Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What Do You Expect at Writing Retreats?

by Donna K. Weaver

If you've ever considered attending a writing retreat, there are a few things you'll want to consider. One of the most important ones is making sure that what you think a writing retreat is matches what the people hosting the writing retreat think one is. There are probably as many ways to do a retreat as there are people doing them.

Classes, Critique Sessions, Keynote Speaker
I've seen where some retreats take a very different focus, almost a conference approach. That's not a bad thing. However, if you sign up to attend and find there are a bunch of classes that interrupt you while you're writing, you might be a little miffed. So know what to expect.

Cranking out the Words
I've also attended a couple of writing retreats where the main focus was on writing. There might have been a few mini classes to help inspire everyone, but the goal was to crank out the words. They would have writing sprints and award prizes to the person who wrote the most new words.

iWN Retreat
I've attended three writing retreats so far, and I love them. The iWriteNetwork will be having its second retreat next month (September 11-14).

Our classes are optional, so if you're in a "crank out the words" frame of mind, don't worry. The house has lots of community areas, so you can be where it's quiet and keep working.

The class list:
  • Basic Editing by Tristi Pinkston
  • Betas vs. critique group (and how to give and take critiques) by iWN Directors
  • Brainstorming Session
  • Character Arcs by Cindy M. Hogan
  • Emotion by Donna K. Weaver
  • Plot Holes by Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson
  • Sentence Style by Canda Mortensen

We'll even watch a movie and identify the "beats". Great way to see Blake Snyder's techniques from Save the Cat in action.

Way cool digs too.

Ever been to a retreat? What was your favorite part?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Guest Bloggers

We are looking for guest bloggers!!

The run down:

  • Chosen guest bloggers will submit their piece one month before it's scheduled to post.
  • Blog posts must be focused on writing, the basics are what we try to shoot for mainly. 
  • This is not a venue for self promotion--or for your friend. :) Though you will be able to link back to your own blog.
  • You will only be blogging once, this is not a reoccurring role.

If you are interested in blogging for iWriteNetwork send the topic you want to write about, a link to your blog and the month you prefer to have it post on to iwritenetwork@gmail.com by August 31st, 2014

The directors will look through the submissions and contact all applicants to notify which topic/date is accepted or declined. We are excited to hear what ideas you have!! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sympathetic to Characters

One of our beta readers, Taryn Taylor (hey, girl *waves*), made a small note on one scene in one of our stories that has the potential to revolutionize the way Deanna and I approach writing!
Sounds BIG, right? It is.

Here it is, and I quote,
"The reader only cares as much as the character cares."

Maybe the blog title of this post should be:
Sympathetic Character Reader

Our content editor made a similar comment:
"You tend to focus on a lot of show and not enough tell."
B-b-but, I thought we were supposed to show not tell!

Nope, just lots of show and very little tell. Here are a few examples what we are learning about. I'll use red to show you the tell part.

1.  From Jessica Rules the Dark Side (Beth Fantaskey)
"My heart had started pounding harder with each step I'd taken toward that chamber, and it was racing so hard by then that I was afraid it might explode. A vampire's heart shouldn't beat that fast. I wiped my mouth again, because I couldn't get rid of that bitter, sour taste, even though my tongue was dry as a bone."
*We have some great description of physical reaction, SHOWING us how nervous and afraid the character is. Then there was just that very tiny bit of TELL that amplifies the reason we care to watch this unfold.

2. From Matched (Ally Condie)
"Ky is not my Match, but he might have been. He's the one who taught me how to write my name, how to keep the poems, how to build a tower of rocks that look like it should fall but it doesn't. I have never kissed him and I don't know if I ever will, but I think it might be more than sweet."
*This passage does a great job SHOWING us the events that endear Ky to Cassia, but the tiny little TELL gives us a reason to care! That little bit of "tell" keeps the story from sounding clinical and engages the reader's heart.

So next time you hear SHOW V. TELL, think SHOW & TELL, instead.

Pull open a few books, read some paragraphs. Look for the Show & Tell. Seems like this is a well kept secret that you and I can exploit for better prose.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to Make Free Picture Teaser Ads

We've all seen them-you know you want them. 
I'll show you how to make them for free.

And here's the secret....it's easy!!

#1 Go to picmonkey.com
     You can use this for free and have fewer features or pick to pay to play and have more features. I        use the free option

#2 Click on edit right there at the top.
 Now you can pick a picture to play with.

I chose this beauty.

#3 Go ahead and click on Crop  under basic edits (the first little icon on the far left) and take from the picture what you want-or keep it just how it is.

                                                This is what I ended up with- I love it

#4 Now you can manipulate the colors of the photo by clicking on Colors, Sharpen, and Exposure. Go ahead, play around. It previews your choices before you have to apply or cancel it. Nothing is permanent-you can cancel anything or apply it if you like it.

 I changed the color saturation on this one. It's a slight difference, but it may make you love your photo even more.

I changed the exposure in on this one...check it out.

#5 You can even choose to add a texture-it's the second icon down on the far left. Go down the column of choices and see what it does to your picture.

I chose to soften the picture and this is what I got.

#6 The little lipstick icon helps you do specific editing Touch up like taking out zits and stuff.  I won't give you an example of this

#7 the big Tt is for adding text 
It can be something one of your characters says in your book or what the narrator says or just something that will make people want to take a look at your book.

Make sure your add your book somewhere on the teaser

#8 There are a ton of overlays to use. Try them out. 

 I added a few for you to see- lips and hearts.

Don't stop there. You can also play with frames, textures and themes.  Have fun-try everything and you'll be amazed at what you can create.

Here's another one I made.

And one more...It's so fun!!
                                                        I used a texture on this one

When are you going to make your first picture teaser?