Thursday, October 30, 2008

Less than 36 Hours ...

With less than 36 hours to go until the NaNoWriMo kickoff I'm beginning to realize I'm a wee bit unprepared. "No Plot, No Problem!" ... no books available either. They've completely sold out. So I decided to do some surfing for nano sites. Here are a few that I found:

10 Tips For Getting 50,000 by Nicole Humphrey
NaNoWriMo Tips and Tools by Nienke Hinton (links and resources)
Advice From a Noveling Veteran by Nathan Alderman, (tips to reach 50,000 words)
Surviving 30 Days of Noveling by Dan Moren, (How to make it through National Novel Writing Month)
Useful References for Writers NaperWriMo Wiki (TONS of reference links!)
Idea Generator for Nano - by C.R. Evers 

Good luck to all you NaNo's out there!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature

Are you ready for something new to read but don't know what to pick? Maybe you're interested in a fiction novel aimed at ages 10-12, set in China, that features a male protagonist.  Or maybe you prefer a YA fantasy and want a female protagonist. The Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature (DAWCL) can help you find that perfect book.

Lisa Bartle, a reference librarian at California State University in San Bernardino, came up with the idea for DAWCL while attending UCLA. Her website states, "The purpose of this database is to create a tailored reading list of quality children's literature or to find out if a book has won one of the indexed awards." 

DAWCL has over 7,000 records from 79 awards across six English-speaking countries (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, and Ireland). 

To find a book click "Search DAWCL" at the top of the page. A menu to help narrow your search will appear with the choices: Age of Reader, Setting, Historical Period, Ethnicity/Nationality of Protagonist or Tale, Language, Keyword or phrase, Awards, Format, Genre, Multicultural, Gender of Protagonist, Publication Year, and Author/Illustrator/Translator. 

Once you've made your choices, click on "Search," and wait for your list to appear!  

Happy Reading!

Bartle, Lisa R. The Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature.   <>. 
          20 Apr. 2002. (08 May 2008).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stuck in a Writer's Rut

I've been stuck. It's no secret. My friends know it. My writer's group knows it. My family knows it. They ALL wish I would get unstuck. Especially my family. 

"Maybe you really don't want to finish the novel," said one of my very dear writing friends. 
"Maybe you're afraid to face the editing," says another. 
"Just do it!" says my husband. "Please."

Well. I have news. I crawled out of the hole last night and began the trek again. What did I do? I'm working backwards. Yup. Backwards. I've always been a linear writer. I write the beginning and the end, then I go back to the beginning and work straight through. I don't know why this is working for me, but I'm grateful. It's a relief to get the words on the page. I have less than 15 pages to finish this first draft. Hopefully I'll be finished by midnight Friday... just in time for NaNoWriMo!

What do you do to get unstuck? Just curious...

Addendum: Arrrrrrgggggg!!! I just opened my manuscript document and my work from last night isn't there!!!!! I saved. I KNOW I did!!     really, i did...   really      (whimper...sniff)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Food Court Musical

This has nothing to do with anything other than it made me laugh!

"For our latest mission, 16 agents staged a spontaneous musical in the food court of a Los Angeles shopping mall. We used wireless microphones to amplify the vocal performances and mix them together with the music through the mall’s PA system. We filmed the mission with hidden cameras, mostly behind two-way mirrors. Apart from our performers, no one in the food court was aware of what was happening. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our report below."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Hunger Games: Book Review

Suzanne Collins, author of The Underland Chronicles, has a new book on the market. The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year old girl who lives in the 12th district of Panem, the remains of what used to be known as North America. Life is difficult in District 12. Katniss spends her days hunting illegally in the forest to bring food and supplies home to her mother and younger sister, Prim. Long ago the districts rose up against the Capitol and were defeated. As a reminder to the districts that the Capitol is in control, they must now participate in a nationally televised competition called “The Hunger Games.” The tributes (contestants) are chosen by lottery – one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district. The games are a fight to the death. The last contestant breathing wins. When 12-year old Prim’s name is called as a tribute, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her sister’s place.

Mix The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, Survivor, and the Roman gladiatorial games in a bowl and season liberally with political and romantic tension. The result is a riveting read that is difficult to put down. The Hunger Games is at times harsh and violent, occasionally funny, and always intriguing. It is the first book of what promises to be a fantastic trilogy.

It's NaNoWriMo Time

It's official. I signed up for my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That would be 1667 words per day. whew. It's quantity of words that count, not quality. That's good, because I can't imagine my manuscript turning out to be much more than a ramble. But that's not the point. I mentioned yesterday that I am having trouble finishing the last few pages of a work in progress. I write a few lines then edit. I write a few more lines then edit again. I'm hoping that the NaNoWriMo experience will help (force) me to learn to spill the ideas onto the page without worrying about the immediate results. The slash and burn edits can wait until December. What's the worse thing that can happen? I'll have participated in an exercise that helped me grow as a writer. Who knows? Maybe I will come up with a workable manuscript. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What is it about the last few pages of a novel that is so hard to write?

I have less than 20 pages to go on the first draft of my WIP, and they are excruciatingly hard to get on paper. I’ve already written the ending. I know exactly what needs to happen – the dots will connect just fine. But I find myself distracted - jotting notes for another character that is whispering a different kind of story to me. And I’ve written a synopsis for a possible second adventure for my current protagonist. I suppose it’s a good thing to have ideas springing anew, but I wish they would stay out of the way long enough to finish my current story!

Welcome to Lemons for Lemonade

When I was a kid we had big family reunions the first weekend of every July. They were held on a small farm nestled in the hills of Goddard, Kentucky. Each year when we arrived a grinning cousin or two met us at the gate. They would toss me a lemon and run. I knew what to do. I would squeeze and squeeze until my lemon was soft and didn’t have much of a shape anymore. That’s when you took your lemon to Aunt Billie and Aunt Tena. They were on the back porch with a big washtub, surrounded by 5 lb bags of sugar, making lemonade. The smell was sharp and sweet. It was hard to wait for a cool glass of fresh lemonade on those hot, sticky, July days. But when that icy cup was finally in your hand it was grand!

I’m a writer. I’ve been squeezing lemons for a while, and now it’s time to put together the lemonade. I look forward to sharing with you my reflections on books, writing, and the stuff of life. Stop by and visit again. Share your two cents. I'd love the company!