Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Party 2011

If you missed our gathering last night, we missed YOU!

We had about eight couples attend and we had a great time visiting over some fantastic food! It was great to meet the spouses!

Okay, so that's NOT us and my stairway is not nearly so grand. But I failed to take any pictures I was too caught up in chatting! Just imagine us sitting around stuffing pasta and bread into our mouths and you get the idea!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's Your Problem?

At our October writer's meeting, we were plotting. Fill in the blanks as to what we were plotting, if you weren't there. Were we plotting how to toilet paper the members homes who didn't come? Hmmm. Time will tell!

Actually, we had a most amazing turnout last week! The room was packed! And no, we weren't plotting mischievous schemes. We were talking about plot creation, and brainstorming ideas on how to overcome obstacles when writing.

We all know there is a difference between a real plot and a series of events happening to your character, but it can often be difficult during the writing process to put everything together the right way.

Perhaps you start out with a great beginning, but struggle with the middle and the ending. Or things just don't feel like they mesh together well. How do the little details fit into the story? Sometimes our characters almost conflict with our desired plot. Or the dreaded, gulp, don't say it.....writer's block.

So what do you do? BRAINSTORM! And lots of it.

It's been said that the power of the brainstorm is underrated. I agree. Racking your brain can have all sorts of fantastic results, once you get through the hard work. As a writing group, we had our own version of a group brainstorm, on how to hone in on the plot development process. Each member of the group shared their techniques that help them the most.

Welcome to the blitzkrieg portion of this post! Read on to see what we came up with!

*Make comments in your manuscript as you go, and return for edits later. Don't stop writing when you've got a good flow.
*Interview your characters! Make it in depth, and you'll be surprised at what you discover.
*If you use plot outlines, make sure they are flexible.
*Remember what the problem is in your story. Ask why, what if questions.
*Talk it over with someone. Or for some, talking out loud to themselves works. Our fellow writers are great tools for having useful discussions about our work. (Please note, there was no comma or period after "writers are great tools, so they'll be no jokes about that.) ;)
*Debate it with someone. You don't need someone to always just tell you it's great. A devil's advocate is often the most helpful.
*Flip a coin when making a choice between two routes. If you are secretly hoping it lands on tails, then you get heads and feel bummed, then now you know to go with the tails option.
*Read something, or watch a movie that evokes the same type of emotion you are hoping to create in your writing.
*Get a change of scenery, take a walk, or trip.
*Listen to music! Choose music that inspires you, and has the same mood as the scenes you wish to write.
*Let it simmer. Or for some of us, let it"ferment."
*Talk to yourself in the mirror, or talk to the computer.
*Don't push it, take your time.
*Do some writing exercises. Pay attention to your dreams.

Jennie Bennett also shared a few websites for plot help. Thank you Jennie!

Main Character Survey
Ten Scene Plotting Tool
The Eight Sequence Plotting Tool

If you have other ideas that get you out of your writing jams, leave a comment, we'd love to hear it!

Next Month: November 17th is our Chapter Party!!! Hope to see you all there! Details to be coming soon!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

About RSS Feeds

What is an RSS Feed?

An RSS feed is basically something that you can subscribe to and get updates from. Here is how it works. A person is surfing the web and finds a website or a blog that they really enjoy and want to keep up with. Instead of having to remember to go back to the website regularly to check for updates the person can subscribe to the RSS feed (assuming the site or blog has one). The person then sees instant updates from the site or blog in their favorite RSS feed reader (i.e. Google Reader). Giving your readers the option of subscribing to an RSS will help them stay more active in following your site or blog.

Also, providing an RSS feed broadens your audience of followers. Not everyone has the appropriate account to use the various following methods. And some do not like receiving updates through email.

How do I set up an RSS feed?

If you have a blog – chances are it is already an RSS feed. And there is probably a widget for adding a button to your blog. Here are instructions if you use blogger (new interface):
  1. Open your blog and select ‘Layout’

  2. Click one of the ‘Add Gadget’ links in the area you want the widget to appear.

  3. Choose ‘Basics’ and scroll down the ‘Subscription Links’

  4. Click the plus button, give it a title, and click ‘Save.’

I am sure that there are similar ways to add it to other blog platforms.

Adding an RSS feed to your website is a little more involved. First do a search for an ‘rss feed generator’ and pick one out you like. Once you have set up a feed for your site – you will need to have a link to that feed that allows the user to subscribe to it. I have never done this - but I am sure a google search would produce some excellent resources.

Other uses of RSS feeds

Another way to use RSS feeds on your blog or website is to embed a related RSS feed. My blog, for example is about writing. I could find another site that talks about writing – say for instance one that talks about what is going on in publishing. If I embed that RSS feed into my blog – then users could see the updates from those feeds when they visit my site. The benefit of using a feed is that it makes you site appear to be updated more often.

This is also simple for most blogging platforms. Just add a widget (the ‘Feed’ widget on Blogger) to your blog or site that pulls from the RSS feed. Again, I have never added an RSS feed to a website.

Other Tools

You can also use third party tools to find out how many people subscribe to your rss feed – such as”>Feedburner. This can help you see how many people you are reaching with your feed.

Posted by Krista Wayment Thank you Krista!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Favicon How To: By Jennie Bennett

What in the world is a Favicon? I hear you asking. Well, see that little stack of books up my URL? That's a Favicon. I just wanted to take you all on a quick tutorial of how I created mine. I like Favicon's becasue it sets your blog apart from a sea of orange B's.

Just start with an image:

The image must be a .jpg (most images are). As you can see, this image is much too large to fit up in the teeny-tiny space up in the blog address bar. So the next step is to shrink it.

I used Shrink-pictures .com. All you have to do is add the image and select the smallest size setting (100 pixels in this case). It will then send you to a page where you must download the image, this will be sent to a temp file so make sure you save it to your hard drive.

This is what it looks like after.

Of course, it is still too big. Plus the favicon has to be square, and this image is not. The solution? Iconj.

Just insert your image in this nifty looking box -

and out comes the code link for your favicon. (You'll probably want to download the pic and save it too.)

Next, go to your design tab (or if you're using the new blogger layout the template button on the left sidebar) then click the link "edit HTML" button. Next use ctl+F to find this line - <title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title> (copy and paste this into the ctl+f search box)

Directly below this you will want to insert the link iconj gave you. This is what it will look like -

Then your image should appear by your URL!

You'll also see in the design tab (or the layout button on the new interface) a place for a favicon - this is just for when your blog appears in blog rolls on other sites. If you want this then just add the downloaded image from iconj to the spot directed.

I know this can be confusing, I had a hard time figuring it out myself. If you have any questions just ask me and hopefully I'll be able to help you make your blog beautiful!
Thanks Jennie Bennett for another great post!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The League of Utah Writers Roundup

I had a great time at roundup and I (with a little from Christina) wanted to share the highlights from my time there.

To keep this post from going too long I am just going to talk about the classes I took and bullet point the highlights.

1. Problem the Core of the Story - Taught by John Brown

* When it comes to the plot if you ever get stuck think of the original problem and then you will have the answer. (i.e. in Jurassic Park the problem is the dinosaurs.)

* Problem is the engine. There are three types of problems that can push your story forward.

o Danger/Threat - Someone's going to die or something else is threatened.

o Mystery - It's a puzzle and you have to put all the pieces together.

o Hardship/Lack of opportunity - you're not rich enough or you have some sort of disability.

* You can combine the types of problems you use.

2. Voice and Style - Taught by Clint Johnson

* Your voice is who you are, but it is also something that can be refined.

* You can find your voice by opening yourself up to new experiences and genres. Ask "why?" about everything (why do you like to sleep in your bed?) Then dig as deep as you can. Meet new people and try and see everything from their point-of-view even if you don't agree with it.

* Style can be found by trying different POV's (writing from an object or just from someone who is the opposite of you.) Experiment with different kinds of writing (even practicing writing in someone else's style) and learning the rules then breaking them for effect.

* Read your writing out loud and consider how the phonetics sounds. Examples used - The Giver - The last Unicorn - Hunger Games (read these out loud and think about how the author sounds)

3. Pacing - writing at the speed of life - Taught by Alexander Gordon.

* When you're writing action you want everything to be fast paced.

* Use short sentences and try to cut words like he/she

* Think only about what the character is seeing and don't focus on anything that they wouldn't notice in the heat of battle.

* Write it step by step, and keep it concise.

4. Getting the joy back into your writing - Taught by Sarah Fitzgerald * Write 750 words (personal) every morning to vent your frustrations.

* Don't listen to internal 'backtalk" (i.e. I'll never be good enough, I'm going to disappoint my friends/parents/spouse)

* Don't write to be a bestseller, write because you love it!

* You will NOT die if no one likes what you write, if you give up because of rejection you shouldn't be writing.

Okay that sums it up. Hope that leaves you all informed!

Posted by Jennifer Bennett. Thank you!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Take Turns Inspiring Each Other."

Welcome to the "Filling You In on What You Missed Out On At Our September Meeting Don't You Wish You Had Come," September Edition!

Our first meeting with our new President started out with a little forced wallowing in misery. (Already you are salivating to learn more.)

See how much fun Lucien (on the left) is having? Look closely.

Actually, we had a great discussion about what makes it tough to be a writer/author. We're constantly juggling our desire to create with our busy lives and our own insecurities. Our wallowing was not fruitless; however, because we discussed ways that we as a writing community can help and support one another.

Check out these great tools for combating all sorts of roadblocks.

First: Our Tooele Writer's Facebook Group. Need a little encouragement? Post it! Want to share something great that you accomplished? Post it! Read something that inspired you in your writing and want to shout it to the world? Post it! Feeling stuck? Post it! Feeling like you want to tell Christina to stop asking questions and then answering them herself in this blog post? Post that too!!! I think that the Facebook Group is a great way to connect with each other, and to support one another, with whatever we need. Just ASK!!!

Second: Check out and consider becoming a member. Did you know that you can not only do and read reviews, but you can actually post recommendations for other readers? Even readers that are asking for certain types of novels. Recommend your fellow author's books!

Third: This here blog you are reading right now! If you write a blog post and you want me to post it here, I am happy to do it. The more traffic we get on this site, the more aware of it google will be and that means more exposure for YOU. Be sure to ask me to add your personal blog link or website to the side bar. If it's not there, let me know! Browse other writer's blogs when you get a moment and keep yourself connected!

In other news:
Don't forget to send Terron your information so you can be included in our chapter directory.

AND.........drumroll please....................

Congratulations to Terron James and Roseanne Wilkins for being nominated for Whitney Awards!!! Very exciting!

This first picture was taken with my camera on the wrong setting. Which is why the quality is poor. However, it needed to be shared because of Terron's expression. Yes. Yes it did.

Here is the "official" nominees picture.

Congrats guys!! Can't wait to see what happens!!

By the by, if you haven't had a chance yet to make yourself an official member of the League of Utah Writers, you can easily join and pay online at

What are your ideas on how we can help one another achieve our goals? Leave a comment! Here's to supporting and inspiring one another! Cheers!

Friday, September 2, 2011

What It Really Takes

I have been thinking a lot the past couple weeks about the trials that authors endure on a regular basis, so I've decided to organize my thoughts into this post. Raise your glasses to the authors you know (and don't know) because they deserve a HUGE toast! Hats off to you all!

I think one common attribute that all writers share (well, at least at the beginning of their writing process) is a desire to write. We all start with that desire, but from there, many different challenges like to thwart our ambitions. Even before the daunting process of plot creation, a huge roadblock emerges.

"What if I'm no good?"

I call this the George McFly Syndrome. If you recall the movie Back to the Future, the young version of George McFly had major ambitions to create sci-fi stories, enough that he spent most of his free time scribbling feverishly in his notepads. However, the initial roadblock still hung over his head. When Marty reached across the table with no other intention than to relish in what his dad had been writing, George threw his arms around his hoard of paper and voiced this resonating dialogue.

"I never let anybody read my stories... What if they don't like them? What if they say I'm no good? I just don't think I can handle that kind of rejection."

This problem is very real for all writers. We spend years pouring our hearts and souls into our creation. Fragments of the most sensitive parts of our lives inevitably force their way into our literature, making them very personal. Let's not kid ourselves. We all have a little George McFly sitting on our shoulder, and rightly so. It hurts to have something so personal get rejected. That's why we need each other. No one truly understands what we give and sacrifice to write unless they've done it themselves. We have an unspoken understanding of each other.

Everyone has a different solution to overcoming this roadblock, but the fact is, we all need to overcome it at some point. This is where I believe the transition lies between writers and authors. It's not when our name appears on the cover of a book, or when we win a prestigious award. When we finally force ourselves to release our white-knuckled grip on our prized creations and purposefully give others the opportunity to tell us how much it sucks, that's when we truly "grow up." I raise my glass again to all who have endured this transition. You have more courage than Evel Knievel, more strength than Lou Ferrigno, more endurance than Lance Armstrong, more passion than William Wallace, and more faith than Gandhi.

Sometimes we write a keeper and sometimes we might as well burn the whole thing in a fire, but what really impresses me about authors is that we subject ourselves to this inexplicable torture over and over again. Why? Because writing is what defines us. We just can't help ourselves. More passion than William Wallace and more courage than Evel Knievel.

This is only the beginning for an author. Most of us want to be published and, therefore, start the daunting task of querying literary agents and publishers. If an author somehow makes it to this point without anyone telling them their literature needs improvement, they are in for a rude awakening. Doors will be slammed in our faces... over and over again. So what do we do? We send out more queries! More endurance than Lance Armstrong.

For those authors who choose to self-publish, there is still no escape from this painful criticism. Reviews will come in and some people will inevitably hate everything about what we've written. Or, what I believe to be even more painful, is silence. No reviews come. No one says anything. Thoughts start creeping into our heads, filling the void with negative criticism, yet we move on. More faith than Gandhi.

We can't do this by ourselves. We need each other. Writing leagues and online communities are valuable links to our sanity. We overcome our own pain by lifting each other. More strength than Lou Ferrigno.

You have believed. You have pursued. You have endured. You have overcome. You have conquered.

You are an Author.

A post by Terron James, Chapter President

Friday, August 19, 2011

Goodbye Cheri!!

Tooele Chapter of the LUW wishes to bid farewell to our President, Cheri Chesley!

Thank you Cheri for all you have done! Cheri is the reason that Tooele has a chapter at all. Without her we'd be on our own or driving to SLC to meet with other local writers.

You did a wonderful job and you will be missed! Best of luck to you in OK!

Terron James has agreed to be the new President, and all agree that he will do a wonderful job. Thank you for volunteering!

At last night's meeting I was discussing with a few of the newer members blogs; in particular, this blog. This sad, barely hanging by a thread blog. I suggested adding more members as contributors and taking turns updating the blog.

What do you guys think? Can this be a place for our thoughts and comments and conversations with one another? Or is it unnecessary with all the facebooking we do?

What does our new President think should happen?

I'd appreciate as MUCH input here as possible, and see if we can breath life into this blog or not. If we decide to keep it, then I'll just need email addresses of those who wish to contribute.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Muh-muh-muh March

Thank you to all who contributed to this month's newsletter! There are several great upcoming events, and this month's update is brought to you by the letter Q. Read on to find out why. Don't worry, it won't be very hard to figure out! And keep on reading because we have a SPOTLIGHT this month! Yay! I love doing spotlights.

Coming up-get your calendars ready!

Cheri Chesley, author of The Peasant Queen, is having a joint singing with Michael Knudsen, author of The Rogue Shop! They will be at Starry Night Books on Saturday, March 12, from 2-4 p.m.

Did you know there is a Writer's Fest, March 25 at Clarke Johnson Jr. High? Well there is, and there is a signing afterward at The Purple Cow Bookstore from 4-6 p.m. Cheri Chesley and Karen Hoover may possibly be signing there as well. Come support our members!

Laura Bastian is in the query process with her manuscript, Eye On Orion! She has also started a blog and you can check it out on our link list to the right! Please sign on as a follower! Laura will be doing book reviews and welcomes all to participate!

Melanie Skelton shared a link for the WIFYR conference, coming to Sandy June 13-17. Check it out HERE. That is, the Writing and Illustrating for Yound Readers conference. She has been before and says it's amazing, and totally worth the cost. Melanie is attending Kathleen Duey's morning session. If you are interested in carpooling please get in contact with her. This sounds fun, and I know we have many writers who write for a young audience. Great info, thanks Melanie!

For March, we'll be spotlighting Terron James, one of our newer members. And if you are yourself a "newer" member, or an "older" member, and have yet to be spotlighted, then tough cookies, you didn't send me anything! Actually, I'm kidding, the cookies aren't tough at all, you can send me info at any time.

Meet Terron:

"My name is Terron James. My wife and I have 3 sons and we've lived in Tooele for 3-1/2 years. We love it here! Although I work for an engineering company in Salt Lake City doing right of way design for UDOT, I am currently attending the U of U for my BA in English. Above all else, I want to be a published author. I started writing seriously in August of 2008 and just finished Insight, the first book of my fantasy / sci-fi series, Beholders. Once I finalize my query letter package (hopefully within a week), I'll start hunting for an agent." blogger edit-Terron is currently in the query process!

"I love The Lord of the Rings books, including the Hobbit and Silmarillion. I'm one of those nerds you've probably heard about that can't find a good challenge in Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit. Yes, I even have maps of various locations in Middle-Earth hanging all over the walls in my garage. I also enjoyed the Inheritance books, but I was pretty annoyed with the 3rd book, Brisingr. Call me sometime if you really want to know why, but plan for a long conversation."

Thank you and welcome! Hope to see a large turnout at our next meeting. Remember, third Thursday of each month!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's a Revival!

Our newsletter is in serious need of a revival! It's time this little volunteer fulfilled her duties a bit better! Our chapter of the League has had some exciting news these last few months, so let's all get filled in, shall we?

But first, da-da da-da! The thing I am always asking for......Any new member and any members who haven't already done so, I would love to feature you in our newsletter, so send me a picture and a write up about yourself you'd like to share!

Cheri Chesley, whose debut novel The Peasant Queen was released 12-1-2010! She's already done multiple book signings and has many more planned!

Watch for her at The Purple Cow Bookstore right here in town on January 15th, at 2:00 pm, and at Sandy Barnes and Noble on February 5th!

Laura Bastain, Nicole Grane, and Scott Bryan. What do these three people have in common? Well, writing, yes, obviously. But they are all in various stages of agent querying with their completed novels. Very exciting, keep us posted guys!

Group meetings for 2011 are still the third Thursday of every month. Hope to see more of you there each time!

As always, I LOVE to get your emails with ANY news you have to share, email me at And we're still continually getting connected via FaceBook, and if you aren't a member of our group yet contact Laura DeLange Bastian on fb to be added.

Writing quote for the month:
"If writing is always fun you may be doing it wrong." Nathan Bransford

We all know that IT'S HARD WORK! But we still do it anyway! Best of luck till next month!