Friday, August 28, 2015

Is Your Blog Mobile-Friendly?

Most bloggers use either a computer or a laptop to compose their blogs, books, articles, and screenplays. Rare is the person who uses a mobile phone to write his or her blogs. So if all you ever use is a computer or laptop, do you have any idea how your blog looks on mobile devices?

And if somebody runs a Google search for something you’ve written on your blog, would anybody be able to find your blog?

If your blog is not phone-friendly, what people see when they visit your blog might not be what you want to present to them. If you’re racing to your phone to pull up your content right now and you’re not happy with the results, don’t worry. You can change the way your blog looks by following the instructions I’ve linked below.

Here most of my blogs and what they look like on mobile devices (fortunately, I’m happy with the results):














So are you ready to take the Mobile-Friendly Test? Just click the link and if your blog is not mobile-friendly, follow the instructions offered in the Mobile Guide, the Get Started section, or the Documentation section to fix the problem.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What is Meant by High-Concept Stories?


You’ve been reading guidelines for story submissions and you come across one that asks for, “High Concept Stories.” How do you create one? Where do you begin?

Jeff Lyons, guest poster at Writer’s Digest’s The Writer’s Dig, hosted by Brian Klems, answers that question for you. Lyons is a story editor and story development consultant at Kensington Entertainment, Burbank, CA, who also teaches story structure and story development through Stanford University’s Online Writers Studio. His publishing resume is lengthy, so he is more than qualified to help us understand what editors mean when they ask for High Concept romances, mysteries, popular fiction, and more.

Here is a link to help us all understand what editors want when they request high-concept stories – 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories

But wait! There's more, because in that blog, Lyons directs you to other helpful articles, one of which is 7 Ways to Create a Killer Opening Line For Your Novel (written by WD contributor, Jacob M. Appel).


So if you’re curious about what high-concept means and you want to improve your chances of getting published by incorporating a high-concept scheme into your writing, click 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories. And click some of the other links in that blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner, President Obama, Weird Illinois, National Crazy Day, Murder, and The Case of the Humanoid Alien


Over these past few weeks I've been busy resurrecting an old blog that I've neglected for quite a while. My original intention in creating Your Blog Connection was to promote other bloggers, but what happened as a result of promoting that blog was that I got enmeshed in a paid-to-blog site that provided links to web sites that sometimes appeared to be scams. I refused to write those types of blogs any longer. 

As a result, I lost out on a lot of paid blogging jobs, but the pay was dismal anyway, so parting ways was no big loss. 

Your Blog Connection, the blog that promotes your blog, has kept me busy lately – ever since I put out feelers to members of one Facebook group asking them if they wanted me to promote their blogs. What a great response I got! So I've been busy collecting questionnaires, writing blogs about their blogs, and promoting them on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

But I've also managed this past month to squeeze in a few other blog posts on some of my other blogs. If any of the following titles interest you, please click the links to read them:


Illinois may have its weirdest governor yet!

Help for anyone who advertises on Craigslist!


That's the question media want Obama to answer! And I give my opinion!

July 21 - National Crazy DayThe Lighter Side of the Moon Child

Don't forget to visit Your Blog Connection for the latest showcased blogs. Also if you want me to showcase your blog, request the questionnaire from me at writingcreatively@cheerful.com. Please be patient though, because a lot of bloggers are ahead of you awaiting their turns to be promoted.

Thank you for visiting!



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Writing Contests 2015


Every month several writing sites around the web post contests for writers. You may want to enter some of them. Whether you’re a wannabe, a newbie, or an established writer, writing contests can help you publicize your writing and establish your name. Though many writing contests require a fee, some are free. And because so many of them exist, prizes vary. 

Maybe you’re interested only in name recognition or maybe you just want to know if your writing is capable of winning a prize. Whatever your reason, entering a writing contest could result in a win. And while one win may not seem like much, as a contest winner, you can add your wins to your resume. And who knows – one win may lead to another and then to another. 

WARNING! Make sure you read the contest guidelines and follow the directions. Some people have lost simply because they didn’t follow the rules. If a poetry contest, for instance, requires you to write a poem with less than 24 lines and your poem exceeds 24 lines, even if the poem is Maya Angelou beautiful, you will lose, because you didn’t follow the rules.  So pay attention to what is asked of you in each contest.

Here are several contests broken down into various categories.

MAGAZINE CONTESTS



MISCELLANEOUS CONTESTS





MEMOIRS & ESSAYS



UK CONTESTS


POETRY



SCRIPTWRITING


SONGWRITING 


Hope you found the list helpful. 

Thank you for visiting!


Monday, June 15, 2015

The Guilt of an Online Writer


For just a moment, I want you to go back in time, to the days before the Internet. As a published writer, you laboriously sent query letters to publishers and agents and waited sometimes as long as six weeks – or longer – to hear from those agents and publishers. And you waited. And you waited.

Always, in the back of your mind or sitting in front of you – on paper – was that next book, that next article, or that next screenplay. As you finished one project, or even before you finished your current book, article, or screenplay, you directed your attention to a new one.

You frequented your local library or book store to purchase and read your favorite authors. Occasionally, you might even send a letter to your favorite authors. But never once did you expect those authors to read your material. You probably wouldn’t have even asked. Most writers back then wouldn’t have considered writing, “Enjoyed your work. Now read mine.”

And yet, as we fast forward to today, the message seems to be that if you write online, you must also read everyone who reads you. This task can become daunting and can cause a lot of guilt if we just want to write for a living. The number of people who call themselves writers has proliferated to the point where anyone who posts a comment considers him- or herself to be a writer. If thousands of people comment on your work, must you then comment on each of theirs? And if you don’t comment on theirs, does not commenting constitute a betrayal of sorts? By not commenting on their material, are you jeopardizing your own future?

I think of Stephen King and J. K. Rowling – just two examples of prolific writers who have fans that number in the millions. Can you imagine writing to them in Blog Land? Yeah. “Um, hi, Stephen King, I just read your book and now I want you to read mine” (multiply that comment by at least a million commenters). Who would expect Mr. King or any famous writer, for that matter, to comment on anything an unknown, fledgling writer wrote?

But that’s the problem. We aren’t famous. Nobody knows us - well, except maybe for a select group of other writers who want us to read their blog posts and articles and where the relationship is consensual. Even famous bloggers, like ProBlogger, Darren Rowse, can’t possibly comment on every blogger who posts a comment on his site.

So what do we unknown writers do – we write, we read, we comment – and we feel guilty if we can’t get to everyone who reads and comments on our work. I guess that’s the price we pay for not yet making it to the “Writers Readers Love To Read” level. But we’ve learned one Golden Rule – don’t beg people to read our work! We can, however, plaster our posts all over Facebook and Twitter and hope that somebody finds us amusing, delightful, informative, profound, or any of the other adjectives people use to compliment amazing writers.

For some of my latest posts, I’d like to direct you to the following:







Thank you for visiting!

Image by click on morgue file



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When The People You Love Don’t Support Your Writing Career


Previously published last year on and then removed from Persona Paper.

From a very early age, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know I could make a living by writing, because I was guided down a different path, but from the moment I could hold a pencil in my hand, the urge to write was overwhelming. And when I got a typewriter for Christmas one year (some of you are probably asking, “What’s a typewriter?”) I was elated. But Mom and Dad didn’t encourage me, because, according to my mom, writing wasn’t a secure profession. Secretarial work, on the other hand, was a worthwhile profession, so though she told me I could be anything I wanted to be, even president, she pushed me toward secretarial work, because it was more secure. 

I hated being a secretary.

Eventually I worked as a designer at a newspaper and I was given an opportunity to write my own column, but I still longed for some kind of acknowledgment from my mother. Dad never read anything I wrote. I never even thought to ask him to read my work, but my mom didn’t like anything I wrote. She preferred fiction and I wrote nonfiction. She always told me I should write children’s stories because of my vivid imagination. I should have been J.K. Rowling, I suppose, but I doubt she would have read those types of books, either.

Interestingly, she forwards nonfiction emails to all of her friends and family members; however, when I asked her to send my blogs to her friends, she refused, because she didn’t want to “bother” them. My fiction, however, didn’t work for her either.

My screenplays were fictional, so in the 1980s when I had written what I thought was a humorous screenplay, I let my mother and two of my friends read it. My friends laughed out loud in certain parts. My mother, on the oner hand, found not one sentence funny. She even said out loud, “I didn’t find it funny at all.” I found her comment weird considering that when I worked for several hours on my 4th grade homework assignment, after my mom read it, and while she was reading it, she laughed so hard she cried.

When I read that same assignment years later – 5 chapters of words scrunched into 5 paragraphs – I could see why. I was a child who took everything literally (I still do), so when my teacher instructed me to write one paragraph using every single word in the spelling chapter, and she had taught me that a paragraph was one central thought, I forced a relationship between words that were so different, I called upon every creative faculty in my brain to force them to connect. The results were hilarious, but not intentionally so. I found out later that the teacher meant to say “paragraphs” – plural.

Having no emotional support forced me to rely upon myself. But how can anyone accurately assess themselves by themselves? Friends would tell me I was creative and talented, but I found it hard to believe them. So I attended college in my late 30s – not to get a degree, though I got one – but to find out if anybody there though I had any writing talent. 

When I received glowing comments on all of my assignments, I felt that maybe I really had some talent, and when my assignments were chosen by the instructors as examples for how the class should write them, I beamed. When I became a tutor in the English lab, I felt that maybe I was worthy of calling myself a writer after all.

But I still didn’t have the admiration of my mother. My sisters were more supportive. I don’t think my father ever knew I wrote anything, and unless I wrote encyclopedias, which were the only books I ever saw him read, he wouldn’t have been interested anyway, but I wanted, and never got, the support and encouragement I needed from my mother. I vowed that when I had my own kids I would encourage them to become whatever they wanted to be and I would help them in any way I could. 

So when I asked my oldest daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up, I was surprised when she responded, “A mom.” She got her wish – she had five children. My next oldest daughter wanted to be a fashion designer. She works for an engineering firm, but she still has her eyes set on fashion. My son had no idea what he wanted to be, so in March, 2001, he joined the Marines. My youngest daughter decided to open an upscale consignment boutique and is doing very well. I still think kids flourish when they get support and encouragement from the people who matter most to them. 

I’ll be 63 in 3 days (remember this was written last year). I have written hundreds of blogs and have received thousands of views. I’ve received numerous compliments on my writing ability, too. And I have received awards, so why is getting some encouragement from my mother so important? Why can’t I just let it go? 

I’ll tell you why. Because no matter how old we get, we still long for acceptance, specifically from our parents or maybe from a mentor. If you write and you don’t get the support and encouragement you need from the people who love you, where can you find motivation to continue writing?

For me personally, my need to write surpasses my need for acceptance, so I’ll continue to write and will probably die wishing I still had my mother’s support.


Afterword: Over the past year, on a couple of my blogs, my mother has commented. Above all other comments I receive, I value hers the most.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Want to write a movie or TV show, but can’t afford to take a class? Watch this one video and you might not need a class!


The basis of any movie or television show is the story. I think we can all agree on that. But what makes the story compelling are the characters in the story. We want our audiences to be able to identify with those characters and root for our protagonist. We want believable characters that audiences care about. We want an emotional response from our audience and we want to see physical manifestations of those emotions – from tears to laughter. Above all, though, we want audiences to walk away from our story with a sense of awe and a desire to share their thoughts and emotions about the movie or television show we wrote with their friends and family members and even with casual acquaintances. 

So how do we create characters and story lines that audiences love? 

We may have studied a lot of screenplay writing techniques and read a lot of information about how to make an outstanding movie or TV show, but what we’ve written so far can’t even win us a contest or a few minutes with a producer to explain our movie or television ideas. 

Well, here’s help for all fledgling television or film writers. 

When I watched the video I’m about to present, I felt as if I could have gone to school for four years and not learned as much as I learned in this one hour and sixteen minute presentation offered on Larry Brody’s TV Writer web site.  What the video on the page linked below explains are the most important basics of television and movie writing. In a condensed version of what could have been an entire semester’s worth of classes, you will learn how to capture an audience’s attention and create lovable and empathetic characters audiences will love. TV Writer, by the way, is packed with useful information about television writing.

Because I feel so strongly about this video, I could go on and on about it, but why not just send you right to the source? I think you’ll agree with me that this video is packed with important information any writer venturing into the television or movie industry would need to know. Have a pad of paper and a pen within reach! And ENJOY!



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