The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, December 2, 2016

Writing Winners, the Best Brownies, and Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday #37

      I have a class full of winners... in so many ways.

      Seventeen out of my twenty-two students made their 5,000-word goal on Wednesday. They were incredibly proud. The other five have until Monday (I gave everybody some extra time) to finish up.

      I asked, "How many thought I was crazy when I said you had a 5,000-word goal?" (Everyone raised their hands.) "How many thought it was impossible?" (Again, they all raised their hands.) "How many are so proud of what you've done?" (A sea of hands went up.)

      Next week is the fun. We'll print up the stories and put them into several binders, so the kids can read their peers' work...

      While I'm writing this, I'm letting some brownies cool. Tomorrow after school is a work get-together, and these brownies are always a hit... and so easy.

  • 4 giant milk chocolate candy bars (I use Choceur brand ones from Aldi's. They're each 5.29 oz.
  • 1 family-size brownie mix (a mix that fills a 9 x 13 pan)
Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Spray non-stick spray on it. Line the bottom of the pan with the chocolate bars (You might have to cut some of them up to make sure the whole bottom is covered. No bare bottoms allowed!) Make the brownie mix as directed, then pour it over the candy bars. Bake according to the mix. Cut into small squares (they're rich) and watch them disappear.

And now onto book blurb business...
  • Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book.
  • You choose the genre. A horror novel--Cujo the Sequel? A doggone sweet tale? You pick.
  • Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this project  and this past summer, her third novel Love to Win debuted. Now she's working on her fourth novel. Check out her website. 
  • Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. 
  • Link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. You don't have to buy him a drink or anything. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is.
  • Check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.
  • And have fun with it. Think of it as a way to take a break from the truly important writing you do... like a bit of a warm-up.

      Here is the book cover and my blurb:

Bartimer the Baller

Bartimer loves his balls.
Tennis balls. Rubber balls. Basketballs that bounced into his yard, much to the dismay of the kids next door… Bartimer loves them all.
Unfortunately, his obsession gets him into a world of trouble with his owners. He punctured an exercise balance ball in his eagerness to embrace all things round. He decimated the baby’s nasal syringe.
They’re tired of the dog constantly pawing at them when he’s ready to play. Ping pong balls. Softballs. Golf balls. None of them are safe with Bartimer around. His family’s so fed up, they decide to sell him.
But then a company contacts the family. They want Bartimer to be their spokesperson. They want his drooly mug splashed all over the city.
What is the product this mutt might be hawking? And will his family keep this future commercial star for their very own? (144 words)

And for those who like to work ahead, here's the photo for next week:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Retreat into Writing

        A couple of weeks ago I went on a writing retreat. Actually, I led a writing retreat, which made me a bit nervous. You see, I've gone to some exceptional writing retreats, so I know what they look like when they're good... and I wanted this one to be good, too.

        After getting some feedback, I'm already planning the next one. In the meantime, I'll share what we did, what worked and what didn't:

  • Pick a place that has some comfy seating. Writers sit a lot. Sometimes they want to sit at a table/desk and write. Other times, they need to gather together in a small group and chat about their writing. Our meeting area didn't have very comfortable seating--this was the best there was. Everything else about this place was perfect, so I guess I'll be driving a Winnebago full of overstuffed chairs to the next retreat...

  • Have some writer "stuff" for everyone to read... if they're interested. I heard about this article about rejection from Claudia. It's a doozy. I also included some calls for submissions for short stories, flash fiction, and educational journals.

  • Include some fun goodies. In each bag there was: a bottle of water ('cause if you drink a lot, you have to pee a lot, which means you're taking short, frequent breaks from your writing--good for your bones and good for your creative juices), a small notebook, some chocolate (do I need to explain the rationale for that?), some nuts ('cause writing is tough work and protein always comes in handy) and other things.

  • Have a scheduled "social hour" in the evening where everyone can munch and hydrate and let loose--a time when writers can talk about anything. Writing can be stressful. Taking a break to bond and chat with fellow writers is beneficial. (And if you're wondering about those empty wine bottles in the background, umm... I think the previous group left those behind.)
          Yeah, that's what happened.

  • Find out--ahead of time--what everyone wants in regards to the schedule. I found out after the retreat was over that although 8 of the 10 writers lovedlovedloved the wide-open schedule, 2 of them would have appreciated some activities/prompts. Next time, I'll set up a some optional writing exercises--away from the rest of the group--so writers can get some writerly nudges, if that's what they want/need.
How about you? Have you been to a writing retreat? If so, what worked for you and what didn't?