WEbook Featured Project: Pure Dialogue

Puredialogue_3“Exposition is for the weak.”

“Says who?”

fearless leader of this week’s featured WEbook project, Pure Dialogue.

“I’m intrigued! Tell
me more!”

“Over at Pure Dialogue, WEbookers are writing stories
using only dialogue. No exposition. No setting. No background. No interior
thoughts. No actions. Just dialogue. Pure Dialogue.

“Gosh, I don’t know. I’m not all that good at writing dialogue. I always end up using words no one would ever
use in real life. Like gosh.

“Even better.  If you’re
looking to challenge yourself and stretch your writing muscles, Pure Dialogue is the
project for you. Who knows? You might even discover a hidden talent for

“I’m still not so sure about this. Can a story really be written using nothing
but dialogue?”

“Why don’t you see for yourself? Visit Pure Dialogue and
read a few of the existing submissions. Be sure to leave some feedback about what works and what doesn’t. When you’re done, try your hand at writing
your own!”

“Little old me? Write
my very own Pure Dialogue?”

“Absolutely! Pure Dialogue is
open to all WEbookers. But be careful. Pure Dialogue is
addictive. Just like those chocolate
covered espresso beans you eat for breakfast every morning.”

“You promised you wouldn’t tell anyone about that!”

“That just goes to show – never trust a writer. Enjoy!”

-- Melissa

WEbooker of the WEek Slays Giants

Let me tell you something: WEbook is paradise for a bookworm
like me. Lately I’ve been spending my nights
with my copy of Tiina Nunnally’s translation of Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy
tales. So how do you suppose I want to
spend my days? That’s right – reading more
fairy tales. Imagine my delight when, perusing
the projects vying for publication in the current WEbook voting cycle, I came across a book
billed as “The ancient tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, but with more mystery,
magic, and mayhem than ever before.” It’s
called Days of
Yore: Jack the Giant-Killer
, and
it’s such a good, old-fashioned (and new-fashioned) story, I just had to name
the story-teller WEbooker
of the WEek

Days of
Yore: Jack the Giant-Killer
brought to us by WEbooker wuezili. Wuezili
lives in Pittsburgh, and he calls himself "a musician, off and on.” He’s been working on Days of
Yore: Jack the Giant-Killer
about three years, including a two-year hiatus. He has a family movie, Nanodogs,
in production in Phoenix, Arizona.

A look at wuezili’s
other WEbook offerings turns up You Never
Forget Your First Time
, a powerful article about the author’s first
bout with schizophrenia. The project
overview invites other writers to contribute their stories of mental illness,
or “just the lowest, craziest, darkest moments of their lives, with or without
a diagnosis.” As of today, You Never
Forget Your First Time
contains submissions from a dozen other WEbookers.

I asked wuezili
what he hoped to accomplish with this project, and he answered simply: “I didn't expect anyone to read it.  I
just wrote a short 5-page story about myself and put it up.  I didn't know
that so many people had similar experiences.  I think that mental illness
is perhaps more common among writers and thinkers than among the general
population. If that's so, then it is no
wonder that writers have such a drive to create. It helps balance out the forces that
overwhelm us sometimes.”

In addition to being a great writer, a filmmaker, and an
on-again off-again musician wuezili
likes koala bears, but doesn’t remember the last time he went to the zoo. He also skips breakfast, and he can “recite
the dialogue from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie nearly verbatim.” Amazing.

Until next time, WEbookers, enjoy You Never
Forget Your First Time
and Days of
Yore: Jack the Giant-Killer

-- Melissa

WEbook, Meet TsungChi. TsungChi, WEbook.

allow me to introduce you to our newest man-about-WEbook, William, aka TsungChi. As the Project Leader of 101
Things Every Man Should Know How to Do
and My
First Year With Mommy
,  TsungChi may already be a
familiar face to some. As of this week,
he has joined the WEbook team
as the official Mr. Rogers of the WEbook
neighborhood. TsungChi  is here to help you get the most out of WEbook.  He will be a regular presence on
the forums,
answering your questions and listening to your feedback. If you are dying to get anything off your
chest, or if you absolutely must know how to become the best WEbooker you can be, TsungChi is your man.

Welcome, TsungChi!

-- Melissa

5 Top Places to Write Poetry on WEbook

Fact: 59 out of 63 WEbookers write at least one
poem every year. Of those poet-WEbookers, 27% write a poem
every few days. Popular topics include
love, nature, loneliness, youth, old age, and disco ninjas. 97% of all WEbook poems include
the word “the.”

Okay, I made all that up. But here’s one true statistic: As
of today, there are over 1500
poetry projects
in progress on WEbook. Holy Longfellows!

If you write poetry, you’re in great company on WEbook. But if you start your
own poetry project
, it can be hard to get the attention and feedback you
want in the sea of other WEbook
. What’s a WEpoet to do?

Easy! Contribute
poems and feedback to an active
project in progress
. Many WEbook projects accept poems
from any WEbooker brave
enough to hit the submit button. These
projects already have an active community of folks reading and writing, so your
poem will be sure to get a few extra hits right away.

“Sounds good, Melissa! But how can I find the right projects to get involved with?”

That’s where I come in! With the help of WEbook
I scoured the 100+ pages of WEbook poetry and came
up with 5 great projects open to each and every WEbooker.  Before you submit your poem, be sure to take a
few minutes to read some of the other submissions and familiarize yourself with
what your fellow poets are up to! If you
leave feedback, you’ll be much more likely to get comments on your own poems.

Note: This list is by no means definitive! I was not able to read all 1500+ projects, so
I’m sure I missed a few good ones. Feel
free to add your favorite open poetry projects to the comments field.

Top 5 Open WEbook
Poetry Projects:

Moveable Musings. I love magnetic poetry – and now there’s a
place where you can post your best ever magnetic compositions. Project Leader soloeagle gives these
guidelines to potential participants: “Use
Magnetic Poetry tiles to compose a haiku, ode, or sonnet. Go freestyle or
pentameter. Just write restricted to the words on the tiles.”

Quaquaversal Poetry. According to the project overview, by Project
Leader Zen_Driver, “Quaquaversal
means, literally, ‘turned wheresoever.’  This project thrives off of
dynamism.  If it doesn't spread and expand and gather and propagate new
ideas and images, then it simply cannot be quaquaversal.”

Months and Weekdays.
In this project, poets describe a
month or day of the week in 6 words or less. Project Leader brigidmarie
writes, “I enjoy trying to put as much meaning into six words as possible. I
feel like months and days have a lot of feelings attached to them. July feels
different from October, just as Monday feels different from Saturday.”

Dead Roses. This project gives WEbookers a place to
express their feelings about the loss of a loved one. Project Leader JonasCullen suggests a
broad interpretation of the project’s theme – contributors can write about “a break-up,
a death, a friend moving,” or any other loss.

Soundtrack of My Mind. For WEpoets of a more general bent, Soundtrack of My Mind
offers the opportunity to post a poem on absolutely any topic. Led by WEbooker Karleigh.

Bonus: Poetry Reading List

If you’re not in the mood to write, don’t fret. WEbook offers plenty of poetry to read and
review. You can browse the
afore-mentioned 1500+
, or you can start with a few staff favorites.

showcases  WEbooker HalfMoon’s variation on the
etheree, a little-known type of poetry created by Etheree Taylor Armstrong in

Bugs, and Kissing the Moon
includes “Poems about nature mostly, but
also about the night, and things we want, and the things we don’t.”

Finally, check out The Groovy Ninja and Other
Amazing Poems
, in which Kermitgroupie writes
about clever Martians, redneck rabbits, and, of course, the eponymous groovy

Write on!

-- Melissa

Creative Writing Advice # 4: Something Has to Happen in Your Story by Laura Zinn Fromm

Today’s Writing Secret comes from Laura Zinn Fromm, author of the forthcoming How I Killed the Tooth Fairy and Other Tales of Flawed Mothering. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University and teaches fiction and creative non-fiction in the Columbia Artists/Teachers program, and at the JCC in Manhattan. Her short story, Sunlight All Over, was selected for the First Annual Emerging Writer’s Festival in Chicago, in May 2008. She is a contributing writer at New Jersey Life and Leisure. A former editor at Business Week magazine, she is the winner of the Clarion Award and the Newspaper Guild’s Page One Award for Labor Reporting. Visit her blog at flawedmom.blogspot.com.

Something Has to Happen

Don’t kid yourself, anything we write/post/publish and offer to their world as our own combination of words ultimately has to be thought of as entertainment. If this makes you cringe, read on. Your writing does not have to make the reader happy, sad, angry or relieved, but it does have to take the reader somewhere and it does have to move the reader in some way. Your main character(s) have to move towards something. S/he can progress or regress but there has to be change. There can be movement towards birth, rebirth, revelation, disappointment, death or disaster, but the work must move in some way. Something has to happen.

It is possible that the essence of the work is a simple revelation: The character remembers something, or sees something, or does something, and it can be a very small thing, but the impact must be felt and it must lead to some kind of transformation, however minor.

We writers are selfish beasts, and of course, we write to express ourselves. But while our writing can be healing and therapeutic for us, we must remember that we are taking the reader along on our journey and s/he must feel stirred by what we write. You must always ask yourself, where I am going with this and why is the reader going to care?

Bonus Tips

Keep a spy notebook. Write down anything that inspires you or captures your interest. If it appeals to you, chances are good it will appeal to your readers as well. Don’t be afraid of copying out someone’s conversation word-for-word.

Let your unconscious be your guide. Sometimes, when you sit down to write, you have no idea where you are going. That is fine. Don’t worry about. Your unconscious has a plan.

Underline in books. Paste poems to your laptop. Inspire yourself whenever you can. Cut out little poems or interesting paragraphs from the newspaper, and leave them in your drawer. Writing is lonely work, and examples of other people’s great writing will keep you company.

Write every day and save some for tomorrow. Even email is writing. If you have no time to write creatively, write the best email you can. Be as funny or observant or as trenchant as you can in three lines. If you are working on a short story or a chapter, stop while the writing is good. And make yourself a list of one or two ideas to work on tomorrow. This way, you will always have something to look forward to.

Keep a “Save/Salvage/Use/Recycle” Folder. Sometimes we write a short story, a poem, a novel or an essay, and it just doesn’t work. But there are great lines in it----great, memorable, reusable lines. Sometimes, there are crystal-clear paragraphs, vivid descriptions, funny punch lines, clever puns---all sorts of wonderful combinations of words that you wrote. Save these. These lines/observations/thoughts will be your breadcrumbs on the path to writing. If a story/paragraph/essay/novel doesn’t work, you still have great stuff in it. Save that work and use it in something else. Either cut the good work and paste it into a notebook, or just highlight it and stick it in a folder. You can also paste it all onto a document and save it in the computer, but you are better off having it printed out. You will find a use for your good, unused work someday.

Wherever you go, take notes. Geography is key. Whether you go to the Jersey Shore, a strip mall in Pennsylvania, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, the rolling hills of Southern Vermont or a café in Paris, write what you see. Take specific notes on the light, the trees, the flowers, the mountains, the beaches, the ocean, the lakes, the animals, the buildings, smells, the roads, the food, the people---and keep these notes. You never know when you might need geography or topography to give your work a sense of place, and physical descriptions of places you visit now will be very useful for you are trying to vivid ly describe a place.

WEbooker of the WEek Emeritus: An Update

Remember WEbooker of the WEek infynitemonkeys, aka Mr. Man Tip?  Back in June, he promised to submit his novel The Legend of Vinny Whiskers to the WEbook Vote, and he's kept his word.  Fellow WEbookers can now peruse this tale of a zoo gone wrong and let the powers that be know whether it's worthy of publication.  I happen to think it's fantastic, but don't take my word for it.  Check it out!

You can also vote for 101 Things Every Man Should Know How to Do, home of the renowned Mr. Man Tip.


-- Melissa

WEbooker of the WEek Buys a Mean Used Car

This WEek’s
comes a few days late, but not a dollar short – thanks to her formidable
negotiating skills. Winterjazz first caught my
eye a few weeks ago, when she submitted an article to 101
Things Every Man Should Know How to Do
, titled “How
to buy a used car – without losing (or greasing) your shirt
.” (That project
is currently in contention for publication, by the way – so take a look, and
cast your vote!)

My favorite bit of car-buying advice? Wear a button-down shirt over a tank, so you
can slowly unbutton it and hand it to your lady friend before taking a look
under the chassis. It’s all about the
showmanship, people.

later invited me to join her project Cinema 50, billed as “Reviews
of the world’s top films in 50 years or less,” and when I checked it out, I
found over 150 short reviews, written by dozens of WEbookers! Who knew we had so many film buffs in our
midst? Winterjazz did, apparently,
which is why she is now the proud recipient of the WEbooker
of the WEek
award. Check out Cinema 50 for 50-word reviews of movies from It’s
a Wonderful Life
to My
Big Fat Greek Wedding
An added
bonus: The project has its very own blog!

But first, let’s get to know our WEbooker
of the WEek
. Winterjazz lives in Devon,
UK, with her son Rob and her cat Bellamy, both of whom appear frequently in her
writing. Her career background is in management
training and coaching – check out her project The
Scene of the Crime and Other Team Games
for a taste of her
expertise. She’s always written, both
personally and professionally. In fact,
she once published an article debating the merits of women’s vs. men’s “football”
(I assume she means soccer!) – apparently she sparked quite a row by claiming
that woman are far better at defending.  According to Winterjazz, “It was only
after taking an Open University course in creative writing that I felt
confident in pursuing my passion for fiction and life writing.” She chose the name Jasmine Winter as her pen
name in appreciation of one of her favorite rambling plants, and translated
that into Winterjazz for
use on WEbook.

Want to know more? Winterjazz  kindly agreed to answer a few mildly inane

Q: If you had a superpower, what would it be?

A: My ideal
superpower would be the ability to transport myself instantly to anywhere in
the world.  This would allow me to turn up for tea unannounced on my best
friend’s doorstep in California, or slip away to a deserted beach in the
Caribbean with just a notepad, pen, and bikini.   

Q: What would you do if you found a five dollar bill on the sidewalk?      

A: A five dollar bill
on the sidewalk in my home town would be an unusual find, so I’d probably pin
it the cork board while developing my superpower, so that I could buy my friend
a soda when I persuade her to take me sightseeing in LA.   

Q: If you had the chance to live your life over
again, changing only one attribute, what would you choose: Your gender, your country of origin, or your
financial status?

A: That’s a tricky one!  I have too much fun being a woman to want to
change that. It would be tempting to
change my financial status, but I’d far rather achieve that under my own
steam.  I’d have to say country of origin.  I was born in Venezuela
and came to England as a very small child.  Hence I often feel nomadic and
somewhat uprooted.  This has endless advantages as I never stay anywhere
longer than a decade and enjoy a real sense of freedom to roam.  But while
I’d love to return to my birthplace, I’m not convinced by the current political
safety of doing so.  So, as you’re offering, I choose to have born next
door to my best friend so that at the age of 14 we could have smuggled
ourselves into the Whiskey on Sunset for a giggle. 

Q: What was the first thing you did this morning?

A: This morning I
opened my bleary eyes to the sound of the recycling van approaching and dashed
out to the back yard in my dressing gown to collect half a dozen bags of empty
milk and wine bottles, then made a large mug of coffee and headed for the

In addition to 101
Things Every Man Should Know How to Do
, Cinema 50, and
Scene of the Crime and Other Team Games
Winterjazz  has started six other projects
and contributed to 11
. Explore the entirety of her WEbook oeuvre

Happy writing!

-- Melissa

Exercise the Franchise at WEbook!

 Today WEbook embarks on its first publication vote
at WEbook.com.  This is your chance
to help WEbook decide what book or books
to publish in 2008.  To make your voice known, pop over to the Voting Page and peruse one or all of the
projects in contention.  We’ve attempted to make things easier by allowing
Project Leaders to specify a “Vote Zone” within their project for highlighted
essays or chapters. 

Once you feel you have
a sense of a project you’re reading, you’re ready to vote.  Just click the “vote” button,
and provide a numerical rating of 1 to 5, with 5 being the “publish this one
for sure” rating.  Come on over and tell your friends to join you in
exercising your rights as readers to pick the next published WEbooks and the next WEbook published authors.

- Pinhigh

Going for the gold: 3 projects in one post

Bang! And let the games begin!

As the world gets ready for this summer's Olympics in Beijing, the WEbook interns have already started competing for the gold.

The Intern Olympics have pitted Samantha, saraelizabeth, and AndiJayne against one another in a heart-stopping, action-packed, must-see race to make their projects the most publishable ones on WEbook.

There will be sweat, blood, and tears as these three battle it out to be the first gold medalist.

Here's an exclusive look at the three projects:

Samantha's project: Worst Love Stories Ever

unrequitedlover was told she wasn't worth $4 of gas, and WilkeCollins elbowed his date in the face. As a collection of happily-never-afters focusing on other people’s relationship problems, this project is not a fairy tale to be read to the kids. Write about your own then-harsh, now-hilarious experiences in love, sex, and friendship or read about other people's life lessons.

saraelizabeth's project: Top Writers Under 20

In the first two decades of your life, there are the big birthdays, puberty, first love, second love, and college. The old may be wise, but the young are still able to remember those life-defining, personality-molding moments that will make this project a representative showcase of young talent. Age shouldn't and doesn't limit creativity, and these writers are eager to write outside of the lines and inside the margins.

AndiJayne's project: FEAR

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, but he must have forgotten about spiders, heights, and public speaking. Everyone has fears: Grayhart chokes up at the sight of yellow cabs while DeeRosethorn's heart skips a beat at the thought of being alone. What makes your skin crawl?

...And there you have it! Three great projects all vying for your attention and talent. Post your story today and help determine who goes home with the medal.


Creative Writing Advice #3: Check Your Point of View

Hey WEbookers, welcome to your third writing secret, and second WEtern entry this week. Continuing in the number game, today we’re going to talk about the advantages of changing your perspective. Namely, the pros and cons of writing in the first, second and third points of view.

Point of view (or POV) discussion may seem kind of technical, but it’s actually key for any writer of fiction, nonfiction or poetry. Think about it this way- if you’re telling a ghost story to your friends, which is more effective- trying to convince them that you were there and survived the acts of a crazy killer in the cabin, or that you heard the tale from your cousin, who attends the summer camp? Your point of view affects the believability of your story, your reader’s connection to your characters, and more. Plus, if you want a real writing challenge, give the second person perspective a try.


But let’s get down to the numbers, shall we?


1st person- Me, myself and I

The first person POV speaks straight from the mouth of your characters. If you write your story about a bank robbery, the first person version could be told by the robber, or the bank teller, or any witnesses to the event. First person is great because your readers get much closer to the narrator, and can learn things about them none of the other characters know. You hear your character’s take on every event. Some people say first person characters are less contrived, and your first person narrator doesn’t always have to tell the truth.


A few classic examples: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.


2nd person- You’re the one that I want

The second person POV is by far the trickiest to employ and the least used. Second person storytelling places the story in terms of “you,” the reader. A stellar example is in WEbook user ducktoes’ project Choose Your Own Adventure Story:


You peer through the dust, but as far as you can tell there is nothing out of the ordinary. The kids are still playing, the parents still coaching, coaxing and cheering. The only difference is that now there is a huge, noisy ambulance blaring in the grass next to the game.


Not too many authors use this POV, but if done correctly it immerses the reader into the action and just provides a nice break from “traditional” storytelling. Some examples for curious WEbookers: Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, and parts of Chuck Palahniuk’s Diary.


3rd person- View from afar

The third person POV is incredibly popular and, and it gives you a lot of options for your writing. Third person narrators (who provide an external voice that explains what happens to the character) can be limited or omniscient as they refer to the main character, and they can talk about just one character’s experiences or switch off between different stories. There is a great deal of flexibility with the third person. When using third person narration an author can be lenient or harsh in his or her description of characters, kind or cruel. Readers may not emotionally connect to the characters, however, as strongly as they do in the first person.


A few examples: The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and even Pandora, the first ever published WEbook!


And that concludes our little rundown of the points of view. So next time you write a story, poem, or piece of nonfiction, consider who’s talking. It can influence your writing more than you expect!



WEbook Writing Secrets is a budding new feature of the blog, featuring practical tips on the craft. WEbookers are invited to submit their writing wisdom by visiting my profile. Send Melissa a message with the subject line: WEbook Writing Secrets She will collect the best and brightest from her mailbox and publish them here. If your words of wisdom are chosen, you’ll get credit, and a link to your profile, where fellow WEbookers will be encouraged to check out your work.

The Helpful WEbooker

Melissa's on vacation which means you once again are going to get a taste of WEtern writing this week.

Our WEbooker
of the WEek
, Levimont, first
caught my attention with an offer of assistance. He approached Melissa (as much as one can
approach someone via email) and offered both his editorial and writing skills for
help around the site. She shared this
with us WEbook interns,
and I immediately messaged him. I have
to admit, I was curious as to how useful he could be. He impressed me when he kindly corrected two
mistakes I had made in my communications with him, proving his worth with the
ease of an unpretentious understanding of what works in writing.

I was further impressed after reading his
Dinosaur and the Dragon Lady
and his submission The
First Rule of Drafting
in his project
Seeking Excellence. It is a unique, blunt expression of a man’s life from the ultimately
mundane to the unexpectedly important—all told beautifully with a craft that’s
difficult to match. I’m torn between
wanting to rave on about it and letting you read for yourself. Ultimately, I think there is greater value
in letting you, dear reader, decide what you do and do not like.

Before you run off to read Levimont’s projects, take a
moment to find out a little about him and get a taste of his writing right

When I asked him to provide a short bio,
this was his response:

“There's something missing when you write
on a computer. There's no sensory input except from your eyes. Your nose can't
tell you about the smell of the ribbon. The wonderful clack clack clack clack
clack ding chnk ggggggg clack clack clack, interspersed with the occasional
chff-clack of a capital letter is replaced with a whispered
tickytackytickytacky. That long droning room full of typewriters is one of the
best places I ever went. Words on paper.
My words, down there on the paper for everyone to see. Arthur C. Clarke, Ngiao
Marsh, Robert Heinlein, Agatha Christie, that's all they did, is put words on
paper, and look at the worlds they built that way! If they could do that, so
could I. To this day, the smell of ink, the sound of an old Underwood, a tall,
lean woman with a grey, chalky voice, can take me back there to the place where
I discovered I, too, could put words on paper.

Many years and many miles have gone under
the bridge since then. I've had sixty-six jobs. I have way too many children
and just the right wife. I've loved and hated and fought and surrendered and
lived, since then. And I've written two novels, six short novels, and a host of
short stories. But to build worlds for myself, all I had to do was lie in bed
at night, all those long years ago, and think them up. Words on paper, worlds
on paper, are words and worlds for other people. In search of readers, I turned
to the internet.”

Ever the one to push things a bit further,
I had to ask him some questions.

 Q) What
is one kitchen utensil or appliance that you cannot see yourself living

A) My Melitta coffee cone. If you took this away, first my writing
would dry up and wither away, and then I'd begin to whine and whimper and
plead, and then I'd just tip over dead.

Q) What
brought you to WEbook? What do you think about your time as a WEbooker so far?

A) Actually, it was a pay-per-click ad that first pointed me to WEbook,
but I'm not going to admit it, because I don't want to encourage the creatures!
I had been on and off of a dozen or so other "online writer's
communities," and I'd found that they all seemed to drift away from the
goal of perfecting one's craft, and slide down toward some breed of feudalism
or anarchy. I thought, and I still believe, that WEbook is a place that's all
about writers writing. I've found some new friends, and I've read some good
writing, and I've learned things. What's not to like?

Q) If
you were a natural disaster, what would you be and where would you strike?

A) I'd be the most perfect wordstorm of angry criticism that ever
touched down, and I'd strike deep in the heart of the educational systems that
are failing so miserably at releasing the beauty and the power and the strength
that lies within each of us.

Q) Describe
your childhood in a single, brief memory.

A) Everything you need to know about me is wrapped up in one
image. Look over there - that's me, that
scrawny boy stepping from the cool, air-conditioned library into the oven blast
of the sidewalk, walking slowly the three blocks home with the five-book limit
stacked against my chest, book one opened on the top. My feet slide slowly on
the gritty walk so that I can feel the curbs. My eyes are squinted down hard
against the sun bouncing back so loudly from the pages. The cars hum by like
big insects, like something not really connected to me at all, living their own
bookless lives. Kip and Peewee and Wormface are much more real to me than the
cars are. Reaching home, I don't even go in. I sit down on the front steps, and
in the dusty shade of the garage, I read until I've finished the fourth book.
Then I walk back to the library, book five balanced on the wobbly stack.

Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know Levimont just a bit better…The
Dinosaur and the Dragon Lady
is up for publication in the voting cycle, so be sure to get on the
site and vote!


A Narcissist’s Dream – Your Face in Lights

Remember the story of Narcissus,
from your ninth grade mythology class? He was the guy who stared at his own reflection in a pond until he died
of starvation. Now, Narcissus might have
taken things a bit too far, but I’ve always sympathized with the guy. It seems a little unfair that other people
get to see so much more of our faces than we do! What’s a narcissist to do?

Enter WEbooker
Aberick_Stone, and
today’s featured
WEbook project
.  Over at Illustrations
for Bios
is creating portraits in exchange for biographical poems accompanied by a
photo. If you join the fun, you can hang your portrait over
your dining room table and gaze at it all day long without starving to death! Bellissima!

Intrigued? Me, too.  To satisfy my curiosity, I asked Aberick_Stone a few
questions about his project.

Q: Where'd you get the idea for this project?

A: I’ve always loved the idea of illustrating my own books. I was inspired to create the project after an assignment
in a screenwriting class, when my teacher suggested creating character
biographies for our stories.

Q: How do you intend to make these portraits?

A: Using Adobe Illustrator, I plan to
take the time to individually create the portraits by hand.

Q: If you get too many submissions, how
will you choose which to illustrate?

A: I will continue to illustrate
portraits even after 100 submissions. I love Art and CG to the point to where
it’s really a part of my life. My mother has been an artist since high school
and her guidance has made me realize that a gift should never be wasted. We
need to share our talents.

Q:  When will the illustrations go up in the project?

I will be posting them on a monthly to weekly basis. Already I’m working on a
few member photos that have been sent for illustrating.

Q:  What is your background in art?

A: Since five years of age, I have been
drawing, scribbling, painting and so on.  My work is currently posted on Deviant Art. My interest in art lies specifically with graphite drawing. At the moment I’m studying
at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California.

If you want to see your face in lights, compose a poem that
captures the essence of your life, and post it in Illustrations for Bios
along with a photo. For tips on including photos in your WEbook submissions, check out this entry in the FAQ.

-- Melissa

Arrr, Matey, it’s WEbook of the WEek Time

Ahoy, salty WEbookers! July 4th slowed me down, but not
even the start of the first ever
WEbook voting cycle
(now accepting submissions – voting begins July 18) can
make WEbook of the WEek walk the plank.

“Hey, Melissa, what’s up with the pirate slang?”

Good question. I’m
blogging like a pirate in honor of today’s WEbooker
of the WEek
KateGray. I was taking a look at the Top Writers page the other day,
when I noticed this funny avatar:Pirate_3

I clicked on it, and discovered KateGray. Now, KateGray readily admits that
she is not the brains behind this clever graphic. (If someone knows who made this image, let me
know, so I can give them credit!) However, she does like pirates! That’s enough to encourage me to take a look
at her writing.

It turns out that KateGray is a writer of many
talents. She has contributed poetry, non-fiction,
a novel, and stories both short
and long to a
total of eight WEbook
. It’s an impressive body of
work, but the thing that really earned KateGray  the title of WEbooker
of the WEek
(no, it wasn’t the pirate avatar) is her project Shorts, only
halfway pulled up
a group of unfinished stories, sketches, fragments,
and bits of fiction that KateGray
isn’t too happy with.

“Wait a second, Melissa, you’re rewarding someone for not finishing her stories?”

As a matter of fact, I am. These Shorts
showcase KateGray’s
strengths: Her vivid imagery, her
confident narration, and her command of the language. But even more important than the stories' potential is KateGray’s
courage and resourcefulness. She’s got
some beginnings she cares about; she doesn’t know what to do next; so she posts
them on WEbook to get help with her next
big idea. Now that’s putting the WE back in WEbook! Get over to Shorts,
only halfway pulled up
and help KateGray take these stories to
the next level – but first, let’s get up close and personal with our newest WEbooker
of the WEek

was born on Friday the 13th. She
graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in
classical archaeology, and confesses to “dreams of going overseas and spending
a lot of time being dusty and extremely studious.” Instead, she became an officer in the Marine
Corps, where she met her husband. When
she’s not writing, she’s busy raising her two sons, ages two and seven. The oldest is autistic (read about it here),
and the youngest is “like a bottle of nitroglycerine.” In case that doesn’t tell you enough about KateGray, I asked her a few
more WEbooker
of the WEek

Q: KateGray, what are three verbs that best capture your

A: My husband’s
response was in adjectives, despite my directions, so I had to modify them into
verbs. Withheld (shy), contending (stubborn), roused (passionate). I figured
he’d be more objective than I could be about myself.

Q: What is your most professionally useless area
of expertise?

A: Running
with a jogging stroller
. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially if you
have a child riding who likes to heave his body side to side while imprecating

Q: What is the longest flight you’ve ever been

A: Seoul, October,
2001. I was all set to teach English overseas. When I arrived after three movies and eighteen hours, I found that my
employers were in breach of contract over nearly everything. They even told me
that they needed my passport for an unspecified period of time! I quickly went
back to the airport, as they’d given me an open-ended return ticket, and got
the first standby flight out of there. I
got home to New England some thirteen hours later.

When you’re done checking out KateGray’s Shorts,
be sure to vote on her novel, Sleep, currently in
contention to become the next published

Happy writing!

-- Melissa

Creative Writing Advice #2: Write with All the Senses by Nick Daws

Thanks to the 4th
of July holiday, this WEek’s
entry will be a day or two late. In the meantime, author and blogger Nick Daws has
graciously agreed to share his writing wisdom with all you WEbookers.

Write with All the Senses

by Nick

The art of writing is bringing your words to life on the
page. And one of the best ways to do this is to write with all the senses. In other words, don't just write about what
your characters see. Describe what they hear, smell, touch and even taste as
well. This is a guaranteed way to make your writing more vivid and exciting.

Here's a quick example:

Tony offered Malcolm one of his roll-ups. Malcolm had
previously refused, but because he felt guilty about dropping Tony's
paintbrush, this time he accepted. He didn't enjoy it at all though.

Now here's the same scene again, with the senses of taste
and touch added. By the way, this paragraph comes from the published novel Painter Man by UK author Jeff Phelps:

Malcolm had already refused one of Tony's roll-ups, but
now felt so bad about the brush that he accepted. Between his lips it had the
texture of toilet paper. It tasted disgustingly of Tony's Old Spice aftershave.

No prizes for identifying which of these descriptions brings
the scene more vividly to life! Writers are always taught to show, not tell,
and writing with all the senses is one of the very best ways you can do this.

About the author: Nick Daws is a UK-based author of over 70 books
and innumerable published articles and short stories. He is also the author of
the best-selling guide Write Any Book in Under 28 Days.
He has a homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk and a blog at www.mywritingblog.com.

Writing Secrets
is a budding new
feature of the blog, featuring practical tips on the craft. WEbookers
are invited to submit their writing wisdom by visiting my profile. Send me a message with the subject line: WEbook Writing Secrets I will collect the
best and brightest from my mailbox and publish them here. If your words of
wisdom are chosen, you’ll get credit, and a link to your profile, where fellow WEbookers will be encouraged to
check out your work.

Happy writing!

-- Melissa

For the WEbook Featured Project of the WEek, Turn to Page Torble

Things are bustling over at WEbook
as we prepare to start accepting submissions for our very first voting cycle. (Submissions open tonight at midnight Pacific
time, and run through July 17. Voting
will start on July 18.) But that’s no
excuse for not letting my loyal readers know about this week’s coolest project
in progress.

WEbook veteran ducktoes is the brains behind
this week’s featured
WEbook project
Your Own Adventure

If you’re like me, you remember Choose Your Own Adventure
Books from when you were a kid. You
know: “If you want to stop for gas, turn
the page. If you want to see how long
you can drive on empty, turn to page 43.” This is like that, only you really do get to choose your own adventure. That is – you get to write it yourself!

Here’s how it works: Writer #1 creates a scene. At the
end, she offers choices, just like in a regular Choose Your Own Adventure –
only instead of page numbers, she makes up nonsense words. Like Blannipitch. Or Felpanner. Then Writer #2 comes along. He
picks the choice he’d like to write about, and labels his submission with the appropriate
nonsense word. He offers his choices and corresponding nonsense
words at the end, and other writers come along and write about those
choices. The result is a crazy
kaleidoscope exquisite
, and it’s loads and loads of fun.

The current adventure includes asthma, a boy without a
baseball cap, and a man who knows more than he should about both. To join the fun, visit Choose
Your Own Adventure

Have a happy 4th of

-- Melissa

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