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Posts from the ‘News’ Category

Use Camp NaNoWriMo to reach your writing goal this month

Want to write a novel in the month of July? Well, now you can thanks to Camp NaNoWriMoBased on November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Camp NaNoWriMo provides the online support, tracking tools, and hard deadline to help you write the rough draft of your novel in a month… other than November.

Not ready to write a novel in a month? No problem. You can use the support and deadlines of Camp NaNoWriMo to set other big writing goals–edit a manuscript, finish a first draft or finish a second draft. I even know a man who’s going to use this month to write one new poem a day.

Whatever your writing goals this month, check out the website and see how you can use it to reach your targets.

While you’re at it, check out these past links about how to write a novel in a month:

NaNoWriMo or not, boost your word count

How keeping a writing practice list can increase your NaNoWriMo word count

Three top tips for children and young adult writers

Are you writing for children and young adults? Success may be yours with the right mix of plot and writing finesse. The Greenhouse Literary Agency, which specializes in children and YA writing, lists these tips as part of a top 10 list. These are three of my favorites:

  1. Find out what books today’s kids are buying and enjoying. Absorb contemporary culture and literature, but never try to copy anyone else’s voice or concept because you think they’re successful right now. What’s hot today may be stone cold in a year’s time and it will take at least this long for your book to be published.

  1. Publishers publish into age categories – young fiction, middle grade and young adult.  Be very clear who you are writing for; many novels never find a home because they don’t speak clearly enough to any section of the market. Read more

Winner of the weirdest book title of the year

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.

Four contests to energize your writing life

One good way to inject some energy into your writing is by entering contests. Sending out your work helps create focus and momentum and if you win, cash and publishing credits aren’t bad either.

Here are four contests that came across my e-mail this week. For more, check out Poets & Writers Writing Contests, Grants & Awards page.

The New Letters Literary Awards
Prize: $1,500 each for poetry, fiction and essay
Entry fee: $15
Deadline: May 18, 2013
Contest details Read more

Is your favorite book on this 2012 top 10 list of challenged books?

As long as books have been published, they’ve also been banned for one reason or another. This week, the American Library Association (ALA) released its annual State of America’s Libraries Report, which included a Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books in 2012. You might be surprised to find that of all books, the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, was on the list. All I can figure is that Dr. Diaper and Professor Poopypants crossed some kind of line.

Thankfully, the ALA continues to promote the benefits of free and open access to information by highlighting censorship and actual or attempted banning of books across the United States.

Here is the Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books in 2012:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
  2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie Read more

Take Will Smith’s advice and defy the writing enemy

Do you have a piece of writing that you’re afraid to share with the world? You must push beyond the fear, says actor Will Smith.

The ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment, James Lassiter and Will Smith of Overbrook Entertainment are looking for a few talented writers in the America’s Newest Scriptwriter Contest.

“The greatest enemy to doing the things you want to do in this world is fear,” says Will Smith, in a video on the contest website. “The only way to deal with fear is to smash your head against it. Write your work and submit it.”

Smith and film producer James Lassiter, co-founders of Overbrook Entertainment, will judge the contest.

They’ll select two winners — one for a 30-minute comedic script and one for a one-hour dramatic script. Winners will meet with Overbrook Entertainment to discuss opportunities to further develop their scripts. Each winner will receive $5,000. Read more

Inaugural poet Richard Blanco speaks about his writing process

Poet Richard Blanco, chosen to recite a poem written for today’s second inauguration of President Barack Obama, views writing as a discovery process.

Poets should not take up a pen to write if he or she is completely sure of what the poem is about. In an interview at, Blanco said, “I’ve learned to recognize that when I sit down to write a poem, I have something to figure out, and I have to do it on the page. And I hope that my inaugural poem will do that, in some ways, for the nation. That it will work towards making sense of—all the din of the day—all that we hear in the news.”

All writing is to some degree an act of discovery. What do you have to discover in your writing?

To learn more about Blanco and his approach to poetry, read the full interview. You’ll also find links to several of his poems. Read more