Monday, January 25, 2016

Getting Back on the Writing Track with my 1st Mentor Monday -- the Inimitable Joyce Sweeney, Writing Coach

Just after Scholastic published my first book Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten in 2011I went through a terrible divorce and relocation. As with any life change, there were positive and negative effects, but one positive result is that I found my Mentor! Thanks to fellow Prose Shoppe member Mindy Alyse Weiss, I was invited into one of Joyce's private critique groups. Week after week we plowed through my manuscripts and punched them up. It has been a bumpy road getting back on track, but Joyce has been there to help steer my work in the right direction and cheer me on. Now, our hard work is beginning to pay off. Thank you, Joyce! XOXO

I will preface Joyce's writing tip by saying it is truly important for all of us -- whether we write picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, middle grade or young adult. So listen up because this free tip from Joyce is worth it's weight in gold, and you didn't even have to pay for a conference or class to get it. Take a look at her website and be sure to check out her fabulous "Plot Clock" webinar. 

 FROM JOYCE SWEENEY, WRITING COACH: My favorite quick fix to strengthen any manuscript is to look over each and every verb.  Strong verbs can do more to tighten and punch up your voice than any other part of speech.  First, look for stiff, do-nothing verbs like, 'enter', 'exit' or 'move'.  Those are stage directions.  Look at the difference between, 'He moved around the room' and 'He sidled around the room'.  Next, attack and destroy your adverbs!  They are either propping up weak verbs or adding nothing to strong ones.  Look at the difference between, 'He walked cautiously around the room' and 'He crept around the room'.  What's the purpose of 'She quickly slipped it under the door'?  'She slipped it under the door' is a quick action.  The word quickly actually slows the sentence down!  One of my 'layers of revision' is always to punch up those verbs.  It makes a world of difference!

The thing I'm most excited about right now is the All Access Pass, being offered by Sweeney Writing Coach. For $49 a month, you get a year's worth of free access to EVERYTHING offered by Sweeney Writing Coach.  That's three ten-week, interactive courses (this year it would be Fiction Writing Essentials, Advanced Fiction Writing and Revision) , Three live webinars and all our on-demand classes and webinars from the past. If you pillage and plunder the website to it's fullest extent, this is over a $1000 value.  So it's really a bargain if this is your year to invest in your writing education!  

BLOGGER NOTE: I would also like to mention that I am in very good company as a Joyce Sweeney Mentee -- here are a few books from others who she has mentored. And these are just a few of the talented authors. You can see the full list, and their books, on her website. 



  1. I love your new blog!! I will return often.

  2. Awww, thank you Joy Moore. I am so pleased to have you here. And be sure to mine the archives. Lots of fabulous treasures to be found there! I think 88 gems in all...

  3. Thanks for stopping in, Sue Frye! Come back often, there's a lot of inspiration to come!

  4. It's amazing how much a story changes once the dead verbs have been removed. It is one of the first things I try to do, too.

  5. Yes, so true! Thanks for commenting, Gail and thanks for visiting My Word Playground.