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Three Habits of Successful Writers - READ - WRITE - PLAY

Some say there are only two ways that writers can improve their craft--studying the work of others and practice. That means that we must read and write. Those two are a given. Most of us know there must be a balance between reading and writing. We can only improve so much if all we ever do is write. Without studying other books, we can't learn about what works and what doesn't, we 'll never expose ourselves to other styles, voices, characters, and worlds.   Without reading, eventually, we'll plateau, come to a point of writer's block or frustration.

On the other end of the scale, if all we ever do is read, without ever putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), we'll learn plenty but we'll never begin our own work, we'll never begin our own journey as a writer. So the two go hand in hand--reading gives us the tools to write. 

But there is a third method, one that is vital to improving our craft; one that can refill our empty coffers. Our imagination is a vessel. Some have much larger vessels than others but eventually, without refills, they all run dry. This is partly where reading comes in. When we read books, stories, newspapers, and magazines, as mentioned above, we fill our minds with new styles and worlds, but even our vast, immense imaginative brains can only hold so much at a time. At some point, we must stop--stop reading, stop writing, stop exposing ourselves to the world outside, and reflect.  This is where play comes in. 

Studies have shown that play has a direct effect on our brains in many positive areas. It improves cognition, creates new synapses and connections, improves language skills and memory, and promotes creative problem-solving.  While it's vital that we read and write, as creative beings we must also continuously replenish our imaginations through play. 

Village Square offers - the Leisure Arena. A place where we can stop and recharge. Each month we offer entertainment in the form of games, vocabulary builders, puzzles, author spotlights, and polls. All designed to take our minds off the reading and writing cycle of depletion, and Play  

 

 

 

 

 

 MEME-RABILIA

 

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WORD SEARCH

Fantasy Reading for the Summer

D J W N Y T H E E A R T H S E A C Y C L E Z F K

O J Y G O L I R T E C N S T I R E H N I E H T S

O Q X H G L B D U K M L X N W U A Q J E A T Y E

L M R T V Z Z O G B U V E J E B O U X S N H T I

B M T M A R T I N P P I D G R I P Z U W P E H R

M J U I J G V K V T E U H Y U Z K K P Y K M E E

A T D G M S E L V N S T P K L I D L C A L E F S

E L A P R A T C H E T T K G X V N H O L G R A A

R E T T O P Y R R A H P T K E N K U A T W L R E

D P T H E M A G I C I A N S A H A W F P T I S L

L I R S S H W L O J C H M Z I F D P Z R H N E N

I U M D T D Y G U P E B I S N E Q M F I E Q E O

N K S K O O R B Y R R E T H R D R R C N H U R V

H P R O M Y S P Y G E H T R A O M P L C O I T A

S M G X U U N J M Z W G I W N M W U M E B N R E

Q T H E M A J E S T Y S D R A G O N W O B T I H

M W E W O Z U P S E H Q A C K H V C V F I E L T

C I J S I W E L D K Q E O R K N G B C N T T O V

U F P E P N B K I K B F Z K K F U F I O E X G P

W S S Q P V P D V I B S I V N G O I S T G C Y C

T E T H E L O R D O F T H E R I N G S H L S S N

R O W L I N G C R C K Q T X Y V W A S I R A J O

O E B R A D L E Y V V H E R Y G A K J N P T K M

D S N O G A R D H T I W E C N A D A I G T T Z T

The Magicians Dreamblood The Farseer Trilogy
The Majesty's Dragon   Prince of Nothing   The Merlin Quintet
Redwall The Avonlea Seas Bradley
The Earthsea Cycle LeGuin The Inheritance Trilogy  
Pratchett Martin Narnia
Lewis Rowling Harry Potter
The Lord of the Rings The Hobbit A Dance with Dragons
The Gypsy Morph Terry Brooks Tolkein

               

  

 

 Click Here for More Puzzles of the Month

 

 

 

 

 

 Louise E. Sawyer

An interview with Louise E. Sawyer, "lousaw", by Brigitte Whiting

 

 

Tell us something about yourself. 

I'm a senior who lives in Victoria, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island. I love to walk by the ocean and view the USA mountains in the distance. I trained in linguistics and Jungle Camp survival, and worked for four and a half years as a missionary and translator in the Philippines. There, I completed a long project called "Exegetical Helps for the Book of Revelation" for our Bible Translators who translated the New Testament into Filipino languages. Because I became very ill, I returned to Canada.

I finished my BA in New Testament and continued graduate studies in Christian Studies at Regent College.

 

 What do you bring from your background and history to the writing process? 

I've been chronically ill for much of my life with fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis, inhalant and food allergies, and severe multiple chemical sensitivities, and am currently being treated for chronic Lyme disease.

I trained as a Creativity Coach with Eric Maisel and taught Creativity Retreats and Creativity Workshops for women with chronic illness via email.

I've read and practice The Artist Way principles. I'm in the Julia Cameron group at WVU.  

When I was a teenager, I wanted to write like Lucy Maud Montgomery but gave up because I found it difficult to write description. I've since found that: "Poetry, story, and essays sometimes flow as I write in my journal. I've discovered I'm very creative, even though I thought I wasn't. I'm not Lucy Maud Montgomery, but I'm a writer!"

  

What do you write? 

Short and long personal essays, and poetry such as haiku, limericks, and freestyle. Over the last few years, I've written parts of my life story and I'm writing a fairy tale in ballad verse.

 

 What classes are you taking at WVU, and how have they helped your writing?

I'm a WVU lifetime member and in the Nonfiction MFA Certificate program. I like to say, "I'm majoring in nonfiction and minoring in poetry."

When I returned to WVU in 2015, I didn't know if I could study anymore. I'm reading challenged and I have brain injury from illnesses, so it's a struggle. But I'm so happy to be here! And I love working on the Village Square staff where I create the memes and puzzles.

I've focused on taking the nonfiction series and I'm now in the Prose Poetry series. I'm growing in my skills in writing short, personal essays, as well as various poetry forms.

 

 Have you published anything? What are you working on now for future publication?

I won the F2K short story contest in 2000 and published a few poems and essays. My article "Creativity Challenges in Persons with Chronic Illness: How to Thrive, Not Just Survive When You Want to Create" was published in the anthology Inspiring Creativity. My essays and poems are often published in Village Square.

  

 What would you tell anyone who has aspirations to be published?

I had this writing tip published in the WVU Ezine on September 11, 2002. 

 

Writer's Tip: Tortoise Steps

Here is a good way not to overwhelm yourself. Picture yourself as a Tortoise. Break a writing project down into Tortoise Steps, which will enable you to finish the "race" and make you a winner! For example, if you want to write a short story, each week focus on one or two elements (steps) of the story. Over a four- to six-week period, write on characterization, description, conflict, pov, plot, and theme. You now are close to the finish line and can easily win the race or complete that project! Poof! Hare is left far in the background. 

 

Later, I became a Creativity Coach and taught Creativity Workshops with Tortoise Step exercises. 

Another tip is to take five-minute steps playing and creating a project even if you feel you are too exhausted or too ill to create. I model what I teach. 

I'm thrilled to be a writer, even though my body and brain function together for only a short time each week and I type with one finger on my iPad on my bed.

 

 Click Here for More MFA Spotlights

 

 

 

 

 

by Louise Sawyer

Our Fabulous Facilitator of the month is Gail. WVU username: Iam7. 

I loved taking the six-week course MFA314 Japanese Poetic Forms when Gail facilitated it last year. She encouraged me to submit poems to journals and I had one tanka published. Gail’s biography is in the Village Square “About Us” Staff section. Please get more acquainted with her there.

 

Gail’s full name is Gerardine Gail Baugh. I understand that she uses her second name at WVU. But I’m very interested in what she says about her name

I started using Gail when I was a child.  So many people mispronounced my first name and changed the spelling.  I was named after St. Gerard. My brother had been ill, my mother prayed to St. Gerard and promised to name her next child after that saint. She feminized it by adding ‘ine’.

 

What is your role as a WVU facilitator? What do you do to enhance the experience of the students in the classes you facilitate? I know you made the six-week poetry class an enjoyable experience. 

A facilitator is usually someone who has taken the class. Although often, the facilitator will take the class, posting their assignments and giving/receiving feedback along with the rest of the students. If the facilitator has already taken the class, she doesn’t have to post personal lessons unless she wants to. A facilitator is more visible than a moderator. 

When I facilitate a class, I like to give to the class what I want to get out of it, such as extra information that can be easily understood. I like to go beyond the book we are reading to find online information that will help to explain the material. If I can’t understand the lesson then I can’t help anyone else. I like to be involved and visible.  

For the Japanese Poetic Forms class, I asked myself what I wanted out of that class, and I went all out looking for places we could submit. (Google helped). I am thrilled that you enjoyed that class. I had so much fun interacting with everyone.

 

I noticed how you put forth your energy and research skills to help us have fun, learn, and risk submitting. I appreciated your extra efforts.

 

When did you begin facilitating classes at WVU?

 

A little over a year ago. I think the first class I facilitated was MFA110, Syntax & Grammar.

 

How was that for you? Please tell us about keeping the course records.

It's one of the facilitator's responsibilities to keep track of assignments and feedback posted. I add that a day before the new week starts. It gives everyone a chance to catch up.  

When I start counting I use the list of the people who registered for the class.  On the Registration page, where you sign up by clicking on ‘join’, near the bottom there's a list of everyone who signed up. 

I copy those names down. If someone wants to join after the class has started, I add their name to the list. 

 

Karen gave out an Excel spreadsheet to help with keeping the class in order. If I have a lot of people in the class then I use the spreadsheet.  

 

  1.    Using the list of people in the class, I check to see if they posted that week’s lesson. 
  2.    Then I write down who left them feedback.
  3.    From there I add up the names.  

                   Example: 

  •     Iam7: lousaw, Brigitte, Glennis
  •     Lousaw: Iam7, Brigitte, Glennis
  •     Glennis: Brigitte, lousaw, Iam7   

 

I could also click on the person’s name, which will take me to their profile. Once there I can see where they posted and commented.

 

What tips do you have for a newbie facilitator?

 LOL. I still consider myself a newbie. Do only what you can. Start slow. Set up the classes ahead of time, you never know what will come up. And, most of all,  have fun. 

 

Have you taught or facilitated classes outside of WVU? 

No, not yet. I have thought about setting up a class. 

 

What are your favorite classes to facilitate?  

I like the literature classes and the poetry classes.  I have to want to facilitate a class so I can get emotionally involved.  That sounds odd, but it helps me enjoy the classes. 

 

How much time does it take to research and prepare for each class? And to give feedback? As a facilitator, what other kinds of things do you spend time on?   

Some classes may be easier to set up. We use the lesson plan from the Course Page. I look it over and format it so it is easier to follow. I search out extra information for easier understanding of the subject.  

A class that is just a copy of the book can take a class only so far.  In order to gain an understanding of the material, I add extra explanatory material. This can be very useful and it is something that makes that class your own. I always use links so that everyone can have the full experience of learning from the original sites: Images, YouTube videos, and educational site information.

Feedback can take time, depending on the word count.  I feel that if someone took time to complete the lesson, then I should take the time and really see, and understand, what the student wrote. I learn so much from reading and writing out my feedback.

 

 I know you are the Managing Editor in Poetry for Village Square and that you have published poetry. What is your joy concerning poetry?

I've written poems for my own enjoyment.  I love nature poetry. I enjoy the taste of words.  Their sound, the way they can roll into an idea, something with meaning.  I need to write for a reason, to find my meaning. 

  

You seem to enjoy several genres. I know you love blogging and you wrote for examiner.com for six years. Please tell us about an article you published that meant a lot to you.

I wrote a piece for Father’s Day. It was about a man in a nursing home.  That piece haunts me. http://mywalkingpath.com/?m=201611

My mother was in hospice care in a nursing home where I met this wonderful man.  He reminded me of my dad; so, when I overheard his conversation with his daughter I knew I had to write this blog post.  I regretted that I wasn’t able to connect with his family.  I hoped that this short piece could help families trying to make amends.  This man was in the throes of dementia, he was sweet when he concentrated, but any sort of stress made him anxious and angry. I wrote this for all the lost fathers and their children who felt they couldn't connect near the end.  

 

Please share what you’d like to on your special love of writing. Is there some aspect of writing which really intrigues you?

What a wonderful question. I was born trying to write, to create stories. I would get myself in trouble with my storytelling, by frightening the neighborhood kids with some story I told. So, what intrigues me about writing is the way a good story will hold your attention and visit your dreams. I love to make up the places, the feel of a humid, cool summer night that sends a chill up my back and those dark corners with shadows that move. (If I change the words, ‘chill’ to ‘warm’, and ‘dark’ to ‘secret’ the feeling changes) I am not looking for fearful places just the ones that turn my imagination into an idea, where my muse runs wild and I can’t wait to put it all down on paper.  What intrigues me, are the cracks in a wall and the life that scrambles through. I try to listen closely, so I can write that sound. 

 

I love your sound words and the description “the cracks in a wall and the life that scrambles through.”

Thank you, Gail, for sharing yourself with us.

 

 Click Here for More MFA Spotlights

 

 

 

 




  

Modia Batterjee’s second book: Redefine Your Bee-ing with Beejewel. Being mindful and having purpose is the core theme of the book, which ends with several worksheets and a quiz that assist the reader to identify her personal style of bee-ing, to write a bee statement, and to create a beehive of like-minded friends.

Blurb.com

Twitter 

 

 

Phil Marcus Bernhardt:  His novel was released on April 3rd 2018. Khan's Game.  Members of SEAL Team Six assassinated Osama bin Laden. Al Qaeda has not forgotten. Ahmed Khan leads a hit team to the United States to kill the parents of SEAL Team Six members. Preston Pettigrew, a retired Marine, is a parent of a SEAL Team Six member who went on the operation. That makes him a target. A target who fights back

Amazon 

Muse It Up Publishing

Website  

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing; 1 edition (April 3, 2018)

 

 

Gerry Kingston: “Malahide Snapshot 1901 People, Society, Economy, includes Census Online Analysis Template”  This is nonfiction work on the village in 1901. it can be used as a template by anyone who wants to learn about their ancestors'  townland or village as described in the 1901 or 1911 census.

Contact: Manor Books, Church Road, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Ireland

Email    

FaceBook  

 

 

Joyce Hertzoff: Beyond The Sea: The Crystal Odyssey Series - Book 3. The artificial satellite retrieved from the bottom of Lake Dulno points to Fartek as the source of Madoc’s mysterious books. Publication Date: March 12. 2018

Amazon

Joyce Hertzoff: So You Want to be a Dragon. When the harbor of Lorando, is torched by three dragons, Bekka, her little sister Cora and their neighbor Derry devise a plan to keep the dragons away. Publisher: CreateSpace Independent April 22, 2018  

Amazon  

Joyce’s Facebook Page 

 

 

Gary Josephsen: Tactics for Dealing with Toxic Consultants.  To find more of his articles do a search on the Emergency Medicine News site using his name. 

 

F. Michael LaRosa: His story, Meat, was published in the June 15 edition of the Yellow Mama webzine. (issue #68). This online journal is cutting edge, hardboiled, horror, literary, noir, psychological/horror. 

 

 

Luann Lewis: Essay titled, Dust from Another Land, was published in  Faith Hope & Fiction, Online Fiction, Poetry, Essays, Art & Photography, this site accepts original short stories, essays and poetry meant to inspire and entertain.

  

Joy Manne: Short Fiction titled, White Cube, was published in Crossways Literary Magazine Crossways #1, Spring 2018. Crossways publishes both literary poetry and short fiction.

Joy’s Website 

 

 

Gevera ‘Bert’ Piedmont:  Horror anthology titled The Fellowship of the Old Ones (Rising Dawn Book 2) and it includes her story, "The Becoming"

Amazon

Gevera’s Website 

 

Frank Richards: Story, Tears in Rain was accepted by Penman Review.  Is about a man (James) who comes across an old photo album. The album tells him of another man's (Pug) life through photos and memorabilia, from birth to death, and James realizes Pug's story is every man's story.    

 

Congratulations to all!

We love to celebrate the success of our members! Do you have work that has been published, or know of someone who does? Contact our editor at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Be sure to include the name of the author, title and a link to the work.

 Click Here for More Publishing of Members