November 6 – Good News – Good Stories – Good books

Do you believe in miracles? A friend posted a great story on Facebook today. When I later googled it, the incident actually happened several years ago. Here’s the link to watch a miracle:

Wouldn’t it be nice to have news items like this reported more often? I think good things happen every day, we just don’t hear about them. Have you seen all the November posts listing what people are thankful for? I like the trend. I’d much rather read good news than more about the “affordable” health care act or random acts of terror or whatever urgent crisis is currently taking place.

So what about books. Without conflict, a book would have a flat plot.

Do you prefer stories with good/happy endings that tie up lose ends? Why or why not?
Do you read to escape the mundane or misery around you?
Do you write for the same reasons?

There has to be some good and bad in a book or the characters can’t change and grow. Are humans the same way? Do we need a little conflict (or a lot) to become our best selves?

By the way, feel free to pass on any good news you hear.

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November 1

Don’t you love this time of year with all of the leaves turning colors?

Yesterday was Halloween, which is a big deal for some people. We only had about 20 trick-or-treaters come to our house. We have lots of leftover candy. Over at Throwing Up Words, they had a Scary Story contest – 100 words. Some entries were REALLY scary. I didn’t participate, being scared isn’t something I enjoy. And I think to write scary stuff, I’d be scared. I remember going to a Dracula movie with friends as a teen and laughing at myself because I was terrified. No blood and guts or monsters or ghouls for me.

Today is November 1, first day of NANOWRIMO, which is a big deal for a lot of writers. I know several people who have written a novel in the 30 days of November and gone on to publish those books. I would like to joing their ranks. Here is the website, if you’re interested in joining the writing frenzy: I’ve begun tending my youngest grandson a couple of days a week since my daughter-in-law went back to work. I’m going to have to get more efficient with my time if I’m going to reach the goal of writing/finishing a book in November. But first, I think my grandbaby and I both caught colds. I’m hoping to feel better tomorrow.

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2014 WIFYR – never too soon to start planning

We held our first preliminary planning meeting last Saturday for the 2014 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference. It will be awesome! Our full committee meets in Mid-November and then we’ll start announcing details.

I can tell you now that James Dashner is our Keynote Speaker on Thursday, June 19, 2014, and a book signing will follow.

If you haven’t attended, WIFYR’s morning workshops are like a college writing course crammed into 5 days, a mini MFA as it were. Plus the afternoon sessions are amazing! One day mini-workshops covering specific topics will also be offered again this year so there is something for every writer. Check out the website often for updates.

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Neil Gaiman on the Importance of Reading and Writing

I saw this article from a talk by Neil Gaiman today and had to share. To read more, click on the link below.
“We writers – and especially writers for children, but all writers – have an obligation to our readers: it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were – to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all. We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading. And while we must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers’ throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves.

“We have an obligation to understand and to acknowledge that as writers for children we are doing important work, because if we mess it up and write dull books that turn children away from reading and from books, we ‘ve lessened our own future and diminished theirs.

“We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

“Look around you: I mean it. Pause, for a moment and look around the room that you are in. I’m going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. It’s this: that everything you can see, including the walls, was, at some point, imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground and imagined the chair. Someone had to imagine a way that I could talk to you in London right now without us all getting rained on.This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city, exist because, over and over and over, people imagined things.

“We have an obligation to make things beautiful. Not to leave the world uglier than we found it, not to empty the oceans, not to leave our problems for the next generation. We have an obligation to clean up after ourselves, and not leave our children with a world we’ve shortsightedly messed up, shortchanged, and crippled.

“We have an obligation to tell our politicians what we want, to vote against politicians of whatever party who do not understand the value of reading in creating worthwhile citizens, who do not want to act to preserve and protect knowledge and encourage literacy. This is not a matter of party politics. This is a matter of common humanity.

“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. “If you want your children to be intelligent,” he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.

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New Start

I had an epiphany this morning–a way to restart my YA fantasy novel. Talked to my writing partner for this project then spent a good chunk of the day writing a new first chapter with the idea. I sent it to Jane right before dinner. So fun to be working on this project again!

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Putting off writing

A few weeks ago, I bottled salsa and then more recently I bottled peaches. Two days last week and Monday, I bottled applesauce and made apple jelly. Today, I cleaned out the fridge and threw away the last of the overripe (read: rotting) garden cucumbers that we didn’t get around to eating and I stewed up the last of the garden tomatoes and put them in a casserole.

I’m feeling so domestic!
But, in the back of my mind I know I’m also just putting off writing my memoir.

Here are my current excuses:

It is fall.
It’s cold and rainy today.
I had to read a memoir I got from the library.
I helped my mom with a photo project and took her some dinner.

I seriously need a deadline or something to motivate me to write.

Any ideas?

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Writing is Important–Keep Going

I heard literary agent, Stephen Fraser, say that every book has a home. Not that every book will find a home, but that each manuscript has a home. Now. His meaning was that what writers write is worthwhile because it will be important to someone, a reader, somewhere.

Hearing that was very hopeful, very encouraging to me.

I finished my 30 day mentor writing group with Carol Williams. I sent her my last assignment a couple of hours before the final deadline then I waited to hear back from her. For the next few days I hardly touched my computer, though I glanced at it often in passing, until I saw she’d sent a reply. I was actually too afraid to open the email.

What would she think of my writing? Of what I’d revealed about myself in my memoir?

After several minutes, I took a deep breath and opened the email. I won’t share with you what she wrote–the words are too precious, too tender yet, but I will say that Carol’s words were all encouragement. I will print them off in a giant type style and put them where I can read them as I write. The gist was that I should keep going, that my words are of worth.

I read a blog today that describes reaching one reader at a time. The blogger says at the end, “Your audience is out there, waiting for you. Don’t let them down.” So if you need a little writing encouragement, check out the full text below and then get back to your keyboard and go to work because writing is important.

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