Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Amwriting(dot)org


And writing communities generally...


Last week I saw a Tweet from Debbie Ohi,
[fabulous Deb Ohi comic ----- > ]
superstar Twitterer (and personally responsible any time I've gotten anywhere with a Tweet). Her post? There is not just #amwriting, but also amwriting.org.

Say what?

For those of you uninitiated on Twitter (and it is with great irony I say that, as I am a Twittering TWIT), hash tags [the # mark followed by your favorite topic, eg: #nakedworlddominationtour] gives people who want to find out MORE on a topic a way to find all the conversation on that particular topic. You can create your own... last year when we did my writer's group sponsored WriMo I created #BuNoWriMo and had a handful of conversants—oh sure, I was about 2/3 of the entries... but still...

Anyway, I learned early that if I wanted to reach WRITERS and not limit myself to followers, that I should include #amwriting on what I had to say...

http://amwriting.org/

So this WEBSITE for the #amwriting types was pretty darned cool!




I Signed Up And...

There are a BUNCH of writers there... and there is a system whereby anyone can be a MEMBER but if you have a book number and stuff you can register as an AUTHOR (with a bio and such) and if you START as a member but publish, you can update...

There are bios, and communities and help... it is set up very well, I think.

But as with ALL these things, I think it is as useful as who participates. I signed up for 5 groups (the genres I write, plus a social networking one and... maybe it was two social networking ones...).

There are forums for conversation...


I guess what I think is... wouldn't this be FABULOUS if all my FRIENDS were here?! If, say... all of YOU signed up... because then, instead of a day by day blog (which is fabulous, but VERY temporary) there could be conversations by TOPIC that go back and forth and remain there to browse later...


What say you? Sounds cool, eh?



Do you all know of other forums like this? Are they friendly, or filled with annoying people (I have been to others, but have found them full of sycophants. I hope that doesn't offend anyone... I'm sure there are a bizillion I've never found... but say... the site run by hot former agent guy...)

Any you recommend? Or should we take over? And by take over, I mean respectfully join (but also add some life to)



****

On a more personal front...

I am officially ABNA entered... that is not to say I am READY, but I learned yesterday that I can REload up until they close, so better to load, then update as I have them, instead of being budged out because I am too late. Once they are closed, I am stuck with the version I have, but that is better than not being IN there...

FYI I thought you may be curious about before (which you've seen), and AFTER on my pitch)

Before


In the high desert of Eastern Washington, miles from anything other than a few farms, grain silos and a small cluster of modest houses, sits the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Mentally Retarded and Insane. The doors to the hospital have been officially closed since 1953 when the suicide of a resident spurred an investigation and found serious abuses in care.

Helen has been alone since then, in the abandoned institution that caused her such pain, but thankfully, her death ended the seizures and the death of the hospital ended the screams. There is other sadness, but she believes the worst is over.

When the noticed is nailed to the heavy front door Helen is shocked to realize she's been dead sixty years. When trucks and workmen show up several days later; however, she realizes her death is going to change drastically. The damaged young people assigned to the Kahlotus Project have not entirely bought into the idea of a reform school. They bring with them tragic pasts, mental illness, and a vast deficiency in coping skills. They posture for dominance, manipulate each other, and, when official backs are turned, cause each other, and themselves, harm. Helen can't work out what to make of these people, but is drawn to them like a circus show.

Only a handful of the new residents can see Helen, and in the case of a schizophrenic girl, she is taken as evidence of psychosis. But the girl who really touches her is the one who seems just as surprised as Helen to be seen. Serena has spent her life alternately trying to be invisible and be seen, always visible to those who would hurt her, unseen by the rest, unbelieved by those who should help. Perhaps this unlikely friendship can heal more hearts than just their own.


After

In 1953 teen resident Helen Bixby's suicide spurred an investigation that closed down the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Mentally Retarded and Insane. Helen has been alone since then, in the abandoned institution that caused her such pain. Thankfully, her death ended the seizures and the hospital closure ended the screams. She thought the worst was over.

When a notice is nailed to the heavy front doors Helen is shocked to realize she's been dead sixty years. Work on the building brings fear of what will come, but the building is meant to be a opened as a school. Unfortunately, the damaged young people assigned to the Kahlotus Project have not entirely bought into the idea of reform school. They bring with them tragic pasts, mental illness, and a vast deficiency in coping skills. They posture for dominance, manipulate each other, and, when official backs are turned, harm each other and themselves.

Helen can barely cope, but that isn't the worst of it. Neglect and new abuses by the adults in charge trigger painful memories of life at the hospital in her own time. She decides she must do whatever she can to change its course.

Only a handful of the new residents can see Helen, and for those, admitting it is taken as evidence of psychosis, only making matters worse. But the girl who really touches her seems almost as invisible as Helen. When it seems Serena is going to fall victim to the abuses of those in charge, Helen forms a partnership with Allan, teacher and counselor, to protect the students, so the horrors that so adversely affected her life, don't destroy the lives of another generation.

Kahlotus Disposal Site, at 65,000 words, is a Young Adult novel along the lines of The Lovely Bones meets Girl, Interrupted.

So there.


All Content Watery Tart Generated (Hart Johnson) and seen first at Confessions of a Watery Tart.

31 comments:

Ted Cross said...

I think your newer pitch is better, except for the sentence that goes, 'When the notice is nailed...'

Readers don't know what the notice is, so either it needs to be '..a notice...' or you need to say something about what the notice is, because it reads funny the way it is.

Old Kitty said...

I got very lost and confused with all the twitter talk about hashes and such like that I skipped to your very exciting ABNA news!! LOL!!!

Yay for you!!!!! OH wow - how exciting!!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!

I do like your second version too! I think the first sentence completely got my attention and I read on and wanted to read more when it ended!!! So yay!!!!!! It's supremely NAKED!!

Take care
x

Cold As Heaven said...

I guess geophysics publications don't qualify me as a writer, so better get up to speed with my novel. I plan to write a chapter or two tonight in my hotel room, possibly naked >:D

Cold As Heaven

Jessica Bell said...

Re Twitter: Oh man, please don't get me invloved in another web distraction! I'm gonna pass. I don't wanna, but I'm going to be strict on myself! :-/

Megan Bostic said...

okay, first, I'm going to check out that website, second, your novel looks amazing. Is it classified as YA?

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

The second pitch is much better! Sounds like a great book, too.

I'll have to see if I can handle anything else online...I'm way behind on GoodReads, which is really a pity...got to do better there. Just want to make sure I don't drop the ball anywhere.

Teresa aka JW said...

Hart, your pitch is great. I like the second too. I couldn't stop reading it...my mind flitting around with the possibilities.

Cool!

Hart Johnson said...

Ted--good catch with the 'the'--changed to 'a' as I don't have any extra words to add...

Jenny-*giggles* Not a Tweeter, eh?

CaH-YAY for naked writing! Good luck!

jessica-oh, come on, just one teeny weeny distraction?

Megan-it IS YA, in fact,... oh, I'll send you an email...

Elizabeth-I don't know how you have time for what you already do! And I am barely functional on Goodreads... worse even than I am on Twitter--at least I Tweet nearly daily...

Thank you, Teresa!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

oooh i am off to check it out. Wait, i assume you don't actually have to be on twitter to join, right? Because i'm staying away from twitter as long as possible. I do not need the distraction.
And i hear you about the other forums. NB is just kinda weird and Absolute Write i feel is way too big to make any sort of personal connections

Hart Johnson said...

No Twitter necessary! I think it grew OUT of there, but it is its own thing!

Su said...

Yay, sounds fun!

Tracy Walshaw said...

:) Yep, I'm editing and reloading almost every day on ABNA. It's best to get that spot NOW!

And the pitch is GREAT!! It sounds like a great story and I can't wait to read it :))

Lisa Potts said...

I want to read your book! Sounds wonderful. Congrats. I'll definitely look you up on amwritingdotorg.

Colene Murphy said...

Second. It sounds SOOO good! Tense. I love it! I follow the #amwriting stuff on twitter sometimes but never signed up on the website! Maybe when my revisions are done!

Carolyn Abiad said...

I can't handle another social networking task...but your revamped query sounds good. I like this line: "But the girl who really touches her seems almost as invisible as Helen." I want to know more about that!

Tina-Sue said...

I really liked your "after" pitch!
Congrats!
I think there is an eeriness that comes through the paragraphs. I kept asking, as I was reading it "Who is Helen? Is she really dead or alive?" until I was further down the page.
I did wonder if this could be moved up or played upon more:

{"But the girl who really touches her seems almost as invisible as Helen. When it seems Serena is going to fall victim to the abuses of those in charge, Helen forms a partnership with Allan, teacher and counselor, to protect the students, so the horrors that so adversely affected her life, don't destroy the lives of another generation." }

Just because it there is the new introduction of another character (and I really liked the flow of that paragraph).
I love the title, " Kahlotus Disposal Site"

Amwritingdotorg~Probably do not have room for something more online but a friendly place of other writers does have appeal :o)

Terry Odell said...

Since writers work alone, a gathering place where people 'get it' is a good thing. No extra time at the moment, but thanks for the heads up.

Second pitch is definitely better - but it might be a tad long for a query letter. You might play around with opening with Helen discovering she's been dead for 60 years. That would draw me right in.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Helena said...

This book really sounds irresistible. I especially love the line, "her death ended the seizures and the hospital closure ended the screams." Also how the young real woman is as invisible as the ghost. May you win big time and may I read the whole book very soon.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good luck with your entry, Hart. And I'm going to check out that site!

M Pax said...

Congrats on the ANBA entry. I didn't think to enter. For next year maybe?

Twitter, blogger - everything has a major learning curve. Someone ought to give twitter lessons.

The Golden Eagle said...

Good luck with your ABNA entry! I love your pitch--it sounds like a great story!

Holly Ruggiero said...

No twitter here.

At first glance, the site looks facebookish. I’ll have to check it out more. I’d love to find a nice, friendly forum place.

Love, love, love, the new pitch. It capture me from the first sentence, the old one took longer.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I had no idea! I follow the hashtag on Twitter but am so excited about checking out the website. Thanks, Hart!
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Hart Johnson said...

Thank you SO MUCH everyone for all the pitch encouragement! I know it is a little long for a query, but the ABNA is 300 words, and thus far, this seems to be as short as i can get it!

And I'm glad there are some takers for Amwriting! I really think it could be cool, but only if it's active.

Ann said...

I loved both versions. But found the after version a bit more fluid. Easier to read. Good luck with ABNA. This sounds like a great story. Very intrigued.

As for the twitter and hashing...it is all a bit beyond me. But thanks for the definitions of the hashing. I never understood that. I know I sound dense! HeyHo!

RosieC said...

I agree with Ted. Your newer pitch sounds better. It's clearer and gives me a better idea of what's going on with Helen. I didn't realize in the first one that the suicide was Helen.

Okay, I'm off to check out amwriting.com. If I sign up (and you saw my recent post on how I'm spread thin on social media, but what's one more thing??) I'll send you a buddy request or whatever it is that they do over there. Thanks for the info!

Ciara said...

I love the concept of your book, Hart. I'd read it! Of course, that is my kind of story. BTW - I think there is a typo.
"Work on the building brings fear of what will come, but the building is meant to be a opened as a school"
Someone probably already caught it and told you, but just in case. Good luck!!

Simon C. Larter said...

Interesting novel premise, good lady! I'll be keen to follow your progress through ABNA.

Also, I'm not much of a joiner, when it comes to those online communities. I find I don't have time to follow conversations on forums, as well as blogs, Twitter convos, Facebook updates, and all that. Oh, and I try to write sometimes, too.

I suppose I could always be surprised, though, ne? :)

Chary Johnson said...

Take two is much cleaner. It reminds of Geraldo Rivera's expose on the Willowbrook Asylum here on Staten Island. Guess what it is today? Yup, the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. My alma mater!

Excellent post! I hope you get it love!

gideon 86 said...

All right, Hart.

I loved your new pitch... FANTASTIC.

I do like the idea of a social network, but i have so little time and I just joined Scribblerati. I haven't had the time to explore it yet, but it look interesting.

Congrats on entering ABNA.... YAY!

Michael

jenny milchman said...

I actually like 'em both, but either way, I want to read that BOOK!