Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Miscellany

It's spring and I don't care what anybody says, even the weatherman who's still predicting more storms this week. Forget it. I'm moving on to spring and that's that. 

This morning about five, the moon confirmed my belief that spring is truly here by giving me a forest brushed with its silver light and only a few whispers of clouds. If only I could paint, I thought, I'd try my hand at that moon and those trees and that perfect light.

But I'm not a painter. I'm a person who tries to infuse words with pictures, and so I went back to my art of choice and some ability and wrote some scenes for my WIP. 

Last Friday I was very pleased to visit Carlmont High in Belmont, CA. Keplers (that wonderful Indie that supports all writers, great and small) arranged to have several combined English classes come to hear me rattle on about me, about writing, specifically, about what it's like to take an idea and somehow wrestle it into a body of work that others will read. 

Yes, this is me, trying to look like I know what I'm talking about. The screen behind me is a bit intimidating, isn't it? I did a slide show with a couple of writerly images of me, and when I saw how big I came out, I about croaked. 

  • They asked lots of questions. Here are some: 
  • How much do you make?
  • How do you feel when your editor changes something in your story?
  • Where do you get your ideas?
  • Did you like Twilight?

That last question brought me up short. If I said no, were they going to hurl sharp pencils at me? My motto is tell the truth even if it's going to hurt, so I said, "No." 

They applauded! 

So I said, "Gee, now that I know you're not going to go hostile on me, I'd like to tell you why." And I did. What did I say? 

Something, like,  I can't imagine any of my female characters having to depend on a some guy--a dead one at that--to make her complete. And they applauded again. 

Still you can't argue with success, and I said you have to give anyone credit for being able to capture enough readers to sell that many books. 

So wrapping up my MM post of the week, here are a couple of sites writers might take a look at for some ideas to kick start your spring.

For some super help with characterization visit, Imagining Ourselves. Lots of great stories and personal essays from around the world.

Are you one of those eavesdropping writers who like to capture smatterings of dialogue to tuck away for that next novel? Well then Overheard in New York is a place to check out.

I'm checking out a few more to share next week. If you have some to share, share 'em here and thanks for doing that you wonderful writers, you!


  1. Well done--the honesty with the students AND realizing that your pen (or keyboard as the case may be) is at least as effective as any artist's paintbrush!

  2. I was a teacher and it looks like you're a natural. You can plan all you like (and you should plan a lot) but you need to be able to adapt at the drop of a hat because you can never tell how things will turn out with teenagers.
    I think it's spring over here in the UK. Blossom buds ready to burst open and sunny all week according to the weather people. Although... when are they ever right?
    I love the picture of a plant with an image inside the shape. Is it a link because it doesn't appear to work?

  3. That high school was so lucky to have you visit! I love your answer too. I did enjoy reading Twilight, but I couldn't stand how Bella seemed so dependent and fell apart when Edward left her in Book Two. And I was Team Jacob because he was less controlling...

  4. Great visits from you all.
    Thanks Ashling for the affirmation.

    The image isn't a link Christopher, and I too love it. It' called Spring--probably one several in a collection done by the artist, Rene Magritte.

    Hi, Kelly. I guess the response I got was so unexpected that I felt compelled to expand after the applause. Part ham, here. :-)

  5. I missed the supermoon!!!

    And you seem to be a lovely painter...with words.

    About the only positive things I can say about Twilight are: she managed to really express teenage angst, and Edward was a gentleman. A dead one...

    I have to admit that I was really into it when I first read it. Now, I can't remember why. Unlike the characters of Tolkien, Lewis, Austen, Koontz...

  6. Hurrah! I'm so glad you refuse to allow winter one more second in the world! Come on, Spring.

    The more writers I know, the more amazed I am at how popular the Twilight series is. Not many people seem to like them, which is sort of sad for the author. However, I'm sure there was something lovely about them. I just haven't taken the time to figure out what it is.

    The Words Crafter, I completely agree with you about Tolkien and Lewis' characters. Amazing...

    Lovely post. Thanks for the thoughts!

  7. I'm glad your school visit went so well. Kids do tend to surprise you. Just when you think they'll react one way, they react another. I miss that about teaching 8th graders.

  8. Loved the action shot, Lee -- you teaching those eager students about writing! And you're right, we simply have to believe spring is here even when snow, rain, wind ... dominate the forecast! Sending SUN from my sunny space ... somehow flowers are already blooming there. Must be magic! Take care, have a wonderful day my friend. --Daisy

  9. I knew there was a reason for not reading the Twilight series! And it sounds like those kids may have had some brains inside their skulls! They were lucky/blessed to have you visit.

  10. You're right honesty is the key.. I do like how you added that he was dead. ;)

  11. Did I leave out "marbled?" Dead and marbled which would be rather off putting for a breathing person, but then that's only my opinion.

  12. I cracked up when I read your reasons why you didn't like Twilight. :-)

  13. Congrats on the great speaking engagement. :D I'm with you on Twilight too. And oh that moon sounds so beautiful. I wish I could paint sometimes too. But we paint with words. I could picture exactly what it looked like because of the way you described it.

  14. LOL I spoke to my two sons' classes (grade 2 and 4) last year. In both cases they asked me if I wrote Twilight and then asked me if I'd seen New Moon yet. Only a few girls in the grade 4 class had read the books, and I don't think they have come to the same conclusion about it as your teens did.

    Oh, they also asked if I wrote the Lightning Thief. ;)

  15. I'm star struck!! Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. :)

  16. What a great group of guests for this Monday Miscellany.
    Darby so glad you found the dead guy comment funny.

    Lisa you are sweet. I think you have a thing for Hobbits.

    And Stina if I were you I'd take a bow. The Lightning Thief author! Aren't kids wonderfu?

    Jinky, you have a link on my page, dear, under the interviews and reviews. Really do appreciate the attention you gave to Princess. Hugs from Carlie.

  17. Oh good girl! I like the truth.


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