Monday, May 13, 2013

Where you write

My biggest problem with writing is that I don't have as much time for it as I'd like. I often hear other writers complaining that they are stuck or "blocked" and can't write a single word. I think this must stem from fear of failure, whether it be failure of rejection or just the inability to make a story or character turn out as imagined. Whatever the case, I think one solution is to put yourself in a setting where you don't normally write. It might spark new inspiration, even if you aren't blocked!

Here are some photo ideas of places to write. Who knows, maybe the pictures will be enough to inspire you. Just imagine what it would sound like, smell and feel like to be there. What sort of story might take place there? If you go somewhere in person, pay attention to these same sensory details. If you go somewhere populated, don't forget to study the people. People watching is one of the best tools of the trade.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Oak Meadow curriculum giveaway

I'm deviating from the topic of writing today to post about a great giveaway. As many of you know, I'm homeschooling my son. Last year for kindergarten we used Oak Meadow syllabus as a curriculum base and it worked pretty well for us. It uses Waldorf philosophy and includes a lot of nature based activities.

This year, I'm using Oak Meadow's first grade syllabus as part of a tailored curriculum that fits my son's learning style, which is very visual. I love that about teaching him myself at home. His lessons are made specifically for him. And I get to be part of the whole process, which is amazing. 

Now for the giveaway part. Oak Meadow is giving away one complete homeschooling curriculum. The lucky winner will be able to choose the grade. Read more about it HERE. By posting about it on my blog, I'm increasing my chances of winning. Wish me luck.

Read more about Oak Meadow curriculum HERE

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Letter Z

"Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment." ~Thomas Carlyle

Letter Z is the least used letter of the English alphabet, at 0.07%. That's not to say that Z is inferior to other letters. On the contrary, this little lightening bolt symbolizes accomplishment. It is the last letter of our alphabet and if you've made it to Z, you've made it all the way. 

I'd like to congratulate all those in the A to Z challenge who made it to Z. Bravo! 

This was my first year participating in the challenge and I've had a wonderful experience. I've met many kind, amazing, funny, brave and intelligent people along the way. I've learned things, smiled a lot and had fun. I've also grown as a blogger. In the past, I had difficulty figuring out what to blog about. On the rare occasions I blogged, I would spend a lot of time agonizing over my posts and wondering if they were worth anything. Not that anyone ever read them anyway. The whole affair seems easier now. Thank you to all my new followers and friends.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Sometimes Y

"Knowledge is indivisible. When people grow wise in one direction, they are sure to make it easier for themselves to grow wise in other directions as well. On the other hand, when they split up knowledge, concentrate on their own field, and scorn and ignore other fields, they grow less wise--even in their own field." ~Isaac Asimov

I'm currently in the process of preparing my sons first grade home school curriculum. He taught himself how to read when he was four and can read almost anything now (he'll be six in June), but he's never had any phonics training, so I decided I'll review phonetics with him to boost his confidence and skill as a reader. This brought me to the letter Y, this mysterious letter that is sometimes a vowel and sometimes a consonant.  I didn't know what made it which, so, in order to teach my son, I looked it up.

Y is a vowel when it takes the place of a regular vowel, as in system, syllable or mystery. It is also a vowel when it creates a diphthong, as in boy (oi).

Y is a consonant when it appears at the start of a syllable where there is anther vowel, as in yam, yes or player. 

Pretty simple.

Tomorrow's post - Letter Z

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Letter X

"A letter does not blush." ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Not many common words begin with the 24th letter of the English alphabet. For fun, I've added a link from Scrabble Finder that identifies words that start with X.

Fun facts about letter X

  1.  When typing in correct format, you use your ring finger to strike letter X. 
  2. Xanthan is found in many foods today, especially gluten-free foods. It is a bacteria-produced gum typically derived from corn. 
  3. In Elizabethan times, the word Xanthippe meant to yearn.  

 X marks the spot!   

Monday's post -  Sometimes Y

Friday, April 26, 2013


"You fail only if you stop writing." ~Ray Bradbury

Here is the prologue to my manuscript, Turning Red. 


One in the morning. The ticking magnetic clock on the fridge matched the throb in Betty's head. From windowsills framing darkened glass, and from nearly every inch of counter space, a variety of plants seemed to stare at her, awaiting an explanation.

"I know, I'm not usually out this late. Anti-death penalty sit-in and then coffee with the activists. I'm really livin' it up now." She dusted a spider plant's leaf with her finger. "I promise you'll all have a drink in the morning."

Yawning, she filled a glass with water, guzzled it and then reached into her purse for her phone. Rebecca should have called.

The phone wouldn't turn on. "Battery's dead again?"

She plugged it in and checked her inbox. Rebecca had left a message: yes, she could meet Betty for lunch tomorrow.

Another call had come at quarter to ten, from her Uncle Frank. She smiled as the automated voice recited his number, something she knew by heart. She needed some of his humor after the long night of serious discussion. The moment she heard his voice, however, her chest tightened. He sounded rushed and too quiet, like he was trying to whisper. "Betty," and then a pause that lasted too long, "I think… I'm in big trouble. She's coming—oh God."

Adrenaline shaking her fingers, Betty punched in his number. She bit her lip while the phone rang.

Please, Frank, pick up.

No answer.

Probably just asleep. She's coming? Who did he mean?

She punched in his number again, chewing her fingernail while she waited.

Still no answer.

Her heart raced and a terrified sense of urgency coursed through her. If only she knew someone in Idaho who she could call to check on him. If only she lived closer. She had no one in the world if anything happened to Frank. He was more than just an uncle; he'd been her legal guardian and remained one of her best friends.

She tried his number a third time.

No answer.

Surely his ancient landline would have awakened him after three calls. Frank hated missing the phone. He always picked up. Always.

Again, she listened to his quavering voice: "Betty… I think… I'm in big trouble. She's coming—oh God." Who, Frank. Who's coming? 

Tomorrow's post - Letter X

Thursday, April 25, 2013


"The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing." ~Sigmund Freud

Voice makes a writer recognizable, unique and special. Yet it's something many authors struggle with. It's well worth the effort to find your own personal writing voice. It's the very thing that will make your manuscript stand out among the throngs. 

Finding your voice

  • Don't try to copy anyone else. Trying to mimic another author is one of the surest ways to lose your voice. Write like you, from your thoughts and the things in your head and heart.
  • Keep your inner critic locked away until it's time to edit. That nagging little whisper in your head will always tell you something sounds stupid if it's allowed free during first drafts.  
  • Figure out who you're telling this story to and write it as if you were actually telling them the story. If you're imagining you're telling it to your best friend, your voice will most likely be more intimate and relaxed than if you're telling it to a group of strangers. Are you telling your mother, your children? 
  • Use the words you normally use. Resist the urge to sound writerly or smart by throwing in words that will send readers to a dictionary. That's a great way to pull them out of the story world. It's also a sure way to lose your voice.   
  • Have confidence in your own voice. Think of your favorite authors and how unappealing it would be if they all sounded alike. They probably wouldn't be your favorite authors. You could be someones favorite author one day. You're voice is worth it.

Tomorrow's post - Writing  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Uninhibited writing

"Write a little everyday, without hope and without despair." ~Isak Dinesen

One of the best stories I've written to date came from a dream. Upon waking, I quickly jotted it down and there it sat in a notebook for a few years. Later, when I pulled it out to make a story from it, I found it needed very little editing. When I jotted it down, I wasn't trying to make it perfect, I was just letting it come out naturally. 

I wish it was always that easy. Just sit down for a few minutes and scribble out daydreams or nightdreams and viola! A wonderful story appears. Sometimes getting a story right feels like trying to bend re-bar with my hands. There are some things one can practice to help push that annoying internal editor out of the way and tap into stream of consciousness. 

  1. Don't be afraid to write crap. First drafts always need a lot of work, whether you're stressing out about if it's good or not. Accept that crap will come out with the brilliance. You can always delete it later.
  2. Relax. They say if you relax your face, the rest of your body will follow. In turn, a relaxed body creates a relaxed mind. A relaxed mind is more creative.
  3. Write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes if you're writing from stream of consciousnessstrange and silly things appear on the paper, things that don't make sense to your internal editor. Don't delete it! Leave it there and let the piece sit for a while. When you go back to it, you might find the strange and silly parts make the story. You might decide some of them don't work at all and are ridiculous, but at least you gave them a chance  
 Tomorrow's post - Voice 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When telling is better than showing. Is that even possible?

"Great stories happen to those who can tell them." ~Ira Glass

We've all heard the warning, no, the rule Show, don't tell. But, while showing should be the dominant force in writing, there are instances when telling is the best avenue.

When to tell -

  • To compress time - Say your character just experienced something so extraordinary that she has to tell someone. She probably needs help, after all. Rather than having her actually rehash what readers just saw her going through, a quick summery is best. She told her sister what happened and they headed straight to the airport. In this same regard, there are times when a full-blown scene of showing would take too long because it's not that important to the story. Readers need the information, but it's not really scene worthy.
  • To provide back-story - I try to only use summary for back-story as a last resort. But there are times when it's best. When the character's back-story isn't a big enough part of the plot to necessitate a flashback but is still important, summary might be the best way. But I'd say only if he doesn't have anyone he'd share it with through dialogue.
  • To develop character - I think this has largely to do with pace and structure. There are times that just seem innate to telling what a character looks like, how they're feeling or what they're thinking. All showing with no telling doesn't always feel natural. Good stories are balanced and varied. 
 When not to tell

  • Readers don't need you to explain what's going on if you've already shown it through dialogue or character actions.
  •  Details matter. If your summery generalizes things too much, you probably need a full scene. 
  • If your plot is moving too fast, you probably need to turn some of those summaries into scenes. 
  • If beta readers are complaining that they're having trouble visualizing part of your story, does that section contain summary that you could expand into a scene with more sensory details? 
Tomorrow's post - Uninhibited writing  


Monday, April 22, 2013


"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm." ~Abraham Lincoln

Some books have the ability to open up and allow us to step into them. Setting is often a key factor in making this possible. More than merely where a story takes place, setting creates boundaries for a story and forces characters to reactFor instance, if a story takes place in Montana during winter, you can't have your character gardening outdoors. Shoveling snow would be more likely. If your story is set in ancient Egypt, characters can't whip out their cell phones to check the time or take a picture. 

Three things to keep in mind while creating setting - 

  • Use the five senses. This anchors readers into a story. What sounds are there? What smells? I once read an article that said smell is directly related to memory. If you get readers senses involved, they're more likely to remember and connect to your story. 
  • Avoid the forbidden info dump. This bores readers, which is also forbidden. Try to describe setting by having characters interact with it. Have him trip over the tree roots as he runs from pursuers rather than say tree roots surround him.  
  •  You can also use setting to underscore a character's mood. For instance, if it's raining when your character receives bad news, it amplifies his emotions. If thunder and lightening accompany his fear, he's going to become even more afraid, and so will readers. 

Tomorrow's post - When telling is better than showing. Is that even possible?  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Liebster Award


A quick little aside from A to Z ... Last Sunday, my blog was nominated for the Liebster Award by the lovely Miss Kate over at My Next Life. Thank you Ida Chiavaro @ Reflex Reactions, for nominating me for the award today! Since Kate nominated me first, I'll be answering her questions. I don't think I'm up for doing this twice. I'm always up for a challenge, so here's what I have to do:

1. Post the award on my blog
2. Thank the blogger who gave me the award and link back to their site

3. Post 11 random facts about myself

4. Answer 11 questions that the presenter of the award has asked

5. Nominate 11 new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers that I want to pass the award on to
6. Ask my nominees 11 questions of my own

So, first things first. Thank you so much Kate for nominating my blog! This should be fun. 

11 random facts about me:

  1. I'm a night owl. Always have been, and probably always will be. Mornings make me sick.
  2. I LOVE the Avatar cartoons.
  3. I have a great need for organization, yet I'm not very organized. Working on it!
  4. I have a very acute sense of smell. Nothing drives me from a room faster than a bad odor. 
  5. I have an out-of-control chocolate habit.
  6. I write in the bathtub. No, not on a computer. I use the old-fashioned pen and paper method. I type everything into the computer after it's written.
  7. I lost all sense of taste except for bitter one time. Everything I ate tasted bitter. It lasted a week and then remedied itself. Thank God! After some online research, I think it was caused by pine nuts that had gone rancid. 
  8. I like to swing.
  9. I have redhead pride.
  10. I own a lot of books I haven't read yet.
  11. I LOVE dreams, even the bad ones.  
 My answers to Kate's questions: 

1.If you were an animal what would you be? 

I'd be a bear. They're at the top of the food chain and only have to watch out for humans. They're also very protective of their young. I pretty much live that life already. 

2.What is your favorite book of all time (or two, or three)?

This is a hard one. I'm just gonna go for it: Strangers by Dean Koontz, Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice and The Book Theif by Markus Zusak.

3.What's your biggest fear?
This is also tough for me to answer. I have many fears. My biggest is that something bad will happen to my son.

4.If you could have any talent (that you don't already have) what would it be?

I'd be super flexible. I'd be Elastic Woman.

5.If you could invite three famous people (alive or dead) to dinner, who would you choose?

John Malkovich, so I could listen to his unusual cadence all evening. Dean Koontz, to see if his real life sense of humor matches his writerly one. My deceased grandfather, because I miss him and I'd love for him and my son to meet.

6.If you had a time machine, where would you go first?
To the future, to a time when my son is old. I want to see what he'll do with his life.

7.If calories didn't count, what would you eat today?

Barnanas, all day. They're dehydrated banana chunks covered in dark chocolate, for those unfortunate enough to not know.

8.What book do you wish you'd written?

The one I did write. :)

9.What antagonist do you most relate to?
This is a really good question, but I'm drawing a huge blank. Maybe someday I'll think of an answer and do a whole blog post about it.

10. If you could relive any day of your life, what would it be?

Well, at first I was thinking I'd want to relive a day when I made a really bad decision so I could change it, but then that would alter my entire life and I might not like where I am now. So I'll stick to just a replay of a really great day. None stick out as better than others. I get pretty excited about little things, like seeing my garlic growing after a snowy winter and about smelling summer on its way, so I have a lot of good days. 

11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Right where I am. I live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

My 11 picks for the Award and blog challenge:

Heather Jacobs @ Heather Jacobs
Thelma @ Widowsphere
Colleen Chen @ Collen's Write Brain
Gwen Tolios @ Fulfilling Dreams
Jay Noel @ Jay Noel Writer on Fire
Donna Smith @ Mainly Write
Shell Flower @ Tangent Shell
M.J. Joachim @ M.J. Joachim's Writing Tips
Rebecca Douglass @ The Ninja Librarian
Jennifer @ A Creative Exercise
Claire Goverts @ Claire's Writing Log 
My 11 questions for those who accept the challenge:  

  1. Who is your biggest inspiration?
  2. What is/was your relationship like with your mother?
  3. Do you have pets?
  4. What is your guilty pleasure?
  5. Do you outline or are you a seat-of-your-pants writer?
  6. Do you write aspects of your personality into your characters?
  7. Last time you lost your temper, what caused it?
  8. What would your dream vacation be?
  9. Do you think you're weird? Why or why not?
  10. What do you think your purpose is?
  11. If you were going to a deserted island and could only take three things, what would they be?

I don't believe there's a time restraint on this, so if you decide to take it on, don't feel like you have to do it today.


"Rejected pieces aren’t failures; unwritten pieces are."  ~ Greg Daugherty

Anyone who's submitted their work for publication has seen the face of rejection. Probably many, many times. I happens to ALL writers. Check out this list:

  1. John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.
  2. Beatrix Potter had so much trouble publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she initially had to self-publish it.
  3. Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, received 121 rejections before it was published. It later become a best seller.
  4. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted.
  5. Judy Blume received rejections for two straight years.
  6. Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections before A Wrinkle in Time was published. It's a good thing she didn't give up. The book won the Newberry Medal and become one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.
  7. Frank Herbert’s Dune received 20 rejections before being published.
  8. Stephen King received dozens of rejections for Carrie before it was published.

Why manuscripts are rejected -

A manuscript could be rejected for any reason, really, but here are some of the most common:

  1. It's just plain bad. May this not apply to you or me.
  2. It's good, but the agent or editor just isn't feeling a connection with it.
  3. It's good, but the agent or publisher isn't looking for that type of book.
  4. Spelling and grammar problems.

May the above list of authors inspire you to never give up. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday's post -  Setting



Friday, April 19, 2013

Query letters

"Above all, a query letter is a sales pitch and it is the single most important page an unpublished writer will ever write. It's the first impression and will either open the door or close it. It's that important, so don't mess it up. Mine took 17 drafts and two weeks to write." ~Nicholas Sparks

Writers agonize over query letters. Personally, I dread the synopsis more, although, considering the above quote, writing a query letter still makes me sweat. In a query, you have about three short paragraphs to tell agents or editors about your book and about yourself.

The opener

Agents and editors receive a lot of queries every day. One way to catch their attention is to let them know you've done some research about them and their company. Drop in a few of the titles they represent that you've read, tell them why you think they would be the right fit for your book

The blurb

This is the hard part. How in the world do you decide what to include and what to leave out? In a query, you have one paragraph to entice a potential agent or editor to read your sample chapters. Explain your main character and what happens to him in a consice and engaging way. Many agents and editors like to know the setting as well. Imagine you're writing the blurb for the back of the book. They say a query should be written in the same tone and voice as the novel so editors/agents can get a better idea of the book.

 Your bio

This is where you tell about yourself. If you don't have any writing credits, just tell them where you live and what genres you write in, or something along those lines. I do believe having a resume helps when it comes time to query for a novel. Not to say that if you have no previous stories published agents and editors will write you off, but if they see you've been published in various magazines and anthologies it shows them that you already know how to work with an editor, at least to some extent. It also shows them you're most likely into this writing thing for the long haul. Believe it or not, some people feel they've accomplished all they need to with only one book. They can somehow continue on with life without imagining things and writing them down. I don't get it, but I've heard it's true.

The internet provides a ton of good information about writing query letters. Here are some helpful links:

Tomorrow's post - Rejections

Thursday, April 18, 2013


"I always have a basic plot outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write." ~J. K. Rowling

Although it's pretty obvious, I'll take a moment to define plot. Plot is the what happens in a story and the sequence in which it occurs. Some writers like to use outlines to plot their novels before they start, others do best just jumping in and deciding how things will happen as they go. Either way, a good plot needs certain elements.

Character - Of course, if anything of interest is going to happen, there needs to be someone for it to happen to, or to make it happen. Characters should be realistic representations of people. Make the readers care about this individual. 

The hook - This is where you grab your readers and make them want to keep reading. It could be  your protagonist making a life changing decision, or being forced into a situation he would have never chosen.

Conflict - The character runs into trouble. He wants something so badly he's willing to do anything to get it, but there's something or someone in his way.

Stakes - The higher the stakes, the more your readers will care. If you're protagonist wants something badly but everything will be just as before whether he gets it or not, the stakes aren't high enough.

Subplots - In real life, we never have just one thing going on. Add in family life, job life, or whatever else your character has going on. Just make sure to tie it into the main plot so it's not just there to look pretty. It has to have a real purpose for the story. If you could cut the subplot without the story suffering, it's not a good subplot and should either be cut or worked into the story in a meaningful way.

Climax - This is what it's all been building up to. All the conflicts, stakes and character struggles come to a peak and play out in a grand finale.

Resolution - This is where you tie up all the loose ends.

Tomorrow's post - Query letters

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Opinions about your writing - how to handle it

"Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes." ~Voltaire

It's always a good idea to have someone else read your writing before you deem it finished and send it out into the world. Because, let's face it, you're only one person with limited perspective. The more beta readers the better, because there are as many opinions as there are people. If you had 100 people read your book, reader 101 would point something out that everyone else overlooked. So would reader 102. But what if you don't like what some people are saying? And what do you do when some people love a certain part of your story while others hate it? Believe me, this happens all the time and, although it can be frustrating, leaves the writer where she should be: in charge of her own work. 

How to handle advice 

I always consider what my readers say. Even if it doesn't make much sense and my initial reaction to it is nausea. It's always a good idea to try to see where the reader is coming from. Possibly they reacted the way they did because your writing wasn't clear. Usually, though, when a reader suggests something I don't like, I end up tossing it in the end. 

If more than one person comments on the same thing, I deeply consider changing it. If several people comment on it, there's something wrong with it and it has to go, unless, of course, they're giving it praise. 
I've had a lot of stories critiqued by fellow writers and it never fails, there's always something that some readers loathe while others declare it their favorite part of the story. The main thing to remember is that it's your story. You choose what goes, what stays and how it all fits together.

Whose opinions count? 

I most often have other writers critique my work. They know the craft, after all. And they're the most likely to take the time to give you feedback because they want some feedback of their own. But different writers have different styles and not everything a writer friend says about craft is going to apply. What they say as a reader, on the other hand, is the most helpful. Writers are definitely readers. Writers probably buy more books than anyone.
If you can get other people to read your unpublished manuscript, go for it. I don't care if it's your neighbor or the janitor at your child's school. Anyone who reads counts because they're the ones who buy books. They're the ones you want to please.

Tomorrow's post - Plot

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Naming characters

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." ~William Shakespeare

Picking the right names for characters is one of the things writers agonize over. Names are important. In picking the right names for the populace of a book, you must know your characters. Is a character strong and fearless or petite and frail. It should fit not only who they are, but also their ethnicity and time era

The genre or tone of your story plays a large role in name choosing as well. Sometimes, especially if you want to add humor to your work, you might choose a name that directly conflicts your characters appearance or personality.  Nicknaming your story's thug Pipsqueak is one example. If your writing in a serious tone, however, you don't want to steal credibility from your story by being too silly. You might choose an ordinary name to symbolize the normalcy of a character's life before your story throws them into a whirlwind of adventure.  

Giving a character a new name at some point during the story, or at the end, is one way to drive home growth in the individual. I'm not talking about suddenly switching the name and causing readers to wonder who you're talking about. But if the character passes some important test or reaches some lofty goal, their peers might hold a special renaming ceremony.

Tomorrow's post - Opinions about your writing - how to handle it

Monday, April 15, 2013

Marvelous Middles

“The function of the middle is to develop the implicit promise made by a story's beginning.” ~Nancy Kress

Often writers will delve into a story with much enthusiasm and then, even if they have a good idea where its all going to end, flounder through the middle. You know, all that stuff that has to happen to get us from point A to point B. Here are some tips to help keep your middle from sagging. 

  • Focus. Never lose sight of your through-line - the main plot line. It can be helpful to write the entire through-line before adding in subplots. Although this method might seem tedious, since you'll most likely need to go back and tie the subplots into the through-line, it can save you from trying to figure out how to fix an out-of-control middle. Once a middle is unwieldy, it's sometimes hard to figure out what it needs... and doesn't need, even for the author. 
  •  Make sure character motives are clear. 
  • Character growth/change must seem plausible. 
  • Don't try to include all your research. It's not uncommon for writers to want to include every fascinating detail they've discovered while researching a story. Too much info can muddle your middle and leave readers wondering what the point is. 
  • Use the middle to deepen conflict.
  • Raise the stakes. By the end of the middle, your story should be set up for the grand climax.

Tomorrow's post - Naming characters   

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lies vs fiction

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." ~ Stephen King

Fiction is made up. Does that mean it's just a bunch of lies? Well, let's see, the definition of a lie is to intentionally mislead. While writers sometimes exaggerate to make a point come across stronger, their purpose of writing fiction is most often to point out significant truths about life and the human existence. Yes, we fiction writers make up all sorts of stuff: characters, events, worlds and whatever else we want - and we have great fun doing it. For most of us it's about telling truths as we perceive them. Fiction can actually be a very honest art form.

That isn't to say, however, that all fiction contains the truth. I suppose it's possible that some writers might actually want to mislead by means of fiction, although I can't imagine there are many. Also, not everyone in this world shares the same truths or perceptions of things. You might not agree with an author's truth, but that still doesn't make it a lie. It's just another view of things. If an author is really good, he can make a reader who has an opposing viewpoint stop and at least consider things from his point of view.

Monday's post: Marvelous middles

Friday, April 12, 2013

How to help kids develop as writers

 "We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." ~Stacia Tauscher

No imagination can parallel that of a child. What better time to begin planting the seeds of storytelling in our kids than while their creativity is at its most fertile and lively? My son began making books when he was very young, about three or four. Of course, he couldn't yet write. But he could draw. That's how young children tell stories, through their artwork. If you ask a child what any picture they've drawn is about, there will no doubt be an elaborate story behind it. 

It's a great idea to always have premade "books" handy for kids to draw stories in. All you have to do is fold several pieces of paper together and staple them down the side so they stay together. It's also a good idea to cover the stapled edge with fabric tape or decorative duct tape. 

As they learn to write, they can add words to go along with their drawings, or you can add their words for them. Don't worry about teaching them character development or story arch or anything technical until they're older. If you read to your kids, they automatically have knowledge of story and how it works. 

Read to them often. The more you read to them, the more likely they'll want to tell stories of their own.  Kids have some amazing stories to tell! 

Another fun game you can play with kids is a game my family used to play when there was a power outage. One person starts a story and someone else picks it up where they left off. Or even just making up entire stories and telling them to each other helps young minds develop a foundation for writing. 

Janet Lansbury's recent post on nurturing creativity is worth reading, as well. It helps us well-meaning parents to stay out of our children's way. Take a look. 

Tomorrow's post: Lies vs fiction