Hope you enjoy this adorable 12 Days of Christmas video from the Bookish Elves! Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
To follow up on Julie's post, I think writers have been adhering to the "common core" for centuries. Most writers are not just story tellers. They are teachers as well. It comes naturally to them to describe a scene, a sequence, a beginning and an end. Writers raise questions and answer them. They use history, science, anecdotes, folktales old and new, stones, ducks, rabbits and wizards to tell their stories. In every story there is something that relates to what constitutes an education for a child.
I was reminded of this today in a Wall Street Journal piece, "The Hunger Games" Is a Civic Lesson" by Robert Pondiscio, a former fifth grade teacher in New York's South Bronx. He explains that when parents decry the brutality in Suzanne Collins' novels, they overlook the excellent opportunity the author offers. Not only do the books keep "reluctant" readers turning the pages, but, Mr. Pondiscio says, "they also provide an opportunity to educate kids about the relationship between the individual and the state, personal rights and responsibilities, and the civic duties expected of citizens."
So, writers, worry not. Keep on writing, whether it is about Yetis, frogs, spoonbills, alligators or penguins, graveyards or vegetable gardens. You are all "writing to the core."
Sunday, November 24, 2013
“To align instruction…so that many more students than at present can meet the requirements of college and career readiness.”
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Nathan Bransford's contest to win a Kindle in honor of his new book How to Write a Novel is over, but he's published many of the "Favorite Writing Tips" he received as contest entries.
I quoted Lela, the winner, in my comment to J.A's post last Wednesday: "Write. Write poorly, but WRITE."
But there are other gems . . .
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
But do I still want to?
Friday, November 8, 2013
I do a lot of my writing when I'm inspired. An idea takes hold of me and I just can't stop writing.
This is a very fun kind of writing to do. My writing tends to just flow.
But I often don't dedicate nearly as much time to writing as I would like to do. Life keeps getting in the way.
Recently I was able to dedicate one evening a week just to writing. An evening to myself! When I could focus all my time on writing. It sounded like heaven. But...
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I asked my husband at dinner, what's your favorite character in literature? After convincing him that Alfred Sloan ("My years at General Motors") was not what I was looking for, he came up with Faust. He said, "I like characters with whom I can identify."
Granted, I could understand Sloan (my husband is a linear businessman) and not so much Faust (my husband is not that consummate a businessman, selling his soul, etc., but at least he picked a character with hopes and faults; in this instance, faults too great to save his soul.
Creating a sympathetic main character or characters is the writer's biggest challenge. Somewhere between nice and nasty is a good beginning…you want your reader to like her, and yet if the heroine is too nice, your reader will figure that there is no point in reading further. Nothing of interest is going to happen. Too nasty, and the reader will also lose interest. Newspapers have more to offer.
The writer must create is a heroine who knows what she wants, but whose human weaknesses prevent her from achieving them…initially. As a reader we want to be one step ahead of the heroine. We want to see her mistakes, to say, "wait, that's not such a smart move" And we want to cheer her on when she finally makes the right choice. In the end, we want to identify completely with her, to fall in love a little with her even. And when the book ends, we want to find it hard to say goodbye.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
Received a contract last week for "Two Young Frogs: An Old Japanese Tale." (Post of 10/17) Those frogs will appear in Highlights someday. Perhaps mentioning map skills did help.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
2. What is your favorite part about blogging?
It forces me to think critically and more broadly about children’s writing; and it keeps me connected to a larger community in what can be a solitary task.
3. What is your biggest writing challenge?
Keeping my bottom in the chair. I am prone to distraction.
4. What writing book/conference/website would you tell other children’s writers to read/attend/visit?
5. What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you started writing?
Write badly, write worse, and keep going. Don't stop in the middle because you're worried about every word choice and sentence structure -- finish it. You can fix it later. (that's what revision is for). Great writers write awful stuff too.
6. What book (or books) do you wish you would have written?
Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough (picture book); and probably Charlotte’s Web, for middle grade
7. What are you most proud of?
Besides my kids, hmmmm, ask me again after I publish my first book.
8. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? So many places… SouthAfrica (wildlife and wine); Petra, Jordan (city of stone); Israel (Holy Land)
9. Book you most love to re-read?
10. What question do you wish I would have asked you? Please answer it.
Something really easy, like... yes, I'd love another cup of tea!
1. Where is your favorite place to write?
3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
4. What’s your favorite book(s)?
5. What’s in your TBR pile?
8. What is your biggest source of inspiration?
9. Why do you blog?