10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 3

Day 3 - 10-day-write-blog-challengeDay 3 Prompt: Introduce yourself with your writing bio.

This is the (very) short bio I send with a lot of my short story submissions:

Amanda L. Webster has an MA in English, with a concentration in creative writing, from Mount Mary College. She won the 2013 Sigma Tau Delta Individual Blog Award for her blog located at

I wonder sometimes if it is a little too brief. What do you think? How can I improve my writing bio? Do you think I should include more personal info, or will that distract from my professional accomplishments? Continue reading “10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 3”

Education, Mount Mary College, Novel Writing

Novel Writing: The Next Step

Cover of "The Hero with a Thousand Faces ...
For this week, I tracked my heroine’s journey using Campbell’s 17 phases of the hero’s journey adapted from The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Last night was the second meeting of my Monday evening Advanced Novel Writing course at Mount Mary College. Our homework for last night was to complete two writing exercises designed to get us thinking about our stories and where we are going with them.

The first exercise was a “Building the Novel” exercise that our professor adapted from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. (I haven’t read this text yet, but it sounds like I may need to.) We were to review Campbell’s 17 Phases of the Hero’s Journey and then type up one paragraph for each of the phases, describing how the characters in our own novels would deal with each of the phases.

Even though I felt like I had much of my story figured out already, I found this exercise to be very helpful in getting me to the next step in writing my story. I worked out a lot of new details and answered a couple of old questions as well. I also wrote my first chapter last week, and the story now seems to be seeping out of my very pores, drenching the pages with word sweat. Continue reading “Novel Writing: The Next Step”

Random Writing Rants

I Need Chaos to Write

Reminiscing Summer
Summer might have been sensational if I’d managed to write something. (Photo credit: Lin Pernille Photography)

It’s hard to believe summer is over already. So much for all of that writing I meant to do this summer. I only taught one course over the summer semester, and that was online so I never actually had to BE anywhere. I did a bit of freelance writing, but the work was hard to get this summer for some reason. I had a lot of time to write, yet somehow couldn’t ever seem to get anything done. Now that I’m back to school with a full-time teaching schedule, I suddenly have all sorts of material begging to be written. It seems I need chaos in my life in order to write. Continue reading “I Need Chaos to Write”

Education, Mount Mary College, Sigma Tau Delta, Uncategorized, Writing Programs

2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction

Sigma Tau Delta
Sigma Tau Delta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I officially joined the International English Honor Society at the 2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony which took place in the beautiful Caroline Hall student lounge at Mount Mary College.

According to the Sigma Tau Delta website, “Candidates for graduate membership must be enrolled in a graduate program in English, or one of its specializations, have completed six semester hours of graduate work or the equivalent, and have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.”

I lured my children to the induction ceremony with the promise of food, and they were actually very well behaved throughout the ceremony. Perhaps it was the promise of a slice of the huge cake sitting on a back table that kept them in line. My boyfriend came along as well to keep an eye on the kids and man the video camera (he kept the camera trained on me for pretty much the entire video!) Continue reading “2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction”

AWP, Conventions & Conferences, Mount Mary College, Writing Programs

AWP 2012 Overview

Chicago 8
This looks exactly like some of the rooms where I spent last weekend! | Chicago 8 (Photo credit: penmanila)

I had to miss class Saturday morning to make it to the 2012 AWP Conference and Book Fair in Chicago. My Narratology instructor encourages students in our professional writing program to attend such events, so he was okay with a few of us missing class just this once. However, he asked that we each write a review of the conference and discuss what our biggest takeaways were so we could share the experience with our classmates who couldn’t make it.

I thought my review, with a few revisions, would make a good blog post for today considering I’m always short on writing time on Wednesdays (I teach 2 classes on Wednesdays.) Enjoy… Continue reading “AWP 2012 Overview”

Chicago, Conventions & Conferences, Mount Mary College, Travel, Writing Programs

Windy city-bound today

English: Author Margaret Atwood attends a read...

I’m off to the Windy City today for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ (AWP) 2012 Annual Conference and Book Fair. This year’s conference includes a variety of readings from published authors, a keynote address by author Margaret Atwood (pictured at right,) and a plethora of educational sessions. There are so many options to choose from, I’m having a hard time deciding which to do. But here’s a quick-list of a few sessions I’m hoping to hit today: Continue reading “Windy city-bound today”

Random Writing Rants

Finding my niche

Cover of "Diamond Willow (Frances Foster ...
Cover of Diamond Willow (Frances Foster Books)

I’m one course and a thesis paper away from completing my masters degree in professional writing at Mount Mary College, and I’m feeling pressed to decide on a specific career course. So yeah, I’m a writer: but what kind of writer am I? I’ve written poetry, short stories, parts of novels, but for a long time I’ve struggled to find that one niche that I am really passionate about. Until I recently discovered YA.

Okay, so I’m sure I’ve read plenty of YA novels in the past. I’ve occasionally read some of my son’s books, and he’s getting into that age range. And, I’m quite sure I read tons of YA when I was a YA myself. But until recently, I haven’t really studied the genre.

While taking my poetry course this past fall, I read Crossing Stones,  a novel in verse by Helen Frost, and I just LOVED that book and form. I then read a few of her other books: The Braid, Diamond Willow, and her latest, Hidden. All great reads. I found a lot of inspiration in these books and began to wonder if I could write something similar myself. Continue reading “Finding my niche”

Crafting and Hobbies

I crochet too

Green and Gold Green Bay Packer Blanket
This is the Green and Gold blanket I just finished crocheting for my Green Bay Packer-loving boyfriend. I seriously hope my boys don't want the same colors because I am sooooo tired of looking at green and gold!

My hands are getting pretty sore lately from the strain of actually being productive at writing and crocheting in the evenings while sitting on the couch watching TV with my kids or my boyfriend. Yes, I crochet too. For some reason, my hands must always be busy doing something, thus the carpal tunnel syndrome.

Anyway, I recently made several scarves for Christmas gifts and a couple of stockings for my BF’s kids’ cousins. A few days ago, I finished a huge green and gold blanket for my packer-loving BF. I’m using the leftover pink and purple yarn from the girls’ stockings to make myself a new set of hot pads, and then I promised my 5-year old I’d make “his blanket” next. And of course that means I’ll make one for my 12-year-old after that. Continue reading “I crochet too”

Random Writing Rants, Writers on Writing

The writing process: A reflection

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills
Image by mySAPL via Flickr

Today marks the first day of the last week of the fall semester. I just finished grading a huge stack of essay booklets from my written communications course and will be grading research papers next weekend. I also just submitted my final poem of the semester for the course I’m taking on writing poetry for children and young adults. And now, it’s time to write my final reflection paper of the semester. The topic for this paper is the writing process.

So, what have I learned about my writing process? For one thing, I can now boil it all down to a few simple steps: Continue reading “The writing process: A reflection”

Mount Mary College, Writers on Writing

Writing to Right the World at Mount Mary College

A view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin by night
Image via Wikipedia

Last night was the second installment of the Fall 2011 Writers on Writing series at Mount Mary College. I so love these writer’s discussions. It is a privilege to hear published, award-winning authors read their work and have the opportunity to meet with them in person.  Not to mention the fact that there is always food (but someone forgot the lemon bars this time. *tear*)

Last night’s author panel, entitled, “Writers Writing to Right Their World,” included:

Christopher Mohar is such an inspiring speaker, I can not wait to find the piece he read and share it with my written communications students. Continue reading “Writing to Right the World at Mount Mary College”