Category: creative writing

Show, don’t tell: Five Easy Steps

From Writers Write

What can you do to make sure you Show and not Tell?

  1. Choose a viewpoint character: It is easier if you are experiencing the scene as one character. You can even try writing a scene in first person if this is hard for you. Use it as practice. You can change the viewpoint later if needed.
  2. Use the senses: Write a list of what your character sees, hears, feels, touches and tastes. Then write about it without using the words see, hear, feel, touch and taste.
  3. Be specific: The more specific you are with your descriptions and actions the easier it will become to show.
  4. Avoid these ‘telling’words: is, are, was, were, have, had. (more telling words to avoid)
  5. Dialogue: This is one of the simplest tools to use. The moment your characters start talking, showing becomes easier.

Innovative Ways to Market Your Novel

From the Washington Post

More than ever, successful novelists must also be savvy publicists. That market reality demands a combination of unrelated skills that many writers simply don’t possess.

But Sarah Pekkanen does. The Washington area writer launched her career as a novelist in 2010 with a paperback called “The Opposite of Me.” Since then, she’s been an instructive model of how to make it as a writer of women’s fiction. With valuable endorsements from mega-sellers Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult, she’s taken to social media effectively, developed a dedicated following and sold rights to her work around the world.

With her fifth novel, “Catching Air,” ready to publish next week, Pekkanen has been developing ever-more innovative ways to attract attention and new readers.

She’s currently getting estimates from a Rockville company for putting actor Ryan Gosling’s face on a stick. “I can bring it on tour,” she says. “He can photo bomb my pictures with readers. Dignity at all costs, that’s my motto. Franzen is weeping from jealousy.”

Read the rest of this article on the Washington Post.

How to Apply for the Amtrak Residency

From the Amtrak blog:

What began as a line in Alexander Chee’s interview in PEN Ten and was fueled by Twitter, is now an official Amtrak program.

As many of you may know by now, our test-run for Amtrak Residency was done by Manhattan-based writer Jessica Gross, whose piece, Writing The Lakeshore Limited was published in February by The Paris Review. What followed was overwhelming support on Twitter and in the media with #AmtrakResidency being featured in The Wire, The New Yorker, and Huffington Post among others.

Today we are happy to announce that #AmtrakResidency will allow for up to 24 writers to take long-distance trainsto work on their projects. Each writer’s round-trip journey will include accommodations on board a sleeper car equipped with a bed, a desk and outlets. We hope this experience will inspire creativity and most importantly fuel your sense of adventure!

Are you excited about #AmtrakResidency? Want to learn more and apply? Head over to our official entry form and good luck!

Waiting for my Rooster to Crow

Rooster App

I read about the new Rooster App on the Washington Post, and it sounds perfect for me and my newly busy life. I grieve the fact that I don’t have blocks of time to read fiction, but this seems like the perfect solution:

You don’t need to wait at the docks for the latest installment of Charles Dickens’s “Old Curiosity Shop.” But what if your iPhone could recreate the excitement — and convenience — of reading a novel in serial form?

Check out a new app called Rooster, which has the backing of some of the biggest names in the tech industry. It launches Tuesday in the Apple app store, and was created specifically for the iPhone. Every month, Rooster will send two novels to your phone: a classic tale and a contemporary story, paired to provoke interesting reflection.

But these books aren’t just dumped on you in one I’ll-never-get-to-it download. Instead, the novels arrive in your cellphone in manageable installments, according to a schedule you set yourself. “War & Peace” looks so much less daunting as a serial tale consumed every day at lunchtime like “The Days of Our Lives.” The service costs $4.99 a month.

I was excited to get started, but as soon as I downloaded the app, I got a message “please request an invitation.” So I did.  A few seconds later I got a message that basically said I’m on a waitlist and will receive an invitation when one is available.

What’s that about?

I’m happy and willing to pay the $4.99 a month to give Rooster a try.  I’m not sure what the developers are thinking–perhaps there are free memberships to get people hooked, thus the wait?  It’s completely unclear.

I am extremely disappointed. I really wanted to give this one a try.

For now I’m contenting myself by reading Gay Degani’s serialized novel, What Came Before.  It is wonderful and highly recommended.  But I’m still annoyed about Rooster.