Posts Tagged ‘ writing for kids ’

Three New Books That Will Make You A Better Writer

Write from your heart, and you just might change the world. That’s what happened when Harriet Beacher Stowe published the courageous and controversial Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. Recommended by the NYT Book Review, David S. Reynolds tells you how it all happened in Mightier Than the Sword.

Ultimately, we write to communicate, and I don’t know a better communication method than Joe Weston’s Respectful Confrontation. In his book, Mastering Respectful Confrontation, Weston reveals the key to strengthening yourself and your relationships. Get that right, and you will write well too.

Literacy advocate Pam Allyn offers guidance and inspiration to parents in Your Child’s Writing Life, How to Inspire Confidence, Creativity, and Skill at Every Age. And although I work primarily with adults, I am looking forward to the writing prompts and principles this book promises. We can all use a little childlike learning.

Don’t miss my other two summer reading lists, Three New Books That Will Broaden Your Reading Horizons and Three New Books That Will Turn You On To Other Books. Subscribe to my blog now to make sure you never miss a post again.

And if you get inspired to do a little writing yourself this summer, drop me a line. I’ll make room on my coaching schedule for you.

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Three New Books That Will Turn You On To Other Books

Perhaps you loved the film Precious, but did you read the book? This summer, bestselling author Sapphire releases the story of her beloved character’s son, The Kid. Why not read them both?

The generous and lit–savvy Minal Hajratwala recommended Malinda Lo‘s fantasy fiction, Huntress, to me, and now that I’ve discovered it, I can’t wait to read its previously published sequel, Ash. From the website: “Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn’t shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people’s survival hangs in the balance.” Sounds exciting, right?

 

Okay, it’s not a book. But the lovely and talented M.J. Hahn has podcast-produced his second young adult horror-fantasy novel, The Isis Heart, a grim tale of love, friendship, and immortal beauty. With the final episode freshly posted, you can listen to all 13 episodes at whatever pace you like. Then go back and listen to the first novel, Yuki O’Malley and The Bellefaire.

Subscribe to my blog to catch the next list: Three New Books That Will Make You A Better Writer. And don’t miss last week’s list, Three New Books That Will Broaden Your Reading Horizons.

And if you get inspired to do a little writing yourself this summer, drop me a line. I’ll make room on my coaching schedule for you.

Day 11: The Magical Darkness

Today’s Word Count Goal: 32,450

Today’s Word Count So-Far: 18,782

Total Word Count Goal: 50,000

It’s struck, the dark magic of NaNoWriMo. It has fallen like the darker, longer nights have fallen upon us. I started to feel it Tuesday, the creeping up of something fierce and powerful in me, a side of myself I see only when I immerse completely in a creative project.

I am defensive and protective. If you look at me funny or talk to me for longer than is necessary, I might lash out and accuse you of taking time away from my art.

I’m like Gollum with his Precious. Anyone around might be trying to steal it.  The man who sold me my crepe Tuesday morning bore the psychic brunt of my creative boiling. Stop talking to me! I need to go write! Give me my crepe! Don’t ask me so many stupid questions! Just give me my crepe and leave me alone! You are trying to sabotage my writing time! I can only hope he wasn’t very tuned in to my mean spirited internal dialogue.

 

Watch the Sexy Grammarian participate in National Novel Writing Month for the third year in a row. I’ll post word counts and worries here daily, Tweet about it, raise funds for the Office of Letters And Light, and host Meet Me/Tweet Me open loft writing sessions all month long.

Day 5 observations, a movie, and another blog

Today’s Word Count Goal: 14750

Today’s Word Count So-Far: 8811

Total Word Count Goal: 50,000

I know much more about pigeons than I ever did before. Today I caught myself stalking a fine, dark-gray specimen in circles in a gutter on Mission Street. And I’m stretching my imagination much more than I’ve asked it to stretch in years.

I’m way behind on my word-count, but I’ll make it up this weekend.

I’m finding all kinds of fascinating themes to explore about pigeons. Very few of them are kid-book friendly, but I’m not letting that stop me.

So please enjoy this very kid-friendly movie about pigeons. I feel just like Bert when he says, “Boy, just looking at these pigeons makes me feel terrific!”

And now that I’ve entertained you, please go over to my WriMo pal Eric’s blog and give him the love and encouragement he deserves. He’s been writing 50,000+ words every November since at least 2004, and lately, he’s blogging about it everyday.

 

Watch the Sexy Grammarian participate in National Novel Writing Month for the third year in a row. I’ll post word counts and worries here daily, Tweet about it, raise funds for the Office of Letters And Light, and host Meet Me/Tweet Me open loft writing sessions all month long.

Day 3: One Percent

Today’s Word Count Goal: 8850

Today’s Word Count So-Far: 5600

Total Word Count Goal: 50,000

 

So many writers struggle to write because they expect every word to be precious. I’m dumbfounded by target-oriented writing coaching clients who refuse writing exercises that do not directly contribute to their very focused project goal. I’m in love with process, the acrobatics, the self torture of entertaining urges to create.

I want to show these writers another way by writing 50,000 terribly strung together words about pigeons with the purpose of getting 500 words that are good enough to tell a short, children’s picture book story about pigeons.

That’s right. I’m writing 50,000 recklessly typed words and hoping to extract 500 good ones or 1%.

How can I expect anything I write to be any good at all if everything I write will be scrutinized? Those who write only when something written is required are damned to a painful writing experience. Fill notebooks with nonsense and drivel, with no expectations about content, and amid the nonsense and noise, the self-indulgence and secrets, we find gems. And that’s when we get to feel like writers.

And that’s the spirit of NaNoWriMo. Just write. Write 50,000 words. Write them and see what happens.

 

Watch the Sexy Grammarian participate in National Novel Writing Month for the third year in a row. I’ll post word counts and worries here daily, Tweet about it, raise funds for the Office of Letters And Light, and host Meet Me/Tweet Me open loft writing sessions all month long.

The Hapless Tale of Eddie Flack

The lovely and talented MJ Hahn has done it again. The 50-minute podcast story, The Hapless Tale of Eddie Flack, uses witty dialogue, jazzy background tunes, and all the mystery and horror fans of The Bellefaire Podcast have come to expect.

This stand-alone backstory edition reveals the romantic and tragic history of Maradee Flack, née Maradee Malloy. You’ll remember that Mrs. Flack played a sort of surrogate mother to Yuki O’Malley in Hahn’s 15-episode podcasted novel, Yuki O’Malley and the Bellefaire. In the novel, Maradee’s a good guy, but she’s been working for the bad guys for several decades. Ever wonder how a nice girl like her got mixed up with such sinister villains? Well, Hahn figured as much, so he lays it all out for you here.

Hahn’s matured as a writer and a podcaster. You’ll hear it in the use of special effects and music, editing and scene transitions, and you’ll hear it in his choice of words. He even wanders from his signature colorful villains here, offering instead, a more esoteric antagonist: haplessness. Don’t worry–you’ll still meet a really bad bad guy in Smiling Mac, the human embodiment of the perils of bad luck.

Bad Luck might as well be Eddie Flack’s middle name. Maradee’s the only good thing that happens to the poor guy, whose hapless tale careens through 1956 San Francisco’s jazz scene, gambling culture, and even its gay culture–mature subjects for a story aimed at the Harry Potter set.

It’s a satisfying listen and just the thing to whet your appetite for today’s premiere of Hahn’s next episodic, podcasted novel, Crowley Golden and the The Isis Heart, the anticipated sequel to Yuki O’ Malley and the Bellefaire.

Whispering To Kids, Deborah Halverson shares her secrets

Mother of triplets, former kids books editor, and award-winning author Deborah Halverson knows how to write for kids. She kicks off her workshop with a very important and unique fact about kid lit: you are writing for two audiences. You knew that, right? You’ve got to entertain the kids and the adults who are reading to the kids. And, she points out, you have fewer words at your disposal to tell the same kind of story novelists tell.

So what secret weapons does Deborah suggest for the aspiring kid lit writer? First she shares the elements all stories employ:

  • point of view
  • sentence structure and paragraphing
  • balance of dialogue and narrative
  • tone

Then she expands that list to a few kid lit-specific tricks:

  • the page turn
  • juxtaposition of text and art
  • length limit
  • the read aloud factor

Wow! Kid lit writers really do have all the fun! The narrative voice for a picture book, Deborah says, should have big personality. Here are a few types of narrative voice styles to play with:

  • formal
  • playful
  • regional
  • colloquial
  • poetic
  • rhythmical

Bu speaking of rhythm and rhyme, Deborah has some strong opinions. “Rhyming is so hard to do right,” she warns. “New writers of picture books should avoid rhyme. Instead, create rhythm. Include alliteration and sounds of words that work together.” She emphasizes the importance of the sound of your words. “Never accept a word that does the job. Find the word that’s fun to say, that makes your face do funny things. You have very few words. Make each one count.”