Twitter in the New Year


Twitter in the New Year

By Natalie Bright

Take a look at this list of names:

Cynthia Leitich-Smith
David Morrell
Christine Taylor-Butler
Elizabeth Hoyt
John Kremer
McDonalds TX Panhandle

Can you tell me what this group has in common?

Give up yet?

All of these people, or place as in the McDonalds, are on Twitter and they followed me back. This is a big deal because they all have way more followers than I do. In all of these cases, I do buy their books, follow their blogs, and repost their tweets, except for McDonalds to which my teenager contributes. I believe that’s how social media works.

It’s not too late to make New Year’s Resolutions is it? I’ve decided to make an effort to be more friendly on Social Media. There’s really no reason to be snooty on Twitter. In my mind, we should all repost and retweet, and more importantly, follow back the people who follows us.

How do you determine who to follow back and who to skip over?

There are local people I know personally who did not follow me back on Twitter. If that’s you, out you go. I’ve had to unfollow a lot of you, so that I can follow back the people who are following me. It just good manners.

In 2015, I promise to be kinder, friendlier, and retweet all things bookish.

You can find Natalie on Twitter @natNKB.

Wedge of Writing


After all, the world is not a stage—not to me: nor a theatre: nor a show-house of any sort. And art, especially novels, are not little theatres where the reader sits aloft and watches… and sighs, commiserates, condones, and smiles. That’s what you want a book to be: because it leaves you so safe and superior, with your two-dollar ticket to the show. And that’s what my books are NOT and never will be. Whoever reads me will be in the thick of the scrimmage, and if he doesn’t like it—if he wants a safe seat in the audience—let him read someone else.

–D. H. Lawrence

Wedge of Writing


We love books!

The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man, nothing else that he builds ever lasts, monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on. Still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts, of the hearts of men centuries dead.

–Clarence Day

Write on, WordsmithSix friends, write on!

 

Wedge of Writing


Today’s Ponder:

 

what writers can accomplish is pretty amazing!

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.

–Lord Byron


Happy writing and thanks for following WordsmithSix!

Hooray for Banned Books


Hooray for Banned Books

By Natalie Bright

Children’s Literature celebrated Banned Books Week Sept. 21-27. Hooray for that because I’ve discovered many wonderful books from these types of lists. Take for example the news that a large school district in Texas has banned The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Written in first-person “diary” format, it’s the inner thoughts of a teen so it’s raw, realistic, inappropriate; just like teenagers. The main character faces bullies, alcoholic parents, racism, abusive adults, sex, cuss words; just like life.

It’s written for YA (young adult) audience which means this is a story for older teenagers. As the mother of two teenaged boys, I absolutely believe in the power of parents to control the materials our children have access to. (What parent hasn’t cringed at the mention of internet?) I understand how inappropriate teenagers can be and how shocking some of their questions are, but they’re also funny, charming, and crazy smart. Kids today continually amaze me. It doesn’t mean every teenager is into any of the topics covered in a YA novel. Sherman Alexie’s book doesn’t promote a certain kind of life style. These topics exist in our world, in a teens world. This book is for high school aged teens and, in my opinion, should not be in grade school or Jr. High libraries.

Based on the author’s own experiences, THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN is about a main character who leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white high school 22 miles away. It’s a story about following your dreams, finding acceptance, facing adversity, and coming through as a winner. It’s a story with loads of HEART. I loved this book.

Opinions are subjective. For as many people who hate a book, you’ll find just as many who love it. I’ve discovered so many wonderful stories through these kinds of lists, so hooray for banned books! Let’s work together to promote the joys and privilege of reading a great story. Let’s broaden the world view for our children and open the dialogue. Let’s do more talking, reading, learning, and less judging.

Writers Take Action:

1) Post an online review of one of your favorite stories from childhood. Ask your kids what’s one of their favorites. Post an online review of that book too. By promoting each others work, we’re also promoting the joys of reading.

2) Choose one book from a Banned Books List and read it.

nataliebright.com

Recycled Books


Recycled Books

by Natalie Bright

We took a detour off of Highway 380 last week on our way to Dallas to explore Recycled Books in Denton, Texas.

Rising above one corner of a charming and thriving downtown square in Denton, the former opera house is filled to the brim with previously owned entertainment. Yes, this building is old, and the musty smell of dust and yellowed pages only adds to the experience while exploring this 17,000 square foot store. You’ll discover shelf after shelf through row after row, as you twist and turn on three floors. Hand-lettered posters identify the genre section. Shelves are clearly labeled by topic with sub-headings, including a few topics you may not have even considered. They also have a rare book area, accessed by appointment and only if accompanied by a staff member.

The basement is all nonfiction, and they had an entire shelf of Colonial America to aide me with my current WIP research. I prefer first hand accounts and journals, and I was not disappointed.  My oldest son is drawn to those huge military history coffee table books, and his stack was as tall as mine. A few were several dollars, older publications a few dollars more, but we came away with two sacks of books with nothing priced over $10.

The basement houses a treasure of nonfiction books.

If you’re ever in the area, stop by Recycled Books in Denton. You might find a few treasures of your own.

For more information, visit their website: www.recycledbooks.com

To see pictures, visit my blog at www.nataliebright.com and click on the “Recycled Books” article.

The Magic Words


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

The Magic Words

By Nandy Ekle

 

I was born a word person. I don’t remember the age I started reading, but I don’t know that I was a prodigy. But no matter what age I started reading, I’ve always loved stories.

The first stories I loved were bible stories, then the early readers from school. My parents were avid fans of the library and I grew up thinking the library was an enchanted place.

I always had lots of words to say, and said them as often as they came into my head, much to my dad’s dismay. I guess the thing I heard him say more than anything else was, “Don’t your jaws ever get tired of talking?” And of course, the words did slow down, except when I am able to let go and write. And in those moments, I really truly do visit the land of enchantment.

But as much as I love to talk and write my own words, I love reading others’ words just as much. I’ve only ever started about four books I simply could not finish. All the other book I’ve read are the most wonderful dessert in the world.

I said there were only about four books I simply could not finish. The opposite of that is there are about four writers who are the most powerful wizards on the earth.

All this introduction to say I am reading a book now by one of these very talented authors. I know I should not have been so surprised because nearly everything this writer does is pure genius. But I read the first paragraph of the prologue and immediately felt the air shimmer and electrify. The world around me disappeared and I felt like I was being sucked through a vortex to another world. All from the first paragraph.

That is talent.

Your assignment: get your favorite book by your favorite author and analyze it. When do you find yourself grabbed and pulled in to the world? How did they do it? Does the story you’re writing do that? Can you fix it?

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

I Love A Terrible Book


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

I Love A Terrible Book

By Nandy Ekle

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King says, “So we read to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear of them. We also read in order to measure ourselves against the good and the great, to get a sense of all that can be done. And we read in order to experience different styles.”

When I started writing my prose was a stream of repetitious flowery poetic vomit. I did keep to the rule of three, but everything I wrote repeated itself three times. I had three metaphors, followed by three adjectives in a long sentence with three complex parts. I had endless descriptions of every molecule in the space my characters inhabited. I wrote conversations that sounded like Shakespearean type speech. I was determined to wow the world with how many words I knew and how well I could put them together. And to make matters worse, I defended my writing style to anyone who criticized it.

One day I picked up a book by an author who actually has a fair size following and began reading. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my style was a lot like his. The kicker to this was that I hated his book. I read another one of his stories, and didn’t like it even more than I didn’t like the first one. And it seemed that the more of his writing I read, the less I cared for him as an author.

I took another look at my own stories and cringed with embarrassment. It didn’t take long for me to re-evaluate my style and change.

I have realized that even though I will never be a fan of this particular author, I am very grateful for having read his books. He was as effective a teacher as a doctorate of the English language would be.

When reading a story, whether an article in the newspaper, confession magazine, or epic novel, pay attention to the author’s style. If it’s good, learn from it. If it’s not so great, learn from that too.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

How Did You Do It?


css-inspiration-for-writers-2How Did You Do It? 

By Rory C. Keel

This is the number one question I’m asked when others learn that my story, The Challenge, was published in the recent edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul:Inspiration for Writers. 

There is no magic button

In trying to answer this question, I realized there is no one specific thing that will get a story published. There is no switch to flip or button to push that makes it happen, nor did I have an acquaintance or inside contact at Chicken Soup.

However, hard work along with a few of the following things can improve your chance of success.

Journal

To keep me from getting writer’s block, I have made it a practice to write in a journal everyday. I jot down simple things like a quote, a thought or a remembrance of something in the past. Many times I express an emotion and try to explain in words how I feel. The words in a journal don’t have to be profound, hilarious or novel worthy, but write something, anything.

Over time your journal becomes a vault of story materials.

Study the publication

I believe a crucial step in getting published in any market, is to know the market. If you desire to be published in Chicken Soup, read it, study the stories and notice how they are written.

Submit, Submit, Submit

Watch for story call outs. Many publications announce the type of stories they are seeking to publish. This is where the journal comes in handy. You may have story material already waiting to be expanded, worked or polished.

Early in my writing at a writer’s conference, I remember a publisher who said, “Ninety-five percent of those who want to be published begin writing, but only five percent finish and submit.”

Remember

Finally, sometimes it’s a matter of having good work at the right place at the right time.

roryckeel.com