Tag Archives: writing

Time For A New Chapter

by Rob Loeber

It’s a strange, painful feeling typing these words, but the time has come for me to step away from the Red Dirt Chronicles.  For the past year, I have had the amazing privilege of writing sports pieces for this site.  Every Friday I had the opportunity to share part of myself with you, our loyal readers.  It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Being a part of the RDC renewed my love of writing.  It challenged me creatively, and gave me a sense of fulfillment that is so rare to find in any kind of work or pursuit.  Most of all, it gave me a sense of freedom.  There were no boundaries to what I could put on these pages and that is really the best part of this whole project.  I could be serious, funny, sad, sarcastic, satirical, biting, glib, self-deprecating or even controversial.  Writing proved to be such a fantastic outlet for me and what I hope came through in my words is the passion I have for sports.

I have never tried to start any arguments with my writing or the subjects I’ve chosen.  I believe the best sports writing sparks conversation and debate.  Good sports writers should never take themselves or their topics too seriously and I always tried to keep that in mind when I picked up my pen and notepad every week.

I remember when Kelly first approached me about contributing to this site.  There’s no way I could have turned her down.  “You mean I get to write whenever I want about whatever I want in the world of sports?”  Sold.  Continue reading Time For A New Chapter

RDC Contributors Christmas Questions & Answers

In the spirit of having a little Christmas fun and introducing you to our authors in a different way, Joey prepared five Christmas questions for our contributors to answer.  This was a last minute effort so not all of them are represented, but you’ll get to know a few of them just a bit more. If you can’t recall who is writing the answers, just check out the Contributor section on the front page navigation.  If you “hover” your mouse over the photos, you can then click any of the information about them, including a locator link for their work.  Enjoy the banter…enjoy the Day!

1. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Julie-Christmas music drives me insane unless it’s Bruce Springsteen or something else from A Very Special Christmas.

Jani-“Here Comes Santa Claus” by Gene Autry

Whitni- Carol of the Bells

Kendy-  I never met a Christmas song I didn’t like, but I think I’m partial to “O Holy Night.”

Kelly- Bing Crosby’s “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” played on a record player with a slightly scratchy quality.

Jennifer-My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night” by Martina McBride. That girl has some pipes!

Joey- I have a lot of favorites, for the past few years though I think “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as sung by Barenaked Ladies has been my favorite. I love songs that tell the Christmas story in them.

Rob- O Come, O Come Emmanuel – maybe not mainstream, but my favorite hymn.  If this isn’t sung at Christmas Eve service, I’m very disappointed.

2. What is your favorite family Christmas tradition?

Julie- We play Bingo with a theme of gifts up for grabs. The Wine Gift theme was especially fun.

Continue reading RDC Contributors Christmas Questions & Answers

RDC News and Updates: “What’s New” Plus Standards and Practices

Hello there, dear RDC community.  I’m sitting here with wet hair in my big fuzzy bathrobe and no house shoes in a 65 degree house trying to write an entry about “what’s new” when all I can think about is whether or not the hot water on my stove is boiling yet so I can make some tea. I also ALMOST edited that sentence because it was too long.  I didn’t, however, because the point of it and the rest of this article is to share with you just a bit about who we are, what we do and why we do it. And, the fact that an occasional long sentence slips in is just part of how we’re structured right now.

The RDC will be deploying our 200th post this upcoming week.  We’ll hit our 17,000th view sometime on Sunday or Monday and we’ll be giving away more promotions in November and December than the previous four months combined.  We kicked off two new areas of writing this month (a series on “Where the Red Fern Grew” and the “Stockyards City Cookbook Cook-Through“) and have added a few more contributors as well.  Since our last update Kendy, Jennifer, Jani, Whitni, Michael (guest blogger) and Dan have joined our team.  Our “Friends of the RDC” are also growing and we couldn’t be happier; we generally have between 100-250 views per day with some spikes these past few months hitting 600-1100, depending upon what content was deployed.  What this means, however, is that we’re adjusting to that growth.

This week I’ll be talking to someone about managing our promotions and advertising.  We’re going to celebrate our 6 month birthday by launching a new website, designed to be more efficient for someone who might visit us, as well as more visually appealing.  We’re also having a first official “contributor meeting” on December 11th at which time we’re going to make a decision about which way to steer the RDC in terms of a business model.  And, we have a few interviews scheduled for this next month that make me think we’re beginning to get noticed as perhaps a place that has some beneficial contribution.

And, while I’m really happy about all that is going on around here, I also want to let you know that we’re doing our best to keep our side of the street clean.  What that means is that the world of blogging isn’t very well-defined.  If you go to WordPress.Com and simply begin looking through a random selection of blogs you will find some amazing work, and some extremely poor work.  Some bloggers simply post other work they’ve found and would like to share.  That’s fine as long as they are referencing the source, and most do.  Others appear to be writing all their content but sometimes you can’t tell about their images.  And finally, there are those who cite or link to their sources, credit their photos and seem to be doing the best they can to keep their own standards high.

In case you’ve wondered in the past, we write all our own content.  We shoot all our own photos or credit the source from which they were derived.  If there’s no credit, then we purchased the license for that image from a photograph company.  And, we link to all our references or sources whenever we feel you might need further context or the original source supporting what we have created.  Right now, I do light editing for every release except sports.  Rob is our sports editor.  And, when I feel like I need to make a decision about something I’ll bounce a question off Julie (she was my first co-contributor) or send it out to our whole team.

I’m sharing this information, in part, because of a very unfortunate copywrighting issue that came out on the Reddit and Facebook communities this week.  This link pretty much explains just how bad theft can get when it comes to plagiarism and blatant use of what was deemed to be the fact that “all content on the internet is public domain.” Cook’s Source Magazine royally ticked off “the internet” and they’re paying for it handily.

So, everything in this letter (except for the previous immediate paragraph) pretty much sums up the way we do business.  But we also “do business” on a volunteer and for-a-hobby only status right now…which is why I’m in my bathrobe writing to you this morning.  After December that might change, but for right now all you see is simply because of the heart of those who write it.

Have a wonderful Saturday in Red Dirt Country.  Y’all come back now, ya hear?

NaNoWriMo: A Primer

~by Joey Rodman

For the uninformed November is National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. Every November across the nation and around the world there are thousands of people who sit down and write an entire novel. It’s a competition against yourself. If you write 50K words in 30 days you win.  If you don’t… well, you tried to win. When you think about it, there’s never a loser. I’ve been participating since 2005 and look forward to it every year.

Click photo to visit Sara Gonzales' webstie from where the graphic was derived.

Before you start thinking the things I know you already are, stop and breathe. It’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s almost as crazy as it sounds, but we’ll leave that part aside for now. Deep breath, open mind, positive thoughts…..and GO.

If you’re like most people I know, you want to write a book. I hear this from people often when they find out I write. They say “I’ve always wanted to write a novel but I never have the time.” Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s time. I know some of you are thinking: “Is 50K words really a novel?” Yes.  40K words is a novella, and 50K is a novel. While there are many novels that are much longer, many novels have about fifty thousand words. One of my favorite books of all time, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is about fifty thousand words long. (Also included: Brave New World and The Great Gatsby.)

National novel writing month started in 1999 with a group of 21; last year there were just under 170, 000 participants. In the Oklahoma City area alone we have almost 1000 participants according to the NaNoWriMo website. When you choose to write a novel in November you’re not alone. Writing a novel with the support of others makes it much easier than writing a novel alone. The accountability alone is empowering, but the social aspect really helps to move things along.

Now, down to the nitty gritty. If you’re really considering this, here are 10 things you should know:

  1. It doesn’t have to be good. The point of NaNoWriMo is to come out of November with a first draft, or if you’re a perfectionist like myself, a “pre-first draft” because first draft connotes some level of completeness that I feel I can’t be expected to do in a month.
  2. It’s okay to fail. Nobody really can say anything to you if you don’t finish. They can try but your retort should be “Oh yeah?! Well, how many books did YOU write this month?!”
  3. It’s only 1667 words a day. That sounds like a lot, but it’s really not much. Right now, at the end of this sentence I have over 600 words….that’s about 35% of your daily word count.
  4. When you come to meet-ups it’s not a competition, unless you want it to be. We have all won and lost before, and the ones who haven’t are in their first year too… it’s all about succeeding together. Every once in a while a “word war” will break out which is a short burst of writing frenzy where the timer starts and you write as much as you can before it goes off. Whoever gets the most wins, and who ever doesn’t win got a LOT of new words typed.
  5. You don’t need a plot, characters, outline or plan. Write whatever you want, you can fix it later.
  6. You can’t/shouldn’t edit in November. You’ll never win if you edit while you write. Leave the mistakes in (it’s hard!) and go back later (after November!) and fix them. Be sure to let us know about the really funny ones, we call them NaNoisms. NaNoism: a typo the detonates and takes out the entire sentence around it. See: “the dragon escaped by flapping its enormous wigs,” or “he bowed to thundering applesauce.”
  7. Write now. Since the “rules” say from November 1st to the 30th and it’s already November, start now. Don’t worry about missing a day or two. Head over to the NaNoWriMo website, sign up and start writing. Open up a word processing document, type “Chapter 1” , save it, close it. Go to the NaNoWriMo website and update your wordcount, 2 words. You have officially done better than many people who sign up. Now close your browser and go write your novel.
  8. Come to meet-ups. Jasmine Brothers (our municipal liasion) says: The meet ups happen during November primarily so people can socialize, get away from writing for a bit…or brag, or complain, or run over plot details to try to make them make sense. Some folks chose to write in good company, and word wars have broken out. Someone behind the scenes with NaNo actually ran the numbers once, and it turns out that more than half of all the people who sign up each year never enter a word count. Among the half who do, those who participate in the forums are more likely to make it to 50,000 words than those who don’t…and those who go to meet ups are even more likely than those who only hang out on the forums. I personally think that has to do with the support and companionship you receive…hitting that 50,000 isn’t a solo effort anymore.
  9. Write anywhere. Whether you have a laptop, a spiral notebook, or an old Smith Corona you can write anywhere you are. I take a notebook with me to sort out my plot bunnies and write down ideas when away from home. Plot bunny: a random idea that comes hopping up and demands your attention. These are known to go on to spawn lots of cute little sub-plots, and so can be said to ‘breed like bunnies.’
  10. Whatever you do, have fun. Life is too short to have regrets. If you get stuck come to a meetup and we’ll help you.

Final word count for this entry? Nearly 1000 words. See? I told you it was easy.