Monday, August 24, 2009

Literally Light a Fire to Finish Your Work in Progress?

Much like lovers in love with the idea of being in love, some writers (a LOT of the ones I know, OK, fine, me, too, sometimes) appear to be not in love with writing, but in love with being a writer with writer angst. When we gather, whining commences about characters not doing what we set out to do, or having writer's block, or being uninspired. It's just a rite of passage- apparently, you are officially labeled a "real" writer when you have writerly issues. And you discuss them loudly with other writers.

So here it is in a very public way. I do not need more ideas or story starters. I've never had writer's block. My writing problem (ahem) is finishing my own works when I have no deadline or monetary compulsion to do so. I meet or come in early on deadlines given by clients and editors, but on my own projects, not so much. Books and sources for revising works abound, but I have been looking for resources (free ones) with suggestions on how to finish a work in progress first draft, in my current case, one of my novel manuscripts. Thought I'd share some links with you.

To start you off, an amusing quiz from Writer's Digest:

Useful tidbits and help from children's author Holly Lisle:

Anne Lamott's shi##y first draft method does not work for children's author Linda Sue Park- see what does in this transcript on Verla Kay's website:

If all else fails, burn your house down. Author Timothy Hallinan's thoughts and useful information- he was moved to finish things when his house burned down with his WIP and backups in it:

And if you need someone to tell it like it is, try author Kristy Kiernan's blogpost:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Insert Ad Here

The Seattle Times ran a piece yesterday from columnist Danny Westneat discussing the fact that three technologists from Amazon filed last month for a patent for technology that embeds ads in e-books. Check it out at :

If you really want to read it, check out the application here at the Patent Office:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Geordi Brings the Smackdown! or Near Death Experience + Years of Kid Lit Experience = "The Rainbow F#@%ing Fish!"

We frequently hear about how children's book editors dislike books with agendas or outright "lessons to teach". They aren't the only ones.

LeVar Burton, the host of the Reading Rainbow television show on PBS (or depending on your age and TV-viewing preferences, Geordi from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kunta Kinte from Roots, or even that guy from The $10,000 Pyramid- my personal favorite-what can I say, I'm old), recently commented on books for the "worst/most overrated" children's book list on The American . Side note: When you follow that link, be prepared for some serious ripping on various well-known pieces of kid lit with some long flaming and replies, particularly about The Giving Tree, including comments from Shel Silverstein's mom (or are they?).

Scan down to July 21st, 2:05 am, and find the comments from Mr. Burton after another commenter suggested The Rainbow Fish be added to the list, to remind yourself that there are people out there who read kid lit and think seriously about the messages sent in a story, whether implied or openly stated.

Mr. Burton's comments are dated about a week after he was injured in a five car crash in West Los Angeles, but I'm betting that had little bearing on his passionate response. His first comment is snarkier (the one that starts with {eep!} "The rainbow f#@%ing fish!.."), his second has the same message but in a more scholarly form, and the American Library Association's advocates for intellectual freedom will be pleased to see in that second post that he wouldn't ban any books from any islands. If you think Mr. Burton's assessment is harsh, check the reviews of the book on Look familiar? After at least twenty-five years of children's reading advocacy, Mr. Burton surely knows what he is talking about.

The message for us as writers? Kid's books DO send messages. What does yours say?

Fall Programming Is Set- Time to Renew or Join SCBWI Western Washington

Fall is on it's way, and with it, a whole new year of SCBWI Western Washington offerings View speakers and opportunities to have your work viewed by publishing pros here.

We'll kick-off fall with chances to meet with and learn from Elana Roth, agent with Caren Johnson Literary Agency in limited space paid sessions in addition the usual presentation. I'll post more links from the web about her in a later post.

One of the other extra opportunities is from Gergory K. Pincus, screenwriter (Little Big League and movies for ABC, NBC, the Disney Channel among other credits), poet, guy who has a middle grade novel, The 14 Fabulous Fibs of Gregory K. under contract with Arthur A. Levine, and man who loves social media.

His own site:
His blog:
He's a contributor on:
His profile on IMDB: if you want to see more film/TV credits

Should you search for him on the web, do not confuse him with endocrinologist Gregory Goodwin Pincus, the now deceased scientist to created the Pill.