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1. App of the Week: Giphy Cam

Giphy Cam LogoTitle: Giphy Cam
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free

GIFs are a fun part of online communication. Whether shared through a text message or on your Tumblr, GIFs can help to share your emotional state or just make the reader laugh. But, most GIF fans just find their GIFs online, they don’t create them. Giphy Cam is an app that can change all of that. From the team at Giphy, a platform for finding and sharing GIFs, this iOS app uses your device’s camera to let you create your own GIFs.

With the app, you can opt to either film a short looping GIF by holding your finger on the red button or a five frame “burst” for a shorter GIF by tapping the button. When you choose either option, you can also select from a range of special features that can be added to your GIF. These features include filters, backgrounds, animations, overlays, and what may be the creepiest rabbit mask I have ever seen. All of them help to add additional meaning and personality to your videos to make for a more dynamic GIF.

Once you are happy with your GIF creation, Giphy Cam makes it easy to share the GIF. The app includes integration with messaging features on your device, Twitter, Instagram, email, and other apps on your device. You can also decide to instead save your GIF to your device for later use. Overall, Giphy Cam makes it just as easy to create a GIF as it is to take a selfie. That makes this app a great tool for your library’s outreach efforts or for teens at your library who love to use their devices to take and share photos and videos.

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2. Why We Read

ATT_1431797312899_20150322_185953

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.
— George R.R. Martin

The post Why We Read appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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3. Open Mic Wednesday - Welcome everyone!














We've come a long way...









To...







5 Back-To-School Rules for Cell - Packing Kids
(and one for Parents)




Whether your kid is heading to school toting a brand-new device or is already a cell-phone pro, it's important to make sure everyone is on the same page about what "responsible use" means. You can keep an eye on kids at home (kind of), but at school, they're on their own. As with any kind of boundary setting, these conversations can be tense. Fortunately, there are only five rules for them to remember -- and one for you, to show that you're all in this together. (Tweens and teens can also play our animated, interactive Digital Compass game to pick up digital-citizen skills.)
Here are our key guidelines for cell-phone carrying kids:
1. Respect the school's rules. Some schools permit students to use their phones at certain times: between classes, at lunch, on the playground, even occasionally in class. Abusing this privilege could jeopardize your classmates' freedom. They'll be mad at you, and your parents could rightly suspend your phone use.
2. Pick up when it's Mom or Dad. Ugh, it's the parents calling again. Well, guess who's paying for your phone? When your mom, dad, or caregiver call, it's probably very important, so don't send it to voicemail.
3. Ask permission before downloading anything. Even if you have your own app store account, get sign off on any apps you download. If something has in-app purchases, those costs could wind up on your parents' bill -- so they need to know what extra charges a download may incur. They also need to make sure it's age appropriate and reasonably good for you.
4. Don't flaunt it. Owning a cell phone is a privilege that not every kid has access to. It's OK to be proud of your phone -- it's an expensive piece of equipment for which you've been given responsibility -- but showing off could make other people feel bad. Also, it could get stolen.
5. Use your phone for good, not evil. You'll see all kinds of misbehavior and mischief regarding phones in school. Set an example for others by being respectful and responsible with yours. Ask permission before taking someone's picture. Take a moment to consider whether a text or video could hurt, annoy, or embarrass someone else. Turn off the phone when you're supposed to. Don't let the phone be more important than someone standing right in front of you.
And here's our essential rule for parents:
Don't text your kid during the school day. Unless it's a real emergency -- like, you're going to the hospital -- resist the urge to text your kid during the school day. Kids have survived for many, many years without talking to their parents while they're at school -- and they need to be allowed independence. And if your kid texts you, make sure he's not breaking any rules to do so.


- Caroline Knorr: commonsensemedia.org



About Caroline Knorr...







As Common Sense Media's parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids' media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you're wondering "what’s the right age for…?" Caroline can help you make the decision that works best for your family. She has more than 20 years of editorial and creative marketing writing experience and has held senior-level positions at Walmart.com, Walmart stores, Cnet, and Bay Area Parentmagazine. She specializes in translating complex information into bite-sized chunks to help families make informed choices about what their kids watch, play, read, and do. And she's the proud mom of a teenage son whose media passions include Star WarsStarCraftgraphic novels, and the radio program This American Life. Email Caroline at cknorr@commonsense.orgGoogle+





Read on and read always!


It's a wrap.



Contact me at storywrapsblog.gmail.com

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4. Don’t wait for your Muse. Be there every day & eventually she'll start showing up.

 

I love what Stephen King said about not waiting for one's Muse to show up.

“Don't wait for the muse. As I've said, he's a hardheaded guy who's not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn't the Ouija board or the spirit-world we're talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you're going to be every day from nine 'til noon. or seven 'til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he'll start showing up.”

- Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

The comic above is also available as an Unhappy Muse greeting card in my online card shop.

0 Comments on Don’t wait for your Muse. Be there every day & eventually she'll start showing up. as of 9/2/2015 10:13:00 AM
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5. My tweets

  • Wed, 01:23: I need a road trip and a burro, not necessarily in that order.

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6. GOOGLE DOODLE

GOOGLE DOODLE

जहां नेट हमारा भरपूर मनोरंजन करता है वही गूगल डूडल भी हमेशा प्रभावित करता है. आज भी यही कुछ देखने को मिला.GOOGLE DOODLE में

गूगल के स्थापना दिवस  4 सितंबर से महज दो दिन पहले गूगल ने इस नए LOGO को अपने होमपेज पर एक डूडल के तौर पर लगाया है। गूगल की स्थापना चार सितंबर 1998 को लैरी पेज और सर्गेई ब्रिन ने की थी। बीते 17 सालों में गूगल ने कई सेवाओं को शुरू किया जिनमें जीमेल, यूट्यूब, गूगल मैप्स और एंड्रॉइड  चर्चित हैं।

 

google doodle by monica gupta

ये वाला गूगल डूडल भी बहुत प्रभावित  करता  है .इसमे   LOGO क्लिक करने पर  डूडल की शक्ल में एक हाथ आता है जो गूगल के पुराने लोगो को मिटाता है और फिर मोम के रंगों से गूगल का नया LOGO बनाता है जो बाद में पूर्ण रूप से नए लोगो के रूप में दिखता है। नए लोगो में मुख्यतौर पर गूगल के दोनों ‘जी’ में सर्वाधिक बदलाव नजर आता है जो बाद में सम्मिलित होकर अंग्रेजी के बड़े ‘जी’ के रूप में बदल जाता है। इस नए लोगो में भी गूगल के मूल चार रंगों को ही रखा गया है।

इससे पहले गूगल ने वर्ष 1999 में अपने लोगो में महत्वपूर्ण बदलाव किया था। तब इसने एक उभार वाला (थ्रीडी लुक) लोगो बनाया था जिसमें पीछे उसकी परछाई थी। इसके बाद वर्ष 2010 में इसी लोगो के पीछे की परछाई हटाई गई थी और दो साल पहले सितंबर 2013 में यह लोगो उभार वाले लोगो से बदलकर सपाट (फ्लैट) लोगो हो गया था। कई बार बदले जाने के बावजूद गूगल के लोगो में अंग्रेजी के वर्ण का प्रकार नहीं बदला था लेकिन इस बार नए लोगो में अंग्रेजी के अक्षरों का प्रकार बदल गया है।

GOOGLE DOODLE

गूगल के आधिकारिक ब्लॉग पर लिखा है, ‘पिछले 17 सालों में गूगल बहुत बदला है। एक समय ऐसा होता था जब केवल डेस्कटॉप पर गूगल इस्तेमाल किया जाता था लेकिन आजकल लोग मोबाइल फोन, टीवी, घड़ी, कार के डैशबोर्ड से लेकर डेस्कटॉप तक पर गूगल की सेवाओं का प्रयोग कर रहे हैं।’ ब्लॉग पर लिखा है कि यह नया लोगो न सिर्फ आपको आभास कराएगा कि आप गूगल का प्रयोग कर रहे हैं बल्कि यह भी बताएगा कि गूगल आपके लिए काम कर रहा है। गूगल ने सर्चबार में दिखने वाले माइक को भी रंगीन बना दिया है और गूगल का यह नया लोगो जल्द ही उसकी सभी सेवाओं पर नजर आने लगेगा।

आप भी जरुर देखिएगा GOOGLE DOODLE

The post GOOGLE DOODLE appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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7. Readerly Term No. 031: Sentranced

When you come upon a sentence so impeccably crafted, so astounding, so perfect that you can't turn the page, you are said to be: ÷ ÷ ÷ Have you invented a Readerly Term of your own? Email us at readerlyterms@powells.com with the word and definition, and we'll consider including it in our Compendium. Browse all [...]

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8. Women Make Picture Books Too, 2015!!!

Is it that time of year already? September!  When the kids head back to school, the pools close, and LAUREL SNYDER REMINDS YOU ABOUT ALL THE AMAZING PICTURE BOOKS  ILLUSTRATED BY WOMEN!

As you may know, this has become a tradition for me.   Inspired by the historical gender bias of the Caldecott award, I first complied my list (with YOUR help) in 2013. Molly Idle was on it (HUZZAH!), but though she took home an honor at ALA, she was the only woman on the 5 name list.    Hrm.

Then, last year, my list looked like this, but the Caldecott was a shocker!  SO MANY WOMEN!  Morales!  Castillo!  AMAZING.

It really feels like things are shifting in many ways, changing for real.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to keep thinking about the issue.  And that doesn’t mean many wonderful titles won’t still fall through the cracks.

So help me out!  What are the women-illustrated books you love best this year?  I’ll start off with a few of my own favorites.  The only limits are that the book must be published in 2015, and it must be illustrated by a woman.  (Oh, and no self-nominating, please. If your book is awesome, rest assured someone else will think so too. Spread the love! Okay?)

GO!

(For starters, my son Mose nominates  NIMONA.)

NIMONA, by Noelle Stevenson

*

As for me, I like so many things. For instance…

MUMMY CAT, by Marcus Ewert, illustrations by Lisa Brown

*

HOME, by Carson Ellis

*

THE LITTLE GARDENER, by Emily Hughes

*

ONE WORD FROM SOPHIA, by Jim Averbeck, illustrations by Yasmeen Ismail

*

THE WHISPER, by Pamela Zagarenski

*

THE TEA PARTY IN THE WOODS, by Akiko Miyakoshi

*

FINDING WINNIE, by Lindsay Mattick, illustrations by Sophie Blackall

*

THIS IS SADIE, by Sara O’Leary, illustrations by Julie Morstad

*

THE MOON IS GOING TO ADDY’S HOUSE, by Ida Pearle

*

BY MOUSE AND FROG, by Deborah Freedman

*

YARD SALE, by Eve Bunting, illustrations by Lauren Castillo

*

INTERSTELLAR CINDERELLA, by Deborah Underwood, illustrations by Meg Hunt

*

TREE OF WONDER, by Kate Messner, illustrations by Simona Mulazzani

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9. Henry and Me

I first heard of Henry Miller, perhaps fittingly, when I lived with two other guys in East Vancouver. One of the guys had a friend who was a postman, the other guy was having an affair with the postman’s wife. There were a few awkward moments when he snuck her in for a night or an afternoon quickie, but, all in all, things went well and I saw a book which the postman had lent to his buddy, my housemate. It was a compilation of the letters between Henry and Lawrence Durrell. I became interested and then obsessed with Miller’s writing, read everything of his I could get my hands on. I still have a worn copy of Tropic of Cancer by my bedside along with Flann O’Brien’s, The Poor Mouth. For some reason which I don’t want to analyze, both books are places of refuge for me when I just want to relax and enjoy the language. At times like that I don’t think as much about the content of what I’m reading as much as how the words are strung together. Finding Henry’s writing was like the moment when Shakespeare made sense to me in high school: a light bulb shone. In all my travels after that I kept a sharp eye open when books by Henry were displayed. Krishnamurti, Durrell, Arthur Rimbaud, Anais Nin and others were introduced to me by Henry’s writing and their books were ones I watched for too. Of course, I was watching for cheap versions of their works. When my friend, Robin, arrived to visit me in Crete he brought a copy of The Colossus of Maroussi, written when Henry visited Lawrence Durrell and his wife in Corfu. Surviving in a tiny room in Paris on croque monsieurs, cheese, baguettes and red wine, I planned a novel using the Paris metro map as structure. Needless to say, the novel became as confusing and mixed up as my understanding of the Paris subway system and was abandoned. I made a pilgrimage to the street where Anais Nin lived when she and Henry were having their affair. Their conviction that analysis was necessary and their visits to Otto Rank, a student of Freud, revealed the notion that psychoses are the products of frustrated or blocked creativity. Frustrated writers can take comfort in the idea that writing is at least healthy if not profitable. By the time I was there, the bars mentioned in his books were too expensive for me to patronise but I lingered outside the Coupole and the Dome. I walked endlessly around Paris, imagined what it was like then, wondered why Henry was never mentioned in the list of writers who lived in the city in the 30's. There was irony in the thought of him existing from meal to meal as he worked on Tropic in the arts capital of the Western world, poor, reviled and rejected. I didn’t know then that he and Anais Nin wrote pornography for the money of their rich patrons but I knew there had been an overwhelming rejection of him in the States and that he was involved in the debate about pornography and obscenity. It looks like the descendants of those moral Americans who banned his books for so long have, seventy or eighty years later, taken over the government of the USA. He described his trip across the states in The Air Conditioned Nightmare. The title pretty well demonstrated Henry’s attitude toward the system. It gave me hope. Here was a man with great curiosity about the world and other people and sex who ignored all the warnings and temptations which were placed before him and followed a singular path of his own. It led him to another continent, through years of poverty and piles of rejection slips. But he kept going and kept laughing. “Always cheery and bright” was his motto and the most depressing situations could be changed for the better just by reading his books. I know that a generation who thinks the 60's is ancient history has a hard time understanding his relevance now, but then he was like a beacon. He personified the rebelliousness and questioning which was rumbling underground. I often wonder what he would have made of this internet, instant world. I like to think he’d revel in it. It would be so much easier to spread his subversive ideas and plead for sanity. A literary website reminded me of him when they put out a call for submissions on “money”. He had written Money and How It Got That Way years ago though I don’t know where I saw it. He would enjoy, as Kurt Vonnegutt Jr put it, “Poisoning them with a little humanity”. Henry believed that the best education it was possible to get was available to anyone with a library card at the same time as he relished the quote ,“When I hear the word Kultur, I pick up my pistol”. Henry wasn’t published until he was almost forty and that was always a prod for me when I started feeling sorry for myself. He’s been called racist and misogynist but, in my opinion, almost always by someone with an axe to grind. After all, Anais Nin’s lover must have been more than just a male chauvinist pig. The worst was online when a critic (critics are paid to criticize, we shouldn’t forget that) said he was boring. Of course, the critic, who seems to be trying to make a name for himself by attacking famous writers, used much of the language which Henry and others like him forced into literary acceptability. He couldn’t express himself without those words but he seemed to have no idea that the very words he used were allowed in the English writing world because of legal battles fought over Henry’s books. I don’t know what the penalty was for getting caught with a Tropic or a Rosy Crucifixion book in the 60's but that there was a penalty at all seems ridiculous. As ridiculous as excoriating Elvis, The Beatles and The Dixie Chicks. Sex was the same then. It hasn’t and hadn’t changed. He had the audacity to describe the act itself and men and women’s bodies without apology and, many times, with great humour. He didn’t gloss over the sweaty, intimate details which weren’t supposed to be mentioned in polite society. It’s not just that Henry wrote about sex like no one else. He described it in the first person often and didn’t avoid branching off into other personal thoughts which occurred to him while he was engaged. His style of using his own personal experiences for the creation of fiction and nonfiction became the roots of my travel writing. Henry seemed to be painfully honest even when he was making things up. I was working on the rigs in Alberta, living in Edmonton, when Henry died. I happened to be in town and not in the bush on that occasion and made my way to the nearest hotel. The bars in Alberta are huge and busy. Others at the table had no idea who Henry was and why I should be there to drink a farewell toast to him on the occasion of his death. I did the same at the same bar when John Lennon was shot. They didn’t know, any more than I did, that I would carry around his books and lean on his inspiration for many years. Here is Henry’s description of one of the many jobs he took to survive in France. “Here was I, supposedly to spread the gospel of Franco-American amity- the emissary of a corpse who, after he had plundered right and left, after he had caused untold suffering and misery, dreamed of establishing universal peace. Ffui! What did they expect me to talk about, I wonder? About LEAVES OF GRASS, about the tariff walls, about the Declaration of Independence, about the latest gang war? What? Just what, I’d like to know. Well, I’ll tell you-I never mentioned these things. I started right off the bat with a lesson on the physiology of love. How the elephants make love-that was it! It caught like wildfire. After the first day there were no more empty benches. After that first lesson in English they were standing at the door waiting for me. We got along swell together. They asked all sorts of questions, as though they had never learned a damned thing. I let them fire away. I taught them to ask more ticklish questions. Ask anything!- that was my motto. I’m here as a plenipotentiary from the realm of free spirits. I’m here to create a fever and a ferment. ‘In some ways’ says an eminent astronomer, ‘the universe appears to be passing away like a tale that is told, dissolving into nothingness like a vision’. That seems to be the general feeling underlying the empty breadbasket of learning. Myself, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe a fucking thing these bastards try to shove down our throats.” Tropic of Cancer

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10. Back to School Posts on TWT

We've curated some of our top 'Back to School' posts to help you plan and launch your writing workshop.

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11. Storywraps Community news...









Especially for the Storywraps' community...






Children's Book: The Prince And His Dragon: Magical Rhyming Bedtime Story - Picture Book / Beginner Reader, About the Power of Friendship (for ages 3-7) (Top of the Wardrobe Gang Picture Books 5) [Kindle Edition]



Melinda Kinsman 
 **Offered free on Amazon from September 2- September 5th **




PLUS...









Children's Books : Sweet as Fruit (Books for kids , ages 4-11 ) (Nutrition - Nutrition for Children Book 2) [Kindle Edition]



Shir Guez 
**Offered free on Amazon for the next 48 hours**
It's a wrap.

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12. Get To Know the Red Light Green Light Winning Entries

Our Red Light Green Light competition has been going on for weeks now, and it's finally come time to announce our winners! After voting closed on Monday night, we tallied the votes from our judges and you, our fabulous community, and pulled out our Top 10. The entries below had the highest score overall, and will all receive a critique from a published (or soon to be published) author, or an agent.


Our overall winner and two runners up will be revealed next week. The runners up will be receiving critiques from some of the industry's most sought after agents, and our overall winner will receive a partial request from the amazing Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Congratulations to our finalists (in alphabetical order) below! 

Read more »

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13. Cover Unveiled for New Alan Smale Novel

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14. August Mosaic































Row 1:
The Dewdroppers at one of Worthington's concerts on the green. The clarinetist, Joe, sold me my bike!
From my garden: Indigo Rose cherry tomatoes, and a crop of small beets with yummy beet greens (sautéed in bacon grease, of course).

Row 2:
Our crazy cat drove us nuts for about a week not being able to keep food down. When we switched up his food, he was so happy he started sleeping with his head in his bowl!
Columbus food truck festival -- yum.
The huge piles of weeds and branches from the...

Row 3:
...Land Lab reclamation. I was gone all of July and the constant rains were quite encouraging to the weeds!
MONARCHS! The mother of one of the parapros in my school gathered lots of monarch caterpillars, raised them, carefully placed the chrysalises in Solo Cup viewers, and donated them to my classroom, along with a caterpillar to watch through the entire process. What a gift.

Row 4:
New glasses. No one has noticed, so that must mean they look perfect on my face. (Plus, they are still purple, so no big change there, but I can SEE! Yay!) The first butterfly emerged on Sunday. I found the clear chrysalis when I went in to feed the fish, and I brought it home. We missed the moment of emergence, but not by much.

Row 5:
I took it outside to the snapdragons, and we communed with the bees as it prepared to fly free.

Row 6:
This is a DIFFERENT monarch that came to the zinnias about the time our fledgeling crawled onto the snapdragons. Welcoming committee?
Yesterday I found one ready for release when I got to school (and another emerged for the AM Latch Key kids to watch). I released both in the Land Lab, and when examining our milkweed there, saw that we have at least one monarch doing its thing in the wild. YAY!

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15. Vom 8. bis 11. Oktober 2015 feiert die SPIEL in Essen das Gesellschaftsspiel – und den Comic!

Messe_Essen_900x450

Vom 8. bis 11. Oktober 2015 finden mit der SPIEL erneut die alljährlichen Internationalen Spieletage in Essen statt. Die „weltweit größte Publikumsmesse für Gesellschaftsspiele“ ist in den letzten Jahren auch für Comicfans zur wichtigen Adresse geworden. Seit die Frankfurter Buchmesse im vergangenen Jahr den Bereich „Faszination Comic“ abgeschafft hat (der Comic Report berichtete), nutzen immer mehr Comicverlage den Messeauftritt in Essen im Rahmen der „Comic Action“ als Alternativtermin.


2014 debütierte dort auch der Splitter Verlag und war ob des großen Publikumsinteresses mit diesem Einstand überaus zufrieden. In zahlreichen Gesprächen vor Ort zeigte sich, dass man den Nerv vieler Neuleser/innen traf, die von der Vielfalt des Comics völlig überrascht waren und begeistert die neue Welt der Bildergeschichten erforschten. 2015 wird Splitter abermals auf der SPIEL vertreten sein und diesmal auf einem großen Gemeinschaftsstand zusammen mit Tokyopop/Popcom sein Pro....

Mehr auf Comic.de: http://www.comic.de/2015/08/comic-action-spiel-2015/

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16. Joy Chu – Illustrator Interview

I ‘met’ Joy a couple of years ago through her FB page Got Story and love her contributions to the kid lit community. She has been curating a fabulous exhibition in Southern California and it is open for another ten … Continue reading

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17. Michael Fassbender Seizes the Crown in the New Macbeth Trailer

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18. Illustrator Cristina de Lera

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Cristina de Lera Website >>

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19. Flogometer for Jacob—would you pay to turn the page?

Submissions Welcome. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.


The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Mastering front 100WshadowBefore you rip into today’s submission, consider this checklist of first-page ingredients from my book, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Download a free PDF copy here.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of this list before submitting to the Flogometer. I use it on my own work.

A First-page Checklist

  • It begins engaging the reader with the character
  • Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
  • The character desires something.
  • The character does something.
  • There’s enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
  • It happens in the NOW of the story.
  • Backstory? What backstory? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • Set-up? What set-up? We’re in the NOW of the story.
  • What happens raises a story question.

Caveat: a strong first-person voice with the right content can raise powerful story questions and create page turns without doing all of the above. A recent submission worked wonderfully well and didn't deal with five of the things in the checklist.

Also, if you think about it, the same checklist should apply to the page where you introduce an antagonist.


Jacob sends the first chapter of The Freerunners

Please vote and comment. It helps the writer.

I’m trying a new poll approach. It occurred to me that asking if a narrative is “compelling” is a bit abstract. A sterner test is to ask if you would pay good money for to turn the page. With 50 chapters in a book that costs $15, each chapter would be “worth” 30 cents.

So that’s the question: would you pay that much to read the rest of the chapter? I won’t charge you, of course, but that’s the hurdle. Don't let genre/content affect your vote, decide on the basis of storytelling strength.

Please tell me in comments if you like/don't like this approach. Now for the first page:

It was the screaming next door that woke Caleb in the middle of the night. His eyes were wide open in an instant. The shriek was coming from barely metres away, its brutal pain seeping through the shabby walls around him. Caleb strained to sit upright; all the feeling in his arms and legs had disappeared. His heartbeat had erupted into a gallop, thumping like a caged animal beneath his chest. Any moment he expected someone to burst through the door and put him out of his misery.

That’s just the way things went in Groveville.

Then the scream turned to a sob, and Caleb could just make out a baby weeping. A man in the hallway was shouting in a foreign language, and much crashing and smashing could be heard. Swiftly the voice was cut off. Caleb was tempted to go out and see what was going on, but the action came to him first. He opened his door, gripping the handle very tight, and a bearded man named Rodriguez who lived across the hall was standing there to greet him.

Caleb raised his hands in defence, but there was something unnatural about the situation. Rodriguez made no attempt to move inside, and simply stood there with empty eyes and an awkward frown. Only when Caleb looked down did he see the end of a machete protruding through the man’s chest, blood seeping out in the dim light. Caleb stepped back, shock painted on his face, and Rodriguez toppled forward, face planting against the carpet. Caleb looked up, (snip)

If you could, would you pay 30 cents to read the rest of this chapter?

Well, talk about story questions! This opening did a fine job for this reader in provoking a need to know more about what the heck is going on here (even though there is a clarity issue to be resolved). I think the narrative could be crisper, too, but there are easy fixes. Notes:

It was the sScreaming next door that woke Caleb in the middle of the night. His eyes were wide open in an instant. The shriek was coming came from barely metres away, its brutal pain seeping through the shabby walls around him. Caleb strained to sit upright; all the feeling in his arms and legs had disappeared. His heartbeat had erupted into a gallop, thumping like a caged animal beneath his chest. Any moment he expected someone to burst through the door and put him out of his misery. Doesn’t seem like a shriek with brutal pain would “seep” through a wall. Wouldn’t it, for example, knife or stab through?

That’s just the way things went in Groveville.

Then the scream turned to a sob, and Caleb could just make out a baby weeping. A man in the hallway was shouting shouted in a foreign language, and much crashing and smashing could be heard. Swiftly the voice was cut off. Caleb was tempted to go out and see what was going on, but the action came to him first. He opened his door, gripping the handle very tight, and a bearded man named Rodriguez who lived across the hall was standing there to greet him. How can he be opening the door when his arms and legs have no feeling in them? Seems it would be really tough to walk and open a door.

Caleb raised his hands in defence, but there was something unnatural about the situation. Rodriguez made no attempt to move inside, and simply stood there with empty eyes and an awkward frown. Only when Caleb looked down did he see the end of a machete protruding through the man’s chest, blood seeping out in the dim light. Caleb stepped back, shock painted on his face, and Rodriguez toppled forward, face-planting against the carpet. Caleb looked up, (snip) Point of view slip in the “shock painted on his face” line—he can’t see what his face looks like if we’re in close third person POV.

Comments, please?

For what it’s worth.

Ray

Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Were I you, I'd examine my first page in the light of the first-page checklist before submitting to the Flogometer.

Flogging the Quill © 2015 Ray Rhamey, story © 2015 Jacob

 

Continued:

. . . his hands shaking. The masked killer in front of him yanked out the bloodied machete.

He stood before Caleb and cleaned his weapon of gore, not proud or ashamed of the murder just committed. He was simply doing his job, and the bearded man had gotten in the way. Now with the threat safely removed, he whispered to Caleb in a raspy voice, “The Growlers hunt tonight. You’d best get back to bed.” All Caleb could do was nod, and the Growler pulled the body outside before closing the door.

For a moment, confusion struck Caleb, but then he understood what had happened, and relief flooded his weary bones; he was going to be all right. The Growlers might be one of the harsher gangs in the city, but they were fair if you kept cool and minded your own business. The reprieve quickly turned cold and cruel though, the woman’s quavering voice next-door bringing him back to reality, “No! Take me instead!” There was a dull thud, and the plea was replaced with a monotonous moaning.

The baby’s crying picked up again, and now there was running in the hallway, the child’s sobbing moving further and further away until it was no more. Suddenly it was all very silent, the apartment residents contemplating what had happened: this wasn’t the first midnight abduction they had witnessed. That didn’t stop Caleb’s eyes from welling up though; he felt devastated for that poor woman.

The Growlers didn’t hunt for fun, only for profit in the form of manpower.

That meant the tearful woman next door would never see her child again. If she did, it would only be on the unfortunate end of a gun or knife.

That’s just the way things went in Groveville.

 

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20. Diving Headfirst Into the Query Trenches

Guys. Queries are hard. This is an undisputed fact of the agent-acquiring process. These days a lot of agents ask for the first 5-30 pages of your manuscript when you query, because it’s so much easier to tell if a story is good by reading, well, the actual story. But the query is the hook—the bait that gets the agent past that first page and into your story.

I read queries on the daily. A lot of them. As a literary assistant, it’s one of my many responsibilities. I need to be able to tell, just from that one page, if your book is something the agent and I will want to read. I need to see just how I would pitch it to an editor. And I need to see that you know your stuff. Have you done your research? Or did you scribble off a quick note and hit SEND ALL?

The queries that stand out are either very good, or very bad. But there are a lot of queries that get stuck in the middle—that strange wasteland of almost-there, but just not quite. Chances are, a lot of you are in that boat. Most of us, even those who have agents, have written blah query letters. And I know PubCrawlers are smart. You have done your research, much of it on this very website. I don’t need to tell you not to send attachments, or not to write your bio in the third person. I don’t need to tell you not to call your manuscript a future bestseller, the most unique piece of fiction ever written, a story that will apply to all of the audiences that ever existed!

So I’m not going to talk about the basics. You guys KNOW the basics. I’m going to talk about those little things that maybe don’t seem problematic at first glance. But fixing these can go a long way toward helping the viability of your query overall

1. Don’t start your letter with all the details about how you came to write this book.

Writing is exciting. How you came to be a writer is exciting. The fact that it’s your first, or second, or millionth novel ever is exciting. But they are most exciting to you—in a query, these things clog up your first paragraph and waste valuable space. Before he or she has ever met you or read your work, an agent doesn’t care how you got started writing. As much as it matters to you (and it does matter!), it’s best to leave it out. It will not change how he or she feels about your story.

2. Be careful creating “atmosphere” before launching into your hook.

It can feel gimmicky. Unless your setting is basically a character itself, it’s best to stay away from this method. For example:

Castle Pelimere is deep and dark, inhabited by angry spirits and on the verge of certain doom. For a hundred years it has stood, and now, thanks to the Everlasting Nothing that has circled its walls for centuries, it is all about to come crashing down.

Jody Brody is a teenage pickpocket with no other skills and no other prospects. When Castle Pelimere needs a hero, Jody steps up to the plate.

I know, I know—this is a very obvious example. But it serves the point—character is story, and when I’m scanning through queries, I’m more interested in Jody Brody the pickpocket than the plight of Castle Pelimere.

3. Don’t relate two unrelated ideas in your hook.

You would be shocked how often I see this. Shocked, I tell you. An example:

Marty Schmarty is not your typical jock—he’s been taking ballet since before he could walk, and he’s better than half the girls in his class. But when he’s offered a football scholarship to his dream school, he learns what it really means to be part of a team.

Again, another extreme example. But writing a good hook is a huge part of the battle when it comes to queries. A good hook can make me perk up and pay attention. In this case, the writer has written something that “sounds hooky” and “adds character”. It makes me pay attention—then has no pay-off. Marty’s a pro at ballet, and this is set up as a key quality—then is not mentioned again.

4. Be confident…to a point.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of the story you wrote. It takes a huge amount of confidence to query a book (we’re all writers here, we can admit this). But it’s not up to you to decide whether your writing is of the same caliber as authors you have emulated or been inspired by, or if it’s beautifully lyrical or powerful and gritty—that is for your readers, and that includes any agents you are querying, to decide.

5. Be wary of the false choice.

Technically, a false choice refers to a situation where two choices are given as the only possible option—even though more choices may be viable. In this case, I’m using to describe it as a situation given in a query, wherein a character has what appear to be two choices—but only one of those choices is actually viable. Still with me?

Okay, so you’ve laid out your hook, given a short synopsis, and now it’s time to present the dramatic question. Your character must do x or y. But when you present a false choice, it becomes clear right away which path your character will and must choose. At first glance, it isn’t always clear you’ve presented a false choice. For example:

Jake must choose between saving the woman he loves from the mob and escaping to the Bahamas, or turning himself in and confessing to his crimes, even if it means her death.

Maybe turning himself in might be the right thing to do, but unless this is a morality play, the choice here is not actually black and white. When questions like this are presented at the end of a query, I can’t help but roll my eyes—I know what Jake is going to do. He’s going to choose the Bahamas. And if he doesn’t, then you need to do a fantastic job of setting up the why within your query. Again, the above is extreme example, but I encourage you to take a look at the stakes in your own query and find out whether what you’ve presented is a real dilemma, or a false choice. I want the questions you present to make me go, “MUST READ AND FIND OUT THE ANSWER!”

So the gist of these suggestions comes out to: Make me want to read your book. Seriously, give me no other option. You wrote a whole book. You know how to put words together on a page—this is just a different kind of writing. One that forces you to think about how to condense what you’ve written, and lay it out in a way that is tight and enticing. I promise you—it is doable. It’s hard, it’s often confusing, and sometimes it can take multiple drafts to get right. But it can be done!

I hope this is useful, and I wish everyone who is currently writing their query, Good Luck!

by our very own Erin Bowman!

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21. The Girl in the Spider’s Web Joins iBooks Bestsellers List

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22. #IWSG


Wow! It's September 2nd! Where the heck did the summer go? Welcome to another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group...

The awesome co-hosts for the the September 2 posting of the IWSG will be Julie Flanders, Murees Dupé, Dolorah at Book Lover, Christine Rains, and Heather Gardner! Please take a gander at each of their wonderful blogs and show your support by leaving comments and of course the other participants links can be viewed at www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html.

This month I'd like to chat about nurturing yourself. With all the pressures of work, home, family, friends, etc., do you take the time out to nurture your body and soul? 


For the longest time I would put my needs last (like so many) and would take care of everyone else. And where did that get me! Absolutely nowhere, except absolutely exhausted, both mentally and physically. And when this happens I feel like a frazzled Bugs Bunny!


Over the course of the last several years, I'm proud to say I don't say "yes" to every request or need so fast. I typically count to ten silently and ponder quickly if saying "yes" would be in my best interest. I've become more of a 50/50 to others needs. Not that I don't love my "circle" ~ I feel it's important to see them fly on their own.

Make sure your priority is healthy eating, exercise and plenty of sleep. This way you nurture what inspires you... the choices are endless... writing, art, knitting, photography, etc. You name it the sky is the limit.

Like my Nana would always say, "happy mama and daddy, happy family!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

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A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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23. Six of one, half a dozen of the other

The line between adult literature and YA is definitely bendy and sometimes more a “smudge” than a “line” (and then there’s that whole New Adult thing — remember that?) Not only are there great numbers of books that have been published for one community of readers and then been adopted by the other, there are also books that straddle the border, publishing as one in the U.S., the other internationally. Like, what’s with that, Australia? (Okay, okay; there are some British/UK ones too.)

Some examples:

zusak_book thief australianzusak_book thief usThe Book Thief by Markus Zuzak was originally published as adult, in Australia, but then published as YA in the U.S. Author John Green writes in an NYT review that he suspects the ambitious and emotional novel was actually written with an an adult audience in mind. But regardless of teen or adult reader, Green feels it is “the kind of book that can be life-changing.”

Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels follows Liga’s journey as she escapes horrifying abuse and raises her daughters, Branza and Urdda, in a parallel world. It’s a lyrical, fantastical fairy-tale complete with romance, violence (some graphic), and love. The book won a Printz Honor in the U.S., although it was published as adult in Australia. It was then repackaged and sold as YA in Australia.

connolly_book of lost things usconnolly_book of lost things ukJohn Connolly writes books for children (The Gates and the other Samuel Johnson series books, for instance) and adults (including the Charlie Parker detective series — what’s with all the mystery/crime crossover authors?). But at least one of his books has been marketed to both: The Book of Lost Things was originally published for adults in Ireland, but was given a more kid-appealing cover makeover to accompany The Gates U.S. release.

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Boston Globe-Horn Book honoree Jaclyn Moriarty, is about the trials and tribulations of the somewhat-magical Zing family. The book is a sort-of revised version of Moriarty’s Aussie novel I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes, from a different point of view: “I rewrote Pancakes because my American editor was intrigued by the character of Listen Taylor…The result is a different story, and one that is aimed more at young adults…” According to Moriarty, many reviewers went out of their way to say it wasn’t a children’s book (though it was published in the U.S. by children’s publisher Scholastic). The Horn Book Magazine reviewed it. Then put it on our “Mind the Gap” list as: “Best adult book on a children’s list.”

There are also books that have switched affiliation from printing to printing here in the States: Neil Gaiman’s Stardust was originally published as adult but then repackaged as a teen read (The Graveyard Book went the other direction, from middle-grade to adult). Same story for Francisco Jimenez’s Boston Globe-Horn Book-winning memoir The Circuit; it was published by New Mexico Press for adult readers, but repackaged for children when Houghton Mifflin picked it up.

Any others to add to the list?

For more on crossovers, click here.

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24. हडताल

हडताल

देश भर में आज अलग अलग संगठनों द्वारा हडताल रखी गई. जिससे जन जीवन मे बेहद असुविधा हुई. वो अस्त व्यस्त दिखाई दिया. कही बैंक बंद रहे तो कही ओटो तो कही सडके बंद रही. कई जगह पर तो तनाव भी बहुत हो गया..  ऐसे माहौल में ये  महाशय अपनी मोटी श्रीमती जी को खाता देख कर उनके  पति को बोलना पड रहा है कि बेगम कभी कभी तुम भी भूख हडताल कर लिया करो …

हडताल

cartoon strike by monica gupta

 

 

Strike hits normal life; Bengal, Kerala among most affected – Navbharat Times

Trade unions’ nation-wide strike: Clash between auto rickshaw drivers in Delhi.
Trade unions’ nation-wide strike: Protesters block railway track in North 24 Parganas district (West Bengal).

Trade Unions’ nation-wide strike: Clash between TMC & CPIM workers in Murshidabad (West Bengal)
Trade Unions’ nation-wide strike: Clash between TMC & CPIM workers in Murshidabad (West Bengal) navbharattimes.indiatimes.com

The post हडताल appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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25. The Clone Army Attacketh

William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh. Ian Doescher. 2015. Quirk. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I did enjoy reading Ian Doescher's The Clone Army Attacketh. It was a pleasant-enough way to spend two evenings. I haven't enjoyed any of the adaptations nearly as much as the first book in the series--Verily, A New Hope. Perhaps because Verily A New Hope retains so many memorable lines, only slightly adjusted to come from the pen of Shakespeare. Perhaps because it was the first, the concept, the premise was so new, so novel. It was like trying a new dish for the first time and discovering that you love it. I have to confess that the second prequel movie is one of my FAVORITES. I adore this one for so many reasons. And I was hoping that the flavor of the original movie dialogue would shine through. I was a bit disappointed in that. Though probably Doescher's changes are for the better. Most of the changes focuses on Anakin and Padme, and their romance.

If you've enjoyed the previous books in the series, chances are you'll enjoy this one too.  

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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