POST 6: March 24, 2017

Warm-Ups:

This week let’s try some warm-ups.  What’s a warm-up? It’s an idea starter, a mind jogger, something to help you write when your brain power is slowing down or you just can’t get started.  We’ll try two this week and add more in the following weeks.

Character Sketch:  Write a few paragraphs about a character you want to use in a short story or novel. Who is this person?  Describe this person–looks, hobbies, job, likes/dislikes, life’s goals.  What is keeping this person from obtaining those goals/desires?  Keep writing about this person until you feel you have been friends for years.

Dialogue:  Eavesdrop on a conversation at the office, in the grocery store, at the health club or at a social event, and then recreate that conversation as dialogue for your story.  Write it until it reads like people actually talk to each other.

More warm-ups on their way…

POST 5: February 27, 2017

Okay, we are back to writing prompts.  Here are three you may want to try this week.

1.  Choose a poem you like.  Take the last line and use that line as the first line of your own poem.

2.  Begin a story with “There was once a chance I didn’t take…”

3.  ”A funny thing happened on my way to…”

Good luck and maybe some of you would like to share?

 

 

POST 4: February 19, 2017

Soooo Sorry; I didn’t forget about all of you, but… No excuses.  I didn’t get enough entries for my Forever Home, Forever Toby book so I had to can that project for now.  Instead I started cleaning out files, and we all know what that means.  While looking through some of my articles and stories from way back, I decided to compile some of them in a book on its own merit which meant retyping many of the older ones before my computer days.  I can just see some of the young folks eyes rolling. But, yes, some of us lived and wrote before computer days; simply called “typing” double-spaced.

The tentative title for this project is “Here I Am”–still tossing ideas for a subtitle. Any suggestions?

When I originally started this Web page, I posted a weekly writing prompt, hoping that I would get some creative juices flowing and more responses.  That didn’t happened, but I think I may go back to a weekly prompt just to stay more in touch.

So it’s back to the drawing board or writing pad for now–I’ll be back sooner than the last break.  Thanks for your patience.

 

Post 3: April 2, 2016

Time to start Book Project #12–working title “Forever Home, Forever Toby; Twenty-six True Stories About Humankind’s BEST BUDDIES”

Here’s what wellness claims: Pet a puppy or kitten and feel better–fast!  Pets provide so much joy to their owners that they deserve a special place in stories (and so many have).  So let’s have at least one more book about these creatures that brought so much happiness into your life.

Remembering: gold fish, gerbils, white mice, butterflies you caught and then freed, there’s also lightening bugs, lady bugs and other such critters you bottled or shoe-boxed.  How about playful squirrels, mischievous raccoons, red and black ants (Ouch!) and the Easter bunny, along with ducks and geese, turtles and frogs, parakeets and other feathered friends inside or outside your house.  The list goes for miles until it ends or rather starts with the ever-faithful dog and persnickety cat.

Accepting submissions until May 10, 2016; word count around 750; stories can be funny or sad, some significant happening you remember, want to write about and share with other pet lovers about your “best buddy or maybe buddies.”

Please email text only to me at Neeliepubl@aol.com; no pictures at this time.  My editorial staff will review each entry and we will select the tales for the book.  Please email me with any questions you have at any time.  With your help, this will be a fun project to work on and a delightful book to read.  Thank you. -eileenbirin-

SEE with WORDS: June 16, 2015

WRITING TIPS

  1. Write from the heart.
  2. Write a great book.
  3. Study book marketing.
  4. Know your audience.
  5. Have a great title.
  6. Set giant goals.
  7. Time your efforts.
  8. Develop a business plan.
  9. Network through clubs/associations.
  10. Commit to marketing.
  11. Use book signings.
  12. Get reviews – be public.
  13. Give some books away.

 

SEE with WORDS: June 13, 2015

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Before choosing a publisher or printer

  • Comparison shop–get quotes
  • Look at other books the publisher or printer has produced
  • Talk to other writers who have used the publisher’s or printer’s services
  • Understand the terms of the contract; make sure there are no hidden costs
  • Verify any promises made
  • Find out if the publisher has arrangements with a wholesaler
  • Establish a good working relationship with your contact person
  • Reread the printer’s proofs carefullly; they are the last chance to catch any mistakes
  • Join an organization that offers networking opportunities
  • Take a workshop or attend writers’ conferences to find out what resources are available

 

SEE with Words: March 17, 2015

5 Reasons to Self-Publish:

Commercial publishers don’t have the time or resources to read all of the manuscripts submitted, upwards of 150,000 titles per year.  They are looking for name recognition or authors who come with certain sales potential and definite outlets.

Within recent years, self-publishing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry.  Some of the best authors may not initially be published by a major publishing house, but after the book is printed and marketed in published form, and the author establishes a track record in sales, that book may be picked up by a major publishing house for an attractive contract.

Two such success stories are:

Laurie Notaro’s The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club was originally published by iUniverse, then placed twelfth on the New York Times Paperback Best-Seller List which landed her a six-figure, two-book contract with Random House.

Steven Keslowitz’s The Simpsons and Society was first published by Wheatmark before the book was published by Sourcebooks.

So here are the 5 reasons you may want to consider self-publishing:

  1. Keep control of your project;
  2. Control the time frame for writing, editing, and publishing;
  3. Fill a specific niche;
  4. Be the sole owner of the proceeds from the book’s sales;
  5. Get yourself in print.

Check Amazon.com for books published by Eileen Birin.

SEE with WORDS: February 19, 2015

One More Idea to Consider:

Here’s another important idea you may want to consider as you get started in the writing game.  Check local community colleges for adult continuation or special interest classes in writing.  Some may even offer workshops or seminars on various aspects of writing.  Local libraries are other resources for writing groups, special presentations on writing, or even critique groups.  Signing up for a writing course, taking a workshop or joining a critique group can prove beneficial especially if you are a novice writer and may need the support and incentive from others with similar interests.  A writing course can also provide the structure and basic techniques necessary for good writing.

Along these same lines, if several of your friends or members of a writing class are interested in working together, you might consider forming your own small writing group.  This would allow for immediate feedback and critiquing of your stories, provide opportunities to share similar learning experiences with each other, offer encouragement to get through some of those so called “writer’s block” moments, support each other’s efforts, shed light on new discoveries, and most important, laugh and cry together as you explore the problems of the lonely, yet exhilarating,  life of a writer.  So with pen in hand and love in your heart, be strong–embrace the unforgiving pain and the sublime joy of the writing life.

Writing is therapy for both you and the reader.

 

SEE with WORDS: February 18, 2015

RULES:

  • There are no firm or important rules for good writing.
  • However, know them first before you break them.
  • Follow writing guidelines; they free you to do what works best for you.

Rules are structures that set limits; true artists transcend to heights unlimited; great art has no borders.  But here’s the catch: in order to soar, one needs a solid structure as the launching pad.

Remember those language arts teachers who insisted we bring our journals to class everyday.  And then usually before an English composition lesson, we would spend five minutes writing anything that popped into our heads.  Forget spelling, grammar, sentence structure, just write, write, write.  We were encouraged to free write, to brainstorm all those creative ideas that later would become our coveted “A” English composition papers.  No one would ever see these first draft scribblings of ours, but we knew we could never hand-in anything we wrote in our notebooks until we “fixed” it up and made it better for a passing grade.

So too, true artists have learned, practiced and mastered the rules first which then sets them free to soar into their unique creative worlds.  Imagine this: what if your novel, story or poem resembled the free writing of your school day journal.  How distracting would that be to readers?  If the reader doesn’t understand what you’re trying to say, if your lack of writing efficiently interferes with the story line, how long will you hold that reader’s attention?  Know the rules first before you break them.

That said; let’s explore some useful writing guidelines that have proven successful in a writer’s creative journey.

Materials you may need for your journey:

1.  Notebooks:

You’ll need several handy notebooks, whatever fits into your pocket, purse, briefcase, and glove compartment – use whatever works best for you.  Once you start writing your novel, you will be amazed at how many new ideas begin popping into mind any time of the day and night.  You’ll want to jot down that good idea, or clever quip before it is lost once again.  Good places to keep notebooks are:

ü      bedside table

ü      bathroom

ü      kitchen

ü      den or TV room

ü      car

ü      pocket or purse

ü      outside garden or patio

2.  Tape recorder:

Some of you may prefer to use small tape recorders instead of notebooks.  Recorders work best in cars, especially if you’re driving and that tinge of recollection arises, you’ll want to grab that recorder, click the on-button, and talk your heart out.

Recorders also work well on bedside tables.  In no time, you will train yourself to hit the on-button in the dark and talk softly into the recorder without even waking your partner.

3.  Several more important items to have close at hand:

ü      a comprehensive dictionary

ü      an authoritative thesaurus

ü      an English grammar handbook

ü      plenty of pens or well-sharpened pencils

ü      computer or word processor

Where do you go from here?

Writing is a craft. Writers write. Writers write every day; that’s their job.  By cultivating the habit of writing regularly, it will make the process easier and more enjoyable. Study the craft; exercise the craft by doing it everyday.

Check out Amazon.com for: Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success; and Come Sit a Spell, Recalling and Writing Memoirs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE with WORDS: February 2, 2015

Considering Self-Publishing?  Meet the Masters:

The advent of independent publishing is not a recent development.  It has always been an American enterprise.  In 1776 Thomas Paine published Common Sense, Ben Franklin even used his own printing press. Walt Whitman published his controversial Leaves of Grass and even wrote the reviews for his own works; Carl Sandburg worked the presses and hand-bound his books of poetry.  Upton Sinclair refused to change the content of The Jungle and elicited the support of several friends to help publish the book before Doubleday offered to publish it.  In fact, both editions were printed simultaneously.

The list of masters include: Samuel Clemens, Zane Grey, Washington Irving, Stephen Crane, Edgar Allen Poe, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf and others. f

Books originally self-published: Chicken Soup for the Soul, What Color is Your Parachute? The Celestine Prophecy, which Richard Redfield sold from the trunk of his car, Invisible Life, One Minute Manager, The Christmas Box.

And here are a few self-publishing services success stories: The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro, orginally published with iUniverse, #12 on the New York Times Paperback Best-Seller List, landed her a six-figure, two-book deal with Random House; and, The Simpsons and Society by Steven Keslowitz, orginally published with Wheatmark and then picked up by Sourcebooks.

The list goes on.  So Let’s Get Published!

Check out Excuse My Dust, ten quick steps for writing success, ebook available from Amazon.com

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