Monday, May 12, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Hop

Middle Grade writer Ronni Arno Blaisdell tagged me in this Writing Process Hop. Though I mentioned I was drowning in revisions and couldn't and wouldn't have the time--Ronni was very convincing.  She asked then sent me the link. Momma always told me--you have to make the time. Glad I did.  

What? You don't know Ronni Arno Blaisdell and about her book RENEE REINVENTED coming out by Aladdin, Simon & Schuster (Fall 2015)
 GoodReads When 12-year-old Renee learns that her supposed BFFs are only friends with her because her parents are famous celebrities, she finds a place as far from fake and phony Hollywood as she can get: a Maine boarding school.  I read an early draft. I loved it. LOVED it. It's a great story!

Interested in my writing process, are you?  

What am I working on?
Finishing up revision edits on a MG Light Sci-Fi/ Fantasy from last year's July CampNano. Working Title: Cltr+Alt+Delete: Boy genius, eleven-year-old Oznot, and his neighbor, nine-year-old, Theo, send ten kids into the world of FacePlace using the Top-Secret Polerizeroid machine. Theo must get everyone out, including his sister-- before they disappear, before they’re out of time. Then proceed with plan B. 
I can't wait to type up last year's NaNoWriMo YA Historical Suspense draft. It's still in still in comp books! ~ agh.  

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

Well, my last MG, which was more teen, or Upper MG --I say was  because she is resting very comfortably nearby in a dark drawer. That manuscript is a realistic fantasy, or magical realism. I guess I like writing stories that blend the lines between what is real and something beyond us; unreal things, events, that might really happen. The possibilities. As far as this MG, I've never heard of a story about kids clamoring to get into an online social site and then clamoring to get out. 

Why do I write what I do?   
I've been writing since grade school. Then in my late teens and twenty's I wrote mostly poetry. ( A quick fix) I spent most of my time raising my teen boys, and spending much, too much time around kids. (I LOVED it--kids are the best. Ever!) I began with an image of deer in the woods calling to the MC. I wrote the story from the middle then backwards. Writer friends encouraged me to complete the manuscript. It became my longest commitment to paper at 80k words! 
My oldest son had dyslexia, so my husband or I, read to our boys every night.  A little sad when it stopped. I was thrilled this week, when son #1 asked me to read Macbeth to him for school. Ah, sweet bonding with my teen. It's been hard to come by lately. OK, next . . . 

How does your writing process work?  
I get up as early as I can, while the fog of sleep fools me that I'm still dreaming and write. When my boys were younger I brought my composition books around  to the pool or the playgrounds. Until I could revise on a computer and rest easy knowing the paperwork was safe. These days I run the family cafe, get in early, set up, and write. If it's not too busy, I can sling some words. I have an ideas folder for ideas that pop-up. I just tuck them away in a folder for later. I say "down girls (the muses)--let me finish what I'm working on first".
Sometimes I begin with a a scene, just to set the mood. Then I might list a few bullet point ideas, or a flexible outline. But so far, ever story I've written has had a little different process. I enjoy trying new POV structures, voices, and genres. In between beta reads I often enter short story contests to keep my mental muscle fluid. ~ Then I settle in. . . and write, and write. 

Let me welcome children's author Christina Daley. You can read all about her  Writing Process next Monday: here.

Christina Daley made her first book with neighborhood friends when she was four years old. They "wrote" out some semblance of lettering with crayons, cut up a cardboard box for the cover, and bound it all together with clear adhesive tape. It was brilliant.

Quite a few years later, Christina is trying her hand at writing "real" books. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with a pet plant named Herb.

And while I'm at it --Go and check out the writers of our group blog: The Kidliterati You will leave inspired and nourished, filled with ideas to get your kids writing and reading --along with helpful nudges to get yourself writing --even MORE.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Middle Grade Book Review! ~ The Wig in the Window.

The Wig in the WindowThe Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I read the blurb for THE WIG IN THE WINDOW, Kristen Kittscher’s middle-grade mystery with its premise: two seventh-graders, midnight steak outs, spying, suspicious neighbors, walkie-talkies, secret codes, and mistaken identities, all rolled into a humorous and creepy mystery, I had to read this.

I loved this book! The humor of the mc, Sophie Young, together with her best friend, Grace Yang, as they turn into self-appointed agents, Young and Yang— slayed me.
The girls become tangled up in a caper after spying on their creepy neighbor, who is also, Sophie’s middle school guidance counselor, “Dr. Awkward.”

But is what Sophie and Grace saw true, or a case of the girls over active imaginations? The school counselor sure gives Sophie reason to believe it.

The pressure of the situation wears on the girls and tests their friendship. Assumptions are tested. But the girls never let the case go—and for good reason, because there are a couple plot twists before it’s all over. The plotting, and the details woven into this mystery are so well done, I’m still thinking about them. I also love how Sophie uses quotes from military general, Sun Tzu, as her philosophy throughout. She’s a smart cookie, that one, and I loved her. I enjoyed many of the characters, especially Sophie’s grandpa, who adds kindle to her imaginative fire.

This is a book I wish I had in middle school. I would have acted out the scenes with my friends, over and over. This book is so much fun, intriguing, surprising, and the friendship, heartfelt, I’m adding it to my top MG picks for this year.

~ karen

View all my reviews