Lev Grossman | Greenlight Bookstore

July 29, 2014

Lev Grossman | Greenlight Bookstore Wish I could go – I love these books NEW YORKER AND SURROUNDING AREAS! If you love magic, wicked humor, and beautiful writing, please come and hang out with me at the Book Launch for The Magician’s Land, the last book in Lev Grossman’s AMAZING Magicians Trilogy. There’s going to be an amazing group of authors…   …read the rest.

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David Levithan

April 26, 2013

I love the first book I’ve read by this writer – Every Day. I’m going to start reading all the rest now! David Levithan. Please share…

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How To Create A Book With Your Toddler

June 13, 2012

  Come and have a look at my tips for creating a book with your toddler over on Today’s Parent. It’s a fun way for you as a writer to try something crafty and new with words, even if you don’t have a toddler to hand! Please share…

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Stuck in YA Books

March 12, 2012

I’m doing a blog tour this week and my first stop is at Stuck in YA Books.  Here’s a paragraph of my post… The first tip is a simple tip, but it helps me whenever I feel grumpy or stressed about writing.  Just write.  It’s a bit like the Nike ad from the 90s: Just Do It.  Turns out that the marketing department at…   …read the rest.

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Lost Glove/Found Poem

October 3, 2011

Here’s a description from the Manchester Art Gallery of one of their objects, a glove: Single glove in mid-brown leather, embroidered with gold metal thread and sequins. elongated fingers with squared ends, edged in metal braid with trefoil designs at the knuckles, the braid and the stitching is extended c.1.5 beyond the end of the finger to the knuckle, the…   …read the rest.

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Reading Tip

May 26, 2011

Challenge yourself to read an entire novel this weekend.  If you don’t feel you have time, make time.  Your writing will be better for it. Please share…

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Resolutions

December 29, 2010

Okay, the next couple of days I’m going to be thinking about the goals and deadlines I’m setting myself as a writer over the next year.  I always do this and I think it’s helpful to set clear resolutions when it comes to something as slippery as writing.  Without fixed outlines, it can be hard to ever get that novel…   …read the rest.

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Why Write?

October 6, 2010

Writing can sometimes feel like the loneliest most pointless activity ever. Reading over the reams of words I’ve scribbled onto hundreds of pages, or reviewing a poem or a short story I’ve attempted can be depressing and tiring. Why did I bother? Who’s going to read it? Publishers reject most of the stuff they receive so what’s the point? Is what I’ve written even any good? How can I tell?

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Adair Lara

September 13, 2010

There may never be anything new to say,
but there is always a new way to say it.
—Flannery O’Connor

 

My friend Stan Sinberg, then a columnist for the Marin Independent Journal, had a big birthday coming up, and he wanted to write about it. Of course Stan could have just blurted out to his readers that he was about to be forty and realized many of his dreams remained unfulfilled. But that would be the direct approach. In life, directness is good. In writing, not so good. It’s said that when Henry James received a manuscript he didn’t like, he’d return it with the dry comment, “You have chosen a good subject and are treating it in a straightforward manner.”

You can’t just come out and say what you have to say. That’s what people do on airplanes, when a man plops down next to you in the aisle seat of your flight to New York, spills peanuts all over the place (back when the cheapskate airlines at least gave you peanuts), and tells you about what his boss did to him the day before. You know how your eyes glaze over when you hear a story like that? That’s because of the way he’s telling his story. You need a good way to tell your story.

An angle is a way to tell a story. It is to the essay what a premise is to a book, or a handle is to advertising, or a high concept is to a movie (dinosaurs brought back to life for a theme park!). It’s a gimmick or twist or conceit that grabs the reader’s attention long enough for you to say what you want to say. Think of the angle as the Christmas tree. Once you have that six-foot pine standing up next to the piano, it’s pretty easy to see where the decorations go. Without the tree, what have you got? A lot of pretty balls on the floor.

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Workshop

August 21, 2010

I have a wonderful after lunch workshop with a group at the Univesity of Saskatchewan Bookstore’s grand re-opening. We did some freewriting and then we wrote a short piece with the following heading:

The Time I Said Goodbye.

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