Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Well, THERE'S A Shocker!

Serious ADHD Likely!

How NOT to approach your local librarian

Via Unshelved

click on through and read the whole series... It's HILARIOUS (but doesn't mention publishamerica by name....)

Total Rewrite....

I was on vacation and didn't have a computer, so I was working on my rewrite in an old spiral notebook. I've discovered that:

1. This is not a story for 6-9 yr olds. It's a definite 9-12

2. There is a really good reason those two characters hate each other.

3. The really good reason is that they broke up! I'm dealing with the aftermath of a Jr. High breakup on top of everything else. Arggh! At least they make sense now.....

4. The story has taken on a life of it's own and is dragging me behind it at a steady run. Much like a Newfoundland named Mingus did on the shores of Lake Michigan many years ago..... hopefully this time I won't end up totally drenched!

So, in summary: Lots of fun. Time-consuming fun. Especially since I want this rewrite done and ready to show people by September, and ready for submission to agents by November.......

But the story is ALMOST singing.... now I just need to whack it into tune....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In the Novel groove

So I'm 1/8 of the way into my first rewrite and filling in plot holes left and right.

This morning, thanks to the intervention of Hot Cocoa and Scooby-Doo, I managed to squeeze 895 really good words and one incredibly disgusting diaper change (baby has started solid food and had 1/2 a banana yesterday) into TWENTY-FIVE minutes!!!! I can't imagine how much faster I'd write if....

uhoh---scoobydoo(library DVD) has a scratch....... um..... times up! I guess I ought to tackle the dishwasher anyway.....

But I'm over the bump-- I'm now at the point where I'd HAPPILY focus on the novel.... maybe I'll sell another story so I can afford a mother's helper one or two days a week.....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Crushing Collegiate Dreams

And weeping while he does it....

This isn't a new problem-- My dad has horror stories about when he taught English at a community college for a year (as a second job) and got in trouble for assigning more than one book a week.

It's also not surprising. Given how poorly even the "Good" students wrote when I taught high school, I'm not surprised that the poor students can't pass Writing 101-- especially when they've been out of school in between.

How many people really have to write coherent paragraphs in their daily lives? Most people phone rather than writing letters. Retail jobs and factory jobs don't require writing. As a Math teacher, I wrote lesson plans, but I didn't really have to write. (And I didn't-- not even for fun, because by the end of the day I was too exhausted to do anything besides eat dinner and collapse.)

If you've always been a good writer, and if you've written many thousands of pages in your life, maybe you can suffer a hiatus and come out of it adequate.

But what about the people who've ALWAYS struggled with writing? What about the people whose ability to construct a sentence stalled at second grade? The people who've never enjoyed reading, so have no example of what the written word should look like? The people who can't be helped by The Elements of Style because it's just too difficult to understand?

How can we help those people pass college when they couldn't even handle AP English?

*Note.... I wonder if Professor X's classes might do better if they reversed the order of English 101 and 102-- If they had the reading semester before the writing semester, and had the reading focus on masters of prose. It would be less high-flying, but it might give the students an example of how to write beyond stilted paragraphs in a boring textbook.

Happy Bithday, Mr. Sendak!

And he's bringing out a new book, too!
I wonder how illustrators deal with the creakiness of age?