Showing posts from October, 2016


Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? For those of you not in the "know" (heehee!), this is short form for  National Novel Writing Month , wherein you attempt to write a complete novel in 30 days. "Can that be done?" you ask. (See how I resisted the urge to add adverb here? I was considering "incredulously," which would be plus-one in word counts.) Well, yes and no. Technically, you can bank 50k words in November, although your kids may not eat balanced meals and your spouse may do a lot of laundry. The work is not, however, submission-worthy in any way, shape or form. It's gotten to the point where agents and editors absolutely dread December because so many exhilarated NaNo-ers simply cannot resist the urge to ship that thing out over the interwebs. So, do I recommend NaNo? Having successfully "won" the game several years back, I would say it's worth trying at least once for the following reasons: It is a real motivation and creat

It's College Application Time: Why did you choose your reach, match and safety schools?

That it is important to begin the application process by properly identifying your target schools seems like an absurdly obvious point. However, a key opportunity that is missed by not fully understanding the WHY of this protocol. Despite the ease of clicking around Big Future, College Confidential and other websites, the college search should be  much more than a computer game in which you overlay your grades and test scores over a rubric of college acceptance rates and parameters, and perhaps a few other factors such as geography, size, and Greek life. In fact… I will demonstrate why by first asking you to complete this worksheet: Having difficulty?  Here are some examples of good and bad answers: I chose this school because… BAD ANSWERS: It is a cool or famous university. My best friend/girlfriend is applying/attending. I have seen it. It is near my house. While not necessarily untrue, are these answers getting you or the desired institution any closer togeth


Happy Book Birthday to the talented and hilarious  Gretchen McNeil . Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of her latest  novel, a clever, witty, stereotype-twisting delight! But you don't need to take my recommendation. Here's the stellar scoop straight from the pages of KIRKUS REVIEWS: A math whiz develops a formula to fix her high school experience... Bea’s cold and clinical nature is another plus: she isn’t driven by raging libido but rather a righteous anger that makes her a calculating badass.  A quintessential thinking gal’s love story.  

It's College Application Time: The Dreaded Essay

When I'm not writing, reading or marketing works of fiction, one of my favorite jobs is grounded in a challenging reality: Helping high school seniors through the college application process. In my experience, regardless of his or her academic, athletic or extracurricular profile, every student arrives at my door with eyes full of panic. And, many kids tell me that the scariest part of the process is writing the dreaded ESSAY (Common App or school-specific).  I believe that, if approached correctly, working through the components of a college application helps a student reach a deeper understanding of his or her talents, goals and needs. In this way, the pedagogy of the application drives toward identification of a compelling topic (often a key challenge for students), and a successful essay. This, in turn, gives a student a sense of satisfaction with the self-portrait painted in the application, a sense of agency in what can be a very disenfranchising process, and ultimately a

It's Teen Read Week

For the latest and greatest about this annual event, visit the fantastic HUB blog  maintained by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). In keeping with this year's theme -- "Read for the fun of it!" -- and because I'm currently obsessed with dual-viewpoint narratives,  I'm going to recommend two vintage, two-POV delights! FLIPPED by Wendelin van Draaenen WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green & David Levithan Have, you know, FUN!


S ATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2016 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM   Second Saturdays Writing Program at Woodinville Library  17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville DIALOGUE IN NOVELS, SHORT STORIES & PICTURE BOOKS   In this dynamic workshop, KIM BAKER , Society of Children’s Book Writes & Illustrators writing retreat coordinator and the award-winning author of PICKLE: THE (FORMERLY) ANONYMOUS PRANK CLUB OF FOUNTAIN POINT MIDDLE SCHOOL, will teach you how to create conversations that leap off the page and add incredible dimension to your stories. This workshop is open to writers in grades 7 to adult. Registration is not required but, if you're so inclined or want more details, click here . 
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