During the summer months Phoenix Writers Club draws on the vast knowledge of its own members. I spoke in June on research for writers and this month Rodney L. Cobb, artist and writer, spoke on public speaking.
Rodney has worked as an editor, writer, urban planner and land use lawyer. He was an editor for “Land Use Law and Zoning Digest” for 17 years. He has just completed writing a book on the elements of drawing and painting.
Rodney suggested that all writers will eventually need to promote themselves and their books. Public speaking is an important part of promotion.
He said that your experiences in life, although they may seem humdrum to you, are unique and you should cash in on them through your writing.
A speaker should have good eye contact and be engaged with the audience. He should simplify what he is saying and do his best to show instead of just telling. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Lighten up and share yourself with your audience.
Rodney L. Cobb at Phoenix Writers Club, July 2014.
Friday Night Writes at the Dog-Eared Pages bookstore had another great guest speaker on Friday. Krista Cantrell, M.A., works with dogs, cats and horses as a cognitive
behaviorist, healer, and nationally published author. Her books include Tao of Puppies: How To Raise a Good Dog Without Really Trying,
Catch Your Dog Doing Something Right: How To Train Any Dog In Five Minutes A Day,and Housetrain Your Dog Now.
You can learn more about Krista and order her books here.
That said, I wish every one of my readers could have heard Krista’s talk. She had us envisioning other worlds and taking
the time to ask questions about Everything. She stresses that we use power words – words that have an impact on the
story. To always have surprises. When she reads a line she starts asking questions. What did the hand look like? What type of
fabric was used? What was behind the curtain? Why were the fingertips purple? Why? What? Who? Where? The questions went on and on.
I can’t even begin to explain the energy and ideas she shared with all of us.
I forgot to take my camera so instead of a photo of Krista I’m introducing you and her to my own magnificent dog: Maggie. She is a rescue
that the Humane Society thought was an Australian Cattle Dog. However, Maggie kept growing and at about 8 years old weighs around 70
pounds. We’ve decided she is actually a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, at least in part. I love to tell people we have a catahoula. They
always say, “A cata what?” Now why is that? How did Maggie end up on the streets of south Phoenix lost, dehydrated and covered in ticks? How does she feel about
dressing up in costume and visiting Tombstone, Arizona? What is she thinking?
All the questions.
Thank you, Krista, for opening my writing to so many more possibilities.
Megan D. Scott is an entertainment lawyer who’s goals are to help writers and others in the entertainment field to protect themselves. You can learn more about her practice here.
Megan is out to change the public’s view of lawyers and her bubbly personality is a great start. One thing she repeated over-and-over was, “Plan for the highest level of success.” You could be the next J. K. Rowling and you want to have yourself and your work covered correctly from the beginning.
She discussed contracts, copyrights and what to do to protect your work. She also stressed that even though some sites on the internet offer free artwork or photography it may not really be copyright free. The best way to be safe is to do it yourself. Good faith isn’t good enough in the legal world.
The best part of hearing a speaker like this is it makes one aware of the possibilities. You might not ever be in need of the protection or reach a level where others will be out to get you but it is always best to be aware.
A selfie with Megan and the listeners.
Romance writer, Kris Tualla, paid another visit to the Dog-Eared Pages bookstore last week. This time she spoke about adding humor to your novel.
She said that throwing in something funny can wake up a scene and the reader. If a moment is becoming too tense and full of anger a bit of humor can lighten the mood, just like in real life.
It can also be used to bring down a character that is a little too full of him or her self. Even heroes and heroins can appear more human with a bit of humor. Kris read several examples from her own work and had the group laughing and sharing some of their own hilarious stories.
Kris also announced that the conferences she is involved in will be five days next year. Buildin’ the Dream: Authors Helping Authors and Arizona Dreamin': A Romance Reader Event were well attended this year and I’ve heard nothing but good reports. For more information visit: TheDreamsConvention.com.
Shelley Gillespie who spoke at Dog-Eared Pages last week is full of energy and inspiration. She has developed all of that into her business as a Book Writing Coach.
Shelley writes for the Arizona Republic newspaper and recently wrote a fantastic article about Diana Gabaldon.
To develop your writing skills and actually get things done use your imagination, visualization and set up a schedule. Write Every Day!
Have a fun, catchy title. Take the time to jot down what you want to write and go from there.
Keep the writing alive. Every once in awhile throw in a short punchy sentence to keep yourself, your characters and the reader awake. Use “Scan – Find” to check your manuscript for the overuse of certain words.
Some of the the books on her reference shelf are: Warriner’s English Grammar, Roget’s Thesaurus, On Writing by Stephen King, Strunk’s Elements of Style, Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, The AP Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style.
Shelley has two books about getting off the couch and hiking, even in the Arizona desert. The first one was geared to adults but another version for kids soon evolved. Hiking: For the Couch Potato can be found at her web site and at hiking.forthecouchpotato.com.
Visit Shelley’s web page to learn more about her books and services and to sign up for a free e-book on publishing: 10 Steps to Book Writing Success.
Another in the series of speakers at Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore in north Phoenix.
Arabella Thorne is a down-to-earth speaker and writer. She worked for the Los Angeles Times for 19 years and now lives in the Arizona desert. She has been a photographer and done freelance writing. She also writes fan fiction for The Lord of the Rings. She started with fan faction at the age of 12 with The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
She has two books available which you can learn more about on her website. They are The Elf Lord’s Revenge and a novella; I Swear My Roommate is a Vampire.
To make it from idea to published she says to write all the time and to have deadlines – even if they are “fake.” It is important to finish what you start (something I really need to work on.) She also stresses the importance of keeping your name out there with novellas, short stories and other publishing options.
She loves the history of California and her first book is set in Alta Vista before the Gold Rush. She did a lot of research and then added a bit of fantasy with an elf family.
She suggests writing against the type. That’s one reason she put elves in California. The vampire in her novella isn’t the usual alpha male but based on a favorite teacher she once had.
I got the impression that not only does she write the unusual but her view on life is full of humor and an ingrained wit.