Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ten Ways Fiction Compares With Life by Karen Albright Lin

Ten Ways fiction is different than life:

1)  Life starts at the beginning.
     Fiction starts in the middle.

2)  Minimize conflict in life.
     Maximize conflict in fiction.

3)  Life: Want it to be in your control.
     Fiction: Want it to be unpredictable.

4)  Life: Dialogue is often mundane.
     Fiction: Dialogue is clipped, relevant, dynamic.

5)  Life: Truth through facts.
     Fiction: Truth through lies.

6)  Life: What you see is what you get.
     Fiction: What you see is rarely what you get.

7)  Life: Poetry of life measured in the macro.
     Fiction: Poetry of life measured in the micro.

8)  Life: Protect the good guy from the bad.
     Fiction: Kick good guy while he’s down.

9)  Life: Backstory matters when we talk about it.
     Fiction: Backstory only matters when needed.

10)  Life: No do-overs.
       Fiction: Editing allowed.

Ten Ways fiction is the same as life:

1)  Begins with great promise.

2)  We don’t want to be cliché, yet we want to fit in.

3)  Everyday life until something goes wrong.

4)  We want it to be interesting and engaging.

5)  Setting has great influence.

6)  Both are a series of discoveries.

7)  Act on motivations.

8)  Both include major turning points (think teen, menopause, bar mitzvah, baptism).

9)  Resolutions suggest more story.

10)  End is unpredictable yet inevitable.

About the Writer:  Karen is an editor, ghostwriter, pitch coach, speaker and award-winning author of novels, cookbooks, and screenplays. She’s written over a dozen solo and collaborative scripts (with Janet Fogg, Christian Lyons and director Erich Toll); each has garnered international, national and regional recognition: Moondance Film Festival, BlueCat, All She Wrote, Lighthouse Writers, Boulder Asian Film Festival, SouthWest Writers Contest, and PPW Contest. Find out more at www.karenalbrightlin.com.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sweet Success! Ian Thomas Healy

Ian Thomas Healy's superhero novel for adults, Just Cause (ISBN: 978-0984882816, 294 pages, trade paperback/ebook), was released November 24, 2011 (ebook) and December 1, 2011 (print) by New Babel Books. The book is available at New Babel Books (http://newbabelbooks.com), Amazon (print edition only), Barnes & Noble, and on Smashwords. The author's website is at www.ianthealy.com.

Some superheroes can fly, or lift great weights, or shoot lightning bolts.

Mustang Sally runs.

A third-generation superhero, Sally's life changes forever when she fights and loses to the notorious villain Destroyer, who killed her father just before she was born. She dedicates herself to tracking him down so she can even the score.

When all you can do is run, you'd better be fast, but can even the fastest girl in the world run quick enough to save her teammates' lives from Destroyer and his growing parahuman army?

Ian Thomas Healy is a prolific writer who dabbles in many different speculative genres. His superhero novel Deep Six: A Just Cause Novel was a Top 100 Semi-finalist in the 2008 Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award. He's an eight-time participant and winner of National Novel Writing Month, where he's tackled such diverse subjects as sentient alien farts, competitive forklift racing, a religion-powered rabbit-themed superhero, cyberpunk mercenaries, cowboy elves, and an unlikely combination of vampires with minor league hockey. He is also the creator of the Writing Better Action Through Cinematic Techniques workshop, which helps writers to improve their action scenes. His goal is to become as integral to the genre of superhero fiction as William Gibson was to cyberpunk and Anne Rice was to urban fantasy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Write ON # 4 from Chris Mandeville

Editor’s Note: Following are the tips Chris Mandeville provided to those participating in NaNoWriMo and NaNoTRYMo during the last week of November, but they are excellent tips any time of year!

Write ON #4
Five Tips, Quotes and Exercises
Provided by Give! 2011 Collaborating Nonprofits

We've made it three-fourths of the way through November, NaNo-ers. It's been a long and arduous journey, and it's not over yet. Is your energy or enthusiasm flagging? If so, we hope the quotes and suggestions below inspire you and reinvigorate your NaNo efforts. Press on!

1. Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way. Dr. Seuss

Today is your day TO WRITE. Don't let ANYTHING stand in the way! 


2. "I get everything all beautifully planned out and it has to go and rain." E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web 

If it feels like rain is ruining all your best laid plans, why not embrace the rain? Try welcoming whatever it is that's putting a damper on your plot, waylaying your characters, or washing away your carefully drawn world. Instead of fighting the problem or ignoring it, go with it! See where it takes you. This "rain" could be exactly what your novel-in-progress needs. If you don't end up loving the rain, you can always try a colorful umbrella.


3. One Man, an Inspiration by K. Chopera:

"He began his work and got his aim. He was alone, but he didn't lose his patience and most importantly his hope." From Stone Soup 2011, a publication of essays by participants of the Pikes Peak Library District's Adult Literacy and ESL Program 

In the last three weeks you began your work and got your aim. Now it's time to hang on to your patience and your hope for the final third of NaNo. Have faith and confidence: you can do it!


4. Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. Shel Silverstein 

You have the power and the ability within you to reach your goals. But beware--right next to them are the doubts and the excuses. Be aggressive in pursuit of your goals, and shove aside anything gets in the way, especially the obstacles within you. They often seem the most formidable but they are actually the ones most within your control.


5. Want to double the speed you're racking up the word-count? It's simple: banish your inner editor. That means stop critiquing and second-guessing what you've just written, and leave the delete key alone. Shut out the voice of the perpetually unhappy critic who lives in your head, and replace it with a cheerleader who thinks you can do no wrong. If you keep your "editor's hat" in the drawer and your "writer's hat" firmly on your head, you'll be amazed how fast you complete your rough draft. But be careful not to lose your inner editor forever--when NaNo is over, take out that "editor's hat" and make your story shine.


For more information about these nonprofit organizations and their collaboration in Give! 2011, please visit http://pikespeakwriters.com/html/give_2011.html.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kindle Fire: Why I Returned Mine, But Still Recommend It by Linda Rohrbough

Editor’s Note: The opinions in this article are that of the author, and do not imply endorsement of any particular product by the Pikes Peak Writers.

When the Kindle Fire was announced, I ordered it the same day. And waited over a month to get it. I returned it recently, but I still think it’ll be a success. Here’s why.

Why I Ordered
I have the second generation Kindle. When the first one came out, I passed because it looked clunky. And it turns out it was clunky. The second one looked like it had promise. And what I discovered is the main beauty of the Kindles (up until the Kindle Fire) is you can always connect to the Kindle store. No WiFi needed. Which means you can always get something else you want to read. Doesn’t matter where you are or what time it is. No planning ahead required.
Since I travel a fair amount, this is important to me. I usually have a series of books I am studying by a fiction author, reading them in order from the first to the most current title. (I just finished studying Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series and am starting on Allison Brennan’s books.)
Now, I figured the Kindle Fire would be the same way. My mistake. You must have WiFi available to connect to the Kindle store. I knew the Fire would browse the web, and I figured Amazon was smart enough not to provide every Kindle Fire customer with free, unlimited access to the Internet. But I thought the thing would operate like its predecessors and allow me to download Kindle books any time, any place. Nope, I was wrong.

The iPad Nixes the Fire
Playing with the Kindle Fire, my conclusion is that if you have an iPad, you don’t need a Kindle Fire. Fire does most of what the iPad does, including a lot of the same Apps, but it’s clunky. (It’s the Droid operating system, so there are a lot fewer Apps, but still enough to be respectable.)
What do I mean by clunky? It’s elegant when it first starts. But when you drill down some, that’s when I noticed the problems. For example, where I wanted to scroll through a list of Apps on the screen, instead of a smooth, rolling motion, it’s a jerky, pot-hole-filled ride that is hard to track. Plus, for web browsing, it’s harder to work with than my iPhone even though the screen is bigger.
I kept my Kindle Fire for a month on the nightstand next to my iPad. And when it was new, I picked it up first because I was curious. But later, after fat-fingering choices I didn’t want on websites and clunky scrolling that made me cross-eyed, when it came time to reach for one or the other, I found myself reaching for the iPad.
You can also watch movies on the Fire, through Amazon. But that requires not only WiFi, but another $79 a year for Amazon Prime. Prime offers other perks like free priority shipping of items purchased on Amazon.com and a best-seller lending feature, although Amazon is in a fight with publishers over that. I did get 30 days of Amazon Prime free, but it wasn’t enough of a draw for me to plunk down more dough. I must say, though, the return process for the Fire was hassle-free and didn’t cost me anything.

I Still Recommend the Fire
Price is the big upside to the Fire. The other big contender, the Barnes & Noble Nook, while smoother, won’t allow you the same Internet access or let you download Apps. (You can “root” the Nook, and turn it into an Android tablet. But that means getting inside the case to pull the SD card and tweak the code on it, which I suspect voids the warranty along with any support from B&N.)
For just under $200, the Fire is a great choice for an e-reader that does more, given that’s less than half the cost of a low-end iPad. And Amazon says sales of the Fire are good, so it’ll be widely supported, which is another big perk. The bottom line is my recommendation for someone new to e-readers, who wants something inexpensive and cool, is the Kindle Fire.

About the Writer:  Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for her fiction and non-fiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." She recently won the 2011 Global eBook Award and the 2011 Millennium Star Publishing Award for her new novel. An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Write ON # 3 from Chris Mandeville

Write ON #3
Five Tips, Quotes and Exercises
Provided by Give! 2011 Collaborating Nonprofits

Stuck? Stalled? Or just plain bored with what you're writing? Call "King's X" and take a time out to try one of the exercises below. Before you know it, you'll be ready to get back in the game.

1. "Inside all of us is a wild thing." Maurice Sendak in Where the Wild Things Are

Are you afraid to go wild with your writing? Give yourself permission to let your wildest thing out, and let the wild rumpus begin! To make it less intimidating, start with a fresh sheet of paper or a new computer document, and set a time limit. If your inner wild thing writes something awful, you can throw it away and you've lost next to nothing. But chances are good that somewhere in the rumpus you will find a gem worth keeping.


2. Feed your imagination...by feeding your characters. What would each of your main characters—including your antagonist—choose for their last meal? Create backstory that explains why.


3. A Golden Key by Larysa Harrington

"We all know that a golden key opens every door. For us, this golden key is our knowledge of English, which give us the possibilities to have the education, prestigious work, and communicate with friends. To have this 'golden key' we must be diligent, assiduous, and attentive that for the future, we could send our own knowledge ("our golden key") to other people, and help them too." From Stone Soup 2011, a publication of essays by participants of the Pikes Peak Library District's Adult Literacy and ESL Program

Find your character's "golden key" – the one thing that will open the door to his or her biggest dreams coming true.


4. "Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." Barbara Kingsolver

Banish the voices of the critics you keep in your head, and torpedo your desire to please them.

Be yourself and say what you want to say, the way only you can say it. Trust yourself to give words to your vision. Write your story—no one else can.


5. Take a note from history. Select a famous historical event—a pivotal battle, a royal wedding, an amazing discovery, or even a traumatic/dramatic/climactic event from your own history. Don't take too long, just pick one. Now, how can you incorporate a similar scenario in your story? Chances are the details won't mesh, but look at the event symbolically. How could a situation like that become a scene for your protagonist? Or your antagonist? Try writing a scene in the historical period, then write one in your story's setting.


For more information about these nonprofit organizations and their collaboration in Give! 2011, please visit http://pikespeakwriters.com/html/give_2011.html.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

PPW News and December Events

Saturday, December 10:  As part of the IndyGive program, we're participating in a "Cake Walk" at Dillard's in the Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs, 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  We will have a fabulous cake on display - please come by and vote for the PPW cake to win the "Best Cake" award!

Saturday, December 17: We're doing a gift-wrapping fundraiser at the Barnes & Noble store on Briargate Blvd. in Colorado Springs. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., PPW volunteers will wrap items purchased at B&N in return for a donation. Stop by, buy some gifts, have them wrapped, and help out your Pikes Peak Writers!

December Write Brain, December 20:  This month’s Write Brain, 52 Ways to Get Unstuck by Chris Mandeville, will not be held at Celebration Place! Instead, we will host it as an “online” Write Brain. You can simply go to the PPW web site and download the MP3 file with its accompanying handout. 52 Ways to Get Unstuck is an expanded version of the mini-Write Brain Chris presented in November, which received an enthusiastic response. Download and enjoy!  

IndyGive Campaign:  The IndyGive donation campaign runs through the end of the year. You can help PPW by:
  • Donating $10 (or more) to PPW at IndyGive.com
  • Asking your friends and family to make small donations to PPW thru IndyGive
  • Post on your Facebook account, web site, and email signature block that you've donated, and invite others to do so!