Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Writing an Anthology & Saving Independent Bookstores

September 13, 2011

Victoria Zackheim gave an outstanding talk at the California Writers Club on Saturday.  Although she spoke on creating anthologies, much of  what she said applies to all writing. 

Which is why it’s so wonderful to attend many genres of authors speak.  Their advice and vision help all writers in ways we don’t realize until we hear them.

Regarding nonfiction books:  “Write the proposal first.  This is a clear idea of what the book is about.  It becomes an outline for you.” 

About any kind of writing:  “Dig deeper.  There’s more to the story.  There’s something  you don’t want to talk about.” 

“Describe your book in thirty words or less. Brevity works.”

Regarding anthologies:  “A community of writers is formed around each book. Now they’re creating their own communities of friends.” 

And when she wrote her introduction for the proposal of the book, 90% became the introduction of the book itself. 

What are editors looking for in an anthology? 

*originality in concept

*new ideas for fiction

*established and up-in coming authors (Not widely published so they can create a platform for them.  This gives hope for everyone!)

*provocative subjects

*ensemble that sparks interest and inspires

Writing Prompt:

1.  Write thirty words on about your book. 

2.  Come up with an idea for an anthology.  You can even do one for fun within your writing group or writing community. 

3.  Read a good anthology, such as He Said What? Women Write About Moments When Everything Changed, edited by Victoria Zackheim.


There’s an article in The New Yorker about saving independent bookstores.  The question is this:  should we?  The point has been made that video stores have disappeared.  There’s no longer a need. Why should there be one for the small  bookstore? 

I’ve had this theory since Amazon and the big chain stores popped up in our towns, closing independent bookstores.  The prices on Amazon (and their unfair no-tax system) can’t be beat.  And today’s society likes to press buttons.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they’d win over the brick and mortar chain stores.


You know what people thrive on?

A sense of belonging.  Community. 

I sense the time of independent bookstores will be right around the corner.  A few have started popping up here and there.   And many cities have never let theirs die off in the first place.  They still have author readings, book clubs and great book selections. 

So hope, pray, and visit your nearest independent bookstore.

The Future of Publishing Video

March 24, 2010

Palindrome!  Watch the ENTIRE video . . .

What to do on a Fourteen-Hour Airplane Trip

November 18, 2009

We’re back from Australia, where we traveled to see the World Solar Challenge because our son, Chris (we call him “Tofer”) was on the MIT team. (More about THIS part in a future blog.)

Today I’ll focus on the journey. Although airplanes and airports are usually no one’s favorite part of the travel experience, there are ways to make the plane trip go by more quickly.

The first fourteen hours weren’t so bad, even with a baby who screamed a few rows away.
After the first twenty minutes of solid wailing . . . while we were still on the ground in San Francisco, the young man seated between my husband and me said with a smile and a nod to the child, “Did you buy chance bring a roll of duct tape?”

I looked at my husband. We exchanged glances. We knew immediately this man’s line of work.

“You’re an engineer, aren’t you?” I said to him.

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

I didn’t tell him when Tofer was a kid I left him a roll of duct tape in his Christmas stocking. (Yes, he’s now an engineer.)

A few tips for a long flight:

1. Bring some new pacifiers. Crying baby? Stick one in the baby’s mouth for comfort. You may need one for yourself too. . .

2. Great reading material. While others may dread a long flight such as this, I LOOK FORWARD TO uninterrupted (well, mostly) reading time.

3. Soft, squishy ear plugs. (you know why)

4. A book reading light so you can keep reading while others are snoozing or watching the movie.

5. Post-it notes to mark up the book for places you really like and would like to “model” your own writing.

6. Paper and pen of course! All that reading will spark ideas or help you get unblocked on a previous project.

7. Give yourself freedom to daydream about ideas and projects while you have that pen and paper handy.

8. All of that reading works fine until your eyes burn and begin to ache. Then sleep. However, you may want to give yourself a dream intention. “I will dream of a creative idea to help my writing.” (or change the word “writing” to be something more specific)

9. On the trip home, I actually watched the movie because the movie was good. (Julie and Julia) Movies are a great way to learn and help your own storytelling abilities.

10. What is YOUR secret for surviving a long airplane ride? Feel free to share it here and with others you know when they tell you they will embark on a long trip.

Once we landed in Sydney, we had a few hours to wait and another few hours on a plane to Darwin. Those are the “tired hours.” Daydreaming and sleep are usually the only thing exhausted brains can handle at that point. But with excitement looming, who needs more?

Just like with the writing journey, our projects have a multitude of steps and ways to help get through the process. What works for one, might help another.

Books I read on this journey and in Australia: BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett, DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE by Isabel Allende, THE SHIPPING NEWS by E. ANNIE PROULX, MURDER ON THE EIFFEL TOWER by Claude Izner and TRACKS by Robyn Davidson.

The book I could not put down: BEL CANTO
Book I most looked forward to reading each night: TRACKS