I buy oodles of books. They pile up on shelves, and on a wide windowsill beside my writing desk. They collect dust in stacks on a braided blue rug, and from time to time I clean them off. Every year we donate one or two boxes worth to a library sale, clearing space for new reads. But I can’t bear to part with any of the books that authors have signed to me. To me.
These pictures show only some of the many signed YA and middle grade titles in my collection. I also have a slew written for adults—nonfiction, poetry, memoir, mystery, thrillers, and literary fiction. I’d like to say I’ve read them all, but the truth is that some sit in my to-be-read stack (which got three books taller after last week’s RVA Lit Crawl. Richmond, VA, is a great town in which to be a writer. Have I said that before? Yeah.) Read More
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Tagged Anne Blankman, bbgb books, Christopher Rylander, Elisabeth Dahl, Elle Cosimano, Gigi Amateau, Hannah Barnaby, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Kat Spears, kathi appelt, Kimberly Willis Holt, Kristen Kittscher, Kristen Lippert-Martin, Kristin Levine, Lamar Giles, Lana Krumwiede, Lois Lowry, Louise Hawes, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, M.T. Anderson, Marty Crisp, Mary Quattlebaum, Matt de la Peña, Meg Medina, megan shepherd, Padma Venkatraman, Paula Danziger, Rita Williams-Garcia, Susan Fletcher, Tara Sullivan, Valerie O. Patterson, Wendy Shang
This week’s Writing Show, “Editing for Emotional Impact,” presented by James River Writers, was like a cornucopia of craft tips, everything overflowing, spilling out, and the crowd eagerly eating it all up. I had a great time. Here are my favorite take-aways from the evening:
Sadeqa Johnson urged us to listen to our characters. Really listen. Be open to what they have to say. While writing a scene, she’ll pause to ask a character, “What’s up?” Time and again she finds herself surprised by her characters’ answers. She tries to figure out what makes each one feel vulnerable.
Anne Blankman stressed the value of understanding what the protagonist wants, then taking that thing away, or at the very least, threatening its safety. She told us to think of a novel like an amusement park ride; readers have bought tickets and will feel cheated if the ride doesn’t carry them up and down and make their hearts pound. Continue reading
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Tagged Anne Blankman, back-story, books, Carrie Brown, character, craft, editing, emotional truth, fiction, Ginger Moran, Glimmer Train, James River Writers, manuscript, plot, process, protagonist, revision, Robin Farmer, Sadeqa Johnson, scenes, story, writing