Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Write a Book

Good advice from the multi-published (and multi-award winner) Kate Messner:

She says:

Just got an email from an elementary school student asking how to write a book. I started her off with these two suggestions, which apply to writers of all ages.
1. Read a lot of stories that are similar to the kind of book you want to write. A LOT. Like, sign out a great big pile of books from the library and read them all. Think about which ones you like best, and why. When we read like writers in that way, we learn what makes a good book. 
2. Carry around a notebook. That way, when you have an idea, you can jot it down right away and it won't get lost in your busy brain.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Writer's Quotes - Stephen King

I'm attaching a link to a chart listing 14 pieces of writing advice from Stephen King.
Good for all writers.
Readers will also find this informative.  It might let you know just why that self-published book you bought was so unsatisfying and why traditionally published books, that are revised many times by the writer plus helpfully improved by an editor at a traditional publishing house, are so much better and more satisfying.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Writer's Quotes - P.G Wodehouse

P.G. Wodehouse, wrote almost a hundred books of fiction, 16 plays, and composed lyrics for 28 musicals, most of them humorous. 
When asked about his technique for writing, he said, "I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit."

Monday, November 14, 2016

A few other Quotes

Sometimes I discover quotes that seem to apply to situations today.  For Example:

Harper Lee in To Kill A Mockingbird:
They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide may majority rule is a person's conscience.

Marcus Aurelius - Meditations:
Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be.
Be one.

Frederick Douglass - speeches:
I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.

Marcus Garvey:
The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself, but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.

John E. Lewis:
If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Writer's Quotes - Gene Wolfe

Neil Gaiman has a book called The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction and it's so full of good quotes that I might have to buy the book so I can refer to them from time to time.

Here's one he says Gene Wolfe told him about the act of Writing:
"You never learn how to write a novel.  You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing."


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Monday, November 7, 2016

Nonfiction Monday - Some Writer!

Sweet, Melissa. Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
Available now.

If you haven't heard about this book yet, I will be surprised.  This is a long-awaited biography of the author of Charlotte's Web and other books.
Although we expect Melissa Sweet to have done a picture book biography, this is not one of those.
It could be more accurately described as a biography with lots of pictures, photographs, illustrations, and samples of his magazine articles and essays. 162 pages.
From the very first page. . . no . . . beginning with the endpapers the reader is drawn into the world of E.B. White -- from his adventures driving a Model T Roadster across the United States to his life on a farm in Maine. And all that time writing, writing, writing.

Almost everyone knows the book Elements of Style by Shrunk and White, but did you know that the "White" was E.B. White?  It was a required textbook for every English class I took in college. (I can't find my old copy, darn it. Maybe I haven't looked in the right bookcase.)

I have a feeling that this will be a strong candidate for the ALA Sibert Award to match the one she won this year for The Right Word.  Check Melissa Sweet's website for more info about that.

Just Google this title to discover hundreds of other reviews of this new biography.

Friday, November 4, 2016


I voted.  Did You?
I couldn't believe how long the ballot was this year.
Evidently, California insists on having the electorate vote on things that the elected officials up on Sacramento or in the city council should have taken care of.   A good many of them were revisions and updates to the city charter.  (We no longer have a City Manager - that was a 1960s thing. Now we have a Mayor.  My reaction was - and you just noticed that the terms needed to be revised?  That should have been taken care of when the terminology first changed, however may years ago that was. By the city council.)

I get a mail-in ballot, but I like to hand deliver it.
So, once I checked the library website to see what time they closed, I fought rush hour traffic over to Solana Beach, talked to the nice ladies running the ballot table, and officially dropped my ballot into the ballot box.  Ten minutes before the library closed.