Reading · Teaching · Writing

Sa–MONDAY Summation – 21 April 2014

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 had a computer SNAFU over the weekend and didn’t get a chance to post this on my normal Saturday. I thought about skipping it, but I had several links ready to share, so I decided to just delay, instead. I hope you find something worthwhile, helpful, or of interest.

Teaching Stuff:

I don’t know how common this is in other states, but this is the first of its kind that I’ve seen – Spanish courses in K-12 schools designed expressly for native Spanish speakers. Spanish I is not the proper placement for a native speaker to start. Aside from the obvious issues of the speaking, listening, and vocabulary being far too easy for them, students frequently don’t take advantage of trying to take in the parts where they are likely lacking: writing and possibly even reading. Hurrah for both a teacher and a district for carrying out something I’ve been wanting to see ever since I started teaching Spanish myself.


Reading Stuff:

Do you remember when Choose Your Own Adventure books came out? I loved the unique idea of being able to have countless ways “my” story could go based upon my choices. Mental Floss talks about the birth of this series and the vision of an agent to help make a father’s storytelling come to life.

Here’s a shocker: 60% of non-fiction books use ghostwriters. HA! I’m still not sure whether or not I think that percentage is lower than I thought it would be. Hmm. NPR’s Gabrielle Emanuel explores what it means to be a celebrity ghostwriter – and it’s pretty interesting the challenge and work that some writers put into the task.

Not in the article, but I also recently read about how Hilary Rodham Clinton has said – with backup from a publishing rep – that she writes her own books. And then I looked up to see if, say, Rob Lowe did the same. It would seem he has. Make of that what you will. I stopped looking up stuff like that after those two. Maybe you can surprise me in the comments with celebrity autobiographies/memoirs that have or have not been ghostwritten.


Writing Stuff:

S.L. Duncan writes about why writers should read in the genre they write. It’s a nice reminder of the importance of knowing your genre, really.  He says, “You should be reading books in the genre in which you wish to be published because you should love those books; be dedicated to them.” And honestly, what would even cause you to write in a genre that you don’t even read? What would even lead you to feel qualified to do so?

Rachelle Gardner talks about authors connecting with their readers. One point resonated with me: who is my blog audience? It’s a good question. Right now I’d say my audience is probably primarily writers who are also readers. Will I need to change this when I finally publish? How would I change this?

Erin Bartels provided some quick and dirty tips for what to look for in your revision and editing process. The two I like best that I’m not sure all would agree with are the bits about over-explaining setting and needless description of characters. Remember the balance of giving details that help your reader see and feel it all, but not so much that it’s just taking up space or just to show that you know your details.


Video of the Week:

If you are a fan of either Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen, you’ll get a kick out of this clip of them playing a sort of “Newlywed Game”. They are such fun best buds to watch and while my sister sent me a video recently of two 80-year old women flying for the first time and said that might be us one day (the adventure aspect), I think we might be more like Sir Stew and Sir McK, instead. (However, we will get far more answers right, I bet!)

What do you think? I'd love to discuss!

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