Monday, August 30, 2010

Author Sydney Salter's Writing Tip of the Week

You are in for a treat. A number of writers - all my friends so far - have agreed to share a writing tip for you so you aren't always hearing from me. We are starting with Sydney Salter who not only writes funny, interesting books, but she's a truly nice person as well. This is what Sydney says about herself: Sydney lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, two cats, a pair of quiet tortoises, and a baby bearded dragon. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, skiing, traveling, and searching for the ultimate cupcake.
She sent a video too. It may take a minute to open, but how fun is it to hear from the real person - or the virtual one at least. Enjoy and try this very cool exercise. Sydney Salter’s novels include My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, Jungle Crossing, and Swoon At Your Own Risk.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Biblio Burro - the Library Burro

Just one thing to share today but what a treat. This is from my friend Yuyi Morales' Facebook page - and YouTube. If you wonder why we write, look at this. Doesn't matter if you speak Spanish or not. It's all in the video. And for a writing tip? Try this exercise - particularly if you DON'T speak Spanish. What do you know from the people's expressions? How can you describe them? Can you write a scene from the video without dialogue so we get the whole picture? Now write it with dialogue. If you have a friend who speaks Spanish, have them listen to the video and translate if for you if they can. How close is your version?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oh, That Writing Thing

I had lunch with a friend today and she told me I'd always been a writer. I corrected her - I started writing as an adult. But I was always a day dreamer. In fact, I used to get in trouble for that when I was in elementary and junior high school. There was always an interesting world in my head to inhabit. So that led to the train of thought that as an adult, I often judge my progress by words or pages written. How many time have you writers seen a post that says "Yay, I wrote 2,000 words today." Yes, that's a measure. But you know what? Yesterday I put not one word onto paper, or shall I say entered none on the screen, but I found the heart of my current novel - while I was walking my black lab Ralph before the sun rose. That's progress. That's that writing thing. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Moment I Almost Missed

I've been walking every morning. So lucky to start my day in one of the most beautiful places I know - my own valley. I really didn't want to go this morning, though, but Ralph, ourbig black lab, was so excited I opened the door and out we went. I was on automatic, slow to wake up. Decided to walk up a side street that I usually skip and a pinto mare began to run right to me. There was something different about her, besides her desire to see me - most horses ignore us (that's me and Ralph). We met at the corral fence. She was eager to be petted or fed or ridden. I didn't do any - she's not my horse - but I did stare. She had the most amazing blue eyes. Stunning. Clear and bright blue. I've never seen a horse with two bright blue eyes before. Look for it in a book. That's where inspiration comes from. Walks you almost didn't take.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Computer Cat #2

So have I talked about this before? My cat loves to stretch out between the keyboard and the monitor. Then he occasionally bats at the keys. Writing prompt - what if he learned to type? What would your cat say? Any cat? Are there cat poets out there? Complaining cats? Mystery writing cats? This is a gold mine of feline fantasy. Go for it.

On the news front, I found that Bull Rider is included in the preliminart list for the 2011/2012 Truman Award for middle school books from the Missouri Association of School Librarians. I think that means kids will be reading it (along with books from a list of 25)this fall and voting on their favorites which will then become the Nominees (list of 12). It's a long process but there will be readers involved all along the way.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Odds and Ends

I'm revising this morning and will put on some music to go with my mood and the manuscript. Some writers swear by this. Some make playlists for their manuscripts. I'm not that dedicated yet. But I do know what I want to listen to to set a certain mood. So imagine me listening and writing - soon. Also, watch the blog for tips from other writers. I'll be posting them about once a week starting toward the end of August. And if you know teachers, writers, or students who are looking for tips and ideas send them this way. It's nice to know people are reading the blog. Happy weekend.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Writerly Stuff

Short note today. I'm off to revise an opening. Very jazzed about it. It's so wonderful when you love your own work. That's good and important. If you don't stand by your writing, your story, who will? Coming up - tips from some great YA and MG authors. See the list on the right. More later - me

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mining Family Stories

I just got home from the Society of Children's Book Writer's and illustrator's conferene in Los Angeles. It's always a feast of information, tips, opportunities, and new and old friends. And of course books. I bought one new book to read (the bookstore must have sold out of many titles early) and I loved it. The Red Umbrella by Cristina Diaz Gonzalez. I really enjoyed reading it and I learned a lot too. The book is based on her family's experience in 1961 and 1962 when thousands of Cuban children were sent to the United States alone to escape the new Castro regime. Most of them were reunited with their families later.

So the tip - your family has stories too. Sometimes they happened last week and sometimes they are stories from decades or even a century ago. What has happened to you that would make a funny story? What adventures have you had with your family? Have your grandparents told you stories of when they were kids? Ask them. You may get an idea for a great story. And remember, you don't have to tell it exactly as it happened. You can start with an idea, and if your story is fiction, you can change things to make the story more interesting, longer, scarier - whatever you need. Good luck.