Sunday, October 31, 2010

Book Week 44 - Q is for quirky, quick, quarrellous quackers

Book Week 44

I love Dolores Cronin's books and even at 11 years old, my son still loves to pull out her books and read them. Poor Farmer Brown - no rest for the weary. Especially when you are dealing with a barnyard full of quirky farm animals as in Duck for President

"Running a farm is very hard work.

At the end of the day, Farmer Brown is covered
from head to toe in hay, horsehair, seeds, sprouts, feathers,
filth, mud, muck and coffee stains.
He doesn't smell very good either."

But what happens when he decides to take a vacation as evidence in Giggle Giggle Quack 

"Farmer Brown was going on vacation.  He left his brother, Bob, in charge of the animals. 'I wrote everything down for you.  Just follow my instructions and everything will be fine.  But keep an eye on Duck.  He's trouble.'  Farmer Brown thought he heard giggles and snickers as he drove away, but he couldn't be sure."

He also has another problem.  They've learned to type as in Click, Clack Moo, Cows That Type.

"Farmer Brown has a problem.  His cows like to type.  All day long he hears.

Click, clack MOO.
Click, Clack, MOO.
Clickety, clack, MOO."

Doreen Cronin's quirky stories about quick, quarrellous, quackers and moody cows that type will entertain every one in the family. 

What children stories have you come across that are fun to read at any age?


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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Week 43 - big P, little p, what begins with P

Procrastination.  Yep, I seem to be turning into the world's biggest procrastinator lately so it was fortunate for me when I stumbled across Dennis Palumbo at Bouchercon last weekend.    He was giving a short seminar on writer's block and procrastination.   I could have listened to Dennis for a couple hours.  He was a screenwriter for the first two seasons of Welcome Back Kotter back in the 70's and is now a licensed psychotherapist for screenwriters, authors, directors, etc.   His viewpoints on writers block and procrastination made a lot of sense.  I can't wait to read his book:  Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within

Dennis has three cosmic rules of writing.

1st cosmic rule:  "You are enough."   Quit with the if only's.   Everybody thinks the party is happening somewhere else.     You have everything in you to be the writer you want to be right now.

2nd cosmic rule:  "Work with what you are given."  Use who you are, your personal voice, your experiences and emotions.

3rd cosmic rule:  "Writing begets writing."   Quit thinking and worrying about it, do it, write.  If you get to your computer and along the way, stumble over the cat in the morning, and then sit there and can't think about what to write.  Start with the cat.  

Makes a lot of sense and so much of it is common sense.  So what should I be doing, instead of procrastinating?  Preparing, plotting, pondering points of prose to propose and searching for the correct pen for pencraft.  Because there is only one more week til the start of National Novel Writing Month.   I, along with thousands, perhaps tens of thousand of people around the world will be taking up the challenge of writing a 50,000 word first draft of a novel.  If you haven't tried it yet and the writing bug has been nudging you lately, challenge yourself and see what happens.   To help you, Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo has written a book "No Plot? No Problem? A low stress, high velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days."

I'm off to ponder plan and plot.  

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book week 42 - O is for Ocoee Middle School's Gotta Keep Reading

Happy Sunday!  Right now I'm in San Francisco playing fan girl at the Bouchercon World Mystery convention.  Will have lots to talk about when I get back.  Thought I'd leave you with a wonderful video of the Ocoee Middle School Gotta Keep Reading video.  I love this video!  Enjoy!


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book Week 41 - N is for National Novel Writing Month

Three years ago in 2007 I heard about a unique challenge - National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short in which you write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.   Get out of here, I said.  Who can write a book in 30 days.  James Patterson maybe, but me?    I checked it out and this is what I found:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
I had dabbled periodically through life with writing, never getting much farther than a thought, a daydream, a first chapter.   The idea intrigued me so I came up with an idea and went for it.  And I did it.  I wrote my first novel.  A lousy first novel that needed a lot of work, but I discovered a new love.  Since then I've written two more first drafts that are waiting to be edited into hopefully something worthy.  And I have learned much about the craft of writing and am still learning. 

Basically you are writing a first draft -  quickly - without letting your internal editor shut you down with worries about grammar usage, or questions about 'does that make sense, is that right?' or your brain shouting at you - NO you NEED to MAKE that SOUND better RIGHT NOW.  I've discovered there are two types of writers.  Pantsters and outliners.   Pantsters fly by the seat of their pants - they have an idea and just start writing.  Whereas outliners - outline what the story is going to be about, research it a bit and then start writing.   

I'm sort of a pantster outliner.  I have a general outline and just go from there.   And then as you write, you let the characters take over and see where they take you.   I love the aha wow moments as I write, letting the thoughts flow from my head to the pen and onto paper.   Yes, I write longhand because discovered my thoughts just flow so much more smoothly versus typing it. I'm less prone to changing or correcting things as I write.  Because as I type, like right now, I'm seeing the words on the page, thinking it out and typing, editing, correcting my spelling, thinking about not only what I'm going to say but how it looks. 

Did you know Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephant's wrote the first draft of the story during nanowrimo?  Or Lani Diane Rich of Wish You Were Here who stumbled upon Nano in 2003 and wrote her very first story.  There are many published authors who use Nano each year to jump start their first drafts.   And there are many folks out there who do it just for the challenge. 

It started out as a challenge for me, but in the back of my mind somewhere is the thought - it would be neat to see my name on the cover of a my book sitting on the shelves in a bookstore.   I'm taking up the challenge once again, for another year come November.  Meanwhile I'm learning every thing I can about editing because maybe, one day......

So I'm clearing the decks for November and getting ready to write.  How about you?  50,000 words in 30 days = 1667 words a day.  Come on - you know you wanna do it? 


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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book Week 40 - M is for Monsters

Book Week 40

M is for Monsters 

Welcome to Fall and what falls in Fall - October, Halloween, and Monsters.  Bwaaahaaahaaahaa!

The Monster Mash by Bobby "Boris" Picket

Sorry in advance to those whose sensibilities are offended.


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