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So You Want to Be A Writer

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Community News, Featured

Published on August 15, 2012 with No Comments

Advice and lecture from local writer Meggie Tolkland, August 21

Everyone is a writer. While you may not be the literary rock star that is the best-selling novelist, everyone writes every day. That brief you had to turn in to your boss at work, is one example. So is a report you have to give your teacher in third period or the e-mail you sent out to your friends.

All of these are daily examples of a skill that can be turned into the craft of storytelling. And, at least according to local author Meggie Tolkland, this proves that anyone out there can become a writer if they truly wish to. That’s the reason she’s hosting her upcoming lecture, “So You Want to be a Writer!”

“Most people ask me how to get published,” Tolkland said,  In fact, she said that’s the question she’s received most as an author who’s broken with tradition. “Nine out of ten people think they can write, but there’s a lot of misconceptions.”

Tolkland’s event takes place Tuesday, Aug. 21 in meeting rooms A and B at the Valparaiso Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tolkland, Northwest Indiana resident and author of “The Mayhem: Roan’s Tale,” will be giving a half hour lecture, followed by a question and answer session. Attendees can ask anything they want to know about becoming better writers themselves. Additionally the author will have copies of the first novel in her series, a modern supernatural romance that prominently features familiar landmarks of the Northwest Indiana landscape, for purchase and signing.

This event is, in part, to clear up some of those misconceptions people (including the author herself in the past) may have about writing and being a writer.

One stereotype is that the life of a writer is all fun and games, just sitting in front of a computer and occasionally churning out a couple pages here and there. Another is that writers can rely on an editor to fix everything, even bad spelling and grammar. Probably the biggest misconception, Tolkland has admitted, is that writing the book is where the writer’s involvement ends.

“It’s a job,” Tolkland said. “Writing is a commitment.”

Tolkland says that writers have to work every day and really put themselves into it. Not only do you have to make your manuscript as good as possible, polished to a shine before even thinking about sending it to an editor, but you have to promote your work once you’ve been accepted and published.

You have to do hard things, too, such as receiving unbiased opinions about your work.

“Seek out criticism,” is the advice Tolkland gives all new authors. “Only through practice do you know when editors are wrong.”

The Valparaiso lecture is one of a series of similar events that Tolkland will be hosting. According to Tolkland, these events are meant to both spread the word about her existing novel (as well as the second in the series she’s working on), and to help those who want to take their love of the written word to the next level.

“I want this event to be useful for everyone,” Tolkland said. “Because everyone is a writer.”

For more information about Tolkland and her work, visit her website at www.tolkland.com. For more information regarding this and other events, call the Valparaiso Public Library at 219-462-0524, or visit their website at www.pcpls.lib.in.us/valparaiso.html.

Roan Cover: "The Mayhem: Roan’s Story" is the first novel by Meggie Tolkland.

Meggie Bio Pic: "Meggie Tolkland wandering through local scenery that isn’t so different from what’s in her books."

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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