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Writing will fulfill you

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Writing will make you more than you are



What you can Expect from Creative Writing Institute

• The individual attention you so richly deserve

• Your own private tutor six days a week

• Prodding when you lag behind

• A challenge to become more than you are

• A personal relationship with your tutor

• Unbeatable prices

• Rapid progress

• Personal encouragement

• Start your course within 24 hours

• Save time and money



Our Goal

To rescue storm tossed lives, one by one, and escort writing students from their present level to their highest potential.



Student Testimonies

* I took two Creative Writing courses at our local college several years ago and made no advancement in creative writing skills. Once I found Creative Writing Institute, and sent a short manuscript for evaluation by Lynn Carroll, I knew this was the most hopeful doorway for me and signed up. After only three lessons of Creative Writing 101, the drive to become a student and writer again was confirmed and on I went.  My tutor, Jo Popek, cheered me every inch of the way. Even the busy CEO, Deborah Owen, took time to write encouraging words. What a great staff. Betty C.

* I just wanted to let you guys know I was assigned to create a newsletter in my technical writing class. We had to write articles based off a fake company we created. I, of course, chose to "own" a used bookstore. So the articles in my newsletter had to be about things people who shop at a used bookstore would read. I wrote several articles, turned them in, and got and 100%! She said my articles were amazing, informative but encouraging, and she absolutely loved them. I wanted to thank both of you and let you know. You really have trained me well! You have given me skills that will help me with future jobs, and school! Thanks!! Arial P.

* This is exactly what I've searched for - [Introduction to Poetry] - poetry forms and rules, punctuation and line breaks. I constantly stumble over the latter. I deeply appreciate your comments and suggestions. There is nowhere else for me to turn for help. Thank you for spending your valuable time teaching this class. I've searched hard for a [poetry] class like this one and am excited to find it at CWI. Terri C.

* I have been absorbing more than I ever dreamed. The dynamic non-fiction course is just that. Dynamic. My dearest friend and writing buddy has her master's thesis in the Library of Congress and has been reviewing my assignment analyses with me at the end of each lesson. She can't get over how extensive the material is that is being taught. > Lynn answers all my questions promptly, satisfactorily, and with humor. Thanks for everything. Shirley D.

* The [Creative Writing 101] course provided the kind of detailed comments and suggestions for my writing that I have been craving and have not received in other face-to-face classes.  Diane M.


How to Win a Contest

by Hugh Wilson

Volunteer Staff

If you want to win a writing contest, the first thing you must do is study the rules. Many entries are disqualified because the story has not met every requirement. If the rules state a maximum of 1000 words, a 1009-word story, however brilliant, will be disqualified.  

Assuming you’ve done that bit right, the judges will be looking at four elements:

• Originality

• Creativity

• Style

• Technique

Don’t let those official sounding words put you off. They are only words. Let’s look at each and see what they mean to us as writers.


Winning stories come from second, third, and tenth thoughts. Some contests give you a theme – “Wedding Day” for instance. What’s the first thought that comes to mind? Whatever it is, forget it. You can bet your last dollar that everyone else will have thought it, too. Make your story have a unique angle.


Don’t “wrack your brains” to get ideas. Relax, get your conscious, critical mind out of the way, and allow ideas to bubble up from your subconscious. In other words, daydream.

Ask yourself who, what, where, when, how, and “what if?” Let the trains of thought go where they will. There are NO new ideas, but there are new angles and that’s what makes one story different from another.  

Example: what if a shy looking woman sits alone at a wedding? At the reception, she avoids conversations, eats and drinks, then quietly leaves.

Back in her lonely, one room apartment she scans the Forthcoming Marriages column in the local paper to see where her next free food and wine is coming from.


You won’t go far wrong if you remember three little words: keep it simple.

Don’t try to impress the judges with long, obscure words and “writerly” language. Like any other reader, they want a story that is easy, involved, and interesting.

Don’t stop to admire the view. Every sentence must move the story forward. The reader doesn’t want flowery descriptions of a rose garden in the moonlight. He/she wants to know what the girl is doing there at two in the morning and what happens next. 


A story has three distinct parts to think about: beginning, middle and end.

The beginning introduces the main character and what the story is about. The middle develops the theme and keeps the reader hooked. The ending must be believable, sum up all the facts and leave the reader satisfied.

Too many otherwise good contest entries simply stop when they reach the maximum word count. Slice and dice your story until you can produce a great conclusion.  

And finally…

Always write your story specifically for that contest. Don’t be tempted to re-cycle an old story in the hopes it just might fit the requirements. It won’t. Inserting a theme sentence into an old story will be obvious to the judges.

Above all, enjoy writing it and the judges will enjoy reading it.




The Writing Rut

by Deborah Owen

The only difference between a writing rut and a coffin is that the coffin has the ends filled in. Take a serious look at your position in life and judge yourself.

  • When was the last time you spent one hour writing?
  • When was the last time you completed a project?
  • When was the last time you submitted something?
  • When was the last time you sold something?

Don’t look now, but you’re probably in a writing rut. Answer these questions:

  • Do you procrastinate writing?
  • Do you procrastinate learning?
  • Do you select your market before you begin writing?
  • Do you analyze published articles in your prospective market?

If you don’t write, don’t study, don’t research markets, and don’t analyze what your markets print, how do you expect to make progress? You’re driving nails in your coffin and giving up everything you hold dear. Someday you’ll look back and realize life has passed you by and you didn’t do the thing you valued most.

Are you ready to say, “I want to bust out of my coffin/writing rut. How can I do that?” Now we can help you.

1. Do you want to write fiction or nonfiction?

2. Start reading the genre of magazines that print articles you want to imitate.

3. For the first week, write 15 minutes at the same time every day. If you can’t think of anything to write, write a letter to the girl/guy who jilted you years ago, or write to a loved one who is gone. Practice writings help your mind get in the groove.

4. On the second week, write 30 minutes at the same time every day.

5. If you’re writing a short story, make a rough outline that tells the main point of each scene. Answer 50 questions about your two main characters.

6. Join a writing club, either local or online, and become active in it. These are the people that will give you the most important feedback. Two good online writing clubs are and is very large, and is much smaller. Both are excellent.

At this point, you’ve done a self-analysis and taken some steps to correct your course. You’re carving time out of each day to get back on track. What comes next?

Knowledge. Where do you get knowledge? At a writing school. Did you know there are a lot of free writing courses on the internet? But be warned, there is no teacher to grade your work, so there’s no way to tell if you understood the lesson properly and made the proper applications.

Writing is an extremely competitive business. If you enter the selling arena without proper preparation, the chances are good that you’ll get lost in the stampede. Taking writing lessons is not an option. If you want to become a selling writer, it is an absolute necessity. The average writer needs 3-5 courses to learn the basics.

Creative Writing Institute  is a nonprofit charity and for that reason, we can offer the best prices on the net. Every student receives a private tutor, so you can sign up for your course at today and begin tonight.

What? No money? We’ve got you covered. Break it into four easy payments. We won’t charge you interest. No administration fee. No registration fee.

Today is the day to kick the head and foot out of your coffin, arise from the writing rut, and take your place as a serious writer. Creative Writing Institute will help you every step of the way, but it’s up to you to take the first step.

The decisions you make today will determine your writing future tomorrow.



Writing Tip

Delete as many forms of the verb “to be” as possible, since they usually produce passive voice. That includes is, am, are, was, were, be, being and been. These are dead verbs that say nothing. According to Wikipedia, allowed forms are: become, has, have, had (use sparingly), I’ve, you’ve, do, does, doing, did, can, could, will, would, shall, should, ought, may, might and must. The fact that they are allowed, however, does not make them desirable. Get rid of as many as possible because all of them weaken sentence structure. Likewise, using “could” and “would” will drop you into a trap that you’ll find hard to escape.



Deborah Owen and Creative Writing Institute, Inc., its board and staff make no warranties or guarantees of any kind. Writing success comes from study and persistence. We endeavor to be accurate in every way, but the publishing industry and research material fluctuates almost daily. Deborah Owen, Creative Writing Institute, Inc., its board and staff may not be held liable for damages of any kind.

Travel the writing road at your own risk. We all do. Direct questions to our CEO,



A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in

pictures of silver.

Proverbs 25:10
























Writing Contest July 15 - Aug. 15!

See Contest Information Below


All Writing Courses on Sale

July 15 - Aug. 15!



CWI, a Nonprofit Charity

that Offers Free Courses to Cancer Patients

Creative Writing Institute also provides professionally written courses to the general public at extremely competitive prices. At CWI, you will no get a teacher - you will get a private tutor who gives you all the time you need. We go the extra mile that others only talk about.

If you are a cancer survivor and wish to apply for a scholarship, see



Meet "Charlie Faye," our cancer poster lady. If you would like to dedicate your donation to a lost loved one, we will list both you and your loved one on our Golden Sponsors page. Any gift, large or small, is welcome. Of course, they are tax deductible. Click on "Donations" in the left column. God bless.



Get Your Free Writing Evaluation

Learn the truth about your writing skills in this 20-point evaluation. If you don't know what your problems are, how can you correct them? Directions: send a 1,750-word short story written in past tense, 3rd person (he, she, it).

Write EVALUATION in the subject line. Material must be G-rated (no swearing, graphic scenes, etc.). For the best evaluation, use dialogue. Submit to our CEO, Allow two weeks. One evaluation per person, please. Follow directions. That's the first mark of a real writer. See evaluation testimonies below.



Writing Contest

Creative Writing Institute's Annual Short Story Contest

July 15 - Aug. 15, 2015


DID YOU KNOW 20% of contest entries are disqualified because writers don't follow the guidelines?

So here they are!

We would like to see some mystery stories, but the genre is open. If you are not sure how to write a mystery, maybe this will help:

Mystery fiction usually involves a mysterious death, a crime, or an unexplained event that needs to be solved. In a closed circle of suspects, each suspect must have a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity for committing the crime or knowing something about it. The central character is usually a detective, but may be any protagonist who has a stake in the outcome—such as a teen who finds a bloody sword in his back yard. He or she must be the one who eventually solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts fairly presented to the reader.

Some types of mystery fiction can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction may involve a supernatural or thriller mystery where the solution does not have to be logical, and may even not involve a crime. Example: A group of kids investigate the “strange” new kid whose family just moved into the broken-down old house in the neighborhood.


*First place: a FREE writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260 USD. Start your course any time within a year, and you have a year to finish it.

*Second place: $50 Amazon gift card OR a $150 USD credit toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260 USD.

*Third place: $25 Amazon gift card OR a $100 USD credit toward a writing course with a personal tutor, valued at $260 USD.

*Plus: first, second and third place winners, two honorable mentions and TEN additional Judge's Choice stories will receive publication in our anthology and Ebook.

Accepting entries internationally from July 15, 2015 to August 15, 2015, midnight, USA Eastern Standard Time.


1. This is a themed contest and this exact sentence must appear in the story. (You may change the ending punctuation.)

 I got more than I bargained for!

2. No swearing, profanity, explicit sexual scenes, graphic violence, etc. (Swearing includes but is not limited to the following: hell, damn, bitch other similar words, and taking God's name in vain.) This is a "G" rated contest. One swear word will disqualify your entry. You can make your point by showing the emotions of your characters with high action.

3. Entries must be 1,000 to 2,000 words. (This is a strict word count, but don't count the title or personal information.) Place the word count at the top of page 1.

4. One entry per person, please.

5. By entering this contest, you are stating that the story is your own copyright. You are stating that it has NOT been previously published by a professional or semi-professional publication, and you grant minor editing rights for publication. Further, if chosen, Creative Writing Institute has first, non-exclusive, electronic rights and First North American Print Rights to publish your story in Creative Writing Institute's 2015 anthology. If you do not agree to publication, you cannot be a winner. All Rights return to you upon publication.

6. Entries will be judged on originality, creativity, style, and technique.

7. Be sure to proofread and edit your entry.  Points will be deducted for poorly structured sentences, spelling and grammatical errors.

8. You may single or double space, but indent all paragraphs. If you choose to single space the story but double space between paragraphs, do not indent paragraphs. This is standard formatting procedure.

9. Submit entry at

Please do NOT send your entry to our site or to a judge.

10. All entries must be in English.

Winners will be notified by email on or before September 30, 2015.

Judging Panel

Many thanks to our judges, as this is no easy task! They spend endless hours reading and rereading entries, comparing notes, grading, and breaking ties. A huge applause goes to:

Head judge: Jo Popek

Competition Co-Coordinator, Jianna Higgins

Emily-Jane Hills Orford, CWI tutor and award winning novelist

Lynn E. Carroll, CWI tutor and nonfiction expert

Direct questions to the head judge at


Write NEW material specifically for this contest, centered around the theme sentence. Everything should build up to the statement - I got more than I bargained for! That should be the turning point in your story.

Hook the judge with your very first sentence by opening in the middle of an action scene. You can build the backstory (background) in as you go along.

Stay away from internal dialogue (showing a character's thoughts). Far better to have your characters speak aloud, even if they're only speaking to themselves or a pet. Internal dialogue should be in italics and don't use quote marks. When you use quotes, be sure to proofread them closely.

A twist ending is always fun!.

When finished, ask a writing friend to edit your entry. (Not a professional writer, and please do not ask a CWI staff member.) LISTEN to their advice!

Before you post your entry, go over ALL the rules again and be sure you followed them. If you question whether a judge might count a word as a swear word, write to the head judge and ask. Last year, a winning story was disqualified because of one swear word. We want our anthologies to be family oriented.

Thank you, and good luck!




I'm happy to have found your writing site as your cause is dear to me. I am a many-time cancer survivor and love the opportunity you have taken to help cancer patients. At age 23, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that had metastasized to ten lymph nodes. In 1997 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. I have also had 3 squamous cell and 2 basal cell carcinomas removed. Yet, here I am at age 72, happy, healthy, cancer-free and writing. Anonymous ___________

The CWI is a great organization that fosters the love of creative writing in everyone. Kudos! Paul T.___________

The evaluation helped me because I had no idea what my strong points were. It showed what parts of my story was weak and that I should focus on those areas until they become strong points. Annette T.___________

Wow and way wow!! I really didn't expect such a complete job. So kind of you. I feel like I owe you big. I know I have some weaknesses but I never could find them. I can go over other's work - I do it all the time in class - but not my own. I want to communicate my stories to others. I believe it is my one gift that God has given me to share his love. I am a natural storyteller. However, I have always told instead of written. I so appreciate the direction. I have earnestly been praying for this and I feel like this is my first real solid answer. I will be seeking to hone my skills. I will be seeking YOUR HELP in my new mission field. Lavonne C. __________

Lynn was very thorough, thoughtful, encouraging, knowledgeable and motivating. The one-on-one class experience is like no other class I've attended. I believe this promotes the desire to learn and helps with follow-through. Lynn gave me such a confidence boost, all the while being candid about my strengths and weaknesses. He was understanding when I had a crazy couple of weeks and allowed flexibility for homework. I so appreciated Lynn's honesty and heart. You said you enjoyed having me as a student, but you have no idea how the whole class and mentoring system helped me. I'll be forever grateful for all that you, Lynn, and Jo have given me. You are all truly unique. Linda C. __________

[I] received a wonderful and detailed writing evaluation of a fantasy short of mine from @deborahowen ; she's awesome; I highly recommend her. Tracy K._______



Reader, Student, and Staff Accomplishments

Step right up and be counted. No matter how big or how small YOUR accomplishments, send them to and see them published in this column.

1. Congratulations to our tutor, ​Emily-Jane Hills Orford. Her new book, "To Be a Duke," has been named a Finalist in the Animals/Pets category of the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She will receive a Finalist Certificate and a medal. Recognition of this achievement will be published at along with the other Finalists and Winners. Additionally, "To Be a Duke" will be listed as a Finalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards online catalog and brochures will be handed out at Book Expo America (“BEA”) in New York.

2. Congratulations, Terri Cummings, who read poetry at an open mic event and afterward was asked to submit to two different literary journals! Her first publication will be out in May. Terri is presently studying Short Story Safari. *high fives, girl!

3. Read Christine Cassello's poem in the Weekly Avocet - #114.  Please share this issue with all those you know who love poetry and nature. Congratulations, Christine!

4. One of our own tutors was once a little angel in a church pageant - well, almost. Read Emily-Jane Hills Orford's recently published story, "The Littlest Angel," and share a chuckle (or two). Go to and find the story on page 19.

5. Congratulations to our Writing for Children tutor, Diane Mae Robinson, on her two newest book awards. Sir Princess Petra's Talent (book two) won a bronze medal in the 2014 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards, grade 4th – 6th category. Sir Princess Petra (book one) won 1st place in the 2013-2014 Sharp Writ Book Awards, children's books category. This is the 4th book award for Sir Princess Petra since its publication in 2012, and the 1st book award for Sir Princess Petra's Talent since its publication in fall of 2013.

6. (a) Student Jianna Higgins brings home another win with an honorable mention medal in the 2014 Global Ebook Awards in the Popular Literary Fiction category. (b) Jianna is a top 5 finalist in the Readers' Favorite International Book Awards 2014 in Women's Fiction, (c) and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Kindle Best Indie Book Awards in YA category! But why quit there? She has (d) been short-listed as a finalist in the Writers' Village International Novel Award, Spring 2014, open genre, (e) is a top five finalist in the 2013 Kindle Best Indie Book Awards in short fiction, and (f) a current finalist in the Cygnus Awards 2014 for speculative fiction. WOW! Congratulations, Jianna!!!!

7. Tutor, Emily-Jane Hills Orford, has had another memoir/story published in the Curious Tourist Guide (Vol. 17 Issue 7 August 2014). Her story, "The Stagecoach Ride" is on page 23. *High fives, EJ!

8. Hi Deborah. I wanted to share the good news with you and Jo Popek about my recent writing successes. I feel I owe it, in large part, to my fantastic experience in Jo's Creative Writing classes. My short story, "Summer Tale" has just been published in the July issue of Still Crazy magazine. A second story, "Dearly Beloved Daughter," was selected in a competition held by the Great Lakes Commonwealth for inclusion in their anthology, Imagine This which will be published this fall. The Oak Park Writers Group has published my memoir piece, "Bombs Bursting in Air" and a poem, "Dark Lover" in their anthology, Keystrokes Volume IV.

Diane says, "And . .  I've made the first cut in a flash fiction contest sponsored by Women on Writing with The Whole Truth, a piece that grew out of an assignment for one of Jo Popek's classes. Winners will be announced this fall. I've recommended a variety of your classes to numerous writing buddies and will continue to do so in the future. Again . . thank you, thank you, thank you! Diane Maciejewski

* CONGRATULATIONS, DIANE! We gave you the material, but you're the one who did the work and made it happen, girl.

9. CWI writer Zena Shapter has been nominated for a Ditmar Award for Best New Talent! The Ditmar Awards recognize and celebrate achievements by Australians in speculative fiction writing: Zena said: “I’m seriously chuffed to have received this vote of confidence from a community of writers I respect so much.”

*Well done, Zena!



Getting Started in Writing

What would you give to be a good writer? Would you be willing to study hard? Would you be willing to start at the bottom? Would you be willing to invest in yourself? That’s what learning the writing trade is all about, and most students can learn it in two years or less at Creative Writing Institute.


Connect with our CEO

Twitter: @DeborahOwen




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