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review 2017-09-24 22:19
Getting Kids To Write and Enjoy It
My Weird Writing Tips - Dan Gutman,Jim Paillot

Borrowed this book from the library. Loved it so much that I bought it for the Kindle. It helped my girls with their writing. I will be having them reread it, for more tips to continue making their writing better.

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text 2017-08-10 11:47
BookLikes How-to: Housekeeping! or, Using the Mass Post Editor

 

-- A guest post by Jenn from Murder by Death

 

If you’re a BookLikes veteran or new to BookLikes but with a huge import of data, you might, like me, look back at all of that history and think “I really need to clean some of those posts up” or “shoot, I wish I’d been using ‘x’ tag on all of those posts”, but then you imagine actually doing it, shudder to yourself, and find that sorting out your sock drawer suddenly sounds exciting.

 

OR, like I’ve been doing lately, you’ve gone to tag a post, see the mile long list of previously used tags and think to yourself “WHY do I have all those tags?  Was I drunk when I thought ‘tthhpphhhttt’ would make a good tag?” or you notice that you’ve collected multiple versions of the same tag and wish you could just clean that mess up.

 

Well, you can. Only tags that are actively used show up in that previously used menu - deleting those unwanted tags from all your posts makes them disappear from the list too.  And you can do that easily using the Mass Post Editor - it takes the ‘tedious’ out of blog housekeeping and puts it back in the sock drawer where it belongs.

 

To get to the Mass Post Editor, use your Dashboard pull down menu to get to your dashboard blog page (not your fancy public blog) - (http://booklikes.com/blog).  You can also go direct by using the following address (assuming you’re currently logged into BookLikes): http://booklikes.com/post/mass-editor/

 

 

 

On your blog page, look for the Mass edit posts and tags link on the right side of your page:

 

 

The Post Mass Editor page is pretty easy to use, but here's an overview of what you’ll see (if this is old news for you, scroll down for more information on cleaning up your tag list):

 

A: sort by: allows you to specify whether you want to sort your results by Publish Date or by Rating, ascending or descending.

 

B: The number of results you’d like to appear on a single page (max is 100).

 

C: status: allows you to narrow down your results to show only posts that are scheduled to be published in the future, currently published posts, or draft posts.  Leave this menu at —select— to show all three.

 

D: type:  allows you to narrow down which type of posts you want to display: Text, Photo, URL, Video, Quote, and Review.  Leaving this at —select— will return all types.

 

Please note that the fields A-D are live update options. Your search results will update instantly after you make a selection from any of these four fields. Selections made using date from (E) and with tags (F) will require you to click Show (K).

 

E: If you know that the posts you want to work with were done within a certain time frame, you can use the date from and date to fields.

This is especially helpful if you’re trying to find posts from a specific game or challenge (and you remember the dates).

 

F: with tags: This will narrow down your post results to only the posts that currently have the tags you select here.  You can select as many as you need to further narrow down your results, or leave it at —select tag— to display all.

 

The selections above, A-F are designed not only to make it easier to find what you’re looking for, but also to minimise the load on the BookLikes servers; the more specific your criteria, the easier it is for the databases to return your results as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

 

G:  select all / unselect all:  Once you’re ready to work with your posts, you can either use the individual check-boxes on the left of each post entry to select them, or choose select all to choose all of the posts in the list.  Likewise, unselect all will clear all the checkboxes.

 

H:  x delete posts:  Maybe blogging right after the cocktail hour wasn’t such a good idea, or maybe you just have posts that have expired content and you want to get rid of them. You can select those posts here and hit delete posts. Just be careful - you can’t undo delete posts. Once they’re gone - they’re gone.

 

I:  x remove tags:  remove tags from selected posts.

 

J:  + add tags:  add tags to selected posts.

 

K:  Show:  use this button to apply specific time frames or tags to your results.

 

L:  Type and Title:  Click on either the type or title of a specific post to go to that post.

 

M:  This is a shortcut for the tag menu (F):  clicking on the tags here will put them in the with tags section - just remember to hit Show to update the results.

 

N:  Edit:  Takes you directly to the edit post page so you can edit the post.

 

 

As I said at the start, it’s pretty self-explanatory, but I want to show you how you can use the mass post editor to clean up any superfluous tags you might have acquired over the years.

 

Using myself as the guinea pig, I’ve found that I have two tags:  audiobook and audiobooks.  I don’t need to have both so I want to edit all of my posts so they only use audiobooks, thereby deleting audiobook from my tag list.

 

I’ve searched for all published posts that use audiobook (the tag I ultimately want to get rid of):

 

 

I’ve used select all to check all (three) posts currently using audiobook, and then I clicked on + add tags:

 

Note that you can use this menu to create new tags and apply them to posts too.

 

I’ve selected the audiobooks tag I want to add and clicked Add tags.

 

Next, I’ve hit select all again (the checkboxes clear each time so you don’t accidentally change posts you didn’t mean to change).

 

This time, I’ve clicked x remove tags:

 

 

 

This looks a bit different; x remove tags only shows you the tags that are currently applied to the posts you’ve selected.  So, I’ve checked audiobook and clicked Remove tags.

 

Done!

 

Now, it’s important if you’re trying to replace one tag with another that you add the new tag before you remove the old one because clicking Remove tags automatically updates your results list.  What does this mean?  Well, if I had removed the audiobook tag first, my result list after removing it would look like this:

 

 

 

As you can see - I no longer have any posts in my list to add my new tag to, because I no longer have any that are tagged with audiobook

 

So, add first, remove last.

 

Once you’ve done this, and assuming you’ve applied it to all your posts, you’ll find that old tag is history.  (To check, make a change anywhere in your search criteria - hit show if you need to - and force BL to search again.  This will refresh your tag list.)  Yay!  Only about 100 more to go!

 

 

If you’ve been thinking your blog needed a bit of housekeeping, check out the Post mass editor.  Even if you already run a tight ship, don’t forget it can be a valuable resource for finding posts that aren’t tied to books on your shelves. So if someone comes up to you someday asking you for that youtube link to that cat video… you know, that one - with the cat doing that cute thing?… you’ll have a place to start.  ;-)

 

Happy BookLiking!

 

Art by Akgulian, Nishan

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text 2017-04-20 07:37
Introduction to Memoir Writing - workshop outline FREE

A dozen people turned up to my free workshop, Introduction to Writing Memoir.

 

I spoke for an hour - flat out. In the end there was applause and a few participants bought my books, nicely displayed on a table near the door (so they couldn't miss them).

 

A lot of participants who attend the Creative Writing Circles I facilitate are writing memoirs. A lot of them don't know where to begin, how to structure or write their stories. I thought a workshop that addressed these issues would at least get them started off right, saving them a lot of time and frustration revising.

 

They might even be grateful enough to buy a book. Some apparently were.

 

Here's the workshop outline I distributed to those who attended. You might find this information helpful if you're considering writing about an event in your life. If you do (and your feeling grateful) sign up for my Advance Reading Team and I'll send you a FREE E-BOOK edition of my latest novel The LOCAL RAG.

 

Here's the link. http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

 

Introduction to Memoir Writing

Facilitator: Rod Raglin

Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Website: http://www.rodraglin.com

E-mail: rod_raglin@yahoo.com

 

This short program is designed to set you on the right path to writing a memoir.

 

What is a memoir?

A memoir is not the story of your life (autobiography) but rather a story of one of your life experiences. It has a distinct beginning and end.

 

How to plan your memoir

Your memoir should be structured like any good story. Before you begin writing you should decide the story's Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

Goal: What did you want?

Motivation: Why did you want it?

Conflict: What was stopping you from getting it?

 

Be specific about your Goal

It's best to be specific and not generalize - I wanted to be happy is a generalization. I wanted out of the marriage I was in with an alcoholic so I could be happy is specific. Rather than wanting a good job which is a generalization; write I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon.

 

Motivation

Dig deep to discover why you wanted what you wanted. You might think you wanted to start your own business because you hoped to make a lot of money but was there more - the prestige, the power, the independence?

 

Conflict

These are the challenges that are preventing you from attaining your goal. Here again dig deep. What was stopping you from writing that novel - the responsibility of a family, lack of time - or fear of failure?

 

Where to start

Start with the inciting incident. The moment you decided things were going to change, or the moment something happened that changed the status quo.

Don't start with backstory - your personal history - fill that in as the story unfolds and only what is necessary for the reader to understand your motivation. Always make it minimal and relevant to this memoir.

 

Story structure

The story arc - begins with the inciting incident and the tension rises as you are confronted with one obstacle (conflict) after another that you have to overcome to achieve your goal. The highest point of the story arc is the climax - the final battle that will resolve whether or not you achieve your goal.

 

Then denouement - wrap up loose ends and finish.

 

Some tips about writing

Always ask Why and How - and answer these questions honestly

 

Evoke emotion - how did you feel about the person, the event, the award, the death? Reading is an emotional experience and if you don't tell the reader how you felt about the events you're writing about your memoir will be uninspiring and not entertaining. Remember the paradox of writing - the more personal you write, the more universal the appeal.

 

Show don't tell

You want your reader to feel like they're actually experiencing the event not being told what happened. One of the best way to do this is to use lots of dialogue. Dialogue is action and action is showing not telling. It doesn't matter if you don't remember exactly what was said - this is your story.

 

Consider the writing technique Scene/Sequel.

Write an action scene and then a sequel reflecting on the action.

 

Use specifics - don't generalize

 

Revision

Once you've written your memoir you need to put it away until it's out of your system. You need to get perspective on it. That could take anywhere from a minimum of three months to? Then take it out and re-read and revise. You'll likely have lots of revisions.

 

Once you've done the re-write, you need to find as many "objective" people as possible to read, proof and comment on it. Try to find people who can be honest and do not have a conflict of interest.

 

Consider joining a local writing group or register on an online critique site. Then revise taking their comments and corrections into consideration.

 

 

Once you've done all the revising you can decide to self publish on Amazon - free with a 70-30% royalty split or begin the submission process to publishers.

 

Books that are helpful:

The Writer's Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne Janzer 

Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life,

by Jerry Payne

 

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review 2016-10-11 03:12
The Business of Writing for Children by Aaron Shepard
Adventures in Writing for Children: More Tips from an Award-Winning Author on the Art and Business of Writing Children's Books and Publishing Them - Aaron Shepard

The Business of Writing for Children, An Award-Winning Author's Tips on Writing Children's Books and Publishing Them, or How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book for Kids by Aaron Shepard is a reference book or children's fiction. I gave it two stars. I tried several times to read this book. I just couldn't finish it. It was documentary dry and I didn't like it.

 

It did give some helpful information on what makes a successful story. "The strongest children's stories have well-developed themes, engaging plots, suitable structure, memorable characters, well-chosen settings, and attractive style. For best results, build strengths in all areas."

 

I received a complimentary e-copy from Shepard Publications and NetGalley. That did not change my opinion for this review.

 

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Business-Writing-Children-Award-Winning-Publishing-ebook/dp/B00FFLVJJU

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text 2016-02-19 07:01
What I'm learning from rewriting my first novel

 I wrote my first novel, The Local Rag, in 2003.

 

Like most first novels it was a masterpiece.

 

I sent it out and as the response came in I decided maybe I didn't want to be a novelist after all.

 

I hid the manuscript in the back of my filing cabinet.

 

Four months ago I dug it out. It hadn't improved with age, but at least I could now read it without weeping and gnashing my teeth. To my surprise I discovered if you could overlook the very bad writing (which I admit was difficult, even painful) there was indeed a story buried in there, one even more in need of telling today than it was thirteen years ago.

 

I review quite a number of books by independent authors (see link below to my video book review blog Not Your Friend, Not Your Family book reviews) and most of them are making the same mistakes I made in my first novel. This means if you continue writing for ten more years you should at least achieve my level of skill, which, come to think of it might make you want to rethink your career path, especially if you consider the lack of success I've attained.

 

But I digress.

 

What the rewriting of The Local Rag (yes, I'm rewriting it) has done for me is affirm my criticism of the work of new writers - at least in my mind.

 

To put that another way, I am now rewriting The Local Rag in accordance to what I've suggested many new authors do to improve their work.

 

And what are those suggestions:

 

  • Begin with Goal, Motivation and Conflict: what does my protagonist want, why do they want it, and what is preventing them from getting it? Write your GMC down and refer to it each time you begin to write. It will keep your story focused.
  • Don't over explain - especially simple actions and the description of characters. Leave it to the reader's imagination
  • Use adverbs sparingly. Especially don't use them to explain your dialogue.
  • Leave out everything (and I mean everything) you can't attribute to developing character or advancing the plot.

 

In 2003 the word count for The Local Rag was about 82,000. The 2016 version will likely be about 60,000.

 

Of course, a significant number of the words deleted are "that" (used 910 times) and "just" (used 279 times) in the original manuscript.

 

However, I hope the new version supports the theory that less is best when it comes to writing.

 

Herewith is blurb for The Local Rag. I find writing the blurb before you actually begin writing the novel is another good way to keep focused.

 

 

Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers?

 

Jim Mitchell doesn't.

 

He's a journalist and the publisher and editor of a community newspaper, The Sentinel.

 

He gave up a career with big media because he couldn't justify their choice of what to cover, couldn't tolerate the way they edited his stories and would not be implicit in misleading the public to benefit some hidden corporate agenda.

 

When he bought The Sentinel he thought all that would end. Being owner of "the local rag" he could select the stories, edit the copy and make sure the interests of the community were served.

 

He would print the truth - no slant, no bias, no spin, and he'd make a living doing it.

 

He was wrong.

 

Right from the beginning Jim's brand of reportage rankles some powerful people, people who pay his bills. Then there's the new competitor, a multinational media conglomerate that's expanding its generic community newspaper format into The Sentinel's market area.

 

Soon it's a struggle for The Sentinel to make a profit and for Jim to keep true to his uncompromising ethic.

 

When his best friend, Anthony Bravaro decides to run for mayor Jim's hopeful for the first time he'll see an honest politician.

 

Hope turns to dismay as Jim watches the quest for power turn a good man bad.

Tony's campaign tests Jim's professional objectivity and personal integrity.

 

When Jim confronts him with damaging information that could end his run for public office he finds out how far Tony's prepared to go to win the mayor's seat - farther than he ever could have imagined.

 

30

 

Book Giveaway. 100 e-books of ABANDONED DREAMS 'til March 1

LibraryThing:

https://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list

BookLikes:

http://booklikes.com/giveaways/show/2196/abandoned-dreams-rod-raglin

 

ABANDONED DREAMS

Special Preorder Price 99¢ 'til March 6, 2016

After March 6, $3.99

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0191B3XDE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

 

 

 

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