Goldilocks and the Impossible Bed

By Anne K. Kaler

My favorite childhood story of Goldilocks seeking the “just right” bed must have impressed me more deeply than I ever imagined

Only recently did I realize that the blond-headed child was guilty of trespassing, breaking-and-entering, and theft in her search for a comfortable night’s sleep. Look at the facts. Probably homeless, possibly a runaway, certainly an unwelcomed intruder, the blond female perpetrator broke into the Bear house with the intent to use it as a shelter for the night. Why she was wandering in the woods in the first place is another story involving parental neglect.

A recent trip to the Midwest reminded me of Goldilocks’ homeless story. After twelve hours of driving, I was ready for a good night’s sleep. My reservation at my favorite roadside national chain was for three nights’ stay.  I should have been warned when the attendant proudly announced, “We’re completely renovated now. Enjoy your stay.” Continue reading “Goldilocks and the Impossible Bed”

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Hope for the Disorganized

By Bob McCrillis

As you may have gathered from some of my earlier posts, I am organization-impaired. I’m sure that must be a recognized affliction since there appear to be so many sufferers in the world.

Symptoms include spending an hour searching for the yellow piece of paper with the title and premise for the story about the Grizzly bear who learned sign language, or the certainty that you’ve already re-written the scene you’re working on, and drawing a complete blank when you try to remember the clever password you came up with for Writers’ Market.

I’m convinced that, somewhere in the compost heap of information on my desk, there’s a best seller. All I have to do is dig it out, then try to read my handwriting. Continue reading “Hope for the Disorganized”

How Much Research?

By Bob McCrillis

In a talk she gave, Anna Quindlen claimed that she only does as much research as is convenient. That’s quite a statement.

My first thought was, “Sure, if you’re already a best-selling author.” A reader told her that getting from Miami to Tampa in three hours by car was impossible, she replied, “Not in my Florida.”

Yay! I don’t have to bother with inconsistencies and impossibilities. Well, maybe not so fast. I remember a person complaining that the book he was reading wasn’t accurate. It seems that he was familiar with Paris, where the story took place, and the places and street names were all wrong. “It ruined the whole book for me,” he grumbled. Continue reading “How Much Research?”

What Is Your Passion?

By Susan WagnerSue Wagner New

When I was in fourth grade, the economic problems of Appalachia were in the news. I had seen it myself when I watched the news with my mother. We talked about it in school because our school planned to raise funds to aid children there. It was a penny collection. Over a period of a month, we were all asked to collect and donate as many pennies as we could. Continue reading “What Is Your Passion?”

Spring Writer’s Conference ~ ‘Ready! Set! WRITE!’

By Cynthia L. Louden

Come WRITE!

at our Spring Writer’s Conference

Saturday, April 8, 2017         9 – 3 pm

at the Pearl S. Buck
National Historic Landmark House

At 9:15, Orlando R. Barone, noted op-ed writer, script writer, poet, and author of well-regarded college texts will open the Writers Conference. Lonnie’s op-ed pieces appear regularly in The Philadelphia Inquirer. He wrote the best-selling text, Your Voice Is Your Business. Lonnie is also the author of two novels, one published online and two additional books awaiting publication with the Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Press.IMG_lonnie barone

Lonnie’s original script, and lyrics to the original musical play A Musing Tale, were performed in 2016 by the Performing Arts Training Academy in Dallas, PA.  His articles have also appeared in such publications as Momentum Magazine, The Bible Today, and Human Resources.  On the graduate faculty of the Fox School of Business, Lonnie teaches effective writing in his course on business skills. He is also a leadership coach at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Lonnie wrote, developed, produced, and is featured in video-assisted training packages used by such companies as Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Exxon Mobil. He is a sought-after lecturer who has conducted creative writing seminars for executive groups and community leaders throughout the USA and abroad and has appeared on radio and TV talk shows. Orlando Barone received his BA from Villanova University and his master’s degree was awarded at the University of Delaware.

After a break for lunch and an Author’s House Tour, at 12:30 our second presenter, Jennifer Lin, will discuss her recent book writing and publishing process.  Famed TV journalist, Connie Chung says, “Only an experienced and dogged journalist like Jennifer could possibly investigate and write such a thoroughly gripping historical personal narrative.  I was with her every step of the way — not just because my parents were born in the Shanghai area but because I shared with her so very much.  You must join her for this worthwhile journey!”jennifer-lin

Jennifer Lin was an investigative reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, including stints as a correspondent in China, New York and Washington, D.C. She left the paper in 2014 to finish writing her family memoir, Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family. Her father, Dr. Paul Lin, a Philadelphia neurosurgeon, left Shanghai in 1949 and took Jennifer and two sisters back to China for a family reunion thirty years later in June 1979. Hours after arriving, an uncle pulled Dr. Lin aside and whispered, “Do you have any idea what happened to us after you left?” This memoir is Jennifer’s attempt to answer that question and more. She weaves oral history with archival research to tell the complicated history of the Lin family going back 150 years. Jennifer will share with writers how she took interviews, letters, diaries, archival materials, newspaper accounts, church reports, diplomatic dispatches, genealogical records, and other primary source materials and turned them into a story about her Chinese family. Shanghai Faithful is a multigenerational saga of the Lin family, serving as a brisk history of Christianity in China. From 19th-century missions to the churches of war-torn Shanghai and today’s thriving house churches, Lin’s book vividly brings to life a country’s turbulent history and a family’s poignant struggles. When the Cultural Revolution appears to tear the family apart, forgiveness and understanding prevail, setting the stage for a new beginning. A native of Philadelphia, Jennifer lives in Doylestown with her husband, Bill Stieg, an editor at Men’s Health magazine. Her children are bicoastal with Karl Stieg working on documentary films in Los Angeles and Cory Stieg writing for the New York-based Refinery 29 women’s lifestyle website.

From 2 – 3pm, the Pearl Buck Writing Center staff will offer a Q&A panel which will offer additional writing suggestions to interested participants.

Register for the Spring Writing Conference at www.pearlsbuck.org/writingworkshops  Handicap accessible – ample free parking. includes an abbreviated Writers Tour of the Pearl S. Buck’s National Historic Landmark House. Presenters will also read from their works, and have books to sell. Bring a bag lunch. Coffee, tea, water will be provided. A 10% Discount on Gift Shop purchases is also included.

Sponsored by the Pearl S. Buck Volunteer Association, all proceeds benefit Pearl S. Buck International, 520 Dublin Rd, Perkasie 18944.

Directions: (from Doylestown) Route 313 & Maple Ave, Dublin; (from Montgomeryville) Route 309 North to Hilltown Pike and Dublin Road.

For more information, contact Cynthia L. Louden, Chr., Pearl S. Buck Writing Center, 267-421-6203 – clouden@pearlsbuck.org

Plot Lines and Puzzles: How to Master the Craft of Writing

Anne Kaler Head ShotBy Anne K. Kaler

My plot line, you ask. No, no, I say, I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for you.

What I am really saying is that I have no plot and possibly no ending and very possibly no novel at all. . . on paper. What serves me as a plot is like an elusive butterfly floating somewhere in my mind waiting to settle down so that I can capture it. Quick, hand me that butterfly net, please.

The mind of a writer seldom determines the entire plot of a piece of prose before the actual writing begins. While the brain may be able to retain knowledge by repetition – think nursery rhymes or familiar songs – the mind does not work that way. Think of the familiar drawing of the brain as a series of connecting dots and lines. Each dot is a separate experience which must reach out and touch another experience to become active and solidified. Continue reading “Plot Lines and Puzzles: How to Master the Craft of Writing”

Jigsaw Puzzles as Writing Strategies

By Anne K. Kaler

How can a jigsaw puzzle help you with your writing?

Let’s start with the metaphor of your writing as a boxed jigsaw puzzle.Anne Kaler Head Shot

You already have everything you need to complete the puzzle picture on the box because no puzzle maker would stay in business long if he left out some pieces. Those writing pieces are lodged securely in the storehouse of your brain, just waiting for your agile mind to activate them. So you already have all the pieces within your life experiences.

Just like the jigsaw puzzle box your mind contains all the “pieces” necessary to re-create “the picture on the box.”

But there’s the problem, isn’t it. After you open the box, spill the pieces out on the table, shuffle through them, just where do you start the re-creation process? Continue reading “Jigsaw Puzzles as Writing Strategies”