Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Friday, July 29, 2011

Need Help Selling That Book?



As part of my new position as Online Courses Coordinator with Pennwriters, Inc., I wanted to post information about the newest course.



**********  HURRY! COURSE STARTS IN FOUR DAYS! **********

Promotional Basics: Getting The Word Out, When Your Words Come Out
Online Course

**********  PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED  **********

Pennwriters Inc. brings you...


INSTRUCTOR: Babs Mountjoy
DATE: August 1 – September 2, 2011

REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201108
    (LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.)

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Congratulations! Your book or project has just been published. Now comes the real work: making sure your audience can find your book, purchase it, enjoy it and share it with others, bringing you fame and fortune! Most publishers want to hear about your platform, which includes a website, blog, or other publicity method to sell and promote your product or book across the world.

The internet and social media are great methods to share your news and can go a long way toward reaching your potential audience. This online course will teach you the basics of publicity and marketing, some old tricks and some new tricks, to make your new release a real success.  

* 4 most important things to include when developing a website
* Discover a variety of ways to get your work noticed online and offline
* Blog tours: how to get one started and why they’re a great way to spread your name
* Freebies and giveaways to attract readers and followers
* Setting up personal appearances and book signings (Have a program in mind, not just a chair behind a table)

FREE BONUS: A list of 50 sites where writers can submit their books for review.

Get better website and book sales results from proven promotion methods! LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.

REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201108


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Barbara “Babs” Mountjoy has been writing ever since she was a little girl, unable to control the urge of stories that wanted to percolate through her fingers into the keyboard. Or back then, onto the old Royal typewriter (before the TRS-80 even! Wow!). She's been a published writer for over 35 years, spent seven years as a news reporter and editor in South Florida, and has contributed stories to two CUP OF COMFORT volumes. Her non-fiction book 101 LITTLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SURVIVING YOUR DIVORCE was published by Impact Publishers in 1999, and her first novel, THE ELF QUEEN (under the pen name Lyndi Alexander) came out in 2010. THE ELF QUEEN is the first of the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, with THE ELF CHILD coming out in 2011 and THE ELF MAGE to be released in 2012.  Her romantic suspense novel DELIVERANCE will be released by the Wild Rose Press in 2011, and her women's fiction book SECOND CHANCES comes out from Zumaya Publications in 2012. She blogs about autism, writing and life at http://awalkabout.wordpress.com, and continues to write tech articles and TV reviews at Firefox News online. For more information on Babs Mountjoy or this course, email her at bmountjoy@zoominternet.net.

* Subscribe to our Online Courses announcement list for email on our latest workshops!
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PennwritersOnlineCourses

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NCF Tuesday: NYC Poetry Festival; Writing Contests; Hilarious Book Titles


News

Source
NYC Poetry Festival 

Over 130 poets from all corners of the U.S. will gather on Governors Island this weekend for New York’s first poetry festival, Saturday, July 30th-Sunday, July 31st. Check out the official festival website here.

What literary festivals have you attended?



Source
Going Extinct: Copy Editing 

Virginia Heffernan discusses the affect of technology on the publishing industry. She says publishing houses don’t hire as many copy editors as they did in the past, which leads to typos sneaking into print.

Do typos in published work turn you off or do you find them endearing?
   

Source
YouTube Time Machine 

Ever wonder what Leo Tolstoy or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would look or sound like on video? Booklicious Blog posted videos of six famous authors, including Mark Twain and Ian Fleming.

What author from the past would you like to hear speak?




Contests

FICTION
Glimmer Train Literary Journal
-       Very Short Fiction Award; 3,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue
-       Deadline: July 31, 2011
-       Details here 

Narrative Magazine
-       Spring 2011 Story Contest: Fiction and Nonfiction of 15,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $3,250, considered for publication
-       Deadline: July 31, 2011
-       Details here 

Writer’s Digest Magazine
-       Short Short Writing Competition
o   Fiction: 1,500 words or less
o   First Place Prize: $3,000 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference
o   Deadline: November 15, 2011
o   Details here 
-       5-Minute Memoir, “Tales From the Writing Life”
o   Personal Essay (600 words or less)
o   Prize: Publication in Writer’s Digest magazine
o   Deadline: Rolling submissions
o   Details here 

Zoetrope All-Story Magazine
-       Fifteenth Annual All-Story Short Fiction Contest: 5,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $1,000, online publication and possible representation
-       Deadline: October 3, 2011
-       Details here 

POETRY
Writer’s Digest Magazine
-       7th Annual Poetry Awards Competition
o   Poetry: 32 lines or less
o   First Place Prize: $1,500 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference
o   Deadline: December 1, 2011
o   Details here 

Fun
Check out Huffington Post’s article on some of the most hilarious books titles ever printed. Numbers 2, 5, 6 & 7 made me laugh out loud. Enjoy!



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Creative Challenge: Lune Poem

Source
Earlier this week, my sister visited from Pittsburgh. While I recovered from an eventful evening out with her and a few friends, I paged through Writer's Digest magazine. The article "Poetic Asides" challenged readers to experiment with the lune poem. A tercet (three-line) poem with a 5-3-5 syllable format. We collaborated on the following collection of lune poems to immortalize the craziest moments of the evening.

A Night Out with My Sister


Jeff
Moonstruck guy stripped down,
stole kisses
while he felt the beat.

Crazy Broad
A scuffle lead to
a bottle
across the temple.

WAWA
Drunkin' giggles cause
impulsive
midnight fatty feast.


Give the lune poem a try, and share it in the comments below. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspirational Blogfest: Wake Up Your Writing Genius

Source


Today Summer Ross is hosting an inspirational blogfest. Check out the details and participating bloggers here.

Take a moment and respond to the following writing prompt to explore your creativity. Or learn more about your main character by letting them respond to the prompt. Enjoy!



Point to a word or a sentence in any text and write for 10 minutes about whatever you or your character associate to.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Set Up or A Hook: Perfecting the First Sentence


First sentences carry an enormous amount of responsibility on their shoulders, and writers need to ensure they can bear the weight.

Make every word count.
Source

Think of the first sentence as the “host” of the story. The reader sits down. Eager hands open up the book to the first page. The first sentence greets the reader, setting the tone and voice of the story they’re about to experience. The writer must convince the reader to step over the threshold into the story. Remember, readers want instant gratification. The minute the first sentence makes them wait for something interesting or thought provoking, they get bored.

A first sentence, and a good host, balances between an informative and alluring personality. 

The first sentence invites a reader in and offers information in order to anchor them in the story. It should grab the reader's attention by engaging their curiosity. A reader supplied with the right questions will continue to read in search for answers. 

Most first sentences fall under two categories: the set up or the hook.

SET UP
When a sentence takes on the role of “set up”, the reader is provided with details about the story. These details lay down the foundation the story will build upon, e.g., setting, characters or conflict.

Details about the setting familiarize the reader with the time and location, whether it’s outer space in 2065 or Alabama in 1963. The first sentence gives the reader a quick glimpse of the story world, leaving them curious about the writer’s motive for choosing this specific time and location. The reader now wants to know what will happen here.

When the reader cares about the characters, they’re more likely to continue reading. So, why not let the first sentence provide insight into the character. Whether the reader finds the character relatable or intriguing, they will read on to uncover what happens to this person.

Another approach to lay down the foundation gives the reader a peek at the story about to unfold. It garners attention and anchors the reader. Now, the reader is free to question and discover the characters involved and location the plot will take place in.

Source
A HOOK
A “hook” first sentence takes on the responsibility of dazzling the reader long enough to keep reading. The first sentence can shock the reader, present an absurdity or provide an abstract thought or situation. This approach prompts the reader to say, “What?” Their disbelief compelles them to read further to find out what it means or how it fits in the story.

Both techniques should deliver intrigue. A successful first sentence will coax the reader to turn pages in hopes of uncovering an explanation and/or answer to the questions set before them.

Which techniques have you been successful with in your writing? 






The following websites provide examples of great first lines and more advice:  


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NCF Tuesday: Beverly Clearly at 95; Writing Contests; Daniel Radcliffe IS Harry Potter


News

Source
Romance Novels Dangerous?

Alison Flood reports on author and psychologist Susan Quilliam’s statement about the affect romance novels have on her clients’ unrealistic view of love. Quilliam believes the women get wrapped up in the romantic fiction and struggle to distinguish between fantasy and reality.  

Do you think a romance novel can really alter a reader’s perspective of love in the real world?

Source

Chatting with Beverly Clearly

Rachel Brown interviews beloved author Beverly Clearly at age 95. Clearly talks about writing children’s literature, balancing her family life with her writing career and her two published memoirs.

If you could, which of your favorite author’s as a child would you like to interview?
   
Bringing Poetry and Painting Together

Take a look at 11 slides of the art collaboration between poet Edward Mayes and painter Alberto Alfonso. The two men combined provocative first-line titled poems and rich colorful paintings. One of my favorites was the excerpt from “God and Offal, Light and Viscera, and We Are Not.”

Has a piece of art ever inspired your writing?


Contests

FICTION
Glimmer Train Literary Journal
-       Very Short Fiction Award; 3,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue
-       Deadline: July 30, 2011
-       Details here 

Narrative Magazine
-       Spring 2011 Story Contest: Fiction and Nonfiction of 15,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $3,250, considered for publication
-       Deadline: July 31, 2011
-       Details here 

Writer’s Digest Magazine
-       Short Short Writing Competition
o   Fiction: 1,500 words or less
o   First Place Prize: $3,000 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference
o   Deadline: November 15, 2011
o   Details here 
-       5-Minute Memoir, “Tales From the Writing Life”
o   Personal Essay (600 words or less)
o   Prize: Publication in Writer’s Digest magazine
o   Deadline: Rolling submissions
o   Details here 

Zoetrope All-Story Magazine
-       Fifteenth Annual All-Story Short Fiction Contest: 5,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $1,000, online publication and possible representation
-       Deadline: October 3, 2011
-       Details here 

POETRY
Narrative Magazine
-       Third Annual Poetry Contest
-       Unpublished, all poetic forms and genres, except translations.
-       First Place Prize: $1,500 and publication
-       Deadline: July 16, 2011
-       Details here 

Writer’s Digest Magazine
-       7th Annual Poetry Awards Competition
o   Poetry: 32 lines or less
o   First Place Prize: $1,500 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference
o   Deadline: December 1, 2011
o   Details here 

Fun
To help you get ready for the premiere of the final Harry Potter movie (so excited!!), check out this Funny or Die video from Daniel Radcliffe. Enjoy!
Source 



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dragging My Ass Out of the Mire

Source


The blogosphere's collective thought waves can really help a girl out of a major rut. My writing is on the brain all the time. They just haven't made it to the page in a long time. Every time I sit down, my chest constricts and I panic. It's crap. Then I feel like crap. Once the self-deprecating thoughts suffocate my motivation, I question my goal to be a writer. Waaaah! Waaaah! Waaaah!


Note to self: Get your shit together.

So, I bring you a few blog posts that reinvigorated my motivation.
Around of Words in 80 Days
Becky Taylor talks about a writing challenge that helped her make small writing goals to get her writing every day.

Writing Daily
C. Hope Clark discusses writing daily as well. She suggests writing in a specific form every day (prompt, short story, novel, poetry, etc).

Here are a few blog posts I found insightful and interesting: 

Janet Reid recaps the main points in Mark Tavani's workshop. Although it is targeting thrillers, I believe the information works for just about any genre out there.

Largeheartedboy provides links to 100+ websites and blogs with summer reading lists, plus book reviews, author interviews and author playlists.

My goal for the rest of this month is to respond to a writing prompt everyday in at least 500 words. That's it. A small start giving me the chance to improve my writing skills. My other goal is to live my writing life the way I live the rest of my life: quiet and solitary the majority of the time, and, on occasion, poke my head in socially. 

Here are a few books I plan to read this summer:
Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling (I'm gearing up for the final movie next week!)
Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
Home Stand, James McKean
The Case of The Missing Servant, Tarquin Hall
Witch & Wizard, James Patterson
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust

What books are on your summer list?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NCF Tuesday: Shakespeare’s Gettin’ High; Writing Contests; The Scariest Story


News

Turning Tweets into a Novel

Asmaa Elkeurti reports on the three-day (July 15-17) collaborative novel writing project to take place during Iowa City’s (1 of 4 cities worldwide designated as a City of Literature by UNESCO) July Book Festival. The project will collect entries on Twitter from anyone with a Twitter account and put them together to create a novel. Greg Prickman, a codirector of the Book Festival, says, “It’s not meant to be a random stream of tweets, it is meant to be a novel in some sense.”

Do you think a Twitter-collaborative writing project will be successful?

internationaloddities.com
Shakespeare Gettin’ High

Francis Thackeray, the director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, is asking to examine Shakespeare’s remains to determine if the author’s genius was drug-induced. A discovery of “cannabis residue (along with cocaine) on clay pipe fragments found in Shakespeare's garden” sparked Thackeray’s interest in the bard’s extra-curricular activities.

Would it change anything for you if you knew Shakespeare used drugs while he wrote?

   

Fantagraphics Books
Lou Reed and Edgar Allan Poe

Jennifer Vineyard interviews Lou Reed for this month’s publication of The Raven, a graphic-novel adaptation of his Edgar Allan Poe-inspired album. He tried to make the famous poem more contemporary and accessible in his rewrite.

Do you think it's a good decision to rewrite classic literature to make it more accessible to contemporary audiences?


Contests

FICTION
Glimmer Train Literary Journal
-       Very Short Fiction Award; 3,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue
-       Deadline: July 30, 2011
-       Details here 

Narrative Magazine
-       Spring 2011 Story Contest: Fiction and Nonfiction of 15,000 words or less
-       First Place Prize: $3,250, considered for publication
-       Deadline: July 31, 2011
-       Details here 

Writer’s Digest Magazine
-       Short Short Writing Competition
o   Fiction: 1,500 words or less
o   First Place Prize: $3,000 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference
o   Deadline: November 15, 2011
o   Details here 
-       5-Minute Memoir, “Tales From the Writing Life”
o   Personal Essay (600 words or less)
o   Prize: Publication in Writer’s Digest magazine
o   Deadline: Rolling submissions
o   Details here 
POETRY
Narrative Magazine
-       Third Annual Poetry Contest
-       Unpublished, all poetic forms and genres, except translations.
-       First Place Prize: $1,500 and publication
-       Deadline: July 16, 2011
-       Details here 

Writer’s Digest Magazine
-       7th Annual Poetry Awards Competition
o   Poetry: 32 lines or less
o   First Place Prize: $1,500 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference
o   Deadline: December 1, 2011
o   Details here 


Fun
Today’s Hyperbole and a Half hits home. It reminds me of the awesome sisterly love I gave my sister, Kate, growing up. Enjoy!
Hyperbole and a Half


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