Reviews, rants, and tidbits from an overpassionate novelist

Posts tagged ‘nonfiction’

Courtney’s Writing Nonfiction? What?

To be honest, I expect to get a bit of rap for trying to write anything memoir-esque at my age. I’m 18. What could I possibly have to say?

One of the best things I got from this last conference was a gentle reminder of the value of those years from Emily Sue Harvey. “It’s amazing that you write,” she said. “Not only that you have the drive, lots of kids have the drive. You have something to say.”

Her words surprised me. I’d never thought of that–having something to say–as my strength before. Then I thought about the number of nights I’ve spent lying awake just thinking about life, the times I’ve agonized about getting through situations without hurting others, and my uncle’s words about the emotional-literary power woven into my writing.

I thought maybe she was right.

So I’ve been looking for stories in my life, and I’ve finally struck gold. I’ve found a story I want to write so much it hurts. I’ve resolved to turn it into a masterpiece. It involves the World Scout Jamboree I attended in 2007. I’m dying to share it, even in its atrocious first-draft form, so I’m going to be an indulgent teenager and post the first paragraph.

The Teapot Boy

My first impression of the boy who would change me forever was as wrong as it possibly could have been. I remember sitting on the stage set up in that gymnasium, scanning the crowd and getting seized by a glare. That’s right. I was minding my own business, making drowsy conversation with the people lounging on the sofas where I’d been taking a nap, and a boy I’d never met before was staring me down.

On that creepy note, I must leave you for now. I’ll keep you update though. I’m very excited about it.

So excited that I didn’t feel like working on the reviews I should have written today. Sigh. Those will happen soon. I promise. The posts on the way are:

A review of In Odd We Trust by Dean Koontz & Queenie Chan
A review of The Uglies by Scott Westerfield
Thoughts on Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
& Thoughts on Song of Renewal by Emily Sue Harvey

Jambo Picture:

Sword dancers from Qatar

Sword dancers from Qatar

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* CHUCK SAMBUCHINO – IN THE WRITERS CLUB CASINO *

Another wonderful experience from the Southeastern Writers Association Conference last week.

Let me start by making a little fun of myself. Last year at the SWA Conference I’m pretty sure I was ~scared out of my wits.~ The entire time I felt completely out of my depth and overwhelmed but at the same time inspired and determined any kicking, spitting mule you’d like to imagine.

I was also awkward as hell.

This year my awkwardness had dropped dramatically from their previous As Hell levels. Thanks to a great shift in attitude and the experience Model UN gave me, I’ve actually finally learned how to talk.

I realized I’d changed a bit when I found myself sitting next to Chuck Sambuchino, one of the biggest names there, the first night of the conference–and he was teaching me to play Poker.

I still can’t say I’d be able to win if I sat down at a Poker table now. No, I’m afraid I definitely would not have the confidence to engage in any alternate forms of the game. Cough. But I did pick the gist of it up and when I started making decisions we started winning. Of course, the stakes weren’t high. It was also fun watch Mr. Sambuchino dramatically slap down an immense bet of 50 cents.

My mad Poker skillz aren’t the only thing I picked up from him last week, however. Even though he had to leave the conference Wednesday morning, he taught four classes:  Screenwriting, Nonfiction, Business of the Business – Agent Focus, and Business of the Business – Editor Focus.

I have notes on all the classes, but I have a TON of screenwriting stuff. They’ll definitely fill a post or two in the future. I enjoyed the classes and liked Mr. Sambuchino’s teaching style. He’s laid back and very open to questions. He makes jokes and laughs at the business and himself. He also played the piano before class–medleys including Coldplay’s Speed of Sound and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.

I’m sorry. That’s awesome. As an eighteen-year-old, I find it simply epic. =)

I’d highly recommend Mr. Sambuchino as a class instructor–and the good news is he’s going to be teaching at the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop at Myrtle Beach in October! Hopefully his classroom will have a piano.

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