A Deal for You, A Deal for Them

I came across this AMAZING deal the other day from Writer’s Digest. And now you have just a couple more days to act on it, so don’t waste another minute. Go HERE and check out these SEVEN writing books that are absolutely FREE.

That’s right, friends. They’re part of a free NaNoWriMo ebooks deal. And don’t tell me that you don’t have an e-reader, ’cause you can download a FREE Kindle for your PC. Yes, you can. Then you can download any or all of these FREE books. Yes, you can!

Then, after saving ALL that money, you can zip over to the Light Up the Library Auction and bid on something special. There are a ton of categories, and one especially for you, writers.

Now, I love libraries and I love how this auction will benefit the Musana Children’s Home Library in Uganda. So check out what Jean Reidy‘s been up to, and take a look at her book, Light Up the Night, then light up a child’s life with your bid.

Finding Something Friday: The One With a List

So I cleaned out ALL my emails, which was really just cleaning out a TON of newsletters and such that had been languishing in the old inbox. But I found some interesting stuff to share with you, the languishing summer writer.

1. Kate Wolford over at Enchanted Conversation is having a contest, perfect for summer. She’s looking for a great character sketch of a summer fairy, in 300 words or less. All you writer friends who are hooked on memes, put that writing practice to work for you! Deadline is June 17th.

2. Need some fast summer money? I just came across London Brokers, a web content provider. Unlike Demand Studios, you don’t have to apply. But you don’t make much moola, either. Still, pay is through Paypal. Just pick a topic, write, and get a flat fee.

3. Cheryl Klein is the speaker for a WD webinar on “How to Plot and Structure your Novel.” You’ll also get a query and first 250 words critique. So if a conference will break your budget, or you simply can’t get away, here’s a chance to hear an amazing editor (she’s a senior editor with Arthur Levine) for $89.00. The seminar’s June 23, but you’ll have access for a year, so you can listen and learn whenever you get your lazy summer boomerosity in gear.

4. And because some of you have little ones (or grand little ones) and might be traveling, I’m throwing in this site called MomsMinivan with its printable car activities and games. If I’d had this little gem back in the day, I would not need Golden Auburn or whatever haircolor Gloria uses to disguise the gray hairs I earned on kiddie road trips. And don’t forget rainy days–stick the kids in an inside fort and throw a few games and flashlight inside. Bottom line: You can save a ton of money for yourself in hair dye down the road.

That’s it, my summer sistahs (and brothers). Go forth and languish no more!

How to Find Column Ideas

When friends read my column in Modern Senior Living Magazine, they will invariably say the same thing. First, it’s “You’re making that up.” And second, they’ll say, “It’s a good thing you’ve still got your parents/husband/kids around.”
And I always say the same thing. First, “I wish I could say I made that up.” And second, “Yeah, those folks come in pretty handy in the column-fodder department.”
Now, I know the old writing adage, “write what you know.” But I think it should really be “write who you know.” Trust me. If you want to come up with a column idea, week after week or month after month, you’d do well to hook up with a big, somewhat colorful family. Of course, it works out great if it’s your own family.
Because family might get a tad annoyed when you write about them, but at the end of the day, they keep coming back, providing more columns.
(A special thank you to my mom who has NO idea that the May column (page 8) sort of spotlights her colorful behavior. And let’s keep it that way, okay?)

Writing A Pitch: As Easy as 1-2-3 (Okay, There’s a 4, 5, Maybe Up to 10)

Whilst catching up with emails and such, I came across an issue of Writing World that I hadn’t quite perused yet. I think that’s where I happened upon this delightful link to Kathy Carmichael’s Story Pitch Generator.

(Is it just me, or am I talking a bit fancy? That’s what happens when I read proper writing like I findest in Writing World.)

Anyway, yes, it’s a simple generator. But here’s what I love, love, love about this funny, little tool. It forces you to whittle away till you get to the essence of your novel. If you can’t fill in the blanks quickly and easily, then you don’t know yet what your novel’s about. And how can you pitch something you haven’t got a handle on yet?

It’s enough to make you want to pitch your manuscript out the window! Instead, take a deep breath and think about the simple questions. Really thinkest.

Bet you’ll find that pitch, after all. (Better go get your manuscript out of the bushes while you’re at it.)

National Doodle Day–Who Knew?

Well, I, for one, did not know that today is National Doodle Day. (That’s Neil Gaiman’s Doodle. Looks remarkably like something a Junior Hall drew in the 4th grade. )

But I kinda like this doodle idea.

I know most of us think of doodling as drawing little squiggles or curves, making silly little pictures on a piece of paper. We doodle in a class when the teacher gets boring. We doodle at a conference when the speaker gets repetitive. We doodle at church when the sermon drags.
Or maybe that’s just me. The point is, most of the time, we doodle when our mind’s not completely occupied. But have you ever let your mind doodle? When you’re occupied with some boring chore, like pulling weeds, or painting outside furniture, or scrubbing a tub, haven’t you let your mind wander? Sort of like a mental doodle?
I doodle out a plot problem while I’m planting a row of pansies. I doodle out an idea for a column while I’m washing my hair. I doodle a character’s traits while I’m unloading the dishwasher. When I mentally doodle, thoughts ramble about here and there. I may not have a substantive solution, but I will have a starting point, or perhaps a couple of points to develop.
The problem with mentally doodling is that, if you’re not careful, your wonderful doodle will go poof! Unlike your squiggles from your 10th grade notebook (Cathy + Tommy 4ever), thoughts and ideas may not stick around unless you take a moment to write them out.
Although, honestly, I have a couple doodled notes that make absolutely no sense to me now. Sort of like Tommy 4ever. I have NO idea who Tommy was.