Posted in Random Round Up

End of the Month Fun With Jobe



THIS from Bustle might be the most important thing you read today, or it might be THIS from Flavorwire.


This one applies to writing and editing, as well as life. From Elephant Health & Wellness.1

And here’s some advice on submissions from Freeze Frame Fiction.

From The Writer’s Circle
2 4


Electric Literature suggests this fun way to name your imaginary novel.

Hard to choose just one from Librarian Central!

3 1



Terrific, inspirational stuff from Buzzfeed


compiling the internet so you don’t have to

Posted in Random Round Up

More April Fun with Jobe

Inspirational shirts from Attention Writers

from the Mid-Continent Public Library in Lee’s Summit, MO

more bingo fun from Writers Write

a reminder from the Reader’s Nook

Ursula K. Le Guin talks writing on The Literacy Site

beloved comic xkcd has a movie map, but at least a few came from books5

some encouraging author activism from J. K. Rowling on Arts.Mic

great quote from Word Porn

and bookriot coverage of 100 best books of the decade so far, compliments of the Oyster Review

Scouring the Internet so you don’t have to

Posted in Colleen

Is knowing about the author important?

You’re tucked into bed, curled up with the latest book you checked out from the library. The paper turns smoothly between your fingers- one hand on the next page even before your eyes make it to the the bottom. | Or maybe it’s an afternoon on your couch, sliding your fingers over a tablet, skimming the latest post by your favorite blogger. The screen illuminates your hands- every picture and every bolded word captivates you.

Vladimir Nabokov

No matter the scenario or content of what you’re reading- they all have one thing in common. They all have authors. Maybe it’s just one person, maybe two or three or so; we know this. We’re adults. And many of us are writers and authors ourselves. But let’s take a moment to think about the idea of knowing the author. How important is this?

John Green

When I was a child, I read my books for what they were. They were stories. I didn’t know I was being taught lessons. I didn’t even think about the kind of person who wrote the book. In school, our reading books would have excerpts about the short story authors. Those things bored me and I never connected the real life people to the characters in the stories. They were two separate worlds.

In high school I really had to start paying more attention to authors of our books though. As you grow older, you learn that stories are made up things- with bits of real life swirled in. With that, you make connections between the authors and what they write. You start to understand things like where J.K. Rowling got the idea for dementors. The more you learn about an author, the deeper the story can be for you. But it may cost you.

J.K. Rowling

This begs the question: how important is knowing a bit about the life of the author whose work you are reading? Could knowing too much or too little about what kind of person wrote the book you love put a damper on things? Maybe it helps you see what they’re trying to display in their writing. If you know about their personality and struggles, it could add a lot more to their art.

P.L. Travers

Furthermore, do you want your readers to know about you? Or would you rather them read your stories without knowing what’s real about you?


Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Jobe on Feedback

So it’s time to share your work. I know, I know. It’s not ready. (It will never, ever be ready.) But your eyes have been over it a thousand times and you need new perspective to help point you in the right direction. Maybe you know it needs something but you’re not quite sure exactly what?

If you’re lucky enough, you have one, two, or a small group of people willing to read and comment on your work. Maybe it’s a college class, a weekend workshop, a group of friends. You’re probably all writers, and you probably all have something you’ve written that you want others to read. You don’t need your mom to tell you again how you’re “The best writer ever!” or your best friend to tell you “Everything you write is amazing, you should be famous.” Although, those are really nice to hear.

You don’t want someone who reads 20 pages and says, “I loved it!” or “It was great!” and that’s all they’ve got. That should be just the beginning. “This sentence was so evocative!” or “I got confused in the second paragraph” or “I loved your verb use here” or “The dialogue on page four is really convincing!” Those are the kinds of comments that can start to be really helpful.

The way workshops are run in the writing programs I’ve attended, the author stays silent until the very end. You’re not there to defend the work — it needs to stand on its own, requiring no outside explanation. While others make comments, you’re writing notes and soaking it all in so you can percolate on the feedback you’re receiving. Sometimes if the work is shorter, the author will start by reading the work aloud, and then be silent until the end.

Your time to talk at the end should not be used to explain all the ways your peers were wrong. It should be used for asking questions like, “In the second paragraph, can you explain what specifically was confusing?” So you know how to apply the new information. Everyone passes back their printed copies of your manuscript with their notes and you take them home. Go ahead and stew over the good and the bad, maybe vent to your mom or your best friend to be reminded how great you are. Then take the new information and get back to work.

I like to work through one copy at a time from beginning to end. You’re the only one, ultimately, who decides which suggestions for change to keep or toss. The work belongs to you. But if you let them, others may be able to help you make the work even better. If one person makes a suggestion, take it or leave it. If 20 people make the same suggestion, take it seriously.

Okay, so your piece is done, now it’s your turn to help provide feedback. What do you do and how do you do it? Read the piece at least once, preferably twice. Make line edits and overall comments.

When in class or meeting with the group, try to shape your comments into what my friends and I refer to as a “shit sandwich.” Start with something nice (what they did well) and end with something nice (overall, what was strong about it). Put the harsher stuff, the critique, in the middle, framed by nicer stuff on either side, so nobody gets too butt-hurt over anything. You can also use the rule of 3 and 3: three nice things and 3 things that could be improved.

Of course, please, be respectful. Don’t just tell someone how you would have done it differently. Approach the piece as it is and try to help it reach its best state. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you didn’t like it or it wasn’t your taste or style. We’re just trying to help each other become better writers.

Read more:


Posted in Random Round Up

Jobe’s Mid-Month April Fun

Stationary Pr0n from Buzzfeed

from The Writer’s Circle

from Tablo Publishing

an article about emergency poets from Book Patrol

This funny is for role-playing gamer nerds, but maybe writers experience this too 🙂
first character Dorkly comic

What a cool idea! From Reading Addicts

this one from Grammarly


and this extremely nsfw gem for Archer fans, compliments of Salon.

Until Next Time!


Posted in Colleen

The Pros of Clubbing | Book Style

My first experiences with book clubs were back in elementary school. When I was in kindergarten or so, my mom would take my sister and I to Saturday morning book readings at our local library. Librarians would read a book aloud and have us do crafts that went along with the theme. When I got a little older, I joined the summer reading book club as well.

My first experience with a “grown-up” book club was my senior year of college. I was interning at the library in town and was welcomed into a monthly meeting with middle-aged (and older) women to discuss some randomly selected book. It was neat because I’d hear different perspectives than my own- as these ladies were older and had more life experience than I. I would come up with a list of discussion questions that we’d touch on amidst sipping coffee and cookies.

About a month ago, 3 friends and I were talking about how rare it is to see people our age reading anymore. Granted, the four of us are all college graduates and spend our waking hours working, eating, at the gym, or collapsed in front of NetFlix. But still, we thought, why shouldn’t we keep up some sort of community that has a beneficial purpose. And so, after enough talk, we did it.

We started our own book club. And why? Well, because we still like to read and learn. So if you need some motivation to get your peeps together, here’s a list 5 reasons you need to join or start a book club.

  1. Accountability | You know it’s true. Your friends will hold you accountable for reading a book each month- even if it’s something terrible. You’re getting through it together! At the least, it will make for a good literary rant session.
  2. Up Your IQ | Reading makes you smarter. It expands your mind. Talking about what you read gives you new insight to the story and writing. Maybe there’s something that didn’t make sense to you. Your book clubbers can help you figure it out!
  3. Improve Your Own Writing | That semester I was interning at the library, I was also taking my Novel Writing Workshop class. Reading various types of  literature gave me inspiration for my own novel. Whether it’s a writing style you want to attempt or a new genre you’re trying- there really is no better way to nourish your writing than to read some.
  4. Boost Your Mood | After college, I found I could get depressed really easily. The main cause of this is lack of socializing and having intelligent conversations with peers. In school, you have classes (usually) every day and are always learning and be-friending people you have things in common with. There are parties to go to and your friends are usually down the hall or just across campus. Once you leave that atmosphere behind, life can get really dark. Having something to look forward to each month can give you purpose- even if it just seems as small as reading a book.
  5. Good Habits & Addiction | Once you start reading –I’m speaking to my writers and readers here who read this blog because they are already fans of books and stories– you’re going to want more and more. Maybe you’ll start reading 2 or 3 books at once. (I have friends who can switch between 5 or so). Funny example time: As I was reading this past month’s book club book, (Lolita by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov), there were times that I had to put it down. But instead of watching T.V. or getting on the computer, I just grabbed another book I was working on. I still had that desire to read. It reminded me of school- when I’d toss my history book aside to read a play for theatre class.

If you’re interested, my book club’s next book is It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.


I’ll be posting about it a bit as we go, so feel free to join in! Also, if you guys have more things to add to my book club list, (reasons why they’re a good idea or tips on being active in one), leave a comment.

Write on

Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

Jobe’s Monster-Long Ethically-Sourced Compilation on How To Write a Memoir

What is a memoir? A memoir is a narrative about your personal experience.

Write memoir, not autobiography
Autobiography is the story of an entire life, but a memoir is just one story from that life. You can only ever write one autobiography, but you can write countless memoirs.

A memoir can be about:

  • A specific event that happened to you.
  • A specific aspect of your life (your relationship with your father, your travel through Asia, your struggle to overcome a phobia).
  • A particular time period of your life.
  • The impact on your own life of an outside event (for example, a war, an economic crisis, your parents’ divorce.)

A memoir can be about:

  • Your childhood years
  • Your years living in a certain city
  • Your time pursuing a certain goal and its attainment
  • Time spent with a spouse or other loved one
  • Your spiritual journey
  • An overseas adventure

A memoir can be about:

  • Your childhood
  • Places you’ve visited
  • A crime or injustice you encountered

Important Rules:

  • It Must Be Interesting
  • It Must Be Thematic
  • It Must Be Personal

Important Rules:

  • Be yourself
  • Speak freely
  • Think small

Important Rules:

  • Make Your Memoir about More than Just You
  • Don’t Whine
  • Do Your Research
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Generous
  • Build a Narrative with Tension and Shape
  • Play with Time

Reader Expectations for a Memoir:

  • Sympathetic main character
  • Vividly depicted scenes
  • Emotional tension
  • Increasing sense of drama/conflict
  • A satisfying ending

Process Idea #1:

Draw a Timeline
Once you have chosen a time period, determine the major events that took place on a timeline. Draw out a long horizontal line, mark tabs. Label year, month, or day.

Mark Major Life Events
Mark your timeline with the major events that happened during that period, ie:

  • Met Fred
  • Got Married
  • Tiffany born
  • Fred went to war
  • Hank born
  • Fred killed

Major life events can be: birth, graduation, first job, arriving in a city, falling in love, meeting a nemesis, getting married, starting a business, meeting a mentor, losing a job, having children, arriving in a new country, getting divorced, having an illness, meeting a spiritual teacher, winning an award, getting remarried.

Find the Emotional Turning Points

  • Fell in love
  • Committed to love
  • Experienced unconditional love
  • Fear about future
  • Uncertainty
  • Grief
  • Determination to Create Good Life for Kids

Find a Theme
What is your story about? What is the main theme? What is the main lesson you have learned from your experiences? Your theme may be:

  • Love never dies
  • Never give up
  • Keep going for your dreams
  • You can heal your life
  • Small things are beautiful

You do not have to know the theme to begin writing your memoir. Often, it will emerge in the writing itself. But at some point, you will want to choose the main theme of your memoir and organize the details of the story around this theme.

A theme transforms your memoir from a collection of events to a compelling story that others will want to keep reading.

Process Idea #2:

  • Outline
  • Connect scenes with reflection, weave narration and reflection.
  • The narrator guides the reader through the book, through thoughts and reflections.
  • Your memoir is made up of scenes andreflection. Don’t just copy your journal.
  • Write your first draft in your voice using real names. Don’t share it. Just get through it. Then decide what to do.
  • Find your important moments of meaning — the true North of your memoir — by listing turning points or moments that are important to you.
  • Make a list, keep it up for a while, and then you’ll have the spine of your memoir.
  • Choose to write your scene from this list, and you can write in any order.
  • Making an outline is helpful too, because at some point, you’ll want to put those scenes in some kind of order.
  • When in doubt about what to write, select a scene, a significant scene, and write it.
  • Find a scene you feel connected to and write it. That scene, that moment.

Process Idea #3:

Diagram your life
Rainer, author of Your Life as Story, recommends diagramming your life:

  • get into a retrospective mood, maybe enlist the help of a friend or spouse
  • plot your life’s six most significant moments. Is there a pivotal event that stands out?
  • Try dividing your life into: critical choices, influential people, conflicts, beliefs, lessons, mistakes.

Use all your senses
When you write, make sure to capture:

  • Sight: color, proximity, size
  • Sound: music, noise, sound effects, quiet
  • Smell: good and bad, natural or chemical
  • Touch: textures, temperatures, consistency
  • Taste: spicy, sour, bland, salty, sweet, tart

Write Every Day

Sets of Tips #1:

  • Be Kind to Yourself have compassion for yourself
  • Memory is Unpredictable trust that the right memories will emerge
  • Bad Guys present understanding and even compassion for your “bad guys“
  • Just Write keep the pen moving across the paper… at some point, words will start to flow
  • One Day at a Time every day
  • Turn Off the Inner Critic you will have ample time to turn on the critic later — when you’re editing
  • You Can Change Everything Later don’t worry about naming people, offending them, or being sued… You can run it by a lawyer, literary agent or publisher later
  • Emotional Truth is More Important than Factual Truth maybe you can’t recall all the details, but you can write what you felt

Set of Tips #2:

  • Most people lead “boring” lives. But each person is trying to make sense out of his or her existence, to find meaning in the world.
  • Honestly share what you think, feel, and have gone through.
  • I write to find out what I think. — Stephen King

Set of Tips #3:

Advice for beginning memoirists from Heather Sellers

  • Writing is what makes the memories come back.
  • If you are just starting to write memoir, and you are worried about gaps… Don’t think. You can’t “try” to remember. You remember (a phone number, the author’s name) when you stop trying. The goal isn’t to force memory. You need to have a daily writing practice, and method for getting into a trance state that allows your visual memory to roam back over the events of your life. It’s something that improves with practice.
  • Go fearlessly write everything down. Stop thinking about it. Stop talking about it. Trust that what is important will come to the surface.

Set of Tips #4:

  • Sit some place quiet with your notebook or computer. You may be surprised that the memories come flooding back: Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, author of Girls of Tender Age said, “You think that you’ll never remember the details of what happened so long ago, but all you have to do is find a quiet, comfortable place and write one line. That’s when you’ll start to see the whole scene right in front of you. It’s incredible.”
  • “When you’re truly honest and revealing about yourself, it creates a sigh in other people,” says Lorna Kelly. “They realize they’re not alone, they’re not a freak: Someone else has felt the exact same way or lived their dream. If you’re going to skimp on the truth, then you’re doing a disservice. Honesty is not only a gift to other people—it’s a gift to yourself.”
  • Remember to describe how you felt then but also how you feel now. Part of memoir writing that’s different from just telling the story is the perspective you’ve gained through time.