Month: June 2011

writing funny and more…

“Maybe you can help my cellmate, Mineola Potts. She’s such a nice lady.”
“What’s she in for?”
“Jaywalking.”  …
“Was she really arrested for jaywalking?” Tony asked.
“Indeed she was, poor woman,” Mrs. Carillon replied. “She was very hungry and had nothing to eat, so she borrowed two cans of lobster meat and a tin of caviar from the supermarket. She was jaywalking when the police stopped her.”

Ellen Raskin, The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean Noel)

Funny is hard. I read this. I blinked and I started to giggle. then laugh. I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t explain it. And, I doubt if I can replicate it. It’s not as funny now as it was when I first read it. It was very awesome feeling. A giggle just bubbling out of you. A giggle you just can’t stop. A giggle that builds into a full-blown laugh.

I think this is dynamite and tough. This laugh-out-loud line came at page sixty-something. Well into the story and I was surprised to find it there. A delightful tidbit for me, the reader. Continue reading

slipping into writing mode…

I don’t know about you, but the ‘find fifteen minutes of writing time’  just doesn’t work for me. I need to sit, and get back to where I’ve been. And, I’ve been frustrated because that sucks up my writing time.

Lately tho, I’ve been thinking it is more. More than getting back. More me becoming. Me. This writer. Becoming him. I AM that character. And, yet, I worry about him when we’re not together. I feel  guilty when I leave him sitting beside a fence. Or, in the middle of a conversation with his brother. But I also know, when I leave him, it’s because I can’t figure out where we’re going next.

I know the common wisdom is to write a character sketch about each in your cast. I can do that for everyone but the MC. And I think I’ve realized why.

Did you ever hear of the ‘game’ BAFA BAFA? Continue reading

book reviews…

A recent book review in the Wall Street Journal has caused a major upheaval in the YA children’s lit world. Meghan Cox Gurdon wrote about the ‘dark’ topics in YA lit. I can’t help but wonder why there is so much defense in play over this article? One well-published, well-respected author suggested on FB that the WSJ’s editorial section should be shut down. Another author calling the article crap.

Well. So much for free speech, I guess.  For respecting the opinion of others. Of thinking that there may be another side to an issue. Or, does that count only if you are on the same side?

I guess what I just don’t get is why do these writers feel the NEED for defense, almost to the point of bullying this one author, this one paper.

Why did so many jump into the fray? Continue reading

shaping a reader…

It’s a common saying…’in order to write, you need to read a thousand books’. Before you can write, you need to read. Everything. It all. Don’t stop. Keep going. Don’t think about it. Just READ!

I read my first thousand starting in the library at Villa Cabrini Academy. Just off the quad where we lined up and marched every morning. It was cool in the morning, typical of Southern California, long before smog and humidity and over-population. The quad would be in the shade, not yet heated by the daily sun. Sousa’s band music would blare from someplace unknown and we’d march in formation and then to our classrooms. Sounds militaristic now, right? All of us in baby blue uniforms, white collars and cuffs, Buster Brown oxford shoes, white socks. It got us ready to sit in desks and listen. It gave us shape as students.

The library was a room, not all that big, with all the walls lined with book shelves clear to the ceiling, Continue reading