Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Tribute to Stories, Writers, and Readers

Anne Ayers Koch is working on an outstanding book, a book of reflections on stories. Here is a peek from the preface where she quotes Martin Tupper in "On Reading" in 1838: "A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever."

Anne ended the preface with "Here's to some good friends!"

I'll let you know when her book is published so you can revisit good friends and enjoy her writing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pleasanton Poetry, Prose, and Arts Festival

Another year, another festival over. It was held at the Pleasanton Firehouse instead of the Pleasanton Senior Center.

David Alpaugh's workshop included his outstanding handouts. He encouraged writers to explore Duotrope's Digest, a free writers' resource listing over 3325 current Fiction and Poetry publications. It's an efficient way to search for markets. Find the list that fits for you, click on the detail button to find out which market is looking for what. Another plus is that Duotrope gives the payscale and the markets' average response times. It's easy to navigate, even for me.

There's a sign up for email notification of their updates.

Worth checking out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First Sentence Quote

Prose says it perfectly in one sentence what we take hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years to get right.

"Your first sentence should make a promise that the rest of the story will keep." - Francine Prose


Author Neale Donald Walsch emails daily inspirations and although today's is geared for a spiritual message, I think it works for writers too. "...that imagination is your greatest gift. Do not be afraid to use it."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rats in the Walls of the Psyche

At the the S.F. Writers Conference, Author Elizabeth Engstrom said that when she is writing a novel, characters and plots for short stories nag at her until she writes them. She calls these stories, “rats in the walls of her psyche”. At times she tells them to go away but at other times, she will write the story and submit it to publications that have printed her stories in the past. Engstrom likes to use the lull in her novel, that part in the middle she calls a wasteland, to take a break and write that short story. She's able to complete the first draft in twenty-four hours and that quiets the rat.

I’m reminded of the gray roof rat we recently sent on its way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Books Agents Read

During a workshop with a panel of agents at the S.F. Writers Conference, an attendee asked what they liked to read. April Eberhardt, among other agents, tossed out some titles they recently read or that were favorites: Banished, Still Alice, Shadow of the Wind, Three Cups of Tea, and Guilty Pleasure.

Are any of those books on your list?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Importance of the Antagonist

Author Elizabeth Engstrom says, “Your story is only as strong as your antagonist”.

Check yours out. Is he/she tough enough?