From my dear Cheryl:
Sometimes I think we put a little too much of our real life into our stories. I know my first draft characters always come out too much like me. It’s good, in a way, to model characters after real people, because it makes them relatable. On the other hand, real people are boring.
So switch it up a little. Maybe she has an aunt that works as a psychic. Or a dog that’s famous in town for having saved the life of a Boy Scout. Or maybe her dad keeps a pet alligator in the bathtub. Don’t ever limit yourself to reality. The whole point of fiction is to escape reality. We might as well have a little fun doing it.
And my dear Brenda:
Last Saturday I helped at the “Spring Into Books” Event held at the Viridian Event Center. This was started by the Oquirrh Chapter of the League of Utah Writers. The year before they had held a “book signing” event, mostly populated by chapter members. This year they began, in the first meeting of the planning “committee” (of which I was a member, and dragged my husband into it as well), to expand their idea. It just kept getting bigger and Bigger and BIGGER. One of the committee is on the board for the Viridian — and said he could get the venue for free. Eventually, we were co-sponsored by SL County Library System, West Jordan Arts Council, Jordan School District, Salt Lake County and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Best guesses to date are that 58 authors were there to sign books for the approximately 1,000 people who showed up (I’ve seen guesses of 200+ more than that). Authors rented tables or half-tables to show their wares And admittance was FREE.
Kids were entertained with games, prizes, a clown making fantastic balloon animals, flowers, and tiaras, free popcorn and so much else. One genius came up with a “scavenger hunt” list of items to find: soccer ball, mermaid or merman, a dragonfly, a candle, etc. All of them items pictured on various authors’ covers. If a child could get initials from each of the authors that he’d seen their cover, he could show it at the front desk to receive a free, colorful pencil. Simple, but tremendously popular.
Just under 20 authors took a 20 minute slot to read to interested parties from their books. That ran, like the entire event, from 3pm to 7pm. Another room had hourly round-tables: 5 separate tables, where audience members could listen to authors on a variety of subjects, or come watch an illustrator and hear what his/her job entailed.
The Copper Hills H.S. poetry-slam group performed from 5 to 6 pm. They are an award-winning group (and there’s already been SOME talk of including a poetry-slam contest next year).
There were also hourly drawings for various prizes, a choice between a free book or a T-shirt with writerly notes printed on them.
Every “sponsoring” entity sent people to check on the event, to see if they would still be interested in sponsoring next year. ALL of them have put in a “We want to help next year” — and there are talks of making it even bigger — which we’ll need, if this kind of response repeats itself.
It will probably be held about the same time of year — You Will Want To Be There — late March of 2016, or so. Watch for it in the newspapers, on TV, through online announcements, etc., and come join us as we Spring Into Books!
And from me:
Today, I’m going to plant flowers with my youngest.
I need to. I’ve been writing a book that has brought some icky parts of my past to the surface, and I’ve been sad. This compounds my already depressed mood.
It’s okay, though, to lift my face to the sun. Dig in the dirt. Paint a room a bright color.
This part of my life is over. And yes, it still touches me, wrapping memory around my heart and lungs. But. But now I can write it down. Loose it a little. Maybe free myself from some of the anguish.
How does writing help you?