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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Blogging, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 695
1. Blogging and Conversion – How to Get More Juice out of Your Efforts

I’m always reading marketing blogs and one of my favorites is HubSpot.com. In a recent post on ‘squeezing more conversions out of our blog,’ the author offered some interesting tips on doing this – four tips actually. 4 Blog Conversion Tips 1. Get a “subscriber banner” up on your website. I really like this idea because it’s immediately visible, front and center when someone lands on your

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2. Content Marketing – 5 Must Read Articles and Resources

 Every day, I read such informative articles on content marketing - articles that help me in my marketing, and articles that offer great resources for blogging, writing, email marketing, social media marketing, and more. ~~~~~ Today, I have 5 content marketing reads that are sure to help you move forward. 101 Writing Resources That Will Take You From Stuck to Unstoppable 14 Must-Have Free

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3. 3 Ways to Save Your Backstory from the Cutting Room Floor

BY SHENNANDOAH DIAZ

Backstory is crucial to the novel writing process. It gives your character substance and drive while adding depth, history and realism to your fiction.  It takes a great deal of hard work to develop your character’s backstory. Unfortunately for the sake of the novel, much of that hard work ends up on the cutting room floor.

That doesn’t mean all that hard work has gone to waste. There are many ways for you to repurpose those backstories into moneymaking and author platform building opportunities.


shannandoah diaz

Shennandoah Diaz is a writer and freelance Branding and Communications expert based out of Austin, Texas. Diaz works with independent publishers, small businesses, experts, and authors to build killer brands and engaging content. Passionate about education, Diaz teaches workshops for the Writer’s League of Texas and other professional organizations that empower writers to take charge of their brand and their writing career. Learn more by visiting shennandoahdiaz.com or follow her on Twitter (@shennandoahdiaz). 


1. Short Stories for Submission

Often our character backstory is centered on a core event that changes the character’s life in a big way. That dramatic event is a great point of focus for a short story. Short stories can range from flash fiction as short as six words to works as long as 5,00020,000 words. There are dozens of contests and outlets, both paying and non-paying, that publish short stories on a continual basis. Some outlets that post these opportunities include Duotrope, local writing groups, area universities, and of course there are several competitions throughout the year hosted by Writer’s Digest. Duotrope also allows you to create an account to track submissions so you know what you sent, where, and when.

Each published piece is more than just a feather in your cap. It helps you prove your characters’ appeal and story premise in a paying market, demonstrates that you are a writer who can deliver, and helps you start getting paid for the work you’re already doing.

 

2. Website Freebies

It is crucial for an author to invest in building his or her platform on an ongoing basis. Digital media requires regular content to attract attention and followers. Backstories packaged as short stories, blog posts and vignettes make great content for author websites and fans. You can wait until after you’ve tried publishing through a paying outlet, or go ahead and offer it as a free download on your website as a way to attract readers and thank your existing fans.

Just remember to edit carefully, and if possible, get a second pair of eyes on your work before you post it for the world to see. There are many freelance editors available who can provide a professional critique of your work for a nominal fee. The expense is worth it when it comes to your website and author platform development. You want to make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward, and don’t want to get caught posting a story that doesn’t flow or that contains improper grammar.

The nonfiction research you did for your story is also great to share. The nonfiction or “truth” side to every story is a major contributor to creating interest for your book. Did you research vintage balloons for your story? Write a blog post about it. Did you visit an old ghost town for the setting of your novel? Share the pictures you took.  Maps, historical information, how-tos, diagrams and other informative pieces bring life and context to your work. Most of all, they draw in readers. Share your research as blog posts, downloads, and images. You’ll be surprised how many people you reach that might not have connected with you otherwise.

 

3. Multimedia

Stories are told through many media, not just the written word. Video, music, photography, and other art forms are also great ways to convey and share your character’s backstory. Pair up with a local aspiring film director to turn your backstory into a screenplay for a short filmt, or take a cue from Scott Sigler and post the screenplay as a competition for your followers. You can even take it a step further and use your backstories for a series of podcasts to drum up interest in your work.

If you have a pile of nonfiction research on a historic place, profession, or some other aspect of your story, you can turn those into interesting how-to videos and informative podcasts. Many fiction authors have become subject matter experts on things like espionage and dead presidents by employing practices such as these. There are several inexpensive tools available.

Camtasia is great for doing professional looking videos that capture images and presentations on your computer screen. The interface is very simple and easy to use, and there are dozens of tutorials available to get you started. Animoto is great for making mini-videos using photos and stock clips, and requires little to no technical expertise. Their existing storehouse of images and music make it easy to create and share book trailers and mini informative videos in a matter of minutes.

Podcasts have become increasingly popular due to iTunes and online media such as BlogTalk Radio. There are several Podcast tools that let you record right from your computer. You can offer podcasts directly on your website or use mass distributors like iTunes and BlogTalk Radio to reach a wider audience based on topics of interests.

 

Really there are no limits as to how you can repackage your stories and research. You already did the work. Now it’s time to make it work for you.

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4. Summer Time

The best part of summer is having time. Time for reading, time for vacation, time for kayaking, time for baking, time for redesigning the website. I’ve been doing all of these things. You’ll see the website redesign soon, but I have to say, my family is definitely more appreciative of the baked treats I’ve been […]

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5. KidLitCon Update!

2014KidLitConLogoThe 8th Annual Kidlitosphere Conference is rapidly approaching. KidLitCon is an annual gathering of children's and young adult book bloggers. It is incredibly fun, educational, and rewarding. This year, KidLitCon will be held in Sacramento, CA, at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, on October 10th and 11th. The theme is Blogging Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Lit: What’s Next? As one of the organizers of this year's conference, I wanted to give you all a quick update of what's been going on with the KidLitCon planning. 

My friend and KidLitCon14 co-chair (with Sarah Stevenson), Tanita Davis from Finding Wonderland, has an excellent new post up at the Kidlitosphere Central blog: What Do We Mean When We Talk About "Diversity" and How Can YOU Contribute to the Conversation? 

Tanita discusses the general buzz around diversity these days, and acknowledges that it can be difficult to even define what we mean by seeking more diversity in books and blogging. There are, after all, many types of diversity. She makes a few suggestions for both diversity-themed and more general session topics that might be submitted for KidLitCon. She concludes:

"We blog, because blogging gives us a voice. We blog about diversity, because we’ve all got different voices. Use yours.Sign up to join a panel or a session or to pitch an idea for this year’s KidLitCon. You can be a part of a game-changing conversation."

So how about it? Do you, in all your uniqueness, have something to contribute to this year's Kidlitosphere Conference? Session proposals will be accepted for one more week, through August 1st. Program Coordinator Charlotte Taylor from Charlotte's Library is standing by for your submissions. If you have an idea but wish to discuss it more informally, you can always email her

We also shared a post recently by this year's Author Coordinators, Melissa Fox from Book Nut and Reshama Deshmukh from Stacking Books, about ways that authors and publishers can get more involved with KidLitCon. Here is their enthusiastic conclusion:

"KidLitCon does have the best of everything: Good books, good conversation and amazing KidLit bloggers under one roof!! We hope you can join us and we look forward to seeing you there!"

Even if you aren't interested in making a presentation, or being actively involved as an author or publisher, you are still more than welcome and encouraged to come to KidLitCon and observe (or participate from the audience). We're expecting librarians, authors, teachers, parents, booksellers, publishers, and readers. Registration Coordinator Maureen Kearney from Confessions of a BIbliovore is ready to accept your KidLitCon14 registration form at any time. Registration closes September 19th.

 

I've submitted my registration form, and can't wait for KidLitCon. October. Sacramento, CA. Kindred spirits talking about ways to get books into people's hands. Don't miss it!

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.  

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6. Lovely and Inspiring

The kind Sarrah has awarded me a One Lovely Blog Award and the marvelous Litlove has named me a Very Inspiring Blogger. I feel so loved!

Conveniently, both these recognitions come with similar results: I am supposed to say thanks — thanks! — share seven facts about myself, and nominate fifteen other blogs. The more these recognitions go around the more difficult it is to share the love all around, but I will try.

So here are seven things:

  1. How I have answered the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” at various times in my life: ballerina, teacher for the deaf and blind (Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan were my heroes), horse racing jockey, forest ranger, computer scientist, zookeeper, field biologist for National Geographic, actress, large animal/exotic animal veterinarian, high school biology teacher, high school English teacher, professor of literature, independently wealthy, I have no idea, human maybe, librarian, grow up? When will that be exactly?
  2. I am very ticklish, especially my feet. I am so ticklish that when I was a kid all my dad had to do was pretend he was going to tickle me and I would collapse on the floor in a hysterical fit of laughter.
  3. Speaking of feet, I hate shoes. I have a high arch and a wide foot and have a difficult time finding shoes that fit well. I would prefer to go barefoot all of the time. Or wear thick socks if it is cold. I wish my employer would find bedroom slippers acceptable footwear.
  4. I am very likely doomed to never being able to speak a language other than English. I have tried Spanish, German, French, Spanish again, German again, Spanish again. I’ve gotten furthest with Spanish. But even if I should ever make it to close to fluent, I will always have a terrible accent. No matter how hard I try I am always told my accent is terrible. Seems like the only accent I am good at is a Minnesota one.
  5. When I was a pre-teen I used to sometimes wait for my mom to leave me alone at home (parents used to leave their kids home alone and see what sort of trouble they’d get into?) and I would raid her under-the-bed stash of Harlequin romances looking for the “dirty bits,” which in those days weren’t very dirty at all but involved lots of heaving bosoms, passionate kisses, and burly men tossing women over their shoulders. When I read Judy Blume’s YA book Forever, it was more explicit and shocking than my mom’s romances and I never felt the need to raid the Harlequin box again.
  6. I also loved reading fantasy and science fiction and still do. I was more interested in magic and dragons, aliens and space exploration than trying to figure out what was dirty about the dirty bits in my mom’s romances. I mostly wanted to know details so as not to embarrassed by my ignorance at school. It was so much more interesting imagining myself killing orcs and overcoming evil or figuring out the complexities of space travel and trying to communicate with aliens than it was imagining myself being tossed over a burly man’s shoulder for a night of passion on his pirate ship. In fact, if I ever imagined being thrown over a burly man’s shoulder I probably ran him through with my awesome elven sword before he could even lay a hand on me.
  7. After ten years of blogging it is really hard to come up with seven remotely interesting things about myself.

And the fifteen, trying to not duplicate the other lists in no particular order:

  • Bookgirl’s Nightstand. Iliana not only reads a lot but she also makes books and is creatively talented. Also she loves washi tape and gifted me with some extra she had for which I will be forever grateful.
  • Bookpuddle. Cipriano is a Jose Saramago fan which proves he has great taste. He also loves cats, has a fabulous plant named Robert Plant, has a coffee addiction of which I approve and a hamburger addiction which I forgive him for.
  • Magnificent Octopus. Isabella loves smart science fiction and she has added to my TBR list without mercy. She also likes to read NYRBs classics and, I don’t think she knows this, is responsible to getting me hooked on Doctor Who.
  • Marks in the Margin. Richard is always thoughtful and very kind. He likes novels and movies that make him think. He loves Florence, Italy and is a world class surfer who spends his winters in Hawaii.
  • Whispering Gums has been giving me an education in Australian literature for a number of years now, adding books to my TBR list and making me curse US publishing for not printing more books from Australia. She also is a former librarian, travels a lot, and regularly attends live music/dance/drama performances then writes about them so beautifully she makes me think perhaps I should move to Australia someday.
  • Wuthering Expectations. Tom is always thoughtful and interesting, frequently funny, and often challenging. He got me to read Sartor Resartus and Edmund Burke on the sublime. An intrepid reader, he frequently ventures into books no one else would even consider in order to find forgotten and neglected gems.
  • BookerTalk. Booker winners and classics and more. I’m always interested to see what she is reading and learn her thoughts on it. Plus, I get to live vicariously through her when she goes to the Hay Literary Festival.
  • Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices. Funny, always kind, and a fellow lover of poetry, Cirtnecce is always a pleasant stop on my blog visiting rounds.
  • Indextrious Reader. Melwyk is a Canadian librarian who loves reading books of letters and other postal related books even more than I do. She also has an awesome eye for finding dress patterns that match the dress on the book cover. One of these days I am going to succumb and actually sew one of them for myself.
  • Things Mean A Lot. Ana is one smart cookie. She also likes fantasy and scfi. And she never fails to call a spade a spade. I love her perceptiveness and honesty.
  • Time’s Flow Stemmed. Anthony is a thoughtful fellow who loves many of the same authors I do and some I have never heard of, which also makes him a dangerous influence on my TBR pile.
  • Stainless Steel Droppings. Carl is one of the biggest SFF geeks around. He regularly forces me to add books to my TBR pile. Or to my husband’s TBR pile. Plus, he is the ever gracious host of the annual R.I.P. Challenge during which I get my fill of melodramatic gothic literature and creepy but not genuinely scary because it will give me nightmares reading.
  • Pining for the West. An avid reader and just as avid gardener in Scotland, visiting her blog never fails to be enjoyable. Plus she regularly provides lessons on Scottish words so should I ever visit Scotland I just might be able to understand what they are saying.
  • Biblioglobal. She’s trying to read a book from every country in the world and regularly expands my reading horizons. Hers is a project I cannot help but admire.
  • A Garden Carried in the Pocket. Jenclair is an eclectic reader, talented crafter and quilter, and also a gardener. She feels no shame about adding to my TBR list and her works of art never fail to earn my admiration.

If any of the named bloggers choose to play along, I give them the option of choosing their award, the Lovely Blog or Inspiring Blogger, though all of them deserve both!


Filed under: Blogging

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7. Widen Your Circle: Join us for KidLitCon 2014

One of the best ways to deepen our commitment to children's and young adult books is by meeting other people who share that passion. And I don't mean just virtually; I mean in real life, too. Well, here's our chance: the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Conference, aka KidLitCon, October 10-11, at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento, California. This is a gathering of people who care about children’s and young adult books, including librarians, authors, teachers, parents, booksellers, publishers, and readers.


Social Media, Blogging, and Diversity in Young Adult and Children’s Literature

How might we use our blogs and social media platforms to widen the world of children’s and young adult literature? I'll be there, speaking about how we can change and affect the conversation about diversity, both in the industry and in the wider culture. Author Shannon Hale is going to speak also, via Skype.

Mark October 10th and 11th on your calendar—we'd love to see you there. And consider submitting a proposal by August 1st about how you might contribute to the conversation on children’s and young adult books. Or just register by September 19th.

Conference Organizers

Tanita Davis and Sarah StevensonFinding Wonderland
Jen RobinsonJen Robinson’s Book Page

Please help by spreading the word. Be a fan on Facebook and Follow KidLitCon on Twitter.

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8. The Registration Form for KidLitCon14 is Now Live!

KidlitCon2014_cubeIt's here! Time to register for the 2014 Kidlitosphere Conference, otherwise known as KidLitCon14. You can find the registration form at the Kidlitosphere Central website. Registration will be open until September 19th, but there is no need to delay. 

Many thanks to this year’s Registration Coordinator, Maureen Kearney from Confessions of a Bibliovore for creating the registration form, and managing the registration process. 

If you blog about children's and/or young adult books, or you write children's or young adult books, or you just care about getting the right books into the hands of kids, KidLitCon is the place for you. KidLitCon is a small conference, not at all intimidating, and a perfect place to meet (or catch up with) friends who share a common interest. This year's KidLitCon is in Sacramento, California on October 10th and 11th. You can find more information about KidLitCon here. There's also still plenty of time to submit a session proposal. Contact program coordinator Charlotte Taylor from Charlotte's Library if you have questions. 

KidLitCon 2014. Sacramento, CA. October 10-11. It's going to be an amazing time! I hope to see you all there. Register now!

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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9. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

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10. How Did We Get Here?

If, by the title, you are expecting to read a philosophical debate about the origin of man, you have come to the wrong place, my friend. Portsong isn’t that deep and neither am I. Being somewhat near the ocean, one cannot dig in our fair town without hitting marshy, useless saltwater. Likewise, if you dig into me, all you get is blank stares, a shrug of the shoulders, and an incoherent grunt or two.

I do like blogging, though. It’s freeform nature resonates with me. If someone stood over me and gave me specifics (AKA – school), my pen would quickly run dry. With my blog, I can do whatever I darn well please. Sometimes what I write strikes a chord with people and sometimes a piece stands on an island of loneliness – a masterpiece waiting to be read and appreciated (or not).

I don’t obsess with stats, but I have my favorite thing to check. I like seeing where people come from in the world and how they got here. Many times, the only listing is “unknown search terms”. But every once in a glorious while, I get to see what people Googled to get here… and I laugh at them.

It’s all in the title.

ob·fus·cate [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt] verb (used with object)

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

 

Everything in red is exactly as typed (misspellings and all)3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

Take for instance some poor kid doing a report on the civil war. He typed: colonel and from yhe south and got to a post about Colonel Birdwhistle from my books.

One kid wanted to know if andrew jackson electable today and found out that I think Andrew Jackson was a presidential man’s man.

Women still Google Tom Selleck:                did tom selleck have curly hair & are there a lot of women who don’t like tom selleck?   I wonder what they thought about:  Tom Selleck owes me an Apology.

Here are some other funnies:

you like a pirate                     He’s a Pirate 

thou shalt now curse          Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

what dogs get fined when they get runned over              A story of my dog, Winston

leggings via brazil            Prospector Dances & Brazilians in Leggings

stuff under sink at hospital         Hospital 101 for the Incurably Immature

what is irony ice cream     Irony & Ice Cream

I find this one alarming: touching sleeping teen. If their intent was bad, I hope Don’t Poke a Sleeping Teen pacified them.

I have no idea where this person went: meat loaf progeny

By far, my two favorite were these:

This is one search, so I don’t know why the phrases were paired together:

“job physical” “prostate exam”   Either way, I’m sure he enjoyed Shaking Hands with your Urologist

And the chef d’oeuvre! A real gem! The Magnum Opus!

Yes someone got to my blog by typing:

youfart  

Although he hasn’t found the space bar, I feel like Can You Fart at Cotillion was written just for him.

 

 

Subterfuge? Prestidigitation?

I don’t know, I just like coming up witty titles.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Michael Keen

 

 

 


Filed under: It Made Me Laugh

5 Comments on How Did We Get Here?, last added: 7/15/2014
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11. At Nerdy Book Club: The 8th Annual KidLitCon

Member of the Nerdy Book ClubI'm proud to say that I have a post up today at one of my very favorite blogs, The Nerdy Book Club. I talk about the 8th annual KidLitCon, and how for me this conference on children's book blogging is really all about spending time with kindred spirits. For anyone curious, I also provide a bit of background about how KidLitCon came to be. Here's a snippet from the post:

"Attendees share a love of children’s books, as well as a determination to get the right books into young readers’ hands. I have attended six of the seven so far, and I have enjoyed them all. I find it rejuvenating to spend time, face-to-face, with kindred spirits. I try very hard not to miss this annual chance to see people who started out as online friends, but who have become, like the Velveteen Rabbit, real."

If you are not already following the Nerdy Book Club (which you should be!), I do hope that you'll take a minute to pop over and read the full post. I've read and shared countless Nerdy posts over the past couple of years, and it was an honor for me to have a chance to post there myself, particularly about something as near and dear to my heart as KidLitCon.

KidLitCon 2014. Sacramento, CA. October 10-11. I hope to see you all there! The call for session proposals is here, and the registration form will be available very soon. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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12. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: July 11

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include authors, awards, book lists, diversity, growing bookworms, kidlitcon, blogging, ebooks, teaching, and summer reading.

Authors and Books

The Rise Of Young Adult Authors On The Celebrity 100 List by @natrobe @forbes http://ow.ly/yVSB6 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Nice tidbits about author James Marshall, “Wicked Angel”, on the Wild Things blog http://ow.ly/yXQ4M @SevenImp @FuseEight

Thank You, @NerdyBookClub says @StudioJJK on dedication of new anthology w/ @jenni @mattholm + others http://ow.ly/yVA3v

Read J.K. Rowling's new short story about grown-up Harry Potter + friends @today http://ow.ly/yVyWK via @bkshelvesofdoom

Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline Celebrates a Milestone (happy 75th!) @NYTimes http://ow.ly/yVSGt  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Author Interview: Five questions for @varianjohnson from @HornBook http://ow.ly/yYlDd 

Book Lists and Awards

2014 South Asia Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature via @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/yIP71

Loved Ed DeCaria's answer to What are the best poems for kids? on Quora. He recommends the #Cybils lists http://ow.ly/yVSnQ @edecaria

Get On Board: SLJ Selects A Bevy of Board Books | @sljournal #kidlit http://ow.ly/yVxfQ

Top Ten Schneider Award Favorites of the 2014 Schneider Award Jury by Peg Glisson @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yS3cf #kidlit

A Top Ten List: Book that Heal by @MsLReads @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yOoR3 #kidlit #yalit

Read Me a Bedtime Story, recommended bedtime books from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/yRWgb #kidlit

A Tuesday Ten: Diverse Stories in Speculative Fiction | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/yN8qy #Diversity

UK Booktrust Best Book Awards announced, @tashrow has the list http://ow.ly/yKP72

3 family-tested read-aloud chapter books @SunlitPages | Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic, Runaway Ralph, Ramona the Pest http://ow.ly/yKQvF

Great selections! 18 Picture Books Guaranteed To Make You Laugh Out Loud Or At Least Smile @Loveofxena @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/z0xjS 

Diversity

How to Build a Bestseller with Non-White Characters | @chavelaque @sljournal on @varianjohnson + #diveristy http://ow.ly/yKNXn

Sure #WeNeedDiverseBooks but don’t forget #WeNeedMoreWalterDeanMyerses too, suggests @fuseeight http://ow.ly/yKRID

"diversity in fiction is about presenting the world through different viewpoints" Tanita Davis quotes @diversityinya http://ow.ly/yXRq9

Diversity Movement Gains Visibility at ALA Annual, wirtes Wendy Stephens | @sljournal #WeNeedDiverseBooks http://ow.ly/yVx2Z

Growing Bookworms

What do I get if I read this? A call against the use of external prizes in reading programs for kids from @HornBook http://ow.ly/yVxTr

Shanahan on #Literacy: Teaching My Daughters to Read: Part 2, Print Awareness (point at the words at least sometimes) http://ow.ly/yS0uv

How to Read Stories to a Very Active Child, tips from @Booksforchildrn http://ow.ly/yN8KO

Born Reading: An Interview with Jason Boog — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/z0y0Z  #GrowingBookworms #literacy

I liked this post on The #Literacy Benefits of Family Dinners @growingbbb | Some excellent points http://ow.ly/z0wQm 

Kidlitosphere

KidlitCon2014_cube#KidLitCon14 in Sacramento, California, why @semicolonblog wants to hitch a ride i your suitcase to go http://ow.ly/yN8uT

#KidLitCon14 Update: Call for Session Proposals is Up! reports @aquafortis (co-organizer) http://ow.ly/yKPbP

#KidlitCon14 | Call for Session Proposals @book_nut http://ow.ly/yKJPN | Blogging #diversity in YA and children's lit

Wild Things!: Website and Book Launch from @SevenImp + @FuseEight | #kidlit fans will want to check this out! http://ow.ly/yRV91

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

Why digital vs. print reading should not be an either/or conversation, by @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/yS3Zo #eBooks

Insights from @catagator at Stacked: The Three C's of the Changing Book Blogging World, credits, comments, + crit http://ow.ly/yRYJa

Stacked: Reader Advocacy, Speaking Up + Ducking Out: On @catagator Quitting 2015 Printz committee. Go Kelly, I say! http://ow.ly/yKSXG

Schools and Libraries

Why Should Educators Blog? | @ReadByExample shares several reasons: http://ow.ly/yXQom

Should We Be Quantifying Our Students’ Reading Abilities? asks @ReadByExample @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/yKRlX

Too Soon for Technology?: The latest on digital use by preschoolers | @sljournal http://ow.ly/yVwRi #libraries

Summer Reading

Better than the title suggests: How to Trick Your Kids Into Reading All Summer Long @TheAtlantic via @librareanne http://ow.ly/yXOCj

Some experiences w/ #SummerReading programs from @SunlitPages + request for feedback from blog readers http://ow.ly/yVARq

Raising Summer Readers Tip #12: Schedule a few social gatherings that celebrate books and #SummerReading | @aliposner http://ow.ly/yKS38

This one very important! #SummerReading Tip #13: Read aloud to your kids, even if they are great readers! @aliposner http://ow.ly/yN8fr

Raising Summer Readers Tip #14: Remember to make reading aloud interactive! | @aliposner #SummerReading http://ow.ly/yOoM1

This sounds like fun! Tip #15 from @aliposner | Pair books with movies to add some fun into #SummerReading | http://ow.ly/yRXGU

#SummerReading Tip #16 @aliposner : TALK about your plans for reading while on vacation BEFORE your travel begins http://ow.ly/yRY0a

#SummerReading Tip #17 from @aliposner | Raise kids who view packing books as a traveling necessity http://ow.ly/yVAxa

#SummerReading Tip#18 @aliposner | For reluctant vacation readers, wrap a book to read aloud for each day of vacation http://ow.ly/yXPKy 

#SummerReading Tip #19 @aliposner | When en route to your vacation destination, take advantage of captive audience! http://ow.ly/z0yzc 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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13. Mormon women “bloggers”: a long tradition

By Paula Kelly Harline


Mormon bloggers have been in the news lately, with two bloggers recently being excommunicated from the church. It was Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly’s call-to-action writings, meant to recruit Mormon women to her cause, that recently led to her excommunication from the Mormon Church.

If Kelly is an example, Mormon women are no wimps. Because the Church is staffed by lay members, Mormon women routinely run entire Church organizations numbering up to 200 people; they make up one-third of the current missionary population; they believe in education; and they have a long tradition of writing—both in public and in private—from pioneer beginnings up to the current “Bloggernacle.” Here are some examples of this tradition.

(1)   Between 1872 and 1914, Mormon women published their own periodical called the Woman’s Exponent that early on went to several thousand women throughout the United States and Great Britain and prompted exchanges with other women’s journals. In its early years, a number of writers argued for polygamy. Exponent editor and polygamous wife Emmeline Wells condemned the false notion of the pedestal, and argued in favor of equal pay for equal work and equality in athletic programs.

Copy of Woman's Exponent

The September 15, 1880 issue of the Woman’s Exponent. (Volume 9, Number 8.) Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

(2)   More intimately, many nineteenth-century women kept diaries and wrote autobiographies, including some obscure polygamous wives. In the 29 I’ve studied closely, these writers held their heart and faith in one hand, and their guts and hesitations in the other. They explore the chasm between romantic love and triangular love, between resistance to other wives and friendship with them, and between religious belief and lived experience. This tradition of keeping personal writings continues today—for example, my 80-year-old mother has written about 12 journals during her lifetime and is working on her autobiography.

(3)   Between 1914 and 1970, the Church’s women’s organization published The Relief Society Magazine to unite and educate women and provide ordinary women with an outlet for their writing, including stories, poems, and plays. Although less polemical than Woman’s Exponent, the Magazine was edited by women, for women, and had a wide readership.

Relief Society Magazine

First page of the January 1917 issue of Relief Society Magazine. Pubic Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

(4)   After The Relief Society Magazine was merged with a new church publication for both male and female readers called Ensign, in 1974, a group of northeastern Mormon feminists started the independent Exponent II, which they describe as “a newspaper forum for Mormon women to share their life experiences in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance,” an “exchange” that allows them to “better understand each other” and “shape the direction” of their lives. Exponent II celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and since 2005, they’ve added a blog.

(5)   The “Bloggernacle,” a nickname for the Mormon blogosphere (a port-manteau of ‘blogger’ and ‘tabernacle’ where Mormons worship on special occasions), is so vast that bloggers are currently organized by Mormon Archipelago into big and small islands and isles of the sea—and among them, one can find the orthodox and the heterodox and everything in between. Here are links to a few popular women bloggers:

  • Jana Riess, an acquisitions editor in the publishing industry, blogs on religion, history, popular culture, ethics, and biblical studies;
  • Neylan McBaine, a brand strategist who works for Bonneville Communications, best known for its work on Mormon.org and I’m a Mormon campaign, blogs as “a marketer, writer and mother” who grew up in New York City;
  • Californian Joanna Brooks’ Ask Mormon Girl focuses on “the ins-and-outs and ups-and-downs of living the ‘it’s complicated’ version of faith”;
  • Kristine Haglund, editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, blogs on By Common Consent and recently wrote about the history of excommunication as a guest blogger;
  • Kathryn Skaggs blogs about traditional marriage and current events at A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman;
  • Mormon Church historian Ardis E. Parshall’s ready access to archival materials underpins her mostly humorous posts on LDS history and culture, along with fiction, jokes, and art from past church magazines, found at Keepapitchinin.

(6)   Which brings us back to Kate Kelly, currently the most notorious Mormon woman blogger. In contrast to websites such as Feminist Mormon Housewives that embrace anger (“angry activists with babies to feed”), Kelly’s Ordain Women perhaps attempts to mimic official church publications with its non-threatening word choice and colorful high-quality photographs of church-going Mormons that are similar to church magazine Ensign photos. Her website frequently cites scriptures and male and female Church leaders, concluding that “The fundamental tenets of Mormonism support gender equality.” Her means to reach this goal? She invites Mormons to “coalesce around the goal of women’s ordination” by participating in “public actions”—Mormon versions of civil disobedience such as marching on Temple Square with the goal of attempting to enter all-male meetings. Most recently, her website encourages  Mormon women to host six “discussions” on topics related to women’s ordination. To get started, followers are provided with a downloadable invitation, get advice about who/how to invite, and can watch the “live launch.” The six discussions come with detailed lesson plans and six accompanying sample video discussions that are each at least an hour long.

In the excommunication letter Kelly received from her bishop, he explains to her that it’s not a problem to question or “even that you believe that women should have the priesthood,” but that she “persisted” in an “aggressive effort” to “persuade” others “to join [her] movement,” one he believes undermines the church. Subsequently, the Bloggernacle is straining under the weight of its innumerable bloggers discussing where the Virginia bishop should have drawn the line, or whether he should have drawn it at all.

And so the tradition continues, if in new and much faster, and thus much more public, media.

Paula Kelly Harline has been teaching college writing for over 20 years for the University of Idaho, Brigham Young University, and Utah Valley University. She has also worked as a freelance writer and artist. She currently lives with her husband, Craig, in Provo, Utah, and is the author of The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women.

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14. 4 reasons you really mustn’t blog

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

When my cat asked if he could start a blog, I knew it was time to draw the line. Does everybody (and their pet) need a blog? Heck no. And I’ll give you four reasons why . . .

“Everybody’s got a blog.” Uh, no. No, they do not. Not everyone was born to blog. You do not need to add blogging to the long list of things you already feel you should be doing. It’s not as if your mother is harping about how she wants to hear the pitter patter of little blogs before she dies. (But if she is, well, that’s just weird enough to be blog-worthy.)

You’re pointless. It’s my opinion, a blog needs a point of view or theme to give it personality and focus. Don’t have anything you need to say in a blog format? Skip it until you do. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself inventing reasons to post (like the poor sap who has to scrounge for reasons to create yet another inane episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians). Without a perspective, your blog will feel like a chore and sound like a bore-ing thing. Rats. I was going for a rhyme there and it fizzled. Let’s move on.

Blogging = Vulnerability Now, this isn’t true for all bloggers. I have friends with practical blogs brimming with useful publishing info and writing tools or reviews. (Check out Literary Rambles as an example.) Fabulous! And because of their chosen theme, there’s no need to get personal. It’s all outward focused. But choosing to blog about your own struggles or insecurities (like the times I blogged about jealousy or rejection), means being willing to expose yourself to your readers. That’s scary. If you’re a very private person, those kinds of posts probably aren’t for you.

And there’s another way blogging makes you vulnerable–what if you post and nobody cares? Seriously. What if you pour your heart out or offer a cubic ton of carefully researched info and all you hear is a single cricket chirping (and you’re pretty sure you saw him yawn.) This is not good. This is what we define as a painful experience. You will not like it.

Blogs are time gobblers. I said earlier that blogs aren’t like babies, but they do demand your time and attention. Typically, you’ll need to post at least once every week or so (and sure, “or so” is up to your interpretation and timetable, but you’ll want to be consistent). If you’re already stretched and struggling to find writing time, adding yet another line item to your to do list, isn’t a stellar idea. Personally, I find blogging energizes my writing and gives me a place to share things I wouldn’t have otherwise. But then, that’s me, and I’m an odd duck. So, keep that in mind.

If you’ve visited Frog on a Dime before, you know my intention is to encourage and inspire my fellow writers, so it might seem odd for me to be discouraging you from blogging. It’s just that I want you to think things through and not put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Blogging is not a divine calling or a right of passage; it’s a way to communicate and use words like “mustn’t” just because you want to.

If you’re thinking of starting a blog, but have some questions, message me via my contact page. I’m not an expert, but I’m glad to share my thimbleful of knowledge with you. And if I don’t know the answer, I’m sure my cat will be more than happy to chime in.

Quick decisions are unsafe decisions. ~ Sophocles


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15. Two Writing Teachers Summer Vacation

The six of us will be recharging our batteries, planning and brainstorming, coming up with even more great ideas to share with our lovely community of teachers and writers. But don't worry, we've got lots to keep you going in the meantime!

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16. The books that shaped me

I’m always fascinated hearing about the childhood books that influenced other writers. Last month, the very awesome Will Kostakis looked at the reading that shaped him as an author, which, not surprisingly, had quite few entries that would make my list too (The Hobbit! Fight Club!) There are plenty of books that I’ve fallen in love with as an adult, and quite a few that I’ve loved so much that I’ve had to re-read them, some more than once. But I’m not sure that these books have had quite the same impact and influence as the books I read and loved as a kid. So, following Will’s list, here is the history of me, as a reader, in a very condensed nutshell:

Enid Blyton2

Like Will, my earliest reading memories are all Enid Blyton. The Magic Faraway Tree was definitely a favourite, but The Naughtiest Girl and The Wishing Chair series’ were also right on top of my list. These are books where I would come to the last page, and then turn back and start reading right from the beginning again, sometimes without a break in between, because I just couldn’t stand being away from that world. Oh, and the food – I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS! No writer has ever managed to make a picnic with ginger beer and jam sandwiches and handfuls of radishes sound quite as appealing as Enid Blyton.

Roald Dahl2

I’m not sure if I was unusual, but I never really enjoyed being read to as a kid; mostly, I think, because I liked being in my own head with my books. But I did have one primary school teacher who was the master of the spellbinding reading, and the best part of the day quickly became story time before the final bell. He is directly responsible for my discovery of all things Roald Dahl. While The BFG became a go-to happy book, Danny the Champion of the World was a stand-out for me. I haven’t read it in years, but I still remember the pheasants, and the hot coco, and the warm and fuzzies in the relationship between Danny and his dad.


[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog - you can read the rest of this post here]


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17. Pretty shiny things: creating a book cover

Like all proper book nerds, I have a stash of books on my shelf that I’ve bought but haven’t got around to reading. No matter how many times I’ve told myself that there will be no new additions until the spine on ever last unread book has been cracked, the lure of shiny new books, with beautiful covers, is just too tempting. Who hasn’t picked a book up in a bookstore or library just because it has a stand-out cover? Something that catches your eye amid a sea of other rectangular paper objects, that you must have in your hand right now because OMG – THE COVER!

Ever wondered how a book cover comes into being? Who decides what a book will look like? This might surprise you, but usually, it’s not the author. Publishing houses have teams of very clever people who’s job it is to give your naked book the perfect outfit; to take all your words and package them in something that’s going to make it jump off the shelf screaming YOU MUST PICK ME UP AND READ ME!

Generally, this is what happens:

At some stage during the editing process – sometimes very early on – the very clever publishing team will have a chat about the direction that they think the cover should go. They’ll look at other books on the market in similar genres, and will brainstorm ideas, looking at the ‘mood’ that they want the cover to invoke. They’ll research type treatments and images that they think say something about the story. They’ll put all these ideas together into something called a cover brief, and will send this off to a designer or illustrator, along with either the text of the book, or a synopsis of the story. The designer has the very fun job of taking all those ideas and thoughts and instructions in the cover brief, and, using their own expertise, sending back some rough ideas with their own creative spin.

Cover roughs might look something like this:

Cinnamon Girl CVR directions 1

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog - you can read the rest of this post here]


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18. Writing for the Internet

The internet has changed the way we read and write. Here is a lead-in lesson to consider those changes with your students.

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19. Do You Still Need a Website as the Core of Your Online Platform?

Almost two years ago I wrote an article titled, “Do You Really Need an Author Website?” In that article I explained the need for a website and included a couple of statistics proving that need. Since then, social media has exploded. It’s become more powerful than ever, and more and more people and businesses are using it as an integral part of their marketing strategy. In fact, social media

0 Comments on Do You Still Need a Website as the Core of Your Online Platform? as of 5/26/2014 7:48:00 AM
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20. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog website at the Centre for Youth Literature. Check it out here. I’ll be blogging about writing,  editing, comic books, Wonder Woman, dog wrangling, chocolate eating – and loads of other stuff.

For the month of June, I, along with my team of super-editors, will also be putting the final touches on my new book. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl will be out in September, which I still have trouble believing. It feels like only yesterday that these characters were but a few excited notes on a post-it; a year-and-a-bit later, and they are almost ready to make their way out into the world. And as always, I am TOTALLY freaked by the thought. Freaked, and excited. Stay tuned for more info coming soon…

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl


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21. One percent inspiration…

I couldn’t be more pleased to be blogging at Inside a Dog. I’m putting the finishing touches on The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, and my brain is already shifting gears to what comes next. And so, for the next whole month, I have a delightfully diverting excuse to not think about writing my next book. Writing is hard, and devising handy excuses not to do it can take up an awful lot of a writer’s day. There’s only so much time that can be frittered away on Twitter, or looking at pictures of cute sloths on the net.

(twenty minutes later…)

 

sloth 2

 

Writing a novel takes a really long time – months, sometimes years. And some of that time can even be productive. There are hours of fevered, excited typing, amazing light-bulb moments where chunks of plot appear out of nowhere, and fleeting moments of smugness at a particularly cool line that seems to come from the ether. There are days when writing goals are reached before lunchtime, and afternoons are frittered away on BuzzFeed and watching old episodes of Buffy.

And then…

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog - you can read the rest of this post here]


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22. Content Marketing - Tim Ferriss on Blogging

Blogging is a must-do content marketing strategy. While this is a fact, bloggers have their own style and process. In a video with Tim Ferrisss, the author of NY Times best seller The Four Hour Work Week, he discussed his blogging habits and thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. To start, Tim believes you blog to gain access to an audience. He doesn’t have a focused topic - he pretty much

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23. Conversations with imaginary friends…

fall-in-love-with-all-the-fictional-characters

I love characters. As a reader, my favourite books are those where I can turn the final page and imagine the characters continuing on with their lives. I want to love them, but I’m okay with occasionally loathing them too. I want to care about them enough to send fictitious hugs when things aren’t going their way (or fictitious butt-kicks, when butt kicks are warranted). I don’t need to like them all the time, but I do need to be invested in their stories. As a reader, I live for a good book hangover; being so absorbed in the lives of make-believe people that I don’t want to say goodbye.

One of the best parts of writing a first draft is getting to know my new characters, and seeing them grow from mere crumbs of an idea, to people who feel like fully formed humans. I love living with them, walking around with them nattering in my head, and I love making decisions that steer them in certain directions and then seeing how those directions play out. There’s nothing cooler than being stuck on a plot point, and having a character give you the answer. In other words, I’m probably more ‘pantser’ than ‘plotter’.**

Here’s an example from Life in Outer Space…

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog - you can read the rest of this post here]


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24. Tiny stories

One of the questions I was asked recently by a young fan (whoa, I have those!) is what things I am watching on YouTube. Which made me doubly excited, because a) this young fan had looked at my bio, and b) I got to talk about cool stuff I’m watching online. I love short stories, written or otherwise. Regardless of the medium, it takes a particular skill and cleverness to make you care about characters, or invest in a narrative in a compressed amount of time. While there are plenty of amazing live-action short films out there, I’ve chosen a handful of my favourite animated shorts, some of which are clever, funny, moving, inspiring, or simply a diverting couple of minutes from the real world. Like the best books, what they all have in common is that they made me want to re-visit them as soon as I had finished, and they made me want to share them with everyone I know.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Possibly one of the cutest things ever. Featuring a ‘dog’ named Allen.

Pigeon: Impossible

Bond meets Stop the Pigeon (if you can’t remember Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, look that up on YouTube as well).

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog - you can read the rest of this post here]


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25. Your manuscript, the director’s cut: editing and second draft blues

image copyright savagechickens.com

Possibly the hardest pieces of editorial advice to accept is the suggestion that bits of your writing should be cut. When you’ve slavishly toiled over every word in your first draft, slashing them from your pages again can be sort of heartbreaking. You love ALL THE DETAILS you’ve created for your characters, and you want everyone else to love them too! The layout of the bathrooms in your space station on Zargon Four is REALLY COOL and NEEDS the eighteen pages of description that you have devoted to them!

One of the trickiest lessons to learn as a writer is to trust in your own words. Trust that you’ll probably need to write far more in your first draft, while you’re discovering your characters and your world, than will ever need to make it onto your final pages. Trust that sometimes a paragraph may not be necessary when a sentence or two will convey the same sentiment. And trust that your readers will be able to make the leaps you want them to make, without every infinitesimal detail sketched out for them.

Here is a little example from my novel, Life in Outer Space. No real spoilers here – this is the opening of a chapter early in the book, which gives a bit of background on one of the main character’s best friends. The first version is the paragraph as it was written in the original draft. The second version is the same section of text as it appears in the final book.

Original manuscript:

Adrian and I met in kindergarten when we were four. At least, that’s what Mum tells me. It’s not like I can remember the actual day he walked into my life. I don’t remember a significant incident, a montage of conversations in the sandpit that would change our lives forever or anything like that. Fact is, I just can’t remember a time when Adrian wasn’t around. The earliest Adrian-memories that have stuck are of him falling down a lot. Not being shoved over by arse-faced bullies — that would come later. I remember Adrian just walking over flat ground and then no longer being upright. His mum always says that he took longer than everyone else to learn to coordinate his arms and legs, but I have my own theory. Adrian Radley always had more stuff going on inside his head than the synapses of his brain could cope with. When we were kids, this meant that he’d be thinking about his play lunch, and the park, and about the episode of Dragonball-Z he’d watched that morning, and about fifty billion things he wanted to say to me all at the one time. Now it means the parts of Adrian’s brain that are thinking and the parts that are controlling his mouth are usually having different conversations. Sometimes in different conference rooms. Often, in different countries. If Mike is the brother I never had, then Adrian is the Chernobyl-born cousin who came for a visit and never left. I guess some people enter your orbit and get stuck in your gravity, and there’s nothing either of you can do about it.

Final draft:

Adrian and I met in kinder when we were four. At least, that’s what Mum tells me. It’s not like I can remember the actual day he walked into my life. I don’t remember a montage of conversations in the sandpit that would change our lives forever or anything like that. I just can’t remember a time when Adrian wasn’t around.
If Mike is the brother I never had, then Adrian Radley is the possibly inbreed cousin who came for a visit and never left. I guess some people enter your orbit and get stuck, and there’s nothing either of you can do about it.

 

[For the month of June, I will be writer-in-resident at the fab Inside a Dog - you can read the rest of this post here]


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