WRITING TIPS: Michele Ashman Bell
Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. In fourth grade her
teacher wrote on her report card that she had a tendency to daydream
and would probably do well with creative writing. Her love for books
and learning about people and places has helped her make her teacher's
prediction come true. Michele is the author of many books and Christmas stories. She is married and is the mother of four children,
and is a grandma of three granddaughters and two grandsons. Aside from supporting her children in all of their many activities, she has taught fitness classes for over thirty years and currently teaches Zumba. She loves to travel and do research for her books and her favorite food is chocolate and cinnamon bears, preferably together.
ROCK YOUR READER:
USING THE FIVE SENSES IN WRITING
Imagine going to Disneyland and not being able to see, hear, smell, touch, or taste while you're there. In this hands on, interactive class, students will learn the importance of using the five senses (and even the sixth) in our writing. Adding all these dimensions will bring our characters and scenes to life and pull the reader in so they feel like they are along for the ride.
MICHELE'S WRITING TIP
Writing Rules to Live By
When I first started writing I only had two goals. The first goal was to take all my passion for books, my willingness to work hard, and all the creativity I possessed and write a really great story. My second goal was to get published.
As I began the writing process though I soon learned that there were “rules” to writing and that some people actually went to college and got a degree to know all the rules.
Here’s the problem. I am a rule breaker. I don’t like the feeling of confinement and being boxed in. Great, I thought. I guess I can’t be a writer because I don’t know all the rules and I kind of don’t want to have to know them.
I had one huge problem though… I absolutely love books and writing! So I decided to explore the rules, maybe I could learn to live with them.
After one writing conferences I thought my head would explode. So many rules, so many approaches to writing, so much to learn! I became overwhelmed.
Now what was I going to do?
My love of books and writing prevented me from giving up. Slowly, I began to learn about the craft of writing. I studied the components of a story. And, over time, I developed a love, an appreciation, and a great respect for “the rules.”
Then, one day, while doing some surfing on the internet I came across these two quotes:
"The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." — Neil Gaiman
"The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’" — Helen Simpson
“I knew it!” I shouted. I believed at the heart and soul of every successful story was an author who discovered that putting all the “how to” pieces of advice and all of “the rules” of writing aside and just followed their passion to write the story that nagged at their brain while trying to fall asleep at night.
So now, after all these years, I’ve figured out that knowledge definitely is power, and that power will help you immensely as you write your story. But at the end of the day follow your heart and write what you are passionate about because then you will find your greatest power and joy. There has never been a better time than now to realize your dreams. Let your voice be heard and let your story be told.
“The joy of being an author is the joy of feeling I can do anything,” says Neil Gaiman in Light the Dark. “There are no rules. Only: can you do this with confidence? Can you do it with aplomb? Can you do it with style? Can you do it with joy?”.
Find your passion and the joy, and when you do, there are no rules.