Showing posts from September, 2011

The Imperfection of Communication: Is Your Communication Imago? (Part 2)

Last week’s post celebrated several conflicting interpretations of a flash fiction piece I wrote. Unfortunately, we rarely experience miscommunication issues with joy.  When I speak, I want synchronicity of understanding with my audience.  Is that hard to achieve? Yep! An incorrect interpretation creates a miasma that fills in the lacuna in our words. Did you understand that sentence? You might try to interpret what I meant through context, or maybe your mouth oscitated in shock, while you thought, “Barbara's talking about communication issues, and she tosses difficult words in the mix?” A simpler version of my sentence above might be: An incorrect interpretation creates a stinky mess that fills in the gaps in our words. (FYI, oscitated means gaped .) Simpler words increase the chance you’ll mirror my meaning, but they don’t guarantee it.  We bring our own experiences to the conversation, throwing everything off  because the significance of a word for me is different

The Imperfection of Communication...And Some Exciting News

I have some exciting news, but bear with me a moment, while I chat about communication a little bit. A few years ago, my husband was going to drop me off for an appointment while he ran an errand.  I told him the office was in the same strip shopping center as the Firehouse.  He drove straight to the correct intersection but turned into the shopping center across the street. "Where are you going?" I said.  "It's across the street, next to the Firehouse." He gave me a strange look.  "There's the firehouse."  He pointed at the real firehouse.  The one where firemen hang out until a fire.  Me?  I meant the Firehouse Deli across the street.  Talk about a weird communication coincidence! I had forgotten that a fire station sat on the corner opposite of where I was going, so it never occurred to me to be more specific. Of course, since I teach communication skills to business people all of the time, I was glad for the mishap.  It gave me another

Trimming the Excess From Your Pitch

I spent most of yesterday re-working my pitch paragraph and log line.  I don't know about the rest of you, but I find the act of condensing a 104,000 word manuscript into a short paragraph of 100-150 words daunting.  Not to mention writing a 25 word log line.  Ouch!  There's a reason my genre is called epic fantasy.  There's a lot going on and a lot of characters involved. The other day it occurred to me that I needed some outside perspective on this.  No matter how many agents' blogs I've read about query letters and pitch paragraphs, I kept putting way too much information into my pathetic efforts.  I'm too close to the characters to trim it down.  So, I asked two of my beta readers to write what they would put on the back cover of my book.  They agreed with a lot of enthusiasm and what they came up with was so obvious I laughed out loud.  Now I have a log line that I'm almost happy with and I've taken their approaches and created a short pitch parag

Have We Forgotten?

My daughter came to me that night around 11:30.  She trembled with fear and crying.  I struggled up from a slumber that fought back in blissful ignorance, but a mother can't ignore her child, even if she is twenty-two years old. I turned on the light.  "What's wrong?" Her unlikely reply made me sigh.  "I'm afraid of terrorists." "Whatever for?" I fell back against my pillow.  "The odds of you coming in contact with one is so little." "But I might," she said, her voice on the edge of hysteria. "What if they ask me if I'm a Christian? If I say yes, they might kill me. I've heard that some kill you if you say no." I fought exasperation.  Every evening, I struggle to get a good night's sleep. Once I've reached the edge that tips me into slumber, interruptions usually ruin the whole night for me. "I don't think it's worth worrying about," I said, wondering what set her on th

And the Winner Is...

I received The Versatile Blogger award this week from Stuart Nager.  Please take a moment and check out his blog,  Tale Spinning .  This is my first blog award, and to receive it from a fellow blogger who I just met, is pretty exciting.  Thanks Stuart! Of course, as awards go, the recipient has a few responsibilities, one of which is to pass this award on to other bloggers who manage to stay versatile in their blogs while maintaining interesting content.  Stuart shared the process with me, so here's the steps (for those of you I'm passing this along to). Bloggers who accept this award should: Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post. (Done and done.) Share 7 things about yourself (See below) Pass this Award along to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it! I picked blogs that I enjoy reading.  Many of them are in the Platform Building Campaign with me, and I'm enjoying getting to know these writers through the campai

Campaign Challenge: Absence

For those of you looking for my post on National Buy A Book Day, scroll down below this post (after you read it). In this post, I'm responding to the first challenge in the Platform Building Campaign.  Here are the guidelines followed by my story: Write a short story/ flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)  Absence The door swung open, creaking on unused hinges.   Rachel leaned forward and studied the man slumped in the chair across the room. “Sam?” Her voice croaked.   She swallowed and tried again, a little louder.   “Sam?” The balding, elderly man jerked awake, snorting. She giggled at the memory of the sound. H

National Buy A Book Day

Did you know that today is National Buy A Book Day?  Yep, it surely is.  So, my question to you is what are you waiting for?  Go out and buy a book.  Or...stay in and buy a book.  It doesn't really matter as long as you buy a book. Why? Because books, in any form, are worth having.  I could go on and discuss the relative merits of this concept, but Philip Athans does a much better job on his blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook , so check it out and go buy a book! For those of you who prefer a simple process, these are the steps Philip suggests in his blog: 1. Go to a bookstore (or anywhere that sells books, including online) 2. Pick out a book 3. Buy it  Seriously, how hard can that be?  And with that note, my work here is done, but please feel free to comment and tell me what book(s) you bought.

Fantasy Breeds Intelligence

A few days ago, I joined the Writers' Platform-Building Campaign sponsored by Rach Writes.  I've never done this before, so I'm not sure what to expect.  So far I've visited several blogs of fellow campaigners and some of them have stopped by mine to say hello.  That's pretty cool. So, I figured I might need to tell these new visitors a little about my writing.  I've been writing/creating stories for as long as I can remember.  My reading tastes are eclectic, but my favorite genre to read is Fantasy.  I love fantasy because it stretches the imagination in ways we haven't considered. For those of you who don't read fantasy, it's not as simple a form of writing as you might think.  Reading fantasy takes brain-power.  The worlds are complex, the characters involved in numerous problems, and the subplots abound like rabbits multiplying.  You've got to keep your wits about you to keep up, and that's what makes it so much fun! I do read other