Advice for Beginning Writers

So, you have a great idea, and now you want to put it on paper. What’s next? NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month, the month when everywhere around the nation aspiring authors try to put their great idea to paper. Thirty days, 50,000 words, and a nation of writers cheering you on, giving you good advice, and sometimes sitting near you trying to get their own 50,000 words down on paper. My first piece of advice to you is: don’t worry if it is any good or even grammatical. That’s what editing is for. Just put it on paper. You can edit garbage, you can’t edit nothing.

The Chesapeake Public Library is hosting Write-ins around the city during the month of November. We offer support, we offer encouragement, and we offer a quiet room where you can get away from the stress of life and just work on getting those 50,000 words written. Want to try? Our write in schedule is:
GR Saturday 11/4 3-4:45
CC Monday 11/6 6:00– 8:00
CL Tuesday 11/7 6:00-7:30
RM Wed. 11/8 6:00-7:30
GR Thursday 11/9 6-7:45
SN Monday 11/13 6-7:30
CL Tuesday 11/14 6-7:30
IR Wednesday 11/15 6-7:30
GR Thursday 11/16 6-7:45
CC Sat. 11/18 10:00-2:00
GR Sunday 11/19 3-4:45
CL Tuesday 11/21 6-7:30
CL Tuesday 11/28 6-7:30
RM Wed. 11/29 5:30-7:30

Leave a comment if you’re planning to participate. Good Luck and Happy Writing!

Read Local 3: Coming Soon

Attention all future bestsellers. Come scope out new reads, score writing tips and network with our region’s local writing talent. Published authors will be on hand to discuss their work and writing process, sell and autograph books, and speak with any budding author who needs that spark of confidence.

When: Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Where: Chesapeake Central Library  |   298 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322

Information: Call 757.410.7147 for additional details or directions.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

It’s October, and that means my zero prep work for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is feeling some pressure. For years I’ve desired to write a book. I don’t necessarily want to do it to publish; I just want to say I wrote a book! I finally think I am ready to take the plunge. Go big or go home, right? If I am going to try NaNoWriMo, however, I’m the type of person who needs to prep first.

That brings me to now. It’s October, and though I’ve set my mind to writing 50,000 words next month, I’ve done nothing to make that a reasonable goal. I have a basic/brief plot idea; I came up with it when assigned to write the first chapter of a book in a university creative writing class. Since then I’ve written a few more brief scenes, and pondered some character names, but that is it. Continue reading “Preparing for NaNoWriMo”

Library Provided Research Options

People always look to libraries for research assistance. They, after all, have lots of books! Beyond the books, however, we have many other resources for you to use, found on our Premium Websites page. Are you looking for a little more than a Google search result, and can’t find a library book to meet your needs? If so, this is the list for you! Bet you thought I would only talk about books, right?

Basic Research

  • Gale: Most of the databases listed on our Premium Websites page are linked to Gale. You can find research on anything from world history to home improvement. For students in need of scholarly journal articles for school projects, this website is a necessity.
  • EBSCOhost: This one is similar to Gale because it provides a lot of great resources for papers. The difference is that our subscription to Ebsco only gives you access to digital books, rather than articles or essays.
  • Kid Infobits: I share this one a lot with younger library customers. If you are looking for basic information on plants, animals, historical events and other basics, this one is helpful. This site is also from Gale, but it’s worth mentioning in a separate bullet because the reading level targets a younger audience.
  • Literati: This resource is available under “Services” instead of the Premium Websites page. In addition to provide online research options, Literati has an “Find a Teacher” feature that allows you to ask a person questions online and receive personal help for finding the answers and research you need.

Learn to Research

  • Universal Class: Use this site if you need help learning research best practices. It’s not a research resource itself, but you can use it to learn about a variety of topics. It even has a class called “Basic Research Skills” that will help you figure out research beyond the help provided in this blog post.

Historical Research

  • Ancestry.com: If you want to learn more about your family history, someone else’s, or just want to explore the genealogical information out there, this is a great site to use. The limitation is you can only use it inside the library, not from home.
  • HeritageQuest: This one provides many of the same resources as Ancestry, with the added plus of being accessible from home!
  • America’s Newspapers, America’s Obituaries & Death Notices, Virginian Pilot: All powered by Newsbank Inc., these sites allow you to search newspapers online. Find obituaries and death notices as far back as 1860, and general newspaper results from 1985 to now.

Local Research

Now that you know what to use, all that remains is deciding what research!

Recording Family Memories at the Library

About twenty years ago I took a microphone and cassette recorder and sat down with my mom and grandmother to ask them questions about their lives. My mom talked about when she was a child and witnessed her house burn down in the middle of the night. My grandmother talked about her marriage to my Grandfather, how he was always so fun loving and how she wished she had not been so serious during that time. (He died early, leaving her with a twelve year old still to raise.) It’s on my “To Do” list to convert that analog tape to a digital file so my kids can hear those voices.

It’s easier now than ever to record these precious family memories.  Anyone with a smart phone has a portable recording device with them at all times.  It’s our goal to help patrons take advantage of this technology with the Record Your Life Story program, happening September 7th at Russell Memorial Library.  Patrons will learn how to download and use the free recording software Audacity.  We will also demonstrate the StoryCorps.me app which allows people to record and save their interviews on their own “community” online.  Interviews saved with the StoryCorps.me app are also archived online at the American Folklife Center at the United States Library of Congress.

We will continue the program throughout the fall by offering a series of recording sessions. Library staff will facilitate the recording of a thirty minute interview patrons conduct with a family member.  Patrons will be provided with a set of potential interview questions beforehand and will be given a CD recording of the interview when it is done.  Our goal is to archive these interviews in our own CPL Community on the StoryCorps.me website and to expand the project to include other stories of historical interest to the Hampton Roads area.