Monday, January 28, 2013

Tips To Keep Going and Contest Reminder

Slim Summerville slowly sauntered seaward. Several sailors suddenly seeing Slim's subconscious surroundings slyly stole Slim's shorts, socks, shoes, shirt.
Can you beat this? Submit your entry for the Second Annual Alliteration Contest. Check out last week's post below for the rules and enter today!

I want to share with you a tiling project that took much longer to complete than anticipated. It was hard, yet satisfying work because progress was visible. I pushed myself to finish through less than top-notch health because I had a deadline. It needed to be completed before going out of state.


Obviously the first photo shows that more time needs to be spent before completion. What if my motivation to finish is lacking? I could give several excuses but it won't change the fact that the shower is not usable until completed. 

Sometimes writers get frustrated or feel their project is taking too long? On top of that are revisions and waiting for reader's feedback. Will all the effort be worth it? I can't answer that question for anyone but myself, but I can share a few things I've learned:

1. Start with a project that is exciting to you. It moves the process along much better. 
2. Any project worth doing is worth doing well, to the best of your ability. It leaves the fewest regrets.
3. Goals and deadlines do help us achieve. So does a support group. Use whatever devise/reward system that spurs you on.
4. Expect a few delays or bumps in the road. There's a learning curve to first projects. It took me an extra year to get my manuscript in shape. Worth it since I ended up with a finished product that made me even more proud.
5. Breaks are necessary but use them wisely. Energy spent on a secondary project or something totally different can rejuvenate but watch that length of time where it gets harder and harder to see the motivation of project number one. Some do better to plow on through without sidetracks. Learn how you work best.
6. End results are fulfilling and satisfying. Follow up with any last cleanup and sendoffs, then celebrate! When the project is over, move on to the next.

What's your motivation to keep going?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Announcing My Second Annual Alliteration Contest

It's that time of year again, folks. We're beating the winter doldrums with a contest by sparking your creativity in new ways. The contest was inspired by an alliteration assignment given to my dad in the 8th Grade. His father helped him with it and I have added to it--a three-generation effort! Are you game? Okay, here's the game in one word: Alliteration. It's a sound mechanism where you keep the same sound going within, say, a sentence. The easiest way to do this is to start most words with the same letter. Like, she sells seashells by the seashore. It gets one's attention but can be annoying when overused. Subtly is best, unless your entering THIS CONTEST! 

A deeper level of alliteration may show up in prose and poetry. A writer may go for similar vowel sounds in the middle of a string of words or complete that rhyme with ending consonants. Used sparingly, a reader is often impressed when the tool is noticed. In this simple sentence: Could you find enough good wood to make a fire?, 'good' and 'wood' get noticed, but they also echoed the sound of 'could'.

THE RULES: (They're really easy!)
1. You must be a follower of my blog to enter. Just click on the Follow This Blog tab on the sidebar and complete.
2. Tell a mini-story using alliteration. Hint: The best stories have a beginning, middle, and end or feel complete. Use any type of alliteration you desire.
3. Words and subject matter should be free from vulgarity and suitable for public reading or they will be disqualified. Entries must be in English.
4. I reserve the right to reprint on this blog any submission I desire, giving credit to the author. The rights to your work remain yours. The work must be the sole effort of the entrant.
5. Entries or questions about the contest should be sent to: 
by Friday noon EST on February 8, 2013. Include your name, e-mail, and a title for your entry.
6. The GRAND PRIZE winner will be my opinion of the submission that most closely represents the inspiration of this contest as shared below. In other words, the longest story with the fewest non-alliteration words. Other submissions that I might love (they inspire, surprise, elicit humor or other emotions) will receive recognition from this blog in future posts and may or may not also receive a prize. I reserve the right to enlist other judges if the volume of submissions becomes more than I can handle.
7. Prizes. The grand prize winner will receive their choice of an Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card of not less than $10. This value and other prizes may be increased depending on the number of entries received and other prizes that could be donated. (I'm still working on that.) 
Winners will be announced beginning Monday February 11, 2013.
8. Have fun with it! That's the name of the game, James.

My 90-something father still quotes this today:
Slim Summerville slowly sauntered seaward. Several sailors suddenly seeing Slim's subconscious surroundings slyly stole Slim's shorts, socks, shoes, shirt.
Suddenly, sleepless songbirds sang silly songs singularly seeking secure streets showing serenity. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Critique Group Sparks My New Year

Hi, everyone. How is your new year going? Are you diving into those reading or writing goals? Have you set them at attainable levels that push but not too hard? It's okay to revise them if needed--just don't throw them out the window.
I'm so excited to start with my online critique group this week! I'll be sending a chapter out to three others to critique and they will send me theirs. This will be a great motivator to write a chapter a week or tweak and resubmit those revisions. I hope we are a good fit and can keep this going. I've missed not being in a group since moving midway through last year. That was a fun bunch that met face to face. I am a believer in how helpful a critique group can be and I hope to do my part in making it successful. Updates will follow.
What writing or reading goals do you have for the new year?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Delighting Children with a Double Book Launch

Charming. That's my description for two new books from Mikey Brooks. Bean's Dragons and ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures are sure to delight children. Bright, colorful illustrations are the work of the author. I viewed some of the artwork on his website and found it to be great eye candy. Go treat yourself.


Bean’s Dragons - Have you ever had a dragon in your house? How about a dozen? Bean is a little girl with an imagination that is creating quite a mess. Although Bean loves each of her dragons, she forgets how untidy they can be when having so much fun. When Bean's parents discover what's happened in their short absence, Bean finds herself the blame of the dragons' giant mess. 

ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures - This is the first installment in a series of ABC adventures featuring Professor Vontriponmybottom, a heroic explorer determined to share with children the alphabet through exciting and fantastical means. In Magical Creatures you will find all sorts of enchanting beings such as: B is for Bigfoot, M is for Mermaid, and O is for Ogre. The professor shares fun facts about each creature he encounters and never shies away from getting a picture with them. This book is sure to educate and entertain young readers and their parents.