Thursday, January 15, 2009

Public Speaking Anyone?

What I'm reading: The Alibi, by Sandra Brown.

First -- sorry this is late. For the better part of the last two days, I've been trying to figure out how to encode this template so that it will display only the first part of a post, and then the reader can click to read more. I've gone to help forums, inserted codes, tested posts, deleted codes, talked to my daughter in Ireland -- to no avail. I can get the "More" link, but either the entire post still shows up, or else the link take you back to the main page. Most frustrating. I'd hoped to have it functioning because tomorrow, I'm going to be posting the next installment of "Homicide - Hussey" and it's lengthy. Ah well. Anyone know a good geek? The frustrating part is that my daughter tested it on her blog, and it works -- almost. You have to click "more" twice, but we inserted the code exactly the same in my template and it doesn't work there. One more example of how I have this ongoing issue with technology, I guess.

Update! I got it working. Took two days and lots of help (which is pathetic, considering all I had to do was copy and paste code).
Keep Reading...

I finished the next draft of my synopsis, but it's still too dry for my taste. I'll let it marinate for a while and see if I can kick it up a notch before sending it to my agent. My next project: A non-speech.

I'm going to be the featured speaker at a fund raising event for the Ridge Area Arc on January 24th. Sometime last year, my MWA chapter sent a notice that they were looking for an author for their annual event, and I said I'd be willing. When I got the invitation, I was surprised that it was a solo gig, not part of a panel.

It's a "tea", being held in Sebring, a couple of hours away from here. According to the organizer, the expect about 125 people, mainly middle-aged to senior women. My assumption is that these are people who support the cause. Previous speakers were much more well-known than I am, so I'm laying odds the draw wasn't me.

I confess I'd never heard of the Ridge Area Arc, so I did a little Googling. This is what their website says.

Ridge Area Arc in Avon Park, Florida is a private, not for profit 501(c)3 organization, which was founded in 1957 by Franklyn and Mary Ellen Ward. At the time their son, Rob, was born there were very few places to work with disabled children. Many families sent their child away to a distant institution. The Wards did not want to send their son away and sought a way to provide the needed educational resources and training. They also realized other families in the area needed these services. Thus, the Ridge Area Arc Day School began in 1957, and served 17 children ages seven and older from Highlands, Hardee and DeSoto counties.

In 50 years since the day school opened, Arc now provides 12 services to approximately 150 individuals with developmental and other disabilities from Highlands, Hardee and southern Polk counties.

But I'll be speaking to supporters of the program, not to the residents. The folks I've usually had in the audience for my talks have always been interesting in writing, but I'm thinking this group won't be interested in me explaining how I had to learn about voice, pacing, POV, and dialogue mechanics. If anything, they'll be readers. I'm puzzling about what to talk about. My 'How I Got Into Writing By Mistake" spiel ought to work as an opener, and given the age demographic, touching on how it's never too late to start learning something new is another tack to consider.

I know when a speaker walks up to a podium carrying a folder, I try to judge how long they'll go on by how thick the stack of papers looks when they take out their speech. I start watching them turn pages, or move sheets from one pile to another instead of listening. I'm no good whatsoever at writing formal speeches, but I suppose I ought to at least have some notes with bullet points. They told me to speak for 20 minutes and leave time for a short Q&A. Frankly, I'd rather have a short talk and a 20 minute Q&A session.

Maybe after I tell them my "writer by mistake" story, I'll read my 'job interviews' with Ryan and Frankie for When Danger Calls. That would look like I have a prepared speech, right? Between now and then, I guess I should time things so I don't drag on to the eyes glazing over stage.

Come back tomorrow and follow more of the adventures of "Homicide--Hussey".


Liane Gentry Skye said...

ARC is a fabulous organization, and honestly the only one in this state I've found to be passionate advocates for developmentally disabled Floridians. Congratulations on the speaking event!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Liane. I'm honored to have been selected as their featured guest. I hope I don't let anyone down! And I'll be donating a portion of the proceeds of any books I sell at the event to the organization.