Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why We Write

I heard writer Delia Ephron say today on NPR, We write to get to another place."  I like that.

I have a plaque that says, "Why do writers write?  Because it isn't there."  That's trying to be too clever, but I like it, also.  We believe that what we write, no matter how much it uses one of the basic plot lines, "wasn't there before."

I have heard friends say that they write because there are characters trying to get out of their head, characters who drive around with them in the back seat of the car, holding conversations, and the writers eavesdrop.

I can relate to all of these.  I like to take bits and pieces of life I see or hear or experience and weave them into something new, so to me it's like knitting or weaving, whereas others might use a building or a cooking metaphor.

I also write because stories are important and stories matter.  It is interesting to me that the Bible is so full of stories but the Qu'ran is not.  What does that mean for the world views of these cultures?  Middle Eastern cultures have stories, of  course, like the 1001 Nights.  But they are not in their scriptures. 

Why do you write?  Maybe to make money, but I haven't found that secret yet.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Project Keepsake by Amber Lanier Nagle will soon be out!

I have a chapter in this book.  I am excited for my friend Amber as her dream is coming to fruition.

In Project Keepsake, Amber Lanier Nagle shares fifty-five stories behind the objects people gather and display proudly on shelves or stow away in dark closets—a bluebird paperweight, a pocket watch, a quilt, a locket, a piece of furniture, a cake pan, a scrap of paper, and other sacred items. Each story breathes life into the inanimate objects. A few years ago, Nagle began writing stories about her own keepsakes to preserve the histories surrounding special items in her home. She encouraged friends and family members to write stories about their keepsakes, too, and they did. And so, the project was born. Her book, Project Keepsake, has three simple goals: to prompt aspiring writers to put their pens to paper and try their hands at writing, to cultivate a renewed interest in storytelling, and to record the many stories associated with keepsakes and mementoes. She hopes that Project Keepsake finds its way into your hands and inspires you to tell the many stories of your own keepsakes. For readers and fans who are hesitant to try to write their own stories, Nagle offers a chapter titled, “Writing About Keepsakes,” including tips and examples. Here are a few of her tips:

Identify a Keepsake—look around your house, on your shelves, in your drawers, in your closets, and in curio cabinets until you find something that has a special place in your heart.

Brainstorm—start with a blank sheet of paper and just start writing everything that comes to your mind about your keepsake. Don’t worry about making it sound good at this point. Just get your thoughts on paper. Where did it come from? How long have you had it? What does it look like? Why is it significant to you?

Organize your Thoughts—Some writers use outlines to organize all the elements of a story, while other people prefer to draw bubble diagrams to help map it out.

Put Pen to Paper—Using the notes from your outline or bubble diagram, write your story.

Revise and Polish—Look at your opening paragraph and make it stronger. Make sure your subjects and verbs agree. Check spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Replace weak verbs with stronger verbs. Add a dash of dialogue. Revise Again—Put away your story for about two weeks. Don’t think about it. Then, take it out and read it as if you are reading it for the first time. Keep revising your story until you are happy with it.
Enter the giveaway for Project Keepsake today and be entered to win free books and great prizes!

Public Speaking Online, Part IV

During the Web Speech             One of the helpful suggestions from the business writers used for this appendix ...