So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label Bobbie Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobbie Christmas. Show all posts

Monday, July 12, 2021

Why Do You Write?

Bobbie Christmas, editor and writer, published this article on LinkedIn

Why Do You Write? is a good question to ask yourself. Bobbie answers this question and tells us what we should do according to who we write for, who we want to read our words, where we hope to publish, and what we want to do if we publish a book.

Students gather around the table for a class in my studio before COVID

I have scheduled my next writing class for September 27 - November 1, Mondays 2:30 - 4:30 PM.

The classes will be on Zoom as my last several classes have been. The Institute for Continuing Learning will sponsor the class. Visit to see when registration begins for this class. 

Check the calendar for all 2021 fall classes. No matter where you live if you can get Internet coverage and can connect with, you are welcome to join locals in my region of the Appalachian Mountains in my class. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

How can we use Chicago Manuel of Style?

We writers are often confounded by little details that escape us as we write. The Chicago Manuel of Style is where to turn to get our answers.

Today I am sharing with you an example I took from Bobbie Christmas' Network Newsletter. Read the entire page beginning with ellipses, which I always had students ask about in my classes and hardly anyone knows the correct usage.

Bobbie says: This month someone posed the following question to The Chicago Manual of Style Online:

Q. What is the proper way to write the commonly used speech abbreviation “twenty-four seven” (meaning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)? Would one write “24-7” or “24/7” or something else?

To get the answer to this question and many more based on Chicago style, go to

THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE sets the standard in book publishing for issues such as punctuation, capitalization, and much more. If you write fiction or nonfiction books, you will want to know about Chicago style or be sure to use a professional book editor intimately familiar with Chicago style.

Where do you go to find the answers to this type of questions?

Friday, July 6, 2018

I like to share good things with others, especially writers.

 Bobbie Christmas, editor and writer in Atlanta, GA has written some great books on how to write well. I have used "Purge Your Prose of Problems" for a number of years and can't praise the book enough.

All writers need to know how to write dialogue and this book has four pages about when and how to use it, as well as the proper punctuation for writing dialogue. Did you know you should give each speaker his/her own paragraph? Most of my students don't know that.

Recently I purchased another book by Bobbie Christmas. "Write in Style" is amazing! It has tons of good tips on ways to use the computer to help you edit your work.

Bobbie's trademarked Find and Refine method has been a great tool in finding the words I use too often in my writing. Two of those words are so and just. With Bobbie's Find and Refine Method, it was easy to make the needed adjustments to my manuscript. Because I use those two words in my everyday speech, I don't notice how often I use them in my writing.

I get no remuneration for recommending these books. I have only met Bobbie one time, but I find her books such a help I urge all of my writing students to add them to their library.

Order on

Write in Style: Using Your Word Processor and Other ... › … › Writing, Research & Publishing Guides
Author Bobbie Christmas teaches writers like us how to use the Find function on our word processors to track down and eliminate unstylish usages and write tighter, stronger sentences. Not only that, she is witty, clever and easy to read. She doesn't hesitate to poke fun at herself, which makes her teachings easy to swallow.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Online advice and aid for writers from some of my favorites

I subscribe to a few blogs and newsletters by excellent writers and editors. 

I like reading the latest posts by these knowledgeable people.  

I receive in my email a digest from Jane Friedman with several of the articles that appear on her blog. This one about how important book reviews are to writers is one I want to share with you.

A weekly digest of blog posts from 

Book reviews build symbolic capital

New authors—certainly self-published authors—have no symbolic capital. They are not (yet) known for producing quality books that seduce readers to the degree that they are willing to part with some of their disposable income, not to mention time. Is it possible for self-publishing authors to create symbolic capital? Absolutely yes, and many have.

Read more here...

I have subscribed to C. Hope Clark for many years and have never been disappointed in what she sends me.

Hope receives letters and emails every day thanking her for all she does for writers. I know she has helped me. I subscribe to her newsletter and it comes in my Inbox. I always learn something from it. She writes exciting mysteries and has a big following. Look at some of her books and give one a read. You will come back for more.

I subscribe to a newsletter by Bobbie Christmas, a successful editor and writer who lives in the Atlanta region.

I use her tips and advice in teaching my adult writing students, and I own her book, Purge Your Prose of Problems, an excellent guide for anyone who has questions about grammar, punctuation, proper format, and all those little issues that come up that no one remembers. She updates this book periodically to make sure her readers don't get left behind.

Another site any writer will like, I think, is Writer Unboxed.   They use a wide range of writers for their articles that help us continue on this journey we love.

I read others but will mention those later. Do you have favorite blogs or websites by writers that you read regularly? Tell us about them. We writers should help each other when we can.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What do I need to know to change from writing nonfiction to fiction?

I am a fan of Bobbie Christmas, editor of Zebra Communications, and author of excellent books on the writing craft. In one of Bobbie's newsletters she answered a question by a reader. She has given me permission to post that exchange here on Writers Circle around the Table. Thank you, Bobbie.

From newsletter by Bobbie Christmas
Q: I've been a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers for many
years, but I have a novel in my head, begging me to write it. I'm not
sure I can successfully switch from writing nonfiction to writing
fiction. What are some of the things I need to know?

A: Quick answer: everything.

Let me explain. I worked with newspapers and magazines for the first
twenty years of my writing and editing career, so I thought I knew
enough to write a novel. Boy, was I wrong! The best thing I did was
join a critique circle for novelists, and I quickly saw that I knew
almost nothing about how to write fiction. I knew a great deal about
how to form a strong sentence; I knew grammar, and I thought I knew
punctuation. Quickly I learned, however, that I had been using
punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviations standard in AP style,
whereas novels and nonfiction books call for Chicago style.

As a gift, my son gave me a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style, and I
went into overwhelm, because of the volume of the book. I didn't think
I could learn it all. I soon realized that I did not have to learn
everything, but I did need to look up specific things, when I wasn't

Members of my critique circle had been writing fiction much longer than
I had. I could help them when it came to grammar and strong sentence
structure, but they helped me tremendously with details of Chicago
style as well as the many elements of fiction. They made me aware of
point of view, setting scenes, scene changes, character development,
plot development, exposition, backstory, flashbacks, and much more that
I had never encountered as a writer and editor of newspaper and
magazine articles.

Go ahead and begin writing your novel, but find a good critique group
that concentrates on novels and get feedback and information from
members more knowledgeable in writing fiction.

In addition, pay attention while you read your favorite novelists and
see how they handle openings, chapters, flashbacks, backstory,
exposition, dialogue, scenes, character development, plot evolution,
climax, and denouement.

I also offer a lengthy free report on some of the differences between
AP style and Chicago style. It has good information for anybody not yet
fully familiar with Chicago style. Ask for Report #118 by e-mail
(, and I'll send it right away.

The switch from nonfiction to fiction isn't simple, but if your heart
is in writing a novel, you will enjoy entering a whole new world of

(Bold fonts in post are mine. Glenda Beall)

Bobbie Christmas

Author of Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing 

(To learn more, click here: )

Owner, Zebra Communications 
Excellent editing for maximum marketability

Coordinator, FWA Editors Helping Writers

230 Deerchase Drive, Woodstock, GA 30188


Sign up for The Writers Network News, my free newsletter for writers, at


Friday, December 7, 2012

Bobbie Christmas provides good resources for writers

Bobbie Christmas sends a fine newsletter and I share it with my readers and friends -- not all of the newsletter, but a small part.
Go here to sign up and have it delivered to your Inbox.

Until we publish a book, we pay no attention to something like an ISBN. Learn more about it from Bobbie Christmas.

Terminology Writers Should Know

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Be sure not to call it an ISBN number, because the word "number" would be redundant. An ISBN is a numeric book identifier that aids booksellers and buyers in finding a specific edition of a specific book. Since January 2007, ISBNs have contained thirteen digits, but up to that date, America used a 10-digit system.

Publishers and self-publishers in the United States buy their ISBNs
from R. R. Bowker.

In my endeavor to help writers reach their goals I often list sites or books I have found helpful to me and my students at Writers Circle.  I have found Bobbie Christmas' books and her newsletter to be among the best resources. Reach her at the addresses below::

Zebra Communications
230 Deerchase Drive
Woodstock, GA 30188
Follow my "Write In Style" creative-writing blog at 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PRONOUNS - Mistakes we make in our writing

One of the biggest problems beginning and even more experienced writers have is the misuse of pronouns.

Figure this one out: Nancy sat beside Jane. She took her hand. (Who reached for whose hand?)

When used properly, the pronoun modifies the last stated noun. See this example taken from Bobbie Christmas’ book, Write in Style.

I found a dog on the street. It was cold and wet. (The it in the last sentence says the street was cold and wet) If the writer wanted us to know the dog was cold and wet, he would have written it this way: I found a cold, wet dog on the street.

He might have written this: On the street I found a dog. It was cold and wet. (You can see the adjectives cold and wet refers to the dog in these sentences.

Personal pronouns modify the last stated name in the sentence. John and Jake headed for the super market. He wanted to buy beans. (Who is He referring to, John or Jake?)

Jake is the last stated name so He, in the next sentence, is referring to Jake. Better ways to write this sentence: John and Jake headed for the supermarket to buy beans. John and Jake headed to the supermarket. Jake wanted to buy beans.