Tag Archives: writing

Vital Speeches of the Day Announces 2018 Cicero Speechwriting Award Winners

Chicago, IL, 2018-Apr-19 — /EPR MEDIA NEWS/ — The editors of Vital Speeches of The Day today announced this year’s winners of the Cicero Speechwriting Awards.

Now in its 11th year, the program is presented by the magazine in conjunction with the Professional Speechwriters Association, and is open to speechwriters worldwide from any area of the public and private sectors. A panel of speechwriting experts judge entries based on several criteria, including substance, style, and coherence.

The awards go to writers in many categories, including technology, education, healthcare, and public policy, along with one Grand Award winner—the best of the best.

Vital Speeches Editor and Cicero Awards Program Chair David Murray noticed a trend in this year’s submissions: an increase in the use of storytelling.

“Storytelling is a compelling, memorable way to move an audience, said Murray. “In fact, most of this year’s Cicero winners used story to powerful effect—whether as a personal anecdote to connect a speaker to the audience, or, this year’s Grand Award winner, as the structure of the entire speech.”

The Grand award winner, “The Power of Story,” was written by Matthew Kivel and delivered by University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves. The speech tells the story of the speaker’s father, who survived the Holocaust through both an incredible combination of luck and courage, and lived a life that turned out to be thoroughly worth saving.

“Riveting from start to finish,” said one of the judges of Kivel’s speech. “Raw, powerful, and personal,” said another. “I can’t shake from my mind the images in this speech.”

Storytelling in speeches isn’t new, but it has a new emphasis in speeches now. In a culture awash in electronic communication, people hunger for genuine human connection. “In-person speeches provide an opportunity for speakers to show a live audience their humanity,” said Murray. “Usually, the most compelling and memorable way to do that is by telling a story.”

But always in service of a message. “This isn’t merely a story for the sake of a story,” says University of Texas at Austin’s speechwriter Kivel, who worked with Fenves on the Grand Award-winning speech. “It is a refutation of hatred, an outcry against bigotry, that is meant to resonate during a very troubling time in the history of the United States.”

Such persuasive storytelling pervades the more than two dozen speeches in various categories honored by the 2018 Cicero Speechwriting Awards—all available for free download in a collection of winners called These Vital Speeches.

Learn more about the Cicero Speechwriting Awards.


Benjamine Knight

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“Questionable Minds,” a New Book: Conversations with Writers about Writing

OTTAWA, Ontario CANADA, 2017-Feb-15 — /EPR Network/ — The mind of a writer is a mysterious place. In Questionable Minds: conversations with writers, social psychologist dr george pollard gives a guided tour of the creative mental landscape of writers. In this unique collection of conversations, dr pollard explores the making of a fictional story or a stand-up comedy routine.

If you’re curious how your favourite novel or stand-up comedy routine comes into being, Questionable Minds helps you find out. This new book helps answer many questions. Where do the ideas come from? How do authors develop their characters? What is the secret of writing a successful stand-up comedy routine?

In this eclectic view of the workings of the imagination; dr pollard has assembled a remarkable panel of writers, covering a wide of range of literature. The conversations, in this collection, are with writers of thrillers, satire and westerns, as well as stand-up comedy.

Alessandra Torre tells gripping tales she claims are erotica. Peter Mehlman, a pillar of Seinfeld, has an idiosyncratically ironic eye and smooth, easy writing style. Chris Allen trades in thrillers that may contain more than a hint of truth.

Bruce Holbert is the thriftiest of writers, building finely honed sentences. Victoria Patterson artfully skewers the upper class, of Orange County, California. Steve Berry creates intricate mysteries against a backdrop of notional history. J Scott Fuqua tells tales with words and illustrations that resurrect a bygone era.

Ann Lewis Hamilton writes serious stories in a shrewdly droll style. Gabe Abelson is the A-list writer of late-night television talk show monologues. Jay Bonansinga writes The Walking Dead novels.

What inspires these writers? How do they develop stories or comedy? Why must they write?

To a one, they agree writing is sweating blood that shows up as squiggles on a page or pixels on an e-reader. Writing fiction or stand-up comedy is not for the easily distracted, the indolent or faint of heart. Writers must be eager to chase their characters and stories down the rabbit hole.

Questionable Minds is notable because of the depth and clarity of the insights found in the conversations. The book exhibits a unique intimacy; there’s no sense of canned answers to a list of prepared questions. Instead these conversations move effortlessly, following lines of curiosity and interest, while drawing out a wealth of detail.

Every writer dr pollard talks with has a different story to tell. Each has his or her own sources of inspiration. Their routines are personal; sometimes fitting writing around the rest of their lives or, for a few, squeezing in time for family, if they can drag themselves away from writing.

It is notable how willingly, candid and freely the writers talk. They discuss in detail the motivations that drive them to write. For some it’s enthusiasm; others want to explore their own lives and, perhaps, reframe them in a different context; still others want to discover what happens to their characters, as the story unfolds and still others simply enjoy the act of writing. Questionable Minds is an inside view of some highly distinctive minds, which are absorbing places to explore.

Although dr pollard explores similar themes with each writer, the conversations never become repetitive. Each writer is too distinctive a personality; each brings something fresh to the conversations and our understanding of why writers write. If you wonder how writers do what they do, this book will show you that it’s much more complicated and enthralling than you may imagine; it will improve your reading experience, too.

Questionable Minds is available through Amazon, in paperback and eBook editions at https://www.amazon.com/Questionable-Minds-Conversations-george-pollard. Review copies, in MOBI format, are available from the author at drgeorgep@questionableminds.com. For more information on Questionable Minds, visit the web site http://questionableminds.com or e-mail, as you wish, perhaps to arrange an interview with dr pollard.

About the Author
dr george pollard is a sociometrician and social psychologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His teaching and research interests include the process, practise and effects of writing as an act of fulfilling the pop culture and entertainment need of society as well as media and truth.

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BookProposalWriting.com Teaches Authors How to Write a Successful Book Proposal

Successfully published book authors have donated their time and knowledge to launch BookProposalWriting.com, a new website to help aspiring authors sell their non-fiction book ideas to book publishers for a six-figure advance.

The book publishing industry holds a closely-guarded secret to getting published by a major book publisher — the secret is writing a persuasive book proposal. Writing a successful book proposal allows book authors to earn a five or six-figure advance before they even start writing their manuscripts.

According to Brian Scott, the site’s creator and publishing director of Payday Publishing, “Many aspiring authors have never heard about a book proposal or how to use one to land a book publishing contract. Instead, these aspiring authors spend several months writing their books, and then grow old shopping their entire manuscripts around to busy book publishers and literary agents. It’s no wonder why many aspiring authors become frustrated and give up. This way does not work today.”

To educate aspiring authors about using a book proposal, BookProposalWriting.com offers a free online “Book Proposal Writing Workshop,” which teaches writers and book authors how to write a book proposal in seven days or less. The Workshop covers important topics such as: “Why write a book proposal first?,” “How to generate ideas to write your book proposal,” “How to write your book’s blurb for your book proposal,” and “How to write your book proposal query letter.” At the end of the Workshop, aspiring book authors can download a free sample book proposal and use it as a working template for their own work-in-progress proposals.

Besides offering a free book proposal workshop, BookProposalWriting.com offers many free how-to articles and audio articles on writing, designing and selling a book, as well as many instructional videos showing step-by-step how to write different components of a book proposal.

BookProposalWriting.com also offers several free downloadable products covering book writing, book marketing, and self-publishing. A few of the website’s products include: “Hot Topics in Book Writing,” “How to Get a Literary Agent,” “Sit Down and Write that Bestselling Novel,” and “Copyright Protection for Book Authors.”

BookProposalWriting.com is not just for authors who want to publish their books the traditional way, but also for self-publishers and independent e-book authors. “Even if you decide to self-publish or write a book as an e-book or a mobile digital book, you should know how to write a book proposal,” said Scott. “If your self-published book becomes a big success, you may want to pitch your book (or book ideas) to a major book publisher or film agent to reap in the financial rewards.”

BookProposalWriting.com is part of a network of writing-related websites — all run and maintained by working freelancers — which include Freelance Writing, Book Writing, and Write Better.

Visit http://www.BookProposalWriting.com and let professionals teach you how to write a book proposal and sell your book ideas for a six-figure advance.

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First Ever Tool Bar for Writers

Canadian writer and web site manager Rowdy Rhodes of the Freelance Writing Organization – Int’l (FWO) (www.fwointl.com) has astounded the writing resource world by creating the first ever tool bar specifically for writers. Completely compatible with both IE7 and FF browsers, Instant Writing Resources (IWR) provides full access to the thousands of writing resources hosted by the FWO all with a single click of a button. The software is being released as freeware for any and all that might be interested in or currently making a living at writing.

Mr. Rhodes seized upon the opportunity when he came across an online community service system, Conduit, which provides the core engine for the tool bar and the ability to custom design a bar for the FWO. This is turn became the launch pad for IWR as it blasts off into cyberspace.

Brian Wilson, owner of the FWO, comments: “We live in an age when individuals are strapped for time due to work and family commitments, and this can often stifle creativity. Mr. Rhodes is a great example of adapting to this environment and providing a tool that will assist writers, journalists, authors, playwrights, and wordsmiths in general. He has not only been creative with accessing our system resources through the use of the IWR, he has also provided entertainment value by adding in online chat rooms, games, a radio station for writers, and a number of other fabulous options. I’m really very pleased to have Mr. Rhodes on our team, extremely impressed with the Instant Writing Resource Tool Bar and proud to be able to participate in its success.”

By thinking like a writer and combining his online experience, Mr. Rhodes divided the tool bar into the four most important areas that writers need instant access to:

1) How-to write resources (which the FWO has specialized in providing since 1999),

2) An employment search system linking a variety of providers together,

3) A library of Amazon books about learning how to write,

4) A socializing, entertainment area and even Writers Radio.

The tool bar took him 7 weeks to create.

Mr. Rhodes says: “Finding reliable writing resources is a difficult task these days. Everyone and his brother are touting they are writers or want to become writers. The jump in the need for how-to-write resources provides an opportunity for us to give back to the community something (the Instant Writing Resource Tool Bar) that is invaluable.”

The IWR is freeware without malware, spyware, or adware. It is simply what it claims to be; it’s a fast, reliable access tool to thousands of high quality writing resources. The tool bar can be found by going to their download page:


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“The Writer Within You,” Will Help Grandma Or Grandpa Fulfill That Long-Cherished Dream Of Writing Their Own Book

An admittedly unscientific survey of 100 shoppers at each of two major shopping malls (Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ and International Mall in Tampa, FL) found that shoppers chose grandma and grandpa as the most difficult family members to choose a gift for.

Most indicated that these older folks had filled all of their physical needs over the course of their lifetimes and required little or no more as they grew older. For some respondents, a spinster aunt or an older bachelor uncle or brother posed an equally difficult gift choice.

Among the most popular gifts selected were an interesting book or a very personal memento like a photograph of grandkids or an evening out for dinner with members of the immediate family. The choice of a book was not surprising since several national polls have indicated that books are among the top five preferred gifts this year.

Combining that statistic with the finding by the Gallup Polling Organization that 81% of mature American adults actually dream of writing a book, The Writer Within You becomes a perfect gift for grandparents.

The book is subtitled A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing and Publishing in Your Retirement Years. This latest work by author Charles Jacobs has been selected as one of the Best Books of the Year by seven prestigious publishing groups, including ForeWord Magazine, USABookNews and Indie Awards. It is published by Caros Books of Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

Readers are shown how to write and move their thoughts into print, whether in a memoir for the family or a how-to book based on the knowledge they gained during their active work careers or the skills they attained as hobbyists. The book also covers the basics of writing and publishing a novel and several other genres. It has been hailed in numerous five-star reviews for both its clear instruction and the lengthy list of resources provided in the appendix to help novice writers.

The Writer Within You is available at all bookstores, including Amazon, B&N and Borders.com or on the web at www.retireandwrite.com.

More information and photos of the book cover and the author are available for the press on the Press Room page of Jacobs’ web site www.retirement-writing.com.

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