Thursday, March 31, 2011

Poetry Month and Kidlitosphere Central

Garden with some tulips and narcissusImage via Wikipedia
April is an exciting month.  Spring is in the air.  The publishing world is aflutter with fabulous new books, and the entire month is a celebration of poetry. There are poets and poetry out there to inspire pretty much anyone and everyone.  At Kidlitosphere Central, more than a dozen Kid's Lit and YA Lit bloggers have stepped up to share all things poetry;  from a Poetry Potluck to a Poetry Party...from EduHaiku to Teen Poetry, you'll want to check out the links.
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I didn't have a mentor when I started out writing more than twenty years ago, but I wish I had.  This morning, I spent an hour or so with a young woman interested in writing for kids.  She was sweet and enthusiastic, but very naive.  Many seem to view the life of a writer in romantic terms when really, it's a lot of hard work.  Being a writer requires commitment and tremendous self-discipline, generally, without much in the way of monetary compensation...Ideas are all well and good.  I have hundreds of story ideas.  But, a book is a whole other matter.  It takes time to plan, time to write, and time to revise, and then revise again. Furthermore, books involve a skill set that can't be learned overnight, and takes a lifetime to master. If it were easy, a whole lot more people would be doing it.

As well, few young people are aware that writing is actually a business.  No one wants to publish your book just because!  It costs publishers money in editorial time, designing time, print costs, advertising costs, and the usual overhead.  Publishers want, and need, to make money from their publishing line.  They won't publish your book unless it can make them money.  

I hope the young woman I spoke to takes the time to learn not only the craft of writing, but the business, since the two go hand in hand.  Maybe one day I'll get an excited phone call telling me that her first book is coming out.  I hope so. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Diana Wynne Jones

Sad news in the YA world...fantasy writer, Diana Wynne Jones has passed away.  Best known for the Chrestomanci series, she started populating her books with witches, sorcerers, ghosts and goons when J.K. Rowling was still playing in the sandbox.  One of the things that I particularly enjoyed about her books is her wonderful sense of humor.  She could be both funny and scary, which is quite a rare mix.  It's hard to believe that we'll soon be seeing the last of her phenomenal books. What a great loss.  As far as I know, and surprisingly, only one of her books was turned into a movie, Howl's moving Castle, which is probably why a lot of North American readers aren't as familiar with her as they could be.  I've heard that her very last book will be published by Greenwillow Books early next year. Fortunately, she leaves a huge body of work.  I know I'll be downloading a few of my favorite titles on my Kobo to reread. Elizabeth Bluemle posted a great tribute on Shelftalker this morning.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Aric Davis and "Nickel Plated"

Aric Davis has written a very interesting article on writing for the YA market.  He talks about how he dealt with the sex and violence issue in his  novel Nickel Plated.  Worth a look through for sure.

Monday, March 21, 2011

World Poetry Day

Happy World Poetry Day.  Celebrate by reading a poem, writing a poem, or sharing a poem with a friend or stranger.

Check out Re:Verse, a zine for young poets.  Great poems and lots more.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Here's a pic from my sunset run along Dallas Road yesterday.  Notice that it isn't dark even though it was almost 7pm.  Later some friends and I walked down to Dallas Road again to check out the super moon (when the moon is closest to the earth).  It was pretty awesome, but sadly didn't get the moon over water shot I was after.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

April is National Poetry Month

Gregory from GottaBook will be featuring 30 Poets in 30 Days to celebrate National Poetry Month in April.  Some of the poets he'll be hosting are: Arnold Adoff whom I saw many years ago and whose poetry I still adore, Vancouver's own Avis Harley, multicultural poet extraordinaire, Janet Wong, and the amazingly versatile Jane Yolen to name just a few.  Do be sure to check it out his blog, and to make it easier, you can even subscribe!

YA Highway: The Importance Of Not Being Earnest All The Time

I love this blog...and especially this post on dumping the expectations and just writing. Ya can't revise it if isn't written folks...YA Highway: The Importance Of Not Being Earnest All The Time

Monday, March 14, 2011

YA Highway: Writing Exercises to Get Your Pen Moving

Kristin Halbrook offers a few pretty good suggestions on YA Highway for the dreaded blank page for any of you who are experienced writer's block. YA Highway: Writing Exercises to Get Your Pen Moving.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Reinvention of Teaching by Ross Laird

I was fortunate enough to hear Ross Laird speak at a Writers' Union of Canada symposium yesterday.  The topic was "Securing a Footing in the Changing Literary Landscape" and boy was this guy good.  He was upbeat, encouraging and full of advice and resources to help writers equip themselves for the revolution that publishing is undergoing.  In fact, he's a goldmine of information on all sorts of topics, from running, to refinishing antique mahogany to how to become more web savvy.

If you are an educator, parent, or forward thinker, you won't want to miss his fabulous article on "The Reinvention of Teaching."  It's provocative as well as informative.  It was refreshingly concrete and not steeping in double speak!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day, celebrating 100 years

Happy International Women's Day. Although we didn't really start celebrating IWD here in North America until the 1970's, this is the 100th year celebration.  Join with women across the world to celebrate the strides we have made since 1911.
A 1932 Soviet poster for International Women's...Image via Wikipedia
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