Archive for December, 2015

STUMPED? GIVE A BOOK.

December 18, 2015

 

Gift giving is upon us and I know you’ll be standing alone in the store aisle soon trying to decide between the box of cherry chocolates and a Chia pet®.  My advice–DON’T DO IT.  Why not stroll into your local bookstore and find a book.  Even the giant discount stores have books.

I realize you’re harried but put a couple of moments of thought into it and select a book.  There’s really a book for everyone from HOW TO FIX EVERYTHING to a storybook of the new Star Wars movie to a Wimpy Kid book.  At first you might get a lukewarm thank you, but eventually the recipient will have a moment where the television is off and cracking the cover of that gift might seem like a good idea.

Long before I became a writer I was a reader.  Before I started first grade, I taught my unwilling little sister the alphabet and tried to teach myself to read.  Everyone was busy so other than precious moments when my father put down the day old newspaper were the only reading lessons I managed before grade school.

Remember reading opens a whole world to children.  Unless they are the offspring of world travelers, they have never been to Africa or the jungles of South America.  Reading can transport a child to the world of Paddington the Bear or Hogwarts.  They might be unwilling to turn off the cartoons and open the book, but they’ll never forget the experience if they do.

Even adults who say they have no time will enjoy spending a few moments in a book.  So why not give everyone the opportunity and give a book.  They won’t be sorry and neither will you. I recommend that families should turn off the electronic devices and spend a moments reading a book.  Hey, it doesn’t even need to be my book, just relax and enjoy!  Others will be happy to receive a new world in a book.

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‘Tis the Season

December 11, 2015

 

It is doubtful that anyone needs to be reminded that it is gift giving season. No matter your religious beliefs, there are folks out there expecting a gift. As a writer I know you’ve encountered this problem—DO I GIVE A BOOK? People out there have a variety of expectations so let’s try to cover at least the major ones and perhaps save you from being angry or frustrated.

AREN’T YOU GIVING ME A COPY OF YOUR BOOK? This group is not easy to cope with. They fail to understand the $1.99 can opener may be more within your budget than a book. These folks expect that you will “give” them a book and will be highly insulted if you don’t. They would never go to the bookstore and buy the book. They don’t realize that buying the book would increase your royalty statement and also increase the likelihood that you will give them a book in the future.

DON’T YOU HAVE BOOKS YOUR PUBLISHER GAVE YOU? The general public doesn’t understand that it is likely your publisher gave you less than ten books. That number is probably closer to five books. That means that you have to BUY books if you are going to give them away. Frankly, these people fail to understand that you aren’t really in the habit of giving out books that cost you in the neighborhood of $20 a piece. Try and explain this gently as no matter you say or do, they are going to be angry.

SHE/HE JUST GAVE ME A BOOK. Cross these folks off your list and try to forget that one of them just may be your mother. Despite the fact that probably 80% of America will tell you they are going to write a book someday. The JUST people have no appreciation for the amount of time that goes into writing, editing, rewriting, and editing a book. In their opinion anyone over the age of six could write a book and they are personally “too busy” for such foolishness. So write them off and never give them a book even if you get on the bestseller’s list and they are begging.

WOW! YOU GAVE ME YOUR NEW BOOK! Hug these people. Love them. Beg them to do a review on Amazon and be very glad you know them–and by the way Happy Holidays.

WRITING OUT FEAR AND FRUSTRATION

December 4, 2015

 

Current events can leave normal folks feeling fearful and frustrated.  Recent events may have you feeling like hiding in your house, maybe even in your bed or under it.  Starting a few weeks ago the world faced attacks in Paris, and here in the United States.  If you are like most of us, you’d like to do something to make a difference.  To make all this craziness stop is a personal goal for most of us, yet we are helpless.  We don’t have a clue what to do or how to help.

Here’s a suggestion.

Write your way through it. Sometimes giving your characters the problems from life, in this case terrorism and having them solve the problem gives the writer a sense of accomplishment and power.  What you as a helpless person can’t do, your character can do.   Is your character caught in a theater as mercenaries go on a shooting spree?  What clever way can your character employ to survive and get out of the situation?  Use your creative writing skills to solve the problem.  Who knows perhaps a real person might use your technique to survive someday.

Fear and frustration are natural ways of dealing with an overwhelming event, but don’t let your fear and frustration get the best of you.  Use your creativity to find a solution.  It will help you feel better and in the process may help your reader overcome the helpless feeling.