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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, and most of us know there must be a balance between the two.

But there is a third method, one that is vital to improving our craft; one that can refill our empty coffers. Play. 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  







By Louise Sawyer 


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Seashore Scene

by Louise E. Sawyer


Imagine you are writing about a character walking along a beach. Imagine the weather and what the character is looking at.  Here are a few words you might use in your scene.


  2. TROET
  3. IRNA
  5. DNSYA
  6. ELAS
  7. VESAW
  10. SGOD
  11. ORKSO
  12. UKSDC
  13. OGSL
  15. ESEGE
  16. TSMIY
  19. YRZEBE
  21. NYNUS
  22. GRUDEG
  23. STAV
  24. MTRSO



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An interview with Malkeet Kaur

 Brigitte Whiting

 Tell us something about yourself. What do you bring from your background into your writing?


I live in the state of Selangor, Malaysia. I tried law school and decided it wasn’t for me and told my parents I wanted to write. For one and a half years, I did the London School of Journalism correspondence course. After I completed my Diploma, my sister showed me a job advertisement in the newspaper for a junior journalist. I applied, got called for an interview and was lucky to get the job. It was 1988 and the country was going through a bad economic recession. Initially, my job required me to write articles for corporate newsletters. Eventually, the employer felt comfortable with me doing articles for the Golf and Racquet publications. Over the next 7 years I wrote all kinds of articles – golf, badminton, squash, tennis, motorsports (for the Shell newsletter), and yes, lifestyle articles as well. It gave me an all-rounder experience.



In 1995, a former colleague asked me to join him at a new golf publication that had started up a couple of years earlier. Golf Times was the Malaysian Edition of Golf Magazine USA. Five years later, I became the Editor. I became a golf writer, the only woman golf writer in the country then.



After 2000, I began freelancing for a golf pullout in the English newspaper. I also wrote articles for golf websites and later in 2013 was asked to return to Golf Magazine as Editor again for five years. In the meanwhile, I, together with two partners, set up a company that provided public relations, event management, and writing too. I also set up my own golf website, and this year, I was asked to become the Managing Editor for ParGolf Magazine.



My background as a Punjabi Sikh is also an interesting one for most readers. Our community is a small one in Malaysia but there is a lot of history behind how the Sikhs first came to Malaya (as Malaysia was known before 1963). My grandparents were part of that history.



Malaysia is home to Malays, Chinese, Indians (from South and North India), Eurasians, and indigenous people.




What do you write? Specific genres?

So far, I have written mostly longish stories. I hope to progress into flash fiction. The genre I veer towards includes literary fiction and romance.



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

I joined WVU in 2006 when I first did the F2K course.


Taking classes at the WVU has definitely improved my writing skills. This is especially after I took the Lit Fiction classes. It surprised me that I was writing better.



On impulse, I signed up for a poetry course, not knowing what to expect. I don’t really know why or how it happened but writing poetry has become an integral part of me. It is like something inside of me was waiting to be unleashed.




Have you published anything? What are you working on now?


A lot of my non-fiction work is published in magazines, journals and newspapers, and on websites.




What's next on your publishing docket?

My goal is to complete the MFA, write poems, edit my NaNoWriMo story, and write short stories. I am thinking that someday I would like to self-publish my poems.


What would you tell anyone who has aspirations to publish something?


If you are interested in getting published, don’t let anyone tell you that it’s a pipe dream. If you love the writing craft, motivation will come from within you, you will not be able to NOT write. I constantly read a lot of books, online articles or whatever I can get my hands on, of the writing craft. If you want to be published, don’t just sit around and daydream about it. Write something.




Is there something you'd like to see offered at WVU?



I would like WVU to offer a course on writing romances. It can be rom-coms, romantic suspense, paranormal, historical, etc. I would like to be able to write one someday.




What is the biggest surprise you've experienced at WVU?



How everyone is kind and generous with their time by volunteering to moderate and facilitate classes. I hope to do that someday.




There are a number of WVU members for whom English is a second language.



The languages I speak are English, Malay, Punjabi, a little Hindi. I understand a little Cantonese and Urdu (but don’t speak them though Urdu is close to Punjabi). English is my second language. When I was studying in school, every subject apart from English was in the Malay language.




What can the rest of us do to help you, and these other students, with completing the classes?



Reading a lot helps. I still jot down words that I don’t know the meanings of in my phone and look them up. MFA110 is a great course for grammar. I wouldn’t mind if fellow students corrected my grammar and punctuation during feedbacks.




Do you have any suggestions on how to navigate through the difficulties? Any resources that you could share?



If you have that need inside of you to write, you will find the time to do it. Even how difficult something is, I try to do something about it, read, research, anything to get it done. I have been like that since the day I went for my first job interview. When I realized it was for a Golf publication, I went to the national library in Kuala Lumpur and did research on the sport so that I wouldn’t appear ignorant during the interview process. This was before the Internet. Now with the Internet, there is so much information out there. Don’t be lazy about finding stuff out.




A writer's tip or two you'd like to share.



When I am stumped for ideas, I look around me, read stuff to get inspiration. I can be a terrible procrastinator but give me a deadline, I will definitely get going.  Somehow, deadlines get my juices going and the brain moving.



Inspiration comes at the odds moments, when I am taking a shower, or when I am asleep at 3 am. Read the newspapers and note the interesting stories. I tend to eavesdrop on people’s conversations at restaurants. My husband now knows that when I am quiet in a restaurant or public area, I am up to no good. He used to shake his head; now he is just used to me doing it.



BIO: I have been married for 25 years. We have a cat named Mimi that will be twelve in July. We don’t have any children, but we dote on our nephews and nieces. I use a pen name for my lifestyle articles, Kavalyn Kreer. My late mother once told me had she become a writer, she would have used the name Kaval (in Punjabi it means Lotus flower). I added the ‘lyn’ to make it contemporary. Kreer is my maternal grandmother’s family name. 

Currently, I handle the ParGolf website: ParGolf Magazine


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An Interview with Gary Josephsen

by Brigitte Whiting


What made you decide to become a facilitator?
It made sense to give back to WVU after years of taking classes. WVU runs on all of us. We're our own community and we make it what we want. Facilitating is a good way to contribute.



Has being a facilitator affected your writing?
I think so. As the facilitator, you're thinking about the concepts in more depth. You answer questions, reread things, and troubleshoot difficult concepts. All of this helps you learn better than simply taking the course. Also, sometimes as a student I might feel negativity or intellectual laziness, but as a facilitator, I remind myself to be positive and set an example (it's silly but it's true). Of course, this ends up making the experience more positive for me, as you'd expect, especially when the going gets tough.



What tips do you have for a newbie facilitator?
Stay positive and confident. We're all here to learn, and your fellow Villagers appreciate you facilitating these courses. When you read posts, highlight all the things students are doing well and empower their writing by asking questions and giving positive feedback.



Have you taught or facilitated classes outside of WVU?
This is the only forum in which I've taught writing, but I'm an ER doctor who teaches medical students. I'm also helping homeschool our kids right now, so there's a lot of teaching going on whether I'm motivated to do it or not. The key for me is to always look for the positive and highlight what students are doing right. This might also be a weakness of my teaching style, but I feel people are hard enough on themselves.



What has been your favorite class or classes to facilitate?
I created a course on dialogue and facilitated it with help from other Villagers. The process was difficult but rewarding. It highlighted that sometimes there is a disconnect between one's expectations and the reality of the course as it plays out and people learn. Times like that are a good opportunity to focus on that positivity manta.



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?
Researching and preparing for a class the first time is a little time intensive. I copy and save the code in a file on my computer which makes it easier to post again the next time you facilitate the class. Feedback can also require a lot of time in a large class, but you can explain your constraints and keep it short when you need to do so. People understand and respect your time. Feedback, like anything else, is quality over quantity.



Please share what you'd like to on your special love of writing. Is there some aspect of writing which really intrigues you? What classes have you taken here?
What I love about writing is the chance to share a character's inner world. No other medium allows us to do this as well as a written narrative. It's a bit of a miracle: an ancient art of written telepathy that despite thousands of years of progress, cannot be improved upon, like bread.

 Click Here for More Fabulous Facilitators





Karen Barr: Our World is Not Normal. Published in WOW! Women on Writing,

Karen was also interviewed for WOW! Ezine, The Muffin.

Glenda Walker-Hobbs (Glennis Hobbs): Haiku from the Canadian Shield, published by Local Gems Press 2020. The Water and Wildlife exhibit was held partly for Culture Days and partly as a way of promoting Flin Flon tourism. Glenda’s muse can be enjoyed here on youtube

Louise Sawyer: The Seashore Journey. Published with Local Gems Press.

Lina Sophia Rossi: The Sakura Tea Under the Gingko Tree. A haiku chapbook published at Local Gems Press a small press based on Long Island, New York, has published poets from over ten countries and over 30 different states.   

Get a Grip, Grid Poetry soon to be published with Local Gems Press.   

Walt Whitman's Collaborative Anthology. In production with Local Gems Press

Antiquated Asylum. Published in North Carolina Bards Charlotte Poetry Anthology

Fall Leaves Under the Blue Moon of All Hallow's Eve. Local Gems Press Halloween Chapbook Challenge.

Road Kill Technician. Horror Writer's Poetry Showcase Vol IV.

Bygones, Be Flygones: A Conversation with a Sarcophagi Flesh Fly. Horror Writer's Poetry Showcase Vol III.

Check out Lina’s Amazon Author Page.

 Click Here for More Publishing of Members