Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hitting the road

A big thank you needs to be sent out to my niece Samantha and sister-in-law Cristina. Why? Well, Samantha volunteers at the library in Mechanicsville, VA (which is noble in and of itself). She talked to the good folks there about having me come as a visiting author to speak at the library, which I'll be doing on August 7th at 11:00 am.
Cristina has been my biggest fan in Virginia, doing all sorts of PR work for me--and one wonderful thing about Cris, when she sets her mind to doing something, she gets it done.
I'm not really scared to go speak, as much as contemplating what would be the best way to approach it. I, for one, have never really been a big fan of going for an hour and listening to someone drone on and on, even if the subject was somewhat interesting.
I've come to the conclusion that it will be more interactive with the audience. After all, most haven't read my book, and so I'll spend more time on what it is like to be an author, how to get ideas, what type of stories to write, and so on. I think by getting the audience to participate, it will be a better experience for all of us.
In addition, we'll be raffling off an autographed copy, as well as selling copies after the presentation.
For anyone that reads this blog before I go, I'd love some feedback on what you would like to hear an author speak about. Below are some general ideas I've been kicking around:
*What makes a story? To quote one of my teachers, "trouble." There is always some sort of conflict or problem in stories. Sometimes the trouble is manmade, sometimes nature made, and even sometimes it is self made. I'm thinking of bringing up several different well known stories to point up the trouble. Example: Jack and Jill went up the hill. . . Why did they go? What did they need the water for? How come Jack fell down? And why would Jill go tumbling after? There is all sorts of trouble in that story.
*What inspires you to come up with stories? Do you like to daydream? Do you like to pretend you are a hero of a story? Is it something that happened in your life that makes you want to tell the story? What do you do when you get stuck in writing your story?
*How do you go about writing a story? Do you write an outline or fly by the seat of your pants? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both?
*How do you build a name for yourself? What are some marketing tools? What is blogging? (I'd read a blog or two--some of my funnier ones.)
*I also want to cover the subject of playing by the rules you create in a story. It doesn't make a good story if the ending "comes out of nowhere" or doesn't make sense (instead of Jill tumbling after Jack, she turned into a zombie and flew to the moon.)
I was also thinking of starting off by having people tell me what kind of stories they like to read. Aliens? Vampires? Knights in shining armor? Modern day events? Ninjas? And what would be the problem of trying to include all these elements into the same story.
Whatever happens, it is sure it be an interesting experience.

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