Blogging

Keeping tabs on my online activity

Coloreando en Amistad
This picture has nothing to do with tabs. Zemanta suggested it. I thought it was pretty. There you go. | Coloreando en Amistad (Photo credit: PatWH)

Author Charlotte Rains Dixon recently ran a blog post in which she listed all of the tabs she had open on her internet browser. I thought it was interesting to see what all she has open for research and such, so I thought I would do a “my tabs” post of my own. So, these are the tabs I have open in my browser at this time:

Blogging, Flash Fiction

Who’s up for a 200 word piggy back ride?

Mandy Webster NaNoWriMo stats
Here are my latest NaNoWriMo stats. It lies about how many words I’ve written today. I just haven’t added any more words to my NaNo project.

I finished NaNoWriMo Tuesday, and guess what? I haven’t stopped writing since! Today, I am joining a writing challenge hosted by Chuck Wendig over at the TerribleMinds blog. It’s a five part challenge in which participants will collaborate to write several flash fiction pieces 200 words at a time.

To participate, this week you should write the first 200 words of a story and post it to your blog. Then head over to TerribleMinds (where you can also find full details of the challenge) and share a link to your post. The next week, you will choose another author’s first 200 words (maybe even mine!) and write the second 200 words of that author’s story. The following week, you will choose yet another story and add an additional 200 words of your own, and so forth, until you have written a total of 1000 words on 5 different stories.

Sounds like fun, right? Okay, so here’s the first 200 words of my story: Continue reading “Who’s up for a 200 word piggy back ride?”

Awards, Blogging

Want to do me a favor?

writing blog award
Here’s a screen shot from the blog that is sponsoring the award. Go check it out!

Do you enjoy this writers blog? If so, do me a favor and go nominate my blog for the 2013 Top 10 Blogs for Writers contest. I need at least two nominations in order to be considered for the award and would greatly appreciate your input.

Thanks!

Mandy  🙂

NaNoWriMo

Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo

Writing
Writing: Just DO it already! | Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Day 7, and I have changed my mind. I am doing NaNoWriMo after all. There’s nothing like waiting a week to decide you want to write 50,000 words like everyone else. I have been sitting here reading blog posts about everyone else’s NaNo projects and feeling jealous. And making excuses for why I couldn’t do it too.

Then I got an idea. I finally looked myself in the computer screen and said, “Shut up with the excuses already. Sit your ass down in that chair and start writing.”

So, I am doing it. I am starting NaNoWriMo today, seven days in, and on my birthday, no less. Continue reading “Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo”

Novel Writing, Reading

How to ensure your novel is what’s read next

Goodreads Avatar
Determining what to read next can be far more complicated than simply grabbing a book off the shelf. | Goodreads Avatar (Photo credit: minifig)

I have a complicated system for deciding what book I want to read next. First, I constantly keep my eyes peeled for books I might want to read. For example, this morning I read a blog post interview with self-publishing author Aimee Kuzinski. She caught my attention when she mentioned that the hardest part of writing her latest novel, Eye of the Storm, was realizing during the editing phase that she had a major plot hole that needed to be fixed. The fact that she took the time to go ahead and plug that hole rather than rushing her book to publication made me want to read her book.

I should probably mention that the premise of Kuzinski’s novel sounded promising as well. Seriously, what is wrong with me that the writer’s effort to produce a quality product is more likely to catch my attention than her story telling? Maybe I need to work on that. But I digress. Continue reading “How to ensure your novel is what’s read next”

Composition I, Essays

Tuesday writing prompt: An illustrative essay

family christmas present opening
My childhood was full of family. That’s me in the middle with the candy cane hanging out of my mouth.

Today, my English Composition I class is learning about the Illustration pattern of essay development. According to aa-essays.com, “An illustrative essay (or exemplification essay) uses examples to show, explain, or prove a point or argument (the essay thesis). The key to a good illustrative essay is to use enough detailed and specific examples to get the point across.”

Writing Prompt

What was your childhood like? Write one explicit thesis statement that sums up your childhood. Then write an illustrative essay that includes either one long illustrative example or three to five shorter illustrative examples to support your claim. Continue reading “Tuesday writing prompt: An illustrative essay”

Composition I, Writing Prompts

Tuesday Writing Prompt: A personal narrative

Shooting an Elephant
Today’s writing prompt was inspired by George Orwell’s personal narrative, “Shooting an Elephant.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I will be teaching my English Composition I students about the Narrative Essay. For this one, I decided to use a prompt from our textbook, The Longman Writer (8th ed.)

Writing Prompt

“In “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell tells about an incident that forced him to act in a manner contrary to his better instincts. Write a narrative about a time you faced a disturbing conflict and ended up doing something you later regretted” (p. 172).

Care to join us? Freewrite on the above topic for a minimum of 10 minutes, then share your freewrite in the comments below. Or, you may decide to use the material you generate to write a narrative essay. If so, you may post your essay on your own blog or website and share a link to your essay in the comments below.

–OR– Why not publish your personal essay? Continue reading “Tuesday Writing Prompt: A personal narrative”

Facebook, Mount Mary College, Novel Writing

Are you ready to write a novel this season?

a stack of library books
Today’s library haul… who says fiction writing doesn’t require research?

I had a great time with the summer writing challenge and got to know several of you quite well in the process. I want to thank everyone one more time for participating. If you managed to write even just a few more pages than you would have otherwise, then I consider the challenge a success!

Since I am not ready to stop challenging myself, this morning, I changed the name of my Write Your Novel this Summer Facebook page to “Write Your Novel this Season.” I think it’s a good idea to keep cranking out new material even while you are working on revisions for your previous stories. What do you think?

What’s next? Well, I did a complete read-through of my “Bees to Honey” novel (this is not a title, just a descriptive phrase to keep track of which novel is which) and wrote a few new scenes. I have reached the point where I need to do a ton of research on a certain element of my story before I do too much more writing. So, I went to the library this morning and picked up a huge stack of source material. I have a LOT of reading ahead of me! Continue reading “Are you ready to write a novel this season?”

Composition I, Education, Essays, Writing Prompts

Tuesday Writing Prompt: School Lunches

Cover of "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions...
Today’s writing prompt was inspired by Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. | Cover via Amazon

Today my English Composition I class is learning about description in preparation for the descriptive essay they will write for next week. Descriptive writing incorporates all five senses:

  1. Sight
  2. Sound
  3. Smell
  4. Taste
  5. Touch/feelings

I like to include “feelings” with number five, as it is often important to describe how something makes you “feel” in addition to how certain elements might “feel” to the touch. Just remember, it is equally essential to “show” how something makes you feel rather than “telling” your reader about it. So, try to avoid using the word, “feel” in your writing.

For today’s activities, I am borrowing a writing prompt from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Continue reading “Tuesday Writing Prompt: School Lunches”

Setting, Writers on Writing

Writing the second draft

The Story Thus Far
My story thus far is full of dialog but lacking in the description department. How about yours? | The Story Thus Far (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy first day of autumn!

I am currently working my way through draft #2 of the novel I wrote for the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. What goes into a second draft probably varies from one writer to the next. Dialog and action come easy for me. Description? Not so much. I can do description, but it simply does not pour out of me as dialog does. For me, description takes a lot of work.

When writing my first draft, I literally listen to the voices in my head and write down what they say. I am nothing more than a glorified court reporter. The result is what I think is an exciting story that is set in the empty expanse of Vagueland. While the dialog thrills me, the average reader would be lost in an attempt to determine where and when, exactly, this story takes place. I can picture it, but I haven’t yet built it on the page. Continue reading “Writing the second draft”