Archive for November, 2011

Before and After Harry Potter (Grades 3-5)

November 16, 2011

It was such fun to see SAVING THE GRIFFIN turn up on a master list of fifty or so books for kids to read before and after Harry Potter.  Susan Fichtelberg and Bonnie Kunzel pulled this list together for their June, 2011 ALA presentation.    A quick cruise through Susan’s website, Encountering Enchantment, made it clear that she’s extremely knowledgable about fantasy and science fiction.  In fact, School Library Journal thought that her Encountering Enchantment: A Guide to Speculative Fiction for Teens should be a part of every YA collection.

So if you’re trying to find some quality fantasy novels for middle grade readers, you should really check out this list!


Writing the Chapter That Doesn’t Want to Be Written

November 8, 2011

I’ve known for some time that Calyn’s story came to an end rather abruptly.  More than one critique group has told me so.  But I was defeated every time that I tried to come up with one more chapter.  Every possible scene seemed to be wrapped in cotton candy while the cutesiest unicorns and bunny rabbits danced around it.  Really.  But I did take my friends’ complaints quite seriously, especially since there were some readers who felt that SUSPECT ended too quickly.  I noticed that there were still a few plot issues that could be resolved.  I expanded the last chapter by about two pages and then sent things off to my agent.

But no.  She confirmed that the ending was still too abrupt. So I didn’t have a choice.  I had to write it.  I tried a lot of angles of attack and finally found a way in.  Most of the failed attempts did provide a line or two that made it into the end as I encouraged my characters to talk to each other. So it’s another case of “Bone-headed stubbornness pays.” Jane Yolen’s classic advice for how to pursue a career also works for writing the chapters and scenes that don’t want to be written.  The chapter still needs tweaks, but it’s a matter of smoothing and polishing.

Parenting Characters

November 3, 2011

I was one of the writers who shared a few techniques in Sue Bradford Edwards article,  “How to Avoid Parenting Your Characters.”  It was the lead piece in the 11/1 WRITER’S DIGEST e-mail newsletter.  Congratulations, Sue!

An Interview on Swagger

November 1, 2011

When my good friend Gina asked me to do an interview on Swagger, I couldn’t say no. Feel free to buzz on over if you’d like to check out my answers and maybe even win a ten-page critique.