For all our readers waiting to learn the winner of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, the suspense is over.
The 2012 winner is Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop: And Other Practical Advice In Our Campaign Against The Fairy Kingdom by Reginald Bakeley. This winning book is your go-to guide to banishing pesky dark fairy creatures who threaten to thwart every last pleasure, be it gardening, country hikes, or even getting a good night’s sleep. It beat out, “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis,” and “How to Sharpen Pencils,” among others.
Back in March, I announced the contest in this post, Is your book title odd? Check these out and vote for the weirdest one. (You’ll also find links to two posts about writing book and screenplay titles.)
The prize for oddest book title is named after the Diagram Group, an information and graphics company based in London, and The Bookseller, a British trade magazine for the publishing industry. The contest was started in 1978 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the first winner was “Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.”
For more information about how the prize started and past winners, check out the Wikipedia page, Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year.
Have you ever had a story or scene to write but struggled with finding a way into it?
I have a friend who’s known for the stories she tells. She’s a keen observer of people and life and has a way of making scenes come alive. By observing her oral storytelling technique, I’ve learned how to find my way into writing scenes and stories.
Storytelling has been used since the beginning of time as a way to process life. Before paper or printing presses existed, stories were told verbally. My friend instinctively adopts the techniques of natural storytelling by creating foreshadowing, suspense, strong images, and closure. When she tells a story, I can tell she feeds off her audience, whether it’s one or several, for cues that her story resonates.
If you’re struggling with how to get into a scene or story, you might try telling it to a friend or two.
While some people say you don’t want to “talk your story out” for fear of losing the energy of it, you might find it could actually be a useful tool if you do it with purpose. Read more
I’ve been working again on my logline for my work-in-progress. In movie land, a logline is a one-sentence hook that tells us what the story is about while piquing our interest. Developing a logline is also a good idea for novelists–you can use it not only to market your work but also to help you stay focused as you write.
Recently, I wrote a post about loglines based on screenwriter Blake Snyder’s advice and his four requirements for every logline.
I also discovered two really great posts on loglines:
“Writing Good Log Lines” by Stanley D. Williams. See what Williams has to say about the importance of the moral premise of your work.
“Writing Effective Loglines” by J. Gideon Sarantinos gives great examples of loglines from newer movies and classics.
Have you written a logline for your current project? If so, share it in the comments below.
Christopher Vogler, author of The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, has been a consultant for Hollywood studios for years. He has helped guide story development for movies such as The Wrestler, Black Swan, The Lion King, The Fight Club, and The Thin Red Line.
I had the honor of learning from Vogler at the Story Masters Workshop last year. One of the things I still remember from his lecture was when he said, “If your story does not make two or more organs of your body squirt fluids, it’s no good.”
Say, what? Squirt fluids? Yes, that’s what he said. And it makes perfect sense once you know what he means. Read more
Years ago, when I first started writing prose, I remember a literary agent said he and his wife never watched TV unless they were at the gym or a local bar because they don’t even own a TV. They focus all of their attention on reading.
Looking for role models for my literary life, I thought, “Aha…I won’t watch TV either.” It made sense. Less time in front of the tube equals more time writing or reading. My husband and I didn’t watch much TV anyway, but we did have our favorite shows we’d record and watch later.
At some point in my literary life—after graduating from my MFA program—I realized that being a writer wasn’t just about the ability to write well. Just at important, if not more so, is the ability to tell a good story. Read more
One of the most important things we must not do to readers is bore them or stop the flow of the story. In my recent post, How not to write a story, I shared agent Margaret Bail’s tips and writing don’ts.
Here are several other points she and other agents, editors, and workshop presenters made during a panel discussion at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference.
Character description. A common but ineffective way to describe your character is by having her look in a mirror or other reflective surface and describe what she sees.