Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Let's Get This Blog Started GIVEAWAY

I'm thrilled to partner with Beth for our new writing blog. And to kick this off, we are offering a Writer's Digest CD titled The Writer's Ultimate Resource Guide 2008 .

Here's a quick list about the CD.

1. Hundreds of active links to the best writers' resources on the Web
2. Completely text-searchable
3. 65 pages filled with info every writer must know, including 101 best websites, the top 100 magazine and book markets, a state-by-state guide to more than 400 writing organizations and 22 literary agents who want your work.
4. A detailed guide to today's hottest writing software
5. The best of Brian A. Klems' Questions & Quandaries column
6. 32 annual writing contests to submit your work
7. All content is in .pdf format without any advertisements. The CD works on any computer, PC or Mac, with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

For complete details, click the link above.

All we ask is that you post a comment or suggestion. We will randomly pick a winner on November 15th. Then, during the second half of November, we'll giveaway another writing resource. So keep in touch for further details.

We'd love to know what topics you'd like to read about. We are open to suggestions. Our desire is to encourage you, the writer!


Last week, I blogged about NaNoWriMo. This week, its NaBloPoMo. Do I just have a thing for acronyms?

Nope. The month of November plays hosts to not one, but two writing challenges: NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month and NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month.

Bloggers from all over the world are signing up for NaBloPoMo and committing to posting every day in November. Different groups are forming. So far, I'm in the Journalists and Writers group, the Thirty Days of Thanks group, the Colorado Bloggers group, and the Christian Writers Group, just to name a few. There's even a prize giveaway and a blog randomizer that highlights random blogs. You can post at the NaBloPoMo Web site or on your regular blog. I'll be posting over at my mom blog http://www.mommycomelately.com/. Come on by--and if you do, say hi!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday's Tip On Critiquing

Here are ten basic tips for critiquing a manuscript in random order:

1. Start with something positive. Point out your favorite sentence or mention what you liked about the article or chapter.

2. Ask the writer if they want a “big picture edit” or a “fine-line edit.” Big picture offers your perspective on the overall flow, points out any questions that arise or areas that need to be expanded or eliminated. Fine-line is more detailed and points out missing commas, misspellings, or problems with sentence structure.

3. Decide whether you will e-mail or meet in person. I recommend meeting face-to-face whenever possible because it’s more personal and it eliminates confusion that e-mailing can bring.

4. Pick a color system. Highlighting words, sentences, or paragraphs helps the writer easily identify her problem or strong areas. For example, my critique group uses green to indicate a great sentence. Grey means delete. Blue shows sentences that need to be reworked for a better flow. Purple shouts out repeated word.

5. Point out passive verbs. Offer your suggestions to make a sentence active.

6. Look for repeated words or concepts.

7. Avoid changing the writer’s voice. It’s common when critiquing line-by-line to want to rework sentences in the way you would say them. Avoid this temptation. Offer suggestions only when a sentence reads awkward.

8. Watch for point of view changes. Writers have a tendency to head hop. If it bugs you to read the constant change, it will bug another reader too. It’s better to stick to one or two POVs whenever possible.

9. Learn all you can about basic editing. The more you know about grammar the more help you will be to another writer. I recommend the book The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

10. Flag long sentences. Sometimes they work, but often they can be tightened or split into two.

Above all, have fun! Remember critiquing strengthens your writing. I've noticed when I point out repeated words on a manuscript, the next time I write I'm more aware of my own repetition.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Book of the Week for October 29, 2007

Every writer I know has a favorite writing book. Some are obscure titles, some are bestsellers. I came across my favorite long, long ago, so it has a treasured place on my bookshelves. I loaned it out once--and was a nervous wreck until my brother returned it.

Sweet Agony: A Writing Manual of Sorts is written by Gene Olson. While we're told not to judge a book by its cover (and we do) I judge a book by its chapter titles. Olson's got some fun chapter titles:
  • Blood on the Walls
  • Don't Just Sit There; Write
  • Rules and Rubbish
  • The Sound of Smog

Olson doesn't so much write about writing. He talks to you about writing. Reading Sweet Agony is like having a conversation with a friend who understands the alternate universe of the writing world. He knows somethings you probably don't know--and is willing to share them with you.

Here's a favorite quote from Sweet Agony:
The first word appears on paper, struggles for survival,then is joined by a second. Then comes the population explosion--numbers Three and Four.
The writing job has begun; for the writer, the battle is half won. Getting started is that important. Any trick a writer can play on his balky mind, no matter how sneaky, is legitimate. All is fair in love, war and getting started writing.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Weekly Quote on Writing #1

"You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club."

~Jack London

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What Authors Would You Like Profiled?

Beth and I are still coming up with our list of author connections. And we plan to interview them on our blog soon. This week we are brainstorming and we'd love to include you.

What authors interest you? Fiction? Non-fiction?

Do you have a burning question you would like asked?

Authors offer writers a perspective on the book writing process that maybe article writers do not have. We plan to ask them questions that help you grow as a writer. Also we'd love to share their book with you.

All comments are welcome.

We are here to serve you as fellow writers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Up First: NaNoWriMo Blog

If it's Wednesday, I must be writing about blogs. (I checked the list just to make sure! Yep, Wednesdays=blogs!)

I wondered which blog to highlight first. I have my favorite blogs. A number of my writing buddies blog. I could just google "writing blogs" and come up with a great list and go through it alphabetically. But I decided to go with NaNoWriMo Blog because right now NaNoWriMo is a hot topic in the writing world.

NaNoWriMo is writer-speak for National Novel Writing Month. What is that, you ask? Here's what the Web site powers that be say:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

So, are you up to the challenge? Check out the Web site and the blog. Let your inner fiction writer run free during November with the help of NaNoWriMo. I'll let you know if I decide to dabble in the world of antagonists and protagonists and plots and settings and dialogue!

And I did the math for you (with my husband's help): There are 30 days in November. If you're aiming for the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words, you need to write approximately 1,666 words per day.

Tuesday's Tips

"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke." ~Arthur Polotnik

Who helps your fire show? Do you have a critique partner or group? If not, I urge you to find one. This one step can take your writing from good to great. Research online critique groups and find one that suits your needs. Consider starting your own writers group. Check with your local bookstore or library for possible groups. Inquire at your church; sometimes there are small groups for writers. Ask a trusted friend or family member for honest feedback.

Writing is done alone but writing for publication is done together. Ruthlessly pursue another set of eyes to read and evaluate your work. And watch the smoke from your words vanish and the fire blaze.

**Next Tuesday, I'll talk about how to critique someone's work.**

Monday, October 22, 2007

Book of the Week

Tiffany and I've been brainstorming about this blog. We think it will look something like this:
Monday: Books
Tuesday: Writing Tips
Wednesday: Blogs
Thursday: Authors
Fridays: Quotes

We're keeping things pretty flexible at first. We plan to offer views on favorite books, fiction and nonfiction. Dispense some writing advice--things we've learned along the writing road. Highlighting writing blogs and interview authors, maybe give away some books. And, since Tiffany and I are wordsmiths, we love quotes, so on Fridays we'll have fun sharing some of our favorite ones.

If it's Monday, that means we're talking books. And if you're a writer, you should have a copy of William Zinsser's On Writing Well on your bookshelves. I'm on my second copy of Zinsser's book--the 30th anniversary edition. Topics covered include simplicity, audience, leads and endings, different types of articles, and a writer's voice. Zinsser is a writer, editor and teacher--and he just knows his stuff when it comes to writing.

Here's one of my favorite Zinsser quotes:

Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful
for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on
paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more
economy? Is anything pompous or pretentious or faddish? Are you hanging on
to something useless just because you think it's beautiful?

Think how your writing would sing if you rose to this one challenge and simplified your writing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The First Step for the Writing Road Blog

Why another blog?

Why another blog about writing?

My Website The Writing Road has been up and around for a couple of years now. Most writers have a Website--what I call an "online business card." Nowadays it's pretty much expected that a writer have a Web presence.

The Writing Road is geared to beginning and intermediate writers--a way to help them make progress along the writing road. It's also a way to say, "Hi, this is me--Beth K. Vogt. I'm a writer and here's what I write about."

Now the time feels right to add a blog to the Website. It adds a new dimension to the site--an immediacy to the information available at The Writing Road.

My writing comrade, Tiffany Stuart, is my blogging buddy. We're already brainstorming the "what-ifs" of the blog. What if we do this? What if we do that? Quotes on writing? Book reviews? Author interviews? Personal insights on living in the alternate universe of the writing world?

Check back and see what we come up with.

Keep writing!