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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: richard, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. An Eraser-Free Workshop and the Language We Use for Talking About It

When I visit a classroom, one of the first things I often say to kids is, "Today, please don't erase. I want to see ALL the great work you are doing as a writer. When you erase, your work disappears!" Often, this is what kids are accustomed to and they continue working away. But sometimes, kids stare at me as if I've got two heads.

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2. Flash-Drafting Leads to Large-Scale Revision

Flash-drafting helps get thoughts down on the page quickly so writers are open to large-scale revisions.

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3. It Feels Good…

It was one of those days where writing workshop just felt good. Here’s a little recap of the highlights. First thing this morning, I implemented the things I’m learning from Martha Horn from listening to her speak and from reading her book, Talking, Drawing, Writing, which she wrote with Mary Ellen Giacobbe. Writing workshop was [...]

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4. Best First Draft

When students move from their notebook to draft, I encourage them to write their best first draft. (Click here to see other posts I’ve written about best first drafts.) Something that I’m always… Read More

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5. The Next Big Thing Meme

The fabulous Lori M. Lee tagged me for this one! I'm going to cheat a bit and tell you about both my about-to-be-published book and my WIP, because ERMAHGERD, guys, I'm so excited for both of them. Okay? Okay.

(Side note: those of you who have added my book on Goodreads, THANK YOU, but that isn't the official Goodreads page. My publisher didn't make it. And whoever did mixed me up with another author, so...yeah. Not me. I'll let you guys know when there's a book to add--it'll be around the time that I get to share my title with all of you!)


Still can't tell! But I CAN tell you that I submitted it as FOR EVERY LIFE, which is a reference to Newton's Third Law of Motion, and I CAN tell you that the title of my WIP is MEMENTO MORI, which is Latin for "remember you will die." Mori is also the name of my protagonist (who's dying. Shocker, huh?)




UNTITLED (we'll just call it that for now--isn't it easier?) actually began as two short stories--one about an abandoned imaginary friend, and one about a girl who tries to commit suicide. UNTITLED is their lovechild. I'm not sure where the ideas for the two original short stories came from, but I knew there was a connection between them and I knew I wanted to develop that connection into a full-length novel.

MEMENTO, on the other hand, has been sitting in the back of my mind for...a year? Two? I don't remember where the idea came from, or when I got it, but I remember thinking, "I have to write this story. I have to." 


UNTITLED is YA contemporary with a touch of magical realism. MEMENTO is YA contemporary with a touch of ice cream (or a lot of ice cream).


Something about UNTITLED: there are no descriptions of the character's appearances. None. I want people to be able to see themselves in Liz and Kennie and Julia. I want them to be able to see their friends. I want the characters to be anyone, everyone. So no actors :)

As for MEMENTO....I don't know I'm just really bad with actors and stuff okay LEAVE ME ALONE


UNTITLED is about a girl who tries to end her short and catastrophic attempt at life, told from the perspective of her abandoned imaginary friend.

MEMENTO MORI is about a girl with half an immune system, a boy with half of his muscles, a cat named Schrödinger, and the road trip they take to solve the paradox of life.


UNTITLED is coming out in fall of 2014 from Greenwillow/HarperCollins. MEMENTO MORI is not currently under contract.


I wrote the first draft of UNTITLED during NaNoWriMo 2012--so, a month. I'm actually super proud of that, mostly because November was a rough month for me, and I was under word count the entire time. I managed to pound out something like 13K in the last two days. Then I revised for about two months, and it sold the following February.

As for MEMENTO...well. I've been drafting for the last four months or so, and I have about another 15K to go.



MEMENTO: Hmmm....I'm not sure. My CP says it reminds him a bit of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, except, you know, far less AMAZEBALLS.


"Isn't this basically the same as question #2?"

Lori's answer, which I'm seconding. 


UNTITLED is told by an imaginary friend, which opened up these incredible options for the story. The story is actually told in a non-linear fashion--there are three main times: a countdown from seven days before Liz crashes her car, a countdown of the hour before Liz crashes her car, and the day after Liz crashes her car. And there's a chapter with eleven words. I love that chapter.

In MEMENTO, Mori has written letters to the dead for as long as she can remember, and the book is actually her last notebook of letters. Among the addressees: Maurice Sendak, Gregory Peck, Nannerl Mozart, Georgiana Cavendish, and, of course, Schrödinger. I really love playing around with narration (have you noticed?)

I'm tagging fellow Greenwillow author Chessie Zappia, whose book ASK AGAIN LATER sounds totally amazefrackingballs and Mark O'Brien, because he's working on this new MS that I want everyone to be excited about. Take it away, guys!

2 Comments on The Next Big Thing Meme, last added: 9/11/2013
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6. Using the Cut-and-Tape Method to Draft

As a district, we have experimented with several ways to get students' writing out of the notebooks and into a draft. This is one of those ways.

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7. Feedback

My students and I agreed to a form that I would use to provide them with feedback on the drafts of their research-based essays.  We decided that it was a comprehensive way for me to quickly inform them whether their writing was clear and factual on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis (They’re only turning in the three [...]

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8. process

“How do I know what I think until I see what I say.” E.M. Forster once said.

Right. I’ve got to see it. Sometimes I have an idea, occasionally. Most of them aren’t very good but every once in a while I’ll get one I like. But the idea is always out of focus. The way for me to get it into focus is to write. I don’t know what the thought is, how it fits beside other thoughts, until the act of writing allows me to try to make sense of it.

When we’re in the final stages of a manuscript we need to be analytical but at first we have to get words, lots of words, on paper. So for me the drafting stage (those usually three misshapen and embarrassing attempts at a true draft) should rely on intuition more. I don’t mean that you don’t worry, think, consider, struggle with choices, use all the skills you have, but that you do your best to get to that altered state writing requires and BE THERE in the manuscript. What happens should flow from your experiencing the world through your characters, a more sensual than intellectual experience. Again, be there in the scene and your being there will help you know what to put in and what to leave out and where to go with the story.

Probably as you revise the manuscript, after drafting, you’ll need to be more analytical about the story. But you will still need to enter that altered state in places and BE THERE in order to make the scenes work once you’ve decided they belong. So these revisions, however many they are (I remember reading an interview with Hemingway where he said he rewrote the ending of one of his novels thirty times), will be some combination of analysis in both big picture and details and working locally in that altered, intuitive state. If you’re like me, you’ll probably rewrite certain parts five or ten times and others only a few. At any rate, you’ll go over the whole manuscript many, many times for language etc..

When you’re doing the final runs, that’s when you need to be analytical. You need to rely more on assessment rather than intuition though you’ll still, no doubt, be fiddling with the language. I always am. Making good sentences is a burden and joy.

Or so I think today.

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So someone is suing Ms. Rowling for a billion dollars (or some other ridiculous amount) again because they think, 'The Goblet of Fire' rips off some unknown book from the 1990s. That and a line in my current WIP made me wonder if we'll see more of these claims now that so many writers are blogging excerpts from their WIPs - obviously, I don't mean the wonderful people who visit my blog because we're all sane. Well most of us are and those who aren't, well you know who you are. Okay, must stop looking at myself in the mirror, anyway...

I read a line on an LJ blog a week or so ago and I thought, 'not bad' and a few people commented on this person's rather cool line/idea. Cue a few days later, while redrafting Grim Glass Vein, I read a similar line (not the same words but running along the same theme) in the second draft. Now, I am the sort of person who worries about things that most (rational) people would ignore. So, I went into a spin as to whether I should remove this line - after all, it's one sentence - but it is kind of pivotal to the story line and it's good and well, I came by it honestly about three to six months (the previous draft was composed sometime between Aug 09 and Nov 09) before reading this other person's line. The crux is though, prove it...

And thus, I worry.

*The wardens shouldn't unlock my cell door and let my thoughts escape, but I pay them very well.
**Thank goodness I'll never make squillions and no one will ever want to sue me. Oops, shouldn't really tempt the gods, my bad.

12 Comments on , last added: 2/24/2010
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10. First Draft Writing

When I was first learning about Writing Workshop, it was difficult for me to wrap my head around the process each student would be going through. I spent a lot of time thinking and re-thinking the writing process and the way it would become individualized. Going from idea to notebook to draft to publication seemed [...]

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11. WIP Wednesday - Draft Dodger

Dear First Draft,

I appreciate that you don't 'do' perfection and that your purpose is to get the story down on paper regardless of pretty words or sensible sentences. But leading someone into a lair (I know it's an undertakers, but seriously!!!) and following it by having a character say our MC has a 'similar, vicious soul' to the big bad of the book when she quite clearly doesn't and never did have. I think I just vomited... Or rather, you did.

Your 'sixteenth chapter' sucks big time.

Cate xxxx

PS On second thoughts, the kisses are removed.

Dear Second Draft in Progress,

You know removing 'lair' and 'vicious soul' is okay, but you really haven't got to grips with what's happening in this scene. It's all blah-blah-BeingDeathisPoop-blah-ScaryManDoesn'tUnderstandMe-Blah-IDon'tUnderstandMe-SeveralMoreParagraphsofBlah.


PS You've yet to earn your kisses.

15 Comments on WIP Wednesday - Draft Dodger, last added: 4/22/2010
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12. Highlights from the Week

I have been in a lot of different writing workshops lately. Just this week I’ve been in 13 writing workshops and have met with 13 different teachers in either reflective practice meetings or planning meetings. Therefore, I have SO MUCH I want to record. Which leads me to my current dilemma: what do I not [...]

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13. Taking Time to Reflect Leads to More Accurate Teaching Decisions

Today I found myself understanding the writing process more deeply. Primary writers work through the writing process by layering each phase on a single copy of their writing. They plan a story across pages, first touching each page and telling the story, then sketching. They draft by adding words to the pictures. They revise by going [...]

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14. Drafting

If you are a regular reader, you know a lot of my thinking lately has been about writing process, and specifically nudging third grade writers into more traditional drafts. Today’s post is a collection of my thoughts about drafting. I hope it is applicable to a range of writers — not a specific grade level. [...]

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15. Why Royalties?: A Response to Richard Charkin

Below Evan Schnittman shares his personal opinions on royalties and advances. This isn’t Oxford University Press’s official stance - but represents just one of the many opinions floating around our office on this very tricky subject. We hope that by sharing his views an open dialog can be initiated.

In his blog post Royalties Macmillan CEO Richard Charkin, posits that trade publishers and authors/agents would be well served if the standard for paying authors switched from a percentage of retail price to a percentage of gross earnings. He writes, “How about agreeing new equitable royalty rates based on real money not a notional recommended retail price?

Charkin also points out that, “The percentage is linked to a price which applies in only a minority of cases. It doesn’t apply to all sales overseas; it doesn’t apply to nearly all sales made in supermarkets, Internet bookshops and many bookshop chains.” In other words, paying on the percentage of a price that isn’t applicable to the majority of income isn’t logical or easy – which may lead to wildly confusing royalty statements.

As expected, within hours a series of rebuttals hit the comments field by individuals and groups rejecting Charkin’s notion as folly; stating the view that the retail price is the only thing that is transparent on publishers’ royalty statements, which are notoriously mysterious and murky at best.

While the debate will continue, it misses a far more important problem. (more…)

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16. Freakonomics a Response

Richard L. Revesz is co-author, with Michael A. Livermore, of Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health, which makes clear that by embracing and reforming cost-benefit analysis, and by joining reason and compassion, progressive groups can help enact strong environmental and public health regulation. Revesz is the Dean of New York University School of Law. In the article below Revesz responds to an article in the N.Y. Times Magazine.

In the N.Y. Times Magazine, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner discuss three seemingly unrelated stories about a deaf woman in Los Angeles, a first-century Jewish sandal maker, and the red-cockaded woodpecker. The commonality in these stores, the essay argues, is that they were all the unintended victims of well-meaning regulation – the Americans with Disabilities Act, an ancient Jewish law forgiving debts every seventh year, and the Endangered Species Act, respectively. (more…)

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17. Poetry Friday: An Ode to Brads

I liked the photo I attached to yesterday’s SOLSC Post so much that I tried to replicate it with another photograph of my crystal-like brads (aka: fasteners). Since it’s Poetry Friday, I decided to take another stab at writing an ode, which I haven’t tried since July. An Ode to the Crystal-Like Brads on My [...]

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18. Draft Plans for Literary Essays

My students are going to be drafting while I’m out of the room doing reading assessments this-coming Thursday. Hence, I’m a little bit panicked since I don’t like being out of the room on days when kids are selecting a seed idea or when they start drafting. (I have an amazing guest teacher… [...]

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19. Writing Things That Make Me Happy

1. Noticing the growth in a young writer: I conferred with one of my students today who fought with me tooth-and-nail at the beginning of the school year when it came to elaborating. Today, he had six pages-worth (double-spaced) of writing for his literary essay draft! This makes me happy. [...]

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20. Another Way of Responding to Student Writing

My comments about a student’s memoir (draft one) Originally uploaded by teachergal This is the other way I respond to my students’ drafts for all assignments. I always attach a short narrative with my thinking about their writing. It’s almost like having a mini-conference (except [...]

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21. I’m sitting reading memoirs…

My students’ first drafts (of their memoirs) are filled with truth and emotion. I started reading them yesterday during Workshop time since some of the kids went home and completed them for homework. Then, I read some last night and began again this evening. Though I cannot scan them and post them [...]

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22. Shifting Gears: From Drafting to Revision and Editing

Poetry is one of my favorite genres to teach. I simply love the way the genre empowers ALL kids to have success with their words. (Quite frankly, I wish I could teach it in November, right before personal essay, but for some reason it never happens that way! Making it the last [...]

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23. Moving from Storyboards to Drafts.

In Keith Bollman’s fifth grade class, students are beginning to consider moving into drafts.  They’ve envisioned their writing and are moving out of the rehearsal stage and into drafting.  Today I taught them how to stretch a scene.  The Great Pumpkin Switch by Megan Mcdonald and Ted Lewin  is one of the texts in play in the [...]

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24. Learning More About Conventions Through the Close-Study of a Text

I’ve been thinking a lot about conventions and their importance. Without proper conventions, how can a piece of writing hold its own? All of our young writers need to realize that published writers use conventions when they’re drafting, not just as an editing tool. There’s a new book coming out on Tuesday, [...]

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25. Feedback

My students and I agreed to a form that I would use to provide them with feedback on the drafts of their research-based essays.  We decided that it was a comprehensive way for me to quickly inform them whether their writing was clear and factual on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis (They’re only turning in the three [...]

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