Wednesday, February 29, 2012
"But if you truly believe you've found your purpose in life, as a storyteller, then you must also believe that no matter what hurdles you encounter, you will prevail."
Lydia Sharp, The Sharp Angle, Back to Basics: Writing is Hard, February 29, 2012
I'm looking forward to March, when I expect to have more energy and enthusiasm for writing. For me, the key is to set some goals. I love crossing completed tasks off my To Do list. I start small, but that usually generates some momentum that builds into something bigger. So here's what I plan to do in March:
1. Complete one chapter of my novel each week.
And that's all. It definitely seems doable and I'm pretty sure it will morph into more. What are your goals for March?
Monday, February 27, 2012
The Sower of Tales (2005)
A Group of One (2001)
Mina’s Spring of Colours (2000)
Friday, February 24, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Miss Wondergem's Dreadfully Dreadful Pie (Oct. 2011)
There's a GOLDFISH In My Shoe! (2009)
There's a COW Under My Bed! (2008)
The Glory Wind (2010)
Tumbleweed Skies (2009)
Three Million Acres of Flame (2007)
Sarah's Legacy (2006)
Sam's Light (2004)
Shelby Belgarden Mystery Series
Searching for Yesterday (2008)
Eyes of a Stalker (2006)
Hiding in Plain Sight (2005)
Chasing Shadows (2004)
In Too Deep (2003)
Out of the Ashes (2002)
For more, go to Valerie Sherrard’s website.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I tend to err on the side of too slow. [Writers of children's books tend to worry about getting the reader's attention.] Probably most writers have places where the story starts to slow down (aka the sagging middle). When you’re writing, it’s easy to get wrapped up in adding unnecessary descriptive details or including events that don’t relate to the character's goal. Some tricks to speed up your novel pacing:
Shorten chapter length. Short, snappy chapters can keep the story flowing, especially in children’s books. Kids also get tricked into thinking there isn’t so much to read, if there are short chapters and lots of white space.
Cut unnecessary explanatory phrases. Check out agent Mary Kole’s post on eliminating the frame. You might not even realize you're doing this.
Use shorter words. If I need a dictionary every paragraph or two, there are probably too many interesting words.
April Henry points out two ways to improve pacing.
Lisa Gail Green talks about pacing for pantsers. Be sure to read the comments on this one, because they are full of great insights.
Agent Kristin Nelson talks about pacing in her vlog: Why Page Length for YA or MG Novel Is The Wrong Question.
Over at Dark Angel’s Fiction Writing Tools, romance author Roz Denny Fox writes about pacing your novel.
At Janice Hardy’s blog, guest author Jana DeLeon shares some thoughts on slow pacing at the beginning of a novel.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Cocteau Books, 2011
This book is nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading in the Silver Birch (Fiction) category for 2012. If you aren’t familiar with the Forest of Reading program, here’s how it works: Professionals from schools and public libraries nominate a selection of books in a specific category, students from all over the province read them all and then in April they vote for their favourite. Here’s my writing buddy Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s take on last year’s celebration.
In case you didn’t catch it, last week I profiled Undergrounders by David Skuy, another one of the nominated books.
Dream Race (James Lorimer and Company, 2006)
Secret Signs (Orca Book Publishers, 2006)
Wild Ride (James Lorimer and Company, 2005)
Racing Fear (James Lorimer and Company, 2004)
At Risk (James Lorimer and Company, 2004)
Belle of Batoche (Orca Book Publishers, 2004)
Soccer Star! (James Lorimer and Company, 2003)
A Goal In Sight (James Lorimer and Company, 2002)
Rink Rivals (James Lorimer and Company, 2001)
Rookie Season (James Lorimer and Company, 2000)
Lightning Rider (James Lorimer and Company, 2000)
Free Throw (James Lorimer and Company, 1999)
Triple Threat (James Lorimer and Company, 1999)
Hat Trick (James Lorimer and Company, 1997)
For more, go to Jacqueline Guest’s website.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Catherine McKenzie, author of Spin, at Writer Unboxed, Have You Been to Rehab? February 10, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
I've been writing ideas, collecting bits of advice and inspiration, and working out story events and happenings for many years - some years only have 1 or part of a notebook/journal, others have more than one. Sometimes when I read some great writing tips or a new perspective on a writing-related topic, I copy it and paste it in my notebook (with source info). In the past year, I've gone through probably 3 notebooks. I do read over some parts of them, while they are still current, but once they are full and up on my shelf, I don't go back to them very often. But I do think it's useful to look at them sometimes.
Some reasons to look back:
1) Some story ideas seem to resurface again and again, in slightly different ways. Usually when that happens, I know I need to write that story.
2) I like to see how far I've come and how my skill has developed.
3) All the tips and advice that I've collected are like a "mini" writing course.
4) Re-reading the inspirational bits and pieces is a great boost since they seem fresh and interesting again.
5) When I'm stuck or not sure about what direction to take in my writing, looking through my old notebooks reminds me of all the great ideas I had, and often gets me thinking of more.
Do you ever revisit your old notebooks or journals?
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
2) Reading through what I’ve done already to get back into the story and characters
What I need to do is just start writing.
My best strategy is to start with one tiny bit. A paragraph. A sentence. (Yes, I've had days where all I've written is a sentence. It was a darn good sentence, too). It's the same way I tackled my revisions. Even though it seems like a snail-like process, writing a small amount every day eventually amounts to something. I'm hoping it will start a snowball effect where I just can't not write.
Do you have any good tips for getting back into the writing flow?
Monday, February 6, 2012
Ever since his mom died, Jonathon has been on his own, living on the streets. The Underground gives him a place to sleep, but it’s not like having a real home or being a regular kid. That seems like an impossible dream . . .
Rebel Power Play (Game Time #2)
Making the Cut (Game Time #3)
Overtime (Game Time #4)