Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Writing humor

I love humor.  I love books that are funny.
You too?
Then you've gotta click on over to the El Space blog and read this interview with funny writer, Shelby Rosiak.
The first part is here  and the second part is here.

A word of warning, don't hit yourself over the head with a rubber chicken.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July Carnival of Children's Literature

is up.

Click on over to the Prose and Kahn blog to see what children's books other bloggers talked about this month.  You might find a great book to read.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Discovering feelings to write about

If you clicked on through to Lisa Papademetriou's web page yesterday, you probably discovered it led first to her blog and you've probably already read her entry about driving in a thunderstorm. She was another third semester student who lived in Martin House with me during our residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

This is an all-too-true tale about the feelings that overcome you when hit by an impossible-to-see-through storm while driving.  You can't stop because of the fear that cars behind you can't see you and will crash into you.  You can't even see the side of the road in order to pull over. You just drive, hoping nothing bad happens.  Lisa, being an excellent writer, decides to remember all of her sensations so she can use it in her next story. Do you find yourself thinking this, too?

Side note -- meanwhile, the rest of the class who did not leave directly after graduation but planned to leave the next day from Residency, were at a restaurant in Montpelier.  Half of them walked there and back and there was no sign of rain at all.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to college

In case you were wondering where I've been/ why there have been no posts for two weeks, I've gone back to Vermont College of Fine Arts to work on my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults and was in Vermont at the two week residency there.  This is a low residency course where we attend lectures from 8:30 in the morning to dinnertime and Readings in the evenings.  Then go home to write, write, write for 5 months.

Now, you're probably thinking, Hey. She's retired.  She's a published writer.  Why the heck is she going back to college to learn how to write?

Well, like most of the people taking this course, I want to learn to write better.  At least half of the third semester class -- my current classmates -- are already published, including one of my favorite writers, Lisa Papademetriou.  Look her up on Facebook (link here = Lisa Papademetriou) or her website.  

So, how was my college adventure?
It was a wonderful two week residency. (all the rest of the course is done at home with me in email contact with my Advisor and responsible for turning in 5 packets of work.  The first packet?  A draft of my Critical Thesis.  (yikes!)

Well, the weather wasn't the usual balmy Vermont weather.  It was cold the first week and I found myself wearing practically everything I brought to keep warm in the evenings. (I now live in Southern California.)  Then the weather flip-flopped and it became close to 90 degrees with hazy, hot, and humidity.  Ack!  The same weather we used to have when we lived in the Baltimore, Maryland area.  Hot and sticky.  Yuck.

I stayed in Martin House with a great group of third semester students and was able to participate when they revealed their class name -- Allies in Wonderland -- where we all dressed up representing different children's books.  I was Professor Minerva McGonagall, complete with a feather in my witch's hat.  (wearing my daughter's college graduation gown plus that wonderful Professor McGonagall hat)

One of the lectures so inspired my friend Jean Gralley that she skipped lunch and spent the afternoon in her room above mine, writing, writing, writing.

Being a third semester student (there are four semesters to this course), I spent a lot of time in the thesis room, reading and deciding what to request the administration to send to me to print out at home.

Now I'm home and busy doing research and playing around with the molding of my thesis.  More about that later.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Setting up a story

Looky, Looky!
Writer Barbara O'Conner has done a great two-part post about how to begin your story -- with examples -- on her blog, Greetings From Nowhere.

It was a setup (part 1)
It was a setup (part 2)

Friday, July 5, 2013

75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Award

Here's a link to an article in the Horn Book Magazine about the celebration held last week in Chicago for the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Award for best illustrated book of the year(s).

I went to something similar -- a celebration of picture book artists -- some years ago at ALA and learned a lot.  This one sounds as if it was even more fantastic.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July

I hope you will be able to find fireworks on display somewhere near you.

(added later)
Wonderful fireworks, which we saw for free with no hassles by walking a quarter mile to the edge of High Bluff with 13-year-old granddaughter, two-year old grandson and daughter Jennifer Lawrence and her husband, Michael. 
While we were watching them, the clouds gradually lowered covering the top half of the higher explosions. Weird. 
Our view included not only those fireworks at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, but four other productions on beaches north of us, along with reflections of flashes from a display to our right, further up the San Dieguito valley.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Things you need to know about Agents

Although this blog is written by a group of agents for mostly adult books, it's still chock full of good info about working with agents and what to expect.  Click on over to the Books & Such Literary Agency blog.