One Writer’s Journey

March 30, 2012

Saving the Economy, One Young Adult Novel at a Time

Yes, its a humorous video but check out this skit  on College Humor.  The topic?  How the young adult novel will save the US economy.  If you’re a writer, you will really love the novel writing kit as well as the group that is doing the cover design.

Humor aside, I love that the Hunger Games has been front page news.  Not only was there an article in my local paper, but it was also features online in Outdoor Life, a hunting/fishing magazine.

Maybe it is the fact that there are so many article out there, but some of the quotes just make me shake my head.  Where did they find this expert?  In one article, a librarian said something about hoping that, with the success of Hunger Games, publishers wouldn’t put out a stream of dystopian YA.  What book case has she been hiding behind?

Ah, well.

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of the dystopian novel and perhaps not everyone would classify these books as dystopian, but here are some YA novels I really enjoyed:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Set in the future but with something of a steam punk vibe.

Epitaph Road by David Patneaude.   A future in which a virus has wiped out much of the male population.

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner.  Creepy fabulous.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.   Just how far is too far to save someone you love?

Not all fun and upbeat but they all leave you with something to think about.   And, isn’t that one of the best things about a really good book?

–SueBE

 

March 29, 2012

Taking Kid Stuff Seriously but Keeping it Fun

Respect your reader.  Take them seriously.

It’s the kind of advice we’re all used to hearing, but how many of us actually pull it off.  How many of us take “kid things” as seriously as we do fine art?

Here’s an artist who does both.  Jeff Gagliardi does a great deal of his art work on the Etch-a-Sketch.  He’s reproduced great works of art including the Mona Lisa and Starry Night.  He’s spoofed great art in Salvadore’s Deli.  In fact, Gagliardi takes it so seriously that he set a world record for the greatest number of people using an Etch-a-Sketch at the same time at Sketch-a-Palooza (see video).

What can I say — he’s just got me noodling.  Does my writing have to be SERIOUS to be taken seriously?  Award committees would have me think that it does.  But movie makers have taken some of the funniest kid’s books and made them into movies.  Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Honestly, I think that we need both, but I also think that sometimes we take ourselves a bit too seriously.  Maybe now’s a good time to kick back and write something just for the halibut.

–SueBE

 

March 28, 2012

Writing in Full Color

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:38 am
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On one of my recent jaunts through cyberspace, I came across the work of artist Tyree Callahan.  In some of his most recent work (under recent work, paintings, on his site), he has created a chromatic typewriter.

In this manual typewriter, he has replaced the keyboard letters with colors (both lower case and caps) as well as replacing the type bars with . . . bits of pastel maybe?  They are colored (matching the keys) and leave color on the page when the key is struck.  Instead of writing words as we think of them, the type is recorded as dreamy color-scapes that remind me of aurora.  For a really good picture of the chromatic typewriter, check out the post on The Pop-Up Studio.

The whole thing has me thinking about the limited view we have of communication.  I remember reading a short story when I was a teen where scientists were trying to prove an alien species was sentient.  Politicians weren’t buying it because the feathered species didn’t vocalize.  In the nick of time, the scientists discovered that communication involved the position of the feathers — different combinations of fluffed and not-fluffed many an array of complicated things.

What other ways could communication take place?  Obviously, I’m thinking color, but what else?  Light intensity and patterning (squid do this).  Color contrast (chameleon).

Is there something you could do in your work in progress that would take communication from the ho hum ordinary to the extraordinary?

–SueBE

 

March 27, 2012

When Map Locations Move Around

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:57 am
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Where did it go? Do your map work when writing about the past.

Recently, I read an interesting piece about a historian who decided to do a little research on her own family.  There was a family story about an ancestor whose  rancho was in Mexico.  She was surprised to discover that the rancho is just outside of San Francisco.

The reality is that international boundaries move around as do coastlines, islands and bodies of water.  What do I mean?

As a recent lecture about the Sultana, a riverboat that exploded just after the Civil War, the lecturer showed a photo of the field that contains the wreckage of the boat.  Yep.  Its in a field although it sunk in a river.

If you are writing about a historic location, you should visit it if at all possible.  You’ll get a feel for the geography and what the sun feels like in New Mexican high desert vs coastal Maine.  But you also need to do your map work.

Maps will help you see what the place was like way back when.  You need to look for both the man made — buildings, roads and other physical structures — as well as what I consider the make-believe man made — political boundaries and the like.

But even that isn’t enough.  Look at the land itself.  Earthquakes, erosion and more shift land from place to place.  Bodies of water dry up.  Rivers move.  Islands shift downstream.

Geography isn’t nearly as static as we imagine it to be.  Keep this in mind and do your research.  Your editor will be glad you did.

–SueBE

March 26, 2012

Goals at the Tail End of March

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:45 am
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Where oh where did March go?  Oh, that’s right — in hot weather and thunder storms and even a bit of hail.  Bye, bye!

I didn’t get as much writing done last week as some of you might have hoped.  Its amazing how much noodling is involved in doing this job well, but it has paid off.  I’m not slogging.  I’m wanting to write.  Hurray!

So, how many words did I pull down?  7405.  Something over my 6000 word goal.  Being recharged makes a huge difference.

Here are my goals for the week.  As you can see, there is plenty to do.

Weekly Goals:

  • 5 posts for One Writer’s Journey.  Done!
  • 2 reviews on the Bookshelf.  Done!
  • 1 post for PrayPower.  Done!
  • Write my posts for the Church blog.  Done!

Goals with Deadlines (some are my deadlines, some are my editors’ deadlines):

  • Rewrite pitch for Education.com.  Deadline:  3/30.  Done!
  • Insert new goal here: rough draft of reluctant reader.  Deadline (sort of mine):  3/30.  In progress.
  • Blog post for the Muffin.  Deadline:  4/1.  (Publication date: 4/2)  Done!
  • Rewrite another CW piece with some recommendations from my editor. Deadline:  4/6.  In progress.
  • Blog post for the Muffin.  Deadline:  4/13.  (Publication date: 4/14)
  • Solicit interviews for the next CW article in my rotation.   Deadline: 4/15. In progress.
  • Solicit interview for the CW piece after that.  Deadline:  5/15.

Non-Deadline Goals:

  • Get a picture book back out.
  • Rewrite and submit a leveled reader.
  • Start researching my next nonfiction picture book.
  • Get an essay on writing back out.
  • Rewrite the picture book I had critiqued.
  • Do some more work on a PiBoIdMo idea.
  • Work on my agent research.
  • Rough submissions for Blue Mountain cards.
  • Keep working on my web site.
  • Work on the middle grade. Go over the Plot Whisperer notes that I originally made.  Also story board the manuscript.

–SueBE

March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games: Would you be a winner?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:33 am
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Outdoor Life (OL), one of my husband’s favorite magazines, put together their very own Hunger Games Survival Quiz.  Why not pop over and take it to see how you score?

According to OL, I may as well kiss my sweet fanny good-bye but I was really surprised that I scored as well as I did.  After all, this is an OL quiz and I am so not their demographic.

Still, I might be able to add three more points to my score if OL would just answer one question.  Does getting pecked on the aforementioned fanny by a goose count as surviving an animal attack?   I am, after all, still here and typing.

–SueBE

 

 

March 22, 2012

60 Years of Charlotte’s Web

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:15 am
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This October will mark the 60th anniversary of Charlotte’s Web.  I remember when my son brought the book home from school.  It was all I could do not to snatch it up and make off to a quiet corner.  Apparently, I’m not the only writer who feels that way.

If you haven’t read it in a while, Kate DiCamillo challenges you to read it again as a writer.  She discusses the impact of certain lines but also the themes that still touch people today the same way they did when the book first came out.

Celebrate reading, celebrate writing, celebrate great books.

–SueBE

 

March 21, 2012

Paper Art — Fanciful Sculptures

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:20 am
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Here I am again with my paper art — no surprise there.  But take a look at this video and see if Patti Grazini doesn’t manage to surprise you with her work.  She doesn’t just use paper — she uses letters, money and even sheet music.  These specialty papers each somehow relate to the sculpture in which they are used.

What are the limits of your work?

If you write picture books or even young adult novels, your work will be limited in many ways by your readers — who they are, their developmental levels and what they love.

But Grazini’s sculptures made me wonder how often our work is limited by us, by our lack of imagination or vision.  Her pieces look so fanciful but the series depicted in this video are based on real criminals.

Watch Grazini’s interview.  Then why don’t you try creating something beyond your norm.  You might surprise yourself.

Special thanks to Ann Martin of the blog All Things Paper who brought Grazini to my attention.

–SueBE

 

March 20, 2012

Goals — Yikes! How’d It Get to Be Spring Break?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:37 am
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I made it through all of last weeks deadlines.  Not surprisingly, it did wondrous things to my word count.  I made 6000 words and blew right past it for a total of 8836 words.  I think I also fried myself.  I had several free hours Saturday and I wasn’t even tempted to write.  I played Wii and read.

This week is our Spring Break so I’m going to try for 6000 words but don’t hold your breath.  So far, I have zero (that’s 0) deadlines this week and that may be a really good thing!  That said, I am going to create a few for myself.  But I also have to get my son ready for a school trip so that will mean packing and running around.  Still, I’ll have 3 days after he leaves — one of which will be spent baking.  Oh, the horror!

What will I accomplish?  Who knows!   Here are my goals.

Weekly Goals:

  • 5 posts for One Writer’s Journey. Done!
  • 2 reviews on the Bookshelf.  Done!
  • 1 post for PrayPower.  Done!
  • Write my posts for the Church blog.  Done!

Goals with Deadlines (some are my deadlines, some are my editors’ deadlines):

  • Rewrite pitch for the education job.  I got some seriously solid feedback and am eager to see where it takes me.  Deadline:  3/23.  Done!
  • Pull together a pitch for Education.com.  Deadline:  3/23.  In progress.
  • Solicit interviews for the next CW article in my rotation.   Deadline: 4/15.   In progress.
  • Solicit interview for the CW piece after that.  Deadline:  5/15.

Non-Deadline Goals:

  • Rewrite and submit a leveled reader.
  • Start researching my next nonfiction picture book.
  • Get an essay on writing back out.
  • Rewrite the picture book I had critiqued.
  • Do some more work on a PiBoIdMo idea.
  • Work on my agent research.
  • Rough submissions for Blue Mountain cards.
  • Keep working on my web site.
  • Work on the middle grade. Go over the Plot Whisperer notes that I originally made.  Also story board the manuscript.

–SueBE

March 19, 2012

Pinterest for Writers

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:36 am
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Not long ago, a writing buddy extolled the virtues of Pinterest.  She told me about how she used it as a way to mark the images she was using for her novel research.  No more scrolling through lists of bookmarks.  No more picking through the site to refind the right image.  They were all there on one board.

For me, this didn’t quite pan out.  Here were the problems I encountered:

You have to request an invitation.  I’m not sure what the justification is for not letting people sign in and get started, but you have to request an invitation and then . . . wait.  I had a delay of 3 days.

Then when you read the fine print, you find that Pinterest only wants you to mark (they call it pin) images to which you own the copyright.  Let me see — you encourage me to mark images that interest me (because you also tell me not to use this just to promote myself), but by pinning images that I don’t own, I may be violating copyright.

To read more about my take on Pinterest, at least concerning how I wanted to use it, read my post on the Muffin blog.

–SueBE

 

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