Best in Tweet 2/27/13

[subscribe2]

Written by Brendan O’Meara

Hot dog, we’ve got some good ones this week. Buckle up. It’s this week’s Best in Tweet.

 

 

 

 

 

AWP Followback

[subscribe2]

Written by Brendan O’Meara

 

The flagship writer’s conference, AWP, is next week. There are so many places to be, panels to attend, writers to meet, beer to drink (it is in Boston), that there’s no possible way to be everywhere at once.

Or can you?

Last year the Twitter hash tag #AWP12 allowed you to be plugged in to other tweeters. But I’d like to take that a step further. Let’s do an AWP Follow Back campaign so we can find new friends. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe it won’t, but why not give it a try.

You follow me with the #AWP13Followback hash tag, I’ll follow you. Click on that embedded tweet above and we can get started.

[subscribe2]

Good times for readers and writers

[subscribe2]

Put up your ducks, I mean dukes.
Put up your ducks, I mean dukes.

Written by Brendan O’Meara

I’m not prone to fun. I don’t like crowds. I have broad shoulders so I tend to bump into people. I’m not very social. I like to watch movies on my somewhat undersized TV and read books. My wife doesn’t like me^1^. If there’s wet blankets, I’m like the smallpox-infected blankets Jeffery Amherst gave to Native Americans.

But I have fun when I listen to Book Fight: Tough Love for Literature. It’s a podcast for writer’s, though serious readers would dig it too. It’s a podcast about books, but a podcast recorded as if it were cool to talk about books at your favorite bar. It’s profane^2^, curmudgeonly, and just good company.

Tom McCallister, co-host of Book Fight and author of Bury Me in My Jersey: A Memoir of My Father, Football, and Philly, is a friend of sorts, though we’ve never met. 51flccWHfVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_We “met” through email when I gave his memoir a 2-star review on Goodreads. He wrote to me about it and I gave him my reasons. He does a great thing in his memoir that has to be applauded: he writes an unflattering picture of himself, which is a lesson unto itself in memoir. I gave it 2 stars because I wanted more of his father in the story and I don’t like footnotes^3^. He’s a great writer, an unpretentious product of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, which says something in and of itself. All in all, if you’re writing memoir, you should read his. His book has 45 ratings on Goodreads, which is a ton (I have 12) and most are 5 stars. Overall it’s a 3.84 stars out of 45 reviews. That gives you an idea that it’s a great book.

Since that first email a few years ago, we’ve kept in touch about sports and writing. Then he started the Book Fight podcast with Mike Ingram, fiction editor at Barrelhouse. It’s a fun listen. I’m listening right now.  Naturally, if you’re a geek for the mechanics of prose, subscribe to it on iTunes.

Footnotes

1. Not entirely true. She likes the occasional social interaction where I’d rather stay home and read.
2. Not overly so, tastefully profane, like talking sports at a bar. But not a Philly, New York, or Boston bar. Maybe like a Seattle bar, or an Asheville, NC bar.
3. I have since come around to footnotes. I found them so disruptive to the narrative that I usually can’t continue reading. It’s like reading with the TV on or something. They make for funny tributaries that don’t belong in the main river.

The offer still stands, for a time, that should you subscribe to this website, I’ll send you a personalized copy of Six Weeks in Saratoga. Subscribe, I’ll reach out to you. My thanks to you. If you factor in shipping, that’s a $30-value, if you’re into value plays.

[subscribe2]

The Best Book on Writing You’ve Never Read

images-1Written by Brendan O’Meara
Word Count: 518

I’ve tried to build a following by writing infrequently, say once a week. Hasn’t worked too well. Now, I’m going to try and write several times a week and see if the spaghetti sticks. Maybe a little bit of blogging will help warm me up before hit the “real” writing. Who knows? I stress about platform building way too much. Or do I ???

What is this book I’m referring to, the best book on writing you’ve never read? It’s The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. Yep, a book on how to write comic books. It’s 122 pages of wonderful tips. My great mentor Thomas French, author of Zoo Story among others, assigned this to us and it was one of those against-the-grain teaching tools that makes him so brilliant.

Part one of the book is the most valuable as it pertains to the basic fundamentals.

Story Structure
Creating Drama
Subplots
Characterization

One pointer author Dennis O’Neil touches upon early is this

Telling you story as clearly as possible

How easy and how difficult is that? You have all these flourishes of language, maybe even a couple of wonderful sentences, but are they driving the story forward? Respect the reader’s time might be another way of saying what O’Neil said.

Here are some other things I highlighted:

Know the end of the story before you write the beginning (I call this the Lighthouse Effect. You’re stranded out at sea. You don’t know where to go. But what’s that? A light! You start swimming toward it. This way you know that all your words are in service of that ending. You can’t do this all the time, but I feel you should be thinking of an ending before you reach the end. It might come to you 500 words into your story or 5,000 or 50,000. But once you figure it out you’re writing downhill, baby.)

People are interested in people, not things (the exception is the Ring of Power and maybe the Elder Wand. This is especially important if you’re dealing in story where not a whole lot happens, those narratives of revelation. If readers love the characters enough, they’ll go along for about any ride.)

Put your hero out on the end of a limb and start sawing.

Show only what’s important. So start the scene as late as possible and once the dramatic point is made, end it.

Heroic failure is the stuff of great drama.

Never write a scene, or a single panel, that does not contribute directly to your plot. … that every word should contribute to the emotion you’re trying to engender in the reader.

Tell you what. I’m going to stop there. I think there’s enough nuggets there to either talk about or think about. If nothing else, writers across all genres need to find inspiration and tips from other creative media. That’s why DVD commentary is so valuable, especially, when available, DVD commentary on deleted scenes (If you own Ratatouille, listen to director Brad Bird talk about why he deleted scenes).

Bonus question: Who’s the best orphan? Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, or Harry Potter?

I’m still doing this pretty slick giveaway. If you subscribe to my website, I’ll send you a personalized copy of Six Weeks in Saratoga.

[subscribe2]

 

Best in Tweet, 2/19/13

[subscribe2]

Written by Brendan O’Meara

My aim is to give some people props on Twitter. People have some great things to share and that sharing should be rewarded, even at this little place I call a blog. Without further ado, here’s 10 tweets from cool stuff I found. (Some go back quite a ways. It don’t mattah!)

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it, lots of stuff for you to enjoy.

[subscribe2]

Breaking from Research

[subscribe2]

Written by Brendan O’Meara
Word Count: 347

Read Time: 2 minutes

I need to step away for a moment. Going from one form of writing to another, but eff it, I’m doing it. This is my life and who asked you anyway? I kid, I kid.

Well, what’s new? What can I share? What will make this post of any value to YOU. It is Valentine’s Day, so I could wish you a happy Valentine’s Day. So … Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s a poem inside the wrapper of some pretty kick ass chocolate the wife gave me today:

Awww. We must be in love, or something.
Awww. We must be in love, or something.

Ever feel like you’re being watched?

Quoth the Raven???
Quoth the Raven???

Naturally, being totally skeeved out by my smallest dog, I went out for a few minutes to get a cup of coffee.

Grande Pike, splash of Half and Half, tablespoon of brown sugar, you nosy reader.
Grande Pike, splash of Half and Half, tablespoon of brown sugar, you nosy reader.

When I came back, I set up my camera rig. Yeah, it’s down and dirty, how I like it. Gonna start doing some cool video marketing that I hope to parlay into other ventures for authors.

Jealous? Little bit ...
Jealous? Little bit …

Oh, and this arrived today, which is always one of the high lights of my quarter.

IMG_1238
These hips don’t lie.

So I’ve been averaging three pages a day as I look to finish my baseball memoir. Been reading Danielle Trussoni’s Falling Through the Earth. The structure is similar to mine. A live thread and a discovery thread. Good stuff. Hers. Not mine. Maybe mine. Too early to tell.

I guess I have to get back to work here. Oh, one more thing. I’ll leave you with one of those annoyingly cute dog pictures.

Jack loves to be under covers and by a space heater. Don't feed him after midnight or get him wet. He turns into a gremlin.
Jack loves to be under covers and by a space heater. Don’t feed him after midnight or get him wet. He turns into a gremlin.

Why don’t you subscribe to my blog/website/future email newsletter? I want to fully nauseate you on as many platforms as possible.

And if you subscribe, I’ll include a free signed copy of Six Weeks in Saratoga—a $30 value after shipping—for you, oh loyal follower.

[subscribe2]

 

Going into the (Bat) Cave: upping the ante and finishing a manuscript

My writing suit.
My writing suit.

Written by Brendan O’Meara
Words in Post: 138

Read time: 30 seconds

Sometimes it’s time to pony up and JUST GET IT DONE. I haven’t necessarily been putting it off, but I guess I have been. Without deadlines, things tend to flounder. So, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, in the spirit of Parkinson’s Law, I’m going to finish The Last Championship in 30 days.

Here’s where I am in a double spaced Word doc: 194 pages and 55,160 words.

Suffice to say I’m probably 2/3rds of the way done as is, but I’ve been squatting on this final third for far too long.

Imposing a tight deadline will get it into the stage where it can then be properly rewritten.

I’ll let you know how it goes on March 7, subsequently the first full day of the AWP Conference in Boston.

[subscribe2]