Your Next Scene: Right Before Your Eyes?

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Story Structure

When friends invited me (and hubby) boating on Apache Lake in Roosevelt, Arizona, my No. 1 goal was to kick back and relax. I certainly didn’t set out to write a scene for my novel.

But that’s not what Mother Nature had in mind.

And, let’s face it … a writer is always on the clock, right? Observing … watching … thinking … It’s not like you can turn the writerly instincts off.

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Embrace the Stories Around You

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Inspiration

When I was 21, something quite amazing happened. But back then, I didn’t quite fashion myself as a novelist, so I didn’t even recognize it or understand what a miraculous gift I was throwing away.

I’m talking about conversation. When an old man in my apartment building shared with me, “You know … I was on the Titanic,” I nodded politely, talked about the weather and went along my way. I’m still kicking myself today for not trusting my instinct to turn back.

Because it’s those rare encounters – gifts, really – that the novelist should cling to: Other people’s stories are your ticket to great fiction. And more.

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Creating Believable Characters – With the Enneagram

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Characters

I’ll be the first to admit that I had never even heard the term “Enneagram” when I started writing my novel. And I admit that when I queried a bookstore clerk about it, I stupidly asked if they had any books on anagrams (You know, words or phrases that can be created by rearranging the same group of letters. I knew that! Really, I didn’t mean to say anagram!).

The Enneagram Personality System is essentially a model for understanding the human personality. I learned about it when writing coach, Gloria Kempton, mentioned in one of her writing workshops that I attended. 

Gloria indicated that it could be a good tool for creating believable characters.

And she was right!

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Take a Risk with Your Next Assignment

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Marketing Topics

Step right up!

No, I’m not talking about the carnival’s Skee Ball game. I’m talking about stepping right up and right out of your comfort zone when it comes to the assignments you take on as a freelance writer.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from nearly a decade of freelance writing, it’s that you don’t have to be an expert on every topic to which you’re assigned a brochure, newsletter or article.

I also learned that by letting go of that fear and insecurity, you just might land yourself some interesting and lucrative assignments. Here’s how:

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The Notebook: A Writer’s Secret Weapon

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Inspiration

I was watching a movie with my husband recently (They Were Soldiers), and in the middle of it, the perfect opening line for a future novel popped into my head.

It was brilliant. Wonderful. Gripping. Succinct. And, sadly…gone as quickly as it had arrived.


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Thinking Freelance? Melissa’s Getting Started Tips

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Marketing Topics

So you think you’re ready to trade in the business jacket/skirt and land of cubbies, for slippers, sweats and the comfort of your own home office?

Or are you just finally ready to follow that dream of writing while getting paid for it?

Although it’s always helpful to have worked in the communications field before branching out as a freelancer, it’s not a must. Would-be freelance writers without oodles of existing magazine clips, newsletter samples or blogging experience can get a foot in the door by following the same steps as experienced writers.

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Melissa Crytzer Fry Joins Necessary Writers

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Melissa Crytzer Fry

I was one of those nerdy kids in school who always won the Read-a-Thon contest. And, when we got the little newsprint order forms on book day, I made sure I returned mine the next day with my hefty order.

Fortunately, my parents supported my habit – and encouraged me to do stalker-like things, such as writing to my favorite authors (Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume)… Am I dating myself? They both did write back, by the way. And I still have their letters.

That early fascination with words on paper continued to grow over the years as I graduated to coercing my older sister into writing homespun newspapers. What a hoot they are to read today!

Then in high school and college, my obsession with print and words continued as I worked on the yearbook and newspaper.

The real thrill, however, began when I started getting paid to write as a reporter for a small daily Ohio newspaper. What college student doesn’t love extra cash in her pockets? My first front-page assignment was to write about El Niño’s impact on farmers. While many might have found the topic boring or too ‘agricultural,’ I was ecstatic. Unbeknownst to my editor, who apologized profusely about the story topic, I’d grown up in rural Pennsylvania in the middle of my grandfather’s 200-acre dairy farm. The assignment was perfect.

Since my college years, my writing career has turned into its own weather phenomenon: a whirlwind of sorts. I blink, and I’m not sure where the time has gone. But after working in a handful of higher education and corporate communications jobs over the years, I probably wouldn’t change much. Except, maybe if I’d known that you could get paid to write movies, I’d have pursued a screenwriting career. In my high school, if you excelled in English, you became an English teacher. Period. (And, yes, I am certified to teach 7-12 English and communications, though I chose a PR/editor position as my first job.)

After eight years of working for someone else, I decided, in 2001, it was time to fly solo as a freelancer. Sadly, the decision was spurred by the death of my sister-in-law, who lost her battle with breast cancer at age 40. Her passing was a wake-up call that life is too short. And since I’d always talked about starting my own writing business, I decided I should just do it.

It was the best decision I ever made, paying better than any of my previous jobs and giving me the flexibility to pursue my creative writing thirst as well.

In October 2009 (yes… it took me awhile), I finished my first novel and am now awaiting contest results/seeking agent representation. For me, this moment is what all the other moments in my career have led up to. Like everyone else out there, I’d love nothing more than to transition to fulltime novelist in coming years.

Until that happens, though, I will continue to enjoy the thrill of learning about new topics and meeting fascinating people as I write magazine articles, brochures, newsletters, Websites, whitepapers, bios – and all that other fun stuff.

And, of course, I will continue that childhood passion of reading books … and my adult passion of writing them.

Articles written by Melissa for Necessary Writers:

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