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Happy New Year from No Wasted Ink

Happy New Year from No Wasted Ink!

At the start of each year, I like to write a retrospective of the year before and what I’ve been up to as a writer. If you’ve been following my blog for the past ten years, you’ve seen No Wasted Ink undergo gradual changes. This past year, was a drastic change to the blog. My posts are very basic and I’ve even considered closing No Wasted Ink completely due to my busy schedule. For now, it will remain open and the thousand plus posts are still available to read. And yes, you will still see the occasion new post from me here.

So what happened? Why is the blog as quiet as it is?

A writer and poet leads a dual life of sorts. We spend plenty of time in our home offices at the keyboard, and if you are like me, we also spend plenty of time giving readings, speaking at conventions or conferences, and teaching workshops. 2022 looked to be a typical year for me.

I am the convention coordinator for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. This means I am the person to promote readings and poetry panels for our membership at conventions all across the United States and sometimes abroad. I am asked to do four major events each year, but typically I do a few more. I like to arrange the readings to be virtual since this allows more of our members to participate, but I also coordinate in-person events too. I had my first main convention to coordinate in January. It was a hybrid event in Chicago.

In the middle of all the work, I got an unexpected email from my home city. Was I still interested in being the Anaheim Poet Laureate? In 2020, I had interviewed for the job and been fingerprinted as part of the hiring process. Three days later, the city had closed its doors in the face of the pandemic. I was regretfully informed that the position was closed and no one knew if it would return. Like most people, I was dealing with isolation and fear of the unknown in early 2020, the loss of the job was simply one more thing to endure. So when the email came in January 2022, I was flabbergasted. I emailed back that yes, I was interested. I filled out a new application and sent it in.

I interviewed for the Poet Laureate position in February via Zoom. I was better prepared for the role this time around. In the two years between the first interview and the second, I had researched what poet laureates did on the job and not only discovered many good ideas, but learned poet laureates are individuals with varying skillsets. This helped quell my impostor syndrome. I had new community leadership experience via my poetry association and had become a poetry editor with several anthologies under my belt.

I returned to my typical activities as a writer and poet. I attended open-mics to read my work and promote my poetry book, continued to revise my science fiction novel with a critique group, and was putting together my second reading event of the year for the SFPA with an online convention that takes place in April.

In April, I got another unexpected email from the city. Could I come and read one of my poems at the city council meeting in two days. Oh, and by the way, you are now our new poet laureate.

My husband and I arrived at the city council meeting and I read my pushcart prize nominated poem “Close Approach”. I was also told at the last moment to speak to the council about my background as a poet. Thankfully, I have years of experience speaking on convention panels, so my introduction is well rehearsed.

So here I am. A poet laureate. This is a bucket-list sort of thing. I had no idea how much work was going to come with the new role and if I could continue to be the convention coordinator for the SFPA. After much thought, I decided I would remain with the international association of poets, but I would need to be more strict with my number of events for them. Sticking to doing only four a year and no more.

My poet laureate duties were slow to start. The first few months there were many meetings with the city, but few events. Then everything flipped and I was extremely busy with events and less planning. Our city has eight libraries and I wanted to teach a workshop at least once a year at each branch. I planned to attend and support the monthly Open-Mic at the main library. I was asked to organize a flagship event called “Indie Author Day” at the main library in November. The author event took a great deal of planning and is the largest in-person event I’ve ever coordinated, but it was a success and we had over 250 people show up.

I continued to plan events for the SFPA during this time. I put together a full poetry program in Baltimore and in Los Angeles. By the end of the year, I created four major events for the organization as promised.

By the end of November, I was exhausted from coordinating two major events in the same month, along with all the poet laureate duties. All I wanted to do was stay home, visit with family and friends and attend a couple of the local writer group parties during December.

At the last minute, I was invited to read with a local poetry group at a bookstore. It turned out to be a mistake. Two days after the event, I became very ill. I fought fatigue, chills and muscle aches. I could barely get out of bed. Then the dread news hit as I tested positive for Covid. I ended up canceling all parties, my birthday dinner out, and my husband and I had Christmas at home. I watched many Hallmark Romances and Christmas movies I never had time for in the past. All my writing projects went to the wayside as my brain settled into a Covid induced fog.

The New Year finds me with a negative Covid test and a return to normal strength. I’m writing again and looking at my very empty social media editorial calendar. There is a great deal of work ahead to get the blog, Instagram/Facebook, and Twitter back up to snuff. I now manage my own writing social media and the Poet Laureate media for Anaheim.

My new year resolutions are to join a writing challenge and get more short stories and poetry written. I am also hoping to continue my urban sketching and painting with watercolor on occasion. I continue work on my novels, but they are more in the background as I focus on poetry. This spring I am planning on creating a new outline of my steampunk novel based on the input from my science fiction critique group.

2022 certainly was an unusual year for me, but I look forward to 2023 and all the possibilities it holds. It is all an adventure in poetry.

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! It is time for another top ten writing craft articles from No Wasted Ink. Most of these are writing tip articles, but a few are marketing and formatting related. I hope you enjoy them!

7 Questions to Design a Better Arc of Change for Your Protagonist

Novel Revision Checklist

How to Promote Your Reader Magnet

Turning Your Indie Book into an Audiobook

Fantasy and Science Fiction as Invented History

8 Ways to Avoid Cardboard Characters (and Plot Contrivances While You’re At It)

A Perspective on Writing

Writing Rules: How & Why We Play ‘Follow the Reader’

Six Sloppy Character Arcs in Popular Stories

When Story Is Medicine

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to another set of top ten writing craft links here on No Wasted Ink. These are articles that I personally found useful to me as a writer and poet and I share them here with you on this blog. I hope you find them as useful as I did.

ToFu For Novelists

The Fantastic Novels of Harlan Ellison

The Monster You Feed: Mental Health in Fiction

Proof reading on the Remarkable 2

Three Benefits to Speaking at Industry Conferences

Authors on Editors

6 Ways to Find Your Best Ideas Before You Start Writing

Writing Journals, Notebooks, and the Commonplace Book as Useful Tools for Book Writers

Tailoring a Writing Space to Suit Your Needs

The Fundamentals of Flashbacks

Epistolary Writing by DG Kaye

Epistolary Writing by DG Kaye
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Hi Wendy, thanks so much for inviting me over again to your blog. Today I want to talk about writing in Epistolary style. What is epistolary writing? As a nonfiction/memoir writer I’ve been exploring this form of writing for a book I’ve been drafting about grief. I am seriously considering presenting the book in this form.

Epistolary writing is a style that addresses the reader through a diary format (think Bridget Jones’ Diary) or in journal or letter format. In this era of digital life, epistolary writing can also include email and blog post entries, police reports, newspaper articles and transcripts. This style involves the writer speaking directly to another person, expressing the bond in a particular relationship through the content being written, which gives the reader an intimate peek into the writer’s private self and thoughts regarding the person she is writing to, and an inside scoop into that relationship between the writer and the character being spoken to. Journal and diary entries are more contemplative writings, but there is also the method of writing strictly in dialogue. Epistolary writing is in essence writing dialogue from one’s self. It is important that the writer let the reader know to whom they are writing to. Epistolary stories can involve one or more characters the writing conversation is being directed toward.

Often, in this form of writing, the focus is more on evoking emotion, more so than a dialogue driven story. Epistolary writing is also classified as a sort of confessional-like writing, also known as monophonic point of view, letters to one specific character. It is referred as ‘dialogic’ if two people are writing letters, or, ‘polyphonic’ with three or more characters writing and receiving the letters. It is ultimately, a first-person point of view that allows the reader to get inside the writer’s thoughts. It’s a correspondence between characters or to a character. This form is a different take from third person POV where the usual plots and characters are the driving force of the storyline. Instead, the reader gets to understand the character’s interactions through what is implied by the writer.

The word -Epistolary, is derived from the noun – Epistle, which is the Greek word meaning ‘letter’. This is an actual literary genre that pertains to letters written for delivering story through personal messages from the writer to her subject(s). This format can be used as context for a relationship, friendship or even a business relationship between the writer and receiver.

Because this method of writing is a person telling, it can be written in multiple tenses. For example, the writer might go back in time with an entry and bring it up to present to invite in some tension. In most stories in other points of view writing, they are written in the classic, ‘show more, tell less’. This could be challenging to write in epistolary form because there is no narrator building a scene. But description that paints a picture to the reader can still be done. The more ‘real’ a story feels to the reader, the more they will engage in the emotion. Epistolary stories can be written in both fiction or nonfiction.

In summation, epistolary writing should be authentic, engaging to draw the reader into the emotion of the story, and it should not include any explanations or backstory.

One famous known book written in epistolary form is:
The Diary of Anne Frank, where the young Anne wrote in her diary, Dear Kitty, through her hiding during most of WWII, and ultimately, her capture in the Holocaust.

Just a few more to mention of many more contemporary novels:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, where his story is told through letters in this coming-of-age story.

Permission by SD Chrostowska, told in a one-way correspondence consisting of anonymous emails sent from the author to a famous (ghost writer) visual artist.

The Beatrice Letter (part of the Unfortunate Events series) by Lemony Snicket, written in notes and letters.

The Screwtape Letters, a satire, originally written in 1942 by C.S. Lewis written in letters by the demon Screwtape who writes letters to his novice demon nephew Wormwood, a government worker residing in hell, directing his nephew on how to best tempt humans to be led astray.

The Color Purple, Pulitzer Prize Winner by Alice Walker, writes to her sister and Dear God diary entries by the protagonist, Celie.

Most recently, The Martian, written by Andy Weir. His character Mark Watney logs in journal form about being stranded on Mars. (Played by Matt Damon in the movie version.)

In my own book on grief, I’m planning on writing as the widow I’ve become, writing to my beloved husband who has recently passed on.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this not so common form of writing style.


Debby Gies is a Canadian non-fiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of DG Kaye. She is born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. DG Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart, and women’s issues, hoping to empower others.

She loves to tell stories that have lessons in them and hopes to empower others by sharing her own experiences. She writes raw and honest, hoping that others can relate and find that we always have a choice to move from a negative space to a positive. We need only the courage to take the leap.

christoff-fischer best non-fiction award – Have Bags, Will Travel
Gold Star Award cover art-words we carry from thebookdesigner.com


No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! Are you ready for more writing links from No Wasted Ink? This week I not only have great craft articles for you, but a few on the life of writers as well. I hope you enjoy them!

Finding Me: Towards Self-Actualization in Writing

Marketing Ethics: Selling Doesn’t Have to Be Sleazy (5 Real-World Examples)

10 Facts You May Not Know About Jane Austen and Her Novels

Trust the Magic

Create Your Own Writing Space at Home

Characters, Cultures, and Groups

The 6 Challenges of Writing a Second Novel

Narrative Perspectives, Which Will Serve Your Story Best?

Does My Protagonist Have to Solve the Problem?

What is Rhythmic Writing?