Strict Standards: Declaration of JParameter::loadSetupFile() should be compatible with JRegistry::loadSetupFile() in /home/highland/public_html/libraries/joomla/html/parameter.php on line 512
Friday, 25 April 2014 00:08

Five Ways to Help Words Flow

Written by 

I recently spoke with a friend of mine who is writing her family memoirs. She has written a children's book, but never something so challenging as a memoir. To me writing a memoir is harder than writing fiction, because if you plan to share it with an audience, it has to be captivating, and you are opening your heart up to your reader. Every work produced is like having a baby and the fear that someone might reject your beautiful creation is a powerful deterrent to writing.

She had written a few chapters and told me she was stuck. Her memoir was too short and not close to the 100,000 words or whatever number she felt she had to reach to make her story worthwhile. As a new writer, I knew I had to be careful with how I helped her get through this writer's block or writer expectation. I gave her some advice that I think is worth sharing. 


1. Don't write with a numeric expectation. This may differ if you are writing a research paper, but for fiction and non-fiction, writing to reach a certain page length can be intimidating and stifling to creativity. I never know how long a book is going to be until it's done. I write until I feel I have included everything that makes the story complete. For my first novel, Warriors Within, I had no idea on how to write a book. I just wrote from the research I had done and when I realized I had written over 500 words, I figured out I would change it to a trilogy. Let the words flow without criticism or editing.

2. Don't stop writing, even if the words don't make sense. Our inner editor can stop a writer as quickly as pulling the emergency brake. Sometimes free writing is the best technique to use when you aren't sure where a book is going. Even with a memoir, writing about a certain event or memory without wondering where it will fit in the book can lead you to a new chapter or theme. 

3. Take a break and put the manuscript away. If your story feels stale or you don't feel connected to it anymore, put it away. Start something else or read books that you like to write. When you come back to your story and read it through, you may have more clarity or see a theme that runs through the piece or realize that you don't like what you are writing. Listen to your instincts.

4. Write a synopsis of your novel. When I first begin writing a book, I don't write an outline, but sometimes in order to keep me on track, I write a description, like I'm describing a dream or a movie to someone. If it rings true to me then that's my guide for the book. Sometimes parts of it connect and other times I may begin with that description, but take a different path. I may even write a few different synopses to see which one I like better. It doesn't matter if I use them, it helps me to clear my brain so I can find my way through the novel.

5. List events and write about them for a memoir without worrying about where they will lead. Sometimes you need to honor the memory without worrying about whether or not it will end up in a book. Keep true to the memories and the feelings these stories evoke. That's where the magic and power of a memoir comes through. Being honest and true to what you remember. Then looking back through it, you will see the connections and know how to string the stories together into a well-written memoir that you and your family can enjoy. Or have an editor see where and how the chapters fit.

The most important thing any writer can do is keep writing. Take it seriously, but do it for the love of the written word and your stories will flow.

Read 2631 times

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.

What's Being Said?

  • "I bought The Warrior Within at a fundraiser although it was not the type of book I usually purchase. I have been missing out..! I was immediately hooked and disappointed that it took so long for Eyes of the Goddess to be published. Please know that I purchased Eyes of the Goddess through Amazon and appreciate how quickly it was delivered. I am amazed a the skill of the author in being able to transition from the present to the past without losing the reader in the process. I love the Celtic aspect and the storyline continues to keep me addicted to this trilogy. I am eagerly waiting for the next (and unfortunately the last) book to be published. A whole new world of books has been opened to me though my initial purchase of The Warrior Within"

    Ann Frantti

  • "Cammarata's action packed storytelling never lets up. The urgency of the pacing draws the reader into Maecha's world quickly, but it is the fierceness of her loyalty and love that defines the narrative. Well-developed details ground the magical elements and make a world where people time travel in their dreams and are friends with gods believable. Jumping from the ancient past to modern day is at first jarring, but as the characters' lives weave together, their complicated relationships deepen the meaning of the story and give it a powerful sense of destiny fulfilled. "

    The US Review of Books

  • "Your book is excellent – a picture of Celtic landscape and adventure remained in my mind long after I completed the novel - I am looking forward to your sequel!"


  • "I SO enjoyed your work, I didn’t want to put it down, and then didn’t want it to end. I am very excited for the next book in the series, to continue my adventure with the sisters."


  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • "I loved learning about the Celtic lore that is written about in this book! Can't wait to read the next one :)"


  • "I usually read mysteries or non fiction. Every once in a while I like to try something different. If you like J.R.R. Tolkien or the Chronicles of Narnia this is a good fit. I enjoyed the story line and the character development. I wonder if and when book 2 will be available?"


  • Adult Journaling Workshop Reviews

    "Being able to take time to journal and focus on myself has been an incredible experience."


  • Adult Writing Workshop Review

    "This well-thought-out course covered the essentials of creative writing in a logical progression. Class discussion and activities as well as assignments were thought-provoking and stimulating."


  • "Eyes of the Goddess, Book Two of the Fianna Cycle, takes up where Warriors Within left off. Present-day New York City is entwined with 3rd century Ireland by their respective inhabitants, Michaela Sommers and Maecha Ruadh Mac Art, heiress to the throne of Tara. Michaela is involved in a search for the drug lord who killed her father, Police Narcotics Officer Jack Sommers, while Maecha is about to embark on a voyage to Alba (ancient Scotland) to free her father, King Cormac, who had been kidnapped by the Picts. The two worlds are connected by the dream travel of Michaela, the chief druid Finnius Amergin, and Natalie, a child who exists in NYC but is destined to save ancient Ireland from ruin. Cammarata's keen knowledge of Celtic lore and skill in martial arts combine to create an exciting story of ancient battles, gods and magic, honor, loyalty and love. Young adults who love a good adventure story will certainly love this one. While Eyes of the Goddess can be read as a stand-alone, readers will want to start with Warriors Within to experience the full epic tale."

    Joan Weiskotten

    Young Adult Librarian
    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

  • "I just wanted to let you know that I loved your book. I have been an avid reader of fantasy based novels or most of my life and I found this one refreshing and highly engaging. I truly hope there will be a few more books in this cycle. Thanks!"


  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • "I really enjoyed this book. I love Celtic stories. I really enjoyed the dreaming aspect to the book as well. How in our dreams we can go anywhere . The characters in this book , knew that and took advantage of it.

    I had read "Warriors Within", which was her first book. I looked forward to reading this sequel (Eyes of the Goddess) and was not disappointed. I look forward to her next book!!"

    V. McCarney

  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


Events & Workshops


    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library: Piracci Board Room

    For teens in grades 9-12 or home-school equivalent


    REGISTRATION OPENS 8/28/2017 at 9:30am!

    Fiction writing class for short stories or novels. All levels of writers are welcome. Will touch on character development, setting, dialogue, plot, and more. Group critique is optional, but encouraged. Janine De Tillio Cammarata is an award-winning writer with three published books and has been teaching writing classes for many years.

    Please bring notebook and pen.

    Register at: CPH Library Website


    Must register for each workshop separately:

    WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13--Program Room C

    TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17--Jo Piracci Board Room


    FROM 6:30-8:30pm


    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library: Piracci Board Room

    Adults 18+

    Whether it's in a notebook, blog, or sketchpad journaling can help you lead a whole and fulfilling life. It's a way to keep track of goals, life activities, dreams, and is very fun! Learn the many ways to express yourself! Each workshop will be different so come to them all!




  • Kids' Creative Writing Workshop


    For teens in grades 6-8th or home-school equivalent.


    Learn all the different topics and techniques you can use in your personalized journal. No experience necessary, just the desire to express yourself!

    Award-winning author, Janine De Tillio Cammarata will explore types of journals and how to personalize them, photo collage, personal motivation, creating stories, and much more.

    Registration opens 8/28/17 at 9:30am

    Register at


    WEDNESDAYS, NOVEMBER 1, 18, & 15 FROM  5-6PM

    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library: Jo Piracci Board Room

    Teens in grades 6-8 or homeschool equivalent

    Do you have a story in you, but don’t know how to start, are stuck in the middle or can’t figure out how to end? Join award-winning author Janine De Tillio Cammarata for a writing workshop, which will focus on creating and finishing short stories that may be expanded into a novel! All level of writer’s welcome! Each class builds upon the previous so commitment to all three classes is recommended.

    Bring a notebook and pen

    Register at: CPH Library Website