Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Days

It seems Snowmageddon is hitting around the country, and much of Minnesota is digging its way out, again. It's going to hit here in Ohio later today. We get good snows in Cleveland, thanks to Lake Erie, and it always reminds me of my Minnesota youth. I remember last year there were snow days for the kids at a fairly regular pace here and I felt bad for the parents. Now I am one of those parents, and I'm guessing I'm not going to get much work done until the end of the week. To Virginia Woolf's Room of One's Own I'd like to add Reliable Day Care. But I guess a load of Blue's Clues DVDs will have to suffice.

A few links for your Tuesday's pleasure:

Betsy Bird has compiled her Top 100 Middle Grade Books, and is beginning to run them down. She gives some history of each book. It's incredibly cool.

I was cyberstalking the editor for my last book, who is brilliant, and ran across this round-up of a first pages workshop he did (scroll down a bit). Since we've been talking about beginnings, I thought I'd share:

Three most important things to have on the first page: Introduce the MC, Establish voice and character, Tell us what's going to happen.
We can do that, right?

Our Lisa Jahn-Clough has a great essay up on Hunger Mountain, So You Want to Write About Sex?

I like it when my characters grapple with wrong choices, but figure out a better choice—and when I say better, I mean a better choice for them, not necessarily for all. This is what, I hope, gets readers to think: “Would I make the same choice as Penelope or Phoebe? If not, what would I do in the situation? What is the best choice for me?”

Hamline MFA alum Loretta Ellsworth has a new book out, In a Heartbeat. Loretta, like Ron, is doing a blog tour and has a really cool post here on the inspiration for the book:

I’d never heard of the theory of cellular memory, which is the idea that memory is stored not just in our brains, but at the cellular level. If every cell in our body has its own mind and if you transfer tissues from one body to another, then the cells from the first body will carry memories into the second body.

The whole thing is worth a read. Now, I better get back to work before the Snowpocalypse hits.



  1. Great links, Anne. I enjoyed all of them! So many blogs, so little time. I love reading them, but how can I keep up and still have time to write? I have a "must read" list as long as my left arm, but not enough hours in the day (or night). Then there's that pesky day job...

    Seriously, I find myself pulled in so many directions that want to take me away from my writing. Should I have a blog so I can get noticed and talked about at SCBWI? Every time I look at a new blog, I think "This is the one I must follow." I love FB, and at least I have avoided the addiction of Farmville, but FB is still a time-sucker. But it's also a marketing tool. But will I ever have anything to market, if I neglect the real work of writing as I try to keep up with the electronic world? As Lisa asks, "What is the best choice for me?"

  2. Eh...all that stuff is side stuff. I like to read some of these things when I'm drinking my coffee or eating soup and Triscuits. But it's not necessary. And I like learning about new books and keeping track of some of these things. But I've found a lot of fantasy book blogs and seeing the sheer number of fantasies that come out has driven me to despair, so it can be overwhelming.

    Write your book. Don't worry about the rest.

  3. Yes, I agree. We can suck all our time by pre-marketing when there's nothing really there to market. Or making yourself miserable by seeing what EVERYONE else in the world is doing!

    My suggestion: Give yourself a coffee hour in the morning (when one used to read the old newspaper) and/or a mid-morning coffee break, somedays I take both, to do the "business" stuff of keeping up and staying connected. Then unplug your internet connection.

    I find reading novels at night the best time. Often something unrelated to what I am writing.

  4. Fortunately, I work at a relatively small rural school that gets school cancelled quite often, where my kids go to a school in "the city" and it is never called off. Snowdays for me equal Writing days! Gotta love them, esp. since Pack 1 is due this weekend! ;)

    PS I usually do my blog surfing during lunch (Lisa's Coffee Hour), esp. Nathan Bransford's blog, as it is almost like a daily writing newspaper lately. (Man, I was really going to buy a Kindle too, now after reading Nathan's blog, I may have to buy a Nook out of spite...)

  5. For me, the internet is like a scab--I can't stop picking at it. I allow myself this OCD pleasure in the morning, but after lunch I flee the scab and take paper and pencil only to a coffee shop. There, hopped up on latte, I get most of my writing done.

  6. Blues Clues while mom's writing on a snowy day...! Been there, done that, though with a different aide. I didn't write acknowledgements in my early novels, but if I had I would have had to thank the creators of Scooby Do.

  7. Chris, the problem with most cafes these days is that they have free internet access. I am at one now, having fled my house to write. Arg! You are wise to leave the actual computer at home, but you see, I am writing a packet letter...

    No snow days to report down south, but it is damp and dreary.

  8. That's why I got to Starbucks. The soulless corporate behemoth makes you pay for internet. It's awesome for productivity.

  9. I go to a stingy coffee shop where they only give you 15 minutes of access for each purchase. Then you have to pay. And the rude college students who work there are usually hogging the computers anyway.

    Obviously I'm not there now. Pick, pick, pick.

  10. BIC. Remember Jane Yolen's "butt in chair?" And for me that means actual writing, not just the ever tempting adrenalin hits I get while researching on the internet. Click, click, click. Learning so much, but writing so little.

    Thanks for leading us to Lisa's thought-provoking essay, Anne. Lisa - you rock, baby. Hadn't talked to you about your censorship adventure. Oh, my. Don't we have better things to worry about like health care and world peace?