WFMAD Day 25 – great books to read & vote for

First – congrats to my friend David Macinnis Gill on the publication of his new book, BLACK HOLE SUN!!

I got to read an early copy and here is what I said about it: “Black Hole Sun grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let go until the last page. In the best tradition of Heinlein and Firefly, Black Hole Sun is for readers who like their books fast-paced, intense, and relentless. Buy it, read it, pass it on!”

I hear Mockingjay is awesome, too.

Yesterday was the first day in a long time I was able to write for hours and hours and hours. It was heaven. Am trying to sneak in even more writing today!

But first, a short speech.

Teens! Parents! Teachers! Librarians! Friends! Romans! Lend me your ears! (no, wait…. wrong speech…)

(here it is)

The voting is now OPEN for the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten “teen choice” list! Click through and vote for up to three of your favorite titles! Voting is open Aug. 23 through Sept. 17, 2010. Winners will be announced in a webcast at www.ala.org/teenstopten during Teen Read Week, Oct. 17-23.

(And if one of those titles should happen to be, um, I don’t know, like maybe WINTERGIRLS, that sure would make my day!)

Ready… “I’ve been doing scriptwriting for 27 years and books for maybe 10 years now. I think I started the first Gregor book, Gregor the Overlander, when I was 38. I’d be clicking along through dialogue and action sequences. That’s fine, that’s like stage directions. But whenever I hit a descriptive passage, it was like running into a wall. I remember particularly there’s a moment early on when Gregor walks through this curtain of moths, and he gets his first look at the underground city of Regalia. So it’s this descriptive scene of the city. Wow, did that take me a long time to write! And I went back and looked at it. It’s just a couple of paragraphs. It killed me. It took forever.Suzanne Collins in an SLJ interview

Set…. Less than a week of WFMAD left – can you stick with it?

Today’s prompt: Identify your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Which is easier for you – plot or character? Dialog or description? Writing about sound or writing about smell or taste? First person or third person POV? Skimming the action along quickly or slowing down to savor the smallest and most significant detail?

Once you have identified what you are good at and what you are not quite good at yet but will be soon, you are going to develop a scene. First pass, use only only your great tools. Revise it using only your soon-to-be-better tools.

Need a scene? How’s this: your teenage character comes home hours after curfew. Everyone is sleeping. Except the skunk that is eating the garbage in the kitchen.

Scribble…Scribble… Scribble!!!

5 Replies to “WFMAD Day 25 – great books to read & vote for”

  1. Checking in because I haven’t for several days. All’s well on the WFMAD front for m. I’ve been generating new pages that I’m really happy with – goose bump inducing stuff!

    One nagging issue though…I hate my first 10 pages! I’ve rewritten them a few times, knowing that they’re aren’t working. The last time, I liked what I did (and my friends @ the LA Schmooze did, too) but my critique buddy, who’s read the other 100+ pages of the novel, passionately believed the new opening didn’t live up to the rest of the novel.

    I left it alone for awhile, concentrating on later scenes in the book, but the revisited the opening because I thought I’d enter it in the Ventura/Santa Barbara Writer’s Day contest in October. And now…I hate it. I absolutely see what my critique buddy was talking about before. Problem is – I have NO idea how to fix it.

    Any suggestions? Laurie? Anyone??

    Happy writing, folks!

    1. Hi, Karol.
      Not that I would know the answer, especially without having seen it, but here’s an idea. Why not “temporarily” cut those first 10 pages – what would happen? Would you have to sneak in a few descriptions and hints in other places? Could you start the story where the story starts gettin’ good?

  2. Today was a very powerful day of writing for me! I charged through over twenty minutes today and tried to work on my strong points of writing. I think they worked well. 😀

    @Karol, I would try to give you some advice, but the only problem is, I’m not good at beginning a story either 😀 Maybe you could read some of the other things you’ve written and try to stem an idea from that? Like try to foreshadow an intense scene that comes later in the novel. Sorry that my advice is bad, but like I said, we struggle with the same problem. Good luck if you enter Ventura/Santa Barbara Writer’s Day contest though!

  3. What I learned from todays writing prompt is that I need to write with my weak tools as well as my strength tools. I am not able to separate one from the other and have a quality story. I will keep working on my weaknesses to make a better story.

  4. I loved having to list my weaknesses and strengths, and have put a copy of these next to my computer. Improving on my weaknesses is something I try to work on daily. And small improvements are worth celebrating, especially when I note the improvement and don’t remember consciously working at it.
    For me, it is like dancing. In ballet, you do the same exercises at the bar, over and over again. And then, your body naturally performs the proper position, because you followed a daily routine.
    To apply this same principle to my writing, I try to read and write each day, and when I fall short, I forgive myself, only to push harder the next day.
    Time spent criticizing myself is a waste of time. And energy. And all of this takes away from the moments I could be writing.
    And I choose writing.

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