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