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Writer Resources

How Do Writers Create Fictional Worlds?

“How can human-made squiggles on a page reflect lights into our eyes that sends signals to our brains that we logically and emotionally decode as complex narratives?”

The animated video embedded above features a five-minute TED-Ed lesson with tips on how to build fictional worlds in stories. Kate Messner, a children’s books author and a speaker at the TED 2012 conference, served as the educator who crafted this lecture.

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Amazon Has a New Online Story Building Tool For TV & Film Writers

storybuilderAmazon’s film division Amazon Studios has created a new tool to help writers build scripts called Amazon Storybuilder.

The digital tool borrows from the paper notecard approach to writing story boards only it does it virtual. Screenwriters can create digital notecards and move them around on a virtual cork board. Writers can add text and photos to these notecards to help build out a story. The new resource comes after the launch of Amazon Storyteller, which turns scripts into storyboards.

The free tool is available online, as well as on their mobile devices. And don’t worry, Amazon doesn’t acquire the rights to any of these ideas just because you are using their tool.

“Technology is already transforming how filmed entertainment is produced and distributed, and many of the tools writers use to craft stories could become more accessible with a technology update–paper notecards are a perfect example,” stated Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.

 

‘Selfie’ Named Word of the Year

oxforddictionariesThe Oxford Dictionaries have chosen “selfie” as the Word of the Year for the United States.

A “selfie” is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”  According to the OUP blog, the organizers voted unanimously for this word.

Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “There have also been lots of plays on this word, such as ‘welfie’ (workout selfie), ‘drelfie’ (drunken selfie), and even, for you book lovers out there, ‘bookshelfie’ (shelfie in front of your bookshelves). Though selfie is not in the Oxford English Dictionary yet, it is being considered for future inclusion.” Would “selfie” have been your choice for “word of the year”?

Journalist Reflects on Future of New Orleans Times-Picayune

hellAuthor and journalist Rebecca Theim wrote about the future of a famous newspaper in Hell and High Water: The Battle to Save the Daily New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The book is out this month, and we caught up with the journalist to find out more about the book and how Mediabistro’s courses helped her write the story.

Her answers follow below…

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How Writers Can Pitch Online Outlets

Author and technology consultant Scott Steinberg shared some important advice for writers in this encore edition of the  Morning Media Menu podcast (embedded below).

Steinberg shared tips for pitching online outlets about your book. We caught up with Steinberg while he promoted The Modern Parent’s Guide to Video Games.

To promote his work, he shared columns and essays on a number of sites–reaching out to new readers at major outlets like CNN.comAll Things D and ESPN.com.

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How To Approach Other Writers About Blurbs

Author and Rock Plaza Central musician Chris Eaton wrote about scores of people online and offline who share his name in Chris Eaton, a Biography. Over at The Believerhe interviewed another writer with the same name and a small Internet footprint.

How many people share your name online? In this encore edition of the Morning Media Menu, Eaton shared advice for making a genuine appeal to a writer, artist or musician when searching for blurbs.

Press play below to listen on SoundCloud. We’ve collected a few excerpts from the interview…

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Moleskine Introduces Photo Notebook

photomoleskine

Moleskine has introduced a new kind of notebook, letting you completely personalize your writing notebook by including your own photos, art and drawings.

You can design every single page of the $50 notebook, even adding inspirational notes or quotes alongside the pictures. The notebook will have 96-pages, sized at Moleskine’s familiar dimensions of 5.12 x 8.19” for a book.

If you don’t want to customize the entire notebook, you can use the FiftyThree’s Paper app, you can create 15-pages of digital art and publish them inside a customized Moleskine notebook.

Freelance Writers & the Affordable Care Act

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We collected some Affordable Care Act resources for freelance writers recently, but author Roberta Winter urged freelance writers to think carefully about these complex choices.

Winter wrote Unraveling U.S. Health Care: A Personal Guide, leading people through these tough decisions. She offered some advice for freelance writers:

Since freelance writers do not typically make much money, the insurance exchanges will afford them the opportunity to choose from 4 health plans, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze and receive government subsidies, based on their adjusted gross income. The subsidies vary between 93 percent and 100 percent of the premium, based on the silver plan premiums.

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How Authors Can Sell Through Indie Bookstores Online

Novelist Chuck Wendig reminded authors to support indie bookstores this week in a passionate post.

Below, we’ve outlined five ways authors can add links to independent bookstores on their websites, mostly using the IndieBound service. Wendig did not tell authors to stop linking to Amazon, but reminded all writers to at least include a link to their favorite bookstores. Check it out:

Indie bookstores are vital. The best of them connect authors and readers and foster a book-lover’s community in a way that Amazon never can and never will. They can compete with Amazon on a level that Amazon will never understand — like insurgent freedom fighters pushing back a militarily-superior enemy. Indie bookstores will handsell the holy hell out of your books. They are active agents promoting things they love and authors they dig — they are not the passive Amazon recommendation engine. They’re people! Who love books! Maybe your books! How is that a bad thing? So: link to Indiebound, will ya? And if you have a favorite indie bookstore, link to them, too.

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Find a Writers Group in Our New Directory

Are you looking for a writers group? Writers groups can motivate you to write more, critique your work or even help you publicize your work.

We have created an experimental project to connect writers around the globe, helping hundreds of GalleyCat readers create writers groups both online and in the real world.

Sign up to join our free directory here. Once you fill out the simple form, you will be able to access our complete directory of GalleyCat readers who are looking for a writers group–contact them directly to build a new group.

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