Friday, October 28, 2016

Dreams--The Delight and Danger of Using Dreams in Your Story

Dreams are a big part of my personal life--I've recorded my dreams since I was in college.  But I use them very sparingly in my writing.  Why?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Using Poetry Even If You're Not a Poet--What Poems Do for the Creative Brain

I'm only a marginal poet.  I've had one poem published and written maybe ten others, kept in a drawer.  But I love reading poetry.  It does something weird and wonderful to my brain.

In honor of Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize for "having created new poetic expressions," I wanted to share this poetry experience and an exercise for this week. 
Recently a poet friend moved.  I visited her and took home two bags full of poetry books.   Collections from some of my favorite poets but also books on why we write and read poetry.  I'd just sent in my novel and was waiting for agent feedback so I felt kind of dry--desert-like, actually.  I wanted to get moving on the next book, all set up in Scrivener and waiting for me.  But I needed a little inspiration.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Paragraph and Line Lengths--How They Affect Your Story's Pacing

I never paid much attention to paragraph or sentence lengths.  I just wrote, felt satisfied if I got the story down.  Then, in the late eighties, I got a job as a editor at a publishing company in the Midwest. 

As an editor, I noticed that I had a visual reaction to a person's writing:  how it looked on the page, how dense or light.  How much white space or how much text.  Even before I began to read, I had a sense of whether I would be engaged, just by how the text looked.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Kid Lit! Writing for Different Young Readers--Who Is Your Best Audience?

Many writers want to write for kids.  They raised their own children on books, maybe thought I can tell a good story, too!  Or they love to illustrate for kids and want to fashion a story around their illustration.  I get lots of questions about kid lit, what ages to gear a particular story to, how to sell your children's, middle-grade, or young adult book these days.