Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘writing tips

To win readers over we need to write characters so authentic they feel like real people. How do we do this? By brainstorming a character’s backstory, personality, needs, desires, and their day-to-day world. Lucky for us, one aspect of their daily life is a goldmine of characterization: the type of work they do.  

Think about it: a job can reveal personality, skills, beliefs, fears, desires, and more, which is why Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi created The Occupation Thesaurus, a writing guide that profiles 124 possible careers and the story-worthy information that goes with each. To help with this project, I’m sharing my experience as an Employment/Career Counsellor below, in case this career is a perfect fit for your character!

You can find the full list of Contributed Occupation Profiles and check out The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers at Writers Helping Writers.

OCCUPATION: Employment/Career Counsellor
OVERVIEW

An Employment/Career Counsellor provides coaching to individuals searching for suitable and sustainable employment by assessing what jobs would be the right fit based on aptitudes, interests, education and capability. The job involves helping clients overcome barriers to employment, assist in creating effective resumes and cover letters, practise interview skills and develop a targeted job search.

The position often includes designing and facilitating job search and life skills workshops, as well as conducting assessments. Clients include people from all walks of life, abilities and cultural backgrounds. An Employment/Career Counsellor might work for a government funded agency, in an educational institution or be self-employed.

NECESSARY TRAINING

Although there are no strict education requirements for becoming a career counsellor, many employers prefer you hold a Bachelor´s Degree.

An Employment Counsellor Certificate is a definite asset as is a Job Club Facilitator Certificate.

I have a CERTESL (Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language) from the University of Saskatchewan which was very helpful as I worked with job searching immigrants from many different countries.

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES

CREATIVITY, DETAIL-ORIENTED,  EMPATHY, EQUANIMITY, EXCEPTIONAL MEMORY, GAINING THE TRUST OF OTHERS, GOOD LISTENING SKILLS,  INTUITION, LEADERSHIP, MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH, MULTITASKING, NETWORKING, ORGANIZATION, OUT-OF-THE-BOX THINKING, PUBLIC SPEAKING, READING PEOPLE,  RESEARCH, RESPECTFUL, SENSITIVITY, STRATEGIC THINKING, STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS, TEACHING, TIME MANAGEMENT, WRITING

SOURCES OF FRICTION

Some unemployed people can be unstable and blame the counsellor for them not getting a job

Participants in workshops may come from cultures that clash and cause friction in the classroom

Clients may share unsettling information with their counsellor like suicidal thoughts or illegal activities

Some people don’t like being told their resume isn’t good or that they should dress better for an interview

Government funding can stop, causing the counsellor to have to look for work themselves

A client may become infatuated with his/her counsellor and stalk them

Career councillors can get too caught up in the client’s problems

A client may suffer from mental illness or have a history of violence

WRITERS SHOULD KNOW…

Employment/Career Counsellors risk becoming too close to their clients and have difficulty keeping their work and personal life separate.

It is a challenging career but also very rewarding, especially when an individual finds a great job due to the coaching, which turns their life around.

Due to the many ups and downs, people in this field can suffer from stress and stress-related illnesses.

Have any questions about this job? I’d be happy to answer. Just leave a comment below!

I am a guest on Richard Dees Indie Showcase today, where I talk about writing a series. Hop over and check it out. https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/the-indie-showcase-presents-darlene-foster/

I am very happy to be a guest of Charles Yallowitz at Legends of Windemere where I share some tips on how to find time to write. Charles is a prolific writer himself. Check out his amazing fantasy series.

Legends of Windemere

Finding Time to Write

You have a great idea for a book. You’ve been thinking about it for a long time, probably years. But you’re too busy with a job, kids, aging parents, volunteer work and life in general. So you put off writing the book. But it is always there, nagging you, begging to be written. If only you had time to write!

Sound familiar?

For many, writing a book seems like an insurmountable task. So they never even start. That is where the problem is, they are thinking about writing an entire book.  Like any large, time-consuming project, to make it happen the task needs to be broken down into doable amounts.

A good way to do this is to set goals – long term, med term and short term goals. These goals should be realistic and time limited. And that will be different for everyone.

A long…

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I am pleased to be a guest on Rachael Ritchey’s blog where I talk about writing a series. Enjoy and leave a comment or two.

Rachael Ritchey

Happy Thursday! We’ve got a special guest today. Author Darlene Foster has been kind enough to stop in to offer us writers some handy advice on keeping a book series fresh and interesting!

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Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of travelling the world and meeting interesting people. Her desire to write started when she was twelve and her short stories have since won a number of awards. She is the author of the exciting adventure series featuring spunky 12-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Her books include Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England – The Missing Novel and Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene and her husband divide their time between…

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I don’t know about you, but I always struggle with the ending whether I’m writing a letter, an article, a short story or a book. Here is some great information from Write For Kids that will help.

How to Write a Powerful Ending (via http://writeforkids.org)

  The first few lines of any story are the most important — and often most difficult — words you’ll write. The next most challenging piece of writing is the ending. Once you draw your readers in and take them through your story, you need to leave…

Read the rest of this entry »

I liked this article so much I wanted to share it with my readers who dare to dream.

What Separates Writers From Wannabes
by Laura Backes, Publisher of Children’s Book Insider
Every writer who sticks with a manuscript beyond that initial flash of inspiration knows it: writing is hard. To be more accurate, writing well is hard. Anyone can throw words on a page. But to make those words into something that burrows into the heart of a reader you’ll never meet— that takes considerable effort.

This is the point that separates the writers from the wannabes. Here is where you’ll learn if writing is something you’re meant to do, or if you just thought it would be cool to see your name on a book. There’s nothing wrong with the latter; we’ve all jumped into activities we thought would satisfy some creative need, only to find we were way off base. I have half-finished knitting projects and lopsided ceramics gathering dust in closets as evidence of my own tinkerings. However, if you genuinely believe in your heart you’re a writer but feel like you’re wading through quicksand, then you may be missing a vital ingredient in the creative process.

In a brilliant speech to Publishers Group Canada, Richard Nash, former publisher of Soft Skull Press, said that most writers suffer a sort of postpartum depression once their books finally hit the stores. That’s because the actual event that marks publication isn’t what ultimately makes them happy. It’s the series of connections leading up to publication. It’s coming up with the idea, identifying the audience, writing the text that connects with your writers’ group/agent/editor/ illustrator. It’s getting those first glowing reviews. Writers are fuelled by forging a mental and emotional bond with their readers, and getting feedback from them. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Now, Richard Nash was talking about authors who write alternative, outspoken books for adults. These authors often don’t hear much from their readers after the pub date flurry dies down. Children’s authors can continue to nurture connections with their readers after their books are published via school visits, blogs and social media sites. But that initial rush of insight must happen during the writing process for their book to become a reality.

I remember the first time I felt a connection with an author. When I was five years old, my favourite book was Green Eggs and Ham. This was partly because it was the first book I could read completely on my own. But there’s another reason: I vividly remember the day I was reading the book to myself for the umpteenth time, and I suddenly realized there was more to the story than what was printed on the page. This book was about something bigger. It was about trying new things, being open-minded, not judging people too quickly. Though my five-year-old brain couldn’t completely articulate these ideas, my heart understood them. And at that moment I truly believed Dr. Seuss had shared a special secret just with me.
That kind of magic doesn’t happen in an instant. It takes work. It should take work. But if the work for you has become a chore, maybe you haven’t found your connection yet. Here are some ideas for igniting that spark that will keep you going:

► Identify why you love your idea. What was it about your work-in-progress that initially excited you? Did it stir some deep emotion or relate to a strongly-held belief? Is the topic something you’ve always wanted to learn more about? Does it involve a subject you’ve spent years researching? If you have no passion for your core idea, you’ll have trouble generating passion from your readers. Make sure your book is important to you on a personal level. Get away from the computer. Follow the advice in this month’s Challenge module and attend a conference. Network with other writers; hear lectures from published authors and illustrators, editors and agents; talk shop over lunch. Tap into the collective creative energy in the room. Learn what inspires those who have been writing for years. Steal some of their tricks to inspire yourself.

Join a critique group and get feedback from readers who aren’t family. Savour these first connections when they’re successful.

► Spend time with your audience. Volunteer to read to kids at your local library, or help out in the classroom. Offer to facilitate a young adult book club. See firsthand how young readers react to the written word. You’ll be newly determined to make that connection with your own book.

True writers—published and unpublished—make the choice to push through the difficult times and keep going. They search for a way to connect to their readers because they know that once it’s found, it will remain a constant throughout the entire process.

Being a writer is more than having your name on a book. It’s about creating magic. If you thrive from that magical connection, then welcome to the writer’s life.
Published July 22, 2010, Children’s Writing Update http://write4kids.com

“You don’t write because you want to say something; you write because you’ve got something to say.” F. Scott Fitzgerald


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