How to Write Like a Professional

How to Write Like a Professional
6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs... and How to Avoid Them

Monday, May 30, 2011

Social Media Illusions

Lynne Klippel is a best-selling author, publisher, and book coach who specializes in helping non-fiction authors write books that build their business and transform the world. For a f.r.e.e. assessment that will help you see your author strengths and opportunities, visit http://www.BusinessBuildingBooks.com. With her permission, she has allowed me to reprint her notes from a webinar we attended with George Kao. Enjoy! 

There are three great illusions in social media: that you must try every new shiny bright thing, that more is better, and that you must keep up by spending many hours every day on your social media activities. These illusions make us stressed out, guilty when we can’t keep up, and stop us from growing our business and writing our books. According to social media specialist, George Kao, these illusions are so pervasive in the online community that most people heave a huge sigh of relief when they learn that they do not need to believe them any longer.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Splash Giveaway

This Wednesday, I'm participating in the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop. I'm giving away a surprise picture book, in paperback, to help encourage summer reading. It's okay if your child reads it to him or herself. It's also okay if you read the book to your child.

To enter, just follow my blog and leave a comment. I'll select the winner randomly. One entry per person, and good luck!

To visit the other participating blogs (over 200), just visit I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and have a blast clicking away.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Show and Tell

Writers are always told to quit telling and to start showing. I wonder what a group of writers trying to build a house would look or sound like. "Don't tell me how to hold the hammer. Just show me!" It's easy when you're five and Show and Tell is coming up. You take in your newest toy, show it to the class, and tell them all about how you got it, where it came from and why it's so cool and special. You don't have to describe what the toy looks like, but you jump right into the emotion of it all.

Cocoa ran off again. I had to get the leash and chase her down the street. We called her name and yelled a bunch. After we got to the 5th house, we finally found her behind the neighbor's garden.


Cocoa ran off again. Having only three legs didn't slow her down any, either. I grabbed the leash and sprinted toward the street. "Cocoa!" I yelled. "Cocoa! Come here, girl!" I slowed down at the 5th house. There she was. Right beside the neighbors squash and tomato plants. I squatted down and patted my legs. She ran toward me. "Good girl!"

You have "planners" and you have "pansters." The planners like to outline and map out a plot. (That would be me.) The pansters like to just write and go with the flow and see where they end up. I like to think of planners as telling first, then going back and filling in the details, including dialogue. The pansters don't want to tell what happened, ever. Not even to themselves. They have a natural knack for showing the first time around. The thing is, sometimes the story ends up getting completely rewritten because they didn't know where they were going first. (Of course that happens to planners, too.)

Might I suggest telling yourself a brief summary of what happens, then what, then this, then that, and finally this. On paper. Then go back and show to your heart's content. For a novel, the telling might only be two pages. Or twenty. It's just a simple map. A guideline. A sketch. The route can always be changed. The scenery can always be added. It's a lot easier to tell twenty pages and show 50,000 words than it is to show 50,000 words without it ever telling much of a story.

So the next time you hear "show, don't tell," think about "tell, then show." It will certainly make writing a query a whole lot easier. And that's a lot shorter than twenty pages, too!

So, are you a "show-er" or a "tell-er"? Panster or planner?

Keep on keepin' on...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Routines for Writers

That's the name of this month's blogger award recipient. Routines for Writers is a great blog with the goal to help writers write more. It wins the Pot-O-Gold blogger award for May. The design is crisp and fresh, clean and professional. Its simplicity welcomes you to visit often. The main blogging categories included are:

  1. craft
  2. creativity
  3. making goals
  4. NaNoWriMo
  5. networking
  6. organization
  7. productivity
  8. publishing and
  9. success
The blog was created by three aspiring novelists. They post three times a week (one day each). I really love their contest page. It features three sections:

  1. current contests
  2. ongoing contests
  3. and query / first pages critiques (ongoing)
Congratulations Stephanie, Kitty, and Shonna on receiving the Pot-O-Gold blog award! Here are the rules, if you want to play along...

  1. Say thank you to the person who gave it to you.
  2. Write a post and include the image of the award, a link to the person's blog who gave it to you, and a link to my blog, WRITE WILD. (Copy and paste the rules in your post.)
  3. Award four bloggers this award and tell why each is a Pot-O-Gold! (If you receive this award more than once, you only have to forward it the first time. Although you're certainly welcome to continue spreading the love.)
  4. Share four simple things about yourself: 1-a time you had to exercise FAITH, 2-something you HOPE for, 3-something (or someone) you LOVE, and 4-a time when you felt LUCK.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Picture Book Biographies

This week's READ-4-LUCK pick is I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White. Pictures by Nancy Carpenter.

A woman's "can-do" attitude propels her through life until she is instrumental in making Wyoming the first state to allow women to vote, then becomes the first woman to hold public office in the United States.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Year: 2005
Word Count: 1461
Book Level: 4.5

RATINGS
CHILDREN:  The illustrations are full of extra storytelling! I've read it several times and I notice something new each time. My children love to crack up at the naked "babies" taking a bath. Lots of fun to help engage them while listening. Especially helpful for a book that well over 1,000 words!

PARENTS:  You know, sometimes it is hard to distinguish the parent in me from the teacher in me from the writer in me. Parent says if bedtime isn't running too late, "Sure! I love this book!" But if it's late, "Not that book! It's too long for tonight." I do love discovering new illustrations. This book encourages discussions about families and family members and even death.

TEACHERS:  This book is a biography. Perfect for teaching "heroes" in 3rd grade, or "history of women and/or voting" in 5th grade. It can be used on many different levels for multiple lesson plans, if you're creative.

WRITERS:  I'm pleased to say that I was able to meet Linda Arms White! She said most of her books are  long and most of them have adult characters, but yet she still broke into print. Very inspiring. And Esther Morris is inspiring too. I like using this book as a springboard model for biographies and historical fiction. I'm working on an historical fiction right now, based loosely on the biography of a certain man from long ago.



If you wrote a book about a real person, who might you choose and why?
Keep on keepin' on... P.S. Happy 15th Anniversary to me!

Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Write a Book Proposal

open_book_01I've written the first nonfiction book in a series of ten that I'm actively trying to get published. In my research, I read a book titled Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman, published in 2001. While it is not a book specifically for children's writers, it is packed with lots of great examples. I'm also in the process of writing another nonfiction book for girls age 9-12. If any of you write nonfiction for children, I hope we can help each other along our path to publication. I've created my own "recipe" for a proposal based on the ten examples from the book. They're all slightly different or use different heading titles. If anyone else is writing a nonfiction book that requires chapters, I invite you to join me in following this recipe to write a book proposal. And I challenge you to take the plunge and submit! Good luck...

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Title Page
  3. Overview - What is the book all about?
  4. Market (as much as possible) - Who will buy the book and why?
    • how large is audience
    • is there a need
    • who will buy it
    • how do I see it marketed
    • what other books will it be sold with
    • what do I imagine it looking like
    • small section on research methods, including interviews
  5. Competition - How will the book fit in (with other books already on the shelves)?
    • other books on the subject
    • short overview and why mine is different from each
    • why mine is better and why it will sell more
  6. Promotion - How can I help promote the book?
  7. About the Author - Who am I? 
    • background related to subject (if applicable) 
    • and background as a writer
  8. Outline - chapter by chapter, with approx. word count
  9. 1-2 Sample Chapters
Do you have another section that you include with your proposals?
P.S. Shawn turns 7 today!!! Happy Birthday, buddy!!!
Keep on keepin' on...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Skippyjon Jones

This week's READ-4-LUCK pick is Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner. I first read this book about a year ago in a bookstore. I knew it was a big seller, very popular, and had multiple sequels. My first impression is that it was weird. And long. But it's grown on me. I love Skippyjon!
Skippyjon Jones, is sent to his room to contemplate what it means to be a cat, but instead embarks on an imaginary adventure in which his Zorro-like alter ego, El Skippito, rescues a group of chihuahuas from a bean-eating bumblebee.
Publisher: Dutton
Year: 2003
Word Count: 1073
Book Level: 3.3

RATINGS
CHILDREN:  My daughter's been checking these out from her school library (preschool) for months now. I've read Mummy Trouble and Lost in Spice now, too. Children love looking at the animals. My son loves the action scenes.

PARENTS:  I love reading the Spanish parts! It's so fun to read over and over again (but not every night).

TEACHERS:  Another vocabulary lesson, especially in Spanish. And definitely a wonderful character study! Have students create their own character sketch using a graphic organizer.

WRITERS:  I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at the plotting techniques used in this one by mapping out the plot points.



Which Skippyjon Jones book is your favorite?


Keep on keepin' on...

AddToAny

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...