February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tips from the top!

Thought illustrators might be interested in reading some advice from Scholastic's Creative Director and VP, David Saylor. He recently gave a talk at Parsons and talked about what makes a good dummy as well as what he looks for. You can read it by clicking here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fifteen Things to Consider about Writing

Judith Lawrence, the organizer of the River Poets Journal and Artsbridge, emails newsletters periodically. Most of teh time they are riddled with dates for all sorts of writer's contests - mostly for poets, but not always. In one of her latest newsletter, the below was featured. I thought it was very poignant and wanted to share it with all of you...

By Alice Wootson
Fifteen Things to Consider about Writing

1. The only things you need in order to write are an idea, something to write with and something to write on.

2. Take as many writing workshops/classes as you can.

3. Write every day even if it's only for ten minutes.

4. Write because you have to, not because you want to.

5. Know your characters as well as you know yourself.

6. Place yourself in the scene and pull your reader in with details.

7. Visualize the scene, but don't ignore the other senses.

8. Don't rush to the next scene until you have developed the present one fully.

9. If a character and a story idea are on your mind, write them down, otherwise they will bug you until you do.

10. Write and revise, then write and revise again. Then edit.

11. Know your weakness and work to correct it. Spelling counts. So does grammar.

12. Finish the piece. There is no market for perfect partials.

13. Unl ess you receive rejections, you aren't submitting.

14. You have to send your work out. Nobody will come knocking on your door to ask if you have anything you would like published.

15. It only takes one editor to like your work.

Alice Wootson has published ten novels, and is a member of the Philadelphia Writers Conference board. The Philadelphia Writers' Conference will be held June 6-8. See details at the above link, or this link...

So, let's see if we can add to this excellent list. What would your number 16 be? Add it in the comment section...

Happy Writing!
Sheri Ks, ks

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May's Writing Exercise

This month's writing exercise is all about layers and meaning. I am going to give you a few sentences, and you will throw in some layers to give the sentence meaning and dimension. In other words, you may use gestures (let's keep this PG-13 rated, OK), one or more of the five senses, props, etc.

My favorite example of this I know I have used before, but I think it is a point well taken...

The simple scene is this... a man and a woman... girl and boy... frog and turtle... You decide.

"I love you," he said.
"How nice," she replied.

Can you say, BORING! It is not the words alone that paint a scene, it is all of the above mentioned that give a scene it's meaning and tone - the layers. So what if the lines were set up and delivered like this...

The gymnasium was disguised, but not well. The streamers and balloons, disco ball hanging from the ceiling, the D-class garage band on the stage, it was all supposed to make us feel we were anywhere but in the HS gym. But we were not fooled. Well, maybe I was... just a little.

Maybe it was the low lighting, or maybe Peters really did spike the punch, but when Cindy pressed her way through the crowd and made her way next to me, my heart leaped to my throat.

Act cool, I told myself, but I just couldn't.

She was there for punch. Not me. Her dress, the lighting, the way her silky, blonde hair cascaded downward as she reached for a plastic, pink cup... I don't know what came over me.

Actually I didn't mean to say it out loud. I only meant to think it, quietly, in my head. But there they were - my words fell heavy, like a ton of bricks, and remained thick in the air, "I love you," I squeaked.

She froze. Stood straight. Turned and looked me in my eyes. I froze. Panic surged from my toes to the tips of the hairs on my head. Her cell phone rang. She reached in her purse and checked to see who was calling.

"How nice," she said flatly as she flipped open her Envy. "Oh-my-gawd, Jen, you'll never believe what just happened..."

OK so now's your turn. The phrase is...
"I love you," he said.
"How nice," she said.

How could you set this scene by adding layers. Don't worry about the word count. It can be tailored to fit a PB, MG or YA novel, or don't even be concerned with your target audience. How can you put the meaning behind those simple words. It could be requited, unrequited, or not even heard... you decide.

Post your short story in the comments section. Oh and the due date... let's say by May 20th.

Happy Writing,