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Since this is Autism Awareness Month we want to remind you of some of our great titles featuring children (both real and fictional) with autism. Many of these titles have won awards and are excellent books to read to kids to help them understand more about autism and autism spectrum disorders. Pick up a copy today.
Autism & Me: Sibling Stories by Ouisie Shapiro, photos by Steven Vote
• A 2010 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
• IRA-CBC Children’s Choices 2010
Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism by Laurie Lears, illustrated by Karen Ritz
• 2002 Children’s Crown Gallery Award Master List
• Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
• Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities 1999, International Board on Books for Young People
• Pick of the Lists, American Bookseller
Looking after Louis by Lesley Ely, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Waiting for Benjamin: A Story about Autism by Alexandra Jessup Altman, illustrated by Susan Keeter
• Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities 2009, International Board on Books for Young People
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Blog: WOW! Women on Writing Blog (The Muffin)
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, writing contest
, Rory Falcon
, cash prize
, quote contest
, publication prize
, special needs children
, Wicked Wise
, Asperger's Syndrome
, Add a tag
Pull Out Your Pens, it’s Time for a Writing Contest!Quote Contest: "Roryisms" - Show Stopping Statements from the Viewpoint of Rory FalconDates:
September 12 - November 30, 2011What is a "Roryism"?
Amy Lewis Faircloth, co-author of Wicked Good
A "Roryism" is a statement which makes the conversation stop because it is so unexpected. Joanne, at age 6, might have invented the Roryism when she announced that she wanted to be a bus driver. My son, however, has perfected the Roryism. For example, while at the Bangor International Airport, we watched as army soldiers debarked from a flight from Mississippi and waited for their flight to Afghanistan. Because there were so many soldiers, my son remarked that they must have come in on several planes. When told that they had all been on one plane, he exclaimed, “they flew in the freakin’ Titanic”; a conversation stopper, and funny.
A Roryism can be instructive: “never marry a porn star.” A Roryism can be observant: “there is no woman like the woman you love.” A Roryism can be declaratory: “dogs and cats fight more when there is a full moon because they can see better.” A Roryism can be insightful: “It’s not the fear of dying that gets to cancer patients; it’s the fear of dying alone.”
For this contest, a Roryism must sound as if it comes from the viewpoint of Rory Falcon, a very special character in the novel Wicked Good
.Prize: $100 Prepaid Credit Card and winning quote will be published in Wicked Wise
, book two in the Wicked series.Contest Run Dates: September 12, 2011 - November 30, 2011Winner Announcement:
One lucky winner will be announced Wednesday, December 7, 2011 on The Muffin
in a post highlighting The Top 10 Roryisms.Judges:
Authors Amy Lewis Faircloth and Joanne Lewis; WOW!
Women On Writing editor Margo DillRules & Regs:
Open to anyone who purchases a copy of Wicked Good
either as an e-book or print copy. Book may be purchased at www.amyandjoanne.com
. Wicked Good
is also available for purchase in both print and e-book formats at Amazon
and at Barnes & Noble
- You may enter as many times as you wish. Roryisms may be of any length and must be told in the character of Rory Falcon.
- Please include WOW! RORYISM CONTEST in the subject line. Please include your name and email address in your submission so we may contact you if you win. Upon submission you will receive an auto-response that your submission has been received.
- Entries must be received no later that midnight pacific time on November 2
Every once in a while I run across one of those stories with a main character so beyond the bounds of my everyday existence I marvel at how anyone could create her/him and do so in such a believable way.
Erskine has done so with her character, Caitlin. A fifth-grader, Caitlin has Asperger's Syndrome. She's really smart but has a really tough time understanding and expressing emotion. Maneuvering through life means learning an exhausting list of facial expressions that decode what what people are thinking and/or what they really mean. Add to that that the the person who helped her maneuver the world, her older brother, has been killed in a school shooting.
Erskine bites off a huge chunk of storytelling with her character and the external event of a school shooting. She maneuvers both phenomenally. Caitlin is one of the best characters I've read lately. I had no idea what it's like inside the mind of a child with Asperger's. Erskine gives her readers a glance. It's a glance that doesn't pity. It doesn't minimize. It is. As such, I came to both empathize and understand Caitlin. It's a phenomenal bit of writing. Add to it weaving Caitlin's story seamlessly together with the affects of a school shooting on a community and exploring how to find "closure" and this work moves from phenomenal to unforgettable.
The one aspect of this novel that I was less impressed with was that it, like When You Reach Me
, relies on an outside piece of art, in this instance To Kill a Mockingbird
, to carry part of the story. One day I may do this myself and kick myself for not understanding or for finding fault with this particular writer's tool at present, but when a writer can weave as well as Erskine, story doesn't need outside art to support it, or deepen the emotional resonance. It's already there. And there in spades. For me, bringing in the outside world in this way detracts from the story being told. It pulls me outside Caitlin's story. It also expects a lot from that external art and the reader. I'd hazard a guess that not many children today have seen, To Kill a Mockingbird
. Thus, what effect will the film really have on the reader? Wouldn't a fictional film do the job even better by staying within story by being a created part of it?
If you're looking for a deep story about school shootings, how they affect a community, what it must be like to "feel" and perceive the world as a person with Asperger's all wrapped into a story that pulls you toward it in a gentle but insistent way, read Mockingbird
. There is so much here. Much to discuss. Critique. Enjoy. Ponder. And grow from.
For other great Spring diversions, hop over to Barrie Summy's website
. She's got temptations galore!
Dear Miss Snark,
This is probably a nit-wit question, but I'm curious, so I'll go stand in the nit-wit corner and ask anyway. Have you ever gotten a creative query? (ie. A query for a pirate book on the back of a treasure map. Or maybe a package with a skeleton key, a shot glass, and a golf ball with the query saying "These were the only clues left for Detective Sly in the case of the missing golfer". Or perhaps a query in a mock up of the book they are trying to sell.) If you do get creative queries, are they annoying or welcome? I'm itching to send a creative query, but wondering if this would make me look bad. If so, I'll stuff my creativity into the trash and force myself into conformity.
Oh yes, I get these. They go directly in the trash.
Do NOT do this.
I don't care if anyone tells you they did it and got published. Don't do this.
First, if you're querying a lot of agents, you're going to spend a lot of money. Save your money for promotion where you'll need it.
Second, at the query stage of the process we're determining interest in your IDEA and getting a sense of your writing. Making this difficult, ie printing something on a treasure map, is counter productive.
Third, at some point in this process you have to write something that can be placed on the scanner of a black and white xerox machine and reproduced 50 times for the acquisitions committee to pick at. It might as well be now.
And don't think of this as forcing yourself into conformity. Think of this as following the directions so that you and your brilliant idea and writing can shine through.
The place for showing your brilliant origianl creative work is when I call you after reading your query letter and start begging for more.
Hi Miss Snark,
I have a handful of technical non-fiction credits to my name, and I'd like to move more into mainstream non-fiction, but I'm not quite sure if the querying differs. For fiction, I understand, you want your manuscript complete, edited, and ready. For non-fiction, which has considerable cost and time requirements, is the process the same? For technical writing, usually a query consists of no more than an outline and pointers to other publications.
With several topics in mind, I don't know if the best use of time is to pick one that I like, and start off on it, or begin querying for interest first.
Querying non fiction is much different. You need to consult some of the very handy books on How to Write Non Fiction Book Proposals. You can find them in your library, or the writing reference section of any bookstore. There are zillions of them. You will have to cough up a sample chapter though; it's not just an outline and a list of competing titles.
Dear Miss Snark:
I wrote an unusual memoir in the voice of an elderly relative. The preface is written in my voice, which includes my own personal memories of the person who narrates the story. The subject's voice then begins with an introduction that follows the preface.
My question: when a literary agent asks for the first five pages, do I send the first five from the preface (the actual beginning) that is written in my voice or the first five written in the narrator's voice, which is the voice that is carried throughout the book but follows the preface?
My second question: would a literary agent who typically requests on their website that you include the first five pages be turned off by someone who sends twenty-five pages by snailmail? It is written on a subject that the agent is very interested in, and I figure that the first twenty-five will cover an example of both voices.
Thanks for your snarkly opinion.
1. Send the first five pages of chapter one, not the preface. Explain there is a preface in your cover letter.
2. What part of "follow the directions" doesn't apply to you? Alright then: five pages. Not 25.
If I want more, I'm pretty sure you'll be glad to tell me how to reach you and send it to me. If I don't like five, you've wasted paper and postage. FOLLOW THE DAMN DIRECTIONS.
3. Here's the answer to the question you didn't ask: if you write a memoir about someone else, it's not a memoir unless you're the ghost writer. It's biography or narrative non fiction.
My submission for nitwittery follows:
I am moving towards completion of what I can only describe as a humorous memoir, and as I begin girding myself for the query process I keep stumbling over the question of what to submit.
My problem is, the darned memoir reads like fiction, not a traditional non-fiction work, and a submission of several chapters will present it a lot more effectively than a non-fiction proposal. It’s really more like narrative fiction. Are you going to slap me around and tell me to shut up and send a proposal? If so, is there any resource that deals with constructing a proposal for a memoir? The genre seems to be largely ignored in the “how to query” resources I have seen.
Also, while you’re slapping….in the event that one were to receive a request for, say, three sample chapters of whatever they are pitching, is there a convention on the chronology of chapters that you send? First three? First, middle, end?
Memoir is non-fiction, but it's acquired like a novel. That is, on chapters not a proposal. You'll write a cover letter and include sample pages using the agent's instructions for fiction writers. Don't just send three chapters to everyone cause the not-so-subliminal message there is "sent by a nitwit".
As for order: 1, 2, 3. If you send 1 and anything other than 2 I stop at 1.
Late last year I finished writing a "work for hire" manuscript of a travel guide to Spain, due to be published in the spring of '08. My questions are 1) at what point can I claim this as a pub. credit (i.e. do I have to wait until next year?) and 2) how do I reference this kind of work, as I have no rights as the author?
You can claim it now. You write "I completed the work for hire project Senorita Snark Slinks Through Seville (Publisher: forthcoming 2008)".
You mention it only if you don't have anything else to mention. As pub credits go, this isn't top drawer but at least it's something.
Agents understand your name won't be on the cover or copyright page. On the other hand don't be tempted to embellish. You don't know if I know the publisher or will check up on what you tell me.