Friday, February 10, 2012

Provocative Phrase Friday – People said it wouldn't last +11 other writing prompts

Here are your provocative phrases for Friday, February 10, 2012:
Courtesy of  Leonid Mamchenkov via Flickr

  • People said it wouldn't last…
  • I lost it.
  • I hate seeing…
  • Don't worry if…
  • Do you have room…
  • No one has what I have…
  • There's nothing left to do…
  • She gets paid to…
  • He was grungy…
  • We got a few minutes…
  • Somehow it all works…
  • In the last few years…

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Writing Topic Tuesday – The Petty Annoyance Edition

The number one way to make money in the world is to find a problem and solve it.  Most problems are too big to solve alone or with a small group of people. For example, providing an adequate supply of fresh water for everyone that needs it; solving hunger in our country (let alone the rest of the world); vanquishing the causes and consequences of drug addiction; or finding alternative fuel sources that are cheap, clean and easy to produce.

Randi annoyed
Courtesy of miguelb via Flickr
So we focus on the little problems. The petty annoyances that irritate us, but often not annoying  enough to do something about it.  Annoyance: Do you want to turn off your lights without getting out of bed? Solution: The Clapper. Annoyance:   Running out of shelf space for your CDs and DVDs? Solution: The MP3 and MP4 formats.  Annoyance: Tired of waiting for catsup to slide out of the bottle?  Or the mess involved with getting jelly out of the jar with a knife? Solution: The squeezable bottle.

Today’s edition is going to focus on petty things that annoy me. It will be challenging to use these annoyances as writing topics, but not impossible:
  • Peanut butter that sticks to knives when you dip them in and gets everywhere
  • Pistachio nuts that have no crack to easily open it
  • Cats that get their claws stuck in fabric all of the time and when you try to extract them, you get bitten or scratched
  • Getting email from a site that you once subscribed to, but is too complicated to figure out how to unsubscribe, so you just delete the messages unread
  • People who are bad at communicating and you feel bad about telling them so
  • LinkedIn when it has a suggestion for someone you might know, and when you try to connect to them, it demands more information or an email address to finish the connection.
  • Microsoft Word – for being a pain to format when using an outline or numbering on a document (always messing up the numbers and indentation of lines)
  • Dogs that snatch the top piece of bread off of your ham sandwich (even though you put the sandwich in the middle of the table) while you get a book from the other room.
  • Bad Rolling Stones songs
  • A speaker phone that hangs up if it is even slightly jostled
  • Ignored emails that obviously require a timely response
  • Junk email for golf equipment that seems to evade your spam filter, even though you’ve blacklisted several addresses similar to it and the sender has the SAME SENDER NAME AS THE ONE YOU BLACKLISTED.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Provocative Phrase Friday – I was really sick... +11 other writing prompts

Here are your Provocative Phrases for Friday, February 3rd, 2012:
Sometimes you feel like a sick nut
Courtesy of Rich Seymour via Flickr
  • I was really sick…
  • This is not…
  • Here's how they did…
  • What’s it do for me?
  • At home with some spare time?
  • There's not one question…
  • In my hotel room…
  • We think we love…
  • Why, yes I am!
  • What's next?
  • It's just a matter of when…
  • I can attest that…
  • I said nothing.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Muse Review – How to Create Non-Fiction Book Ideas That Sell by James Thomson

So why is the book only 4 stars instead of 5? A couple of reasons: First, the book is ambitious, too ambitious and it starts moving beyond the premise on the cover of generating non-fiction book ideas and spills into details about the writing process and the publishing business which is all good information, but it feels rushed and incomplete, as if the writer combined content from 2 or 3 books into this one book.

As a person always looking for new ways to generate writing topics and ideas, I’m always on the hunt for more resources.  As one of the first titles I downloaded on my Kindle Fire, How to Create Nonfiction Book Ideas That Sell was full of many ideas that I had not considered before and the book also took advantage of one of the major features of eBooks: providing links to other resources on the web, which is perfect for a book of this nature.

Although the book is geared toward self-publishing audiences, any writer can benefit from the tips and techniques discussed within it.  Thomson provides spot-on advice for writers about selecting topics to write about, how to identify possible trends that might be an excellent opportunity for writing and publishing a book, and how to tap into your own interests and experiences to find content.

I particularly like the Quick Idea Formula; Slant Your Book Ideas for Success, and Questions to Ask Yourself About Book Ideas sections in the book.  The Appendix with all of the links to other resources is worth the $.99 price alone.

As a result the flow of the book is somewhat chaotic and in several places becomes repetitive, often repeating the exact same phrasing from earlier in the book.  The book could use a massive developmental overhaul to eliminate these redundant sections and maybe reorganize the sections to help improve the overall flow of the book.  Thomson might even consider taking the Judging Ideas, Taking Action and maybe the Enhancing Ideas section and expanding each of them into a separate book.  The book would also benefit a wider audience if it was available in print or other eBook formats

But these issues are minor and most readers are not going to care. The content is excellent, the links very helpful and the advice wonderful.  It is well worth the purchase price (right now as a Kindle eBook on Amazon, for 99 cents), and I’d pay much more for a book with this excellent content.  If you have a Kindle and want to write non-fiction or are struggling with coming up with writing ideas in general, buy this book.  You won’t regret it.

Rating **** (Buy on Sale/Discounted)

About Ratings: ***** -- Well Worth it at Full Retail Price; **** — Buy on Sale/Discounted; *** — Buy Used; ** — Borrow It from the Library; * — Waste of a Good Tree