Selling Stories

Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.

Selling Stories

By Diane Goldberg


Welcome to “Selling Chicken Soup Stories!” Get a nice cup of tea or coffee and get comfortable while we explore how you can turn your cherished memories, personal triumphs, and funniest stories into the sort of essays featured in the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Keep one thing in mind as we begin our journey: this course isn’t only about writing, it’s about you — your hopes, dreams, values, beliefs and experiences! Because whether you are a fourteen year old soccer star, fifty year old gardening grandma, or sports fan who uses baseball to unwind you’ve got a story other people want to hear.

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Writing Editorials

Originally from Suite101 University, a free ecourse posted a few years ago. I’ve saved the information here because there is a lot worth keeping and I don’t know what will happen to all of it now that Suite101 is closing this area of their site.

Writing Editorials

By Jason Reeher


Welcome to the Suite University course on writing newspaper editorials. In this course, you can learn effective techniques for writing letters to the editor, then submit your opinions to everything from your local newspaper to national publications. Valuable for anyone interested in public affairs, current events, and pop-culture, this course will help the student to develop a writing interest, as well as hone argumentative and persuasive writing skills. This course is great for beginning writers, as well as those interested in scientific disciplinary writing, print journalism, editorial processes, and public policy discourse.

Writing newspaper opinions is a great way to gain expression for your writing. With relatively little time invested, you can learn to produce concise, effective and persuasive editorials on a regular basis. Perhaps the most exciting element is that YOU can choose your subject based upon public interest and current relevancy. By learning what subjects are most important to your target community, whether it’s local property taxes or “American Idol,” you become part of the public discourse when your opinion is published. This course can help you get there.

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The Great Divide

I’ve been reading websites and blogs online for several years, especially blogs and sites created for writers. I couldn’t even try to look back and count how many I have read, how many I still follow or how many I find new. The numbers don’t really matter. Overall I have noticed one thing divides them all, one thing makes them have or have not. Real experience, really being published (online doing it yourself or being published with an online network just isn’t the same, it doesn’t give the same challenges).

Writers who have been published just know more, have that extra experience with the reality of writing. They have set goals, met them and moved on to new goals. Writers who have only been published online have a softer market, it’s easier to break into online writing when you can even set up your own publication and do it all yourself. Writing online, the main challenge is to find someone to read what you write. Writing in print the main challenge is to actually get written in print. To get the work finished, to get it written well by stricter standards than you will find online and to get it in print/ published. Then, you start to work on getting readers. It’s a longer haul and you don’t have the cushion of being online and being your own boss more or less.

So, this is my goal for 2012. I want to be published in print. Not a zine, I’ve done that. Not a magazine either. Although I have not done that I’m not as interested in magazine writing as a goal. I know I can write that type of content. I’ve been writing it for years online. I want more. I want to push myself, challenge myself to write a book and get it published. I’m not aiming too far over my own head. Just enough that I will be pleased with myself in the end and yet I don’t feel I’m setting myself up for a fall right from the start.

Wish me luck on crossing the great divide.

Pledge to Read the Printed Word

Found on Domestic Cherry while looking at bloggers I used to visit regularly when I was part of Entrecard.

Read the Printed Word – We support the printed word in all its forms: newspapers, magazines, and of course books. We think reading on computers or phones or whatever is fine, but it cannot replace the experience of reading words printed on paper. We pledge to continue reading the printed word in the digital era and beyond.

To Bookmark or Not to Bookmark

When you’re reading a book do you mark it with a real bookmark or do you stick random things in them?

I like having a bookmark but they tend to wander off. I had one I especially liked but it fell apart in my purse. First the tassel unraveled and then the cardboard part had several inner purse traffic accidents. I didn’t throw it away, it’s in a drawer or some other purse, somewhere. Right now I’m using a freebie bookmark with the promotional ad copy from the store where I bought my last new book. I like it cause I won’t feel bad when it gets lost or wears out. Yet, it feels like a real bookmark instead of folding over the corner of the page I’m reading, sticking a napkin in it or some other random, appropriately flat object.

Now the other question, bookmark related, sort of… have you ever used your book to squish a bug? Emergencies count. Have you ever squished a bug inside the pages of your book? I have done that. I was reading and quite happy, not bothering the bugs of the world. A little flying thing began to crawl over the page I was reading. So, when it got the the end of the print I closed the book, firmly and made sure to press it all over the bug area. So there is at least one book out there that has the carcass off a bug. I wonder if anyone noticed. It was a very small, delicate bug after all.

Sharing Life Stories

From A Storied Career on Twitter, I found out about International Day for Sharing Life Stories.

…encouraging individuals and organizations to this year’s 3rd International Day for Sharing Life celebration on May 16, 2010!
As in the prior years, we encourage you to consider any number of activities, including:

  • Story Circles in schools, community centers, homes, and churches
  • Public open-microphone performances of stories
  • Exhibitions of stories in public venues as image, text, and audio-visual materials
  • Celebratory events to honor local storytellers, practitioners and organizations
  • Open houses for organizations with a life-story sharing component
  • Online simultaneous gatherings, postings, and story exchanges
  • Print, Radio and Television broadcast programming on life stories, and documentaries that feature oral histories and story exchanges

How much of your life story would you share? It is one thing to tell a friend, quite another to put it out there for anyone and everyone to read or hear. Everyone has things we keep to ourselves. But, the overall story could be shared. Still, if you keep out all the juicy bits, the scary parts and the real emotion, any life story becomes bland.

Think of sharing your life story as a test of your own boldness. Yet, keep in mind that you don’t know who may read or hear it down the road. That is just a sad facet of our digi culture.

Family Recipe Cookbook

Create a cookbook of favourite family recipes and give everyone a copy. – This came from Homemakers print magazine (one of the ads actually). I think it’s a great idea. Not just for the women in the family, or the children who inherit the traditions of the family but for the daughters and sons in law too. Each family get together people could add a new recipe to the book, make enough copies for everyone to add the recipe to their own books when they get home again.

My Grandfather’s sister (Alvena) was said to make the best chocolate fudge and other goodies. She would never share her recipe with anyone. Now it is gone along with her. I think about that at times. What a shame it is that something like that couldn’t be passed on so that Alvena’s amazing fudge could still be made and eaten today.

What recipe would you add to the cookbook first? How would you put the cookbook together, give it a cover design and an index by type of recipe or by which person contributed the recipe, which family it came from originally. This can be a great storytelling project (with copies of photos, drawings and personal notes) if you can get enough family together to begin and then record all the stories connected to each recipe.

Sketching/ Drawing or Doodling for your Blog

Have you ever drawn something in your print journal? A picture of somewhere you had been? A sketch of something you wanted to remember? You can do the same online, you just need a few more tools. I draw for my blog, scan it, use image software to adjust the scan to an image file and then I can post it to my blog. You don’t have to learn how to use a graphic program to draw. But, those are nice too.

101 + Links for Doodling and Drawing by Hand

Lots of links, not in any real order due to a small mishap with cut and paste somewhere along the way. Most of these are for beginners who draw on pen and paper, but not all. I think everyone will find something to stir their imagination and (I hope) pick up a pen to doodle. Join in for Doodle Week this weekend.