Friday, April 29, 2011

Best of the Middle Grade Blogs: April 29

Sherrie's post on how babies are made according to an 8 yr old has been cracking me up all week. (Yes I stole her pix. Way funny.) When my kids unroll toilet paper like crazed kittens, I think of this story. When my throat tickles in a definitely-catching-a-cold-two-days-before-my-half-marathon, I think of this story. As I help kids with fractions, book reviews, spelling tests, phonics, and other school ridiculousness, I think of this story. Go. Read. Enjoy the weekend.

My Fave Middle Grade Blog Posts This Week:





Other Round Ups
Still want more writing blog links? Okay, I'll give them to you. My writing world round up at The Writing Bug.

The A to Z challenge is almost over. What do you think? Take it or leave it?

I only had to write 4 letters and for some reason it was a killer. Not that I did that much. Points for the bloggers that went A to Z on their own.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

She's Crafty: The Dreaded Synopsis

One of the agents who requested a partial, also wants to see a synopsis--one for my story and one for the series. I knew this day would eventually come. So why do I hate the idea of writing it. I think it's because it's like writing a query but with a lot more detail. How much do you say? What do you include? How long should it really be? Inquiring minds like me want to know.

Do you have any great tips for writing a synopsis?

My Top 10 Fave Blog Posts on Writing a Synopsis
  1. How to Write a Synopsis by Nathan Bransford @ STET!
  2. The Sum of the Parts: Writing a Synopsis @ The Other Side of the Story.
  3. The Synopsis @ BookEnds.
  4. How to Write a Synopsis When You Have Lots of Characters @ Guide to Literary Agents.
  5. Synopsis Example: House of Games @ Guide to Literary Agents.
  6. Synopsis Hell @ Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.
  7. Writing the Synopsis @ Writer Unboxed.
  8. Synopsis Writing @ Babbles from Scott Eagan.
  9. Writing a Synopsis Doesn't Have to Kill You @ The Blood-Red Pencil.
  10. The Art of The Synop? @ Pub Rants.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Loser

My MMGM pick this week:

Loser by Jerry Spinelli
Published in 2003

Some other books by Spinelli:
Maniac Magee
Smiles to Go
Fourth Grade Rats
Space Station Seventh Grade

The Hook: The book follows the childhood of Donald Zinkoff, a misfist of sorts. When a girl goes missing in a snowstorm, Zinkoff is determined to find her before it's too late.

Why I love this book: Style and characters. This book is textbook on middle grade voice and style. You can really feel the emotions and perspective of the character Donald Zinkoff. Zinkoff is one of my favorite characters in Middle Grade fiction. Why? In my church, I volunteer to help the sunday school classes of kids age 3-11. In my service I've seen many kids (both boys and girls) that match this character. This book feels like a perspective into their world and my heart aches for them.

I would encourage kids 10+ to read this book so they can get a glimpse into the world of kids like Zinkoff and gain perspective, sensitivity, and compassion toward the kids they know. They just need a friend and want to be included.

My oldest is eight and I have this book in her TBR pile but not for a little bit. She still believes in magic and the book demystifies certain holidays. I would recommend this to upper middle graders and I think it is a great book for boys. Girls will like this book too but it will be harder to hold their interest. Stargirl would be a better but similar recommendation for girls.

Were you a Zinkoff/Stargirl as a kid?

Jr High was definitely an adjustment for me. In a time when it was cool to wear two pairs of matching socks with every outfit, I was made fun of because my white socks weren't doubled or matchers. Oh the silly things we remember.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Best of the Middle Grade Blogs: April 22

I had high blogging hopes this week but fell short. I'm one of those people who throws lots of balls in the air and tries to catch them all at the same time. I'm a terrible multi-tasker and I get distracted easy by new projects, ideas, shiny objects, etc.

How do you multi-task? I need tips people.

I'm almost finished with my manuscript so I can send it to the agents that requested partials and yet my other WIP keeps calling to me, consuming my thoughts. GET OUT, get out, GET OUT! Plus I'm training for my first half marathon. The race is next Saturday. Am I nervous? Yup.

On an unrelated but important note: Happy Easter Everybody [bawk, bawk].





Other MG Round-ups
Need more writing links, visit my writing round up at The Writing Bug.

Who inspired you this week? Have you found other MGers? I want to know.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

I just watched this movie with my girls last night and thought it would be a good choice for MMGM. It is a classic and addictive series. The movie I think is just as well done as the books (which isn't always the case).

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
Published in 2000

Other books in the series:
The Reptile Room #2
The Wide Window #3
The Miserable Mill #4
The Austere Academy #5
The Ersatz Elevator #6
The Vile Village #7
The Hostile Hospital #8
The Carnivorous Carnival #9
The Slippery Slope #10
The Grim Grotto #11
The Penultimate Peril #12
The End #13
The Beatrice Letters

The Hook: After losing their parents and home in a fire, three children must go live with their Uncle Olaf who wants to steal their fortune. The children must expose their uncle before he kills them.

Why I love this series: Characters and cleverness. The three children are all very unique characters and, despite their misery, they support and protect each other. Olaf is one of the best villains I've read. The whole series is very clever. The well crafted mystery, the children's problem solving and Olaf's characters are very entertaining. The book is a fast read and great for reluctant readers because of its size and style.

The series also introduces bigger vocabulary to kids in a fun way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Best of the Middle Grade Blogs: April 15

As I convert my story from 3rd to 1st, it's predominately in a boy perspective but about 4 chapters swap to his younger sister. I didn't want to swap but it has to be done. An unfortunate part of switching to 1st. When I get to the sister chapters, I skip over them because I haven't quite found her voice. I understand her character but I'm not entirely there yet. Her voice has to be undeniably her when you read the first sentence and that's a challenge. I'm saving her for the end.

Any tips for creating distinction between two POVs?



Author Interviews


Other MG Roundups
Did I miss anyone? Who inspired you this week?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

She's Crafty: Show, Don't Tell.

Must write. Eyes burning, must blink. Getting closer, feel'n it. feel'n it. All good things.

My Top 10 Fave "Show, Don't Tell" Blog Posts
  1. Seven "Show Don't Tell" Tips @ Kathy Temean.
  2. What "Show, Don't Tell" Really Means @ Kidlit.
  3. Did You Hear That? Showing Sound @ The Other Side of the Story.
  4. Showing vs. Telling @ Nathan Bransford.
  5. Don't Tell Me -- Show Me @ The Blood Red Pencil.
  6. Tell, Don't Show @ Incidents and Accidents.
  7. Free FtQ Chapter: Showing and Telling @ Flogging the Quill.
  8. Telegraphing (and other pace killers) @ Writer Unboxed.
  9. The Ten Mistakes (Show Don't Tell is #8) @ Holt Uncensored.
  10. Show Don't Tell (in a query letter) @ Miss Snark.
What are your best tips for avoiding the tell OR recognizing it in your writing?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tween Tuesday: My Unfair Godmother Releases Today

I'm a champion for middle grade (both writing and reading) but I definitely read YA (mostly for pleasure). Every once in a while I come across a YA book that transcends its genre. Meaning, I love it as an adult and I would recommend it to upper middle graders (i.e. my niece). My latest read that I'm telling everyone to read:

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

While the cover isn't my favorite, I gobbled this book down in less than a day (I only neglected my kids a smidge). The story is a perfectly twisted fairytale. Action, tension, romance (clean romance), and a dragon to boot. While the protag is 16, I still feel it will appeal to upper middle graders, especially after reading The O.W.L.'s list of what her kids are actually reading. I immediately googled for a sequel, and I've been awaiting today's release of:

My Unfair Godmother

GoodReads description: Tansy Miller has always felt that her divorced father has never had enough time for her. But mistakenly getting caught on the wrong side of the law wasn't exactly how she wanted to get his attention. Enter Chrysanthemum "Chrissy" Everstar, Tansy's fairy in shining, er, high heels. Chrissy is only a fair godmother, of course, so Tansy's three wishes don't exactly go according to plan. And if bringing Robin Hood to the twenty-first century isn't bad enough for Tansy, being transported back to the Middle Ages to deal with Rumpelstiltskin certainly is. She'll need the help of her blended family, her wits, and especially the cute police chief 's son to stop the gold-spinning story from spinning wildly out of control. Janette Rallison pulls out all the stops in this fresh, fun-filled follow-up to the popular My Fair Godmother.

Janette is giving away a copy on her blog and Adventures in Children's Publishing is also doing a giveaway for this book. Go now. And if you don't win, buy it. You won't regret it.

Have you read anything by Janette Rallison?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth

It's Monday and time to get to MMGM. My pick this week:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
published Nov 2010

Other books in the Series:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1
Roderick Rules #2
The Last Straw #3
Dog Days #4

The Hook: In a rush to grow up, Greg learns that growing up comes with more responsibilities, body changes and awkward conversations with adults.

Why I love this series: Voice and Humor. Jeff Kinney understands middle grade voice and he's an excellent example of 1st person. His style, wit and ability to capture the middle grade experience are spot on. These books are a fast read and the illustrations are hilarious. This book discusses some of the body changes that happen but nothing inappropriate. This series is great for boys and reluctant readers. Although girls will like the series too.

Other MMGMers:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Best of the Middle Grade Blogs: April 8

And I'm back. I'm not going to lie, it was a fabulous snowboarding trip. Three of my girls board and it's just too stink'n cute to see them rip down the mountain. Next year, we're teaching my baby and we'll all be on the hill. Ubes fun.

I've caught up on all my blogs, there were some fab posts this week. I wanted to win Joanne Fritz's Divergent giveaway something fierce. I like to think I just missed it. Cheers to the girl who made the YouTube video. I love dystopia. I can't wait for this book.

Has anyone read any great Middle Grade dystopia? Minus The Giver (love that book).

My Fave Middle Grade Bloggers This Week

Industry & Inspiration
Other MG Roundups

Need more writing links, check out my This Week in the Writing World Roundup over at The Writing Bug.

Who inspired you this week?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

code: dark again

code: new snow. new powder.
code: snowboarding with kids and hot guy I married.
code: sorry no mmgm.
code: back to normal tomorrow. code.

ya sidebar: just finished delirium by lauren oliver. Has anyone else read this? My thoughts are mixed...I need to discuss. Does anyone know if it is a series or just a stand alone story?

just discovered it is a trilogy. This makes way more sense. As I read this, I kept thinking "this is just going to's romeo & juliet set in a dystopia." Book 2 should be better...not that I didn't like this one...more like how The Two Towers is better than The Fellowship of the Ring. Personally, delirium had too much set up and too little action but great love story.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Twitter Pitch Contest and My Twitter Pitch

Shelly Watters is doing an awesome twitter pitch contest on her blog. Susie Townsend from Fine Print Literary is the judge. Go.

Here's my Twitter Pitch:

Two siblings fall through a puddle and must race to find the next puddle, before it evaporates, or they’ll be lost forever in jungle swamp.

It feels like a suit to me. No personality. Any thoughts?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Best of the Middle Grade Blogs: April 1

Happy April Fools Day. This is my one of my favorite holidays. I have a bunch of pranks planned for today. A classic, that my children look forward to even though they're being pranked, is lunch:
  • I scooped out all the jello from their snack cups and replaced it with red wine vinegar infused cyrstal light jello. Then I glued the seal back on.
  • Cheeto bags filled with carrot sticks. (They might cry about this one.)
  • A water bottle with baby abesol smear around the rim.
  • And a cupcake with a small burst of toothpaste in the middle.
Are you playing any pranks today?

My Fave Middle Grade Bloggers this Week:

Industry & Inspiration



Other MG Roundups