Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
According to the web site, this is “a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.”
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
Business writers, technical writers, editors, and freelance writers, even fiction writers, may find themselves having to make presentations to a roomful of people. The experience will be much easier if you have some visual aids prepared. PowerPoint has become the tool of choice for those many businesspersons, educators, and others who speak to groups—at least the choice of those who aren’t professional visual designers and computer gurus. Some tips:
- Pick a design template that will be easy to read. Avoid dark backgrounds with light lettering. Some good ones in Word 2003 are Profile, Watermark, Pixel, Radial, Balloons, Layers, Axis, Capsules, Studio, Eclipse, Quadrant, Network, Level, Echo, Edge, Blends, and Crayons.
- Word 2007 has increased graphic capabilities and you’ll have no trouble picking professional-looking styles. Just make sure the style is not too busy or has a dark background.
- Have an opening slide that introduces you, the topic and the situation (e.g. Erica Hanson, Blogging as a educational tool, proposed article series).
- Your final slide should act in the same way as the conclusion of a report or essay: summarize and restate the thesis.
- Each slide should have a maximum number of five items—three are best. If your point has more items, use more slides.
- Keep each line or item to less than eight words—five are best.
- Include a photo, image, or artwork where you can.
- For handouts, select the option to print multiple slides per page. This usually gives enough room for people to write notes relative to each slide. Or you can print out the information on the slides as an outline. No need to create handouts separately.
- Read from your hardcopy or your computer—don’t keep turning around to read off the projected image.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I get their free weekly sampler.
New Moon magazine for girls has won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for the best children’s magazine six times. One reason for its success is that it really knows its market. The magazine is edited by the magazine’s Girls Editorial Board, composed of girls aged 8 to 14. Last year, the Girls Editorial Board decided that it would be perfect to have a feature article in the “Feed Me!” issue on chocolate, and who better to write it than 8-year-old resident Belle, whose mother, Kate Hearley, works at Legacy Chocolates in Menomonie, Wisconsin.
“Even though sometimes we search for girls to write particular articles, like we did with Belle, much of the content of the magazine comes from girls’ submissions,” said Catherine Conover, Associate Editor at New Moon. “Girls should send us their artwork, poetry, stories, articles, questions and responses for “Ask a Girl”—an advice column by and for girls—and letters to Luna, who is the spirit of New Moon magazine.”
New Moon magazine is based in Duluth, Minnesota, and for 13 years has been published for girls who want their voices heard and their dreams taken seriously. Adult staff work with the Girls Editorial Board to produce the award-winning magazine. Visit their web site at http://www.newmoon.org/ and encourage any young writer you know to submit their ideas.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The present-day murder affects Falcon, forcing him to face his own fears (which he is not very brave about) as he tracks the murderer (which he IS very brave about). Reluctantly, Falcon struggles to confront his own past, particularly the relationship he discovers between his dead father—a world-famous artist who is not so famous in his other role of mercenary—and the dead man.
The vividness of the worlds of the Legion, the jet-set’s art crowd, bullfighters, the shadowy underworld of smugglers and hashish smokers, and modern politics and police in Spain are brilliantly depicted. The reader can see, hear, and smell the details. This is not a typical mystery novel, although the suspense is masterfully brought out page by page. Falcon, through the horrifying revelations of his father’s journal, learns the truth: both about himself, his family, and the murder. Well worth reading.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
From India, she heads to Bali in Indonesia to study wisdom at the feet of her next teacher, an elderly medicine man. Again, she shares generously with the reader her thoughts, fears, embarrassments, and all that she learns is also ours. And it is here in Bali that her path crosses a man from Brazil, and she can now express herself through love. Well worth reading for anyone who has engaged in a bit of self-exploration or traveled, or anyone who has ever WANTED to do a little self-exploration or traveling.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Clichés can evolve from bad writing, too. Bad writing, however, can have its uses, particularly in the case of Bulwer-Lytton, whose bad writing was nevertheless a foray into what was then still a new art form. Think of him as Picasso in his Blue Period on a very bad art day.
The writers’ joke about bad writing always plays on English writer Edward George Bulwer-Lytton. The first sentence of his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, set today’s standard for bad, clichéd writing:
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
What is now the modern novel was still a new form of writing then, and Bulwer-Lytton, for all his faults, was nevertheless a pioneer in a field that has enraptured the public since Defoe’s book Robinson Crusoe was published. No longer were fictional works confined to short pieces, or epics, or tragedies based on Greek stories. Yes, Bulwer-Lytton’s sentence was unintentionally bad to modern readers (and has anyone actually read the rest of the book in the last 160 years?), but so are a lot of other sentences. An INTENTIONALLY bad sentence, however, can be fun. For proof of that, visit http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/ to read up on the annual contest for bad sentences.
By the way, the 2007 winner is from my former stomping grounds of Madison, Wisconsin. Jim Gleeson’s winning entry is:
"Gerald began -- but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash -- to pee."
Ya gotta love it!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
The ALA defines intellectual freedom as “the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored” The ALA further states that intellectual freedom is important for the following reasons: “Intellectual freedom is the basis for our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. But to do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well-informed. Libraries provide the ideas and information, in a variety of formats, to allow people to inform themselves. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.” ( from http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/basics/intellectual.htm )
As writers and readers, these precepts should be near and dear to our hearts.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
His stories dip in and out of various time zones: some are old, some contemporary, and one takes place in 1930. This nebulous relationship with time was hard for me to adjust to at first—I wanted to know when the event was happening, by golly! I wanted to place it in the context of dates and events. After the first several stories, however, I found myself adapting to a less linear context. This urge to have time defined is very WASP of me, and it is a measure of Bruchac’s literary skills that he was able to entice me beyond the European notion of time to one with fewer boundaries, where dates matter less than the eternal passage of the seasons. A fascinating read.