Writing Irresistible Kidlit, by Mary Kole

My rbain brain is so cluttered with amazing information, I don’t know where to begin.

This book covers many areas of the writing craft, from the mind of your audience to theme to emotion to many words I’ve never heard. This book made me feel a bit illiterate in some ways–mostly French ways–and I had to use the dictionary. Every chapter in this book gives ideas and questions and direction about how to go about forming the structure for a knock-your-socks-off novel. (Cliches are also included in Kole’s discussion.)

I could not recommend this book highly enough. It makes you reevaluate characters, themes, plots, and teaches you about Interiority, Objectives, how to incorporate subplots for the most impact, and many other elements of writing the perfect (or as close as us mere humans will ever get) novel.

mary kole

Advertisements

The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck

A friend of mine recommended this book–a book I never would’ve chosen on my own. Christmas stories inevitably make me cry, which is something I refuse to inflict on myself. Overall, I really enjoyed the story, and it’s short enough that the few hours it took were worth it.

book cover the christmas sweater

Jacketflap:

Based on a deeply personal true story, Glenn Beck’s bittersweet tale of boyhood memories, wrenching life lessons, and the true meaning of the giving season has touched the hearts of readers everywhere.

If you could change your life by reversing your biggest regrets, sorrows, and mistakes . . . would you?

When Eddie was twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas was a bike. He knew money had been tight since his father died, but Eddie dreamed that somehow his mother would find a way to afford that dream bike.

What he got from her instead was a sweater. “A stupid, handmade, ugly sweater” that young Eddie left in a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.

Scarred deeply by the fateful events that transpired that day, Eddie begins a dark and painful journey toward manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, his faith, and his family—and the guidance of a mysterious neighbor named Russell—to help Eddie find his life’s path and finally understand the significance of that simple gift his mother had crafted with love.

glenn beck

Glenn Beck narrates the book and also includes a prologue where he explains the experiences in his own life that led to the writing of this book. It was a nice touch.

Things I didn’t like:

~The idea that so much character development could happen within the course of a twelve-year-old’s dream.

~Obvious political statements felt unnatural.

~I felt like the end was a cheat. I don’t like it that everything ended up unrealistically happy, but it is a Christmas story so . . .

Things I liked:

~The characters were real, vivid, flawed, and lovable.

~It made me laugh out loud more than once.

~It made me think about my own childhood and the things I went through, experiences, and what I’ve learned.

#WriteMotivation Check

I am posting this just to keep myself in check.

#WriteMotivation

1) Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.

Week 1: I am half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole.

Week 2: Still half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole. Read The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck.

2) Post on every member’s blog once per week.

Week 1: DONE

Week 2: DONE

3) Send out 15 agent queries.

Week 1: Nothing yet.

Week 2: I have a list of agents and their requirements on a spreadsheet.

4) Do not get depressed when I am rejected.

Week 1: N/A

Week 2: N/A

5) Finish final edit of TPR.

Week 1: Chapter 18 of 32. I feel good about this.

Week 2: Chapter 26 of 32. Woot!

6) Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

Week 1: Have to finish 5 first.

Week 2: No change.

writemotivation2

Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass and #WM goals

I’ve been talking with a few people about books that help us all become better writers. My firm belief is that nothing helps us learn to write more than reading with an analytical eye. Quantity is as important as quality. The bad ones are as telling about how not to write as the good ones teach us correct principles. But there are some books that changed the way I looked at writing. This is one of them: Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass.

breakout novel donald maassThere is the book to read and the workbook that helps you put his ideas into action.

He gives practical advice on why your book might not be selling, and whether you’re going self-pub or traditional, most of us care about making money for our effort. Some ideas include taking things to the limit and having conflict on every page.

While I think that a lot of what Maass says about how to write is driven by his opinions, he is one of the leading agents in the industry and has a lot of experience with what gets published and what doesn’t. Listening to his advice is worth something. And writing exercises can be painful, but nothing comes free.

#WriteMotivation Goals for Week 1:

Here are my February goals:
1) Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.

Week 1: I am half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole.

2) Post on every member’s blog once per week.

Week 1: DONE

3) Send out 15 agent queries.

Week 1: Nothing yet.

4) Do not get depressed when I am rejected.

Week 1: N/A

5) Finish final edit of TPR.

Week 1: Chapter 18 of 32. I feel good about this.

6) Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

Week 1: Have to finish 5 first.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL MY #WRITEMOTIVATION FRIENDS! I will be seeing you again this week. And I bought Girl Scout Cookies.

Making Room for Improvement and #WriteMotivation

I have a quote on my blog somewhere by Ernest Hemingway:

Ernest Hemingway

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Wild Years

From someone I would consider a master of the craft of writing, we realize that if he never stopped learning how to improve his craft, neither should we. In that vein, I would like to add a stretch goal this month. To make at least one of the books I read to be about improving writing.
Here are my February goals:
  1. Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.
  2. Post on every member’s blog once per week.
  3. Send out 15 agent queries.
  4. Do not get depressed when I am rejected.
  5. Finish final edit of TPR.
  6. Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

To wrap up January, I completed all but my first goal, which feels pretty good.

Good luck to everyone in February. I look forward to visiting you all over the next few weeks!