What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys?
See you in Colorado Springs May 2-5…
What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys?
See you in Colorado Springs May 2-5…
I’m not opposed to self-publishing. I am, however, averse to self-publishing without professional editing (not to mention formatting, layout, and cover design). Improper grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization … well, the list goes on and on.
Now while some of the rules (of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization, etc.) can be difficult to remember, or confusing to follow (hence, the need for a pro), a few things can make a big difference in the very first pages and can be taken care of as easy as 1-2-3.
(1) Should you wish to spew thanks and accolades to those who supported your writing endeavor, do so in the Acknowledgments … not Acknowledgements. No third “e.”
(2) Words or thoughts at the beginning of the book (by someone else) are on a page labeled Foreword, not Forward. The words before the story. Get it?
(3) And what about a Prologue? Most, if not all, spell the word correctly, so that isn’t the issue. The real problem is the prologue itself. Generally agents, publishers, and readers don’t like ‘em. The prologue tends to become an easy way to dump information without finesse. Readers are impatient to get to the story … and figure they can go back if they need to, which I’m betting they don’t do often. If the information is that good and that important to the story, make it Chapter 1.
There’s nothing like spending time with others who love books as much as I do — writers, editors, publishers — and no place like high up in the mountains. At 8500’ elevation, the Georgetown Indie Conference was the perfect location to be inspired, motivated, and not surprising, a little light-headed.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to present, as well as to make new friends, both aspiring writers and other published authors. I hope sharing experiences, frustrations as well as successes, will help others in the writing community continue their journeys. Writing is difficult, but the rewards are worth it.
If you have a chance to attend a writers’ conference, go. Whether to hone your craft or just network with other like-minded folks, you can’t help but have your passion reignited. And I can’t wait to go back … well … after I recover from altitude sickness.
A shout-out to those who supported the conference: the Colorado Independent Publishers Association and the Georgetown Trust for Conservation and Preservation. They put on a great show!
I can’t recall ever wanting to comment on a tv, movie, or video series, but after watching 9 of 10 episodes of the first season of Netflix’ MINDHUNTER, I feel compelled to spew forth kudos and congratulations in an effort (however small and insignificant) to assure there is a season two, three, four … well, you get the idea.
The fact that I’ve watched “only” 9 of the 10 episodes of season one is not an indication of my disinterest. Quite the contrary. I’ve purposefully and painfully contained myself to watching only one episode a day in order to delay the season’s demise and extend my gratification. Not sure whether to call it discipline or masochism, but regardless, MINDHUNTER is magnificent.
The basis for the series, from the book of the same name by John Douglas, is fascinating (rather than regurgitate a summary, google it), the cast is superb and surprisingly, not necessarily household names (again, google…), but most important to me – and the reason for my devotion – is the writing. The script is absolutely perfect. Like the recipe for a cake or the architectural plans for a house where each measurement is calculated for a specific outcome, the dialogue is so exact that each and every word sounds and feels like the only possible word that could be spoken. I found myself not only wanting to listen, but to write down everything I heard.
Granted, I’m already a true crime addict, so the theme of dissecting the minds of serial killers is my version of candy. For those who get squeamish on the subject of deviant and depraved behavior, this series could cause extreme emotional disturbance. Regardless, if you’re willing to take a walk down the dark alley to experience and appreciate the skill of MINDHUNTER’s storytelling, I believe your own writing will be the better for it.
You might not sleep well (if at all), but just think… you can use all those wide-awake hours to scribble something spectacular. #mindhunter #mindblowing
As I prepare to participate in a panel discussion on writing non-fiction and memoirs for the Central Oregon Writers Guild (and shamelessly promote the event!) I thought I’d share these points:
Your best chance of writing a salable memoir is to read as many successful memoirs as you can. Here are a few examples (in alpha order by author, not necessarily by rank):
Each memoir is unique, but if your story can illustrate a theme that resonates so that others can identify with your experiences, you will have a more memorable (haha) book.
Tell the truth (be real, for better or worse, because that’s what gives you credibility).
But… don’t get hung up on accuracy.
Come up with a great opening line to get the reader into your story.
Print out your manuscript. It’s amazing what you’ll catch on a physical copy.
Read your manuscript aloud. If you stumble over phrases or sentences, it’s quite possible your readers will, too.
And finally, competition for readers’ attention is fierce. For greatest chance of success, your story must be in the best possible shape. Hint: get a professional editor!
I collect books. I don’t mean in the sense of stalking garage sales or funky antique stores in search of rare tomes, though I certainly have and appreciate my signed first editions. I’m talking about collecting books whose titles have randomly caught my eye, reviews that have piqued my interest, or ones that friends have recommended. I have amassed a list — and pile — of books that will keep me occupied for a very long time.
But here’s the problem, and I’m guessing I’m not alone: I anxiously await the moment I can dig into a new book that I’ve been coveting only to discover that I don’t really like it. The “digging in” becomes a chore. Thankfully, I discovered Nancy Pearl, librarian guru, whose 2003 book, Book Lust: Recommended Reading For Every Mood, Moment, And Reason gives permission for us to stop torturing ourselves!
Unlike the mantra we probably all heard—clean your plate, there are children starving in Africa—Nancy offers a formula for reading that relieves me of my guilt. As she explains in the book’s introduction, her “rule of 50” says that those under fifty-years-old need to read 50 pages of a book before calling it quits. Those over 50—who, she gently reminds us, have less time to squander—need only read the number of pages that is their age subtracted from 100.
She also admits, and I wholeheartedly agree, that while we might not be able to slog through a book now (and can quit according to her formula), we might actually love the book at another time when we are in a different frame of mind. Case in point: I struggled with Cormac McCarthy’s The Road… the first time … and had to put it away. Six months later, I loved it.
With that, I am formally putting a few books on notice. I don’t want to identify them—to avoid hurting “their” feelings, or more importantly, influence anyone who might be swayed by my inability to lovingly devour a book that was rated 5 stars on Amazon or Goodreads. Being the optimist, however, I am hopeful that I will eventually embrace them. And if not, there’s a mountain of reading material to choose from waiting patiently by my bed, on my bookshelf, in the closet …