National Reading Group Month

October is National Reading Group Month! Take your love of reading to the next level by joining a reading group or book club in your local community.

Not sure how to locate a reading group near you?  Meetup is an excellent way to locate your local book lovers and join reading forces.  Meetup is a free networking site that allows users to locate others with similar interests for a variety of group events.  While some groups may charge a nominal joining fee, there is no cost associated with setting up an account and many groups are free of charge for members.

Another way to find a reading group is to check with your local library or bookstores.  Many have reading groups or would be interesting in hosting such a group.

If no options exist in your area, then take advantage of today’s technology and start an online reading group.  Most social media platforms allow users to create a group online where members can participate in discussions.  This is a simple and free way to connect with the book lovers in your life, no matter where they may be.  This option also allows participants to share on topics when it is convenient, rather than trying to schedule a time that works for all members.

Strong Female Leads

Looking to grab the attention of literary agents with your work?  One way to elevate your writing from the rest of the competition is to develop a strong female lead, without falling victim to clichés.

Here are a few quick tips to help create a real, strong female lead:

        1.  Don’t forget that strong does NOT mean perfect.  Even the strongest of all characters have flaws.  No one is perfect, so make sure to develop some personal flaws in your leading lady.
        2.  Character Arcs are important! Develop your character as you do your story.  If you start her off with no room to grow, there is no room to go!
        3.  Be Real. A strong female lead does not mean physical perfection.  Make her realistic so readers are able to connect and believe in her strength.  A physique like Wonder Woman does not equal a strong female lead.
        4.  Avoid Stereotyping. To avoid the cliché trap, identify potential female stereotypes in your writing.  If not, your character will lose her believability.
        5. Give her a reason. What made your character so strong?  How did she overcome her fears to grow into the strong lead in your story?  What keeps her strong?
        6.  Strong does not mean invincible.  A realistic lead will have weaknesses and moments of insecurity and fear.  How she overcomes these barriers helps develop her true strength and character.
        7.  Read novels with strong female characters.   What makes them real?  How do different authors develop their strong female leads into characters that the reader is invested in?  How can you get your readers invested in the success of your own character?

International Literacy Day

Today, September 8th, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be once again working to increase literacy awareness by hosting the 53rd Annual International Literacy Day.

This year’s focus is on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism’ by recognizing and addressing how multilingualism impacts literacy.  This year’s event will be held in Paris, but don’t worry, there are ways to participate no matter where you are.

Some ideas for promoting literacy:

      1.  Volunteer with a community agency that helps promote literacy.
      2. Say thank you to a teacher in your life.
      3. Read a book to a child.
      4. Visit your local library.
      5. Donate a few dollars to a local literacy group.

Read A Book Day

This Friday, what will you be doing?  Grab a book and take some time to participate in “National Read a Book Day.”

We all love books, but making time to read can often be a challenge.  To help celebrate “National Read a Book Day,” share your favorite book with your friends and family.

Here are a few ways to join in the fun:

    • Host a Book Sharing event where everyone highlights one of their favorite novels
    • Post on social media using #ReadABookDay
    • Swap a book with another book lover
    • Visit your local book store
    • Host a bookmark making party

Happy #ReadABookDay!