I go.

What could you do if you tried?  This is my inspirational photo for the summer of some grass I noticed  pushing through the pavement when I was out for a run.  Yes a run.  I never ever thought I could run unless chased by a toothy carnivore.  Now I can actually say I sort of enjoy it.  I don’t go far, and I don’t go fast, but I go.

It’s a good mantra for a lot of things that take effort and persistence.

Grass 2

Harry Potter Snobs

I understand that some people don’t enjoy reading Harry Potter (Not really, I think they’re nuts!).  But what I can’t tolerate are the people who turn up their nose at the series as if it’s not worth reading because it’s not great literature (I would argue with this as well).

The other day I stumbled across this great post/lecture by editor Cheryl Klein about what writers can learn from Harry Potter.

Enjoy!

Writing Something Hard

I usually know when I’ve got something difficult to write because my house is really clean.  In other words, I’ve resorted to cleaning as a form of procrastination.  But it’s more than that.  Cleaning the house is something I can control, it has a clear beginning and end, and it makes me feel that I’ve accomplished something.  Now to accomplish some writing…

For further procrastination, check out this great interview with YA writer Sara Zarr.  Her book Story of a Girl is one of my favorite recent YA reads.  She nails the voice of a teenager and presents teen sexuality is a complex and truthful way.  I loved it!

Writing – Revision

When I knew I had this major revision in front of me I put a call out to some writer friends to get their thoughts and ideas about revising a novel.  What I was able to glean, from their helpful hints and a lot of web research, is that everyone has their own way of going about it.  (DRAT! I was hoping for an easy answer!)

I got some great words of wisdom from the fabulous MG writer Deva Fagan (author of the recently released Fortune’s Folly) a few of which I would like to summarize here.  You can check out her blog where I believe she posted the longer version.

One thing she mentioned was that she keeps a file called “big cuts” where she pastes in the big chunks she removes as she’s revising.  This is helpful in case you cut something and then want to add it in later, but it’s also kind of a writer’s security blanket.  All those words are still there if you need them, and it can help you to cut more freely.

One other thing she mentioned was a little index card she keeps next to her computer which says the following things.

  1. Protagonist must protag
  2. character/setting/plot = scene
  3. What changes?  How is the story advanced?

This little card reminds her of the basics as she writes and revises and also reminds her that no matter how great the writing is, it has to be contributing to the book in one of these ways.

Revision Update

Today I finished the new ending for The Fills, my YA science fiction project that is currently in revision.  Reach hand up over head and pat back. This ending is the original ending I envisioned when I started writing (before I got freaked out about how long it was and decided to end it prematurely) and it feels good to be there.

I wonder which YA series started out as one really long book and got broken up, versus books that were always envisioned as a series or books that became a series though the author never originally envisioned them that way.

Writing – Revision

If there is one thing I have learned in the revision process it’s that you can’t hide your “problem areas”.  If you (meaning me) think there is a major issue or problem in your novel, there probably is.  I ignored two major issues in order to just finish writing a first draft of my YA novel and lo and behold at the end of the first draft there they still were.

Sometimes it is good to ignore problems in order to churn out that first rough draft, but you can’t ignore them forever.   Other people, in this case my very savy agent, will see them too.  On a positive note, these problems are good because they represent an opening, an opportunity to vastly improve your book, and the good news is, you already know what they are.

Camping

I’m off for a long weekend of camping.  I think it will be good to get away from all technology for a few days.  Last week I took an amazing class at USM with Alice Barr.  It was all about how to incorporate web 2.0 tools and skills into your classroom.  I learned a ton, but also developed serious butt calluses from sitting in front of a screen for eight hours a day.  I’m ready to commune with mutha nature.

We’re heading north to the Cobscook Bay State Park which is a beautiful and under-visited campground near the Canadian border.  There are a ton of great hiking trails in the area.

September in July

This is not a reference to the recent spate of rainy weather, but rather to the horrible dream I had last night.  I’m not normally a dream sharer but this kind of neuroses usually doesn’t strike me until late August or early September.  In the dream every single difficult student I’ve had in the last 5 years was in my class.  I was teaching math (not a strong point).  It was the first day of school, the power was out, I had neglected to give my homeroom kids their schedules and I was wearing my pajamas…tops only.