February 2012 Archives

I'm writing a book. I

I'm writing a book. I have the page numbers down—I just need to fill in the rest.
Steven Wright

Just love this kid! - Okay for Now

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Okay for now.jpg
Okay for Now (Clarion, 2011) by Gary D. Schmidt is about Doug Swieteck (who appeared in the Wednesday Wars*). He's older now, 12. It's 1968. His abusive father has lost his job and the family has to move away from NYC to a small town in upstate NY. Doug nicknames the house "The Dump." There's nothing to do in the town, but he follows this girl to the library. Of course, Doug doesn't want her to know he's following her so he goes to the top floor where he's captured by a picture under glass - a tern by Audubon.

I just love this kid. Feel sorry for him at how he's treated by his father and brother; how people suspect him to be a criminal; not knowing how to read; his loneliness in a new town.

Gary D. Schmidt is a two time Newbery honor winner. On his site you'll find an interview of him about this book. For anyone looking for an example of great voice, this story is excellent.

*You don't have to have read the other book to enjoy this one, although it's great, too. But if you want to know more about it, go here on the author's site.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (Sky Blue Press, 2009) by Rodman Philbrick is not only very fun, but it's very good. And that's not just my opinion since it was a 2010 Newbery Honor book! I love how the cover presents a good picture of the flavor of this book.

Here's a brief introduction to the story:
12-year-old Homer and his brother Harold have been entrusted to the care of their mother's late sister's husband. Squint, according to Homer, is the meanest man in Maine, and since he makes them sleep in the barn and starves them it must be true. When Squint sells 17-year-old Harold to the Union Army for $250, Homer escapes and goes to save him. Read about his adventures and misadventures and the people he meets along the way.

The author also wrote Freak, the Mighty, which was made into a movie called The Mighty. Read about that and other books on his website. If you're a young person wanting to write, read what he has to say here.

I believe that the only

I believe that the only lastingly important form of writing is writing for children. It is writing that is carried in the reader’s heart for a lifetime; it is writing that speaks to the future.
Sonya Hartnett

Sit down and put down

Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.
Sidonie-Cabrielle Colette

One of 75 finalists


It was exciting to become one of eCollegeFinder's Top 75 Writing blogs! My website is listed on their site as a student resource on this page. I don't know how they found the nominees for this award. One day I just received notice that my site had been nominated. Each of the nominees was asked to describe the blog and answer this question: "What advice can you offer students aiming to improve their writing acumen?"

Then eCollegeFinder posted the finalists' answers and had a voting period to determine the top 3. They got so many votes it overwhelmed their system and they had to do some technical scrambling to get their site back up!

The top winner is someone I follow myself! Miss Snark's First Victim by Authoress. She deserves the number one spot!

Number 2 is A Writer's Life with Liz Fielding and number 3 is Unwritten by Mysti Parker.

Here are the other 71. Of these, I'm only providing links to the sites specifically by or for children's and YA writers (or blogs about those type of books). It's not that I dislike adult writers, it's just that my blog focuses on writing for children and teens. To see the other links, go to the eCollegeFinder's link above. From what I can discern, all the blogs are from the US or the UK.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
All Things Writerly - A Blog
Anne R. Allen's Blog with Ruth Harris
Author Julie Cohen
Author's Echo
Blog of Horror Author Matt Nord
Bob Sanchez: Writing, Reading, and a Bit of Travel
Book Chase
Charmalot Chronicles
Clifton Hill - Writer. Artist. Head thoroughly lodged in the clouds.
Cornflower Books
Country Lite
D.J. Kirkby
Daily Dodo
David Powers King
Diane Fordham
Donna Newton's Blog
Elizabeth Baines
Ella's Edge
Fabulosity Reads
Fish Publishing
Fonts and Fiction
Glynis Smy - Writer
Helena's London Life
In Time
Janet Sumner Johnson: Musings of a Children's Writer
Janice Horton
Jean Bull's Writing Blog
Jessica Hart: Writing Romance Around The World
Kaye Manro
L'Aussie Writer
Lexi Revellian: my writing and other related matters
Literary MacGregor - an agent's site
Medeia Sharif
Melissa's Imaginarium
My Journal
Mystery Writing is Murder
Mythik Imagination
N. R. Williams, The Writing Craft
Non-Fiction Chronicles of a Fiction-Filled Life
Not Only In Thailand
Paris Breakfast
Patsy Collins
Rach Writes
Rachel Morgan Writes
Rachna's Scriptorium
Reading and Writing
Shallee McArthur
Silver's Reviews
Sometimes, the Wheel is on Fire
Steven Chapman (writer)
Tara Bradford Writing and Photography
The Alliterative Allomorph
The Book Addict
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective
The Girdle of Melian
The Leaky Pencil
The Paperback Pursuer
The Writing Bug
This Writer's Life
Thoughts in Progress
Untroubled Kingdom
Write Now
Write Up the Hill
Writing for Woman's World Magazine
Writing to the Edge of Darkness

However, although this could be a good resource, and you may find some sites to follow, remember if you are reading many blogs on a regular basis, make sure you reserve time to write!

Without emotion to touch us,

Without emotion to touch us, one is left with typing paper.
Sid Fleischman

Make It Work for You

Thanks to Ladyheart on morguefile for this image.COMPUTER_AND_MOUSE.jpg
If you're only using your computer for word processing, internet and emailing, you're missing out. Make that box help you stay organized and even keep you on task.

First, organize. If you haven't already, create computer folders to classify your writing projects: nonfiction, fiction. Those folders might include subfolders: picture books, magazine pieces, etc. Break it down farther if needed (i.e. separate folders for each specific novel in your novel folder).

Did you type up your notes from a conference? Save them in a marketing folder on your computer. Store electronic copies of guidelines and theme lists there, too. Use a document to record books you've read, the publisher, and your thoughts.

Maintain a file for "manuscripts out." Include a section for ones to be sent plus what each house or magazine has from you now. A file that lists each publisher and what you've sent is a helpful companion.

Use a spreadsheet or a money management program to keep track of writing expenses and income to make tax filing easier.

Back up these important files and folders on a regular basis. A USB drive is an inexpensive and quick way to do so. I also love using dropbox to make it easy to copy files from my desktop to my laptop and vice versa.

Second, keep on task. Use your computer as an electronic nagger. You can schedule "to do" items, including deadlines, and set up a program to remind you. Microsoft Outlook is probably the most common one, but there are many reminder software programs available if you don't have one. They vary in cost from free to $60, with many in the $20-25 range. Investigate them on the Internet. Often you can download one and try it for free before buying.

Making our computers work for us takes self-discipline. We have to make ourselves: keep information up-to-date, back up folders and files, and schedule deadlines. However, the structure of being organized and staying on task can free us to get back to our first love--writing!

(I'll confess this is a reprint of my one of my own articles. It's been in the SCBWI Bulletin and on the Rx for Writers portion of the Institute of Children's Literature site. But, I'm getting ready to move 1800 miles and knew it would be a quick way to get a post up.)