Writing Your Author Bio

Writing an author bio is a bit like taking a “selfie” in front of a mirror!

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Richard Ridley has an excellent article regarding writing your bio.

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He says:

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For more words of wisdom from Richard Ridley and to read his complete article, click


Today’s Assignment:

1. Read Richard Ridley’s article.

2. Write your bio. This should be the short version (less than one page).

Bonus points:

For more on this topic–  read an article from writer Heather Hummel: here.

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Deus ex Machina = god out of the machine = a too-convenient solution

Generally Deus ex Machina is considered a plot weakness — an unsatisfying, easy fix to a conundrum, or problem, developed throughout the tale.

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Click here for more from TVtropes.

Euripides was an ancient Greek playwright who first used Deus ex Machina. Many say his writing was weakened by the use of this technique, however, many others say that he used this technique more as an epilogue.

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More at literary devices.

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More at jstor.

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More at Tragic Drama of the Greeks at Forgotten Books.

An example of Deus ex Machina is The Wizard of Oz.

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More at: youtube Wizard of Oz movie clip.

Today’s assignment:

1. Write a short story.

2. Include a problem with no apparent solution.

3. Conclude your story using Deus ex Machina. (It’s okay to make it comedic.)

Mystery Novel Competition

Check out this great mystery novel competition for new authors:

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The information given here is only a sampling. For complete information regarding this competition, go to their official site:

here at St. Martin’s Minotaur.

Today’s Assignment:

1. Write the opening scene for a mystery novel.

2. Be sure to include setting and dialogue.

3. This scene should be approximately 1,000 words, but do not let the word count drive the story!

Sunday Art: The Last Supper

This “image is a copy of da Vinci’s painting by Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, completed in the early 16th century. It has been used as the primary source for 20th century restoration.”

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“The Last Supper” was completed in the late 15th century, on a wall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The painting took Leonardo da Vinci a few years to complete, though the exact timeline is unknown. Legend has it that that da Vinci became enraged at a prior who expressed frustration with the number of years the painting had taken to complete, and so the painter threatened to use the prior’s face as the model for Judas.

The painting’s condition began to decline shortly after its completion. Italian painter Gian Paolo Lomazzo stated only midway through the 16th century that “the painting is all ruined.”

Below is an image of da Vinci’s original painting:

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Besides deterioration over time, several notable destructions to the piece have occurred. In 1652, a doorway was inserted into the mural which removed Jesus’ feet. During World War II, the monastery was bombed, though, remarkably, the wall with “The Last Supper” remained intact.

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Today’s assignment:

1. Read more about art at the link below.

More at HuffPost.

2. Rest.

Artist Spotlight: Gustav Klimt

We are probably most familiar with Gustav Klimt’s work: “The Kiss.”

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More about “The Kiss” here.

It is from his Golden phase.

He is well-known for his paintings of females like this one:

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about Adele here.

Klimt also painted amazing floral and landscape works.

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More about the “Flower Garden” here.

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More about the “Birch Forest I” here.

Today’s assignment:

1. Familiarize yourself with Klimt and his work.

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Klimt at WikiArt here.

2. Work on your own artistic creation.

3. Write a brief description of yourself as an artist. Describe your artwork briefly.

If you are in NYC, “Adele” is on exhibit at:

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MOMA info here.

The Stories Behind the Constellations

Consider Zeus and the tale of Great Bear and Little Bear:

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Read the whole tale here — from the Royal Museums Greenwich.

Today’s assignment:

1. Select one of the constellation legends from this collection:

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2. Rewrite the story, expanding it to include more details, including information about the setting and some dialogue between the characters.

3. Don’t forget to check tonight’s sky.

Click here for the night sky planner at NASA.

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The Man in the Moon

The Man in the Moon is written and illustrated by William Joyce.

This delightful bedtime story is for ages 4-8, (but you’ll enjoy it, too)!

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Buy it at Amazon here.

Today’s Assignment:

1. Observe the night sky.

Click for the NASA night sky planner.

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2. Read The Man in the Moon.

3. Write a bedtime story. What age group is your audience? Your story can be a scary Halloween tale for young adults or a soothing story for toddlers– or anything in-between!

Consider Source Authenticity

It’s Columbus Day!

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Click here for more Columbus info from Britannica.

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(image from biography.com)

When you are researching — don’t forget to consider the source of the information.

Once you have established the legitimacy of the source, consider the author and the author’s goal. It may have been written as a spoof or as propaganda.

If the material has been translated from another language, you should remember that there often are nuances or variations in how words are used in different languages.

Today’s Assignment:

Write a creative nonfiction short story about Christopher Columbus.