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Three Habits of Successful Writers - READ - WRITE - PLAY

Some say there are only two ways that writers can improve their craft--studying the work of others and practice. That means that we must read and write. Those two are a given, and most of us know there must be a balance between the two.

But there is a third method, one that is vital to improving our craft; one that can refill our empty coffers. Play. Our imagination is a vessel. Some have much larger vessels than others but eventually, without refills, they all run dry. This is partly where reading comes in. When we read books, stories, newspapers, and magazines, as mentioned above, we fill our minds with new styles and worlds, but even our vast, immense imaginative brains can only hold so much at a time. At some point, we must stop--stop reading, stop writing, stop exposing ourselves to the world outside, and reflect.  This is where play comes in. 

Studies have shown that play has a direct effect on our brains in many positive areas. It improves cognition, creates new synapses and connections, improves language skills and memory, and promotes creative problem-solving.  While it's vital that we read and write, as creative beings we must also continuously replenish our imaginations through play. 

Village Square offers - the Leisure Arena. A place where we can stop and recharge. Each month we offer entertainment in the form of games, vocabulary builders, puzzles, author spotlights, and polls. All designed to take our minds off the reading and writing cycle of depletion, and Play  







By Louise Sawyer 






By Louise E. Sawyer
This month we have a writing prompt. Have fun! And if you come up with a good story, be sure to share it with us!
You are invited to a Halloween costume party at a haunted mansion one hour from where you live. There will be horror, fantasy, and romance authors at the party. 
Please come dressed as one of your characters. 
What will you wear?
What is your character’s fav possession for you to carry to the party?
Do you wear special shoes? Hat?
Will you, as this character, bob for apples?
Do you prefer eating pumpkin pie or a chocolate bar?
What will you drink?
Which author will you chat to?
What will you chat about?
Will you lead a word game? What kind?
Will you explore the mansion?
Are you, as this character, brave, or timid about ghosts?
Will you read a poem or scary story?
Will you, as this character, leave the party early, or stay until the last person leaves?


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An interview with Maryann (Max) Maxson

Tell us something about yourself

I'm a retired English teacher and a retired Register Nurse (R.N.). I still keep busy, tutoring at a local private high school and doing eldercare from time to time, usually hospice-type. I live in a wee house (504 sq. ft.) in my middle son's backyard, with ready access to his three daughters (ages 10, 7, and 5) and my oldest son's still-at-home kids (13, 12, 9 and 2), who live across the street.

What do you write? Any specific genres?

I've been working on a young adult (YA) novel for an embarrassingly long time. I write poetry and a mishmash of other fiction and non-fiction (including an occasional blog One Christian's Musings).

Have you published anything?

I've had a couple of poems published, and a couple of articles published in newsletters for Montana State 4-H and Houston General Insurance Company.

Are you working on anything now? Tell us a bit about it.

I'm currently trying to figure out what- if anything- ties my poems together, in the hope of collecting them in a chapbook.

What do you bring from your background to your writing?

Being an English teacher, and grading student essays for 15 years, was good editing practice. Also, I've filled 65 composition books with my ramblings over the past 40-plus years, so writing is pretty much automatic “brain-to-page”.

How did you find/hear of WVU?

Judith Couchman, a published writer from whom I asked advice to improve my writing, suggested WVU. I started by taking F2K a couple of times and saw the value of classmates' feedback there. After I "retired”, I bought a lifetime membership and have been taking classes since then.

What classes are you taking at WVU? How have they helped your writing?

I'm currently taking Magical Realism. Recently I took a longer course- an exploration of fairytales. The most significant takeaway from that class was the similarities among stories across cultures worldwide, and the idea that they serve as story skeletons that have been adapted and revised over time, according to changing viewpoints and mores. In the spring, I took a class discussing Kij Johnson's At the Mouth of the River of Bees and was delighted with the diverse "meanings" my classmates and I found in that work.

What is the biggest surprise that you have experienced at WVU?

The class using Peter Turchi's Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer changed my whole mindset about writing. I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise, but there are as many "right" ways to write as there are unique individuals doing it. It was very freeing.

Do you have any writing goals?

I hope to keep writing until I kick the bucket. With any luck, I'll finish the YA novel before that happens. LOL

A writer's tip or two you'd like to share?

Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.

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An Interview with Wyndie Deaver 

What made you decide to become a facilitator?

WVU has, for me, always been about writers helping writers. When I first started the MFA program, the facilitators helped so much. Not just with posting the assignment, but also making sure we were following the concept. I wanted to help someone else the way I had been helped.

Has being a facilitator affected your writing?

I am more aware of how I write and how I respond the things. There have been a few times that I disagreed with something in the text and been a bit over the top with that disagreement. I am more professional in how I deal with disagreement with the text now.

What tips do you have for a newbie facilitator?

1. Start small. I started out just doing the record-keeping for Narrative Design one year. When I did go solo, it was for a two-week course.

2. Make sure to balance the courses you are facilitating with the courses you are taking. Don’t try to juggle too much at once. That also transfers into your personal life. You need to have time to check in on the class and do the various things required.

Have you taught or facilitated classes outside of WVU?

No, I haven’t.

What classes have you taken here at WVU?

I’ve taken Narrative Design, the Sin and Syntax class, a few literature classes, Calvino Six Memos, the Fairy Tale class, Maps of the Imagination, and I am currently in the last part of The Difficult Imagination. I have also taken flash fiction and poetry classes.

What has been your favorite class or classes to facilitate?

I’ve only facilitated Literature and some Flash Fiction courses. My favorite ones are the ones with active boards. It is so much fun when it comes together, and the class is just rocking.

How much time does it take to research and prepare for each class? And to give feedback? As a facilitator, what other kinds of things do you spend time on?

It depends on the class. I always try to read the material well before the class starts (much easier in a two-week class lol). I try to go in and read the assignments posted and give feedback every day— getting a response in a timely manner is so important. Sometimes, especially when people are new, waiting for feedback becomes nerve-wracking. I try to remember that feeling and respond accordingly.
With the two literature classes I just facilitated, I also did research into the authors too. I know it enriched my understanding of the work; I hope it helped the other students too.

Please share what you’d like to on your special love of writing. Is there some aspect of writing which really intrigues you?

One of the things that intrigues me is a writer's voice. My voice has been evolving and changing with the classes I’ve taken and I’m excited to see where it leads me!

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Joy Manne: a flash fiction, 'and we pass through, and we pass through, and we pass through' will be published in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology.


Pam Laughlin: her first novel, Soul of the Elephant, has been published by Evolved Publishing. Amazon


Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki, ‘tatjanamp’: a flash fiction, Ancient, to be published in Crannóg Magazine this summer.

Gerardine Gail Baugh: a collection of poems, essays, short stories, and memoirs, My Walking Path: A Blending of Words on an Uneven Ground.



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