Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Expression vs. Experience

by Deren Hansen

Why do we write?

Because we have something to say, ideas to share, and emotions to express. Because we need to be heard.

Why do we read?

Is it because we want to hear what someone else has to say?

Or listen to the ideas they want to share?

Or feel the emotions they want to express?

Well, not exactly. That is, most of us wouldn't put those things at the top of the list of reasons why we read.

As writers, one of the best ways to find stories is to, "mind the gap." In the real world, friction arises where things meet. In the world of stories, conflict arises where differing expectations meet.

Did you notice the gap, or potential for conflict, here between writers and readers?

And how, in our stories, do we resolve the problem created by a gap?

Someone must bridge the gap. One or both of the parties must adjust their expectations until they're in-line with the realities of the situation.

I suppose there are writers of such celebrity that people do, truly, want to hear what they have to say simply because they say it. That's not me, and I'm willing to bet it's not you. So given that there's a gap between one writer and many readers, who needs to change?

Fundamentally that advice to stop worrying about expressing yourself as a writer and focus on delivering compelling experiences to your readers is as fundamental as Dale Carnegie's advice to talk in terms of the other person's interest. Your readers only care about what's in it for them.

Editor Victoria Mixon expressed the difference between expression and experience in a post on the Write to Done blog: 
Writing fiction isn’t expressing yourself, it’s creating an experience for your reader. 
And yet we all write because we love it. Right? I’m not sitting here at my desk thinking about you. I’m actually sitting here thinking about me, about the fact that I know something important and I want you to get a kick out of learning it from me. Which leads me inevitably to admit that the reader is the only one in this relationship who counts. I might very well have something you need, but if you don’t want it I’ve done all this work for nothing. Not only that, but you’re not here just for what I know, you’re here for the experience of learning it, and even more than that you’re here for the indescribable magic that happens when you find yourself sandwiched between what you’re learning and how you feel about learning it. That’s the magic that changes a reader’s life. And the writer’s job is working that magic.

Deren blogs daily at The Laws of Making.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Utah Children's Writers blog finally hit 100 Followers! That is SO awesome!

Thanks to all of you for following us. You guys are awesome too!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bring the World of Ink to Young Minds: 6-Year-Old LaNiyah Bailey

Meet Six Year Old Debut Author LaNiyah Bailey

Sixyearold author, LaNiyah Bailey, released her debut book, Not FAT Because I Wanna Be in April 2010. In her book, LaNiyah details the struggle of Jessica, a fictional girl who has an underlying medical issue that causes her to gain weight. Bullied by her peers, Jessica learns to accept her body and eventually opens up about her condition to her classmates.

LaNiyah has gone through many of the same things her fictional character Jessica went through. Inspired not to sit around and feel sorry for herself, LaNiyah told people what she was going through, hoping it would make people see you can’t judge others from their outside self. LaNiyah is living proof of this. Even though LaNiyah is a debut author, she is still your typical six year who loves playing with her puppy, Diva and doing girl stuff such as, playing with dolls, putting on make-up with her cousins and hanging out with her best friend, Chase. 

LaNiyah stated, I just wish this book can help other kids like me...and I wish it can help people see that [even though] you might be big that you are not unhealthy or…a monster like people may make you feel.”

LaNiyah decided to write her book, NOT FAT Because I Wanna Be in November 2010, when she’d had just about enough of being called “fat.” Encountering bullies and teasing head-on, at the tender age of three has helped LaNiyah distinguish some of the lasting effects of bullying. Her mom stated in a recent interview, “LaNiyah had become withdrawn at home and showed signs of separation anxiety when I would drop her off at daycare and school.”

Statistics show that over 300,000 kids ditch school every day to be relieved from their bullies. This is a sad but true fact. Being proactive and trying quickly to turn a negative into a positive LaNiyah’s mom decided she needed to find a way for her young daughter to release this horrific thing that was taking her daughter over. LaNiyah started to write, something many children’s psychologist suggest, when she was only in kindergarten to help her deal with daily struggles. From there her book was born. 

With a message that words can hurt and that not all weight gain is due to an unhealthy lifestyle, LaNiyah Bailey hopes her book will enlighten and entertain her young readers. She has already taken her message beyond the pages of her book with a World of Ink Virtual Tour and speaking publically for the first time at the AfricanAmerican Youth Day Festival. 

She is truly an inspiration to all of us in the writing industry. 

Guest Post: Youth Author LaNiyah Bailey...What is it like writing a book?

Well, I would say that I have learned a lot about writing a book. It has been a fun job to do and I think that I am helping other kids, by telling them what I went through. Hopefully, this can help them talk about their own problems and get help from their moms and dads or even their teacher. I hope that people who bully people will read my book and it helps them to stop what they do. Because bullying hurts people’s feelings a lot. I used to think that I was everything they called me, until my mom, dad and my entire family told me that no matter what you are beautiful and we love you! That made me believe in myself more better. I don’t know much about publishing a book. But, the process my mom did helped to get the book out to the whole world. She put together a team of people like my dad, my cousin Sharisse and her good friend La Tasha Mason and they really worked hard to get me on TV, radio and doing interviews and it has been doing very good. 

Writing a book has been very fun. At first I was scared about it but now I am excited that it is doing really good. It has shown me that a lot of kids are going through some of the same things that I went through and now since they read my book they will stand up for themselves and tell their parents what is going on with them. Hopefully, it will make people stop being bullies too. 

I think it is really important to write because, you get to put your feelings out and you get to create stories that are fun and can help someone else. Many people have told me that knowing that a six year old wrote a book that they now believe that they can do it too and that is a good thing. I plan to write more books soon!

You can find out more about LaNiyah Bailey, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour here There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with LaNiyah and her mother, and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. LaNiyah will be checking in throughout the tour and is offering an additional giveaway for those who leave comments throughout the tour.

In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children here LaNiyah and her mother will be chatting about NOT FAT Because I Wanna Be, being a youth writer, publishing a book and her experiences along with tips on how to deal with bullies. The show will be live August 29, 2011 at 8pm EST.