Saturday Summation – 20 August 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Reading Stuff:

Fanfiction, Wattpad, and now Hooked. This is a pretty cool new bite-sized story source – stories that are presented entirely in SMS-style text messaging. You read the first person’s text, then get a “next” button to see if you want to read more, which will reveal more of the conversation and story. I’m intrigued.

Writing Stuff:

I’m no expert at all regarding copyright, but I did do a lot of research around it when I was developing web design lessons for my 8th grade students. Students are sure to want to use all kinds of popular things on their websites, so helping them understand copyright and “fair use” details was a valuable lesson. So when it came time to decide whether or not I could use a piece of a song for a section opener in on of my books, I knew that wouldn’t be a “just drop it in, I’m sure it will be fine” sort of thing. In fact, music is full of sticky wickets. I am super glad that Sidebar Saturdays has covered this issue in their series.

As someone who is currently re-writing a story and considering an overhaul of another, this post by Dennis Gaunt regarding whether or not a story is the same after dramatic revision/re-writing was interesting. He starts with a comparison to the Ship of Theseus and that really works. I kind of needed it, too, because while I have not feared tackling the current novel I’m re-working, I am nervous for the other one. Frankly, that other one has always been intimidating, which sometimes drives me crazy, and other times not, because I know it is helping me grow and stretch as a writer. Completely re-building can indeed make something stronger.

From Thomas Despin and sent along by a friend – writing can be hard, but we do it anyway. A piece that affected me nicely at this phase of my writing.

Story – plot – trumps all for some, and yes, this is a pretty big deal, but for me, more often than not, character is king. I want to empathize with a character in a book I’m reading, not just sympathize. Chris Adler talks about how when writing, we also need to really know our characters in order to convey the great story.

“Until we white writers are ready to listen, until we’re ready to accept that, yes, we are a part of systemic racism, yes, we benefit from white supremacy, it doesn’t matter what the tone is, we won’t be able to hear or understand what’s being said.” Author Justine Larbalestier talks about White Fragility and listening and learning vs. feeling offended or defensive.

 

Publishing Stuff:

This post from editor Kate Sullivan is from a while ago, but an agent I follow recently shared it. I think this editor is on the right track with recognizing that white agents and editors saying they “didn’t connect with the character” is a problematic thing to say to authors from marginalized populations, but then she goes on to say “If most editors are white and straight and middle or upper class, of course they won’t “identify” or “connect” with a diverse perspective. “ Honestly, that POV is the problematic one. Why should any of us assume we couldn’t connect with a character who is different than we are? Haven’t we assumed that readers from non-white, non-heteronormative, non-neurotypical populations will still love white, hetero-, etc protagonists? She follows up with some valid suggestions, but I think her post highlights how narrow agents and acquiring editors are still reading from their submissions list.

I’m not sure if this post encourages me or discourages me about the publishing process –Sarah Callender writes about the endurance needed to reach publication. She’s on her third novel (since finding representation), still hoping the first two might get picked up in spite of their non-conformity to a lot of category standards. I do appreciate that she has an agent who has really stuck by her, regardless.

 

Video of the Week:

Do you know what the best thing is to donate for a community that befalls a disaster – natural or otherwise? Money. Check out this article that gives examples how almost everything else gets in the way, and the video below that explains the value of cash donations above anything else.

 

 

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Saturday Summation – 06 August 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

 

Publishing Stuff:

Amongst all the talk about “diversity” in publishing, SC points out that the white faces of publishing still put a “white glaze” on what is acceptable. A book can’t be too angry or critical or verging on “disrespecting” of white populations… so are we getting it, yet, even as we work towards an #ownvoices movement. SC says, “I guess my point is, do agents support diverse ideas or do they support diverse faces speaking the same White ideas?” I’d say it is only the latter right now.

 

Writing Stuff:

Agent Kristin Nelson and Angie Hodapp have started a 9-part series about what to avoid in story openings. If the writing thing is newer to you, I highly recommend following the whole series. For me, though, #2 resonated with me as they focused on what they called the “white room syndrome” – basically starting with no setting. Maybe starting with action is good, but readers also need to feel grounded in the when and where of it all. I liked this analogy they made: “Character is to Voice as Setting is to Atmosphere.”

In writing, we place a lot of emphasis on voice. When you pick up another book by your favorite author, is it the story itself you most anticipate? Maybe, but I’d argue that voice is it and you recognize it right away even if you don’t have the words to describe it. When I started reading this post from Writer Unboxed in my RSS feed earlier this week, I hadn’t looked right away to see who wrote it. After only a paragraph, though, I didn’t have to. I knew it was by agent Donald Maas. All of that is not directly related to what he wrote about – which is how to inspire wonder in your writing (and worth the read as he describes what he means by this and ever useful suggestions) – but is absolutely something he has written about in the past. I gravitate towards his voice and his many words of wisdom.

Sometimes, a set of characters, a world, or a story just won’t let you go. The WIP I am working on right now is one such example. It was my first novel and the characters and their world are so much a part of me that I continue to work with it and refuse to believe it needn’t ever be exposed to the world. Because of this, I can totally relate to Vaughn Roycroft’s mindset in describing how no, we don’t *have* to diversify our writing into different genres or settings. Sometimes, the strength is in monogamy for both writer and reader.

 

Reading Stuff:

While I appreciated the point behind this post of showing the value of a great author-literary agent relationship, I really threw this link in here because of the series that has come from this particular collaboration: a Little Library murder mystery theme! Looks like fun.

Agents frequently talk about comp titles to include in query letters. What other book is your book like? This can mean, of course, style, story, or character. What they always say is to avoid using the HUGE names to compare to: JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King, Lee Child, etc, because not only, say, ego, but not necessarily widely read or current, either. Danika Ellis, though, gives a great reader perspective specifically about not being “the next Harry Potter”. She says, “How much more would I have enjoyed The Magicians by Lev Grossman if I wasn’t expecting an “adult Harry Potter”, as the marketing promised?” Indeed – show us how it is new, not the same.

 

Song of the Week:

Oldest Child just got his driver’s license, so I’m going with a car song.😀

 

 

 

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Writing What You Know: Abstracts of a Marriage and Separation

 

My parents went through the most amicable divorce of anyone I have ever known. There was no yelling and screaming before their split, during, nor after. I’m sure there were resentments for quite a time, but for my outwardly calm parents, I sure didn’t see any of it. At age 11, when they sat with me, my sister, and 2 brothers to let us know they were divorcing. I was not upset.

Actually, I was a little upset because I had to miss a softball game for this discussion. Or maybe I got to go to the softball game, but wasn’t able to hang out with my best friend afterwards. My memory’s a bit fuzzy on that. Also, my sister was upset and because she started to cry, I thought I should too.

The actual process of my parents’ separation was also pretty remarkable in its lack of drama. They chose an extremely unique solution for our transition. They rented a 2-bedroom apartment – each of them taking a bedroom and alternated living with us in the house for a full year. In other words, one month our dad would live with us, the next month our mother. WE didn’t move. THEY did. I don’t know of a single other separation agreement like this one.

[I imagine some of you at this point are wondering why in the world they split up in the first place because doesn’t it sound like they got along just fine? But others of you understand better in that “getting along” – for the most part – is not at all the same as being happy together.]

None of this is to say that it was all seamless and easy. I can’t speak to how it affected my siblings and surely I didn’t think it was all bouncy houses and softball games in how I felt about it, either. And yet, I have never ever felt the stress of the separation like so many other children do. I have been super lucky – and I definitely have both of my parents to thank for that.

It’s been 34 years since they separated, but even after only 10 years (or 5), I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even imagine them together. No fantasies of hoping they would reconcile. (Plus, my dad remarried and his wife has been a solid member of the family for some 30+ years now.)

When I look back at my young, elementary school days, I remember my mom and my dad living together with me and my siblings when I was young, but I have no real memory of them being together. I mean, in true observation, this tells me a lot about their relationship and its demise, but what I’m doing with this information now is using it to write what I know for marriage, change, and separation.

One of my projects (AS THOUGH YOU ARE MINE) reflects this idea of two people growing apart. My protagonist has difficulty in both understanding how her parents were together, but for her, she also struggles with their current relationship (they actually “hook up” from time-to-time between her father’s marriages).

Let me be clear. The parents in this story are NOT my parents. Really and truly (insert my own relief that my own parents did NOT “hook up” from time to time after divorcing  – as far as I know – no really, I’m sure that did not happen). Could they see parts of themselves in each of those characters? Sure. I hope so, because that’s the idea behind good characters and fiction – that we can see ourselves in the stories, that we can feel the emotions and understand the behaviors and empathize. I imagine my mother could see some of herself in the single parent protagonist of another of my projects, too – but she is not her or vice versa.

The parents of Julie, my protagonist in AS THOUGH YOU ARE MINE, have different conflicts, different motivations, and different personalities, really, but there is a feel about them that reminds me of my own parents and this is where I am showing how I am writing what I know. Julie’s father is an attorney. That’s not an area of expertise at all for me. Her mother is a real estate agent. That’s not something I know, either. But I know relationships and I know what can make them gel or dissolve.

I know what it is for a couple that once found a future in one another to later change and find that future untenable. I understand the complicated feelings an adult child can have about her parents’ relationship when her own relationship with each parent is fraught with its own issues.

This is what authors and writing teachers mean when they say “write what you know”. Sure, it means don’t write about an experience you cannot possibly fully understand (such as growing up a slave if you are white or surviving the Holocaust when you are Christian), but as so many others have and will continue to say, if we stuck to the letter of the law in this statement vs the nature, our stories would be limited indeed.

When I create characters, I don’t base them off actual people (because really, that is just pure folly for any author, isn’t it?); rather, I use what I see of human nature and behaviors of those around me and enfold those bits into all of my characters. So while I used bits and pieces of the circumstances and behaviors of my parents in one project, so too do I use bits and pieces of other marriages and separations into others.

For the kind of stories I write – those about all kinds of relationships, this kind of inclusion is what makes them stronger and while I certainly want to get external details right, it is these internal ones that are even more important.

What kinds of pieces of human nature, relationships, or other human behavior have you caught and had your characters embrace? When have you watched something around you and thought, “oh boy, do I understand THAT”?

And for this post I pull from a Rob Thomas song:

Maybe you and me got lost somewhere
We can’t move on and we can’t stay here
Maybe we’ve just had enough
Well, maybe we ain’t meant for this love

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Saturday Summation – 23 July 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

 

Writing Stuff:

Write every day, many say. Sure, it’s not a foolproof path to success and certainly isn’t THE way to anything (obviously there is no single right way to do most things, least of all, writing). On the other hand, Ayodeji Awosika definitely has something here when he talks about the power of momentum. He makes a connection between momentum and confidence, and it really resonates with me as this is how I often feel about a lot of what I do in life, not just writing. But certainly with writing, once I gain that momentum, even I don’t write *every* day, I have the confidence to keep it all going most days and this does indeed contribute to my growth and feeling of success.

I am always so naively hopeful when it comes to summertime – where my workload is reduced and I think, LOOK AT ALL THIS EXTRA TIME FOR WRITING! Wrong. Summer is busy as… well, you know – and though I am getting more writing in now that summer is half over, these months all goals and plans go out the window. Author Kimberly Brock describes it all perfectly and it’s always great to know you’re not alone with your Cheetos.

If you’re a reader who has ever wondered about an author’s use of a pen name, last week’s Sidebar Saturday had a good post that lists a number of reasons why. If you’re an author considering one, there’s good advice in that same post for how it works contractually and legally.

 

Reading Stuff:

Book Riot has recs for you in their “How to Read When the World is Terrible.” This kind of thing is exactly why I’ve been reading even more romance and love stories than usual. I need the safe and happy escape.

I love when friends, family, colleagues, or strangers ask me about books and recommendations. Do I feel pressure for them to love the ones I tell them about? I don’t think so (although obviously there can be disappointment when a book rec is for one I absolutely loved and their later reaction was “meh”), but it might be because I don’t make the distinction between “recommend” and “suggest” – although Casey Stepaniuk in her Book Riot post offers a good argument for how it can make a difference. (BTW, this line in her post caught me right away because it is ME. I have a hard time coming up with titles and authors off the top of my head: “But I get nervous when someone eagerly yet naïvely expects me to be able to come up with a fantastic book for them on the spot.”)

Earlier this week I posted about reading the book, Hamilton: A Revolution, which includes the actual libretto of the musical, Hamilton. Also on reserve at the library for me is the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Sharanya Sharma in her post “Why I Won’t Be Reading The Cursed Child” has this line: “Plays are meant to be seen.” She is absolutely correct. I’m going to read it because I am curious and because I feel it is more tied to the Harry Potter universe than Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is coming out in theaters soon (aside: I don’t care to see this movie for a few reasons, but will probably have to because my youngest is already super excited about it), but I suspect my experience reading that will not be the same as reading the Hamilton libretto due to the lack of all the wonderful narratives Hamilton: A Revolution had, as well as the accompanying soundtrack. Because of what I had with Hamilton, I almost felt like I could see it, whereas I have no soundtrack for The Cursed Child.

The question of “why is there a category called ‘Women’s Fiction’ but not ‘Men’s Fiction” arrived on agent Janet Reid’s blog and her answer is the most fundamental: it’s just a way of knowing what kind of book you’re picking up. Now, to be honest, I’d never heard of “women’s fiction” until I started thinking about publishing, so I’m guessing this category isn’t necessarily in all bookstores all over the U.S. Mostly, I’ve always considered it a publishing term, to help agents and editors know right away the kind of book they’re looking at. To my friends and family who have asked what I write, I generally say “an Oprah book” and at this point, most still know what I mean. Why be vague? My brothers wouldn’t read my books, my sisters and most of my sisters-in-law would. I’m cool with that. The comments in Reid’s post are all over the map, but I have to say, the ones that start with “I don’t read women’s fiction, but it’s not because of the category name but because…” and then follow with an adamant defense seem kind of sad because to me, those are the ones who are afraid to admit that they can like female things. That’s society still talking, which is too bad. I write women’s fiction. Or upmarket fiction. Or just plain commercial fiction. Read it if you like any of that stuff. Or don’t. It’s all good.

When is choosing not to include a book in a library selection censorship, and when is it a situation of “do no harm”? Lately there have been children’s books, especially, that either do a disservice in representation of marginalized populations or far worse, whitewash them or do harm in their representation. I appreciate this post by a librarian who explains the no clear cut path and how decisions are based upon (or should be) multiple criteria.

Song of the Week

I’m off to Puerto Rico for a few days, so how about a little Frankie Ruiz?

 

 

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A Broadway Musical for the Non-Theatre Fanatic. AKA: a Non-Traditional Book Review

When I was in fifth grade, I put a heap of time into learning all the facts surrounding the Revolutionary War. I have always enjoyed history, but have also always struggled with holding onto all the dates, places, events, and people. The Revolutionary War in fifth grade marked the first time I remember dedicating lots of brainpower to my studies (except for maybe kindergarten – I cried at my teacher’s desk when I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of zeroes in subtraction. Bless Miss Springer’s heart for dealing with that). It became this big deal with everyone who sat around me. I think I bombed the initial quizzes or something and the BIG UNIT TEST was approaching and seemingly, I let everyone know how I was going to ACE it.  And they all (and when I say “all”, I’m sure I mean only that one person who got stuck sitting in front of me or something) helped me by quizzing me every day. And I think I did ace it. Or, at least I did really well on it? I don’t know. That was a long time ago, folks. A Long. Time. Ago.

What I kind of loved about that super focused determination to learn and remember everything about the Revolutionary War (within the narrow confines of a probably horribly slanted fifth grade textbook), is that I grew fascinated with that time period and I did hold on to a lot of that material for many years after that. What sealed the deal on loving that time in history, though, was when Barry Bostwick became George Washington in that mini-series just a couple of years later in 1984. I loved that mini-series. I loved the dramatization of such a pivotal time in history. I loved Bostwick as Washington. (Or maybe I just loved Bostwick. Could be. I had unconventional older-man crushes when I was young. Stop judging, yo.) In truth, I know I especially loved that mini-series because it covered a lot of the Revolutionary War era and dang it, I KNEW MY STUFF.

I don’t know if there’s a chicken and egg conundrum here. I mean, did I love the mini-series because I knew so much about it already and it came alive on the screen? Or would I have loved it without that knowledge? Would I have dug watching that first, then learning about it in school? I think it’s the former, which connects to the next part of my story:

A few months ago, all the NY literary agents I follow along with many authors flooded my timeline with everything Hamilton. As in, Hamilton the Broadway musical. Seriously, it was EVERYWHERE in my timeline. And when I learned more about it, I understood. I’m not a Theater person. I mean, I enjoy going to plays, but I’ve never seen “Les Mis” (that’s what the cool people call it), Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, or The Lion King. When I saw what was happening with Hamilton, though, I truly understood the draw. A nearly all non-white cast. Hip-hop for the primary pulse behind all the music. Massive success. It’s pretty phenomenal. And if you’re still not sure why, exactly, this particular work is so important in its success, please read these four pages from Hamilton: A Revolution: (Seriously, do. It made my heart swell.)

Eventually I decided to go ahead and download the soundtrack to see if I could get on board. But, you know, it’s a little like listening to an audiobook – you have to actually pay attention to it as you listen and I don’t have long work commutes to help me with that. Plus, I don’t remember much of anything about Hamilton and have never had a burning desire to know much.

And yet.

Now I wanted to learn. Because if a non-white artist found a white historical icon fascinating enough to write a musical about him, then maybe this is a piece of history I want to know more about. Plus, REVOLUTIONARY WAR, Y’ALL. Ah yes, now you see the connection.

So this is what I did:

  1. I checked out Hamilton: A Revolution by Jeremy McCarter and Lin-Manuel Miranda from the library.
  2. I got a feel for the way the book is set up. It’s the full libretto of the musical (“libretto” = full text of the vocal work and in this case, the entire musical since the songs are not separated with non-music stuff like other musicals might be) + margin notes by Miranda + introductory narrative before each song by McCarter.
  3. I read the narrative section, then listened to the song while following along with the printed lyrics in the book, then paused to go back and read Miranda’s margin notes. Then moved on to the next narrative section, etc.
  4. I finished and decided maybe I’ll need to own this book instead of getting it on loan from the library.

I read the whole book this way and it was so much fun. I loved finding out how this musical came to be, what made it unique, and the bonus historical notes (ie, what was changed, dramatic license, etc). The writer in me really enjoyed Miranda’s margin notes because the creative process behind such a work as this is pretty amazing to me.

And when I got to the narrative piece towards the end where McCarter describes opening night and the 30-second + long reception of Miranda when he walked out on stage to sing “Alexander Hamilton” in response to “What’s your name?”, I felt like I was right there, part of that audience cheering and clapping. I felt the pull of what makes people love Drama and Theater and celebrated what an accomplishment Hamilton is for all those involved with bringing Miranda’s work to life.

Sure, it would be great to see the actual performance – and maybe someday it will come to Minnesota (a girl can dream), but until then, I kind of feel like I was able to experience the next best thing. I know, some of you true Theater fans have your jaws dropping in shock that I could possibly compare this as a “next best thing”, but, *points to self*, *points to title of blog post*.

To partially redeem myself though: You know how English teachers try to help you make sense of things like Shakespeare and Faulkner? Wouldn’t it be great if this is how they could do it more often? I hope that English and history teachers are teaming up already to mine all that is possible with not only Hamilton, but the companion book, too. I guarantee you that I will now hold on to a lot of Hamilton and Hamilton era facts for quite a while, just like I used to have all of that info about the Revolutionary War back in the day.

And if you were on the fence about actually trying to jump in the fray of Hamilton mania? Leap. Download the soundtrack. Experience it with the companion book. I think you’ll dig it.

 

I kind of wanted to have the main video be the one where the cast performs at the White House, which includes a really great introduction by President Obama. Instead, I think it’s better that you can go ahead and click above if you want to see it, but more readily at your fingertips is the Tony Awards performance. A glimpse at the real thing is better, no?

 

 

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Saturday Summation – 09 July 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

I’m BACK, baby. Well, mostly. I mean, it is summer and as Mary Carroll Moore writes, summer can actually be the most difficult time to maintain regular writing. At any rate, June threw me for a loop and I’m getting my mojo back, so let’s share some cool links again, yes?

 

Writing Stuff:

Sometimes, when making dialogue “authentic”, we get dragged down by its banality. Much of real life dialogue is full of “yes”, “no”, and “mm-hmm”s. A way to get around repeated “‘Mm-hmm,’ she said” phrases, author Katie Rose Guest Pryal offers suggestions on adding movement around the dialogue and dialogue tags. This can move your character conversations forward while showing us a lot about character, too.

And since we’re focusing on narrower aspects of craft, author Kathryn Craft gives a post on how to zero in on word choice in a line-by-line basis. I like how she offers up lots of specific ways to do this – to add “sparks of fire” to our prose, giving our storytelling that much more of a lift.

This week I learned of a new blog – Sidebar Saturdays, which addresses legal issues and writing. Great first post (or early post) talks of using trademarks in our fiction. When is it not okay? What are some alternatives?

Sure, not ALL writing advice is valid or applicable to how you write, but… I can’t help but believe there is one piece that IS universally true: you must read in order to be a better writer. It pains me when I see published authors say “I don’t have time to read anymore”. I want to respond with “no, you’ve messed up your priorities”. I get that for some, during the drafting process, they don’t like reading because they are worried it will mess with their style, but at some point you finish the draft, yes? Read like a maniac for a couple of weeks between drafts/editing, etc. Anyway, author Greer Macallister DOES recognize the value of reading and she gives a few reasons why.

 

Reading Stuff:

Have you been a beta reader? Are you approaching a beta reader? Having gone through the process of sending my manuscripts off to beta readers, I have learned upon finding new ones that I need to let them know that I want more than just a general “what did you think?” That one question might only give me a 1-2 sentence reaction. Instead, it’s always good to have some more specific questions. This post by Rosalyn Eves offers a lot of good ones to choose from if you are not sure, yet, on what you need or want to know from your beta readers.

What does it mean for a book to sell well? How much money do retailers get for a book sale? A publisher? The author? This post by Lincoln Michel is a fantastic overview with details and examples to get a glimpse into the world of book sales.

 

Miscellaneous Stuff:

Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes, agent Jessica Faust says. Sometimes – and I know it’s my age that peeks through in this opinion more than anything – I think this attitude fails to enter many people’s consciousness. We are a more of an impatient culture than we once were, and want the best, dream job right away. I think it’s good to have to work a little harder to get where you want to be.

 

Recommended Reads:

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart (YA)

Prophecy – Ellen Oh (YA)

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith (A)

Unidentified Suburban Object – Mike Jung (MG) [My review]

Otherbound – Corinne Duyvis (YA) [My review]

More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera (YA) [My review]

 

Song of the Week:

I think we need something with a little lift this week, yes? The Yeh Yeh Song (esp. this version by Lambert Hendricks and Ross that my husband is particularly fond of) is our family’s “song of the summer”. Do a little dance and give a few hugs while you’re at it, okay? Thanks.🙂

 

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Saturday Summation – 30 April 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Reading Stuff:

I’m betting if you are an avid reader, you already know it to be true that books can be both therapeutic and educational. A “Reading Well for Young People” campaign is underway in Britain has doctors including recommended books (including novels) as part of their treatment regimen for mental health issues. I love it. A book is obviously not a cure all and isn’t the sole “prescription”, but what a great idea to help with a “you are not alone” aspect.

Nicole Mulhausen in Book Riot talks about “maiming or claiming” books. She writes in them, dog-ears pages, highlights, etc. I do not like to write in my books (and I always found it super distracting to buy used, written-in textbooks in college), nor do I like the dog-eared pages (and no, my books don’t have to stay pristine… there’s something to be said about a well-worn/loved book, but I do like them nice for as long as possible)…. but I  do like the idea of how, when she buys or starts reading a book, that she has notes at the beginning about circumstances. There was a related Book Riot article (maybe also by Nicole?) that talked about inscriptions, too. I might have some leeway for both of these excuses for writing in books.

 

Writing Stuff:

When you become serious about writing, you eventually discover how good you are at overusing certain words. My characters love to shrug, shake their heads, and try to do/say/think things (boy do they love “trying”!). So when I see this piece on “thought” verbs, I’m all over it because yes, it turns out my characters love to think, wonder, and consider a whole lot, too. Time to liven it up, Janet.

Discussion of POV (point-of-view) have cropped up in my writing circles lately and, like any craft focus, there are lots of opinions behind when to use different POV and how to use it. Mary Carroll Moore answers a question about time given to each POV and a few more basics.

If you know me very well, you know this next article is how I often approach life. I go with what opportunities come my way and am not afraid to, as Barbara O’Neal puts it, take the next leap in career or life in general. There’s a lot to be said for forced self-evaluation at different junctures to help prepare ourselves for something new, wanted or unwanted. O’Neal leans into the writing career leap, but her post addresses the broader message of life/career changes.

 

Recommended Reads:

A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Blackman (A) – (my review)

Mexican Whiteboy – Matt de la Peña (YA)

Camo Girl – Kekla Magoon (MG) – (my review)

The Great American Whatever – Tim Federle (YA)

 

Video of the Week:

The West Wing fans will get a kick out of the beginning of this video where Allison Janney take the real White House press secretary podium for a talk about substance abuse, though she starts out with some quips from the show.

 

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