JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans. Join now (it's free).
Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.
Viewing: Blog Posts from the Writer category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 16,801 - 16,825 of 197,947
How to use this Page
You are viewing the most recent posts from blogs in the Writer category in the JacketFlap blog reader. These posts are sorted by date, with the most recent posts at the top of the page. There are hundreds of new posts here every day on a variety of topics related to children's publishing. Scroll down through the list of Recent Posts in the left column and click on a post title that sounds interesting. Click a tag in the right column to view posts about that topic. You can view all posts from a specific blog by clicking the Blog name in the right column, or you can click a 'More Posts from this Blog' link in any individual post.
Add HE CAME FOR MINE to your TBR list on Goodreads
For the next two weeks Carolyn is holding a Rafflecopter Draw on her Blog, to celebrate the following three reasons:
1. The release of Book Two in the Protector Series, titled:
HE CAME FOR MINE
2. One full year of Blogging!
3. Twelve months since the launch of Book One in The Protector Series!
Prizes will include:
One $20 AUD (Australian Dollars) Amazon Gift Card One free eBook of Book Two in The Protector Series, HE CAME FOR MINE! One free book cover illustration by Rebekah Romani
TO ENTER CLICK HERE! Also, during the two week launch Book One, in The Protector Series
HE CAME FOR ME
will be free as an eBook to download from Smashwords
JUST USE THIS CODE: RF83E
Desperate to save the life of a child he never knew he had, Sebastian returns to Earth to find Jazz in the arms of another man.A man he knows all too well.One who cannot be trusted!Sebastian worries if Jazz’s feelings for him have fleeted in his absence and he vows to win her back.
Jazz struggles to find ground between Sebastian and her new life, unsure who to trust and still holding resentment for Seb’s abandonment. She seeks solace through someone who was there for her when she needed help to pick up the pieces.
After coming to terms with her new life, Jazz is struck down with confusion and longing when Sebastian suddenly returns.
However, a dark battle is forthcoming, one that is bound to bring bloodshed.
First of all, congratulations to the winner of VANQUISHED: Nikkihasabookshelf! Amy asked a couple of weeks ago to see a post on unreliable narrators and I thought that was a great idea. First we need to understand what an unreliable narrator is. Does that mean the MC lies? Well, it can. But it can mean more than that as well. No matter who is telling a story, his own perceptions, memories, and feelings will influence what he recalls or even if he recalls what actually happened. So as a writer when I write in first person, I have to find the character's voice and experience everything from her perspective. What am I saying? Character is everything in this situation. That and filtering through the character's eyes. If your MC is conceited, for example, a great way to show that is to have her make an obviously neutral situation all about her. But if you're writing a story that needs an unreliable narrator for plot purposes here are some rules to remember:
Don't keep vital information from your readers. That will only frustrate them. That doesn't mean you have to spill everything up front, but don't deliberately keep them out of the loop just so you can surprise them later. Plant clues by making it clear that the narrator may not be trustworthy. Drip in the real info like you do backstory.
Stay true to your character. Don't take a truthful MC and suddenly have her lie for no good reason just because you need a way to do something. It's true characters can do surprising things, but if you've done a good job getting into his head, you will also have planted enough info that makes that unconventional act/decision natural and understandable to the reader.
Have fun! Unreliable narrators can be a blast to write. It's a great opportunity to exercise that illusive voice. In fact, it's not a bad idea to go ahead and practice just for an exercise. Who knows? Maybe you'll end up falling in love and writing a whole book. ;D
Reminding me of a tale by William Sleater, Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan is a fast-paced, mind-bending chiller. Daniel, on a forced vacation with his father, meets a girl whose wounds seem to worsen daily. As the clock runs down, he grasps for courage and inspiration to try to save her. At the same time, he's dealing with his own body image, the blame of his parent's separation, and his father's drinking. If you liked The Lovely Bones, you'll find a similar thread here.
Watch for Daylight Saving. And see how sympathetic you become as the clock ticks backwards...
This past week, the Teaching Authors have been visiting the subject of best practices when it comes to our writing schedules. Anyone looking to this post for tips on how to lead a productive and/or well-organized writing life had best look elsewhere. If you'd like to make yourself feel better about your own work habits... read on.
I am an unabashed night owl. My dad says that I was born in California four decades ago and never quite got my body clock on EST. My most productive writing time (even when I lived in California, I must admit) has always happened between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. However, when I got married, I began waking with my husband at 5:30 a.m. Our children are also early risers. Bye-bye productive writing time. Some nights I will try to take a brief nap at my kids' bedtime and then get up and work. More often than not, given the busy-ness of our days, I wind up sleeping straight through.
My day job is a writing job, so there's always the matter of getting my paid work done first. Typically I get up, get the kids ready, and drive the morning carpool before I get down to business. On a good day, I will then spend half an hour on the elliptical with a book (or at least a few Days of Our Lives outlines -- there's always soap reading to get out of the way). Then I plop my laptop in my lap, snuggle with the puppy, and start writing -- or at least make a stab at it.
My current job function is "scriptwriter," and I usually write one complete script each week. (Every few weeks, there will be two.) I have seven days to complete the week's assignment(s), so if I write and edit an act per day in a typical week, I'm in fine shape. In practice, I usually spend at least a day reading and a day at the end of the process on editing and polishing. We write from detailed outlines, and some scripts go much more quickly than others. Also, if I could force myself to ditch my habit of Internet surfing every time I get stuck (approximately every five minutes), I would add an additional two hours of productive time to each day.
Afternoons are for kids' activities and homework. This semester I also teach three mornings of the week, as well as one evening. Besides the scriptwriting, I have to squeeze in time for lesson planning and, of course, grading essays (for example, 40 this weekend). Every other Sunday night I also remember in the nick of time (at least so far) that I have a blog post to write.
Now, scriptwriting is by far the least onerous and time-consuming paid writing job I've had in a decade. But it has been so long since I've made my own writing a regular practice, I am having a hard time finding my groove again. While in theory I think it would be better to work for an hour every day, I seem to do much better with larger chunks less frequently. I had a vacation week a few weeks ago and did pound out lots of pages. That felt good. But it's like exercise -- the feel-good result is only so motivating in comparison to the difficulty and discomfort of the undertaking.
A fellow scriptwriter told me that she spends four hours every week working in a quiet room with a friend who's studying. I have noticed that I am much more productive when someone in the room can see how much I'm goofing off. :) I do think Carmela's on to something with her writing buddy idea. Now I just need to find mine! -- Jeanne Marie
Don't forget to enter our Guest Teaching Author Book Giveaway to win an autographed copy of FORGET ME NOT by the fabulous Carolee Dean.
This week's reading recommendations:
Patrick (grade K): anything Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
Kate (grade 2): The Bell Bandit by Jacqueline Davies
me: Capture the Flag by Kate Messner
Given that KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES comes out tomorrow (AHHHHHHH--THAT IS SO EXCITING AND AMAZING AND IMPOSSIBLE TO WRAP MY HEAD AROUND!!!!!!) I definitely did not have the time or the brain power to put together an MMGM this week. BUT, lots of other awesome bloggers are carrying the torch for me and I was able to find time to assemble the list of links.
Also, if you aren't already following along, the KEEPER blog tour is still going all week, with lots of fun things and giveaways. Click HERE to follow along.
Okay, so the MMGM links!
- Natalie Aguirre is featuring... well... ME! She's part of the KEEPER blog tour and she has an interview with yours truly and a giveaway. Click HERE for all the details.(and THANK YOU, Natalie!)
- Mrs. Heise is recommending PARTNERS IN CRIME. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Faith Hough is --wow, this feels weird to say--gushing about KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES. Click HERE to see why she loved it.
- Barbara Watson is cheering for NO-NAME BABY--with a giveaway!!!! Click HERE to enter.
- Jessica at Book Sake is championing BROXO. Click HERE to see what she thought!
- Michelle Mason is caught up in THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY. Click HERE to read her review.
- Michelle Isenhoff is spreading the love for BREADCRUMBS. Click HERE to see why.
- Ruth Donnelly is back with two features. One on LIAR AND SPY and one on WONDER. Click HERE for both.
- Susan Olson is raving about BRIDGE OF TIME. Click HERE for her review.
- Jasmine is thrilled about THE LUNCH LADY AND THE CYBORG SUBSTITUTE . Click HERE to see why.
- Jennifer Rumburger is shouting out about BASEBALL GREAT. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Flash, the Feline Extraordinaire, (and Professional Mews to Cindy Strandvold) joins the MMGM fun with a feature on HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. Click HERE to welcome him to the group.
- Andrea Mack is in love with ALL THE LOVELY BAD ONES. Click HERE for her feature.
- Joanne Fritz is telling THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET. Click HERE to see why.
- Laurisa Reyes is interviewing author Margaret Peterson Haddix--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE to enter.
- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin is singing the praises for JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA. Click HERE to see what he thought.
- Gabrielle Prendegast is swept away by THE SEA OF TROLLS. Click HERE to see why.
- Dorine White is featuring MIRA'S DIARY--with a giveaway. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Rosi Hollinbeck has two features this week: WHEN SHE WAS GOOD and APPLEWHITE'S AT WIT'S END--plus a GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for more info.
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so I see it)
NOTE: I used to not have a cut-off time for adding links to the post, but with how insane my schedule is right now, if you don't email me by Sunday evening (usually around 11pm PST is when I put the links together) I can't guarantee I'll have a chance to add you. BUT, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you!
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen posts ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me ahead of time
Erin Jade Lange is the author of the recently released BUTTER. She recently dropped by the virtual offices to discuss her new book, so check out what she has to say.
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Erin Jade Lange] I’m a shy girl pretending to be outgoing. I’m more “one of the guys” than a girly girl. And I love loud music and surprises.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about BUTTER?
[Erin Jade Lange] BUTTER is the story of an obese teenager who announces a plan to eat himself to death live on the internet with one epic “last meal.” When his plan makes him suddenly popular, he no longer wants to go through with it. But can he keep that popularity if he doesn’t do what he promised?
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Erin Jade Lange] My stories always start with characters and evolve from there. Butter came to me with his morbid plan already in place, but I had no idea whether he would go through with it until I started writing.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Butter?
[Erin Jade Lange] Sarcastic, talented, angry
[Manga Maniac Café] If Butter had a theme song, what would it be?
[Erin Jade Lange] “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash.
[Manga Maniac Café] What is Butter’s most prized possession?
[Erin Jade Lange] His saxophone. For sure.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Erin Jade Lange] Reality is probably my biggest influence. I absorb and internalize a lot of the stories I write as a TV news producer, and those stories tend to inform my writing in some way. It can be as obvious as the headline topics of internet bullying and teen suicide in BUTTER or as subtle as the poor economic climate in next year’s book.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Erin Jade Lange] A cup of coffee, a comfortable chair and a nice big chunk of time.
[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Erin Jade Lange] A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Erin Jade Lange] Charlotte’s Web was my first “big girl” book. After that, I just never stopped reading.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Erin Jade Lange] I snowboard (though I’m not very good at it); I play guitar (though I’m very VERY bad at it); and lately, when I’m not reading or writing, I’m planning my wedding.
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
Life can suck when you're sixteen. It can suck even worse when you're not- quite- dead.
Sixteen-year-old Rebecca Herrera Hayes faces every teenager's biggest nightmares: bad skin, bad hair, and worse . . . turning into one of the living dead.
Becca's life changes forever when her cousin Spence comes back to their small Wisconsin town carrying a deadly secret—he's becoming a zombie, a fate he shares with her through an accidental scratch.
The Z infection, however, has mutated, affecting younger persons like her, or those treated early enough, differently. Now she must cope with weird physical changes and habits no girl wants to be noticed for. Then she meets a good-looking part-Z like her and fears falling for him. After all, how can he, who shows hardly any Z symptoms, be interested in someone like her?
But time is running out... Becca needs his help as she and her cousin Carm search for their missing mothers and fight off hungry Zs.
Most of all, she needs to find something, anything, to stop this deadly transformation before it is forever too late...
Many years ago, I attended a writing workshop with Carolyn Coman, who taught us about her storyboarding process when writing novels. She had us begin our own storyboards during the workshop, and as I worked on mine (it was for Jumping Off Swings), I was floored by how much power the visuals had in helping me "see" the flow of the book. I've used this technique for revision ever since.
Here's a little bit of how it works, with my own modifications (Carolyn's storyboards are much more beautiful and simple, mine are a bit of a mess. But the basic concept remains):
Once I have a solid but messy first draft, it's time to look at the contents of the book. What's happening in each chapter, what the emotional as well as physical arc looks like, and who appears when and where.
To do this, I follow Carolyn's instruction to make one box for each chapter. In this case, my manuscript has 10 chapters.
Then, as I reread my novel I start taking notes. Things to include in your storyboard might be:
A rough sketch of the most powerful moment in the chapter. (This should be the strongest image you think best represents the key moment in that chapter.)
I also include the: • title of the chapter, if there is one • names of the characters who appear in the chapter • strongest emotions that pervade the chapter And in this novel's case, the time of day, since this novel all happens in one day.
Each day as I revise more chapters, the squares fill up with details and notes which will eventually serve as a cheat sheet, of sorts, to help me keep track of what happens and where, and who is involved.
As I revise more, I will add additional details, but for now, here's my finished storyboard, which I'll use today as I go back to the beginning and start revision round two:
While I also use Scrivener to keep track of details and names and things, I like to be able to see the entire book on one page, with images that work as cues to me. I like to be able to see the book in one splash, and be able to quickly refer to the page or add to it as necessary.
Carolyn Coman, thank you SO MUCH for introducing the basic storyboard idea to me all those years ago. This has been the most important revision tool I've had.
Monday Morning Warm-Up:
How about you? What's the most helpful tool you use in revision or in creating first drafts? Share here or blog about it! Be sure to give us a link. :-)
I know you will probably say, “Tara, you had me at Peter Brown…”, but you will no doubt flip at the entire spectacular line-up of authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals I’ve secured for this year’s Picture Book Idea Month, affectionately known as PiBoIdMo ’round these parts.
Plus, we have an adorable mascot this year: Doodle! She’s the doggie pal of artist-couple Peter Harren and Kayla Skogh (who are equally adorable), and she’ll be making several cameos throughout the month of November!
PiBoIdMo will kick-off on October 24th with a guest post from….
That’s right! One lucky former PiBoIdMo participant will win a guest blogging spot to write about how past events have inspired you, what you’ve done to gear up for the event, and how you sort through that fat file of ideas to pick ones to pursue.
All you have to do to be eligible is:
Blog about PiBoIdMo and what it means to you.
Link back to this blog post.
Leave a comment on this blog post telling me you’ve done so.
Complete all of the above by October 15th.
I will read all your entries and pick the blogger who most exemplifies the spirit of this annual event.
And now, without further ado, here are your guest bloggers!
Peter Brown James Burks Priscilla Burris Kelly DiPucchio Amy Dixon Kate Dopirak Ame Dyckman Donna W. Earhardt Marcus Ewert Deborah Freedman Tiffany Strelitz Haber Peter Harren Charise Mericle Harper Julie Hedlund Carter Higgins Ward Jenkins Mike Jung Ella Kennen Diane Kredensor Emma Ledbetter, Assistant Editor, Atheneum Kelly Light Deb Lund Tracy Marchini Wendy Martin Diana Murray Laura Murray Debbie Ohi Carol Rasco, CEO of RIF Aaron Reynolds Laura Sassi Liz Garton Scanlon Corey Rosen Schwartz Kayla Skogh Tammi Sauer Melissa Sweet Will Terry Audrey Vernick Robert Weinstock Tamson Weston, Editor & Consultant Timothy Young
Stay tuned for more PiBoIdMo announcements in the coming days!
I have recently turned in two project and in this slow business, it is time to “Hurry Up and Wait.” I don’t do this well. We’ve already taken vacations for the year. So, I’ve made a to-do list.
Volunteer. There are some projects that I’ve wanted to do pro-bono, so this is the time to dive in and get them done.
Gone Fishing for Stories. I am reading two books about the mythical island of Atlantis, trolling for ideas. It may come to nothing, but I am trolling and hoping to catch a big one.
Read Dracula. Really. I recently read a comment from someone that she liked reading Twilight and thought it a good read; then, she read Dracula and found out what really good writing was like. Shrug. I may or may not agree, but I’ve got it downloaded on my Kindle to read. Click here for an interesting look at a variety of Dracula book covers.
Promote. You know me as a writing teacher; but I can only teach because I also write. And I am in the depths of promotion for my new book, DESERT BATHS. Wow, there’s lots of things to do. I have promo copies to give away and people to talk with.
Write speeches on Social Media and Novel Revision. I have a couple upcoming big presentations: a three-hour presentation on Social Media and a two-hour presentation on novel revision. The problem with the novel revision is condensing and focusing a weekend retreat into only two hours. The problem with the social media presentation is figuring out what I think about the mass of information I have, and then figure out how to present it. (If you run across any good articles on social media, any breaking news–please send me a link!)
Blog Projects. Of the several long-term projects for this blog, I will be working on some videos.
Write 750words.com. If all else fails, I will turn to 750words.com and write for 15-20 minutes without stopping.
Try something new. I could learn about Instagram, do a Pinterest tutorial, or write a sonnet. I like the sonnet idea.
Take a long walk. Walk and walk and walk and walk.
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on HenryIslandat an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
About the author:
Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel , sci fi doppelganger horror is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen's new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Bazler + Bray.
Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday."
The Interview: Q: What inspired you to write this book?
Gretchen: My publisher wanted another horror/suspense novel from me after POSSESS and I wanted to do a throwback to the old Christopher Pike and Agatha Christie novels I loved as a teen. Voila!
Q: The main character of my first book, I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE, is the kind of girl I wanted to be (a rock star!), the MC of my second book has a lot more in common with teenage me. Is your main character someone you wish you could be, someone a lot like you, or your total opposite? How so?
Gretchen: I think Meg is a lot like me in the she's cerebral, and constantly saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Though that's where the similarities end. Meg's much more introverted than I ever was.
Q: If there was a soundtrack for your book what are five songs that would be on it and how do they relate the story?
Gretchen: I'm going to wuss out and pick only one, but it's a goodie, trust me. "Kiss Off" by the Violent Femmes! I think the reason is obvious:
"I take one one one cause you left me and 2 2 2 for my family and 3 3 3 for my heartache and 4 4 4 for my headaches and 5 5 5 for my lonely and 6 6 6 for my sorrow and 7 7 for no tomorrow and 8 8 I forget what 8 was for and 9 9 9 for a lost god and 10 10 10 10 for everything everything everything everything"
Q: In addition to writing books, I also write for a website for teens called Rookie, which has a regular feature called "Literally The Best Thing Ever," wherein we write about a thing that we think is super mega awesome (even if it is the type of thing that others might call a guilty pleasure, we believe there is nothing guilty about pleasure!) and explain why we think it is literally the best thing ever. It's generally a kind of unexpected thing, for example I wrote one about the soap opera, One Life To Live. I don't expect you to write a whole essay obviously, but can you briefly tell us what either you or your character (or both!) would say is "Literally The Best Thing Ever" and why?
Gretchen: Right now I am completely obsessed with a shopping website called Mod Cloth – fun, retro inspired clothes from a huge variety of designers. Plus shoes. Plus tchotchkes. Like half my wardrobe in heavy rotation right now is from Mod Cloth, including most of the fun dresses I wear to appearances. It's reaching epidemic levels…
Q: What are you working on for us next? Gretchen: My next book is called 3:59 and comes out Fall 2013. It's sci-fi horror about two girls who are the same girl in different dimensions, who discover that their worlds connect every twelve hours – at 3:59 – for one minute. When they decide to switch places for a day, all hell breaks loose. Literally.
After that I just sold a two book series, also to Balzer + Bray, for 2014 and 2015. GET EVEN and GET DIRTY are books one and two in the Don't Get Mad series about four very different girls who have formed a secret revenge society, getting back at bullies and mean girls who have terrorized their classmates, which all goes well until one of their targets turns up dead and the society is implicated in the death.
September was filled with plenty of firsts: 1. We have our first terrarium in the house, and in a strange case of life imitating art (since my next picture book is about a family of snails), the girls wanted to have snails. We now have three of them. We also had one temporary tenant: a caterpillar that became a moth and fluttered off into the September sky.
2. First look at ZOE'S ROOM! The unbound galley arrived last week. It's always a treat to page through the book and see all of the art together after many, many months of work. The colors are striking and rich.
3. First visit to the Lake Shrine here in Pacific Palisades. We explored the meditation gardens that surround an exquisite lake. Turtles, dragonflies, and koi abound. The girls don't even mind that they have to be quiet.
4. First approval of sketches from Candlewick. This is my first book with Candlewick, and the process has been so enjoyable. I'm very eager to start painting.
5. First listen to the music for the SNIPPET trailer from my brother! May I just say—awesomeness.
6. First visit to Safari West on a full moon night. Is there anything better than being serenaded by wild critters while roughing it in a tent (okay, luxury cabin) under the harvest moon?
7. First set of sketches submitted for the new project I mentioned last month. Lots of nail biting here. It is both terrifying and exhilarating since the finished pieces will be done in a style unlike any of my picture books to date.
8. First offer for a book that I have not yet written. (Again, lots of nail biting.) 9. First time at the Casa Madrona in Sausalito. It was fun to be tourists in our home town.
10. First time my purchases of vintage books can be written off for a project. I think eBay is calling me now...
Peepy and I headed to the Green Room to get ready for our panel and to apologize to our Scholastic publicist, Lauren Felsenstein . . .
(That's Lauren, on the right, with newly minted Scholastic Publicity assistant Rachel Howard. The apologies were because when I landed in NY, I was beyond exhausted, having not slept in two days. So, I emailed Lauren and said I would have to miss anything going on on Sunday. Um. Oops. I had meant Saturday. Sunday was the book festival.)
As (the other) Lisa prepped in the glow of literary-ness, we spied our friend E.B. Lewis (again) sharing a snack with Peepy. Then we were instructed to storm the stage, or at least head toward it . . .
Our panel was on humor and though we tried to be high minded, I won't deny that the words "fart" and "barf," were mentioned more than once. (FYI, the person who is not Lisa, Lisa or Amy is Eric Wight.)
(I had no idea I that my arms flailed around that much.)
We had a blast! After, agent Barry Goldblatt, tried to talk Peepy into signing with him for her epic fashion memoir/astrophysics tell all . . .
(As you can guess, Peepy is being courted by all the top agents. She hasn't made a decision yet, but when she does, we will let you know.)
Next, we got ready for the Guys Read panel. Um, but Lisa, you say, or he says, or she says, or someone says," you are not a guy."
However, I write lots of books with guy protagonists, I am not afraid of snakes, and I don't get grossed out easily, so that qualified me to be the moderator!
Here's our panel . . .
Er. That wasn't the panel. That was a photo Lauren accidentally took of the floor. THIS is our panel . . .
(Find the photo of Gordon and I wearing our good clothes. And this is the time Gordon and I tried to decimate each other while Jon cheered us on.)
It was standing room only, and when I introduced everyone I made the dudes do guy-ish things . . .
It was so fun! I asked math questions (not), and even things my facebook friends had suggested. For example, fellow author Peter Lerangis suggested I ask, "Who does your hair?" (They are all bald-ish.)
Later, there was a book signing session . . .
I also ran into a lot of friends at the festival, like scary (if you don't believe me, check out his serial killer novel) Barry Lyga . . .
Barbara Kerley’s Sept 13 blog about strong opening paragraphs, Balloons, got me thinking about what makes a good closing. Typically writers and teachers reason that the last sentence needs to sum up, tie together, or provide closure to a narrative. But science, history, and other subjects such as human rights [a personal favorite] change, grow, and evolve without an end in sight, or a clear trajectory from the past. So the last paragraph is not necessarily end of story.
Years ago I wrote and photographed a book about the life and times of an eight-year-old dwarf. Her name is Jaime. This was the second book I authored and illustrated, and the first children’s book about dwarfism. I wanted it to be perfect. After spending months and months with Jaime, her family, and her friends, I had a large body of material to easily pare down to a thirty-two-page picture book. But I didn’t have an ending. Over and over I returned to Jaime’s home in New Jersey, trying to uncover that impeccable final phrase that would tie everything together. No luck.
Why couldn’t I get Jaime to say something like this: “Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.” Well, Virginia Woolf had already ended To the Lighthouse with that stunner. But my Jaime was so smart, so wise; she could have come up with something like that. I kept pushing, taping, waiting for a Virginia Woolf moment.
Finally in exasperation because I was driving him and this wonderful child crazy, my husband said, “She’s eight years old, for goodness sake! [He used stronger language.] She’s not ready for an ending.” Then he closed his eyes and pointed to a group of sentences on the storyboard mess of text and photos strewn across the floor. “There’s your ending.” Lo and behold, the last line was right there patiently waiting for its close up: "I’m like everybody else, just little.”
In my view the reader does need some kind of closure, but it need not be detailed, complete. I like books that allow the reader a little breathing space, space to wonder. My favorites are the ones where I wistfully reread the last lines before closing the cover.
There are gazillions of great endings in literature. One that particularly moves me is from Oliver Sacks’s Musicophila: “But to those who are lost in dementia, the situation is different. Music is no luxury to them, but a necessity, and can have a power beyond anything else to restore them to themselves, and to others, at least for a while.”
And you? When do you know your book, article or essay is complete? Please share your favorite endings – the ones you have written, and ones you wish you had written?
And Jaime? She’s become a beloved first grade teacher, who continues to think big, and is not nearly ready for her ending.
The idea isn't to read it in this state (which is single spaced and microscopic) but to get an overall sense of where the story stands. With the entire manuscript before you, you can determine what's working and what needs work.
There are a limitless number of ways a shrunken manuscript can be used. Grab a few markers, create a key, and use it to determine:
changes in voice for stories told in multiple points of view
instances of conflict
the story's movement through dialogue, thought, and action
Darcy's activity nicely paralleled the work I'd just completed before her retreat: the final drafting of May B. As I'd never written a verse novel before (and had only read two before trying!), the idea of a quilt unfolding square by square -- or poem by poem -- was largely what kept me moving forward. I trusted that certain themes and ideas would resurface as I wrote, just as certain patterns emerge as a quilt takes shape.
I've just finished drafting another historical verse novel and have kept this quilt concept in mind. On Wednesday I'll show you how I've used it in revision.
Confession: I know nothing about quilting. It's the metaphor that counts.
My findings aren't scientific. Hell, they aren't even findings so much as they're a realization from my own experience as an author of a series of Brown books.
I wrote the Del Rio Bay books back in 2006. From 2007 - 2009 the books graced the shelves. I remember being frustrated at how few stores I saw the books in. I'd have writer friends from all over the nation report DRB sightings at their local stores. I was always uplifted when I'd get one. But in my own home state of Maryland, I rarely found the books. And I did my fair share of book fairs, library visits and conferences - so let me be clear - I hit the road and internet promoting these books. So much so, it killed my creative mojo a little. To stump so much for the books and then hear from readers that they couldn't find the damned things was...de-motivating.
Still, my eye has always been on the health of the industry overall - not just on how well my books sold. It was the reason I co-founded, The Brown Bookshelf. So what's the verdict?
I find the industry is still not quite clear what to do when it comes to marketing Brown books. On one hand, they want to fill the void. On the other, the racial aspect frightens people into analysis paralysis. The marketing of the books are either over thought or over simplified.
Back in 2007 Dafina, Kimani-Tru, Jump at the Sun, Amistad and Lee and Low were at the forefront of putting these books on the shelves. Where are they now?
Dafina was Kensington's African American imprint. At the time there was no effort to keep the YA line separate and there should have been. They've figured that out now so, K-Teen was born. The line features a wide variety of books, which means the focus on Brown books has taken a backseat. Good strategy for Kensington...jury's still out on if it's a good move for their Brown books.
Kimani-Tru had the most promise in the arena. They were putting out a good number of very diverse books each year and the Kimani-Tru label on the spine signaled it was a YA book (great branding technique). So I'm sad to see that it seems to have been absorbed into Kimani-Press (primarily adult fiction by and for African Americans). From a marketing perspective, that's a step backward. I believe they're still producing YA but nowhere near 2007 levels.
Jump at the Sun published more "traditional" books featuring Brown characters i.e. historical fiction and stories revolved around urban protags. I always hoped they'd go outside of that specialty and embrace more diverse contemporary stories and some popular fiction. They didn't and from what I can tell, they're no longer around.
Amistad remains in the game and continues to produce high-end literary books. A plus, of course. But leaves little room for any Brown book outside of the literary niche.
Lee and Low produces a wide variety of children's book, targeting Brown readers. It's Tu Books imprint focuses specifically on sci-fi, mystery and fantasy books featuring diverse characters. It fills a much-needed void, for sure. They remain a key character in the Brown books game. The key being they've stuck to the original strategy - producing Brown books but marketing beyond that readership.
Conclusion I think Brown books are spread far and wide across the industry. So they're still out there. That means the effort itself is far from dead. However, there remains an underlying struggle to get these books noticed. But I stand by the solutions I've proposed throughout the series.They're a more simple fix than you'd expect.
Let the YA authors write YA
A book is a book is a book. No matter the race or ethnic background of a character, 99.9% of books are about the journey of the character. The marketing needs to revolve around that journey, period.
Use the formula: First, it's a book. Second, it's a YA book. Third, it falls into some sort of genre. Last, it's a book featuring a brown character.
Earlier this week, I went to see a musical concert.
I wasn’t wildly keen to go. In fact, for several days before I’d been doing that kind of inner writer grumble about how I needed to be working – though I wasn’t - on the currently struggling tome and how what I needed time and space and peace and quiet and . . . .You know the sort of thing, I’m sure. It was a mild internal strop that might have appeared as a huff and glower every hour or so.
However, I went, and two things happened. The concert was actually enjoyable, enthusiastic and funny. And - which is why I am not going to tell you the name of the band - I found just the face I’d needed for ages. (The one below isn't it!)
Please don’t start thinking about truly gross tv makeovers or transplants. The face wasn’t for me personally. I needed it for a significant character in the above-mentioned tome.
I had searched around for images on the web. So often the faces offered there are not quite right, or too full of an established or celebrity persona to be truly useable. For example, even if one chose Johnny Depp in his quiet and thoughtful J.M. Barrie mode, I am sure that Captain Jack would come swashbuckling into the writing before very long.
There were difficulties about the look I required. The face (and head) needed to have a certain lean, bony elegance but also be capable of being disguised for more than a midnight moment. So there’d be trouble if I’d added a prominent purple nose, or shock of bright ginger hair, or flashing emerald eyes or a crooked scar running from forehead to chin, or worse, all four, even if I was writing him like that. (I wasn’t!)
But now I’m feeling peaceful. I’ve seen The Face. It’s a good, malleable sort of face and I’ve seen the build and the movement of the body that goes with it. The face I saw is strong and thoughtful (and probably a deeply wonderful and caring person) but not so strong that I can’t layer nasty intentions and a cunning mind upon the poor innocent chap.
Of course, he won’t be the same. I will – as one does – take that flicker of memory, transmute that image into someone else entirely, and add all the nuances and personal history that this entirely new fictional person requires. All that will be left is the faintest echo of a face possibly once seen across a crowded hall. The Face has become something and someone else entirely
So today, returning to the tome, I am pleased. Now I have the face, a certain part of the struggle might become easier. He’s important: the main antagonist in an exciting adventure. I’m just sorry he can’t take his musical instrument along with him.
So that’s how it works for me, how a fictional character grows in my particular head. Sometimes I’ll stitch together – seamlessly – fragments from more than one person: a gesture here, a tone of voice there, a clothing detail from somewhere else.
I’m always fascinated by the way that other writer’s work. Some have amazing scrapbooks of postcards and cuttings, or artist’s notebooks filled with drawings of characters that are good enough to be illustrations. I even recall, ages ago, the author Anne Fine showing the Christmas magazine cover that gave her the idea for the central character for The Angel of Nitshill Road.
So, if you aren’t off scanning the scurrying crowds for the face you need, where do you get your characters from?
Today's post is Part 2 of the four part series on obstacles to creating an information ebook.
For many, the thought of writing an ebook can make you feel like you’re at the base of an enormous mountain. A mountain you want to climb. Looking at it, your gaze goes up and up and up and up. It may seem there’s no end to it. It may seem it’s insurmountable. There are just too many obstacles, it’s just too big.
Well, if you tackle one obstacle at a time, you’ll find it easier to get in gear and write, write, write.
There are two information ebook obstacles that many people have difficulty overcoming. The first is that they don’t know what to write about. The second is they don’t believe they’re an expert, therefore they don’t feel qualified to offer advice.
Below is listed each obstacle and its solution.
1. You’re not an expert in anything.
This is a common obstacle to writing an ebook. What gives you the qualifications, the expertise to offer others advice?
Interestingly, you know more than you think. If you’ve read three or four books on a topic, you know more about that subject than 90 percent of other people.
Along with this, according to ebook and marketing expert Jim Edwards, an expert is anyone who can answer someone’s questions. It’s that simple. And, what’s great about the internet is if you don’t have the answers, you can find them.
As a writer, research is second nature. But, even if you’re not a writer, finding out about a particular topic is no further than your fingertips. Simply type in a keyword search and let the search engine do its magic. Within seconds you’ll have links to lots of information you can use to answer questions. Enough information to write the ebook.
Still feeling overwhelmed with the thought of having to research a topic or actually having to organize the new found information into an ebook format? Well, there’s another solution. According to Edwards, hire a researcher or hire a ghostwriter to do the research and write the entire ebook for you.
2. You’re not sure what topic to write about.
This is another common problem you may face when thinking of writing an information ebook. If you’re not an expert in a particular niche already, you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of choosing a profitable topic.
But, it’s not difficult at all to find a ‘hot’ topic to write about. The news, online book stores, and social media are full of topics that are worth writing about. Type in a keyword at Amazon and see how many ebooks and books come up. If there’s a lot of information out there on the topic, it’s a ‘hot’ topic, a potential money making topic. Just put your own spin or insights into it and make it your own.
Another Amazon trick is to plug a keyword in and Amazon will automatically give you the top ranking related keywords. This is also a helpful way to create a title for your ebook.
Again, finding a topic for an information ebook is pretty easy. You simply need to find a topic that people are having a problem with, have a question about, or have roadblocks to. Your job will be to write something geared toward solving problems, answering questions, or overcoming roadblocks particular to your target audience.
Missed the other Parts of the Series? Click on the links:
Synopsis (from Indiebound): Guided by a tattered map, accompanied by Thomas the Pig Boy, and inspired by the storyteller’s blood that thrums through her veins, eleven-year-old Trinket searches for the seven stories she needs to become a bard like her father, who disappeared years before. She befriends a fortune-telling gypsy girl; returns a child stolen by the selkies to his true mother; confronts a banshee and receives a message from a ghost; helps a village girl outwit—and out-dance—the Faerie Queen; travels beyond the grave to battle a dastardly undead Highwayman; and meets a hound so loyal he fights a wolf to the death to protect the baby prince left in his charge. All fine material for six tales, but it is the seventh tale, in which Trinket learns her father’s true fate, that changes her life forever.
Why I liked it: The best thing about the book, of course, is Trinket! She comes across as very real, human, flawed and yet lovable. She wants desperately to be a good storyteller as her father was, but she's shy about actually telling the stories to people they meet. So she listens and observes and gathers the tales for later telling. I had no trouble guessing what happened to her father, but I doubt a tween reader would figure it out. Filled with vivid descriptions, this book has a decidedly medieval flavor and stories based on Celtic folklore. My favorites are the Selkie's tale and the Banshee's tale. The Seven Tales of Trinket would make a perfect read-aloud.
You might recognize Shelley Moore Thomas as the author of the adorable Good Knight series of picture books and young readers. This is her first middle grade novel.
And here's the giveaway I promised you last week. I will use random.org to choose one lucky winner of my hardcover copy. The rules are simple: You must be a follower and you must leave a comment on this post. International entries welcome. This giveaway will end at 11:00 pm EDT on Saturday October 14, 2012. Good luck!
When I studied the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in grad school, I heard the word "magical realism" overwhelmingly. We talked a lot about the concept as defined by his work, and by the work of Latin American writers. We also talked about how... Read the rest of this post
I watched Looper two nights ago, and since coming out of the movie theater I've been trying to work out just why this film left me feeling so unimpressed. It's not that there's anything wrong with Looper, which in fact wears the crown of intelligent, thought-provoking SF filmmaking better than almost any other claimant to that title in the last few years. It's well-made, intelligent, and