Saturday, February 23, 2013

Storytelling and your brain

I just read a great article about the science behind storytelling, called What Storytelling Does to our Brains by Leo Widrich.

We all are getting pushed to use Powerpoint presentations, because that's the latest and greatest thing.
And yet.
And yet.
It turns out that things like powerpoint aren't the best way to get your message across.
(raise your hands if you've ever felt yourself falling asleep during a powerpoint presentation. Yup.  Me too.)

The brain is wired to react to storytelling.  It's looking for a beginning, a middle, and a satisfying ending. Keep this in mind the next time you prepare your presentation.

My take on this?
Go ahead and use your powerpoint to "illustrate" your story, but focus mainly on the story you want/ need to tell.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reading like a Writer

In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, I participated in an Internet bulletin board called FIDOnet, on the Writer's board.  At that time I coined the phrase,
"Writers Write -- Writer's Can't Not Write,"
and used it as my SIG file for all my messages.  Over the years I have used it periodically as my SIG file for other writer's boards, more recently the one for Vermont College Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

My original phrase has taken a life of its own and has spread throughout the internet -- most recently on this blog post by Jen Bailey on her blog, Write Fiercely and Own It.

One of her recent blog posts is about Reading Like a Writer. I've always wondered what THAT phrase meant and found myself nodding at the points she makes about this. Yes, yes. I agree.  My own reading has changed since I began attending that college -- but this is the first time someone has articulated just why this happened.

Click on over and see if you have also begun reading like a writer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Good and bad news about self-publishing

If you plan to self-publish your books, all I can say is, "Be Careful."

David Gaurhran, author of the popular self-publishing guide, Let's Get Digital: How to self-publish and why you should, blogs about self publishing. He's all for it.  However, this post on his blog warns about the expansion of places that will take your money and give you little to no help -- or worse than that -- bad help. (the statement that some of the self-publishing copy editors leave your manuscript with more errors than they correct is really appalling) Click on over to check this out.

Be sure to read the comments.
There's a lot of good information there as well.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Path to Publishing

I Just saw this announcement about some online workshops for writers, called The Path to Publishing. If you are interested, click on the links to register and participate:

A Path to Publishing  is an educational program offered by literary agent Jill Corcoran with Herman Agency and powered by Shindig, a powerful new interactive video chat platform that allows you to not only watch presentations but also participate with faculty directly--as though you're in the same room.

No matter where you are in your publishing career, this program can provide you with access to top industry professionals. You'll get immediate insight and answers to all your questions, plus reliable advice you can act on immediately to take your career to the next level.

Jill is launching A Path to Publishing with a special price for the first 3 workshops which includes:

3/6 The editors of HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press with Sr. VP & Editorial Director Debbie
Kovacs, Senior Editor Jordan Brown and Marketing Manager Kellie Celia 

-- How the HarperCollins/Walden Media Team Selects, Edits, and Markets Middle Grade Books

3/16 The editors of Hyperion-Disney with Associate Publisher Stephanie Lurie, Executive Editor Emily Meehan and Editor Rotem Moscovich 

-- A Peek Behind the Curtain at Disney-Hyperion

2/20 The editors of Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan with Executive Editor Nancy Mercado and Editor Kate Jacobs 

-- Earning the Reader's Trust

Each Workshop is $75 or get all 3 for $180. 

Workshops include 30 minute virtual cocktail party + 60 Workshop + 30 minute Q&A
Register here.

Upcoming Workshops include:

 Agents Sarah Davies, Erin Niumata, Erin Murphy, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Tricai Lawrence
& Editors Wendy Lamb (Random House), Nancy Paulsen (Penguin), Christy Ottaviano (Macmillan), Molly O'Neill (HaperCollins), Noa Wheeler (Macmillan), Martha Mahalick(HarperCollins), Heather Alexander (Pengin), Connie Hsu (Little, Brown), Karen Chaplin (HaperCollins), Stacey Barney (Penguin) and many many 

 See faculty and workshop tabs for more info.

Friday, February 15, 2013

New Photo

Oh my.
Here's a new photo of me, done by the wonderful San Diego photographer/ writer/ web expert,
Roxyanne Young.
If you ever are at a convention and she's doing author portraits, make sure you sign up for one!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to be a Happy Author

Actually, many of these suggestions for an easier, happier writing life, brought to you by the wonderful agent, Rachelle Gardner, can be applied to every aspect of life.

Click on over and decide for yourself.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Asteroid will Not hit Earth

Or so the scientists say.
You can check this out yourself on Friday, February 15th if you live in Australia. The rest of us will have to watch it on the internet.  The closest approach will be at 2:24 pm Eastern Standard Time.  Those of us on the west coast should check it out at 11:24 am.

Here are a couple of links about it, some reassuring, others not so much:
Near-Earth Asteroid 2012 DA14.

Asteroid Will Not Hit Earth

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts

Here's a link to a Washington Post newspaper article about how studying the Arts in school is just as important as studying Math and Science. Lisa Phillips says that "the arts — while important to study for their intrinsic value — also promote skills seen as important in academic and life success."

Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts

click on over and enjoy.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Why people want to read picture books over and over again

ONe thing that picture book writers have to keep in mind is that youngsters want their favorite books read to them over and over again.  You want to make sure your own manuscript has this read-aloud-ability.

Check this link to podcasts made by Kathleen Pelley who is the featured author at 12 x 12, over on Julie Hedlund's blog as she discusses this very thing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Say NO to Free

I've written several posts about the problems with self-publishing and the problems with places that say they edit your work and publish it as long as you pay them ooodles of money, but actually only copyedit your work and fall down on the marketing side of the business. (Vanity presses -- avoid them. Money should flow to the author, not away from.)

But what about places that ask you to do stuff for them for free?
Stephen Silver says, "Say NO to Free!"
Often,you'll discover that they expect you give up the rights to anything you post or send to them.
He's talking about artists and art, but there are "free" places for writers that do the very same thing.

What about doing talks or school visits for free?  Here's info about that, too.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Groundhog Day is coming

Tomorrow we find out if Spring will be Early or Late -- 'cause the groundhog will tell us.
-- or not.