Sunday, August 24, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

I've been checking out a lot of blogs lately and have discovered something interesting.

I am attracted to blogs with pictures, videos and general eye candy. A friend of mine has been adding photos to her blog as a way of drawing people in.

But here is the catch...I'm a writer not a photographer. If as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, then I'm in trouble. Adding photos to my blog can put me out of business.

I have been assured that people like words too much to give them up. That books and stories are still important to people. Thus the popularity of text messaging. The thing is that text messages are generally heralded by music or pictures designed to catch your attention. In today's busy world, the message- words- would be ignored if not for the ring tone.

Let's face it people have so many options that time gets crunched and things are reduced to their bare minimum. Thus the attraction of photos. How many times have you picked up a book because you like the cover? Or read a magazine for the pictures? Or stopped a blog because there was a handsome man/woman or cute pet staring at you under the title?

A blog is supposed to be a web-log: a place to write about subjects of interest. If you add pictures it becomes a scrapbook-doesn't it?

So I'm taking an unscientific poll- should I add more pictures to my blog or are words enough?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thoughts on the "Right" journey

I am always interested in finding out other people's points of view on the writer's journey. I'm on several writer's loops, a member of several writer's groups and read writer's blogs. The interesting thing is that no two writer's journeys are the same. Some gush about how great there editor is. Others talk about how bad their editor is. The same with agents. There are reported agents who help "doctor" manuscripts to take them to the bestseller lists, agents who walk writer's through their career goals and agents who supposedly call back and e-mail you more than once a year. I'm always amazed at how different other people's experiences are from mine. And, after twelve years in the business, I have come to understand that no one has the "best" experience. There is no right or wrong. All you can do is the best with what is presented to you and clearly the differences are as varied as finger prints.

I try to educate myself as best I can on contracts, agents, publishing houses, etc. Still two other writers, starting off the same as I, (same house, same print run) can end up in vastly different places. They might have an agent that plucks them from the masses and tells them-write this- and voila they are getting amazing print runs (numbers of books produced by the publisher). Or they may get a call from an editor who asks for such and such type of book-bam, they hit the best seller lists. Or they sell one book and are discouraged by the lack of notice and quit writing all together. (Some of these people are the best writers in the bunch.)

It's a crazy business filled with "helpful" people telling you what you're not doing right and how, if you follow their advice, you'll be rich and famous within the next six months. Or worse, bragging about how rich and famous they are because they are superior writers..of course... cough, cough.

All you can do is gather as much information as possible and make decisions that are best for you. Allow your own journey to develop how it will and try not to get run over when some one hollers there's a fire sale on paranormals and every one rushes to publish that.

Remember, writers sell stories for a living. Don't let their stories discourage you from living your own.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic thoughts

I'm following the Olympics. Is it bad to root for other countries? I catch myself rooting for individuals. For example: Swimmers, yes, I root for Michael Phelps as I enjoy watching Tiger Woods. But I found in the race without MP, I rooted for the Korean boy who fell into the water four years ago and was disqualified. Only to return this time and take the first ever gold medal in swimming for Korea. The second place winner of that race won the first ever medal in swimming for his country. So I was very happy to see the American take third place...we win medals all the time. I suppose this is unpatriotic. I also suppose it is hard on the American who spent a lifetime preparing for his shot at gold an only got a bronze medal. Still, how can you not enjoy the other countries and their stories? How can you not root for them as well?

Something else... Ms. Torres...age 41 with a well trained body...don't look through my television set and tell me that anyone is capable of being middle aged and doing what you are doing. That puts too much pressure of those of us not living a lifetime of training. There is no way I could spend ten hours a day training and race the way you do. To begin with I'd have to learn how to do a swimmer's flip. I'd have to figure out how to perfect the strokes- things you've had thirty five years to perfect. My body isn't your body. My brain is not your brain. Ugh. Nothing worse than seeing another impossible ideal grinning on the television telling me that if I only worked hard enough I could achieve the same thing. It's a falsehood meant to sell gym memberships and diet products. Everyone of us is limited by our own personal choices, background, environment and physical limitations. The honest truth is not every dream can be reached. Don't get me wrong- I believe that if you have a dream or a talent you should pursue it. But everyone is different. There are thousands of other well toned, well trained swimmers out there who never made the Olympics... telling us we can all do it just shoves their faces in reality. Stop it. Better to say you are lucky-you work hard-but luck has a lot to do with it as well.

Those who say, "Dream big or go home" are missing the point. A dream no matter how small is there to play with...not to show off about. So, my motto is dream. Its that simple and yet that achievable for everyone...even non-Americans.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Romance Writer's Awards

This weekend was the annual Romance Writer's of America conference. This culminates with Saturday night's RITA awards. The awards are the Oscars of the romance world as thousands of books are narrowed down to a handful of finalists. All entries are judged by their peers-fellow romance writers. If you are looking for the best of the best-according to their fellow authors then go to the link below (copy and paste in your browser) and see who won.

Remember- these are not readers picks, but romance writers picks for the best in their category. Enjoy!