Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

Blogging in 2012

01/04/2012

Last year at this time I was committed to writing a blog a day. As you well know, I started out strong and fizzled out half way through. This year I am going to be much more realistic in my goals. I make no promises for a daily blog. I do hope to post weekly but if writing, teaching, and/or spending quality time with my family interfere, so be it. I will get back to posting as soon as possible.

At best this new plan will result in better blog content and more followers. At worst it will give me a little time to goof off and that’s not bad at all.

So, what can you expect to find here?

1. Installments of a fiction piece titled,  Girl in the Wind.

I’m not sure how long it will be or how it will end. It’s a story that is writing itself as I type it. Reading that last sentence will drive writers who have a clear outline in place before they begin a little crazy. I apologize for that. But, I’ve discovered that when a story starts telling itself it’s best to let it flow. I’m often delighted by how things work out in the process. In this case, I hope you will be too.

I repeat, the story is fiction. However, in places I will draw on my life for inspiration. If I write it well you will be left wondering what is true and what is pure imagination. When asked, I will smile an inscrutable smile and assure you I am innocent of all wrong doing. And please, don’t rely on whether or not I blush when saying so in order  to determine the truth of my assertion. Blushing  happens often to fair-skinned people like me and, at my age, it could be signaling the onset of a hot flash.

2. Guest bloggers. Authors, aspiring authors, bloggers and others with something of interest to writers and readers are invited to contact me about doing a guest blog.  Readers enjoy a change of pace from time to time and so do I.

3. Book reviews.  I will post my review on my blog, Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com. I also write a monthly book review column for About Families Publications with a circulation of 48,000 families. I prefer hard copies of books but I do have a Nook e-reader so I can accept electronic copies.

4. Odd comments and things of interest as they come to my attention.

Installment one of Girl in the Wind will be posted tomorrow with future installments appearing weekly after that. I look forward to your comments.

 

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The X Factor – Rejected

09/23/2011

If the new TV reality show titled The X Factor  were a book the author, Simon Cowell, would receive a letter reading something like this:

Dear Author:

Thank you for your interest in XYZ Publishing.  While your story touches on a subject of interest to many we must decline to accept your work at this time. The opening contained far too much exposition and back story to hold our interest. The frequent retelling of information about the characters identified as  judges causes the reader to begin to lose interest almost immediately.

You should know that the excessive use of flash and bling in your presentation does not make boring material more interesting.  A more subtle hand would result in your audience wanting more, not less, of what you’re offering.

On a positive note, you do show talent for interesting character development in some cases. Scenes with Melanie Amaro and Stacey Francis indicate you do have talent.  Unfortunately, you rushed through a number of scenes that could have added credibility to the story in order to back slide into blatant pandering to what you must believe is a very immature audience. The inclusion of a ridiculous nude scene and the over reaction of a grown woman to the sight of a penis indicates your lack of  ability to self edit and cannot be overlooked.

If you plan to continue to market this material we suggest a major rewrite.  By being less self-indulgent and focusing more on the strength of your characters you could end up with an interesting  and much more appealing piece of work.

Sincerely,

The Editors

XYZ Publishing

XYZ

Summer Writing Camp for Kids – Some Results

08/01/2011

Kids pull no punches when asked for commentary and sometimes they volunteer their comments without being asked.

Three weeks ago I taught my first summer writing workshop for kids ages 7-12. It was a weeklong writing camp held at a local community center. For three hours each morning I tried my best to convince 19 kids that being inside with me was more interesting than playing outside with their friends or participating in the Minute-To-Win-It camp across the hall.

Sometime midday on the first day one of the kids asked my why I have a boy’s name. Whoever formatted the sign-in log each child and parent had to sign each morning had listed my name as Ms. Bobbi at the top of the page.

I’ve been asked that question by kids for as long as I can remember, starting with my grade school classmates. I explained as I alway have,  that some names, depending on the spelling, can be used by boys and girls. Bobbi with an “i” is a rare but not unheard of nickname for Barbara, my given name.  And besides, I look like a girl so it’s not a problem.

“Except for that hair,” one observant boy commented to the approval of the rest of the class. Clearly they had been wondering why my hair is so short. I was happy  to tell them about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and how my husband and I participated in a fundraising event to raise money for research into a cure  for cancer in children. In support of the cause we had volunteered to have our heads shaved.

“I was completely bald then,” I said. “What’s up there now is a lot longer than it was a few weeks ago.”

“Cool,” seemed to be the consensus in the room after that.  And they seemed to settle into the rhythm of creative writing a lot easier when I brought in a photo of Bald Bobbi the next day and we talked about the stories we could write based on that picture.  They accepted me, funny name, weird hair, and all. And I accepted their comments no matter what.

When, at the end of camp, the time came to ask them and their parents to fill out a comment sheet, I trusted them to tell it like it is. They did.

You Are the BEST!  – by Enzo

It’s Good. – Rithvik

This was the BEST! She always gives new things to help us write. When I first got there I was a bit confused, but the next day it was great! Maybe I will sign up next year. –  Joe

I now know how to write a book with chapters. I also learned a lot of skills. – Simran

I wish my Grandma had signed me up for something else. – Nicholas  (Oh well, you can’t win them all and I did ask for the truth.)

Next week I meet a new group of kids for fice days of writing camp. I hope they are looking forward to it as much as I am.

Two Paws Up and a Snap for Rewriting.

07/11/2011

I am very  excited to announce that my book, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, is named A Best Dog Book for Young Readers in the latest issue of Cesar’s Way Magazine. Cesar being Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, of TV fame.

In honor of the dog theme you may catch me  doing a  spontaneous Snoopy Happy Dance at any moment throughout the coming weeks.

The idea for the Storee Wryter series had been percolating in my creative mind for several years. In fact, the original version of Storee Wryter was very different from the one now available in print, e-book and audio book form.  It was intended as picture book suitable for kids in kindergarten to first grade. The illustrations were clip art and the cover was a self-portrait drawn on card stock. I printed a few copies on my office printer and stapled the pages together.  Then I approached local schools for an opportunity to present the story to a classroom full of kids.

Somehow I pulled it off. I remember being incredibly nervous the day I faced nineteen shining young faces. I was dressed in the same outfit Storee Wryter was wearing in the book.  In the current book Storee represents me at the age of eight. The age I was when I started writing. In the original version Storee was pictured as an adult. I thought it would be a great hook to have the character in the book come to life when doing a reading or book signing.

Most of the kids seemed to enjoy the simple story and I was very pleased when they realized that I was Storee Wryter. However, there was one little critic in the audience  who let me know he felt the story was lame. He rolled his eyes and yawned throughout the reading and when I asked the class if they liked the book he responded with an emphatic, “no.”  That one little voice stayed with me long after I left his school that day. Despite the fact that I knew I had a good concept, I had to agree that something wasn’t quite right and so it sat in my files and in the back of my mind waiting for me to figure out what the problem was.  Eventually I scrapped the orignal version.  Storee Wryter was conceived, in part, to inspire kids to write. I wanted to show them that creativity can be a lifelong passion and that they are natural story tellers now.

That’s when I realized that Storee should be their age. I wrote at eight-years-old. I used the things I knew in everyday life as inspiration. In this new version she would too. Excited by this new inspiration I crafted a completely new story including Crtitique, Storee’s cat, and Addie, a therapy dog in training, providing both Storee and the young readers with inspiration for their writing at the end of each chapter. I  also included writing prompts in the back of the book to encourage the kids to write about their own pets, real or imagined, and send them to Storee on her website or blog.  I was very pleased and thought I was done.  I wasn’t. It took many months and  another complete rewrite suggested by my editor, involving writing for an audience the same age as Storee and expanding the book into a sixty page chapter book,before it was ready to go into production.

Holding the first printed copy in my hands was a moment I will never forget. Receiving  a glowing comment in Cesar’s Way Magazine not only has me dancing in my kitchen, it reconfirmed my belief that the concept is a good one. There will be more Storee Wryter books with Critique as a continuing character.  It was also and excellent reminder that  good writing is, in reality, re-writing. I’m thankful that I listened to my young critic and my wise editor and didn’t stop writing until the book was truly finished.

My question of the week: Have you worked and reworked an idea to finally rewrite it into exactly what you hoped it would be? If so, please tell us what you did and how the story changed through the process.

Now for a short commercial break: Please help me inspire young writers by purchasing a  signed copy of Storee Wryter Gets a Dog for a young reader in your family or donate a copy to a library or charity promoting literacy in your community. To place and order go to: www.storeewryter.com

It’s Been Longer Than A Week

07/07/2011

My intentions were good. I planned on being very good about dates and deadlines and all those things.  I’m pleased to say that writing got in the way. Not the actual putting words on paper or clicking keys on keyboard kind of writing, but the very productive the voices of my characters are talking to me, sort of writing.

I can see the page where I left off and my fingers are itching to get started again. One would think I would be doing that instead of this but that’s not how it works for me. There’s an intangible sense of knowing that comes over me when the time is right. Once that happens I know the words will flow and the story will take shape. Until then I keep my hand in by submitting short stories written months ago or trying out a new market. I teach writing workshops and do readings, all of which I’ve done since the last time I posted here.

At times like this writing is work. However, when the words and ideas are truly flowing writing is like soaring. I know I have to be aware of my surroundings so I don’t crash but the free flow of ideas is such a delight the experience becomes effortless.

Is it like that for you? Do you soar and come to rest in intervals as I do? If not, what does it feel like when the story begins to unfold?

***

I am pleased to say that the work of writing is showing some results as well.  Two of my short stories are scheduled for publication in the online magazine Eerie Digest www.eeriedigest.com Sweet Revenge will appear in the September issue and The Marriage Contract will appear in the October issue.  I like these quirky pieces. Each shows a darker side to this author first published in anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort and who is now the author of a book for young readers, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, www.storeewryter.com

Do you have multiple writing personalities as I do or is your writing entirely focused on one genre?  I look forward to reading your answers. Until next time, write away!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – Workshop Part 1

05/13/2011

Today I’m teaching part one of my two-part course for writers, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

Learn how to evoke real emotion in memoir or personal essays. Participants are encouraged to bring an assortment of candid photos taken at significant moments in their life to use as inspiration in this interactive workshop. Part I will be mostly instructional/writing. In Part II (Sun @ 9:15), participants can share what they wrote in Part I and get helpful feedback

Checkout this link to see the other informative workshops available today. http://www.pennwriters.org/prod/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=255

What to Write About?

05/04/2011

There are so many things that need my attention today that I am almost paralyzed.  I still have work to do on my upcoming workshop at the Pennwriters Conference next week.  Next week! OMG it’s next week. Yesterday I realized that what has been far on the horizon for so long is now imminent and I’m not quite ready. I’ll get there. I always do but in this moment all I can think is, How on earth can I get it all done?

The Young Voices Awards call for submissions honoring books that Inspire, Mentor, and/or Educate readers of all ages just closed. That means I have to mail the book to the judges for review and scoring. This is another near monumental task that should be done this week. Oh boy.

Today I absolutely must get to the post office to mail the April Book of the Month to the young reader whose name wa selected in the monthly drawing sponsored by the Young Voices Foundation. I’ve already put the information about the May drawing up on the website so that’s one thing I can cross off the to-do list.

I sent my book review column to About Families Publications yesterday afternoon. Not as early as the editor would like it but not late either. About the same time I was hitting the send button on my keyboard two more books for review arrived in the mail. The good news is, I have three weeks before I have to submit another column.

It’s almost eleven o’clock and I’m still in my pajamas and robe. My tea has grown cold and I really need to go to the bathroom. Before I log off to take care of that pressing need and head out to deliver posters announcing my upcoming book signings at Dog Day Afternoon in Leesburg and Borders Express at Dulles Town Center I want to explain why you, my readers, have been subjected to this rant.  It’s because with all of that going on and more I could not think of a single thing to write about this morning. Stop by tomorrow when I hope to have something better to entertain you with.

If You Want to Write

05/03/2011

1. READ  – Novels, Biographies, Books about Sports, signs along the road, read cereal boxes, read plays, read poems. Read  horror and sci fi and romance and mystery. Read blogs and text messages, read on line, use an e-reader or a ratty old book you found under your bed.

2. Learn and use the Rules of Grammar, Punctuation and Form

3. LISTEN- Listen to family stories, listen to music, listen to the news, listen to gossip (don’t repeat it – use it in a story or book or play), listen to little kids and old people. Listen to bird song and crickets. Listen to traffic sounds and hear the life in it. Listen to your dreams and your doubts and make stories out of what you hear.

4. READ – read comic books and graphic novels, read history books and the classics.

5. Write – Write about what you know and what you don’t know. Write about life and death and fish and bubble gum. Write about anything that comes into your head. Some of it will be great – a lot of it will not be great. It doesn’t matter as long as it gets your imagination going. This is how you entice your brain to cut loose with all the imagination stored in there. Let it out and use what you can, store the rest in a file on your computer. You might want it someday.

6. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. They don’t know what you can do. Only you can decide that. As long as you have ideas you can create stories. But you do have to learn the craft as well as the art. SEE RULE 2 AS OFTEN AS NEEDED.

7. READ – read blogs and text messages. Read on line, use a Kindle, fish that ratty old paperback out from under your bed and read it again.

8. Talk to other writers. Join a writers group if there is one near you. If there isn’t start one. 9. Submit  your work to a contest or for publication –FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES – ALL OF THEM.

10. Never give up. There is a place for you in the writing world.

Writing Contest – Win A Copy of Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline

04/30/2011

Write a mini story (250-300 words) using the following words: cell phone, blog, roast beef sandwich, blow dryer, flat tire, Facebook.

Have fun with it and post your entry as a comment to this blog.  Contest open May 1 – May 21, 2011

Winner announced May 30, 2011

 Win A Copy of Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline

Raising Bookworms – Book Review

04/28/2011

Buy the Book
By Bobbi Carducci

* Good
** Very Good
*** Recommended
**** Reviewer’s Choice

Raising Bookworms
Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment
By Emma Walton Hamilton
(Beech Tree Books)
Childcare and Development/Education $14.95
Rating: ****

As one who has loved books since first learning to read I am delighted to have found one written to encourage kids to read more. Written by Emma Wilton Hamilton, “daughter of legendary actress and author Julie Andrews, this book offers over 150 creative strategies, recommendations, resources and tactics to engage even the most reluctant reader.”

I firmly believe that the kids who don’t read are the ones who have yet to encounter the first one to capture their imagination. And they are out there. Every child has a fantasy, a skill or an interest about which they would love to learn more. The key is to find it. You will have a much better chance at doing so with the wonderful resource in hand. Employ a few of the techniques she mentions and let me know how it goes.

Young dog and cat lovers will enjoy my book for young readers: Storee Wryter Gets A Dog. Even reluctant readers are saying the like the Critique, the cat-with-attitude who helps teach a young puppy new tricks.