You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2008.

Linda Urban has brought Evernote to my attention.  A private, online notebook?  Yes, please!  Just what I need.

June Carnival of Children’s Literature

An interview with the amazing Betsy Bird, of Super Librarian-ness and power blogging fame over at Fuse #8.  She reviews books quicker than I can read her reviews, and she’s recently started vblogging.  I’m not sure she sleeps.

Kayaking in Elliott Bay

 

That’s it.  Seattle is having a heatwave.  It’s getting up into the eighties, people!  It’s funny how you adapt to the climate.  I’ve spent most of my life in the desert, but after being here for a few years eighty feels hot.  Although I was able to write and revise a lot today while my sweet husband took the kids to a carshow, tomorrow it’s all about kayaking.

I’m trading my pen for my paddle! 

 

 

 

 

First, a couple of links:

Need a word cloud?  Make one! Fun, fun, fun!  Here’s one I made from a scene I was working on.  Revisions will resume…later.

Need to work on your pitch?  It’s from last year, but it’s still useful.  Pub Rant has advice for your YA pitch here, here, and here.  Unlike a synopsis, you should never give away your ending.  Always leave them wanting more!

Revisions suck.  I’m way more confident with my first draft.  I put it aside for months, and then I go over it and start making changes.  This is my first novel, so it’s been a little more labor intensive then picture books I’ve worked on.  I know it’s difficult to revise picture books as well, before anyone gets their hackles up.  It’s just that I’ve been going over my book a chapter at a time, while also reconfiguring the whole. There are big changes.  Huge.  I have a hard time keeping it all straight and considering the big picture.It doesn’t help that my writing space is a bit fluid right now.  Usually I have a corkboard full of 3×5 cards with notes, but we’re renovating and I’ve been working at the dining room table. That system wasn’t very, err, organized anyway.  Peggy King Anderson recommended storyboarding (Here is an example).  This would not have worked for me for my first draft.  I would have been playing with post-its more than writing.  But, it is giving me some clarity with revisions and helping with the plotting and flow.  Is a more organized writer a better writer?  I hope so.  I think so.

Another revision hazard is a little more daunting.  While I put my first draft away and spent a few months on other projects, my writing was quietly changing.   I’ve been trying to revise by implementing the original story, but of course, that’s not enough.  When I try to add new scenes, there are subtle differences in the pacing and voice.  It makes the changes stand out a bit and the writing feels choppy.    Peggy passed on more wisdom that I needed to bite the bullet and…rewrite the original scenes, too!  Ach!  I knew it was true, but I hoped there was another way.  Silly, no?  My revisions need to be more structured all the way around.

Back to the storyboard!

 

 

Which Superhero are you? (via Big A little a)  I am Superman.  Who knew?

The Boston Globe-Horn Book awards have been announced.  Good stuff on there.

The Edge of the Forest has a new issue.

Beverly Cleary interviewed by Highlights.  It has been 59 years since Henry Huggins! 

Ask Allison debates the pros and cons of book doctors.

Do kids still play MASH?

Kids hiking through HohWe were off camping on the coast this week.  It was the inaugural trip for our 18 month old.  She loved it. Today we will decompress and wash the sand from the sleeping bags.

Often, when I’m deep in a writing project I can’t stop thinking of other projects that have nothing to do with writing.  I have big urges to sew, plant, paint- create!  And the new writing projects- oh, the writing projects!  I have picture books, more middle grade novels, fantasies- all waiting impatiently for me to start writing them.  Should I start writing these stories before my brain loses them, or stick to my revisions?  Procrastination tactics or creative juices?  Psyche, be kind.

 

Bonny Becker’s A Visitor for Bear was discussed on NPR.  You can hear it here.  Yay, Bonny!

Ella the Elegant Elephant is at it again.  Steven and Carmela D’Amico are releasing their FOURTH title, Ella Sets Sail.  Help the D’Amico’s celebrate Ella Sets Sail’s release on June 28th at the Ballard Library for a reading and art demo.  More details here.

Through the Tollbooth has a great interview with Sundee T. Frazier.  

Last but not least, Justina Chen Headley is interviewed by School Library Journal.    From Readergirlz to scholarship contests, Justina models how writers can successfully combine their success with philanthropy.  Go Justina!

Seattle rocks!

Sometimes I (gasp!) procrastinate before I write.  Unless I have an idea burning, I tend to “warm up” a little bit with some blog surfing.  I click around for updates, and before you know it an hour is zapped up.  A friend showed me Google Reader.  I can check for updates on my favorite blogs from one page.  You can set up any page with a feed to be on a list that will automatically note if there’s been an update.  That way I get to see what’s going on in the blogosphere, AND I can get into the flow of writing that much sooner.  

 

 

Last week I read Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor.  Wow.  I kept seeing this book around, but the cover didn’t grab me.  I’ve been reading a lot of middle grade and YA novels.  There are a lot of dead moms.  The alive moms are usually lovable and quirky.  Addie’s mom is manic and self-absorbed, and it makes you want to kick her fictional ass.  Addie is eternally optimistic that her mom will do the right thing- but some moms are just drips.  Certain scenes made my chest ache.  Fantastic character depth and emotional resonance.

That one didn’t make me cry.  Chris Crutcher‘s Deadline did.  Ben Wolf gets a terminal diagnosis right before the start of his senior year.  He decided not to seek treatment- and to keep it a secret from family and friends (I’m not giving much away- this all happens in the first chapter).  I don’t want to give anything away, but there was a scene towards the end with his brother that made me blubber.  I don’t cry when reading.  I think the last time was The Time Traveler’s Wife (You would have to have a heart of crusty ash not to cry at the end of  that book!).  I feel weary, elated, empathetic- but I don’t really cry.  A well placed wail can apparently start the waterworks.  It’s another excellent read.  

 

What sorts of random things do people use as bookmarks, only to be discovered later by used bookstore owners?  These sorts of things. (via Bookninja).  

I’m revising a story.  My revisions are going slowly, and it’s all been sort of random.  I actually like revising (when it’s not freaking me out).  I’ll make a change that brings a bit of clarity or tweaks the direction, and it feels like squishing the right puzzle piece down. I know that I would be more effective if I followed a formula, so I seek help.  

I ordered a copy of Darcy Pattison’s Novel Metamorphosis.  Darcy led the SCBWI Western Washington Fall Retreat last year.  She was so helpful, they invited her back this year (along with Patricia Lee Gauch).

Robin at Disco Mermaids talks about revisions and Cheez-its.  

Laini has post-its.

Wordswimmer has stages.

I have… no excuse for sloppy revisions. 

One more thing-

I don’t know what this site says- but it’s awesome.  Choose a picture, click on the blue button below the “choose file” button, and it will give it an antique effect (via bb-blog).

For example-

P.J. 2006

P.J. 1906

Voila!  The time traveling dog.

 

I write stories for kids while volunteering as the Assistant Regional Advisor and Conference Coordinator for the western Washington chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

I live in Seattle with my family and a small zoo of animals. I drink copious amounts of coffee and assign complicated life stories to passing strangers. I'm currently working on a middle grade novel.

There's a wee bit more on my website. You can also follow me on twitter.

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