Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Fun Facts: Two Websites You Must See!

Happy Friday, everyone! Can you believe tomorrow is the first of June? Where did the spring go?? Here in the lower part of New York, it's been hot and steamy weather, with more promised today and over the weekend. I do love all the green leaves, but WOW! Have to get used to sleeping with the air conditioning on at night...

First website you must visit today: Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes Research. Today's the very last day that you can bid on items, so take some time and browse...there are a lot to choose from! And there aren't just items for writers or readers, but things like vacations and handmade jewelry and ties and even life coaching sessions. Check it out - all the proceeds go to an awesome cause!

Second website you must visit today: Teaching the Hudson Valley Blog. Featured right now is one of my students and the winning essay he wrote as part of a contest earlier this year. We worked through so many drafts of his work, and I was thrilled when he won. The writing isn't perfect, but the voice is great and really conveys the picture of his favorite spot and why it's "home" to him.

Read, enjoy, bid on auction items, and have a fantastic weekend. And stay cool!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writers' Wednesday: A Run-Down of the Latest Writer's Digest

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Time for my run-down of the July/August issue of Writer's Digest. I love this magazine, folks, and if you're a writer, it's worth the annual subscription. It has content for writers of all kinds, all genres, at all steps of the publishing journey. Definitely worth its weight in information!

5 Things Novelists Can Learn From Screenwriters talks about focusing on dialogue, tension, and cutting out the non-necessities - this from the screenwriter of Life of Pi whose first job was reading books & then abridging them for audio.

What "High Concept" Means in Any Genre dissects 7 key qualities that make a book that elusive "high concept" that editors and agents are looking for. Among them: high entertainment value, originality, highly visual, highly emotional, and possessive of mass market appeal. (Sure. Easy, right?)

"New Adult": The Next Big Thing looks at this new YA+ genre, what it includes plot and character-wise (18-24 year olds and their dating/first jobs/first apartments/money issues/identity/self-sufficiency issues), why readers like it, and why it's more than just sexually amped-up YA. The article also mentions 4 agencies currently seeking NA works (check the websites first to see which agents to target!):

Foreword Literary Agency
Nelson Literary Agency
Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency
New Leaf Literary & Media

How to Write and Sell the Cross-Genre Novel is a great look at how many successful authors are blending genres and targeting multiple audiences, following their own hearts and interests in doing so. Charlaine Harris's best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels (inspiration for the TV series "True Blood") combine paranormal with traditional romance and mystery. Advice from agents in this article included focusing on your strong genre first, and then adding in a second and creating characters that don't fit the typical genre stereotypes. Sounds interesting but challenging...but filled with potential, right?

Be inspired, folks - and write on!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Mentionables: The Next Three Big Things

Happy Memorial Day, for everyone observing it in the U.S. It is certainly a day worth honoring :)

In other thoughts, the next book I want to read is And the Mountains Echoed by Khalid Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both of which I loved).

The next movie I want to see is Before Midnight (did anyone see the first two in the trilogy, Before Sunrise (18 years ago) and Before Sunset (9 years ago)? I love the concept of following love in "real time" over 2 decades...

And the next TV show I want to try is Mistresses on ABC, just because it looks dishy and dirty and perfect for summer. Anyone else??