Posted tagged ‘Corinne Casazza’

Top Ten Mistakes New Writers Make

November 18, 2014

I’ve worked with a lot of beginning writers and I find we all make the same mistakes. I’ve compiled what I consider to be the top 10 mistakes I’ve made and I’ve witnessed new writers doing. We can all break the rules and we should – once we know what they are. Take a look at my list below. Do you see yourself anywhere?

  1. Not using contractions – Do not, cannot, is not; don’t use these in your writing, especially not in dialogue. You don’t speak this way, so why would you write this way? Contractions make your writing sound stilted. You want your writing to sound as natural as possible.
  2. Beginning a sentence with “And” – And is a “joiner” is connects two things like “high-heeled shoes and short skirts” or “Godzilla and Tokyo.” It doesn’t belong at the start of your sentences.
  3. The compound verb is not your friend – Be careful of long verb phrases and long wordy phrases. Instead of “He was not able to find a way to go” say “He couldn’t go.” In general, less is always more when it comes to words. Find the shortest, most precise way to express what you mean.
  4. Pick a tense any tense – Then stick with it! Be sure if you are writing in the past tense to use that tense for the entire story. You can use present tense to tell a story if that is a conscious choice, and again, be faithful to it; have your characters speak in present tense for the whole telling of the story.
  5. Point of View (POV) – Be clear about it. If you’re in one character’s head, stay there for at least an entire scene. Be careful of head hopping (going from one character’s point of view to another) in the middle of a scene. This can be very confusing for your reader. You can switch from one character to another in different chapters or even in the same chapter if you leave a few lines of space between paragraphs.
  6. Use Short sentences – Whether you are describing the landscape or expressing the thoughts or actions of your characters, stick with short sentences. They’re easier for the reader to grasp. They’re also impactful.
  7. Showing vs. Telling – This is a big issue for most newbie writers. Instead of using an adjective like “afraid” to tell us how your character feels, try using body language: “Carol’s breathing was shallow. Her hands were sweating. She wondered if anyone could see her legs shaking as she stood at the microphone.” Body language is very important because it makes the event more palpable to the reader, they can feel this in their own body and it evokes emotion.
  8. A word about dialogue – OK, actually I have more than a word about dialogue because new writers have difficulty with it. The first thing to know is the ONLY word to use as a dialogue tag is “said.” This is because the reader’s eye glides right over it. You want to use body language to convey the emotion your character is feeling.
  9. Adverbs are strictly forbidden – Again, this relates to dialogue. Never use an adverb in a dialogue attribution i.e. “she said vehemently.” It’s the job of the author to create body language that shows what the character is feeling.
  10. Leaving out emotion – Emotion is the MOST difficult thing to get onto the page. Even humor is easier to capture. When your character is going through angst, your reader needs to feel it too. We can’t get to it if you are unwilling to feel it and get it on the page. Don’t worry if this doesn’t happen in the first draft. You may just get down the nuts and bolts of a scene in the first draft and go back for subsequent revisions to add body language, actions and dialogue that really convey the emotions of your characters and evokes them in your readers. When you get right down to it, this is what writing is all about – making your readers feel.

Try these suggestions and see if your writing feels cleaner and more honest. If you’d like to work with me on getting to the essence of your story, you can contact me at CorinneCasazza@gmail.com

Corinne L. Casazza is an international best-selling author based in Boston, Massachusetts. She’s currently at work on her third novel. Corinne believes that through creativity and humor, we all find our own inner light.

Corinne’s best-selling ebook: “Break These Chains of Love: A New Paradigm for Relationship” is available here: http://ow.ly/Brook

Check out Corinne’s Amazon Author page: www.amazon.com/author/corinnecasazza

Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page includes tips for beginning writers.

For more information about Corinne including classes and speaking events, visit her Web site at CorinneCasazza.com

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Cold as a Witch’s Teat: Six Keys to Surviving Winter in New England

February 12, 2014
Image

The author at Revere Beach after a winter storm.

Okay, I am a New Englander, a Bostonian born and bred, but let’s be clear: I have never liked the cold. And let’s face it, we have more snow than Sochi. One of the first things that strikes me about winter in New England is that no matter the temperature, people are drinking iced Dunkin Donuts coffee – yup, whether it’s -2 degrees or 22, people have their iced Dunkins. I recently walked into a nationwide discount store in my city. The temperature was 20 out and the store was sampling Italian ice! Really? As I passed by the stand, I told the woman, “No thanks, I’m cold enough.” Why would you sample an ice product when it’s below freezing out? Only in New England.

I spent six years wandering the desert of Arizona and now that I have a few New England winters under my belt again, I feel compelled to share my secrets for surviving the frozen tundra I call home.

  1. Dress in layers – I typically wear three layers and carry an extra pair of sox in my purse. No one needs to know you have on those one-piece footy pajamas (complete with rear escape hatch) under your clothes. Trust me, no one will notice. If you want to be sensual, try wearing natural silk long underwear. Be careful, the friction from these undies has been known to start fires…
  2. Have a sunny outlook – No matter how cold it gets, it’s always warm in your heart. Make an effort to see the beauty of the waning winter sun and the gray sky. If that doesn’t work, meditate – just be sure to do it under a blanket.
  3. Find a heat source – This could be a loved one, your dog or a heating element. Winter months in New England are a great time to cuddle up. I confess, for the last two months, I have been sitting with my feet up on the entertainment center that houses my TV and an electric fire place that throws heat. Wow, no wonder watching Justified is steamier than usual.
  4. Get away – New Englanders love to visit tropical locales in winter. And why not? Sticking your toes in the sand is a sure fire antidote for the winter blues. This winter I took off to Florida in December and San Diego in January. Don’t forget to post photos on Facebook so all your friends stuck at home in arctic temperatures can be really jealous!
  5. Take up a winter sport – My sport of choice is ice skating and I love to do it outside on a frozen pond. There’s nothing like kicking back with a hot chocolate after a few exhilarating spins around the ice. You can always skip the pond and just drink the hot chocolate. Peppermint Schnapps, anyone?
  6. See a Bruins game – To me, this is the best thing about winter in New England. There’s nothing like taking the T over to the Garden (pronounced Gahhhden for you out of towners) and watching a bunch of lit fans bust a move on the JumboTron in between goals from Lucic and Bergeron.

Remember, we’ll be turning the clocks ahead in a few short weeks. Spring is just around the corner and we’ll be in sweltering heat and humidity before you know it. God, I love New England! 

_____________

Corinne L. Casazza is a freelance writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. She is currently at work on her third novel. Corinne believes that through creativity and humor, we all find our own inner light.

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Visit Corinne’s Web site at CasazzaWriting.com

A Yellow Portulaca OR Follow the Signs

November 21, 2012

You may have heard me say when I don’t know what happens next, I write description. Description should be lyrical and visual. It should not only include what’s palpable to the five senses, but also what feelings it evokes in your main character(s). Used in this way, setting becomes a character itself.

As I thought about this tip, a memory from writing Walk Like an Egyptian came to mind. I was describing my father’s garden at home in Boston where I grew up. I talked about the gray cement fence that was a barrier between our yard and the neighbors behind us. My Dad has a very green thumb and every inch of our yard was planted with vegetables, herbs and flowers. The fence was no exception. It had holes in the top of it. My Dad filled the holes with dirt and planted portulacas there. They sprouted up multi-colored from the top of the wall for all to see. Portulacas are small flowers that come in a rainbow of colors.

After I finished this description, I walked out of my house in Sedona to pick up my mail. I walked past a large cement flower pot that was at the top of my fence. As I walked by, I thought I saw a yellow flower in the pot. I did a double take. I had never planted anything there and had never seen anything grow there.

I looked into the planter again and rubbed my eyes. There, in the middle of this previously empty flower pot, was a single yellow portulaca! I couldn’t believe it. I even went so far as to go back inside and Google the flower to be sure I remembered it correctly.

Yup. There was a yellow portulaca in my flower pot! I took that as a sign that my story was progressing in the right direction. The Universe can give us some pretty unmistakable signs if we are paying attention. So… keep writing and look for those signs around you that tell you you’re on the right track.

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Follow Corinne on Twitter @CorinneCasazza

Visit Corinne’s Web site: http://www.CasazzaWriting.com

Go Within to Manifest Outwardly

October 31, 2012

Corinne L. Casazza

If you want things to change, go within. There’s a Universal law that states once things change on the inner, they MUST change on the outer. This means when you go into meditation, and make a shift internally, your outer world MUST shift to match.

Here’s my experience of how it works. I fill my sphere (aura, body and the space around it) with all that I want to manifest in my life – particularly those situations or qualities I feel are missing.

Last week I was having difficulty speaking my truth and being my own authority. I hate confrontation – who doesn’t? Still, it’s necessary to stand up for ourselves and speak our truth. I went into meditation and filled my sphere with the qualities I felt surrounding in this situation: being valued, trusted, respected, speaking with authority and owning my truth, with a capital T.

To fill your sphere, all you have to do is relax, quiet your mind, pay attention to your breathing and think of these qualities. Say them silently to yourself. Most importantly, feel what it feels like to be these things. I felt the energy of being loved, valued, trusted and respected. I felt the energy of being an authority. I sat and reveled in that energy. It felt great.

What happened in my outer life? I was speaking to a friend about something he said that I didn’t like or agree with. Another friend overheard and told me, “Wow, Corinne, you said that with authority.” I had to smile. My outer world was reflecting back these inner changes; the qualities that I filled my sphere with were manifesting. As for the friend I spoke my truth to, he was very respectful, loving and even nurturing for the rest of the time we spent together. Gotta love that!

I know this is a small example, but it’s just the most recent one. I began this practice by filling my sphere with gratitude. The first week I did this, three people at work wrote to my Vice President to tell her how great I am to work with and how happy they are that I’m on the team – yup, they expressed gratitude in a big way.

This stuff works! It has to; it’s Universal law! It works for everything: big or small. I invite you to try it for yourself. I use this practice nightly before bed. You can fill your sphere with anything – call forth what you choose to manifest. Sit in it and really feel the energy, then watch your life change! Write to me and tell me what you created.

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Follow Corinne on Twitter @CorinneCasazza

Visit Corinne’s Web site: http://www.CasazzaWriting.com

Why Writing Heals Your Readers

June 22, 2012
Corinne Casazza

Corinne Casazza

Somewhere in my being, I’ve always known that writing is healing. I believe it heals both the writer and the reader. I say ‘somewhere in my being’ because on some level I knew it, but I didn’t believe it consciously. I’d think, this can help people. Then, Nah, I don’t know why that would work.

I had this internal conflict going on about what I’m working on now, so I’ve had GREAT resistance to writing it. The other night before bed I asked in meditation what the purpose of my new book is. The answer came, “To speak my truth in a heartfelt way that helps people heal.”

The next day I had a session with my spiritual teacher. He took me through a meditation to heal one of my past lives in Egypt (if you read “Walk Like an Egyptian,” it’s in there). I rewrote the ending to this life as meeting my mentor who taught me empowered communication. She taught me to write and my writing was healing people.

I said, “I know storytelling is supposed to be healing, but I just don’t get it.”

“Corinne,” he said to me, “when you read, everything goes straight into your unconscious.”

And just like that I got it! I heard that little “ding, ding, ding!” in my head and felt the knowing that it’s  the truth.

“Oh my God! Of course that’s how it works,” I said. “Talk about a captive audience.”

“That’s right,” my teacher cautioned, “You’re putting stuff in people’s heads, so you better be in integrity with what you’re telling them.”

OK, one more writing block out of the way!

If you want to know more about how writing heals the writer, read my post “Writing as Healing.” I discuss how during the writing of my first book, I recalled conversations from the dinner table 30 years earlier – ver batim! Yep. Word. For. Word. Talk about healing!

If you want to learn more about Kevin Michael, my incredible teacher, check out his Facebook page.

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Follow Corinne on Twitter @CorinneCasazza

Visit Corinne’s Web site: http://www.CasazzaWriting.com

Mocha Gets His Wings

February 29, 2012
Mocha the Wonder Dog!

Mocha the Wonder Dog!

My little Mocha, my beloved miniature Doberman pinscher is an angel now. He met an untimely death, much too soon for me. He would’ve been five last month.

He was such a sweet dog with an awesome personality and a really expressive face. His little tan-colored eyebrows were constantly rising and falling, giving him a concerned look. He loved it when I sang “The Roof is on Fire” to him, replacing the word “roof” with “Moch.” He would wag his tail wildly.

He had a ton of nicknames – Moch, Mochacino, Mocha chocolata, Mocha Toka Choka, Mocha java, Mocha face, Ciao Ciao and Bat boy – all of which he answered to. Maybe I should’ve called him Prancer because of the way he strutted down the street, his little butt shaking from side to side. Wherever I walked him, in the red rocks of Sedona or the beaches of Massachusetts, people stopped to pet him and comment on how cute he was. “This is Mocha,” I would say. “He’s a really good boy.”

He was really a funny dog. He’d walk on two legs a lot, mostly in an effort to see what food was on the counter. He once stuck his entire head in a castle-shaped cake that I’d made. Of course, it was so funny; I couldn’t get mad at him. He loved kids so much that he’d walk up into a group of 10 kids who were hiking and sit right in the middle of them so they could pet him.

When I got the call that told me he was gone, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I’d just dropped him off the day before. Some part of me must’ve known he was going. I made a point to sit and hold him for awhile before I left, not something I normally do when leaving for a trip. I remember leaving and thinking I should turn around and go back and see him, “that’s silly,” I told myself, “you’ll see him next week.”

I was very calm as I heard the news. I just kept pacing around the kitchen as I listened. It wasn’t until the vet asked me if I wanted his body to bury or his ashes to keep, that it started to sink in. She told me his death was immediate. What other result could there be? Big car, little dog.  I told her through tears that I just wanted to let him go.

Of course I didn’t want to let him go, I wanted him home with me and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t believe I was never going to see him again, never going to hold him and cuddle with him again.

For the last month I’d been thinking how much cleaner my apartment would be without him shedding and how much more freedom I’d have to travel without having to be home for him. Now I cherish every one of his hairs that I pull off my clothes, stopping to examine them before letting them go.

I am still so sad that he’s gone. I keep hearing his collar jingle in the middle of my workday, or I think I caught a glimpse of him curled up on my bed, but no. He comes to me in my meditations, sits with me and wags his tail.

I know in time the sadness will pass and I’ll be left with only the good memories. I love Mocha very much and he loves me still… wherever he is… that’s the way it is and the way it will always be. He’s always with me now – my forever mascot.

Mocha was a comfort to me through some very tough times in my life. Very often, in Arizona, it was just Mocha and I hanging out. He kept me company all day and every night, never leaving my side. Many times my friends would come to walk him and he wouldn’t go with him. He’d sit stubbornly and refuse to budge, preferring to be with me. I can only believe that the tough times are behind me now, or he never would’ve left….

Everybody loved Mocha. Most of all, me. I feel him around me now and know that his mission here was done. He completed it the way he did everything: with fun and love; grace and ease. Mocha helped me open my heart, and for that, he earned his wings. I’m very glad for the time I had with him, my beloved Mocha-faced dog. Thank you, Mocha!

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Visit Corinne’s Web site: http://www.CasazzaWriting.com

The Wisdom of Uncertainty or There’s No Place Like Home

December 29, 2011

At the start of this year, I decided to give up my six year sojourn in the desert of Sedona and head back to Boston. It wasn’t an easy decision. I was scared and indecisive. I felt I had to give up everything I had built and known to step into the unknown; into the wisdom of uncertainty.

No one likes uncertainty. Least of all me. I am a Taurus and I like to know where I’m going, what I’m doing and even what time it will happen. I want to know my bank account is large and there’s a plot of land in my name. I like things certain.

Ok, so even though I am Taurus, I have come to realize that being stubborn is not for my highest good and this wasn’t the first time I was taking a leap of faith and stepping into the unknown.

Usually when I do this, I find a couple of things: First I really don’t have to give up everything. I just have to be willing to. Second, I find something better than I ever could have imagined. Something magical.

I remember how filled with doubt I was at the prospect of coming back to my family. Honestly, weren’t they a big part of the reason I left? I couldn’t find myself standing in the midst of their shadows. I worried that they’d expect certain things from me and that I don’t do things in the accustomed or accepted way. I worried I wouldn’t have the freedom to come and go as I pleased.

I also realized this was an opportunity to show them who I am… what the desert sand and red rock had molded me into. The desert sun had dried up some of my fears and made me stronger. After six years in the desert, I know so much more about myself. I learned who I am, what I want and what I’m capable of.

I spent Jan through March of this year selling and giving away a lot of my furniture, books and possessions. In April I shipped what was left across the country in a truck and headed back in my VW Jetta with a dear friend who was kind enough to fly out and drive back with me and my beloved four-year-old miniature Doberman pinscher.

What I found when I got back here was completely astounding. I had a job within two weeks of arriving. In this economy? Yup. The winter weather has been unseasonably warm and the love and support of my family and friends is amazing.

I have a quiet, comfortable place to live and the blessing of working from home. No one is more shocked than me at how happy I am to be here and how things have fallen into place. When Spirit wants you somewhere, it can sure make things happen in a hurry. Best of all, my family sees who I am and appreciates me. I’ve had a great time hanging out, cooking and celebrating the holidays with them. I am so grateful to be exactly where I am – even though I thought it was the last place on earth I’d ever be! That’s the magic that happens when you step into the wisdom of uncertainty.

Corinne’s novel, Walk Like an Egyptian is available at Amazon.com or from Llumina Press.

Check out Corinne’s Facebook Fan Page for tips for beginning writers.

Follow Corinne on Twitter @CorinneCasazza

Visit Corinne’s Web site: http://www.CasazzaWriting.com