Tag Archives: Patricia Santos Marcantonio

The Perrine Bridge Festival was Awesome

We had so much fun today at the Perrine Bridge Festival. It was a little windy, but, then, this is Idaho. Thanks,  everyone, for stopping by and saying hello!

 

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Knievel jump anniversary event features book, Skycyle discussions

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A discussion about Evel Knievel’s Skycycle and a new children’s book about Knievel’s 1974 jump across the Snake River Canyon will take place Sunday, Sept. 7 at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 239 Pole Line Road E. in Twin Falls.
The 1 to 4 p.m. event is in conjunction with River St. Press’ release, “Billie Neville Takes a Leap” by award-winning authors Bonnie Dodge and Patricia Santos Marcantonio. The story is about a ten-year old girl who dreams of being a daredevil amid the excitement over Knievel’s jump near Twin Falls.
At 1 p.m. Jay Michaels, the liaison with the Return to Snake River project, will talk about Bob Truax, who designed and built the X-2 Skycycle used by Knievel during the Sept. 8, 1974 jump. He will discuss why the 1974 Knievel launch didn’t work as planned, and the differences between the original X-2 Skycycle and the updated design that Truax’s son Scott hopes to launch over the canyon this fall with his team, fellow engineer Craig Adams and Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun.
Dodge and Marcantonio will also discuss the writing of the book. In addition, the winner of River St. Press’ “What is a Hero” essay contest will be announced. The contest was open to students entering the sixth grade.
Copies of “Billie Neville Takes a Leap” also will be available for purchase and signing.

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Deadline approaching for essay contest

Magic Valley kids entering the 6th grade this fall listen up. Aug. 15 is the deadline for our “What is a Hero?” essay contest. The winner will receive $50!

There is no entry fee. The contest is sponsored by River St. Press in conjunction with the release of its new children’s book, “Billie Neville Takes a Leap” by Bonnie Dodge and Patricia Santos Marcantonio. The book, which will be released in May, is about friendship and heroes.

Ten-year-old Billie wants to be a daredevil, just like her hero Evel Knievel. She also wants a best friend. Riding “the best bike in the whole world,” Billie’s desperate to enter a bike jumping contest with three boys named The Meanies and show them her cool skills. In the meantime, she also enters an essay contest in hopes of meeting Knievel. When the famous daredevil comes to Twin Falls to jump the Snake River Canyon, Billie learns she has to be a friend to make friends and that not all heroes have to soar over canyons.

The River St. Press contest is open to any student who will be in the sixth grade by September 2014. Essays must be typed or printed, and no longer than 400 words. They must include the entrant’s name and telephone number, and the name of the school the writer attends. The entry deadline is Aug. 15. Entrants can email their essays to riverstpress@outlook.com or mail them to River St. Press, P.O. Box 5073, Twin Falls, ID 83303.

The winner will be announced at a book party in Twin Falls. The winning essay will be printed on the River St. Press website, riverstpress.com.

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Billie Neville Takes a Leap Available Now

We had so much fun putting this book together. Take a tomboy with no friends with a dream to be a daredevil and you have little Billie Neville. Add a skycycle and the Snake River Canyon and there’s bound to be lots of action.

Hurry and get your copy now!

 

 

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Be Frankenstein. Grow your characters

When starting a new story and working on characters to populate it, I sometimes think of Frankenstein.
Yes, Frankenstein.
That’s because as a writer I have to grow and develop my characters. Not sew them together out of a bunch of dead bodies, but develop creations with thoughts, dreams, fears, weaknesses and strengths. Quirks and qualities. How will they react to conflict, love, loneliness or whatever situation in which I place them.
I start with a character profile where I can list almost everything from their favorite music to their background to what they want and need. Not all details will end up in the story, but I will know where the characters came from, where they are going and how they changed getting there. You’ll find many good templates for character profiles online.
Writing 101 tells us that characters should have an external goal and internal one. Take Clarissa Starling from “Silence of the Lambs.” Her outside conflict is finding Buffalo Bill. Her internal one is stopping the nightmares and the screaming of the lambs from an earlier trauma. Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick” must kill the white whale, but also face his own demons.
I minored in psychology in college, so motivation of my character is very important to me. The protagonist in my novel, “The Weeping Woman” is a detective who is promiscuous not because she is a nymphomaniac. It is because sex is the only way she can maintain control after growing up in an environment where she had no control. Not all characters may have motivations and just be monsters, but they will probably be the villain and catalyst for the story, not the main character.
Like Dr. Victor Frankenstein, writers need a spark to bring their creations alive. Victor used electricity and chemicals. You will use motivations, dialogue, backstory, conflict and more to start your character breathing. If you succeed, then you also can shout, “It’s alive! It’s alive.”

Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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New kid’s book, ‘Billie Neville Takes a Leap’ has arrived

Check out our new children’s book, “Billie Neville Takes a Leap.”

Ten-year-old Billie Neville wants to be a daredevil, just like her hero Evel Knievel. She also wants a best friend. Riding “the best bike in the whole world” Billie’s desperate to enter a bike jumping contest with three boys named The Meanies and show them her cool bike skills. When Evel comes to town to jump the Snake River Canyon, Billie learns she has to be a friend to make friends and that not all heroes have to soar over canyons.

http://www.amazon.com/Billie-Neville-Takes-Bonnie-Dodge/dp/0692208844/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1400099491&sr=1-1&keywords=Billie+Neville+Takes+a+Leap

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Coming soon a new kid’s book: ‘Billie Neville Takes a Leap’

A new kids book coming soon.

A new kid’s book coming soon.

Ten-year-old Billie wants to be a daredevil, just like her hero Evel Knievel. She also wants a best friend. Riding “the best bike in the whole world,” Billie’s desperate to enter a bike jumping contest with three boys named The Meanies and show them her cool skills. When Evel comes to town to jump the Snake River Canyon, Billie learns she has to be a friend to make friends and that not all heroes have to soar over canyons.

By Bonnie Dodge and Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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Want to be a better writer? Read good books, watch good movies, TV and plays

You hear the advice a lot at writing conferences and in writing books. Read. Read. Read. As a lover of movies and writer of screenplays, to that advice I will add watch good movies, TV and plays.
Why? Because you learn so damn much about everything. Pacing. Voice. Conflict. Dialogue. Description. Character. In other words, what makes a good story. What makes good writing.
When I started writing a psychological thriller, I read Thomas Harris’ “Red Dragon” about four times. I saw how effective it was to tell both the stories of the antagonist and protagonist. For example, in the case of the killer Francis Dolarhyde we learned how he became a monster and at first feel for the abuse that turned him into one. It also ramped up the conflict when the hero and villain meet. In my book, “The Weeping Woman” (Sunbury Press) I also presented the story through the eyes of villain and the detective hunting her down to show their contrast and similarities.
For a great script taut as a drum, I read Brian Helgeland’s script, “L.A. Confidential” many times.
The power of voice I found in “Funeral for Horses” and “Fight Club.”
How profound point of view can be in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Most any Quentin Tarantino script shows off unique and fantastic dialogue.
In “Breaking Bad” and “The Sopranos” I discovered what makes a great character, namely Walter White and Tony Soprano.
For great writing pure and simple, any Tennessee Williams play.
Grace of language, damn great characters and heart wrenching plot was all found in William Styron’s “Sophie’s Choice.”
You get the picture.
As writers, we don’t want to imitate those other writers, but we should analyze what makes them so good. And hopefully, somewhere find our own voices.
As a bonus, we also get to read great books and watch great movies, TV and plays, which is okay with me.

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What We’re Doing When We’re Supposed to be Writing

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by | January 23, 2014 · 9:34 pm

Taking those extra steps will make you crazy, but they’re worth it.

I have neared the mouth of madness. I have sat on the tongue of crazy.

And it’s all because I’m working on getting it right. Taking those extra steps to make sure my writing is the best it can be to quote the Army slogan.

This work entails printing out the manuscript, not once, but twice, sometimes three times because reading the print version helps me catch stuff I can’t always see staring into a computer.  This also helps me find when I have used a phrase or word over and over.

This means going through and getting rid of adverbs, and declaring war on passive and vague words like there, was, am, it, must, could, and try, among others.

Reading the story for content problems, such as closing gaping holes in plot and that your characters stay in character. Making sure the theme is consistent and your symbolism isn’t overt. Ramping up the conflict in each scene, be it emotional or action. Searching for clichés.  Being on the lookout for the times I have changed the name of my characters in midstream (Come on, haven’t you done that?)

Let your critique partners have a go at your work to suggest improvements and what you did right.

One other thing I do is beat back the impetuous urge to send out my first and second draft because I think the work is done.  It isn’t. Maybe geniuses will have the perfect novel after two passes. I can’t.

Despite the craziness of rewrites, the more you work on your piece the better it becomes.  That makes the madness worth it.

Patricia Santos Marcantonio

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