Thursday, June 30, 2011

She Writes Turns 2 and a Few Resources

Happy 2nd birthday to She Writes! They've made some changes to the website, so check it out if you haven't already.

Today's post will be a little more brief than usual. I just wanted to pass along a few things of interest.

The Cancer Poetry Project is taking poem submissions through December 31, 2011. This is the second volume in this collection and submissions will be accepted from patients, survivors, family members, friends, spouses and partners, and healthcare providers. They must have to do with cancer. There will be 150 poems published in this collection, with 12 poets winning a monetary prize, as well as getting to choose a cancer related charity for a donation. This is a worthwhile project and I'd love to see some of you featured!

This link will take you to a list of Pro Market listings in the Horror genre. I don't know how updated it is, but it's a great listing to use as a jumping off point, if nothing else.

Shelly, of Writing With Shelly, is hosting a poetry blogfest in July. Click on her blog name for more information.

Voluted Tales is taking submissions of "stories and artwork which cover the entire spectrum of speculative and Noir fiction in all of of their different genres and sub-genres." Click on "Voluted Tales" above for submission guidelines.

I hope you find something helpful in this post and that you submit something! I am hoping to have some tabs set up sometime in the not too distant future, which will include a helpful links tab. In the meantime, I'll post about it when I see it and get those tabs up when I have time. Time! Hahahahahahahahahahhahahaha gasp hahahahahahhahaha! Okay, okay, it will happen some day.

Any helpful links, blogfests or submission guidelines you know about that would be helpful? Post them here or feel free to post a link to your blog if you have already posted said information.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Multiple Artistic Urges, Teaser Tuesday & Award

Firstly, MizB at Should be Reading does Teaser Tuesdays, where you turn to a random page in the book you're currently reading and post a two sentence teaser. Click on "Should be Reading" above to find out more.

"They were family gone to ash, the bond between them as bloodless as time can make a thing. Maybe that's why I felt a kinship, why I thought of once precious bonds charred to light gray nothing."

-p. 174, Down River by John Hart

John Hart is an excellent author, by the way, and an all around nice guy.

Speaking of authors, I've found that artistic people tend to have interests in multiple areas, such as a writer who also does water paintings, or a composer who also does photography. For me, I used to do a little cartoon drawing and sketching, but my next true love in the artist's world is photography. I live in an area rife with natural beauty so there's always something to catch my eye, whether it's a mama bear and her cubs or a rock formation. I also have artistic urges that don't necessarily pan out, as much as I might want them to. For instance, I tried to teach myself to crochet, having been taught by my grandmother when I was in kindergarten, but not having practiced it over the years. I actually did just fine, but it is something that takes patience, which I didn't have in relation to crocheting. Thus, I have a half finished blanket in the closet in my office. I frequently have the desire to do all number of other things that could be considered artistic or creative in nature, but they just don't work. I love seeing people doing crafty things, but they are often something that takes patience, much like crocheting, or I have a great idea in my head that simply doesn't come to fruition when I make a go of it. I do scrapbook, but not to the extent I've seen other people do it, and I briefly attempted to do digital scrapbooking, which I just wasn't as fond of. I like pictures as they are, not digitally modified. I've also flirted with music and acting, which were fun, but not something I was able to get very serious about, though I did enjoy it.

I imagine this tendency to look at all things artistic/creative has to do with the dominant side of one's brain or something along those lines. If you're creative, you're using the right side of your brain more. In fact, your dominant brain hemisphere controls how you see the world, not just whether you like art versus math or logic versus imagination. Still, many people work a day job that might be considered very left brained, yet they come home to write, draw, compose, etc. I wonder if, now more than ever, people are more duel-minded, using both sides equally or near equally, than in the past. I remember having to take a test in high school, and I tested almost straight down the middle as concrete random and abstract sequential. I forget which one scored slightly higher, as it isn't anything I've had to use in life, but I find that sometimes I get stuck on one side and have to work to get back to the other. If I've been doing a bunch of accounting, taking care of matters and other logical processes, it is sometimes a challenge to switch around to more creative pursuits. In fact, I think I completely shut down that part of my brain for several years when there was just too much going on that I needed to deal with. All I can say is that I'm glad that half of me is back!

Lastly, Charmalot at And Then my Heart Smiled awarded me the Stylish Blog Award. Thanks a lot for thinking of me! Charmalot blogs about reading and writing, and is hoping to start up an online book club starting July 1, so check it out.

Do you live more in your right or left brain? If you're an artist, what other artistic pursuits do you enjoy?

Happy Writing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

MC Blogfest in Kieran's Voice

Today is the Main Character Blogfest, so I'll be introducing you to Kieran, from Lonely Hollow: Synthesis. Here's where you can find details on the blogfest and enter if you're so inclined: Author Elizabeth Mueller's blog. In this blogfest, we are to answer three questions in the voice of our MC.

Today, I'm pleased to introduce Kieran. His 16th year is rapidly approaching, though he's a bit indifferent about that. He was forced to grow up quickly after the village's parents were wiped out by the deadly saligia virus (SV). He now leads the village with the help of his best friends, Samara and Zane. They are the oldest residents of Lonely Hollow, the Alphas, except for Aaron, the last adult, who is dying and is rarely conscious at this point.

Warrior Muse: I'm just going to jump right into the big questions, Kieran. I hope you don't mind.

Kieran: I don't mind at all. I prefer to skip the small talk and get right into the meat of an issue.

WM: Great! What is your biggest fear?

Kieran: I guess I'd say right now I'm afraid of what will happen when Aaron dies. I'd rather not be in charge of anyone, let alone an entire village. I know we'll be able to keep up with the daily business of village life, but what then? I don't want to have to tell everyone what to do. Why should they listen to me? I'm fifteen years old.

WM: You hesitated for a moment there, Kieran. Do you have another fear?

Kieran: Not one I'd like to talk about.

WM: You agreed to be 100% upfront and honest in this interview; you promised Aaron. This session can only help you if are willing to lay everything on the table. What else are you afraid of?

Kieran: Fine. I'm afraid of losing those closest to me. I'm afraid they'll leave me, just like my dad did. He just walked away and never came back. Now, what was your second question.

WM: I'm sorry you have to worry about that. From what I've seen, the rest of the village has great respect for you. I don't think any of them will leave you. In fact...

Kieran: Next question, please.

WM: Oh, uh, sorry. My next question is a more positive one. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Kieran: Accomplishment? I can't think of a single one.

WM: Surely, you've accomplished something. Everyone has something to be proud of. It doesn't have to be recent; think back.

Kieran: Okay then, my biggest accomplishment has been surviving. I've survived, despite Aaron being in the medical center these last few months, despite my parents being dead. We've all survived. We're not hungry, not thirsty. We all have a roof over our heads. So that's my biggest accomplishment: survival.

WM: Wow, you're just a barrel of laughs, huh? I'll just get to the final question.

Kieran: Good, there's a lot to do, and it's not getting done by sitting here answering these ridiculous questions.

WM: Ouch. Alright then, moving on. What is your biggest regret?

Kieran: I'd have to say my biggest regret is not having the chance to say goodbye to my mother before she died. I never told her how much I loved her and appreciated her for being such a great mom after my father abandoned us. She deserved more than that.

WM: That's really sad. I'm sure she knew you loved her, though.

Kieran: I guess there's only one person who knows if that's true, and she's dead. Is that all the questions you have for me today?

WM: Well, yeah, I guess so. Is there anything else you want to talk about?

Kieran: I didn't want to come here to begin with. If we're through, I'll see myself out.

WM: Okay, thank you for...oh, well, he's already gone. I hope you enjoyed meeting Kieran. He's a serious guy, but I think you'd agree that there's good reason for that. If he'd just open himself up a bit more, I think I could help him. Oh well, there's always next time. Thanks for tuning in.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Flash Fiction and Blog Hops

I was so excited to sign in today and see that there are 28 people signed up for the A to Z Visitors Blog Hop! Yay! I hope everyone who has signed up has found some great blogs.

Speaking of blog hops, there is a blog fest going on this Friday, June 24, which you can sign up for over at Elizabeth Mueller's blog. It's a one-day thing, where you answer questions about your main character. Sounds interesting!

I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I agreed to be the Flash Fiction Chair for my Pen Women group this next year. I'm not sure what I was thinking, as I already have too much on my plate, but it should be fun. Expect me to pick your brains over the next few months, as my experience with flash fiction is extremely limited, and I'm hoping to liven it up a bit and get more entries than we did this last year. I will definitely post about it on here when the contest has opened up. We have a fun prompt this year, that I think can be translated in all kinds of ways.

For now, I wanted to ask about what prize makes a writing contest, whether flash fiction or otherwise, worth the time and effort to enter. Are you more interested in the cash prize, publication, the prompt or getting your name out there? What typically turns you off about contests? I am rather limited on changes I can make to this particular contest, because the national organization is fairly strict on certain things, but I will do my best to make this contest something worthwhile that people will enjoy participating in. I'd love any feedback you can give me on your expectations for a flash fiction contest.

Happy Writing!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer

Through the open window I hear children laughing, water splashing, birds chirping and the sound of the wind in the trees. Inside, the gentle roar of the air conditioning tells me it's in the 80's. (Yeah, I'm a heat wussy; wanna' make something of it?)

What is it about summer that makes a person feel so lazy? Probably the heat, at least a little bit, but there must be something else. Chemically speaking, molecules move faster when they're hot, right? Shouldn't my molecules doing the polka make me want to run around and get things done? Shouldn't there be more energy instead of less? This is why I'm not a scientist.

I'm still working on that summer routine I've heard so much about (from my brain). I did finally get started on the BuNoWriMo on Monday, and I've made progress with my new WIP. I'd forgotten just how much I enjoyed writing that first draft. Yesterday was the only day I didn't get some writing time in, but that's because I slathered the kids in sunblock, stuffed the three-year old in a wagon and walked 2.6 miles to the closest library with my kiddos (the six-year old walked there and back without even one whine) then two miles back (because hubby happened to be on his way back from work at that time and picked us up a couple streets from home). Yes, writing is important, but spending time with the kids is, too. Plus, I got to read while the kids were busy at the library, so that's a win-win situation.

At home, it's easy to find reasons not to write. I need to pick up the house. I need to make these phone calls. I need to balance the checkbook. I need to write a blog entry (d'oh!). Hey, I wonder what's going on with my friends on Facebook. How about on my mom forum? Time to make lunch for the kids. Boy, I wish I could take a nap. Instead I will sit here and stare brainlessly at a wall and drool (just kidding, I was actually staring at the fireplace that last time).

My house is actually clean (gasp!), so I can't use that excuse. I sit here writing this blog instead of going down to my dungeon to write. Scorpio's waiting for me down there and she is an impatient sort who can also kick my booty, so I should really go down there to work on her story. She's in a tense situation in my WIP right now, so I'm sure she'd appreciate a little help (though she not-so-secretly enjoys the adrenaline it brings; she hates being bored).

Do you ever feel like if you stepped outside people would materialize out of nowhere, point and scream, "Procrastinator!"? (<---that was grammatically awkward and probably completely incorrect, but it says what I wanted it to so I'm leaving it). I do. Even if they didn't come out, that old lady from The Princess Bride would, and she's loud enough to make a good go of it.

Instead of curling up in the sunlight and taking a nap (which my kids would never let me do anyway), I'm going to give myself thirty minutes to finish anything on my list of procrastinations I can get to and then I'm heading downstairs. I'm pretty sure I hear Scorpio screaming down there, and boy is it profanity-laced.

What excuses are you finding to keep you from your writing during the lazy days of summer?

Happy Writing (or procrastinating)!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mother Goose and Other Lovable Sidekicks

I was watching Top Gun the other day and thinking how I always liked Goose way better than Maverick, and it got me thinking on lovable sidekicks in books and movies. It's an often used trick in a book or movie, going way back. It's become a requirement in Disney movies, with the sidekick typically being an animal of some sort. My daughter loves Pasquale in Tangled, for instance. In fact, we found a stuffed chameleon at Rainforest Cafe and she just had to have it to carry around, as she aspires to grow up and be Rapunzel (sigh).

Before Disney there was Sherlock's Watson, probably one of the most well known literary sidekicks around (a relationship, in fact, copied in a Disney movie: The Great Mouse Detective). Watson acted as a bit of a foil to Sherlock's eccentricities. He also provided a bit of heart in contrast to the somewhat cold Sherlock.

Now, maybe it's just me, but Goose is one of the first sidekicks that pops into my mind. He was well written and played, lovable, warm and funny. While Maverick was, well, a maverick, Goose was dependable, loyal and sensible. He was a husband and father who sometimes egged Maverick on and sometimes tried to rein him in. Goose, in a word, was awesome.

So how does one write a perfect sidekick that hits all the right spots? What are the rules of sidekicks? They frequently get killed off when not a part of a series. If they're well written their death serves as a type of emotional blackmail to elicit sadness from the reader and willingness to root for victory on the part of the main character. Examples of this are Goose, of course, and Sid from An Officer and a Gentleman. *(I'm trying to use older movies here so I don't give anything away in a more recent one). Both are killed, and both breed a new determination in the protagonist.

The first rule seems to be that a sidekick must be likable. The audience wants to root for this person. I imagine this is the most necessary when the protagonist is not necessarily the most likable person. Maverick is a bit of a juvenile, Mayo is a bit of an ass, etc. Sure, we still root for the protagonist, but how much of that is due to the sidekick who we'll do anything for? If you take Goose out of Top Gun what are you left with? The only relief from a bunch of cocky guys is a light moment where we get to see those same guys shirtless and playing volleyball. Otherwise, the movie is strictly testosterone driven.

Frequently, the sidekick is also amusing, whether they're the class clown or just sarcastic. They bring levity to books and films that may be a bit heavy, dark or serious. They lighten things up, give us a laugh, and transition us into the next heavy scene.

They also tend to be a foil to the protagonist, someone who is their opposite. This causes a pleasant sort of friction between the characters, which can work in differing ways to control or encourage the protagonist. Sometimes it even leads to a fight or a break in the partnership, but they always eventually come back to each other. This opposition often includes the likable and amusing requirements, as their ideal protagonist is somewhat hard to like, as well as very dark or serious.

Finally, they are usually the same sex. Not always, but more often than not. At this moment, I can't think of an example where they're not both male or both female, but I'm sure one will pop in my head later. This makes them better able to be good buddies without relationship woes getting in the way. It also makes it so the sidekick may be more accepting of the protagonist's flaws. They know the protagonist better than anyone else, yet they love them anyway. A male and female might clash a bit more and be less accepting of the other's issues.

On a quick note, I've seen some examples in recent years of the protagonist being the one who is goofy, sarcastic and klutzy, always making stupid mistakes, whereas the sidekick is the serious ass kicker of the pair. I would have to say that I see this more often in female pairs than male, but that may just be because I read more within those parameters. Kim Harrison's main characters fit this bill with the protagonist Rachel Morgan, a witch with many flaws who makes mistakes, and her faithful sidekick Ivy, the serious and dangerous vampire. These books have also broken the no relationships rule, as there has been sexual tension between the two in parts of the series. To top it off, there is also a male sidekick named Jenks, who is a pixy. He provides some of the comic relief and is a lovable family man (he's also far too tiny to have a sexual relationship with). She just broke all kinds of rules, but it works.

Of course, these rules are more guidelines than actual set rules. Their presence may be common, but it most definitely does not appear in every book or movie. Sometimes the protagonist is their own comic relief, their own foil, and/or they are likable. The true first rule is that there are no set rules in writing.

Who are your favorite sidekicks? Are there any rules/guidelines you think I left out?

Happy Writing!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why do I Write YA?

Ghenet Myrthil, over at All About Them Words is co-hosting a blogfest about, well, why people write YA.

Why do I write YA? It's not the only thing I write and, in fact, my current WIP is my first attempt at YA. I didn't set out to write a YA novel, but simply to write the story pounding away at my brain. It was the characters who led me to writing YA. They're teenagers, and it's a story of their survival without adults around to guide them. Had the story been about a group of adults, it would have been a regular ol' novel for grown ups.

I will say, though, that I enjoy the YA age group in real life, so writing for them is fun. It seems I'm always around a teen for one reason or another, and I always leave that interaction in a good, and often creative, mood. I remember what it was like to be able to walk around and just be myself, not worried about meeting some lame idea of socially acceptable motherly behavior. The creativity was always flowing when I was a teen, and it was okay to be weird and to express myself. There is a certain freedom in being a teenager that we lose in adulthood.

On the flip side of that, I also remember the pressures and stresses of being a teenager. I remember people judging me based on my age, automatically assuming I was up to some mischief or other, simply because there was a one at the beginning of the number that happened to be my age. Rather than other mothers judging what kind of mother I am, it was my teen peers judging me. School and work took up most of my time. I was often made to feel like a second class citizen. My bosses took advantage of my being a teen. I could probably go on forever, as it seems age doesn't necessarily dull the edges of these issues, but I think that's good enough.

In Lonely Hollow: Synthesis, the young adults in my story are proving on a daily basis that they can take care of themselves. They can run a town successfully, keep themselves fed and even deal with adults who try to take advantage of them because they are isolated and sans adult protectors or guides. It's a bit of an homage to those who are going through the things I've already been through, and I can only hope that I do them proud, because they are the reason I was able to embrace this story and write it in the way it was meant to be written.

Happy Writing!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hangin' With the Cool Kids

A friend of mine wants to set up a writer's/artist's group in his area, as the only one he could find around him has been inactive for awhile. I was asked what the writer's groups I belong to do so he could be sure to include things people would be interested in. Though he is a screenwriter, he is thinking of making it for all artistic types.

Rather than just sending a list of things we do in the local writer's groups, I thought it would be good to get a little feedback from those that read on here. What is it you enjoy about the writer's (or other artistic) groups you belong to? Do you just gather to talk about artistic things, do you have speakers come out, do you critique? What do you thing any group like this should have? Is there anything you don't like or you think is missing from those you have participated in?

For me, the biggest thing is probably the aspect of talking to like-minded people. It is so great to talk to someone who knows what problems you might face, someone who has been there in that very same place. I also enjoy the courses and educational programs, as well as the resources provided. In groups like these, you can be as weird as you like. You can talk about the issues of whether your zombie likes brains or other body parts, what you should name this character's 90 children, which man your romantic lead should go for, whether your vampire should be able to walk in daylight, what trophies your serial killer should keep and whether this weapon is realistic in your murder mystery. You can talk about those things without someone thinking you're nuts. That's the beauty of it. No little white padded wagons will drag you away when everyone else you're talking to sounds just as off as you do. (And if they try, you will surely outnumber them).

In my Pen Women group, we have artists and composers, in addition to writers, but the topics usually come back around to writing, as we make up the majority. It is fascinating, though, to hear about a little something different, yet related. One can empathize with the artist who is having an artistic block, the photographer who can't figure out just what angle she's going for, or the composer who is about to present their work in the hopes of making it big. They may be different forms of art, but they are all artistic expressions, which puts them in the same family.

I would love to be able to pass along advice from all of you concerning what you would be looking for were this group to be forming in your area. I have plenty of opinions, but they are just my opinions. A group is made up of so many different types of people.

Please feel free to share in the comments!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Post Vacay Slump

I am late to post today. I actually sat down to do it earlier and just sort of went brain dead. It's post-vacation slump. We were so busy on vacation that now I can't figure out what to do with myself and don't have the energy to do anything I need to do (which there is enough of to cure the not knowing what to do with myself if I could just hook them up).

I do have some posts I want to do, but I want to do them when I have full brain power behind them. In the meantime, though, I was tagged and given an award, so I want to address those on here. Also, I missed out on a blog fest about summer goals by one day (boooo), but I figured it wouldn't hurt to put my goals out there anyway. After all, part of the purpose of this blog is to keep myself accountable.

First, my goals for the summer:
1. Finish editing WIP #1, Synthesis (whether that means keeping mainly as is or gutting it, gulp).
2. Start WIP #2, Untitled Scorpio Project (BuNoWriMo piece).
3. Post a minimum of twice per week to this blog.
4. Complete a short story per month and submit a short story/short piece of work per month.

I'd say that's good enough for now.

I am going to combine the award I received with the tag, so I want to thank the wonderful people who tagged/awarded me first. Margo Kelly enjoys the same things I do: reading, writing and eating (it says so right at the top of her blog). She posts great resources for writers on her blog, so check it out! She awarded me the Electropositive Blog Award, which makes ME smile.

Andrew of StrangePegs tagged me in a fun little, well, tag. Andrew is a fellow writer (as is Margo), but he also posts about movies and other pop culture tidbits and has plenty of interesting things to say. You can also check out the first chapter of two of his books, both currently in progress.

For the tag, I am supposed to answer some questions and tag a few people, and for the award I am simply supposed to post about it and award it to at least five other bloggers. Without further ado...

What do you think of when you hear the word tag?
First, "tag, you're it." Second, clothing tags. Now that I'm a part of the blogosphere, though, I imagine that will change.

Do you think you're hot?
I don't know if I'm vain or what (actually, I can assure you that I'm NOT), but this did not make me think of temperature at first. However, I prefer the temp variation, so while it is hot here, it was a heckuva' lot hotter in Florida on vacation last week. Technically, it was only a couple degrees hotter during our sojourn there, but the humidity amplified the effect. Colorado is semi-arid so dry, dry, dry, and it truly does make a difference ("But it's a DRY heat...").

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you're using at the moment.
I just switched computers and don't have one on here yet. The old one was a pic of my hubby and my two littles on a boat at Estes Lake in Estes Park, CO (home of the infamous Stanley Hotel of "The Shining" fame).

When was the last time you ate chicken?
Um, um, can you believe I don't remember? Not that it was a long time ago, but I'm having trouble remembering what I've eaten for the last week. I know I had a Chick-fil-A salad last week that involved chicken, so we'll just say a week ago, for argument's sake.

The song(s)you listened to recently?
I like music, so I listen to a lot of it. I was singing along to the radio earlier, but I don't remember what came on. So, again for the sake of argument, I'm going with Billy Joel. I had a sudden urge the other day to pull out one of his CD's and listen to The Piano Man (or whatever the actual title was). So that CD.

What were you thinking while you were doing this?
Shoot, I forgot to take my nightly migraine medication, so I need to go do that and I'm really hungry so I should really go pig out, er, I mean have a late night snack.

Do you have nicknames? What are they?
You know, I didn't have nicknames as a child, but I do now. Well, that's not entirely true. My younger siblings called me Sissy (not to be confused with Si-Si, my little sister's nickname--pronounced See-See, short for Sierra) and still do. One of them calls me Shan, but he's the only person in the whole entire world who does, and I probably wouldn't let anyone else do it. In high school a friend called me Non and I called her Stine (short for Christine, you get it?). And thanks to an online forum for moms with March 2005 babies (though my son came early, so February), I somehow ended up with the nickname Pookie. For those who have known me in real life, that nickname really blows them away. I've simply never been a Pookie. Until now, I guess. That answer was longer than I thought it would be.

Tag 8 blogger friends:
*Note: Because the award was about blogs that make you smile, I am going to aim for blogs that are amusing, rather than my usual writer fare, because, gasp, I don't only follow writing blogs! These are in no particular order and, as always, I will in no way be offended if you do not pass the award/tag along or don't do it completely right (because I sure never do).
1. Ani from Anime's Musings
2. Evangeline Denmark from Breathe In Breathe Out
3. Kathy of Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy and Central Oregon
4. Julie at Empty Nest Insider
5. Junebug of Junebug's Musings
6. Al of Penwasser Place
7. J.A. Kazimer at The New Never News
8. Snake's Mom over at Snakesmom Crazy Kids Cartoon Art

Who's listed as #1?
Ani is the first on the list. She has a way of wording things that always makes me smile.

Say something about #5
Junebug is nicely random in her posts, so I never know what I'll read when I head over there.

How did you get to know #3?
I believe I commented on her blog something about my grandmother having lived in Central Oregon and the wonderful memories reading her blogs brought back to me. I spent a good part of my childhood in Sisters, Oregon or on my grandmother's ranch in Turner before she sold it, and it's great to pop by and see or read about places I have been.

How about #4?
I found Julie through the A to Z blog hop (same for Kathy) and I love her sense of humor.

Leave a message for #6.
Ah, Al, you're a funny guy. I love to stop by for a bit of humor.

Leave a lovey dovey message for #2.
Well, while she is one of two people on this list I've met in person, I don't know that I know her well enough to go fully lovey dovey. I'll say she has an amazing name (seriously, Evangeline Denmark...gorgeous name) and I do see her resemblance to Jennifer Connelly. That's probably spelled wrong, but it's late and I'm too lazy to even pull up at this point.

Do 7 and 8 have any similarities?
Uh, a healthy sense of humor? Not to beat the humor thing to death, but I did say that's what I was basing it on, to a point. Each blog provides a nice quick bit of light humor so a person can take a writing break and lighten things up.

Okay, folks, it's past my bedtime. And it is officially Wednesday, so I failed to post this on Tuesday. You can slap my hand. Also, please pardon any typos. It's late.

Do you have any humorous or light-hearted blogs or websites you like to visit?

Happy Writing!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Writing for Age Groups

My current WIP is the first attempt I've made at writing YA (Young Adult). I got a little panicky after that first ah-ha moment when I realized my story made much more sense if aimed at young adults, rather than adults. It was a breakthrough that got me over the hump of finding the right way to start the novel, as well as where to take it, so at first I was excited. After that, I had to jump into research, research, research (you'll find that's what I do with most things). It was hard to find much good information on how to write for YA, what needed to be different, that sort of thing, but I attended a panel at a conference last year that gave me the boost of information I needed to jump in with both feet. It was as simple as hearing the following paraphrased information in answer to an attendee's question: "YA is no different than writing for an adult, but the characters are young adults, themselves, and the issues lean more toward issues that affect teens, more than adults. There can be sex, profanity, and serious issues."

"Okay," I thought. "I can do that."

Little questions come up as you go through, though. Is this exciting enough? How long should it be? Do these issues touch enough on what's happening to young adults, or is my age range too young or too old?

When I set myself free to just start writing, though, it was easier to get through the questions and get something on paper. Sort of a free your mind, the rest will follow situation (a little En Vogue for you there).

A conversation with a friend the other day made me think of what age ranges I didn't feel I could write for, though. I am reading a lot of Middle Grade stuff with my son, and I don't know if I could do that. It has to be exciting, there has to be some good pacing, but it also has to be at the right level for MG readers to understand and enjoy it. It needs to be slightly more simplistic, from what I've seen, than a YA or adult novel. I don't have to worry that young adults won't understand what I'm writing about, but with MG I figure you have to be more careful. You also have to monitor yourself more strictly with MG than with YA, because, despite what we parents might like to think, teens have seen, done and said more than MG readers. They've had a few more life experiences. It's okay if they read profanity or even a well-done sex scene (for me, personally, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be writing a sex scene for teen readers, but I imagine it may come up in the future).

Children's books would be fun, but hard. I know what I like to read with my kids, but I wouldn't want to just sit and search out something to write about, as most themes have at least been touched on in some way, shape or form. I'd have to have been inspired to write something, I think, and go from there. In the meantime I'll just continue researching it by reading with my kiddos.

All this to say, being a writer doesn't automatically mean you can or want to write for every age group. It's an interesting thing to play around with and experiment with, and I look forward to it through the coming years.

Is there an age group you couldn't write for? Why do you feel that way?

Happy Writing!

P.S. I will be back on live this coming Tuesday and will hopefully respond to any comments this weekend.