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Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 7,951 - 7,975 of 221,517
7951. TURNING PAGES: THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD OF PRICKWILLOW PLACE, by Julie Berrey

My poppets, gather round, do! There's a simply scandalous novel you must sit down and read, right away! It's a school story - boarding school. It's set in the Victorian era. There are stern spinsters, callow boys, naughty dogs, and ...dead bodies... Read the rest of this post

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7952. Book Review: ‘Bible Bands: Rubber Band Jewelry’ by Katreina Eden


bible bandsBible Bands is a fun, educational how-to book for children who love making jewelry. Not only does it teaches how to make lovely designs, but it also strengthens children’s faith by combining hands-on creativity with Bible verses and stories.
Rubber band jewelry seems to be the hottest new craze, so Eden’s book comes at the right time. Though at first glance, when you look at the jewelry, it might seem complicated and difficult to make, especially for kids, the author demystifies it with simple step-by-step instructions accompanied by colorful photos. I found the language and descriptions clear and straight-forward, easy for most kids to understand, though the younger ones will need guidance from an adult, at least at first. There are over 12 designs, from the simplest to the most elaborate.
Eden incorporates faith with verses and symbols, such as a blue and white pattern to symbolize Christ’s baptism, a heart design to remind you of God’s love, and a multi-colored weave to match Joseph’s coat of many colors, among others.
Bible Bands doesn’t come with the looms or bands, but you can find these at most craft shops. This will make a lovely gift for any child, especially those who are into crafts. It is also a good book for those long summer and Christmas holidays, as it will keep children entertained for hours. Recommended!
Find out more on Amazon.
My review was previously published in Blogcritics.

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7953. Lassie to the Rescue.

September is National Preparedness Month.  Heroic dog LASSIE  is teaming up with Save The Children to spread the word about the importance of having EMERGENCY KITS  for children.  These kits should include a recent photo, medical information, and more to prepare children for disasters such as storms, earthquakes, etc. To find out what should go in each kit and to see how LASSIE saves the day at Parade Magazine, visit: http://www.parade.com/lassie.                lassie

Visit the Save the Children website for more information: http://www.savethechildren.org/GetReady


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7954. Wonderful Weirdos of Literature 2014 – Installment #18

If you've been following along with our Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, we're glad you're back for more. And if you're visiting for the first time, well, we're glad you're here.




If you need a refresher on what this series is all about, clicking on that link up there at the beginning of the post will catch you up quite nicely. Then come on back here to keep the weirdness rolling.

So far in the Picture Book and Poetry Palooza that is this year's sub-theme within the Overall Weirdo Theme, we've frolicked through the following weekly Variations on the Overall Weirdo Themes:


And today, we bring you Installment #18:

Supernatural

Specifically, monsters. Not the dark, blood-curdling, super-scary kind. (We don't do a lot of dark here on Bugs and Bunnies.) Just the quirky ones:



The Monster Trap
Story and pictures by Dean Morrissey
Written by Dean Morrissey and Stephen Krensky
Ages 5 - 10

Paddy has come to stay with his grandfather for a few days. It's his first time there on his own, and Pop's place seems darker than Paddy remembers. That night, they listen to Monster Radio Theater, and when bedtime comes, Paddy is sure he hears the monster from the radio stories. Pop's solution? A monster trap, complete with "sure-fire, high-grade monster bait."

The next morning, the small trap is empty. Pop thinks that means there aren't any monsters. But Paddy thinks they were just too smart for the trap. So Pop and Paddy get to work building a bigger, smarter trap.

And if it works? Well, that could be a whole new problem.




I Need My Monster
Written by Amanda Noll
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Ages 5 - 8

When Ethan heads to bed one night, instead of his usual monster under the bed, he finds a note: "Gone fishing. Back in a week. – Gabe" 

Ethan can't sleep without his monster under his bed. And he can't go without sleep for a whole week. So he does the only thing he can think of – interview for a replacement.

But can any of the other monsters measure up to Gabe?

* An added treat: We found this video from SAG Foundation's StoryLineOnline.net, with actress Rita Moreno reading I Need My Monster, including animated illustrations from the book presented as she reads. A bit over 11 minutes, total, and very, very fun!



Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo
Written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer
Ages 3 - 8

Professor Wormbog's beastie collection is incomplete. Though he has found a beastie for nearly every letter of the alphabet, from the Askinforit to the Yalapappas, there is one last beastie that still eludes him: the one for Z, the Zipperump-a-Zoo.

So the professor sets off, determined to catch one and complete his collection. He digs a pit. He fishes the sea. He tries to lure it out of the air. He climbs a craggy peak. He drops into caves. Each time, he finds something. But each time, it is not the Zipperump-a-Zoo. Finally, the disappointed professor gives up and heads home, empty-handed.

But sometimes? The very thing a person searches for the hardest tends to turn up in the most unexpected of places...




The Mysterious Tadpole
Written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Ages 5 - 8

Every year, Uncle McAllister – who lives in Scotland – sends Louis a birthday present for his nature collection. And when this year's gift arrives, Louis proclaims it "the best one yet," and takes it to school the next day. His teacher proclaims it a tadpole, and Louis names it Alphonse.

By summer, Alphonse still looks nothing like a frog, and has outgrown his jar, the kitchen sink, the bathtub, and even the apartment. Louis decides what Alphonse really needs is a swimming pool – which they don't have, and can't afford to build. Though nobody wants to, it looks like the only option is to take Alphonse to the zoo. But that night, Louis remembers the middle school pool, which sits unused all summer. He happily sneaks Alphonse in, and it works...until the swim team shows up for its first practice, and the coach says Alphonse has to be gone by the next day.

Louis is out of options and in despair when he runs into his friend, Miss Seevers, the librarian, on his way home. He tells her his problem, and then takes her to meet Alphonse. And then, Miss Seevers comes up with a plan to help. A plan so far-fetched, it just might work.

* * *

See? Not scary at all. Be sure to come back next Friday, September 26th, for Installment #19 of the Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, when animals and people show there's more to them than meets the eye.

Until then, we'll leave you with this:


"The possibilities that are suggested in quantum physics tell us that everything that we're looking at may not be in fact there, so the underlying nature of being is weird."

                                    – William Shatner


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7955. Book Blogger Hop - 9/19 - 9/25

 Question of the Week:

How important is a book's cover to your overall impression of it?


My Answer:

Oh my goodness...a cover to me is as important as the book's characters and storyline.

Covers pull me in.  I am a cover nut.  :) 

What about you? Would a cover make or break your decision to read a book? 








 


Read the complete post...

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7956. Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

2014 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature from the National Book Foundation:

See also Gail Giles on Writing Across Mental Abilities.

More News

Asking an Editor: Hooking a Reader Early by Stacy Whitman from Lee & Low. Peek: "How do you get your writing to have that “zing” that captivates from the very beginning?" See also Stacy on Nailing the Story.

Intersectionality and Disability by Corrine Duyvis from Disability in Kid Lit. Peek: "Why is it that diversity in young adult, middle grade, and children’s literature is often represented as an either/or, without intersectionality? Characters can either be autistic or gay, for example, or a wheelchair user or Black, but rarely both."

No Name by Tim Tingle (Seventh Generation, 2014): a recommendation by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek: "Choose your framework for sharing it: It is a basketball story; it is a realistic story of alcoholism; it is a story about the Choctaw people."

When It Comes to Creativity, Are Two Heads Better Than One? from NPR Books. Peek: "'We think of Martin Luther King and Sigmund Freud and Warren Buffett and Steve Jobs as these great solo creators, but in fact, if you look into the details of their life, they are enmeshed in relationships all the way through.'"

Not Enough Willpower to Meet Your Goals? Make Mini-Habits. By Kristi Holl from Writer's First Aid. Peek: "For me, feeling overwhelmed and getting started has always been the hardest part. Having mini goals in order to create habits is so easy."

Writers--Be Careful How You Sit from Elizabeth Spann Craig. Peek: "We thought we had the kinds of jobs where injuries might be limited to paper cuts or possibly dropping a laptop on our foot."

What Nobody Tells You About Publishing Deadlines by Cavan Scott from An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Peek: "...deadlines can shift when you least expect it, which can have a house of cards effect."

Blasting the Canon: Teach Stories that Speak to Young Readers by Randy Ribay from The Horn Book. Peek: "Great books are published every year, whether or not they end up on some school’s curriculum or a bestseller list."

Four Tools for the Writing Parent by Joanna Roddy from Project Mayhem. Peek: "Here are four tools that have helped to ground me and other writers I know in the midst of a life that sometimes feels like it's been reduced to tantrums, skipped naps, and bleary-eyed late night feedings."

Giving Up The Giver to Hollywood: A Q&A Interview with Lois Lowry by Jessica Gross from The New York Times. Peek: "...in the book she’s 12, and in the movie she’s 16. I advised them that some of the costumes were too sexy. And so the hem was dropped a little bit."

Middle Grade & YA: Where to Draw the Line? by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "We ask booksellers across the country to weigh in."

Five Important Ways to Use Symbolism in Your Stories by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "How do we come up with the right symbols in the first place? What should they be symbolic of? And how do we incorporate them into our stories without making them so obvious we lose all their symbolic value?"

Marketing Tips for Authors and Agents by Elisabeth Weed from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "I’ve come to peace with the fact that there are many facets of the business which I can not control but that there’s power and autonomy in focusing on the things that we can."

On Giving Feedback by Peter Biello from Burlington Writer's Workshop. Peek: "I want to focus our attention today on one of the thorniest circumstances, and of course the one with which I have a great deal of experience, and that’s the process of giving feedback to a writer who is working on an early or late draft of an unpublished piece."

Evil, Insane, Envious and Ethical: The Four Types of Villain by K.M. Weiland from Fiction Notes. Peek: "They’re not simple black-and-white caricatures trying to lure puppies to the dark side by promising cookies. They’re real people. They might be our neighbors. Gasp! They might even be us!"

How to Hook a Literary Agent: 16 Agents Share What Gets Them Reading by Jan Lewis from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: "Want to get a literary agent? Tired of getting rejected?"

Soho Teen, June 2015
Diversity 101: Gay in YA by Adam Silvera from CBC Diversity. Peek: "...if you’re not gay but want to write characters who are, don’t simply turn to current gay culture to craft your character. Common mistakes include gay guys being automatically interested in fashion and Lady Gaga, and lesbian girls competing in sports or fighting all the time."

How to Publicize Your Children's Book by Paula Yoo from Lee & Low. Peek: "To my shock, this “out of the box” creative publicity idea not only worked… but it went viral."

Rejection Stamina: How Much Can You Take? by Kristi Holl from Writer's First Aid. Peek: "She (Meg Cabot) points to her own experience with rejection, and I challenge you to read this without fainting..."

The Surprising Importance of Doing Nothing by Robin LaFevers from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "...in a world where output, production, and speed are the gold standard, it’s important to remind ourselves that fast doesn’t always mean better. For some people, speed gets in the way of producing their richest, deepest, most creative work."

Picture Book Month Promotion Kit -- get ready for November!

Courage and Confidence by Kristi Holl from Writer's First Aid. Peek: "Sometimes I think we spend too much time analyzing our fears as a way to bolster our courage. Maybe–just maybe–the problem would take care of itself if we planted our seats in our seats and worked harder."

Tales of Reconciliation Rooted in Judaism by Janni Lee Simner from Arizona Jewish Post.

(Scholastic, 2014)
Join author Sharon G. Flake in Telling the World #IAMUNSTOPPABLE from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: "On Sept. 30, my new novel, Unstoppable Octobia May, will hit bookstores nationwide. On that day I would love you and/or the young people you influence to join me in shouting out to the world that they too are unstoppable by holding up the following sign, words, image: I AM UNSTOPPABLE #UNSTOPPABLEOCTOBIAMAY.

Why Does the Opening of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars Work? by Deborah Halverson from Dear Editor. Peek: "It’s the right time to enter her life even though the action isn’t bold. John Green then startles readers with first lines that defy expectations..."

Transparency is Paramount: Consider the Source by Tanya Lee Stone from School Library Journal. Peek: "...the problem arises when I feel duped or manipulated into thinking I am reading nonfiction and discovering I am not—or worse, not being able to determine whether anything was made up, save writing to the author."

A Conversation with Norwegian Author-Illustrator Stien Hole by Julie Danielson from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: "I am a collector of bits and pieces that I move around and try to put together. That is what I do for a living. Like in a theater, I have a huge prop stock." Note: click the link if only to be mesmerized by Hole's art work--gorgeous and fascinating.

Cynsational Screening Room




This Week at Cynsations


More Personally

Lunch with Sarah Enni of YA Highway and First Draft at Tacos & Tequila.
My most heartfelt and enthusiastic congratulations to my former Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers advanced novel workshop student Yamile Saied Mendez on her admission to the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program!

Congratulations to Greg Leitich Smith and my many other friends who were selected as 2014 Featured Authors at the Texas Book Festival! Kudos also to Greg on his characters from Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook, 2014) making the 2013-2014 Yearbook Superlatives from The Horn Book. Guys Lit Wire says of the novel, "This is a cool book about friendship, about overcoming obstacles and about being open to different possibilities. The laid back first person viewpoint makes it accessible to a wide variety of readers."

Check out the cover for Things I'll Never Say: Stories of Our Secret Selves, edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick/Brilliance, 2015), which will include my short story, "Cupid's Beaux," which is set in the Tantalize-Feral universe and told from the point of view of the guardian angel Joshua.

From the promotional copy:

Fifteen top young-adult authors let us in on provocative secrets in a fascinating collection that will have readers talking.

A baby no one knows about. A dangerous hidden identity. Off-limits hookups. A parent whose problems your friends won’t understand. Everyone keeps secrets—from themselves, from their families, from their friends—and secrets have a habit of shaping the lives around them. 

Acclaimed author Ann Angel brings together some of today’s most gifted YA authors to explore, in a variety of genres, the nature of secrets: Do they make you stronger or weaker? Do they alter your world when revealed? Do they divide your life into what you'll tell and what you won't? The one thing these diverse stories share is a glimpse into the secret self we all keep hidden.

With stories by Ann Angel; Kerry Cohen; Louise Hawes; Varian Johnson; erica l. kaufman; Ron Koertge; E. M. Kokie; Chris Lynch; Kekla Magoon; Zoë Marriott; Katy Moran; J. L. Powers; Mary Ann Rodman; Cynthia Leitich Smith; and Ellen Wittlinger.

My fun link of the week: Kidlit Mashups (AKA Merged Children's Book Sequels).

The smartest one: Why You Don't Need to Rush Your Writing by Meg Rosoff from Writer Unboxed.

And the one that makes me dream: 20 Writing Residency You Should Apply for This Year.

Personal Links

Marsha Riti, Bethany Hegedus, C.S.Jennings & Amy Farrier at Austin SCBWI
Cynsational Events

P.J. Hoover will speak and sign Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life at 2 p.m. Sept. 20 at The Book Spot.

Divya Srinivasan will speak and sign Little Owl's Day at 3 p.m. Sept. 20 at BookPeople in Austin.

Lindsey Lane will speak and sign Evidence of Things Not Seen at 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at BookPeople in Austin.

Greg Leitich Smith will speak and sign at Tweens Read Sept. 27 at South Houston High School in Pasadena, Texas.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will speak on a panel "Where Are the Heroes of Color in Fantasy & Sci Fi Lit?" from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at YALSA's YA Literature Symposium in Austin.

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7957. What I Did on My Summer Vacation Part Two


Enjoyed a bit of sun on our deck back home in California, watched pelicans dive for fish pulled weeds, trimmed massive vines invading the garden and planted new things. 




Clean up and properly stored some old friends I haven't used in awhile and probably won't in the near future ...I'm going to take up paddle boarding here in Mauritius. 


Here is a picture of the one made by Shannon McIntyre for me back in 1998- my first surfboard. I took this photo from the water in 2001 and it hangs in may parents' home. 

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7958. Shiver me Timbers! It’s a Talk Like a Pirate Day Book List Round-up! {And Free Gift}

International Talk Like A Pirate Day is celebrated in more than 40 countries worldwide. It is a fun day that involves people talking like pirates. Some people dress in pirate costumes as well. It is celebrated among fans in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

02-now-there-are-five

In the past, we’ve created some pretty fun pirate activities to go along with the multitude of Pirate Books for Kids that available. Here are some of my favs!

Pirate BookList: 22 Non-Fiction Pirate Books for Kids!

pirate book list

The Pirate Booklist : 32 Chapter Books about PIRATES!

piratebooklist-1024x1024

 

Something to do: Pirate’s Code Of Conduct

What follows is the strict and solemn code of the crew and of the good ship.

{Rule 1} Everyone must obey the commands of the captain.

{Rule 2 } Everyone shall have a share of any treasure, but for every piece of gold a member of the crew is given, The captain will be given one and a half.

{Rule 3} If any one steals or gambles, they will be marooned, with only a bottle of water and a foam dagger.

{Rule 4} Anyone who encourages a new pirate to join the crew, without everyone else’ agreement, will suffer whatever punishment the captain and the crew think fit.

{Rule 5} Anyone that strikes another crew member while these rules are in force, shall receive punishment as the captain sees fit.

{Rule 6} Anyone that raises their weapon when not in battle, or leaves a lighted candle unguarded, will suffer the same punishment as in rule # 5.

{Rule 7} Anyone that doesn’t keep their weapons clean, or in any other way is not ready for action, will not receive their share of any treasure, and will suffer what further punishment the captain and the crew think fit.

{Rule 8} If anyone loses a finger or toe in battle, they shall be given 400 pieces of eight, and if they lose and arm or a leg they shall have 800 pieces of eight.

The above code of conduct was a true and valid document signed and witnessed by one of the greatest and most notorious pirates ever, Sir Henry Morgan, loyal sea raven both. Everything in it is true except the foam dagger part.

Ready to create your own Treasure Island Pirate adventure? As my free gift to you I have a Treasure Island Day eBook Adventure as a free download!

The Activity Book Includes:

    • How to Be a Pirate
    • Pirate Wear
    • Pirate Speak
    • Pirate Code of Conduct
    • Pirate Doings
    • Flying your colors
    • Swashbuckling Sword Moves
    • Pirate Games plus many more activities and how to’s

Click the image below and grab your FREE copy!

Treasure Island Pirate Adventure

The post Shiver me Timbers! It’s a Talk Like a Pirate Day Book List Round-up! {And Free Gift} appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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7959. Novella Review: Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I really enjoyed Meeting Her Match.  This novella features an unconventional hero, and honestly, when we are first introduced to Marcus, all I could think was, “No!  He can’t be the hero!”  He is clumsy, he can’t look Hannah in the eye, and he’s completely tongue-tied in her presence.  Turns out our sweet hero has been in love with Hannah since he was a young lad, and he turns into a dithering clod whenever she is near. 

Hannah, who has spent many hours secretly finding matches for the eligible singles in town, has failed to find a match for herself.  She’s a busy gal, though, so it’s not surprising that she hasn’t found a man to get hitched to yet.  She’s the school teacher, she helps her sickly mother tend to her huge brood of siblings, and the timing never seems right for her.  Her fiancé was killed in a freak accident, and she’s been drifting through life ever since. 

When tragedy strikes her family, Hannah finds herself even more harried than before.  Then, when her father practically kicks her out of the house, she’s heartbroken.  She mopes about, feeling sorry for herself, not seeing the handsome, caring man that’s right in front of her.  Instead,  because of Marcus’ shy ways, she thinks that he doesn’t like her, even though nothing could be further from the truth.

With the meddling of the townsfolk, Hannah finally gets a clue.  This is a cute read, with likeable characters and a heroine who deserves a HEA.  The only glitch for me was that the ending took too long to wrap up.  Otherwise, this is a great time killer if you’ve got about an hour to fill.

Grade:  B

Review copy read on Scribd

From Amazon:

When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker’s son how much she cares for him?

The post Novella Review: Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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7960. bittersweet twist

To my 6th grader

oh little boy
chubby baby who woke me at 5 every day
who taught me to rise before light
to capture the hour of my best self

oh little boy
bony 1st-grade early bird up at 6 every day
swinging sticks and pecking at order
catching little minutes of your best self

oh bigger boy
wiry twelvish boy grown tall on a diet of
filthy fingernails, outrageous belches,
lengthy detailed days of strategination

oh bigger boy
now, when you must wake at 6 every day
you huff and snorfle, make unrising noises,
fight me for two more hours of sleep

Heidi Mordhorst
DRAFT 2014

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7961. Today


Today I choose to laugh; 

when most would break down and cry.
Today I choose to hope; 
when some would never try. 
Today I choose life & living; 
as I watch  the old things die. 
Today I break free 
from all that holds me
and I raise my tattered wings 
to fly.

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7962. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Most Magnificent Thing PLUS The Goodnight Ark Giveaway Winner!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Boy do I have the most magnificent book to share with you today!  It's one of those books that makes you revel in how perfect it is when you get to the end and want to read it again right away in case you missed anything and then again just to enjoy how much fun it is :)  I hope you all like it as much as I do!

Title: The Most Magnificent Thing
Written & Illustrated By: Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, April 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: creativity, perseverance, perspective, emotion (frustration)

Opening: "This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world.  They do all kinds of things together.  They race.  They eat.  They explore.  They relax.  She makes things.  He unmakes things.  One day, the girl has a wonderful idea.  She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!"


Brief Synopsis: A little girl sets out to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing with the help of her best friend and assistant, her dog.  Imagine their shock when the thing turns out not to be magnificent!  In fact, it's not even "good. It isn't even kind-of-sort-of okay. It is all wrong."  So she tosses it and starts again.  But it's not easy to turn her vision into reality.  Frustration leads to anger, and anger leads to defeat.  Luckily, her assistant suggests a walk which brings calm and clarity and a new perspective... and a most magnificent thing :)

Links To Resources: supply a variety of craft items and/or found objects and encourage kids to think up and create their own "magnificent things"; Goldie Blox Toys (which encourage girls to put down the dolls and pick up the tools and might give you some invention ideas)

Why I Like This Book:  I love that this story addresses what may be the most common of all childhood emotions: frustration!  The little girl has a great idea.  She can imagine it perfectly.  She knows exactly how it will look.  But she has a hard time translating what she sees in her mind's eye to the physical reality of her most magnificent thing.  Her escalation of emotion is real and believable (and kids will relate to it so well!)  And the message that sometimes a little distance and a little time to calm down can help improve your perspective is a wonderful one.  In the end, she makes something that is just perfect (but I won't tell you what it is :))  The art is cute and full of humor.  The depiction of emotion is spot on.  The story touches on imagination and creativity, making things from found objects, dealing with frustration and disappointment, keeping/finding your perspective, not giving up, the idea that it's okay to make mistakes, and the importance of having a good friend.  All around, a book kids will enjoy and parents will be glad to read multiple times.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Now, before we all trot off so see what everyone else picked this week, I'd like to take a moment to announce the winner of last week's giveaway.  Laura Sassi and her publisher, Zonderkidz, generously contributed a copy of GOODNIGHT, ARK and the lucky winner is . . .

Sandy Perlic!!!

Congratulations, Sandy!  Please email me so we can organize getting you your book!  And thanks to everyone who shared their bedtime routines - we all had so much fun reading about them!

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what's on the list for today :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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7963. Three Bears in a Boat – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Three Bears in a Boat Written and illustrated By: David Soman Published By: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014, Fiction Themes/Topics: boating, bears, adventure Suitable for ages: 3-7   Opening: Once there were three bears, Dash, Charlie and Theo, who lived by the … Continue reading

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7964. Enter Now to WIN signed copies in the Ruff Life Series

Hi everyone

Things have really moved on at Ruff Life.  We now have 5 tremendously exciting books for you to have a blast reading. And to launch it all off we are giving away one signed copy of each of the following titles before Christmas, so if you hurry you can get a very rare extra Christmas gift.

Watch this space - the new links will be added as soon as they are available.

To enter for a chance of winning the signed copy of the new improved 2 edition It's A Ruff Life click on any of the following link.

GOOD LUCK!




Goodreads Book Giveaway

It's a Ruff Life by B.R. Tracey

It's a Ruff Life

by B.R. Tracey

Giveaway ends October 25, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win



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7965. Craft of Writing: From Pantser To Planner: How I Changed My Writing Style by Victoria Strauss


We are incredibly pleased and tickled pink to have Victoria Strauss on the blog today discussing some amazing writing techniques. Victoria is the widely acclaimed author of many young adult and adult novels and her advice is something to watch out for.

From Pantser To Planner: How I Changed My Writing Style by Victoria Strauss


I'm the original pantser. I hate planning and preparing. I'd rather just dive into whatever it is and learn as I go. This has gotten me into some messes, as you can imagine. Deciding to refinish a table and realizing halfway through that you really ought to know how to work with furniture stripper is not a recipe for a happy outcome.

Once upon a time, that was also how I wrote.

Nearly all my books require some degree of preliminary research. But after investing that initial effort, I just want to get on with the actual creation. When I first began writing, I'd start out with a premise, a setting, a compelling image for the beginning, and a definite plan for the end. The rest was a blank canvas that I couldn't wait to fill, discovering the bones of the story as I wrote it.

The problem was that the story never fell organically into place. I'd get interesting ideas for characters and scenes and plot points that sometimes worked, but often took me down irrelevant byways or banged me up against dead ends. Somewhere around the middle of the book (which never turned out to match any of the hazy ideas I might have had at the outset), I would realize that I’d gotten to a place that didn't fit either my planned ending or my already-written beginning, and be faced with the choice of throwing out a lot of material or making major changes to my basic concept. You'd think, since my concept was so nebulous, I wouldn't have a problem tossing it; but those strong beginning and ending images were (and still are) the essence of the book for me, what made me want to write it in the first place. I could never bring myself to abandon them.

In the end I always managed to pull it together. But it was exhausting and frustrating to do so much backtracking and re-writing, and with each book the process seemed to become messier. By my third novel, I felt that I was doing more fixing than creating--and if you do too much fixing, the seams start to show. Writing by the seat of my pants clearly wasn't working for me. I realized that if I wanted to continue with my writing career, something had to change.

So I decided to turn myself into a planner. No more pantsing. No more blank canvas. I'd discipline myself to craft my plot in advance, creating a road map to guide me all the way from A to Z.

But how to plan, exactly? Books on how to write offer a plethora of methods. Index cards. Whiteboards. Timelines. Checklists. Worksheets. Character questionnaires. Three-act structure. The Snowflake Method. Yikes.

Outlining (the kind of conventional I.A.1.a. outlining I learned in school) seemed most familiar. So for my fourth novel, that's what I decided to try. It totally did not work for me. It was too terse, too cold, too structured. Too boring.

Next I attempted a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. But that felt too arbitrary--how could I lock myself into a chapter structure before I knew the rhythm of the narrative?--and too choppy. I didn't want to jump from chapter to chapter like hopping across a series of rocks. I wanted the story to be all of a piece: to simply flow.

So I decided just to tell the story from start to finish, imagining myself speaking to a rapt audience in the warm glow of a blazing campfire, with darkness pressing all around. This approach fit me much better. It felt creative; it had flow. I still took wrong turns and stumbled down blind alleys--but it's a lot easier to fix those in a synopsis than in a manuscript. And when I was done, I had a clear path from my blazing beginning image to the ending I was dying to write.

For reasons that had nothing to do with planning, I never did finish that fourth novel. But I've used this basic method ever since. First I figure out the core of the book: premise, setting, opening and conclusion. Then I build a bare-bones road map in my head, establishing the story arc and the main characters, making sure I can travel all the way to the end without getting lost in the middle. Then I write a synopsis, fleshing out the story bones and adding detail to plot and characters, but not drilling down to the level of individual scenes (unless an image really grabs me). For a 100,000-word book, my synopses generally run about 10-12 single-spaced pages. I also do brief character sketches as I go along.*

Once I'm done with all this preparation, I file it away and never look at it again. This may seem like a waste of effort. But writing from memory, without paying slavish attention to a plan, gives my pantser's soul the flexibility it needs, allowing room for change and inspiration, for those "aha" moments that, for me, are the most exciting part of writing. Because I do have a plan, however--because I've fallen into most of the holes and backtracked out of most of the dead ends in advance--I don't veer off track the way I used to; and where I do diverge, it's productive rather than destructive. My finished books nearly always differ in significant ways from my initial road map. But the important plot turns don't change.

This melding of planning and improvisation is the best balance I've found between the creative license I crave and the structure I need.

Changing my approach to writing has also taught me something important about writing itself: there is no "correct" or "best" way of doing things--only what's best for you. I can't count the number of times I've heard that planning destroys inspiration, or that only hack writers plan, or that real creativity is letting the story find you, not the other way around. Conversely, most of the highly-recommended planning techniques I tried felt too constraining or too boring.

Trial and error is the key. Don't be afraid to experiment. If something isn't working for you, don't be afraid to abandon it and try something new. It took me a long time, and many mistakes, to figure out my ideal method. But eventually I found my way.

You will too.

* If worldbuilding is needed, as with my fantasy novels, I work that out in between the in-my-head planning and the written synopsis (I've written about my worldbuilding method here: http://www.victoriastrauss.com/advice/world-building/).

About The Author


Victoria is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the Stone fantasy duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) and Passion Blue and Color Song, a pair of historical novels for teens. In addition, she has written a handful of short stories, hundreds of book reviews, and a number of articles on writing and publishing that have appeared in Writer’s Digest, among others. In 2006, Victoria served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

Victoria is the co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that provides information and warnings about the many scams and schemes that threaten writers. She received the Service to SFWA Award in 2009 for my work with Writer Beware.

Victoria lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

ABOUT THE BOOK


Color Song
by Victoria Strauss
Hardcover
Skyscape
Released 9/16/2014

By the author of the acclaimed "Passion Blue," a "Kirkus Reviews" Best Teen Book of 2012 and "a rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion," comes a fascinating companion novel.

Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed?or cursed?with a spirit's gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors as she creates them in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilit?. It's here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness and rekindled her passion to become a painter?an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.

But when a dying Humilit? bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession?the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue?Giulia realizes she's in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color. Faced with the prospect of a life in the convent barred from painting as punishment for keeping Humilit s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist's apprentice?

Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilit s Passion blue. And Venice, she discovers, with its gilded palazzos and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, and where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

This stunning, compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to pursue your passion?

Purchase Color Song at Amazon
Purchase Color Song at IndieBound
View Color Song on Goodreads


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7966. Social Media Marketing - Oh that Facebook (your visibility is diminishing even more)

For a while now I’ve found it a bit pointless to focus on Facebook as part of my social media marketing efforts. It’s been a while since the reigning king of the social media world reduced the visibility results of your postings. Now, they have a new algorithm reducing your posts’ visibility to around 2% of your fanbase, more likely less. I don’t get it. Okay, well maybe I do. They want you

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7967. FOODFIC: Noggin - John Corey Whaley

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18049084-noggin



Noggin starts with Travis Coates waking up. Not from something as simple as a nap, nor as extensive as a coma; Travis has been cryogenically frozen for 5 years. More specifically, his head has been on ice all that time, waiting for a donor body (and medical advances) to facilitate his revival.

Now youknow that I need to know how that old-mouth-to-new-digestive-tract connection works.  Well, we don’t get to see Travis ingest anything until his father brings him home. That first night back, Dad makes him eggs – which go down just fine – and no follow-up statements or inquiries are made to suggest any meal since the wake-up have gone otherwise. There’s no mention of any food or drink in the hospital at all, and though I know it’s possible for Travis to have subsisted there on IV fluid, they surely wouldn’t have discharged him without testing that new fused esophagus!

So I have to pause in my reading to flesh out the stages in my own mind: transitioning from an IV to water and juice, maybe moving on to Jell-O, then applesauce, brothy soups for lunch, mushy oatmeal for breakfast, etc. I imagine Travis graduating from one level to a denser, chewier one each day until presumably summiting at some clinical version of beef and potatoes. And all quite unremarkably, or we’d have been told otherwise, right?

Okay, now I can return to the story already in progress. And I find that, unfortunately, Travis’s social assimilation back into the world doesn’t go as smoothly as the digestive part did. Reconnecting with his parents is easy, sure, but his old best friends don’t even come to visit him in the hospital. Of course, they’re now 21 while he’s still only 16, so their lifestyles have certainly diverged. Travis hasn’t changed at all (except that he’s no longer battling the terminal cancer that forced him to opt for the radical surgery); he feels like he’s merely been asleep for a few days.

In stark contrast, his (ex?) girlfriend has moved on so far that she’s now engaged to another guy. Okay, I can see her reluctance to rush to Travis’s bedside, but what excuse could the male best friend have for staying away? Luckily (for us, not him, obviously) Travis is as confused as we are, so this progression is graciously served up bite by bite, making this Noggin’s bizarre premise quite easy for readers to swallow. ;)

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7968. Poetry with kids, Storified

Today on Twitter Sally Thomas wondered aloud what a ‘poetry-centered curriculum’ would look like, and a marvelous discussion ensued. Kortney of One Deep Drawer went to the trouble of Storifying the conversation—what a gem she is! Do hasten to her blog and enjoy it. (This link goes to her intro post, which links in turn to the Storify.)

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7969. Being with Jane Goodall

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7970. A Free Online Course on Laura Ingalls Wilder

I’m up against a deadline, so this will be brief.

If you’re a Laura fan like I am and you haven’t heard of this amazing opportunity, let me fill you in. Pamela Smith Hill of Missouri State University is teaching a free online course about Laura starting Monday, September 22. Click here to learn more. You might have heard Laura’s long-awaited autobiography has recently released. Pamela Smith Hill is its editor.

This is a class for Laura fans and for those curious about authorship (how much of a role did daughter Rose play in the creation of the Little House series?), the fuzzy lines between historical fiction and memoir, and the complex, sometimes uncomfortable portrayal of pioneers and natives.

I’ve ordered Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life (South Dakota Biography) and Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. I’ve got all the others. So looking forward to digging in!

If you’re taking the course, please let me know. I’d love to talk about it.

From the course description page:

Required Materials:

Little House In The Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins, 0060581808
Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins, 0064400034
Little House On The Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins, 0064400026
On The Banks Of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins, 0064400042
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, Pamela Smith Hill, South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 097779556X

Recommended Reading:

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Edition, Pamela Smith Hill, South Dakota State Historical Society Press
Young Pioneers, Rose Wilder Lane, HarperCollins, 0064406989

 

The post A Free Online Course on Laura Ingalls Wilder appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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7971. Book Beginnings - 9/19/14


*Please join Rose City Reader every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.  *Taken directly from Rose City Reader's Blog Page.

*****************
This is the same as last week.  I am almost done with LAST BREATH.  Very good mystery.
 
This week's book beginnings comes from LAST BREATH by Kimberly Belle.


"Some guy on Oprah last week said there is no such thing as an accidental lapse of memory.  That every phone call you forget to return, every errand you forget to run on the way home is a whisper of your subconscious."

That first line drew me in immediately.  I forget a lot of things lately. :)

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Read last week and wanted to share.

Review is in the book's title.
FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW by Amy Belding Brown

It is an account of how folks had to live in Early, Puritan America.  It was a good historical book.
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What are you reading that you can't keep to yourself?  :)

*****************




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7972. the inside scoop on Tour de Blog—via Bill Wolfe and Caroline Leavitt and over to Kelly Simmons

Well, here we go. Mr. Bill Wolfe, that cool dude who reads only women's fiction and lives to tell the tale on Read Her Like an Open Book, tagged me (oh, the secrets, the secrets) on the My Writing Process Tour Blog. Bill, who keeps us guest bloggers honest, reviews incredibly interesting books, teaches for a living, and opines, but always kindly, is a tough act to follow. Equally tough is his tagger, Caroline Leavitt, whose inspirational story and stories (and blog) have been integral to the lay of my land for years.

(I've previously written about Bill here and Caroline here and many elsewheres.)

And now, here I stand, with questions to answer, pondering my capability.

I begin:

1. What are you working on? 
I am currently doing a final round of edits to a young adult novel that will launch from Chronicle Books in 2016. When that is done later this weekend, I'll return to two new projects—an adult novel and a book of nonfiction. Both are in the early 4,000-word stage, so inchoate, strange, and internal that I suspect I won't be able to describe them even after (if) they are done. They are projects designed to keep my mind whole, more than anything else, or as whole as this cracked vessel will ever get. In between, when feigning greater sanity, I'm writing white papers and news stories for clients and reviews and essays for the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Oh, and a lot of student recommendation letters.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I always think this is a question best left to the critics—though I hate to presume that any critic anywhere will have time for such a Beth Kephart conundrum. I guess the answer, for me, has something to do with that old cliche of staying true to myself (hey, if Tim Gunn can say it on national TV, I can say it in Beth land). I'm not interested in bending my work to meet the expectations of our time (whatever they are) or to fall in line with trends. I write what is urgent, what intrigues me. I write to find out what might happen next, a small and increasingly daring enterprise.

3. Why do you write what you do?
Because I can't help it. Because I get obsessed with some historical event (the Berlin wall, the Spanish Civil War, Florence after the flood), some force of nature, some sound in my head, something someone said, some trouble. Because the only excuse I have to think about it longer is to begin to write a book. Otherwise, in my dim and insufficiently capacious brain, all is fleeting. And because I think that what we write has to matter in a broader way. We live in perilous times. I want to understand them. I want my stories and my work to lead others down inquiring paths. I also want my readers to think about language in new ways, and so I write what I hear in my twisted head.

4. How does your writing process work?
It rarely does work. Most of the time I'm doing my day job. But when I find patches of time I hunch my shoulders, draw out a pen (literally), sit on the couch where the depressed cushion suggests I should each less chocolate, and get going. When I'm writing I am living inside a fortress of books and newspapers (on some days the research is my favorite part). When I'm writing there's a happy buzz inside my head, except when the writing isn't working, which is an astonishingly large chunk of the time. Boy, I can write some really bad stuff. Boy, I can go off on tangents. But, hey. Nobody sees that, at least in the beginning. Nobody but me and my chocolate bars.

For the next stop on the blog tour, I nominate Kelly Simmons,who is not just a terrific, funny, compassionate, hardworking writer, but a starred writer, too, and a dear friend. (Kelly also knows where the best V-necked turquoise T-shirts live in the local shop, and she will join you in the consumption of six-ounce shrimp at the drop of a dime; she also forgives (I think) your poorly typed text messages; finally, I wish to add that, when you are walking together down Sugartown Road, the boys in the cars all stop for her, the Kelly Phenom.) Kelly's third novel (for adults, people!), One More Day, was PW announced days ago. It will be published by Sourcebooks next fall. I've read a few pages here and there. Ladies and gents, get ready for Wow.



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7973. Marking a Day of History - A Call to Write: Lucy Coats


It is hard to know what to write today - because I am writing this in the past. Today's landscape may be very different from yesterday's. Are we a nation irrevocably divided or a nation still hanging together by a thread? You, reading this, will know if Scotland is still with us. I do not yet.

It is a rare thing to realise, in advance, that a day of history is happening. Normally we can only look back and see with hindsight that it was so. Sometimes it's a small thing - a pebble which rolls a little way, almost unnoticed, and then sets off an avalanche of global proportions. Sometimes it's something so epic, so inconceivable, that it is itself the avalanche.

As writers and readers, I think we have a responsibility to mark days of history, even if only for ourselves. So I ask this of all of you reading this, writers or not: will you write today, please? Whichever side of the debate you have been on, - yes, no, or none - will you write down your experience of it so that future generations can know how you felt today? Whether you choose fiction or fact doesn't matter, whether you publish or keep it private doesn't matter. What matters is that it's there, a body of evidence for future generations if they want to read it. I will come back later today and write down my own reactions below. It will probably be a very emotional addendum, whatever the result. I am a Scot, after all.

New dates announced for Lucy's Guardian Masterclass on 'How to Write for Children' Why not book now?

Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party is now out from Nosy Crow!
"If you’re going to select only one revolting, repulsive pirate book, this is arrrr-guably the best." Kirkus
"What right-minded child could resist his allure?" Books for Keeps
"A rollicking story and a quite gloriously disgusting book that children (especially boys) will adore!" Parents In Touch magazine
Atticus the Storyteller's 100 Greek Myths is available from Orion Children's Books.
"A splendid reminder of the wonder of the oldest of stories…should be in every home and classroom" The Bookseller
Website and blog
Follow Lucy on Facebook 
Follow Lucy on Twitter

Lucy is represented by Sophie Hicks at The Sophie Hicks Agency

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7974. Friday Linky List - September 19, 2014

At Litreactor.com: 6 Tips for Troubleshooting The Novel by Susan Defreitas

Wow: by @donalynbooks No More Language Arts and Crafts: “We must advocate for children’s #reading lives, or they won’t have reading lives.”

Atlanta Magazine has the most thorough article I've ever seen about Pete the Cat: For Pete's Sake. Some of you may know that the line "They consulted local authors" means me. Little known fact that I helped with the first PETE THE CAT: I LOVE MY WHITE SHOES. My name is even in the back. Oh, to have asked for a percentage. *sigh!* At least I have a lovely Pete painting in my dining room as thanks...

From Entertainment Weekly via PW: On the Books: Jane Austen fans set new Guinness World Record when 550 fans showed up wearing full Regency regalia. Pop "Jane Austen Festival" into Google search for images - it's a hoot!

From Talks with Roger (Sutton), a really great interview with Marla Frazee about her new book THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN. From her website - "What is more important, style or concept?" Her reply, "I think the most important thing is emotional engagement."

At PW: Enchanted Lion: A Visit with the Brooklyn-Based Indie Publisher

From HuffPost via PW: Why Are Fairy Tales Universally Appealing?

From BookRiot via PW: 28 Books About Growing Up In America's Cultural Melting Pot

At PWs ShelfTalker by Elizabeth Bluemle: Help Shape the Diversity Evolution

From HuffPost: Why I Made a Documentary About What It Means to Be 11 - Gads, I want to see this!! Click the image below to watch the trailer on YouTube:


From The Telegraph via PW: Amazing Roald Dahl cakes that Wonka himself would be proud of - OMG.



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7975. From the copyeditor's desk

For the last 29 years, I have worked in the word business. I've been a staff editor at a diabetes center, a proofreader at a direct mail company, and I have done freelance work in every conceivable genre--magazines, newsletters, business communications, non-profit press releases, creative writing, poetry, web content, sports books, and more. Sometimes my work involves being mostly a writing coach, a cheerleader. Sometimes I have to tap into my inner mystic. Other times, it involves being a very nit-picky critic. Copyediting falls into the latter category. This is no time to be nice, just precise and thorough.

My current client is a copyediting project. And I thought I'd share with you some reasons we even care about seemingly stupid stuff like punctuation.

Let's look at exclamation points for now. Why do copyeditors always want to suck the life out of our writing by deleting exclamation points? Well, dear writer, because they are lazy writing and they make the reader feel like they're getting a sales pitch. How so? Time for an example. This one is a made-up piece of non-fiction:

In the 1950s, many women were frustrated by being expected to return to their more traditional roles as housewives, after having spent the war years immersed in the world of working to support our troops in the war effort! Some felt resentment and oppression! However, some were glad for the new, more technological home, complete with machines that washed dishes for them, vacuums that rid the home of nasty dirt in such a sanitary way, and machines that made light work of the stacks of laundry! 

(None of this is factually true to my knowledge. I did no research. Let's just pretend I did, though, and look only at the paragraph for the purposes of examining punctuation.)

There are merely three exclamation points in this piece. Which in my opinion is three too many. But let's look at how they create lazy writing. The author is expecting the reader to look at the exclamation point and bring a level of emotion to the writing that isn't present in the words. That's lazy writing, when you expect the reader to fill in emotion or something else that you, the author, are too lazy to put into words.

In addition, exclamation points are all the same, but the emotion or feeling the reader is expected to bring to each sentence is not. What does the exclamation point at the end of the first sentence want us to infer? Perhaps that women found working during the war exciting. Or perhaps that women were mad about this freedom to earn money of their own being taken away. Those are very different expressions, and the writer should use words to convey exactly what he/she means to say, not leave it up to the reader to figure it out. What about the sentence after that--is the reader supposed to feel horrified that women felt oppressed? Or excited? Or perhaps the author wants the reader to really feel the oppression along with the women in the piece. Who knows? The reader certainly doesn't. This is lazy writing, expecting the punctuation to do something it cannot do.

Now, I realize I might be preaching to the choir, but this is why copyeditors pay such close attention to these seemingly little things.

There's another component that is a little harder to nail down, and that is a reader feels manipulated by so many exclamation points. Especially in fiction, you as the author want to make the reader work for it a little bit. We want to throw in clues that help the reader anticipate where we're going with a thread. We want to let the reader ponder what a character will do to get herself out of this seemingly impossible situation. But we don't want to manipulate the reader--at least I don't like being manipulated as a reader. When I see an exclamation point, it feels to me like I'm reading a sales letter. Maybe that's from my days in direct marketing in which every other sentence has an exclamation point. And it's used on purpose to manipulate the reader in buying whatever you're selling.

Let's look at an example in fiction:

"That's great!" exclaimed Peter.

A short example, but it shows everything I need it to demonstrate. This is lazy writing in so many ways. First, it's pretty redundant to have an exclamation point and the word "exclaimed." Even more than that, it doesn't give the reader any satisfaction, any sensory experience to connect to, any way to relate to the character. How would this particular character express his emotions with his body? Maybe jump into the air and do a flip. Maybe pump his fist. Maybe it would be more subtle, like get teary eyed. Or maybe he is being saracastic, and he lets out a raspberry.

Another thing exclamation points can affect in a piece of writing is the tone and voice. Do you want your narrator to sound like a salesperson? (Or like a football highlights sportscast or a car commercial.) That's the effect of exclamation points. Of course, at times, maybe you do want a narrator or a character to come across this way, and that might be an appropriate time to use this particular punctuation. But use it purposefully for effect, not lazily because you aren't willing to work at your craft. If your exclamation point usage is aimed toward making the tone light and friendly, then look for ways to do that with your words rather than your punctuation. Use conversational language and structure. Don't use jargon and highly specialized vocabulary. Don't use formal punctuation like semi-colons and colons. Maybe use second person. These tactics will make your writing lighter without being lazy.

Copyeditors are not here to make your life miserable. We are here to make your writing  precise and to help you do what you are attempting to do in the most effective way possible.

by Neysa CM Jensen
Boise, Idaho

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