Showing posts from March, 2011

Book Trailers

Where have you been my whole life?  
While I was teaching, the day before the Scholastic book fairs, my students would watch a DVD with the latest books available for purchase showcased through trailers. We both loved to watch these sneak peeks. 
Reading has been in my Top Five of Things To Do for as long as I can remember.  I could never put down the Scholastic book orders handed out in elementary school, memorizing it cover to cover. Then, rushing home to show my mom all the books I needed (at least a dozen). The day the box with Scholastic written in red on it entered the classroom and was placed on the table in the back of the room I was so excited I couldn't remain in my seat. My eyes kept darting to the back, imagining how that book would look and feel like in my hands. I was sure my choices would make me the coolest girl in class.   
How did I decide which books to spend my parents’ hard earned money? Blurbs in the book order catalogue. So, where the heck were the book trail…

NCF Tuesday: Making Things Better; First 101 Words Contest; Growing Up Redefined

Yesterday, The New Yorker put out its March 28th issue devoted to Japan.The articles range from nuclear meltdowns to dealing with the aftermath of disasters. The editors chose Haruki Murakami’s story, U.F.O in Kushiro, to showcase a piece of fiction that provides readers a well crafted story, as well as push them to reflect on the implications the story has on our world.
What do you think makes an excellent piece of fiction?
Art Education Anarchy
Join Teach 4 Amerika Tour’s rally today, Tuesday, March 29th, at Cooper Union in New York City as they discuss alternatives to overpriced MFAs and ideas to improve existing programs.
Can alternatives to an MFA provide the same instruction and guidance?

It Gets Better
Dan Savage and, husband, Terry Miller released their book It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living (Dutton) on March 22nd.The book evolved from their video campaign to stop bullying and let the LGBT community know things will get better…

Prose from the Pros #5: Pablo Neruda

Body of A Woman

Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs,
you look like a world, lying in surrender.
My rough peasant's body digs in you
 and makes the son leap from the depth of the earth.

I was alone like a tunnel.  The birds fled from me,
and night swamped me with its crushing invasion.
To survive myself I forged you like a weapon,
like an arrow in my bow, a stone in my sling.

But the hour of vengeance falls, and I love you.
Body of skin, of moss, of eager and firm milk.
Oh the goblets of the breast! Oh the eyes of absence!
Oh the roses of the pubis! Oh your voice, slow and sad!

Body of my woman, I will persist in your grace.
My thirst, my boundless desire, my shifting road! 
Dark river-beds where the eternal thirst flows
and weariness follows, and the infinite ache.

Balancing Description and Narration

“Write out of the reader’s imagination as well as your own. Supply the significant details and let the reader’s imagination do the rest.Make the reader a co-author of the story."Patrick F. McManus

One of the biggest challenges I face as a writer is balancing description and narration in my writing. You don’t want to get in the way of your story, overwhelming your reader with too many details, or provide the reader with too few details, leaving them incapable of imagining the scene.
Either way, the lack of balance will likely cause a reader to toss your story aside.
You want to entertain not frustrate.Author Stephen King advises writers to “say what you see, and then to get on with your story.” Don’t halt the narrative flow by wasting time describing a scene or character.
Not only should the flow of the story be unhindered, but also the reader should form a connection with it through the details.King echos many other authors' opinions, believing “description begins in the writer’s…

NCF Tuesday: Writing Receiving Bad Press; Writing Contests; Death Star Canteen

Book Bombs
In Jakarta, terrorists aim book bombs at moderate Muslim figures and anti-terror official, striking fear into Indonesia with explosive words.
What do you predict will be the outcome of this tactic?
Jennifer Egan’s Win Overshadowed by Jonathan Franzen Loss
Jennifer Egan’s novel A Visit From the Goon Squad won the National Book Critics Circle fiction prize.The online article incited an uproar whenthe LA Times focused on Jonathan Franzen’s loss by only including his photo and only mentioning his novel in the sub headline.
Why are women still a minority within the writing community? 

Jane Bond Shattering Stereotypes
Valerie Plame Wilson, best known for the memoir of her days in the C.I.A. called Fair Game, has signed a deal with Penguin Group to write a series of mystery novels with a female C.I.A. agent protagonist. “The idea for the books, Ms. Wilson said, “was born out of my frustration and continuing disappointment in how female C.I.A. officers are portrayed in popular culture…

Prose from the Pros #4: Revisions

The first draft of my novel has carefully climbed out of my filing cabinet, breathing fresh air from atop my writing desk. Reading through the story, it’s become painfully apparent my novel-writing skills are lacking.
As a novice writer, I’m faced with an opening without an inciting incident and a contrived ending. I’m tossing around the idea of telling the story from a different POV, and the villain is changing.  I should invest in a wig now while all my hair is still attached to my head.  
What’s known at this point is that the novel is crap. My job, now, is to turn this steaming pile into a coherent and suspenseful mystery novel. I just hope I have to strength to see this to the end.  I’m lost on where to start or what to do, so I’m turning to some inspirational words of wisdom.     
The following quotes are taken from the article "Rev Up Your Revision With 4 Simple Strategies" in the January 2010 issue of Writer's Digest. I hope they provide the same guidance they did…

Getting Back To My Writing

Well, I took a detour from my writing the past week.  The short story I’ve been working on stalled, which brought me down.  Posting on my blog every day became overwhelming and took time away from my fiction writing, bringing me down even more.  So, I turned off my main writing roadway, and had the brilliant idea to get out of the car.  My head, crowded with negative thoughts, started to hurt causing my vision to blur.  I stumbled around for a bit, before I tripped into a ditch.  My motivation to write dissipated, leaving me lying in the ditch for a bit. 
I was able to make it to my Bucks County Writers Group meeting.  I always feel reinvigorated and motived to write after our meetings.  One of the members suggested I put the short story aside for a while and work on something else.  Clearly I wasn't getting anywhere trying to force the story.  A simple solution I should have come up with myself, but my perfectionist drive doesn’t always see things that way.  Then, my motivation s…

NCF Tuesday: Authors Writing for HBO & Showtime; Writing Contests; Tea, Cake or Death

Chabon, Waldman and HBO
Authors Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman are collaborating on an HBO show called ‘Hobgoblin’ that revolves around magicians and conmen trying to defeat Hitler.    
Will fantasy and Hitler mix well?
Rushdie and Showtime
Author Salman Rushdie is “developing Next People, a fictional story which dissects the "radical pace of transformation in contemporary American life – from politics and race to technology, science and sexuality.”  Showtime entertainment president David Nevins sealed the deal after convincing Rushdie it was the best place to present his writing.  
What do you think about award-winning authors writing for television?

15 Richest Fictional Characters
Forbes magazine is known for printing lists of the richest men and women in the U.S.  They also publish an annual list of fictional characters and their estimated wealth.  Forbes needs input from readers to create 2011’s list.  They provide lists from previous years which include Carlisle C…