Archive | October, 2011

A Dive into Hypocrisy

22 Oct

Well, it is that time of year again. My Twitter and Facebook feeds are about to be inundated with the progress of various NaNoWriMo projects coming to life throughout the world. If you’ve followed me for a while, or if you just happen to know me in “real life,” you know that I’m generally not a fan of NaNoWriMo. As a writer who struggles epically with actually completing projects, I get severely annoyed at those people who’ve never once mentioned having even the smallest desire to write that all of a sudden decide “Hey, I’m going to write a novel this month.” Like it’s easy. Like anyone who can type can do it.

But, hypocritical as it is, this year I’m finding myself tempted to participate. Having written the picture book I’ve been meaning to write for some time now (see this blog), my desire to finally complete the young adult novel I’ve been working on for years has become overwhelming. Perhaps a gimmick like NaNoWriMo is exactly the motivation I need to push myself to the finish line. I need that daily reminder saying “Just do this much, and you’re that much closer.” My life is generally too overwhelming for me to have the self-discipline to do so myself, and without a doubt I work better under pressure.

Now, technically, you’re not supposed to use NaNoWriMo to work on projects you’ve already started. It’s supposed to be a newborn idea brought to fruition in the span of one month. To which I say, who bloody cares? I don’t want to start a new novel. I want to finish MY novel. And NaNoWriMo might be just what I need to do it.

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Calling All eReader owners!

19 Oct

While it might not even be November yet, there are two aisles of Christmas decorations at Target, which means that I feel completely justified in thinking about what I want for Christmas this year.

The big thing on my list is an eBook reader. I used to be a sworn enemy of the eReader. To me, there’s nothing quite like the smell of a book and the turning of pages. But then, I borrowed my friend’s Kindle and I have to admit: I liked it. So I’ve decided to compromise with myself. I’ll use my eReader (assuming I get one) to rent and read books I haven’t read before. Then, if I decide I want to own it, I’ll purchase it in book form and add it to my ever-growing collection.

Which brings me to my current struggle: Which eReader should I ask for? My friend Bridget informed me that the Nook has a feature where you can scroll through the pages as though it were a book, which very much appeals to me. But, now I see the Kindle is coming out with a touch version as well. I’m also attracted to the idea of owning a color eReader, but I can’t help but wonder if the color screens are harder to read. They look a lot like computer screens instead of the eye-friendly screens of the black and white Kindle and Nook.

So, if you own an eReader, can you please give me some advice? Do you prefer the Nook or the Kindle? Are the colored screens more difficult for read for longer periods?

Today I Wrote a Book

16 Oct

Today, with freezing cold hands at a Starbucks window seat, I wrote a book.

No, I did not finish the young adult novel I’ve been working on for forever. Instead, it’s a picture book, the idea for which had been nagging at me incessantly for the past eight months. “Put me on paper,” it whispered in my ear, over and over and over again. So I did.

It’s slightly longer than the average picture book, so I feel some editing may be necessary. But, it’s a solid story and it’s based on a true story, so I know it’s mine and mine alone. Now I have to figure out what on earth I’m going to do with it.

Much research on the internet must be done regarding agents, editors, submissions, etc. I’m sure I’ll be bugging my more experienced writer friends (*cough Ali cough*) until they’re entirely tired of me. It’ll be work and it’ll be frustrating. But, I am proud and relieved to be at this point with at least one of my works-in-progress.

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the publication of Alison McGhee‘s new book with the author herself. I asked her some questions about her manuscripts and the form they were in when she submitted them to her editor. Then she asked me the big question, “Are you a children’s book writer?” And today, I was able to answer, “Yes.”

Book Club Success!

12 Oct

I am pleased to announce that the first meeting of the book club I’m facilitating was a smashing success! I did not have to sit alone in the room, but instead I was able to share my Capri Sun drinks with the seven wonderful students who decided to participate in our book club!

I allowed the students to choose from ten outstanding young adult novels, but it’s no surprise to me that when it came time to vote the students chose The Hunger Games. Seeing as how I’m obsessed with the series myself, I absolutely cannot wait to reread the book and hear the insights and perspective my book club students will bring to the table.

So, that being said, if anyone has any discussion questions or Hunger Games related activities that they feel I may be able to incorporate into my book club, please let me know!

Wanted: Middle School Book Club Suggestions

11 Oct

Tomorrow is the first meeting of the book club I’m facilitating with my middle schoolers, and I have to admit that I’m pretty nervous about it. My big fear is that I’ll get there and only two students will be there to participate. Or worse – none will show up and I’ll be sitting there in a room by myself with a giant box of Capri Sun pouches and some fruit snacks.

BUT, in the spirit of positive thinking, I’ve decided that I’d like the participants who show up (they will show up, they will, they will!) to choose what book we read first. I don’t think it would work well to just have them suggest their own choice because the odds of any of them picking the same book are relatively slim. So, I’m going to provide them with a list of anywhere from 5 – 10 book choices and they’re going to vote on which one they’d like to read first. Which leads me to my big question. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what some good books to propose might be? I’m pretty familiar with the popular science fiction and fantasy options (The Hunger Games, etc.), but I’d like to offer a variety of genres for them to choose from. Any ideas y’all have would be MUCH appreciated. Please remember – this club is for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, so nothing too explicit.

Thanks much (in advance) for your amazing advice!