By Natalie Bright

Twitter is the birthplace of the hashtag. Jack Dorsey (@jack) sent the first tweet on March 21, 2006:

“just setting up my twttr”

Dorsey and his business associates were searching for a way to text on their cell phones, and the word “Twitter” defined exactly what they hoped to achieve.

Twitter has since evolved into an invaluable social media tool for communication and information sharing. The hashtag, pound sign (#) followed by short subject links, has become a way to organize that information.

Today Twitter boasts 200 million users with 140 million daily tweets. It’s an active social media gathering place.

For writers, you can include your tweet as part of the community or group conversation by using hashtags. Your tweet will the become a part of the online chat and is now a searchable link.

For example, tag you might tag posts with:


#kidlit (the genre you write)

#readromance (to link to readers or your genre)




For researchers, discover and follow specific subjects, and find information you need by searching hashtags specific to your needs or genre.

I see a lot of hashtags with broad appeal that are popular and trending, but why not boost your tweets on a local level? Within your city, state, or a tri-state area, you can connect with new fans of your work by using specific hashtags. Spark a conversation, or perhaps build relationships that can turn into a business venture down the line. Do this by using hashtags for local public places, the city names, or topics specific to your book.

To learn more about which hashtags are currently trending and are the most popular, go the and where they also offer analytics for your business.

One of the consistently popular hasgtags on the list: #DWTS and yes, I am a fan. I enjoy watching Dancing with the Stars and reading everybody’s tweets during commercial breaks.

Social media doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be fun work and a great way to build your writing platform.

Tweet me @natNKB – what are some of your favorite hashtags?

How To Write a Story


How To Write a Story

By Nandy Ekle


First you

First you write

First you write a

First you write a word.

First you write a word. Then

First you write a word. Then you

First you write a word. Then you write

First you write a word. Then you write the

First you write a word. Then you write the next

First you write a word. Then you write the next word.

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole thing

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole thing on

First you write a word. Then you write the next word. Soon you’ll have the whole thing on paper.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.



by Adam Huddleston


This week’s literary term is: hamartia. It is also referred to as a “tragic flaw.” A hamartia is an aspect of the protagonist which can hinder their progress or possibly bring about their downfall. This “tragic flaw” can be external, but more often than not, it is an internal characteristic. For example, hubris (ego or pride) is one of the more commonly seen problems with characters. This inflated sense of oneself may lead to unwise decisions.

One of the positive results of utilizing a character’s hamartia, is that they are more relatable. Readers like to see a hero that suffers from the same issues that they do. This can increase suspense for the reader because they may realize that the protagonist could ultimately fail due to their flaws.

Hopefully, the use of hamartia in your writing will help flesh out your characters and make the story more enjoyable. Happy writing!

Holiday Thoughts

Outtakes 265

Holiday Thoughts

By Cait Collins


My new work Three by Three is coming along. I discovered a relationship I had not originally intended, and it opens up new possibilities. But as the holidays approach, I turn my thoughts to family, friends, and Christmas shopping. Books, real books, are always on my list.

This is a sampling of recent and upcoming releases.

Barry Eisler                            Livia Lone (also check out his John Rain series)

Carla Neggers                       A Knights Bridge Christmas and Liar’s Key

Sharon Sala                           Family Sins

Lindsay McKenna                  Wind River Wrangler

Lee Child                               Jack Reacher Night School

Anne Perry                             Murder on the Serpentine

Craig Johnson                        An Obvious Fact

Robyn Carr                             The Life She Wants

Rick Riordan                           Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard The Hammer of Thor

Debbie Macomber                  Twelve Days of Christmas

Jodi Thomas                           Lone Heart Pass and Sunrise Crossing

Charles M. Schulz                  Snoopy to the Rescue A Peanuts Collection

Happy reading and gift giving.


Cultures Unlike Us

Cultures Unlike Us

We had an interesting discussion about cultures that are so very different from us at a recent critique group meeting.


The discussion began because one among us is researching the Matador and the history of bull fighting for a story. She shared some of what she had learned. The centuries old tradition can be traced as far back as ancient Rome where man–against-animal events were held. Bullfighting is a blood sport deeply entwined into the cultures of Spain, Portugal, and many South American countries. Matadors enjoy celebrity status and the showmanship is very entertaining. A special breed of cattle are bred especially for the bullfighting ring.

Food in the Eyes of the Hungry

Our discussion turned to cultures different from us and their food. It was pointed out that some cultures think “food” when they see a dog, which is considered a delicacy in many Asian cultures. These dogs are bred specifically for the purpose of feeding people.

A visitor from Belgium told me that grocery stores in Europe have horse meat for sale in their meat market along side beef, pork, and chicken. She rarely buys beef because it’s so expensive in her native country.

As an owner of a cow/calf operation in the Texas Panhandle, the ranch horse and the cow dog are our working partners in the ranching industry. Our business is feeding hungry people with Texas Angus beef raised on native grasslands. The American culture has included beef and pork as a mainstay for centuries. I could never plan a menu around a juicy hunk of horse or dog meat. What about having a character eat something odd or cook something they’d never eat themselves? Interesting premise!

Writers and Their Research

One of the things I love about my WordsmithSix writers critique group is how non-judgemental we are. Our discussions cover a wide range of topics, and it’s great fun to dig deep into the issues that impact our stories. We greet each new subject matter with hyper curiosity. We question everything, and since we’ve been meeting for over five years now, we have very open and informative discussion. Visitors to our group are sometimes shocked at our musings.

To get to the heart of the story and to dig deep into our character’s motivation, can writers greet their research without bias? Does our background and beliefs get in the way?

Writing onward…

Quoting the Masters


Quoting the Masters

By Nandy Ekle


I like to read quotes by authors who know what they’re talking about. I find a lot of inspiration, instruction, wisdom, truth, and humor.

Here’s a few I’ve picked out from other sites on line to share with you.

  1. “I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head.” — Sylvia Plath
  1. “Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can e wrong-headed.” —Zadie Smith
  1. “When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art.’ I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing.” — George Orwell
  1. “I don’t know why I started writing. I don’t know why anybody does it. Maybe they’re bored, or failures at something else.” — Cormac McCarthy
  1. “Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost. Because it’s something to do to pass the time until she is old enough to experience the things she writes about.” — Nicole Krauss
  1. “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O’Connor
  1. “I started writing novels while an undergraduate student, in an attempt to make sense of the city of Edinburgh, using a detective as my protagonist. Each book hopefully adds another piece to the jigsaw that is modern Scotland, asking questions about the nation’s politics, economy, psyche and history . . . and perhaps pointing towards its possible future.” — Ian Rankin
  1. “Why am I compelled to write? . . . Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger . . . To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that aI am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit . . . Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.” — Gloria E. Anzuldua

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Static Character

Static Character

by Adam Huddleston

This week’s literary device is the static character. A static character is one that experiences no arc throughout the story. Their motivations and personalities remain the same from beginning to end. This is not to say that a static character is also a “flat” character. Flat characters are one dimensional. A static character can be fleshed out as much as the author wishes.

Some examples of static characters are: Scar in “The Lion King”, Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” series, and Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. They remain constant throughout their tales and often are employed to aid the protagonist or antagonist in their pursuits.

Hopefully, the use of static characters will help you in your craft. Happy writing!

Life Changes

Outtakes 264

Life Changes

By Cait Collins


Sometimes life throws you a curve. A sudden impact with a sidewalk landed me in the hospital with a broken arm that had to be surgically repaired. Good news is the hospital stay was short and I have no down time. And I’m back at work. I’ll be out of the splint in six to eight weeks.

The point is this experience has taught me valuable lessons that I can use to better myself and as reference for writing. You see, I’m having to learn to adjust to having on hand. I had to buy cloths that don’t need to be buttoned, hooked, or snapped. For the time being, any type of heeled shoe is out. Personal hygiene is a challenge. I’m still fumbling with applying make-up. Frustration has increased. But I will get through this.

When I begin writing a story where a character is struggling, I now have better insight into his struggles, feelings and frustrations. I will create a better character because I have, to a certain extent, walked his path. How can we truly write pain and loss if we’ve never experienced them? Our interpretation of the character’s actions may or may not be correct for the character. But digging into our own experiences, we can add emotion and empathy to the story.

Another plus is the people we meet along the way: a student nurse eager to learn, Dr. Barbie who did not inspire confidence, and three young doctors who truly cared. Add friends and family who made this journey easier and memorable and I have a roomful of inspiration.

I’m sorry this happened. I’m sorry my sisters and I had to cancel our trip. But I’m not sorry for the lessons learned.

Where Do I get my Characters?

Where Do I get my Characters?

Rory C. Keel

When we begin to write a piece of work, we need characters to fill our pages. Beginning with our protagonist, our main character, who will normally be opposed by the antagonist. Supporting characters fill in the gaps and make our stories interesting and full of life.

Characters are all around. Every day you’re surrounded by characters such as a spouse, children or even pets like a cat, dog or a goldfish. Maybe your boss at work or co-workers could add that personality you need for a story. And animals can offer the type of character you need based upon the creature’s instincts and habitat.

As you go through the day, notice who is around you and take notes on how they act and what they say.

Before long you will have the perfect characters for your work.

SOUNDING OFF on Facebook

SOUNDING OFF on Facebook

As the final weeks wind down towards the US Presidential election, emotions are running high. More people, than ever before, are involved in the political process. In today’s world, people are not satisfied with sounding off around the dinner table to family and friends, they have this overwhelming need to blast it on social media as well.

As a writer and AuthorPreneur, are those few statements of venting worth offending current and future readers of your work? Is declaring your opinion worth the detriment to your business and livelihood?


At an Oklahoma Writer’s Federation conference in Oklahoma City, I attended an informative session by C.Hope Clark, blogger and author. She made some interesting comments about this very topic which gave me pause to consider.

Social media reaches a worldwide audience. If you are active on Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, Google+, or maybe you guest blog on a regular basis, most likely you have followers from all cultural backgrounds. Everyone has a political opinion. Besides political leanings, more than likely, you have readers who are atheists, wiccans, Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics. They probably feel strongly, one way or the other, about any topic you could name.

As a business owner and professional author, trying to sell your book to as many readers as possible, why would you want to offend anyone?

On the other side of this topic (and there’s ALWAYS another side), you may want the attention. You may host a political blog and you want to be deluged with controversial comments and the arguments. If that’s the case, Ms. Clark says to declare your position loudly. If you’re going to say it, say it loud, say it bad, and say it bold, just don’t be offended by the results.


When we started the WordsmithSix Blog, we agreed on several ground rules and one of those was to not sound off on anything religious or political or otherwise. You won’t see anything offensive here. Our hope is that this blog inspires and informs writers from all walks of life, wherever you are or whatever your world views.

Back to politics and Facebook, I get likes and comments from extreme liberals directly followed by comments from extreme conservatives, and everyone in between. I like that. It makes for an interesting mix of people I call friends, and I hope ALL of my followers will buy lots and lots of books.

Writing Onward (in a non-offensive way)