So I started teaching creative writing to my oldest daughter and her friend back in August and we've met almost every Monday. It was to disguise how to learn where a period should go but we also focus on a different aspect of creative writing too. And I've discovered my own writing has improved because we discuss the different crafting techniques. So I thought I would share every Wednesday what comes out of our creative writing group.
This week we went over possessive nouns (seriously, you would think 5th graders would know when to put in an apostrophe, but they struggle) and the five senses.
You hear it all the time: Show, don't tell.
What does that mean? It means you show details versus telling the reader what happened.
Example Tell: The kids came home from school.
Show It: The door swung open testing the strength of its hinges. Sneakers squeaked against the tile. "Mom, we're home," called Lore pushing in front of Bryn to claim the first brownie off the kitchen counter.
To help the girls understand when they were telling, I had them look over a page of their writing and underline every sentence that was a Tell. Then I told them to replace each of those sentences with a Show. Easier said than done. "How do I show this?" they kept asking.
My trick to show details: the five senses. I would ask them:
How did it smell?
What did it sound like?
How did it feel?
What did it look like?
What did it taste like?
For the exercise, I required them to use at least 2 senses other than sight to replace each Tell. When you incorporate the five senses, you create more than just a visual to the reader. It was fun to see them as they thought about details like smell and taste.
When I'm editing my own manuscript, if a paragraph falls flat or I find a bad tell, I replace it with a few of the five senses and it creates more depth.
What's your trick for eliminating the dreaded Tell?
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M Valente
Published in Oct 2012
Other books in this series:
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (#1)
The Hook: After returning to Fairyland, September discovers her shadow (lost in the first book) has become the Hallow Queen of Fairyland Below and has been stealing the shadows and magic of those who live in Fairyland. September must confront her shadow and rescue the stolen shadows before their magic is lost.
Why I loved it: The writing. It is like delicious butter, smooth and silky. The style is as whimsical as the story. The story is imaginative and reads like a twisted fairytale and I want my daughters to read it. But this is definitely a girl book and not for reluctant readers. While it is a fun adventure, the writing slows the pace of the story and may not move fast enough for a reluctant reader.
Want More? Go to Catherynne M Valente's website.
Other Fabulous MMGMers:
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I never stopped writing or reading so I have a lot to tell you. I'll be back to book reviews on Monday and other shenanigans. Can't wait to catch up with everyone.
Posted by bfav at 9:03 PM
Monday, April 16, 2012
I know, it's been awhile---life, right? But I have been reading. I found my MMGM pick from the constant nagging of my daughters. Medusa the Mean is the newest book in the Goddess Girls series.
Goddess Girls #8: Medusa the Mean by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Published in April 2012
Other books in the Series:
Athena the Brain #1
Persephone the Phony #2
Aphrodite the Beauty #3
Artemis the Brave #4
Athena the Wise #5
Aphrodite the Diva #6
Artemis the Loyal #7
The Hook: Medusa, the mean girl in all the other books, finally gets a chance to tell her side. She's tired of being the only mortal at Mount Olympus Academy, so when she discovers a necklace that will help her to be immortal, she jumps at the chance.
Why I love the Book/Series: Tone and Characters. This series is pitch perfect for middle grade voice and the characters are entertaining. It was really fun to read the side of Medusa in this book where she's been such a brat in the other books. Lauren loved this book as well. She read it first and gave me chapter by chapter summaries and highlights. She thought Medusa was a magnet for bad luck and was really funny. This series is perfect for girls.
My other daughter Bryn, 8 and the reluctant reader, just finished the first book in the series and jumped right into Persephone the Phony. This is a huge sign of a great series for reluctant readers. I've mentioned before how Bryn will put down a book if it doesn't hold her interest on each page. Up until Goddess Girls, Wimpy Kid was the only series she wanted to read. I've been recommending this series to a lot of parents who are looking for a good series for girls. The books are creative and fun as well as a blend greek mythology. My girls and I are continually discussing the different characters and how they compare to the original myths. There's also nothing too intense in this series, so they are great books for younger middle graders like Bryn.
What middle grade mythology books do you love?
Monday, February 6, 2012
BUT first the winners of the MG Mash up Giveaway:
The Cabinet of Earths goes to:
The Invisible Tower goes to:
I found my MMGM pick on my last book binge. I needed to get Dan Gutman's chapter book series My Weird School and found The Genius Files. While I read it this week, my girls were constantly asking about the characters and wanted to know what was happening. I wouldn't answer directly because I want them to read it. Lore is loving The Invisible Tower but she wants to read this book next before
. I can understand why, the cover is intriguing and the book doesn't disappoint.
The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman
Published in 2011
Other books in this series:
Never Say Genius (#2) releases Jan 24 2012 (I must have just missed it during my binge)
Other books by this author:
My Weird School series (chapter books)
The Million Dollar series
A Baseball Card Adventure series
The Homework Machine
The Kid Who Ran for President
The Hook: Just before summer break, mysterious men attempt to kill the twins, Coke and Pepsi. Why? That's what Pep and Coke want to know. As their family travels across country the twins narrowly escape many attempts on their life and discover they are recruits for a top secret government agency TGF: The Genius Files.
Why I loved it: Adventure and characters. When the main characters are named Coke and Pepsi McDonald, do I really need to say anymore? Still, Gutman delievers relatable, lovable characters. My daughters could not get over the names, they thought it was so funny and would want me to tell them more about the kids. Plus the story is a rolling adventure and completely entertaining. Gutman also throws in lots of random facts about different places and things in America--educationally entertaining. I would recommend this to boys, girls and, more importantly, reluctant readers. The action and pacing will keep kids reading. And the best part is the second book in the series just released, so I guess I'll have to go by the bookstore this week.
Want More? Visit Dan Gutman's webpage. It has a fun Genius Files book trailer on the homepage.
So here's a deep thought for you (since the kids are genius smart and my husband and I just watched Limitless on Netflix this weekend): if you could use 100% of your brain, essentially becoming a super genius, but would be crippled by some sort of physical deformity (think Stephen Hawking), would you still do it?
Do you like my term "super genius," clearly I fit into that category (wink). I'm not going to lie, ultimate brain power and knowledge is on my wish list, I think I would take it with the deformity. My husband thinks I'm crazy. But a little crazy is a good thing, right?
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
What is the Middle Grade Mash Up? I'll pick two books published in 2012 in a similar genre and then review and pick a winner at the end of the month.
I'm pitting The Cabinet of Earths vs The Invisible Tower in this month's mash up: magical realism. Then at the end of the month I'll review them both with my daughter and we'll pick a winner. If you want to read along, please do.
Which would you want to read first?
I picked Cabinet of Earths. Lore picked The Invisible Tower.
To make the mash up interesting, I'm giving away a copy of each book. So leave a comment (with your email if I can't get it from your profile) to enter to win. I'll draw two winners super randomly. Good luck. I'll pick the winners on Saturday Feb 4.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
So besides reading middle grade, I'm in two book clubs (a regular read-it-all and a fluffy). My Fluffy book club reads books that fit in the thriller/YA/Mystery/ChickLit categories. You know, the books you read and love but there's no discussion except: Did you read? Can you believe? That was awesome.
So we're putting together a list of books to vote which ones to read. This is where I need your help, I need to know what fluffy books you are drooling over. I've been out of it and offline. I'm trying to unplug from the Internet more this year and complete the stories that tug at me each night. HELP ME PLEEEEAAASSE. please.
What YA/Thriller/Mystery/ChickLit books would you want on the fluffy book list?
Posted by bfav at 7:54 PM