Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Writers Conference and a Readers Contest

Yes, it's here--the Southern California Writers Conference begins tomorrow, up in Newport Beach. So, I'm finishing up my advance reads and polishing up my class notes. Packing can wait...And I've been reading SUCH fun stuff! Not only the advance reads--though a couple were VERY good--but also a book of essays and other nonfiction musings by a good friend who is also a fine writer (Can't say who, for now, as the manuscript is still being submitted to agents and editors, and so is still technically "under wraps.")
Nothing cheers me more than great non-fiction writing, which is why one of my workshops this weekend is "How to Write and Sell Gripping Nonfiction." (See my last post for info on the other SCWC class I'm co-teaching.) I think that too many new writers think that nonfiction is somehow the domain of doddering academics and dust-covered biographers. And it just ain't so! Some of the best books I've ever read have been nonfiction: "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"; "Under the Tuscan Sun"; The Log From the Sea of Cortez"; and "John Adams," to name a few exceptional works in different categories.
Speaking of my reading list, "Wolf Solent" is moving slowly and has been set aside for now--I may or may not return to it when I'm less swamped with "to do" reading lists. However, I am very much enjoying reading a new-to-me classic "The Way we Live Now" by Anthony Trollope, on Kindle.
And now, on to a contest...Readers Digest is sponsoring a "Life Story" contest where the entries must be under 150 words. (Winner gets $25,000) I think one must be on Facebook to enter, read, and vote for the best story; here is the link to my contest page. For those who have not yet succumbed to the relentless pressure and joined Facebook, here is my entry, which I called "Always/Siempre":
Married just six months, we took off for Mexico on a 26 foot sailboat. My grandfather once said “If you want to get to know someone, take a long trip in a small boat.” Suffice to say, we got to know each other. In the Sea of Cortez, the unspoiled beauty and the warmth of the people were the perfect backdrop to our honeymoon. Perhaps more importantly, we were in love and full of romance, so we found love and romance wherever we went. One day in an Immigration office (not known for either sentiment) I met a not-so-newlywed officer who talked about his beloved wife of ten years. He taught me the words “luna de miel” (honeymoon) and “siempre” (always) so he could admonish us to remain “siempre luna de miel.” We’ve
never forgotten his advice; it’s been twenty-two years, and we’re still on our honeymoon.

That's it--now you try writing a story in 150 words--it's great writing practice. And if you love the results, submit it--you might win $25k!
hasta pronto!