The skies have been kind of gloomy here in Puerto Rico, so I’ve turned to two of my favorite indoor activities: baking and mindless browsing. During one of these intense browsing sessions, Facebook somehow led me to Thomas Mullen’s blog and an entry titled “What ‘Iron Chef’ Taught Me About Writing.”
As an avid Food Network watcher and cooking competition enthusiast (are there any other Chopped addicts out there?), I was curious as to what similarities could be drawn between Iron Chef and writing. Mullen, prize-winning author of The Last Town on Earth, argues that the two are actually not that different.
The contestants on the show are judged on originality as well as taste, so they have to find ways to incorporate the “mystery ingredient” into their meals in a way that is both delicious and creative. Finding that balance between originality and tastiness is quite a challenge, and one that us writers can relate to. As writers, we have to be creative, but there is such a thing as being too creative. Mullen warns that stories that are too creative can be hard to follow or feel “forced,” so remember: be original, but don’t go overboard.
Do you have any creative and tasty blueberry recipes? Share them with us and write about your Iron Chef-like experiences for a chance to be featured on our blog.
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Chris returned from his trip to the UK just in time for a redecoration of the Cube. We proudly hung up our newest item – A giant Libboo banner!
Our banner hangs on top of our Cube at MassChallenge. The space is now filled with many colorful banners and signs of all shapes and sizes from various companies living at MC.
We’ve started the week with our first meeting as a corporation – Libboo Inc. We took care of a few formalities: meeting minutes and signing paperwork and more paperwork. Then finally getting down to business…OK – perhaps a coffee break..
Here is some news from the UK: During the last two weeks Chris had spent a lot of time around Tech City meeting various entrepreneurs and executives. Tech City UK was created to become the world’s leading technology and innovation center. During this time, Chris met with Adrian Tipper – Director of the Tech City initiative at the UKTI. We have established a relationship to use Libboo as a bridging company between Tech City and MassChallenge in the US.
Our week is rolling along with:
- First mentor board meeting set for August 3.
- We reached our Friends & Family investment goals.
- We have now entered Silicon Valley Banks (SVB) and are part of their accelerator program
I’m also very happy to announce our newest Team Libboo member – Katherine Pereira.
Katherine will intern in our community and social media team. She brings experience in video production, radio and has been a magazine editor. She also has an award winning commercial! So make sure to say ‘hello’ to Katz on Libboo!
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I woke up this morning with my AC almost quitting on me – the temp is soaring above 95F! By the time I biked over the Charles river and across Boston-narrowly escaping death by crazy drivers- finally arriving at Libboo Cube on the 14th floor; I just wanted one thing – coffee!! Why the hell coffee and not jump into the nice cool Boston harbor? Today’s post!
I came across a very cool blog by Novelist Mike Wells called The Green Water Blog. The post, titled: ‘Writing: A Career you can Fall Forward On’ really caught my eye. We’ve all heard about careers you can fall back on. And then there are the risky ones: music, writing, acting… Did you ever say you wanted to be an astronaut or a rockstar when you were a kid? Here is a story of how a novelist’s career found him – as he mentions in his blog. There is a lot we can relate to in this article….
Mike’s story of how he wanted to be a fiction writer, but instead chose the ‘safer’ career as an engineer and ended up as a successful novelist, proves that your talent just drives you to do the inevitable!
For those of us who enjoy writing – keep on, and get it written!
Join our growing community of authors, editors, illustrators, critiques and proof-readers at www.libboo.com. Don’t forget to follow us on www.facebook.com/libboo and on www.twitter.com/libboo!
With the mercury pegged at above 90F for the last week in Boston -things are sizzling for team Libboo at MassChallenge. Having survived business bootcamp, our mentor board officially selected, along with our team goals submitted to MC- we are executing our projects, goals and plans to make Libboo the hottest writing community on the planet!
Our first exciting news of the week – Richard and Anna tied the knot and were married on Saturday. Congratulations to the newlyweds!
While in the UK, Chris met with best selling author, Professor Richard Wiseman – and talked about his latest book Paranormality, recently released in the US. I’ve just downloaded my copy and its proving to be awesome and intellectually stimulating seeing how Professor Wiseman debunks paranormal behavior and brings it into the context of our every day. Time to throw away that crystal ball!
Richard Wiseman is also co-author and generously helped us start The Great Libboo Experiment: ‘PARADOX: The curious life and mysterious death of Mr Joseph’ Wheeler’ – A shout-out goes to our members currently working on ‘Paradox’, You guys rock!
In the meantime, while a bit lonely in the Cube, Fernando has been working away on developing new projects for our community. We’ve planned a few things:
- Summer Writing Expos: We would like to feature content from our members: for example poetry, BBQ recipes and short stories. We’ll be announcing the first of our Expos this coming week!
- Libboo Interviews: Every two weeks, we will interview one member from our community and feature one of their libbooks on our blog.
Be sure to follow our Tuesday and Friday blog for news- and content to help you get your project written at Libboo.com
And now, this week’s photo:
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We’ve all been there….Sitting at our desk or favorite ‘writing place’ pecking away at the keys, trying like hell to make our story better and better! But, when does trying too hard actually make our story worse? We came across an article written by Moria Allen published in www.book-editing.com that covers the major mistakes that short story writers fall into. Many of you write short stories, either fiction or non fiction – So we feel this article would be useful to you, from publishing your first Libbook to submitting your short story to a magazine.
Lets focus our discussion on what editors had to say about the most common writing mistakes. Allen boiled them down to five:
1. Weak beginnings
2. Excessive Verbiage or wordiness
3. Underdeveloped Characters
4. A poor Plot
5. No point
Hmm, seems like common sense? It’s all about grabbing your reader’s attention from the first paragraph. Slow starting stories or taking too many pages to introduce the plot just loses the reader’s interest. A good beginning sets up expectations for the reader, and the editors in Allen’s article suggest that once you create the expectation in the beginning, you create the need to know ‘what happens next’ and toward the end, satisfy that need to know.
The common problems with too much wordiness may come from the need to give every little detail to the reader. Hey, leave some to the imagination! If you find yourself using too many adjectives to describe a scene or ‘employing’ big words, you may want to have someone proof-read or as they say- trim the fat out. [Now, I could insert a Libboo.com advertisement here...]
Now characters are tricky to deal with. Most importantly, the reader must care about the characters. The character drives the story and are the source of the plot or conflict. Characters are individuals and like people have qualities and certain traits. Your character should evolve throughout the story.
The key problems with the plot and point of the story that most editors complain about are when authors use recycled plots. Stay away from plots that are common, like those from TV episodes. Look, we live in an entertain-me society- so why anyone would choose to follow a TV or hollywood plot is beyond me! Now for plotless stories, the majority of the editors interviewed in Allen’s article suggest that the author allow the characters to drive the plot. Make your characters and their actions believable – and they’ll drive the plot for you. Hmmm… Be careful with the Why?.. Stories should have a point and if you are unsure, write about something you care about!
The Seven Deadly Sins
Now, I’m not sure if these seven mistakes are just editors’ pet peeves, but I bet that some of these will resonate with you. As you develop your story, you may want to be aware of certain things that can make your reader close the book. The deadly seven are: preachiness, cliches, outlandish names, lack of knowledge, autobiographical stories and cute titles. The last one refers to the submission process – so I left that one out.
Out of all of these, I can certainly agree with preachiness, cliches and lack of knowledge. Have you ever watched a TV show where part of the story involves something technical? For me, its scientific or medical – Ever watched MacGyver or CSI? I hate watching the laboratory scenes – seriously, someone is being paid to consult for the show to make it believable! As writers, we probably don’t have a huge budget to gather expert consultants and feed them cheese and wine – So, do your homework and at least keep it simple and know what you are talking about. As for preachiness… Well, we all have our hidden agendas. So if you are going to get up on a soapbox or the pulpit – be considerate and don’t drown the reader. Cliches are just lame and show lack of creativity – everyone knows that.
So, we hope you find this helpful. It may seem common sense to you – but when you are writing up your story, you may be clouded. It’s always helpful to take breaks, set your story aside and return to it after several days. By using Libboo, you can find collaborators such as editors and proof-readers – a fresh pair of eyes to help you find mistakes, or to set it straight if its running astray. Dig in and we wish you all the best in your writing project!
Get it written!
-The Libboo Blog Team
Be sure to visit our growing community of writers, editors, illustrators, critiques and proof-readers at www.libboo.com
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Yet again, another exciting week for Libboo at MassChallenge. This week find us in a frenzy of activity as Team Libboo is split between two continents – with Chris and Richard in the UK and Fernando holding down the fort in the US. OK, well… the cube! Richard is getting married soon to his lovely fiance and Chris is tending to some important business meetings, visiting authors and Tech City- A UK based innovation center. Libboo has been singled out by the UK consul as an example as UK-US innovation!
Our team has formalized its board of mentors! Lets recap – Mentors are experts and well regarded businessmen and women who advice the companies at MassChallenge on important business strategies with the aim to accelerate the start-up venture. We have the mentor ‘Dream Team’: with expert and well regarded investors, lawyers and publishers. Recall that our goals are to achieve investment, bring in talented and and Libboo inspired team members and garner partnerships for future projects and innovation.
Meanwhile, in the US, at the cube- Fernando strategizes and implements a plan to:
- Increase the size of the Libboo community. Yup- we are growing fast
- Developing new and exciting writing projects to spur-up activity and improving how our community networks, and collaborates online by creating new tools and bringing in content that helps our community write.
-Garner press attention to help raise awareness of the Libboo community and raise the profile of Libboo on the world stage.
So, look forward to a rapidly growing community, new ideas and a frenzy of activity on Libboo.com. We thank YOU, our community- because you are writing, creating new projects and collaborating. You can turn to Libboo to – Get it written!
And now a photo from one side of the pond to the other! Cheers…
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We all have that special book in our shelf – The smell, the texture and feel, the author and the story – that sentimental value that comes back to us every time we pick up that book. For most of us, printed books elicit feelings that are hard to explain.
In the evolutionary timescale, the E-reader and E-books have been around for less than a blink of an eye. However, in less than a decade, the impact has been enormous! We came across a back story published in NewsWeek.
The story is a cartoon comparing the number of E-books published, revenue and costs to printed books. Now at first glance, it seems that printed books are becoming extinct. Lets not forget that this is the year of the tablet- more technology and a bigger market for E-books. So why aren’t libraries becoming museums?
We posted a link on our Facebook page to an article from Technorati.com entitled ‘Authors’ tools must change with the times’. The article describes books as not only for reading or writing, but as artifacts. Books elicit a deep emotional feeling and a sort of connection is made that you will never get with an E-book displayed on, say you Kindle. The article refers to the higher sentimental value of a book signed or ‘dedicated to’ by the author. While app creators have tried to reproduce the author’s signature, there is nothing like the ink on a singed page or cover by the author. Opening up a binding with that unique bookish scent. Folding down dog-ears or inserting fancy bookmarks; underlining passages with colorful highlighters; these are the things that we’ve become used to in the hard copy versions of books. Will e-books have proprietary issues with sharing a good book with a friend? We’ve already ran into the problem of where to put the autographs. We might be fortunate enough to get and have been offered a program to address it; allowing the author to ‘sign’ their e-book. Did papyrus readers have the same issues? Did they miss the scent, the texture, the way the scroll rolled, the quill dipping into ink, and the pretty wax they could put their signet ring into once it went away?
Maybe I’ve ‘lost’ too many files on the computer and can’t take the risk of losing an old friend to the vacuum of wherever it is that computers dream and get back at technologically-challenged humans. What about power outages? Can I wait to read until I get my e-reader charged?
My clinical side tells me that publishing has been revolutionized by e-readers. No longer do authors have to rely on publishers getting around to accepting submissions it if it fits their business forecast. Now a writer can transfer their work into an easy-to-download, cheaper version all by themselves and it has the potential to reach millions.
Still…the power tends to go out a lot in my area. Books. Definitely! But animated bookmarks would be cool.
-The Libboo Blog Team
For the full story, visit our Libbbok series ‘The Hitchwiter’s Guide to the Libooverse‘
Special thanks to this week’s writing team!
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Its summer! The long summer nights, the warm weather and sunshine… and then- well, Do you recall CAMP? For most of us, camp was an exciting time in our lives. It was that special time away from home, away from friends and family- a time to make new friends, have adventures and learn new things- Ahh, the memories!
For Team Libboo, MassChallenge is like going away to camp- except, forego the wilderness, tents, lake and cabins – replace with a mega cool business building in the hart of the Boston, MA and crunch in 125 companies into one giant space on the 14th floor… WOW!
During our first week of bootcamp, we met many entrepreneurs like us. Just like at summer camp, we’ve begun to make new friends, explore new opportunities for innovation and finally settled into our new home for the next few months. All the while, team Libboo has been learning important business skills to become successful. Here are some important highlights from bootcamp:
– We are now Libboo Inc.
– Team Libboo has gathered mentors. Mentors are successful CEOs, CTOs, etc that advice the company in a variety of areas, such as finance, strategy and team building. So that means, we are growing!
– MassChallenge opens the doors to help Libboo get connected in many areas for business planning and industry sectors. Essentially being part of MassChallenge allows us access to resources and people that can help Libboo become better.
And here is a photo of Chris after an evening of mentor matching and selection:
But, there is also some fun at MassChallenge Bootcamp. We learned how to play beer-pong, had an evening of networking and beer tasting – Yum! And we had a bird’s eye view to the Extreme Sailing competition. Many teams from around the world were competing in this elite sailing competition at the Boston harbor.
So like summer camp, MassChallenge bootcamp promises to be unique experience. Be sure to follow our Blog for more News from the Cube -
Visit our growing community of authors, editors, critiques, illustrators and readers at www.libboo.com. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
For those of us living on this side of the ‘pond’- its 4th of July holiday weekend- USA’s birthday! The BBQ or smoker is out in the backyard, the cooler is loaded with beer or something liquid, sunshine and friends gathered around for a great time. And lets not forget the anticipated fireworks- be it homemade artillery or a professional show- its going to be a blast!
So, this year’s 4th of July has inspired us at Libboo!
We are turning our blog over to you- our community! A Blog for the people by the people- We want to bring content that is relevant to you! – content that helps you create: to read, network and write as a community.
We’ll bring the fireworks! Every week, we’ll invite you to join our ‘blogging team‘ and ask for about 250 words on a topic. The blogging team will work with me – The Editor to create and publish the blog, which will also be a Libbook series. You can join the team once or as many times as you wish.
Its that easy. Oh, did I mention that you could receive prizes for blogging on our blog!
Be sure to follow our new, better than ever blog and tune in every week for our News from the Cube- to learn about Libboo’s latest innovations and tribulations at MassChallenge.
You can visit our community at Libboo.com. Follow us on Facebook and twitter. And be sure to read the Great Libboo.com Newspaper for articles and content related to writing, publishing, books and other cool and fun things.