As a writer, a teacher, a mentor, words matter to me. People matter more.
I had a lot of help "coming up" into the profession of writing. My late husband, Bill Tapply, was a master writer and guided me in the best ways to improve my work. I learned so much from him. My critique groups over the years vastly improved my abilities to learn from them and to critique others. Support from other writers mattered so much—Barbara Shapiro, Jan Brogan, Katherine Hall Page, Gary Braver, and many others. Books on writing by Dwight Swain, Christopher Vogler, Annie Lamott, Stephen King, Strunk and White, expanded and enhanced my knowledge of the craft. Finally, I learn every day from my students at Clark University.
You write what you read and experience. Classics—Shakespeare, Homer, Dickens, Austin, Forster, Sinclair. Mystery/Thriller writers Michael Connelly, Robert Parker, Nevada Barr, Sara Paretsky, Linda Barnes, Sue Grafton, Dennis Lehane, Janet Evanovich, Katherine Hall Page, Minette Walters and so many others. Right now I'm reading Ilona Andrews, Grace Draven, Meljean Brook, Dana Cameron, Thea Harrison, Elizabeth Hunter, Jeaniene Frost, Nalini Singh in the urban fantasy-paranormal romance genre.
I've learned buckets from the nay-sayers, too. They taught me what not to do and how not to treat others striving to improve in the craft.
What I do...
- Conference with writers on Skype, FaceTime, on the phone, via email.
- Critique whole or partial manuscripts.
- Speak at conferences and writers groups.
- Lead one-hour to three-day workshops on various writing topics such as "Writing the Novel," "Writing the Mystery Novel," "Crafting the Scene" and others.