or showed their body language, etc. made writing much more fun.  I guess because I’m an emotional person, showing emotion either in words or by a characters action was easy for me. It also allows the reader to become emotionally involved in the story and more likely to become vested in the characters and their outcome.

So, write on my fellow writers!!!!!!

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Have a good day!  Therese

 

 

 

About Author, On Writing

My Healing Journey Through Writing

In 2008, after Cindy died from complications of Huntington’s disease, the third Marin sister stolen from our family, grief and sadness weighed heavily on my heart. The therapist I’d been seeing for years suggested writing my story as a way to heal.  She said, “research shows that writing about life’s stresses helps us heal from both physical and emotional conditions”.

In 2010, I began writing and soon discovered that writing my story was the first time I could truly express my unbridled feelings; joy, pain, happiness, rage, frustration, sadness and grief. Though there were many times when my heartache was so intense, I had to stop writing and put the computer away. But then something wonderful happened. I remembered what Lora, Marcia and Cindy had endured and the fortitude I had witnessed in each of them for years and their fight empowered and motivated me to continue writing and to write honestly.  Acknowledging what happened in my life, sharing my story, and being able to honor my three sisters-in-law, my friends, was very liberating.

And then last year, I found for the the first time I could speak about Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, A Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s without tearing up.

After seven years of writing and rewriting, I have healed and it is now time share my story with the world.

Below are two articles on how to heal through writing:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/13/how-writing-heals-wounds-of-both-the-mind-and-body/

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/29/writing.healing.enayati/

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Have a good day!  Therese

On Writing

Second Top Rule for Writing

Stephen King has written at least 65 books as of 2014, including 55 novels under his own name and seven novels under the pen name Richard Bachman. King’s work includes six nonfiction books and about 200 short stories.

I’m going to share my writing experiences to each rule as I go through Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writing.

Last week I talked about the 1st Rule. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” An editor can help you with this.  When I gave my manuscript to my editor, the word count was 120,000, too many words for a new author. She helped me cut out what wasn’t pertinent to the story and lowered the word count to 85,400, which is perfect for a first time author.

The 2nd Rule is Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

I wrote Watching Their Dance in an active voice.  But it’s still is in past tense.  Example of an active voice , “I was in love with John Marin.”  Example of a passive voice, “John Marin was loved by me.”

http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers.html

http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_activevoice.html

Have a good day!  Therese

On Writing

How I Came to Write My First Book and Taking the First Step

In 2008,  my last sister-in-law, Cindy, died of Huntington’s disease and John’s father died of cancer, a month apart from each other.  John and I were reeling from the loss of his entire immediate family, having stared at the face of Huntington’s for 25 years.  John retired in 2009 and we took trips in our 5th wheel to recover from the many losses we had experienced.

That year, I began contemplating writing a book about his sisters, Lora, Marcia, Cindy, my friends, as a way to honor them.  My job at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital was outreach and marketing, so over 17 years I’d written newspaper articles, designed pamphlets, newsletters, newspaper ads, etc., but I’d never written a book.

The first decision I was confronted with was whether the book would be a fictional story or a narrative non-fiction. I chose a memoir because I felt the world should hear my powerful story.

This first post about writing a book starts with just that………start writing. Find a place to write that is comfortable, where you can dream, be creative, think, concentrate and begin writing your story.  That is really the first step, “Just do it”, as Nike says.

Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers begins with #1:  First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”  http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers.html

Have a good day!  Therese

 

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On Writing

The 2017 SF Writers Conference

I’m excited to attend the 2017 San Francisco Writers Conference being held on February 16-19 at the Mark Hopkins Hotel because I will now focus on the historical fiction story I’m currently writing.  If you are a writer, I would highly suggest you attend a conference and here are some of the reasons why: 2017-banner-fw_-300x152

Top Ten Reasons for Writers to Attend the 2017 San Francisco Writers Conference

      • Launch your writing career–or take it to a more professional level.
      • Choose the sessions you want from a schedule of workshops and panels that fit your specific writing needs and goals.
      • Learn about a wide range of publishing options from leaders in self-publishing and traditional publishing.
      • Get your questions answered at the Ask-a-Pro session featuring New York and California editors…included in your registration fee.
      • Go to Speed Dating for Agents – Pitch your book ideas one-on-one in a room full of literary agents ($60 option for registered attendees only). Since the literary agents at SFWC are on the lookout for new clients, you may find the perfect agent for you and your book.
      • Receive free editorial feedback on your work from freelance book editors. ClickHERE for the FAQ sheet!
      • Build your personal writing community at SFWC’s onsite Cafe Ferlinghetti with writers from all over the United States…and other countries, too.
      • Talk with the exhibitors at the conference to find out what’s new for writers.
      • Browse our onsite bookstore (produced by BookShop West Portal) and get the books you purchase autographed by the presenters.
      • Jump into pitch contests, share your work at “Open Mic” readings, and socialize at our Gala Welcome party. This is just a sampling of SFWC’s over-the-top networking opportunities during the event.

The MAIN CONFERENCE registration fee includes four days of sessions including Ask-A-Pro & keynotes, two luncheons, a Welcome Gala on Friday evening, Presenter Book Signing event on Saturday, unlimited networking, and more! Speed Dating with Agents is optional ($60). Transportation, accommodations, and incidentals are not included.   https://sfwriters.org/

I’m thrilled not to have to participate in the Speed Dating For Agents because I have a publisher for my memoir, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, One Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s.

Have a great day!  Therese

On Writing

Traditional Publishing or Self Publishing?


On May 1, 2016, my manuscript, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, One Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s, had been developmentally edited, line and copy edited and then proofread. It was now ready to be published and boy was I ready!  After much contemplation, I decided to investigate traditional publishing, create a book proposal and a query letter.

In mid May, I began researching publishers of memoirs that were similar to mine, small presses, and literary agents who were accepting queries for memoirs because agents know editors.  After I had developed a good list, I visited websites, followed the submission guidelines to the “t” and began sending out query letters with a book proposal or whatever they asked for and/or filled out a submission form.  As I read the submission requirements on the many websites of literary agents, I was a bit depressed because response times varied from 8 7658225516_00cf277f83_cweeks to 5-6 months.  Now, I worked as a professional and was very busy, working 50+ hours a week, and a response time of that nature is just not acceptable. Even when I knew a conversation was going to be hard, like a rejection letter, I still called people back in a timely manner.  So, what’s with these literary agents? Boo hoo, they receive many submissions, thousands they say, but don’t some of those submissions pay their salary?

So, the other day I came across a couple of articles that have helped me make up my mind that I will give the traditional publishing route about a year before I cave in and self publish:  Harold Underdown http://www.underdown.org/self-publish.htm and Jane Friedman  https://janefriedman.com/should-you-self-publish-traditional/.  “My advice is that you do not consider self-publishing until you have spent at least a few years working on your writing, making submissions, and learning about the business of publishing. That won’t be wasted time, because even if you don’t get published, if you do decide to self-publish later you will be much better equipped to do so successfully.”

So, folks, believe me when I say, “It takes years to write and publish a book, at least, for a first time author.”

P.S. Thanks for letting me vent.  I must remember to enjoy the journey!

Have a good day!  Therese

On Writing

A Historical Fiction Novel

While I was writing my memoir, Watching Their Dance: Three Sisters, One Genetic Disease and Marrying into a Family At Risk for Huntington’s, there were times when the emotions, sadness, loss and fear, associated with that period in my life flooded back into my psyche, paralyzed me, and I had to put the manuscript away for awhile. There were also times during my critique group meetings, as I tried to read my ten pages, I would be overcome with emotion, so raw I couldn’t bring myself speak the words. Since I had never experienced this before I began to educate myself on how to deal with a traumatic event. Here’s an article I found helpful.  http://www.wikihow.com/Cope-With-a-Traumatic-Event

On the advice of my critique group partners, to write something else for awhile, I began developing  a historical fiction story based on my Grandmother Christina Mary (Mages) Crutcher’s life in Ottawa Kansas set in the 1920’s. Before my grandmother died in 2014, John and I had been making trips to Kansas, where she lived, and I began recording her stories.

I want to thank my  friends for their suggestion because writing, Forever Young: Never A Minute to Myself (working title) refreshed my spirit , distracted my thoughts from the tragic story I was writing, and fueled my desire to continue writing.51UFuek-6WL._AC_US160_

My favorite historical fiction is Gone With the Wind.  What’s your?  Send me an email with your favorite so I may read it. Currently, I’m reading the historical fiction novel by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander, which I’ve found interesting and will probably continue reading the series of books she has written.  Here’s her website:  https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=outlander%20by%20diana%20gabaldon%20series

Have a good day!  Therese

Photo credit: Li’d via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND & Photo credit: Underpuppy via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA