Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stubby weighs in - literally!

Keep that manuscript warm Stubby!
I won’t say I’ve finished a draft of my young adult contemporary (entirely lacking in vampires) work-in-progress manuscript, but I’ve written the story all the way through.

So, isn’t that a first draft? I hear you say.  It might be if it wasn’t 20K words too short. Maybe it’s a first draft and the second draft will conclude the search for the missing 20K.

I’ve read it through and edited it on-line until my eyes bled, then decided it was time to print it out and read the whole thing in one sitting. 

Stubby, are you rejecting my manuscript?
In the olden days (i.e., before the internet was invented by aliens) popular wisdom dictated that you should print out your manuscript and then hide it in a drawer for six months. The idea being that enough time would pass that you would be able to spot what’s missing in the story. Great idea. But who’s got that kind of time? I was never able to do that in the olden days and in the nowadays when we check our email five times a minute, I don’t see me leaving anything in a drawer for six months (unless it’s those unwashed dishes I do go on about).  

It’s been a little over two weeks that I’ve left it unread and that’s my limit. 

I thought I’d let Stubby the cat weigh in on my manuscript then sit in the sun this weekend, read it like a book and see what I think of it.

My to-be-read shelf of books recently supplemented by a shopping trip
@ Powell's Books Portland, is on hold until my to-be-read manuscript is read!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Off to Portland and a word about characters!

I'm off to Portland for a few days to enjoy my nephew's wedding, hang out with my relies, and discover a new city.

I came across this blog post on the Blog of Impossible Things that I want to share. Ostensibly (big word, right?) it's about this random meeting that the blogger has in a Portland coffee shop with the man who invented computers. Yes, you read that right, but take a minute to re-read that sentence on the computer that this man invented.

It's a cool blog post, and profound about our relationship with technology.

And for me it also speaks to character development. On the surface, he saw an old man and assumed he was probably computer illiterate along with all the other stereotypes we have about old people.

We can use this when we develop characters. There are certain assumptions that one makes when we describe someone's age, ability and physical appearance. Deepen your character development by giving your character complex emotions, characteristics, and inner conflict that goes beyond the physical that will surprise the reader and create well rounded characters.   

In the meantime, I'll be scouring Portland coffee shops looking for the old guy who invented the computer - maybe I can get him to program my PVR remote, my cat walked all over it and dis-engaged the codes. 

I'll also be visiting Powell's City of Books. They only have a million books - I expect they'll have a few less when I'm done with them! 

It's a city people! A whole city of books!
With directions and everything! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Building Your Brand Online: SCBWI Calgary Conference

REGISTRATION CONTINUES for the SCBWI Calgary Conference 
Building Your Brand Online
This two-day conference on September 15-16, 2012 will be facilitated by Vancouver-based author, publishing consultant and social media coach Crystal Stranaghan

You'll recall that Crystal was the publisher at Gumboot Books, which published the first two books in the MegaByte Mystery series, Dead Frog on the Porch and Dead Bird through the Cat Door. She has a wealth of knowledge about marketing, social media and publishing. Plus, she's a super nice person!

Registration is limited to ensure small class size and personal attention for each participant.
Saturday September 15, 2012 from 9am-5pm

During this intensive full-day workshop for writers and illustrators (published or unpublished), participants will define their goals for building their own brand online and learn how to achieve those goals using the free tools available to them. Each participant will craft a personal plan for building their web presence, identify what they want out of the experience, pick which tools are right for them, learn how to use the available tools (twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, websites, blogs) professionally, and formulate a workable plan to achieve their social media goals without compromising their writing time.
Sunday September 16, 2012 from 9am-5pm 

In this full-day workshop, participants will learn how to design a professional looking website & blog using wordpress - and leave the course at the end of the day with a working site & blog. If you already have a wordpress blog set up (publicly hosted or privately hosted) but it needs updating, redesigning or it was built by someone else and you need to learn how to use it - then this workshop will also be helpful. You will receive a "homework sheet" when you register for the course, to help you create some content for your site in advance. You will need to bring a laptop to work on (that has wireless internet capabilities) as well as your prepared materials. You don't need advanced technical knowledge of computers, but you do need to be comfortable with word-processing software (like microsoft word) and be comfortable navigating on the web.
Registration is now open to SCBWI members ($140) and non-members ($160).  
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact the SCBWI Canada West Calgary Regional Coordinator Pam McDowell at or visit our website.