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Master Your Writing with Meredith Sue Willis

Meredith Sue Willis is a writer, teacher, reader, and the publisher of her own blog, Meredith Sue Willis: Writer and Teacher, at Willis is a proud member of the Appalachian Renaissance, whose published nonfiction and fiction books include Meli's Way, Love Palace, and A Space Apart. She is also an assistant adjunct professor at New York University's School of Professional Studies. Her website offers valuable writing advice as well as a glimpse into Willis's works and perspectives.

For anyone looking to create, polish, and publish their work, the best place to go is always the source. Willis shares links to articles on how to improve one's writing, specifically for the novel-writing crowd. She also provides writing exercises and shows writing techniques. These resources come packaged on a site with links to Willis's work and her own inspirations. The site even provides pages for younger writers, and there are links to pages made for teens and children. Aspiring writers looking for advice atop the shoulders of giants should check out Willis's blog for these resources.

Meredith Sue Willis's website offers valuable writing advice as well as a glimpse into Willis's works and perspectives
Screenshot of, which offers valuable writing advice as well as a glimpse into Willis's works and perspectives.

Aid and advice

Willis's Tips for Writers page includes links to articles inside the site and out. These articles cover a wide variety of specific-but-necessary topics to address for writers. Among these are tips on doing taxes for independent writers, advice on copyright law, and a self-publishing cost calculator. These resources cover serious topics on writing and more advice can be found elsewhere throughout the site.

A Q&A section is included on this page. The author seems to have taken substantial time to give her thoughts on a few topics. She writes in detail about her writing process. For example, in answering one question, she states the importance of staying mindful of alliterations when writing. She says that she had almost named two characters "Travis" and "Tyler," when, thinking of how the human brain functions, she decided to change "Tyler" to "Harrison." After this, she realized that Harrison was a location in the book, so she changed it again. She writes:

Coincidences abound in real life, but in fiction, we tend to expect everything to have meaning, and I didn't want this boy linked to a county.

I did another search and replace, and at the moment the second boy's name is "Jason," but I'm not absolutely satisfied with that either...

This kind of advice gets to the essence of the value in lessons from an accomplished author. Starting out work as a writer can be daunting. The lessons included in "Tips for Writers" can help writers looking to get published. These tips cover every aspect of a writer's life, from the deceptively mundane to the critical, like calculating self-publishing costs.


If you've heeded this advice, but you need specific direction for your story, Willis provides manuscript consultations. On request, Willis will read manuscripts including short stories, novels, and memoirs. Willis clearly defines who these consultations can benefit:

If you have difficulties with, for example, the English language, you probably want an editor. If you need weekly consultations and support, you almost certainly need a writing coach. If, however, you are looking for an experienced writer and teacher who knows some things about how to make novels and other prose narratives better, then consider MSW's services.

Consultations start at $200 and are dependent on Willis's availability. Those who are interested can contact Willis through her email, which is available through the blog.

Practice every day

Meredith Sue Willis is also a teacher on top of being a writer, and this experience lends itself to the teaching materials she provides on the blog. She says she offers writing exercises in her blog in the spirit of the Internet as a place of sharing and exchange. These exercises come straight from the heart. There are 330 exercises—enough to provide writers with an exercise almost every day for a year. These exercises can help writers gain inspiration for a future project or simply build their skills and have fun for a spell. They span from the simple, like exercise #66, which asks writers to physically move to a different place to write; to the more grandiose, like exercise #211, which asks writers to work on a short spy thriller.

In addition to these writing prompts, which provide short writing experiences, Willis provides online writing classes. The classes are done through email and they include written lectures, reading assignments, writing assignments, and one-on-one responses to homework. Students can work at their own pace in these classes, but they may turn in a total of 6,000 to 7,000 words in their assignments during these classes.

Willis has taught at the university level, so there is real value in these classes. That said, classes run in the fall, January, and the summer, depending on Willis's schedule, and they cost $45 to $60 per session. To sign on to the mailing list for the classes, go to the online writing workshops blog page. Testimonials from students on these classes are shown on the blog page.

These classes appeal to writers looking to hone their writing skills. Willis requires a lot of time from students to complete these assignments, but this is offset by the offline format, which lets students complete assignments at their own pace. People who have not received formal instruction on novel writing and wish to get into the business can particularly benefit from these classes. If you're an aspiring writer looking for more practice and instruction, these classes may be for you, provided one is available.

Kids and teens

For any aspiring young writers, Meredith Sue Willis provides resources for all reading and writing levels. The writer has taught not only in universities and online but also to grade school and high school students. "MSW's Page for Kids" opens to a picture of Willis's pet parakeet and offers a kid-friendly layout. Willis lists several books for kids, clearly passionate about encouraging reading at an early age, while also providing a medium for children to recommend their favorite books. Willis's "Page About Books and Writing for Teens" contains resources dedicated to teens, as well as book recommendations.

First and foremost, this is a blog about teaching adult writers to break into and excel in the publishing world. However, it's never too early to start building writing skills and laying the groundwork for later writing successes. These tools allow children and teens to see what others have discovered in their quest to become better writers and readers and receive advice from an accomplished writer. Anyone looking to direct younger writers to a valuable resource for building their skills would do well in showing them these sites.

Anyone looking to direct younger writers to a valuable resource for building their skills would do well in showing them these sites
Meredith Sue Willis's website helps younger writers build their writing skills.

Links and such

In lieu of a traditional blog roll, Meredith Sue Willis provides resources throughout the website. On the "Articles, Lectures, Online Reading, and Websites for Readers and Writers" page, Willis provides an expansive set of links that writers can scroll through to address whatever problem they may encounter. This article link page serves as a good substitute for an updated blog roll. Writers would do well to bookmark this page and come back to it later.

Links on this site include a TED-Ed video on building fictional worlds, an article on the pet peeves of literary agents (don't leave grammatical mistakes in your letters), a link to a website that can provide more resources for writers, an abundance of articles on the future of book publishing (it's uncertain), and news articles.

These links inform readers and writers of important developments in the writing world and can teach them how to survive in it.

Writing samples

The author's writing samples are posted throughout the site for aspiring writers and readers alike. On this same page, blog visitors can discover Willis's biography and upcoming events, they can find links to excerpts of her work. Entire short stories like "Evenings with Dotson" can be found on this page.

The final chapter

Meredith Sue Willis's blog is a great resource to seek writing advice, discover stories worth your time, and even find services that will improve your writing. It is so much more than a simple portfolio for an accomplished author.

The site can provide advice on all aspects of a writer's life to anyone wanting to become a published author. It provides links and on-site tutorials on different aspects of a writer's life. Additionally, if you want to improve your writing, you can find information on joining one of Willis's writing classes, if you're looking for advice on a story you're working on, you can find information on a manuscript review.

Readers and even younger writers can find a home here. Willis provides free writing samples to her works and reading recommendations. She maintains websites for teens and children that give book recommendations, show publishing houses that accept books from younger readers and writers, and display reviews from those younger readers and writers.

Meredith Sue Willis: Writer and Teacher succeeds in teaching and serving as a versatile resource for readers and writers young and old, experienced and amateur.

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