Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Announcement

Today is the day we unveil what Katie, Nichole and I have been working on the past six weeks.

As of today, we will no longer be The Red Dress Club.

Please head over to our new place, Write on Edge.

We cannot WAIT to hear what you think!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend linkup

It's time to link up a favorite post you've written. It's a great way to meet new bloggers and find amazing writers.

Try to visit as many as you can, or at least the one in front and behind you.


Speaking of change, this week we'd like you to write about a moment in your life when you knew something had to change drastically. Maybe it was a relationship, or career, parenting, school, diet - anything.

Really explore the moment. What it felt like to make the decision. Lots of opportunity to show and not tell.

Then come back and link up Tuesday.

It's Big

Katie, Nichole and I have an enormous, huge, not-to-be-missed announcement coming Monday.

It will rock your world.

We have been working on something and we can't wait to share it with you all. We hope you will be as excited about it as we are.

So make sure you come on by Monday. We are dying to hear what you all think!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Red Writing Hood - Sex

Your assignment this week was to write about sex without writing about the actual act. Because you always want to leave a little to the imagination.

Time to link up, but ONLY if you've done the prompt, please!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Red Writing Hood

Let's get all steamy up in here and write about sex.

But you know us. There's a twist.

You can't write about the act. I don't want to read about any heaving bosoms or girded manhood (please tell me someone else giggled besides me).

There are so many other possibilities. And I hope you have fun finding them.

Limit is 600 words. It can be fiction or non-fiction. Come back here and link up Friday!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekend linkup

It's time to link up a favorite post you've written. It's a great way to meet new bloggers and find amazing writers.

Try to visit as many as you can, or at least the one in front and behind you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Red Writing Hood - Writer's choice

Do you have a favorite Red Writing Hood post you've done? Here's your chance to get it a second look. Link up the favorite one you've done - and if you've only done RemembeRED, feel free to link your favorite that you've written.

Also? This is like a "best of" which I think is totally cool.

Please don't link up regular posts - the weekend linky will be up Friday for you!!

Retro week: Helpful writing sites

Today's retro post is a list of some helpful sites. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

We all need places where we can go for inspiration, answers, motivation, and insight.

Here are a handful of our favorite sites.

If you're feeling that evil writer's block, stop by and check out: Easy Street Prompts

Interested in checking out a site that fosters a connection between women writers, authors, editors, publishers, and readers? Stop by and visit: Wow…Women On Writing

Want a not-so-gentle nudge to get moving? Try: Write or Die by Dr. Wicked

Looking for a fun writing exercise? Hop over to: One Hundred Words

Want to get inside the head of a former literary agent? Visit: Nathan Bransford

If you're in need of some grammar refreshers, check out: Grammar Girl and Purdue Owl

Okay, we've shown you mine, now you show us yours!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Retro week: It's in the details

Before we get to today's journey into the archives, we thought it'd be fun for Friday's linkup to post your favorite Red Writing Hood post you've done. Some of you have had yours syndicated on BlogHer which is amazeballs! But maybe that's not even your favorite. Whatever one is, link it up here this Friday!

And now here's our all-time most popular guest post. It's about the use of description from Kris of Pretty All True.

I write a lot about childhood memories.

Someone recently asked me if I have a photographic memory.

I do not. That suggests to me that I could pull up any moment in my childhood and reproduce it in exact detail. I do not have that ability. My memory is not a videotape of the past. It is not exact.

There is no single version of reality, no complete retelling of a past experience.  That’s why writing is an art. I can take you to where I was, but the place I was? That place has been colored by the passage of time . . . perhaps just a few hours or maybe years and years of living. So really? I can only take you to my memory of the place that was.

And that memory is true and real and perfect to me.

It is not all there is. But it is all I have to offer. So, no . . . I do not have a photographic memory.

But I do remember. I remember a 6th-grade math teacher who used to read aloud to us every Friday afternoon. Can you see her? I can see her. But you cannot.What if I describe her for you as I saw her then from my second-row desk?

She was tall, very tall and thin.  Severe and mannish, despite her long skirts and flowing blouses.She wore strangely bulky shoes and she had an odd gait. Her shoes made a loud uneven clomping sound as she paced before the chalkboard and up and down the aisles to be sure that we understood our math assignments.  She was far too old to have the burgundy-flamed hair that sat atop her pale stern face, but it never once occurred to me at the time that she had not been born with this hair.

Do you see her now?

A few more details . . .She was all angles and sharpness to me, her body thin and strong, her movements tense and purposeful, her voice a biting precise judgment when she spoke. She seemed to me to be my math book come to life . . . exacting, calculating, cold.

She carried a ruler in her hand, her long slender fingers wrapped around its rectangle. With sudden harsh movements, she would reach into the curve of our bodies over our papers to indicate a mistake, a misstep, an error. Her loud commanding voice would announce the failure to the class.

She did not want to be friends with us. She did not invite our confidences. She did not seem aware of our lives outside of her classroom.

And there was this . . . She had one glass eye.

She never acknowledged it. Never spoke of it. But we all knew, and we watched as one cold eye tracked our movements and the other colder eye did not. She did not miss much.

That was my 6th grade math teacher.

Do you see her? I have shared all of these details to tell you of the times when she was that which I have described. So that you will understand the contrast.

The softening.

Every Friday afternoon, she would pull her chair from behind her desk. Roll it to the front of the class. She would go to the back of the classroom door, where she hung her bag and her sweater. Put on her sweater.Reach into her bag for a book. Slip off her shoes and then walk in silent stockinged feet back to her chair.

Settle in.

Open the book . . . she was fond of The Boxcar Children series . . . and she would read to us.

Her reading voice was magic.

Not the voice of my math teacher at all, but instead a fluid feminine floating thing, filled with emotion and nuance and vulnerability.

I was always captured by the transformation. From hard to soft.From harsh to yielding. From plain to beauty.

From teacher to woman.

Always, as she read, the story appeared before me in the classroom air. Not as a picture painted before me, not as a movie played for my amusement against the chalkboard screen, not as a radio play.

No, as she read, the story appeared before me as though I might step into it. As though I was no longer a frightened small girl with too many secrets, but another braver character altogether. I was a girl able to leave the regular world behind and survive on my own. Apart. I was stronger and better version of myself. One of the boxcar children.

Some of the class would fall asleep to the lull of her voice. She never minded. Others would stare out into space, captured by visions within their imaginations.

And one little girl in the second row of desks would occasionally end up with her head buried in her arms to hide her tears. That I was not in fact this braver other from the story.

Just myself instead.

As my teacher was just herself.

My teacher would sometimes lay a hand gently on my head as I gathered my belongings at the end of class, “Have a good weekend, Kris. I will be here when you return on Monday.”

Do you see her now?

I hope so.

Because this is all I have to offer.

Monday, August 1, 2011

RemembeRED - Mentor

This week you were asked to write about a mentor, someone who guided or inspired you. How did your mentor impact your life?

Let's see how you did. Please link up - but only if you've done the prompt.

We're going retro


HI! You're still here!

We are so very glad. I hope you've enjoyed The Red Dress Club's Summer of You as much as we have.

Katie, Nichole and I have been very busy doing things that we'll tell you about ... not quite yet.

This week the three of us will be busy plotting at BlogHer in San Diego. So we thought while we're gone, we'd bring you the best from our archives. We've been around for over a year now, and there have been some really great stuff.

We will have our RemembeRED linkup Tuesday and our weekend linky Friday.

For those of you who ARE going to BlogHer, feel free to tweet at us. We'd love to meet you!@ksluiter @itsmoments @mommy_pants

Let's kick off this week with a funny post from Ericka, who originally formed The Red Dress Club with me.

How to write a book

I love how-to posts like ones that teach me how to make a blog button, or fashion a pair of crotchless panties from floss and a handkerchief or the best way to punch myself in the teeth. so i figured it’s practically my duty to teach you folks something that i do best: novel writing.

be sure to follow these steps in order to create a 350-400 page albatross you can lovingly wear around your neck:

   1. go to a coffee shop to write. and make sure everyone knows you’re going to a coffee shop to write. be sure to type “stopping by the coffee shop to add a few pages to my novel” as your twitter and facebook statuses. casually mention you’re in a big hurry and simply must use the five items or less lane at the grocery store because the coffee shop is closing in an hour and you probably don’t even have enough time to flesh out chapter five as it is. and if at all possible, wear a t-shirt that says “i’d rather be writing at the coffee shop.”

   2. speaking of clothing, you might want to burn everything you own now and start over with a completely new wardrobe. i enjoy wearing a pair of thick framed glasses and donning a knitted scarf. the scarf comes in handy because it not only soaks up summertime sweat but it also says things like “i am more important than you because i’m writing a novel. what are you doing besides raising kids and performing heart surgery?” and “MFA programs be damned, i’ll publish this baby completely uneducated, thankyouverymuch.”

    3. when you arrive at the coffee shop (and you will arrive at the coffee shop. in fact, you’ll know the route to the coffee shop by heart and will have to set up a security system in your home to keep you from sleep driving there at night) be sure to take out your cell phone and call your deaf grandmother or the operator. be sure to mention the plot device you’re toying with and why aiden’s character development in chapter seven is taking you for a loop. you might be tempted to only pretend you’re talking on the phone but don’t. the phone will most certainly ring if you do.

    4. cry at random intervals.

    5. order lattes with triple shots of expresso and when the barista mentions it’s practically illegal to sell something with that much caffeine in it, say “it’s okay. i’m a novelist.”

     6. stretch every twenty minutes and be sure to swivel your lap top around so that everyone can capture a glimpse of your word document painted in courier new.

     7. carry a ginormous notebook with a cover page on the outside that reads “blah blah blah: the novel.” fill the notebook with printed addresses, menus of your favorite restaurants, a list of people you’d enjoy beating with a giant stick of salami. be creative here.

     8. “accidentally” send out an email to a group of five or seventy of your closest friends that captures the correspondence between you and an imaginary agent who just loves your work. send out a follow up email letting your friends know that you’re embarrassed by your little faux pax but are hoping to “share some exciting news real soon.”

    9. make sacrifices to the gods.

   10. take up an unseemly habit like drinking or smoking too much (or preferably, both) and quote memorized lines from authors who died from cirrhosis of the liver or depression (or preferably both) when your best friend has broken up with her boyfriend. she’ll appreciate it.

   11. don’t edit. ever.

this should pretty much do it. it’s been my system thus far and all i know is that a few agents (i won’t name names. but i want to) think my work is pretty stellar. i mean they don’t want to publish it right now but that’s only because they’re busy and their kids have school and they don’t want their wives to catch on so it’s probably better if we enjoy my work in private together.

but i’m still holding out hope that good things will happen one of these days. in the mean time i’m stocking up on scarves.