Awesome concept and video

Brian Selznick has a new book coming out.  Wonderstruck (Scholastic, September 20011) contains two story lines.  He tells one through the text and one through the illustrations.  Check out the trailer here:

Not only does it sound like an awesome story (don’t I wish I had 1) thought of it and 2) had the artistic talent to pull it off) but check out the effects in the trailer.  Not super flashy but . . . perfect.

Now off to my library site to see if I can request the book yet . . . yep.  I’ve put in request #5 . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . .



I got to thinking about characterization this morning after reading the following quote on a blog:

“Everybody’s first novel is autobiographical.”

My response?  Yes and no.  It all depends on how you define autobiographical.

My first novel manuscript is about a girl who can speak to wolves.  (Nope, I can’t do that.)  I knew I had nailed the characterization when a critiquer said, “You’re a youngest child, aren’t you?  You did such a great job portraying a youngest child having to cope with an overbearing older sibling.”

I thanked her while I smiled like a wild thing inside.

You see — I am the overbearing oldest child.  The good news is that I had nailed my characterization.  My youngest child character and her relationship with her older sister were believable.  Now, my youngest sister would probably scream bloody murder if someone told her I had successfully crawled into the mind of a youngest child, but I did it.

In part, I succeeded because I know what my sister thinks.  We are not a subtle pair, she and I.  But I also succeeded because I found things in my character’s situation that I could identify with — people trying to tell her what to do and her having to deal with stumbling over a family skeleton or two.  Who hasn’t been lied to?  Or had to deal with someone who doesn’t understand limits?

While this character isn’t me, I can identify with her situation — in part.  So is the story autobiographical.  Not really.  But that’s also what makes it fiction.


Look at Me!

Me and my copies!

A couple of week ago, Thriving Family  (Summer 2011) came in the mail. I vaguely remembered requesting the free subscription — possible market and all that.  As I read though it, I thought, “I can write like this.”

Then I turned the page to “Faith on the Go.”  On June 11th, I saw a familiar looking activity.  “Hey, I did do this!  It’s my activity!”

I had already deposited the check and was patiently awaiting my author’s copies but didn’t remember which issue was going to run my work. What a fun surprise!

My author’s copies have since arrived.  Now to come up with something new for this market.


Goals as June Draws to a Close

Deadlines.  Deadlines do amazing things for your word count.  Last week I pulled down 8295 words, and, if you saw my house, you would be utterly amazed.  A-M-A-Z-E-D.

We are tearing out a bathroom.  As in down to studs.  By we, I mean my husband.  We have also discovered that said bathroom isn’t big enough for two people bent on destruction.  Not two people who have any affection for each other.  Two people who didn’t mind accidentally beaning each other would be just dandy.  But this means that the cabinet is in the family room.  The trash can is in the hall.  And all of their toiletries — my bathroom.

Because this just wasn’t enough.  We are also redoing my son’s bedroom.  His bed is lurking in the center of the room but everything he owns is in either the living room or the dining room.

Translation:  Nothing is wear it should be in Casa Edwards.  I had to move an electric toothbrush that somehow made it to my desk so that I could add up last week’s word count.

And this is my life.

Can’t find time to write?  Think again.

My goals for this week are:

  1. Rewrite my last article for the  CW annual guide and turn it in.  Done!
  2. Solicit and collect interviews for piece #2 in the rotation, another craft piece for CW.  Write it and turn it in.  Done!
  3. Solicit interviews for piece #3 in the rotation.  This is a markets piece for the newsletter. I have commitments for 2/3 of my interviews.  In progress.
  4. Work on a new pitch for  In progress.
  5. 5 posts for One Writer’s Journey.  In progress.
  6. Post a review on the Bookshelf.
  7. 1 post for PrayPower.  Done!
  8. Write my posts for the Church blog.  Done!
  9. Brainstorm some new writing ideas.
  10. Work on plan for middle grade rewrite.  In progress.
Good luck with all of your goals for this week!  I’m 98% that you have time to write.

Book Trailers

If you’re anything like me, you watch book trailers, you read about book trailers and why they are so important, and you think, good thing I don’t have a book.  The fact of the matter is that I figure out technology when I have to and not one moment earlier.

But Jing might actually inspire me to give this whole video thing a whirl.

Jing is a free program that allows you to capture whatever is showing on your computer screen — such as a slide show — as well as audio.   Book trailers.  How to videos.  About the author.

This could really come in handy.  If any of you give it a try, let me know and I’ll link to your videos!


Subplots, waffling and rewrites

As I’ve been planning my middle grade rewrite . . . avoiding and planning are really quite similar . . . I’ve been waffling over the possibilities for subplots.  I really and truly do need to create a subplot and where sub plots are concerned, I am oh so picky. It must be carefully woven in and strongly parallel the main story to make me happy.

My favorite fish.

Originally, my main character was a competitive swimmer.  I tucked that little detail into the beginning and then promptly did nothing whatsoever with it.  In fact, I so completely abandoned it that I decided to cut it from the story.

But now my son is on swim team.  I am spending scads (SCADS!) of time at the pool.  I am learning meet ling0 — heats and DQs and flip turns.  Then my son invented his own favorite swim day sandwich which I am calling the carbie barbie special.  It so has to make its way into a story.  A story with a fun, determined real boy main character.

A story just like my middle grade.

So as I continue to plan – because now I’m jazzed and really planning and wanting to get back to it – I am noodling over subplots.  How can the themes of the main plot be mirrored in an equally driving pool/swimming inspired subplot?

Think, think, think, think.


Nonfiction session for Fall Conference

Me trying to plan my conference session.

I am going to be one of the speakers at the Missouri SCBWI writer’s conference this fall (November 5th), leading a session on “Writing and Selling Nonfiction.”

I know I should cover research, narrowing your topic and studying markets.  I’m also thinking about creating scenes and exploring character and plot.

Is there anything that I’m leaving out?


Goals in the Last Full Week of June

Well, I didn’t manage to hit my word count last week.  I pulled in only 5660 out of 6000 words.  I did a lot of non-writing writing work (research, reading, and the like) but I do wish I had managed to hit my word count.

My goals for this week are:

  1. Finish collecting interviews, outline and draft my last article for the  CW annual guide.   Done!
  2. Solicit and collect interviews for piece #2 in the rotation, another craft piece for CW.  In progress.
  3. Solicit interviews for piece #3 in the rotation.  This is a markets piece for the newsletter. I have commitments for half the interviews I need.  I’d love to make this 100% by the end of the week. In progress.  
  4. Work on a new pitch for  In progress.
  5. Prepare some activities for Gryphon House.  Done!
  6. Do a bit more work on my nonfiction picture book and ask a friend to critique it.  Done!
  7. 5 posts for One Writer’s Journey.  Done!
  8. Post a review on the Bookshelf.
  9. 1 post for PrayPower.  Done!
  10. Write my posts for the Church blog.  Done!
  11. Brainstorm some new writing ideas.
  12. Work on plan for middle grade rewrite.  In progress.
Good luck with all of your goals for this week!

Writing Boys and Girls

It seems like there has been a lot written lately about writing and gender – both writing a character whose gender doesn’t match your own and writing for a particular gender.    See:  Whininess is the Kiss of Death and Writing Across Gender-Men Writing Female Protagonists.
The first is about what types of books boys will read.  Do they want emotion?  Or action?  Introspection?  Or action?  It seems that what boys want, and the author was discussing male characters here, was real boys.  Authentic boys.  Non-chatty, non-navel gazing boys.
The second piece is about male writers creating female characters.  Author Varian Johnson, who wrote the post, does this by tapping into emotions that are common to all of us, male and female.  In addition to reading realistic fiction with female characters, he asks women of various ages to read and comment on his work.
What it seems to boil down to in both cases is creating authentic characters whether you are creating boy character or girl characters.  Make them realistic and true and they will appeal to your readers.  Still, it is worth it to read both of these blogs.  You may very well learn a thing or three.