Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Inspired by Feedback! Thursday's Children

Yep, not so long ago I tweeted Rhiann Wynn-Nolet to tell her I wouldn't do this post because I wasn't inspired. Then the strangest damn thing happened. I drank a glass of vino, popped around the blogosphere, and presto, blammo, inspiration!

So what inspires me? Pretty much everything, but today I'm talking about feedback. I love hearing from savvy beta readers. That perfect combination of sweet and salty, this is good, this needs work is often the smidge of motivation I need to plow through a sticky point.

On my current WIP, I had fits and starts. I wrote 38k and scrapped it, only to write another 18k and start to dig my toes in the made-of-suck-sand. Fortunately, I sent that 18k to two faithful readers who told me that the sand was not made-of-suck at all. It was in fact, perfectly good sand with some areas of crystalline perfection and some areas that needed the seaweed mucked out.

The little bit of atta-girl, along with some well-placed constructive criticism, was enough to get me rolling again.

So does sharing your work motivate you? Can you let the positives spur you on without letting the deltas get you down?

To see the rest of the inspiration posts, check out the Linky List.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Looking for Motivation for Writing Goals? Try WIPMadness in March!

For several years now I've been participating in WIPMadness in March and then throughout the year at Twitter using the hashtag #wipmadness. There are also weekly check-ins sponsored at different people's blogs each month. It's a wonderful way to state your goals, then have cheerleaders to spur you on and keep you accountable.

If you're not sure, why not try it out for the month of March? Denise Jaden hosts the March Big Month of WIP Madness at her blog along with some others and it's great! Plus there are prizes!

So if you need a boost, a writing goal to be held accountable for, or just a great network of writers, consider heading to her blog to check it out and sign up!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Look Around You - Inspiration - Thursday's Child

I tried to take some pictures, I really did. But life got in the way.

What? Never happens to you? Come on. Life rears its ugly-got-to run-errands-feed the cats-walk-the-dogs-sweep the floor-head, all the time.

But if, as a writer, you are careful and observant, these tiny moments can boost your writing. I'm a big fan of the small moments. The cluster of nail polish bottles on a side table. The way a boy scratches the back of his ear when he's nervous. The shine of your father's car because without fail he takes it to the car wash every Thursday.

These small attributes are often where my stories start.
I think it's why characterization is often pointed out as a strength in my writing.

So for this Thursday, the little everyday things are my inspiration.

What small moments boost your writing?

(Edited to add - I wanted to start doing this posts that a friend of mine, Rhiann Wynn-Nolet, started on her blog. This one is a wee bit less than truly inspired. Bear with me as I get more inspired :0))

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Inauguration Day for the YA Valentines!

If you don't already know, I'm part of a small group of YA authors debuting in 2014. We're blogging over at the YAValentines today.

And it's our super duper fantastic inaugural post! 

So stop on by and find out how to win the giant prize package of 14 books and sweet treats!

See you over at YAValentines! And enjoy your day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Two Types of High School Teachers

Okay - first, let me apologize if this in anyway comes across as humble bragging. I'm just delivering the message and if I come across like an okay sort, believe me it's true to some of my students and definitely NOT to others. But this conversation was still amazing.

So, my quotable kid, as I'll call this junior girl I'm oft quoting here and on Twitter, starts a conversation with me today. (Yes, on a Saturday, we had a snow day make-up day -grrrrr).

"Hey, Ms. Jro. There are essentially two kinds of high school teachers."

Me: "Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah. Totally. Like the ones who had a great time at high school and so they're back, reliving their glory days and then the teachers like you, who teach because they love teaching."

Me: "You really think so?"

"Totally. You know the ones, the cool teachers who are out clustered in groups in the hallway gossiping about us and stuff."

Me: "So what are you saying about me? I'm not cool?" (I don't gather in the hallway)

"No, that's why you ARE cool. Like the art teacher, drama teacher, band teacher and sometimes the English teachers are nerds, too. Like the ones of us that are nerds. But those other teachers, it's like they were the TOP DOGS in high school and now they're back, still making life miserable for the nerds. Because, it was like, the best time of their lives, and they want to go back."

So, fellow nerds, agree? Disagree? Discuss. I'm kind of thinking she may have a point.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why I Write More than Straight, White Characters

Over the weekend, I read a blogpost by author, Alex Brown, that got me thinking. Her post, HERE, talks about her experience at the SCBWI New York conference and some of the astonishing conversations she had about multiculturalism in children’s literature.

As a lily white writer, it’s hard for me to put characters of different race and ethnicity into my stories. I worry I won’t get it right, that I’ll miss something, or piss somebody off, but in the end, I do it anyway.

Why? Because I don’t want to live in a white world. I want a rainbow world. I want to hang out with all types of people both in my real life and in my fiction. So I take a leap, a risk, I put myself out there  with gay characters and straight characters, with a half-Indian boy, and an African-American boy in Sing To The Wind. In my current WIP my love interest is half Costa Rican and he lives with his Tico mom and sister. Am I Indian, or African-American, or Costa Rican? Am I a boy? A teenage girl? No. I’m reddish-headed with freckles and blue eyes and too far past 40, but does this mean I can’t write these characters?

No way! The human experience is just that. Human. And even though cultural nuances will be different, basic human emotions are ALL THE SAME.

And that’s why I think we shouldn’t worry about writing outside of our race, gender, sexual orientation. We need to pick the characteristics that fit our story and our character and Go. For. It. Because we live in a melting pot and people are perfect whatever the melatonin level. (Now this doesn't mean you need a United Colors of Benneton cast just for the sake of ethnicity - every character decision should have a reason)

So write your characters colorful. Inside and out. Don’t constrain yourself to the comfortable place of exactly what you know. Take a risk. You might get it wrong, but if you don’t get it wrong how will you ever get it right?

Okay. Peace out. Rant over. Have a lolly.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sprouting Shiny Blogger Wings!

Being a debut author brings a multitude of cool opportunities. In my case there are two I want to tell you about.

First, I'm blogging with a whole slew of YA & MG authors over at OneFour KidLit who are all debuting in 2014. It's so amazing to get to know my fellow class of kidlit authors. We're doing intro posts and introducing the Lucky '13'ers as their books are born, as well as future posts on our own process of publication. Please do stop by.

Second, because of the above blog, I've also been asked to join the '14 YA Valentines (a blogger blog, so go give a follow). This is a smaller group of 14 Young Adult authors, most of whom are also OneFour KidLit members. We will have our big inaugural post on February 14th which will include a give-away of the books we love and more. And there will be shenanigans, in the form of Cupid's Arrows which you shoot at us to make us do silly things in the name of book love. Yeah. I'm a goof.

And both of these groups are on Twitter, one at @onefourkidlit - the other at @ya_valentines so follow us there if you're there!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.