Showing posts from April, 2017

Spring Reading Recap

Given our political climate, perhaps I should not be surprised that the three books at the top of my reading list all explore some aspect of the concept "us and them." In each of these novels, the main characters struggle to understand themselves in the context of their family, community and belief systems, and in contrast to those they see as "other," racially, religiously, economically, spiritually, and even intellectually.  I finally filled the gaping Barbara Kingsolver gap in my literary education by reading THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, a breathtaking exploration of a misguided Christian preacher's attempts to convert the denizens of a village in the Belgian Congo, and the decades-long repercussions of his efforts. I've been told that Angie Thomas's New York Times best-selling THE HATE YOU GIVE should not be missed, so I picked it up next and discovered that, with wry, stunning honesty and insight, Thomas, like Kingsolver, brings r

"Going There" - A Lesson in Plotting from HOMELAND and THE AMERICANS

I've been struggling a bit with the manuscript lately. And I don't think it's just because life has been busy. I think, at the core, my problem is that I'm tackling something bigger--darker--than I ever have before and I am nervous. Is my story too dark? Are my scenes too melodramatic? What am I doing? In an epic act of procrastination, I did some binge-watching. Okay, a lot of binge-watching. I watched the entire current season of HOMELAND on Showtime and every available episode of THE AMERICANS on FX.  And I learned something. I love big drama. Huge moral questions. Explosions. Dire twists with dark ethical consequences. Love and loss. In the words of our current Voldemort, I like my tv "huge." So, why not my book? Inspired by the television moments that took my breath away, I decided to "go there" in my manuscript. That is to say...  When in doubt, kill the beloved character.  Make the good guys impossibly conflicted... And the

Thank Goodness that April is National Poetry Month!

Just when I begin to worry that the pounding rain on my Pacific Northwest roof may drive me mad, the Academy of American Poets sweeps in to soothe my spirit with National Poetry Month . It's a balm for the soul and a wellspring of writing inspiration. My favorite feature of the month is the Poem-A-Day , but there's plenty of word beauty from which to choose, so please do celebrate in your own way. And here are a few beautiful, recent verse novels (MG and YA, fiction and nonfiction) to add to your poetic reading list:   AUDACITY by Melanie Crowder ;  THE SKY BETWEEN YOU AND ME by Catherine Alene ;  LOVING VS VIRGINIA by Patricia Hruby Powell GARVEY'S CHOICE by Nikki Grimes ;  SAVING RED by Sonya Sones There's also a pretty cool list of upcoming YA verse over at Stacked .

FREE CLASS THIS SATURDAY AT KCLS WOODINVILLE: Beginnings & Endings with Kevin Emerson

S ATURDAY, April 8, 2017 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM   Second Saturdays Writing Program at Woodinville Library  17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville   How do you hook readers to ensure they don’t put your novel back on the shelf after chapter one? What questions must be answered—what mysteries must be solved—on a novel’s final pages? Do the rules change if you’re writing a stand-alone, sequel, or series?  Kevin Emerson, teacher, musician and author of LAST DAY ON MARS, BREAKOUT, and the ATLANTEANS series, will share tips for bookending your stories with powerful, effective openings and conclusions. This workshop is open to writers in grades 7 to adult. Registration is not required. For more details, click here . 
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