Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Power of A Title

What does a title say about your work? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I cringe and shield my eyes with embarrassment when I see a ridiculous title. It’s kind of sad, really. As writers we can spend months or even years writing a wonderful story that becomes our baby and then the baby is beaten over the head with the ugly stick of a bad title.

Am I the only one who sees this? I don’t think so.

A title is often a reader or viewers first impression of a book or movie. They make their first decision about the worthiness of the work by hearing the title. If the title seems reasonable and interesting they may look at the cover. If the cover is attractive they may read the blurb on the back and if the blurb intrigues them they may thumb through and read a couple of sample pages to get a feel for the writing. If I’m right in believing that a good title can help a work in reaching the right audience, a BAD title can really hinder the success of a book or movie when it screams to the audience “I’m not worthy of your time,” or “I’m too stupid for you to bother with.”

What should a title tell the audience about the book or movie?

1- It may hint at an important thematic element
2- It may introduce the audience to a main character
3- It may give a peek into the story
4- It may clue the audience to the genre, style and tone
5- It may provide mystery and intrigue

Lets look at a few examples of good and bad titles in movies and literature.

Cowboys and Aliens- Okay, they lost me already, but the good news is the title gives a clear image of what the movie is supposed to be. It clues the audience in to the genre and style. So why is it bad? Because it sounds ridiculous, in my humble opinion. The movie may have some redeeming qualities but I am not willing to give it a shot. Someone, somewhere must feel different. I just haven’t met that person yet.

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed up Zombies- Attack of the Killer Tomatos- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies- etc. etc. See my comments for Cowboys and Aliens. These titles are BAD and they tell me that the movie or book is also BAD. But at least they’re honest. They are not pretending to be something they’re not so the audience can go into the experience with their eyes wide open.

Pooh Gets Stuck and Cooking with Pooh- These are BAD titles because…do I seriously have to explain it? Maybe my middle schooler is rubbing off on me but COME ON. Many titles with “Pooh” in the title are going to seem a bit…funny/gross. Future titles such as, Tigger Plays with Pooh and Pooh Runs would be just as bad. Sorry for the gross out. The good thing about these titles is it clues the audience into the genre and introduces the main character. And though I‘ve never read it, I suspect Cooking with Pooh is about…cooking. I like knowing what I’m going to get.

Water For Elephants is another title I absolutely hate but it does manage to accomplish at least part of what it intends. To me the title sounds kind of artsy so if it is appealing to the artsy crowd—Mission Accomplished. An alternate title might have been Carnie Love. Carnie Love tells me a little more about what the story is about, but would misinform me about the tone and genre of book/movie. If I saw Carnie Love on the Marquee I would expect something with Adam Sandler, not a dramatic love story.

Here are a couple of my other favorites, just for fun.

I’m Gonna Get You Sucka! – What assumptions do you make from this title?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer- This introduces us to the main character, explains the genre, style and tone of the movie, and tells us what the movie is about.

So while many of these titles are a bit silly or painful, they may not actually be as bad as we think at first glance. I actually appreciate the honesty and creativity of (some of) these titles. I doubt anyone who does a Google, Amazon or Goodreads search of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies, will find multiple books or movies using the same title. I personally prefer a more concise, pithy title, but to each his own.

Check out my blog for some of my favorite movies with titles I love.

What is my point to all of this? Simple. Take the time to create a memorable title that informs and draws in the reader in some meaningful way. Come up with an entire list of titles. Chances are pretty good your publisher won’t LOVE the working title of your novel. Spend the time to come up with alternatives. If you don’t, they will. It’s a little strange to me that a writer may spend months or even years writing their book but only give the title secondary thought.

A title does matter. It can be powerful, serious or funny, mysterious or foreboding. Give your choice of title its proper attention and choose multiple titles that fit your work. Make sure you love them and then submit them to the publisher. Maybe the publisher will still edit your title, but don’t shortchange yourself by failing to give your title its proper attention and abdicate the naming of your work to someone else.

What do you think? I would love to hear your comments about the titles you hate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Experience in Attending a Great Workshop, Continued

We are now to Thursday of the workshop, and we discuss how to prepare a working outline before getting involved in the writing, itself. I've never done an outline, per say, so I was listening very carefully.

Here is a quick outline of the outline.

1. Develop the characters virtues, secret powers, lifestyle, etc.
2. Present an overwhelming threat - shock and awe - or low-key.
3. Opening conflict
4. The middle, where the story deepens.
5. The revelation.
7. The strategy
8. The reversals
9. The ending.

I realize that it is a very short outline but I need to get on to the next part . . . the part where I tell you that after the session on the outline, we each had to think of a story we would like to write then we had to outline the story.

You know what? It was quite an education and rather fun to do. But what was even more fun was once we read our outline to the rest of the class, they got to make suggestions that would make the outline even better. Thus came the greatest learning opportunity.

When the week ended I think everyone went home feeling it very much worth the time and money. I know I did.

Before I finish my post, I will apologize because I can't help myself. I have to tell you of another exciting week, This past week we traveled to Nampa, Idaho, where one grandson was ordained a Deacon, and another grandson received his Eagle. To add to that we got to see four baseball games.

On Thursday and Friday, we attended our granddaughter's graduation and Commemoration from BYU. She graduated with a GPA of 3.99, majoring in English and minoring in Editing. Yes, she loves to write.

Life is good. Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Remembering Why I'm Here

by Cheri Chesley

I think we all have dreams of hitting it big, of selling thousands--if not hundreds of thousands--copies of our books the first or second time out. While all of that would be wonderful, I'm not going to deny it, it's important not to let those ideas distract us from what we're really doing.

At my sons' birthday party this week, one of the party goers admitted she was on her 5th time reading my book.

At a school visit recently, one of the girls who had me sign her bookmark insisted that I didn't see her, or look at her, once during my presentation. I had to tell her not only did I see her, but the saying on her shirt almost distracted me.

We may never know how far our influence will reach. We may never see the person we are most meant to impact. But they are out there, and as long as we pursue our goals with the right ideas in mind--staying true to our beliefs and following God's plan for us--then we are a success.

We may never be able to retire on our book income, but that is not the standard by which we should measure.

At least, that's what I try to remind myself. Sometimes daily.

It's a rough path we've chosen. The more our books are out there, the more negative reviews get mixed in with the positive. And it's hard not to dwell. It's difficult not to stray slightly in our focus. It's all about staying true to the path, and trusting things will work out the way they should. Even if that doesn't exactly match our hopes or dreams. :)

I needed this reminder last night, as I sat down to edit and was just so full of despair that I ended up going to bed. Not a good night, but I think we all have nights like that. I lost my focus a bit and let the negative overwhelm the positive.

There's still nothing else I'd rather do with my life than write and publish books. Come what may, it's what makes my heart sing.

I don't think I'm alone in that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New books in the works!

By Heather Justesen

I've been pretty busy over the past few months getting one manuscript edited and out to my publisher after they accepted a third book (which is slated for a January release), trying to keep up with my critique groups (yes, I have more than one), and getting Blank Slate ready to publish. After many hours of tweaks and looking at photos for the cover, it's finally finished. I'm totally excited about how cute it turned out, and I can't wait to hold a copy in my hot little hands. Here it is:

Cute, huh!

And here's my back cover copy:

Adrianna Mueller may be a world-renowned concert pianist, but when she wakes from her coma after a serious car accident, her ability to perform has disappeared as completely as her lost memory. As she recovers from her injuries, she struggles with the expectations of everyone—her family, friends, and fiancĂ©, Brock—who all want everything to go back to the way it was.

Everyone except Gavin, Adrianna’s brother’s business partner, who finds himself drawn to the woman she is now. But he has his own problems. As he tries to get a handle on a former employee’s embezzlement, he fights his growing feelings for Adrianna.

And then a trip to the emergency room shakes everything up, leaving her to stumble as she tries to regain her footing all over again.

The process of getting ready to publish a book on my own has been different than with a publisher handling most of the tiny details for me, but so far I've actually enjoyed it, even though I know it won't get nearly the distribution the other two have gotten. I have just a little more editing to do tonight and tomorrow and hope to get everything finalized and uploaded into CreateSpace by tomorrow night. That means I won't have time to get my proof copy, approve it, and order copies for the conference in two weeks, but that's what I get for allowing myself to get distracted over the past few months.

I'm going to work next week at getting it reformatted and loaded up on all of the ebook platforms, so I'm hoping it'll be available that way by then. And I still need to make some plans for publicity--so stay tuned to find out what fun things are coming up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pitch Workshop

by Rebecca Talley

Imagine your dream editor or agent. Now think about getting on an elevator and that editor or agent steps inside next to you. Your heart thuds against your ribs and your palms start to sweat. The agent turns to you and says, "Do you write?" You swallow the cotton in your throat and give a light nod. The agent says, "Tell me about your book." You then have a few moments to not only summarize your entire novel but to hook that agent and make him/her want to read your book.

Impossible? Not if you know how to craft the elevator pitch.

In under 30 seconds, the time it takes to ride an elevator, you should be able to concisely tell someone about your book. And, even more, make that person want to read it.

Here are some links with advice on preparing a pitch because creating a pitch is as much an art form as writing the entire novel.

How to Pitch Your Book at a Writing Conference

The Fine Art of The Book Pitch

Avoiding Book Pitches that Mislead

For fun, let's practice pitches. If you have a pitch ready, post it to the comments so other readers can critique it. Come on, it'll be fun. We can have a pitch workshop right here on the blog.

Who will be first?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Going Viral. Or Not.

A dozen years ago, I had an experience that I fear skewed my perception of normal when it comes to generating publicity. Some of you may even remember this event.

Three of my sisters were all pregnant at the same time, with due dates spread over a span of eight weeks. This was the cause of some confusion early on a winter's morning when one sister called my mom and, in a pinched, mid-contraction voice said, "My water broke and I'm on my way to the hospital."

My mom's reply was, "Who is this?" It turns out it was the oldest sister, and the one farthest from her due date. The baby came quickly.

Sister number two visited the new baby on the way to her own OB appointment in the same hospital. The OB sent her back to the maternity ward, announcing that she was significantly dilated, and within hours the second baby was born.

The excitement of two cousins being born in the same morning and at the same hospital was a lot of fun, but it was also very difficult for sister number three, as she was "the most pregnant" and the only one actually due. Exhausted, she went to bed early and cried herself to sleep, only to be awakened by contractions a few hours later. Before the night was over, the third cousin had been born.

I thought this was all pretty cool, and so the next day at work I filled in an online tip form at the Associated Press website. This one simple act set off a firestorm of interest, resulting in calls from news organizations as far away as Germany and Japan, articles in People magazine, and an appearance on Oprah.

Yes, my sisters and their babies were on Oprah. And it all started with a single email.

When Bumpy Landings was released earlier this year, I knew that it was nothing as exciting as three sisters giving birth on the same day, and I had no delusions of getting a call from Oprah. However, I will admit that, in the back of my mind, I expected a similarly smooth (albeit much less grand) path to popularity.

After all, my book had a fun hook, an exotic location, and two unique book trailers. Which I have gratuitously posted below. Because I can.

However, I'm finding the skids aren't so easily greased for a niche-market novel as they are for multiple births, and this whole book marketing thing is lot more effort than I imagined. Months after release, and despite positive reviews and concerted personal effort, many independent LDS bookstores haven't heard of me or my book. Even employees at bookstores that do carry Bumpy Landings right there on the shelf claim they have never heard of it.

The road out of obscurity is steep, and I fear it might be a long one.

Of course, I haven't ruled out the possibility that I used up all of my publicity karma back in 1998.

Perhaps it only works when somebody else fills out the form.

Or maybe, just maybe, the universe is determined to keep me from the public eye. After all had those three babies come just one day earlier, they would have been born on my 30th birthday.

And then I could have been on Oprah, too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fruits of Labor

This was my counter at harvest time a year and a half ago. As you can tell from this picture, I was overwhelmed with the amount of produce I had to use or store so that it wouldn't go to waste.

It took a lot of work to get it like this:

Now, many times in my life I have tried getting around work by looking for a short cut or just trudging through it, hoping for it to end. A perfect example of this is the time when I was a little girl and couldn't leave my room until it was clean, so I just shoved all my toys and clothes under the bed.

Since then, I've discovered the wondrous enjoyment derived from doing work. There is a certain satisfaction that just can't be replaced by taking a short cut or having someone else do it for you. I realized this more fully while spending three days in a row to get to the bottom of all those boxes of apples, and what I kept reminding myself when my back ached from standing all day and when I burned myself from the hot apple jam mix that jumped right out of the pot and landed on my wrist.

The same goes for writing. Even though there have been times I have wished for some kind of magic wand I could wave and all my thoughts would fill my blank computer screen, ready for submission, there really are no short cuts. Each word in a book needs to be typed in one word at a time. But the thing is, each step along the way can be rewarding, simply because it does take a lot of thought and work to dream up, brainstorm, outline, type, revise (sometimes again and again), and edit a story.

I believe that work was intended to be a great blessing to us throughout our lives, whether it's a desk job, manual labor, raising children, or what have you. Work has the potential to create great happiness and a sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Hawthorne Effect in Writing

The Hawthorne Effect is a phrase coined in 1955 to explain the findings of experiments conducted at the Hawthorne plant for the Western Electric Company from 1924-1933. In essence the experiments set out to measure the effect of lighting on employee productivity. Will employees be more productive if they have better lighting? Will they be less productive? Does it really make a difference?

Researchers found that regardless of whether there was more or less lighting provided, productivity increased because the research participants knew they were being watched. They knew they were part of an experiment and their productivity was being monitored. Therefore their productivity increased. Interesting.

So how does this apply to writing?

Writing can be a solitary activity. We write in the quiet of our office or in our bedroom or anywhere else that provides the peace we need to think and create. To avoid distractions we separate ourselves from others so we can focus on the task at hand. For me this is very necessary. I simply cannot focus on a story when the kids are screaming and climbing on me. We may set goals for how many words, or pages, or chapters we will write in a day or a week or a month. We may outline on a calendar how long it takes to finish our first draft and we measure our productivity by how well we stick to our schedule. This is good. It breaks a large daunting task into easily chewed bite sized pieces. But what happens when we find we're not sticking to our own schedule? Do we slap ourselves on the wrist, "bad writer", and resolve to do better tomorrow, only to see another day slip away with low productivity?

While solitude may be necessary to attain proper focus in our creativity, it may also hinder us because we are accountable only to ourselves. What would happen to our writing production if we allow ourselves to be accountable to someone else? Let me suggest a couple of ways we might allow others to help hold us accountable for our productivity.

1- Share your goals with others. I have often heard it said that if a goal is not written down it is merely a hope or a dream. Hopes and dreams are good, but may not motivate to action the same way a goal can. Writing a goal down makes it real. I also think that sharing the goal with others makes it real. Share your goals with someone you respect. Not only will they help to keep you accountable, they will also be able to celebrate in your successes.

2- Join a critique group. If you are in a critique group, the assumption is that you will have something to be critiqued. Right? Do you want to commit your time and energy to attending a group physically or online and commit to critique everyone elses work while never submitting any of your own? Naturally you will want to get as much use out of the group by offering your writing for critique on a regular basis. This will keep you writing.

3- Join other groups that track production. I am thinking particularly of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Each year as November rolls around, internet groups pop up that writers can join to track their progress during the month. While committing to write 50,000 words in a month may not be your speed, the concept is excellent. Make a commitment and allow your group to track your progress towards meeting your goal. FYI-You don't have to wait for November to do this. Find another group or create your own.

4- Track your own progress on your blog or website. With a bar graph widget you can show the world your goal for how many words you expect your mansucript to be. Color it in at every 5000 words. It can show you the percentage of goal accomplished and will also show others how you are progressing and keep them excited about your work in progress. Do you want everyone else to know you've been stuck at 20% of your goal for the past month? Probably not.

When we know other people are watching, our efforts and production will increase just like in the Hawthorne experiments. Accountability increases productivity. It works in the business world, it works in the church and it can also work in our writing. Conduct your own experiment and see if it works.

How do you hold yourself accountable to your writing goals?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to save BIG on your taxes

                                                                   By Trina Boice

Death and taxes…kind of the same thing, right? Does the mere thought of tax time send you into a panic attack? It’s that time of year again! Ugh.

Tax time can mean a nightmare of headaches, wasted time and huge accountant bills. It is estimated that the average American works 4 months just to pay off federal and state taxes owed each year. How can we possibly get ahead? The rich seem to get richer and the poor seem to get poorer. Why is that? Well, one thing the rich do that the poor don't is know how to take advantage of every legal, ethical and moral tax deduction available to them.

Real estate is one way to accumulate tax deductions. Another terrific tool that allows you take deductions is having a home business of some kind. Whether it's selling Avon or designing craft items for local fairs or WRITING BOOKS, having a home office can save you BIG on tax day. Most small business owners are often concerned about tax deductions because they are not really sure of what items or expenses can legally be deducted and what constitutes a real business. The IRS expectations are that anyone claiming expenses from a business is truly operating, on a profit level, a business.

There are certain standards that the IRS uses to determine what is a legitimate business or not, and any self-employed person intending on taking itemized deductions will want to be within those standards. Once legitimacy is determined, then entrepreneurs will be pleased to know that most work from home individuals never take the full reductions possible. Adequate record keeping and good professional help should aid in working with taxes.

Many of the things you are currently paying for in your home business could be legitimate tax deductions:
• Your computer
• Your internet connection
• Your long distance and cell phone service
• A percentage of your rent or mortgage if you have a home office for your Multi-Pure work
• The initial investment costs to start your business
• Office equipment and furniture
• Conferences, classes, continuing education
* Vacations
• Car, mileage, maintenance
* Restaurants and dining
* Entertainment expenses
* Airfare, travel expenses

Items that can NOT be deducted are:
* Clothing
* Gym memberships
* Gifts over $25

I suggest you talk with a tax professional before taking any tax deductions, of course. Having a home business could save you thousands of dollars this year alone! I found some software designed specifically for network marketers called “MLM Tax Helper.” It just might be what you need so you can spend less time worrying about your taxes and more time sharing your business message with others! Check it out at: 

I also spoke with H&R Block, who graciously offered a $25 discount for our blog subscribers! You can print out your coupon here:

Just remember to keep good records and consult with a tax professional. Another great resource is       Good luck this week!


Sister Thrifty a/k/a Trina Boice

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Experience in Attending a Great Workshop, continued

On Wednesday morning, we each outlined a story that we would later write. Then, as a class, we each introduced our story, reading the outline to the rest of the class, after which each member offered suggestions and ideas that would help our our story move. It was a fun experience.

After lunch, we were introduced to what is called a Plot Chart with lines that form a triangular shape. This chart would chart each character's role,the protagonist, the antagonist, the sidekick, the guardian,etc., each playing his or her part along the chart line. We have to get to know each character and what they think and how they react. We have to know what goes on inside of him or her, establishing. This way we can establish a pattern.

We discussed the threats and crisis, and how they should be introduced to the hero, along with the try/fail, try again cycles. We discussed the conflicts that have to broaden and deepen in order to keep the reader interested. In the end, it is vital that we create a monumental climax, then carefully bring the story to an end.

Wednesday's class was another great learning experience and I felt as if I had taken a giant step forward.

I know that each author has his or her own ideas of what works for them. I, for one, have never really outlined a story. I begin with an idea and let the characters do most of the work. I thought outlining was a waste of time when I might only use it for the first few chapters. But, after walking through an outline, I decided that both ways work, depending on what the manuscript demands. We may start with an outline and decide as we go along that the outline is not following the story. Or we may begin without an outline and find that we need that support to make the story stronger.

There are so many opportunities to learn more about what it is that transforms a manuscript into a book . . . maybe even a best seller.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and check out my blog. Have a good day.

For Better or Worse

I've launched an ebook! :)

Here's a little about the story: Set in Regency England, Genevieve has married Alfred, the man she's loved for years. But the celebration of their reception is tainted by whispers of Alfred's previous bride, Arianne, who died the night she married him. Genevieve wants to live in peace with Alfred, but Arianne has a score to settle.

If you want to check it out, you can do so HERE.

Ghost Bride is a short story, only about 2300 words, and is selling for 99 cents. Yeah, I'm really breaking the bank. :) My test readers think it's a fun story, and were surprised by the twist (which, of course, I consider a success).

This is just the beginning. I plan to release more ebooks in the coming months. Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

From Rough to Finished

Tradition has it that the Pope, while admiring Michelangelo's David, asked the celebrated artist and sculptor, "How did you know what to chip away?"

Michelangelo was said to have replied, "It's easy. I just removed everything that didn't look like David."

While that's a simplistic way of explaining an artist's enigmatic and (to those who feel they lack talent) incomprehensible methods of finishing something incredible, it's also no less than true. In fiction, as in other arts, we authors have to chip our way through huge blocks of materials, only arriving at "perfection" when the last unnecessary word is deleted.

We can liken our raw story ideas to the huge block of marble pictured above. It's massive, substantial. In the author's mind, it's a terrific story, a meaningful contribution to the existing body of literature. In fact, the author can envision its final state, just as Michelangelo saw his David before he ever picked up the chisel.

But there's so much work to be done! Taking the ideas for characters, plot, settings, and scenes and typing out a first draft is the first major step. By the last page, our "statue" may have recognizable arms, legs, and a head. But still, it barely looks human, an anthropomorphic monster that may contain a great story, but in many respects resembles the product of a monkey at a typewriter. It's packed with redundant description, obscurred by cliche, bogged down with dead-weight adverbs and bursting with boring backstory.

At this point, you can take a hard look at what you've created and break out the finer tools. In your revisions, you whittle away first the big things that make you cringe, then the smaller ones. You progress from the chapter level, to each scene, then paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, until each word rings right. You will incorporate feedback from alpha readers and have proofreaders point out your technical errors. You may re-write the entire thing several times during this process. For the most part, you delete and make more concise, but in some cases you may add new scenes and dialogue. That's one advantage we have over the sculptor: If we accidentally take off something that wasn't meant to go, we can always go back and put it in.

Our final edits give the sheen of realism to our work, and at last we arrive at that day where we're sure that not one word will pull readers out of the world we have worked so hard to create, and that they will feel the emotions we so want them to feel. In our minds, our work has progressed all the way from the rough, formless block of stone to something else entirely, and we send it off to agents or publishers with all the confidence in the world.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Author Event in Ephraim, UT

by Rebecca Talley

We'll be having an awesome author event "Write Here in Ephraim" this Saturday, April 9th, 8:30 am-5:00 pm, at 105 East 200 South, Ephraim, UT. 20 authors will be participating. We'll have door prizes throughout the day, refreshments, a meet and greet, writing classes, a literature game show, and lots of fun. No pre-registration is required and the first 50 people to walk through the door will receive a free novel.

If you love to read or write this is an event you won't want to miss. And it's FREE. That's right, no cost to attend. The event is sponsored by Ephraim Library.

Participating authors:

Abel Keogh, Linda Garner, Karen Hoover, Michael Young, Jewel Adams, Berin Stephens, Heather Justesen, Rachelle Christensen, Julie Bellon, Shirley Bahlmann, Gregg Luke, Tristi Pinkston, Cheri Chesley, Joan Sowards, Cory Poulson, Don Carey, Clint Johnson, Michael Knudsen, Bron Bahlmann, Carole Thayne Warburton, and Rebecca Talley.

Come see us! It'll be a fantastic day filled with writing, reading, and fun, fun, fun.

Here's the schedule and list of classes:

8:30 registration


9:15 A.M.

E-Books - JEWEL ADAMS Welcome to the wonderful world of E-books! Got a great novel you want to publish but can’t find a publisher? Or would you like to have full control of your novel an make it available to purchase until you find a publisher? Or do you just plain not care about finding a publisher and want to fly solo? - E-books aren’t just the future of book reading or a temporary fad, they are here to stay. Learn why you should give publishing E-books a go and take advantage of the wide open market. Come to understand that an E-books isn’t “just an E-books,” they are just as important as traditionally published books. Get tips on how to market your E-books and learn about the numerous outlets in which to sell your books and share your work with the world.

Memoirs: How to Tell Your Story - ABEL KEOGH- Writing a memoir is a great way to share a personal experience. Learn how to bring your story to life in such a way that will wow readers and keep them engrossed from page one to the end. In addition we’ll cover the dos and don’ts of memoir writing as well as how to know whether you have a story that agents, publishers, and readers will want to read

Fish Slap: What’s your writing motivation? - BRON AND SHIRLEY BAHLMANN Many people say they want to write a book but never follow through. Yet if, say, a fish slapped their face every time they missed a deadline, the result might be the opposite. In the absence of raw fish, what separates the sayers from the doers?

A humorous and informative look at various motivational strategies for writing.

10:00 A.M.

"A Serious Look at Comedy" – BERIN STEPHENS

Essential Elements of Suspense – GREGG LUKE: A brief overview of each element and how each contributes to writing nail-biting suspense. Q&A to follow. Key Points covered: Characterization, Pacing, Anticipation, Detailing, Resolution.

Finding Time for our Talents– JULIE COULTER BELLON - Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? Wondered how you can fit it all in? Is being a writer a dream you have yet to accomplish because you just don't have time? This class will give you some insight, tips, and inspiration on how to maintain that balance of developing your writing talent with the other demands on your time. Julie Coulter Bellon, the author of seven books, a mother of eight children, and a teacher at BYU, will share all her secrets for how to have it all.

10:45 A.M.

My Journey as a Writer and How I Got That Book Published – CHERI CHESLEY

Writing Mystery – JOAN SOWARDS - There is nothing more fun than losing yourself in a great mystery novel than writing one! Every story can have a touch of mystery. Learn the tools, terms, and how to diagram a story, along with basic plotting and good writing elements, no matter if your mystery is a cozy or hard-boiled.

Blog Tours and Book Promotions – It's a Piggyback Ride – RACHELLE CHRISTENSEN - Learn the secrets of effective Internet marketing for you and your products/books including author promotion, blog tours, blog hops, giveaways & more. How can you increase your blog readership and followers? Find out how Rachelle promoted her blog, increased her followers to over 500 in one year and got paid to do it.

11:30 A.M.

Author Panel – Habits of Published Authors –Heather Justesen, Berin Stephens, Rachelle Christensen, Tristi Pinkston, Clint Johnson, Karen Hoover

12:15 –MIX AND MINGLE with guests

1:45 P.M.

Story Construction 101- REBECCA TALLEY - A story needs a strong foundation and certain building blocks to be successful. Learn what you need to include in your blueprint to begin building your story. After we learn what essential materials we'll need, we'll use our tools to begin construction as a class. Come prepared to share your creative ingenuity.

Writing for the Peanut Butter Crowd: Essentials of Picture Book Writing – LINDA GARNER - In this Picture Book Primer you will learn that writing picture books is not necessarily kid stuff. All the rules for good writing apply to picture books but with less margin for error. If you’ve ever wanted to write a picture book, you’ll love this class. “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children”. Madeleine ‘L Engle

The Long and Short of It: Writing and Selling Short Fiction – MICHAEL YOUNG - Writing and selling short stories is a fun and rewarding way to improve your writing and to gain a readership. Writing short stories, however, takes a different skill set than writing longer works and also are sold in a different way. Learn some of the techniques you'll need to craft quality short fiction and the ins and out of getting it in print.

2:30 P.M.

"Chuck the Junk - Self-Editing for Word Hoarders" – MICHAEL KNUDSEN - Most writers are terrified when they read through their first draft --it can be rough, ugly and bloated with excessive verbiage, lame adverbs, and entire scenes that go nowhere. But there's hope! We'll look at rough text at all levels and toss the dingy bathwater while keeping your baby!

Fragile--Handle With Care: Writing on a Sensitive Subject - LINDA GARNER- -Death, suicide, divorce, abuse, war, depression, drugs, pornography, religion, eating disorders, bullying, hate. Do you have an interest in a subject that is hard to talk about? Just because it’s a sensitive subject doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. The walls are coming down. Lots of people are talking about subjects that used to be taboo. You can write about anything, if you handle with care.

How to Become and Idea Factory- KAREN HOOVER

3:15 P.M.

Author Panel in the Big Room – The Path to Publication: Panelists – Carole Thayne Warburton, Mike Knudsen, Julie Bellon, Rebecca Talley, Abel Keogh, Gregg Luke, Cory Poulson

4:00 P.M.

Children's Literature Game Show – CLINT JOHNSON Simple, Strange, Sophisticated, and Stupid Questions for Smart Kids (and Kids at Heart)--The game show that teaches more than you ever wanted to know about writing and writers, some of which you will certainly regret later.

Prove your superiority in a humorous and educational contest that explores the world of children's literature, from its comical quirks to personalities and events that profoundly shaped our world. Numerous participants of all ages are selected from the audience and given the chance to compete for fun and glory and prizes!

5:00 P.M. END

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Where Are Your Thoughts?

Where is the best place for you to brainstorm?

I’ll tell you, some of my best ‘thinking’ time is when I’m doing a mindless chore, like working in the garden, or scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees. Sometimes even taking a shower. I came up with a good portion of By Love or By Sea while taking a shower. (I know you really wanted to know that!) You’d be amazing at how the mind can whirl while you’re working. It is the perfect time to allow your thoughts to brew!

Brainstorming is an important part of writing. If you are writing a novel, you should be brainstorming throughout the entire process. From before you write the very first word of your outline, to the very last edit.


Tell me this. If you are not a part of the world you are trying to create, how can you expect your reader to be a part of it?

So how is this accomplished?

I have a notebook for every book. I have folders on my computer for every book (that are, of course, backed up). It is a good idea to write a few things, even just ideas, every day. Don’t worry if you end up cutting them later on. Get the juices flowing! Get the story growing!

Where do you start?

Don’t feel like you have to start at the beginning. If you have an idea, write it down. You can figure out how it fits in with everything else later. Much later, sometimes. Start at the beginning, start with a character, start with a situation, it doesn’t matter. Just get your thoughts on the page.

I read a thing by Maria V. Snyder about writing her first book, Poison Study. She started with a question. “Who would choose to become a food taster?” Here is her thought process.

“Who would choose to become a food taster? My answer was “No one.” So someone would be forced to take the position – who? Not someone loyal to the king/Commander – he wouldn’t want to risk a good man – even though a loyal man might consider the job an honor. There is a good chance the food taster will die – so who would the king/Commander use and not feel bad if the person dies? Someone on death row. She will be executed anyway – her life is forfeit, waiting in the dungeon for execution. But how to keep that person from escaping? Butterfly’s Dust – a poison that stays in the body and if the food taster doesn’t show up for a daily antidote she will die. Great, but why is she in the dungeon? Execution is an extreme punishment – so she had to do something extreme like murder. Why and who does she kill? See how the story is taking shape? And the questions don’t stop until the story is done.”

When I first started, The Tiger, Unleashed, I wanted to write about a girl who played the piano and admired, through the window, a boy who work in her father’s vineyard. Did it end up that way? No. But some of the elements are still there. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll use the parts that died.

One thing I will tell you, I found inspiration for the first scene of The Tiger, Unleashed and the premise for Sweet Ivy while leading the music in church. The stories had been swirling in my head for a long time, and then one day, each of them came to life as I was leading the music.

So if you allow yourself to become a part of the world you create, your stories will come alive for your readers!