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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Exquisite Corpse

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, "When the lambs is lost in the mountain, he said. They is cry. Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf."
--Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

I'm back from the National Book Festival. Though it rained part of the day, somewhere in the vicinity of 130,000 people attended the event. The lines for the authors this year were extra long, so I didn't meet as many authors as I would have liked to, but it was still a great time.
While speaking to some of the staff at the Library of Congress (the sponsors of the festival), I learned about an interesting children's story called The Exquisite Corpse Adventure that premiered at the festival. Here's the info:

"Ever heard of an Exquisite Corpse? It's not what you might think. An Exquisite Corpse is an old game in which people write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold it over to conceal part of it and pass it on to the next player to do the same. The game ends when someone finishes the story, which is then read aloud.
Our 'Exquisite Corpse Adventure' works this way: Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, has written the first episode, which is 'pieced together out of so many parts that it is not possible to describe them all here, so go ahead and just start reading!' He has passed it on to a cast of celebrated writers and illustrators, who must eventually bring the story to an end.
Every two weeks, there will be a new episode and a new illustration. The story will conclude a year from now. To get bi-weekly updates with new Exquisite Corpse Adventure chapters, click on the subscribe link at the top of the page. "This story starts with a train rushing through the night.... 'No one knows where or how it will end!'"

The cast of celebrity writers and artists include Gregory McGuire, M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Calef Brown, Susan Cooper, Kate DiCamillo, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Steven Kellogg, Megan McDonald, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Linda Sue Park, Katherine Paterson, James Ransome and Chris Van Dusen.

Later Fiends,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Garbage, Inc.

In the spirit of giving this Halloween season, I'd like to offer you a free download of my latest short story Garbage, Inc., which will be available October 13, 2009.

For now, please enjoy this promo poster.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Harder, Faster, Better Blogger

I just realized we're nearly halfway through September, and I haven't posted anything this month. Figured I'd have to remedy that.

The first draft of my middle grade monster story is almost finished. So far it's my best work, until the next thing comes along, which of course will be infinitely better. I've also been polishing, submitting or resubmitting some short stories, which brings me to a point I'd like to make about Scribd.com. It's the YouTube of documents, if you didn't already know that.

I've been on the fence about Scribd for some time, using it primarily for stories I don't have much faith in being published in real magazines but still think are decent stories. Recently, however, I've had a change of heart. I've been getting a lot of positive responses from Scribd, more so than I've ever received from any of the small print mags that have accepted me, and I think Scribd may be a more useful output than I originally thought.

When compared to traditional print media, Scribd offers some advantages to the new or novice writer. For one, in print mags (or even some e-zines) a story can take months or years before a story finds an audience. Then there's the social aspect that print media can't seem to find a solution for. Books are in an awkward position of being static in a world that wants dynamic. Scribd gives you both.

Scribd still stinks a bit of vanity press, but it's not without a certain charm that I find irresistible, namely I get stories to my readers that would otherwise sit in some dark and lonely hard drive. Not having those pesky gatekeepers blocking me from an audience is near Utopian. That being said, I'll be the first to admit that
there's a lot of crap to be found on Scribd, my stuff most defiantly included. Thankfully, you can revise after submitting, another plus for Scribd.

So what's your thoughts on Scribd, dear reader?


Picture conveniently lifted from Time.com

Patrick Swayze, the latest in a seemingly endless list of celebrity deaths this year, died yesterday. I keep reading about all his great movies: Dirty Dancing, Ghost, even that Bouncer Epic Masterpiece Roadhouse--it still impresses me that Dalton could spot a knife in a boot across the bar. Nobody, however, mentioned Swayze's greatest performance of all.

Later Fiends,

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