Monday, February 29, 2016

Books Alive! The Washington Independent Review of Books' Annual Conference

Looking to learn more about writing, hear readings and speak with agents? Check out this upcoming local conference in Bethesda, MD, coming up this spring. Learn more about it on their homepage

For the fourth year running, the Washington Independent Review of Books (WIRoB) is proud to sponsor the Washington Writers Conference. WIRoB exists to serve the literary community in the DC area, and each year the conference draws more people, strengthening our network of writers, agents, and publishers with a full day of insightful conversations and panels with successful industry professionals.

This year's line-up is highlighted by our keynote lunch speaker, Bob Woodward. Kitty Kelley is also going to receive the second WIRoB Lifetime Achievement Award. Donna Britt, Nora Pouillon, Audrey Wolf, and Paul Dickson, among many others, will be joining us, too. It's our honor to bring such successful professionals to the community and to hear from them about the current state of the publishing world.

We are also pleased to offer up our Agent Pitch sessions throughout the day on Saturday. Here, all participants have the chance to sit with three agents, for five-minute sessions, and pitch their ideas and their work. Agents know that DC is a vibrant writer's town and they are happy to sit and talk and share their expertise. Prepare yourself well, and you might even sign with an agent, as past participants have.

Lastly, don't forget that we have a lovely social scheduled Friday evening, at which several of our panelists and agents, as well as other conference participants will be gathering in relaxed camaraderie. Last year's social was a great success. This year, we're adding a "How to Pitch an Agent" panel after the social, so that those participants who intend to pitch will have the evening to incorporate any suggestions into their Saturday sessions.

The Washington Writers Conference is quickly becoming a significant event on the DC area literary calendar. Join us and find out why!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Who is your ideal reader? Your content will be partially determined by who that reader is and what she knows. From that point, you can build your plot, narrative and all that you hope the reader will learn, consider and delight in.

As you write and revise, you'll make decisions about what to name, explain or offer background on. Maybe you want to challenge your reader to do some research as she reads. Or maybe you hope that your reader already knows all of the cultural, historical, religious or other signifiers throughout your piece. Perhaps you are writing for someone in between.

Here's your writing challenge of the day:
Describe your ideal reader for your current writing project.

Here are some questions to get you started: What does that person know about your subject? How immersed is the reader in pop culture? What cultural references do you share (music? visual art? poetry?) Will you define foreign words? Will you name technology or brand names?

After you finish this writing challenge, you can apply this knowledge of your reader to your current piece.

For more, consider tone, words and content in your memoir and audience in terms of marketing (as you work to sell and later publicize your book.) 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Custom Bookcase By Designcraft Woodworking

Terry Nagorski of Designcraft Woodworking, Inc., designed and constructed our built-in bookcase this fall. We couldn't be happier. As a poet and political scientist couple, we have many, many (but not too many) books and we love them so. This bookcase displays our favorites and gives us easy access to them. The books are organized first by genre and then alphabetically.

Our condo feels like it is truly ours with this custom addition. 

And, best of all, our son talks about books even more than he did before. Growing up with books, even before he can read, will make a difference in his literacy, creative thinking, empathy, knowledge and, perhaps, writerly interest. Sure, we still borrow stacks of books from the library, but he knows that he has his own growing library at home. And, happily, this built-in bookcase can't possible fall on him if he decides to try to scale it (he hasn't yet, but...)

Thanks again to Terry for this lovely bookcase. If you're interested in creating a custom home for your books, contact her directly through her website.

Scroll down to see the bookcases as they were created and the final piece. The recent, final images were kindly taken by my mother, Melabee M. Miller, a New Jersey based architectural photographer and visual artist. 

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