Books You’ve Got to Read…or Listen To!

www.tuesdaywriters.comI’m nearly finished with Angie’s Thomas’ The Hate U Give read beautifully by Bahni Turpin. (Last year I listened to her read Everything Everything. She’s one of my favorite readers!) It’s a book right now that is timely and true and sad. The main character, Starr, was in a car driven by her best friend Khalil who is pulled over by the cops and shot in front of her. Starr had been straddling the inner-city neighborhood where she lives with the suburban prep school she starting attending years before after another of her best friends was killed in a gang drive-by. This is a must read. I was on the waiting list nearly all summer for this one, so it’s getting a lot of readers. You should be one, too.

 

 

 

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum is on this years Florida Teens www.tuesdaywriters.comRead. It’s the kind of book where you root for the main character and hope she gets what she wants in the end. Jessie’s father surprise married someone she didn’t even know he was dating and moves her from her Chicago public school to Los Angeles. A Los Angeles filled with model-worthy class mates at an ultra prep school. When Jessie receives an anonymous email from someone offering her guidance on how to navigate her new world, she takes it.

 

 

 

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner is also on the Florida Teens Read list this year. Dill’s only solace in this world are his friends Travis and Lydia. Dill’s father, a Pentecostal preacher who encouraged his parishioners to let deadly snakes coil around them is in jail for child pornography. Dill’s mother would like him to drop out of school and start working full time to support the family. He’s also grieving the loss of Lydia in anticipation of her going away to college when he know’s he’ll be stuck home forever. When Dill learns that his mother blames him for his father’s imprisonment, it cracks his resolve to keep going.

 

 

 

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (author of another book I loved, Dumplin) is the story of Ramona who got the www.tuesdaywriters.comnickname Ramona Blue because she loves swimming so much. Ramona works in a restaurant/bar and is about to start her senior year of high school. There’s no way out for Ramona. She thought she and her older sister would move out of town once they both graduated, but now that her sister is pregnant, Ramona knows the money she’s been saving will all go to the baby. Ramona also just spent the summer in her first real relationship with a girl. A girl who has a boyfriend back home. She’s mixed up and sad when Freddie, a boy she was friends with years ago, moves to town. Could she be attracted to him, too? Julie Murphy is an author sensitive to addressing what’s important to teens with real, fleshed-out characters.

 

Whether you listen or read, you should check out these wonderful YA books!

Librarians and Author Visits

The Tuesdays welcome Diana Perri-Haneski, media specialist at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

 

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What do Librarians/Media Specialists want from authors and author visits? 

By Diana PerriHaneski 

 

Every day I connect Young Adults with Books they will want to read. Yes, kids of all ages are still reading books, the ones where you turn the paper pages and the ones that you swipe pages on a phone, iPad, or computer. Students want hardback, paperback, Kindle, Nook, or Overdrive e-books purchased and borrowed from the library. I’m always on the lookout for YA books and authors that will motivate our students to read and write. As the Media Specialists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I love the challenge of putting a book in the hands of a student that will intrigue them to open it up and read. Sometimes visitors see a novel placed on an eye catching promotional display, they pick up the book and start leafing through it while they are waiting, and later check it out. Often their friends recommend a book, or they see one at the book store and come to the library in search of it. Every day I am inspired to help students that can’t find a book they want to read or think they don’t like to read. I prepare and read many books so I can share that title or author that might get their attention. I will often excite curiosity in a library visitor after chatting with them a bit to find out their hobbies, and interests.  This time builds relationships and leads me to show them books that will appeal to them.

A question like: What was the last book you read that you loved? Helps me find the right book as does getting a published author to visit the students at school.  When an author comes to visit students in person or via Skype, it creates an interest in the author’s books. 

What do Media Specialists/Library Teachers want from writers? 

I purchase books that help students learn and complete assignments based on the curriculum, and I buy books for them to read for pleasure. My goal is to createa collection of books and materials that reflect the needs and interests of our school community. The YA books students look for, are books where they see themselves, see others, and take them places they have never been or would never want to be. Florida award winning author Adrian Fogelin agrees and says, “Authors who can write books that show the reader experiences they haven’t had by bringing experiences into stories, and take them to places they’ve never been, they also validate who they are when they connect with a story , and make sure that they see themselves in books. 

When authors visit schools they get a chance to be around the kids they write about. Guest authors have asked to eat in the cafeteria in order to have conversations with the students and hear how they talk, and get new, updated vocabulary. Fogelin adds, authors want to make sure are on target with their writing. They often write from their own childhood and that isn’t always the same. It’s also important to connect with teachers since they are allies. She adds,School visits help energize the authors, teachers and the students. 

What are the books that kids look for? 

Young Adult literature professor at USF, Dr. Joan Kaywell, believes “books can save lives.” She says “authors like Laurie Hale’s Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, and Sharon Flake have published books that cover serious hard to talk about topics like bulimia, bullying and suicide.” 

After reading books by these important young adult authors, I am more alert to possible struggles, more understanding and better equipped with language to deal with the situation. When I read, Fogelins, “Crossing Jordan,” I was better prepared with vocabulary for speaking with young people about and dealing with prejudice.

I always saw the value in making sure my students can find themselves in a book now I realize a reader needs to see others as well. 

It’s a pleasure to performs as matchmaker between books and Reader’s.

ReadREADRead  

 

 

 

Tracking Your Characters

My historical fiction middle grade novel has the largest cast of characters of any of the books I’ve written. Like, five times more. You do the math.

www.tuesdaywriters.com

I didn’t have to do anything to keep track, but a circus has a lot of characters…even a small mud show like the one I’m writing. So I’ve moved to a spreadsheet. Right now the characters are listed in the order they appear in the book.

It helps. It really does. Yesterday I was having Ringmaster have a conversation with one of the circus hands, but I didn’t know who that should be. I didn’t want to add another character.  (I’m actually hoping to cull some people from the final document when it’s done.) All I had to do was pull open my spreadsheet, scroll down, and figure out it was Joe.

On her blog, Darcy Pattison http://www.darcypattison.com/characters/tracking-characters/  

suggests a number of ways to keep track, but she mentions eye color. You can’t have your main character’s eyes changing color unless it’s some fantasy world where that can happen.

I don’t think I mention anyone’s eye color in my circus novel, but you might! Here’s a handy image to help you: www.tuesdaywriters.com

You also might want to check out ‘s post regarding memorable characters. If you make your characters unique, your reader will keep track of hundreds of characters.  Check it out here: http://thewritepractice.com/character-list/

 

What’s your favorite way to keep track?

Pagan Jones

Today we welcome author Nina Berry and the BONUS of our first RAFFLE! www.tuesdaywriters.com

CC: Since you work by day in TV, what’s your writing schedule like?

NB: I write a lot on the weekends, on my lunch hour, and at home at night. I don’t go into a calendar and block off time – although I probably should, but in my mind, I set aside specific hours or time to write. But I goof off online during that writing time more than I should. To help with distraction, writing sprints are useful. I set a timer or look at the clock and say to myself “thirty minutes of writing and nothing but writing starting now.” And then I work like crazy for that time, knowing I’ll get a break at the end of it. Life is a constant battle against my well-developed ability to procrastinate.

CC: We’re a critique group, so we’d love to know about your experience with them. What can you tell us?

NB: Very smart of you to find a group of people you trust to show your work to! I have a critique partner who is essential to my writing. Her name is Elisa Nader and you should check out her fabulous YA thriller ESCAPE FROM EDEN. I also often brainstorm or exchange reads with powerhouse YA and TV writer Jen Klein, who has several books out now. The most recent is a delightful romance called SUMMER UNSCRIPTED. They are both strong in areas where I am weak, and they call me on my crap. They are also supportive and will tell me what’s working – and that is as essential as telling me what doesn’t work. In my experience, YA writers in general are good at supporting each other. The community is close knit and full of smart, kind people.

I don’t know about you, but I go through a recognizable process when I get a really critical note. My first reaction is huge resistance and resentment. That’s my ego, bristling. Then as the note sinks in, I start to mull it over and see some value in it. That’s my desire to be a better writer wrestling with my ego. Finally, I get excited about how the note’s going to make my writing better and I incorporate it in my own way. At that point, I’m filled with gratitude toward the note-giver, completely opposite from where I started. The more this happens, the shorter the time of resistance and resentment lasts. But it’s still there! The ego is mighty, and you have to get past it to get better. Critique partners and groups are a great way to do that.

CC: Pagan Jones is historical fiction and Otherkin begins a paranormal trilogy. How does it work for you switching genres like that?

NB: It is super fun! The key is, if you’re going to write in a genre, read a lot in that genre. Get to know it. I’ve always been a big reader. I love everything from Jane Austen to George R. R. Martin, so all that reading makes it possible for me to write different genres.

But just as you’d expect, historical fiction requires more research than paranormal. Fortunately, I love research! Don’t get me wrong, I did a lot of research for Otherkin – everything from the biology of tigers to how particle accelerators work. But paranormal fiction requires you to change the real world, so you have more leeway with facts. You still need that world to be consistent, of course. But because the Pagan Jones books are historical, I spent more time on research. I read a lot of books on Berlin and the Cold War for The Notorious Pagan Jones, and books on Nazi hunting and Buenos Aires for City of Spies. I scoured old maps and photos of the locations, researched the real people involved, and on and on. Fortunately, I love history and I find that sort of thing fun. With historical fiction, it’s important to me to be respectful of real people’s real experiences. For example, Pagan helps hunt down a Nazi war criminal in her second book, so I was very conscious the whole time I wrote that book how important it was to try to get it right, while at the same time being true to Pagan’s character and entertaining the reader. The historical Hollywood parts of those books came more easily because I work in Hollywood by day and have a Masters degree in film and TV. I’ve loved movies and movie history since I was a kid. If you have a passion, it’s great to be able to incorporate it into your books that way.

CC: Of all your books, which one is your favorite?

NB: No fair! I love them all! Hmm. Okay. Trying not to give you too glib an answer. Each book is a different kind of favorite. Otherkin was the first time I ever talked to an editor who really understood what I was going for. That’s a magical feeling. Othermoon was the first time I killed off a character, and yes, I cried. Othersphere was the first time I had to end a series and say goodbye to characters, so it was fun to wrap it up and difficult to walk away.

Of the many characters I’ve created (and I love them all, even the villains) Pagan Jones is my favorite. I can see her starring in her own Netflix series, you know? She’s larger than life, and so complex I could easily write many more stories for her. But the publisher has no plans to do that as of now, so I’ve had to move on, and that’s been really hard. But you never know! I’d bring Pagan back in a heartbeat, given the chance.

The more I write, the better my writing gets, so my next one should be the best yet.

CC: What are you working on…that you can tell us about?

NB: I cannot say much, alas. But it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever done, and it scares me. In the best way. It’s pushing me to grow. I keep telling myself that’s a good thing as I fret and sweat over the words.

CC: What is your favorite part about being an author?

So much of it is awesome! I love the idea phase, when I’m putting the characters and story together in my head. It’s a great excuse to daydream. I love it when I write a passage that really works. But my absolute favorite is when a reader tells me that my story meant something to them. That’s the best thing ever.

So here’s another favorite thing – FREE BOOKS!www.tuesdaywriters.com

Enter to win one of several books!

The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berrywww.tuesdaywriters.com

Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies by Jonathan Rosenwww.tuesdaywriters.com

A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

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What’s it Mean to Go for Your Dreams?

www.tuesdaywriters.comOur guest today is Allison Ford. I met Allison when we taught at the same high school. In fact, Allison visited the Tuesdays critique group once to see how we do what we do! During the past few years, Allison has moved out of the classroom and into a career of her own design. She’s going for it, people, and she’s getting there! She is a writer, speaker, and yoga instructor and has recently accepted a speaking engagement at a Tedx event in Wilmington. I asked Allison to share some words of inspiration since writing is all about going for your dreams. Here’s Allison!

 

When I was a little, my favorite thing to do was daydream. Not to brag, but I was a champion daydreamer. I could escape into my little world as often as I wanted to—there was no cap on it. In class I would zone out, enter into a space where I was dancing, on adventures, or just thinking about my place in the big, big world. In this space, I confronted fears, I felt emotions, and I pictured being on stage (I wanted to be an actress at that time).

And then, it happened.

I started getting into trouble for dreaming. My teachers told me to pay attention, the adults around called me things. Here are just a few of the gems…Space Cadet, Flake, and even Strange. They yelled things out of frustration; they needed my attention on their terms. This became clear as they ever so gently, ever so condescendingly offered, “Thank you for joining reality or, “You’re back, we were worried.” My teacher would always say this one line about me, to other teachers, or adults, as if I wasn’t there…

That one. She lives in her own world. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live like that?” Then they—and the they varied—would laugh at the Daydream Girl.

It’s really no wonder why we exit these worlds created in our heads, in our wondering hearts, or in the worlds and ecosystems created, formed, and romanticized within our evening bath each night. Our toys spoke for us, resolving things down to a simple interaction between Barbie and Rubber Duckie.

For dreaming and creativity are not mutually exclusive, and it seems everyone at some point learns that the hard way.

People are always advising against dreams—and its usually people who you love, who are older than you, and who should have a solid say about how the world works. This is why following dreams, taking an emotional risk, and being truly seen can present some real problems.

Our greatest gift, snatched away before we even understood its’ true power…

But today is a new day, and this gal, she’s back that world. Full force, and dreaming like a champion, once more. Yes. It’s true. It feels good to be home, but man did I have to fight to get here. I’ll give you the short version…

I had to give up dreaming, play it safe, point the trajectory in the wrong direction, dishonor my inner candle flame, stay stagnant, drink resentment with all meals, blame those who stole it, feel totally disconnected, lose everything, and get on my knees…not because I wanted to, but because I was forced into the humble state.

It was then, after all of that, I reconnected with her…the Space Cadet, the Flake, the Strange One, the Daydream Girl.

The irony? She wasn’t even mad. She was relieved, so relieved that I had finally come back for her. What I found out was that no one had stolen it at all. I discovered that I had given it away. That I was the one who needed to resolve it–and it was going to be a little more complicated than the whole Barbie and Duckie situation.

Step One to following your dreams…Do your work. Heal what needs to be healed, re-write the story, trade it in, and make peace with yourself. This may seem obvious, but it’s not.

Often we get really excited about a new idea. A new possibility, a new love, a new adventure etc. These are dreams, seeds if you will. Seeds have such possibility, but it’s not so much the dream we must address, it’s the soil.

Step Two to following your dreams…Create your ecosystem. Now that you’re healed, and totally, utterly, accountable for your stuff, your mess, and what you gave away, you can proceed. You may be like, “I need to re-visit step one,” which is cool, and actually shows you’re on the right track. Step One is complete when you are always in the habit of asking, “What did I do to create this shit storm?” No matter who’s shit it might be, how the storm was started, and why you find yourself standing in it, yet again.

Moving on. Our ecosystem will really make our break that Golden Ticket landing in the chocolate bar. Check your people. If they have not tended to their mess, they will not understand. They will not know how to support you, and you will need to make some choices.

Some people can’t afford to hear about your dream. It’s an emotional price that gets into their stuff, and you need to know that. If it is someone whom you cannot just cut off, like your partner, your mother, or someone who holds a serious title in your bio pic, just proceed accordingly.

Don’t keep secrets, but don’t share in spaces the both of you cannot handle. It is up to you to find this very delicate balance. It’s emotional fitness—dream chasing takes a lot of emotional fitness. You have to remember that you go first. No excuses, you go first. This is why I stress Step One! If step one is done correctly, you can shut your ego on and off, no problem.

Now, if you do have a solid ecosystem, use it as fuel. Tap into how the world, the peeps, and the energy can be a valuable resource. For example, when I decided to peruse my dream to write a book, and become a Professional Speaker, I tapped into the resources my partner could offer.

He was in sales. I needed to sell myself, my brand, my authentic voice. I knew about being me, and I even knew what it meant to be a healed me, but not so much about selling. He did. So I used his brain, his ability to motivate me when I was in doubt, and his ability to listen to presentations I was working on. BUT…I made sure to set some boundaries, first. To explain to him how difficult this would be in the area of being vulnerable, in the area of changing careers, in the area of balancing my duties as a Mother.

This is what I mean about ecosystem, and fitness, and finding that delicate balance. You have to create it—all of it. You have to explain that to those supporting you, and you have to do this with a sense of clarity, and grace—which again—is why Step One is fricken vital.

So we fall on Step Three to following your dreams. Make sure to have a plan. If planning is hard to do, as you are fully tapped into your creative, dreaming, you have no clue how mixed up my brain is, side, then you need to get quiet. Be patient. Don’t expect the Planning Fairy to just show up now that you addressed your mess, and created a flourishing ecosystem, which fuels your confidence. The work begins with actionyou were just covering the prep with steps one and two.

This may seem like a lot of work. It is. Living at a level of fulfillment is a campaign. There are a lot of moving parts, but you can do it. Take small steps that will lead to big results. I know it’s cliché, but it’s true.

If you want to write, commit to writing for thirty minutes a day, and add on a few minutes each day until you are writing for a few hours per day.

If you want to get into shape, commit to walking for fifteen minutes for a week, then adding five minutes each week, for the next three weeks.

If you want to have a better relationship, commit to one kind act a day that is just for your love. Or if things aren’t great, maybe one act a month? Again…refer to Step One, clean mess before step two.

Start the small habit of execution, then find someone who is killing the game you wish to play. This is a great plan. Study the master, while finding a way to also be you. And do not make excuses. Excuses should have been tended to in Step One.

If you don’t have time, make it.

Point is, wanting it isn’t enough. It’s just not. Desire feels great, but inaction will break it, being negative and unhealed will break it, and living in a space that leaves you empty will break it.

Stop giving it away.

When we were kids, we knew no better. This is why we listened. This is why we stopped dreaming.

But now? Now we have a definite say in the matter. So go out there and dream. Dream with intelligence, and you’ll get some serious results. That I can promise you.

And just in case you didn’t get the message—Step One is everything—get your mind right, heal what needs to be healed, clean the mess that belongs to you, and only you.

With Love,

The Daydream Girl

 

Here’s more info on Allison and how you can contact her.

Allison Ford has been working with children of all ages for the past seventeen years. She began this journey as a teen mentor, coach, and tutor, volunteering five days a week throughout her high school and college years. Naturally, she became an Educator, teaching Advanced Placement Language and Composition and English Honors at the high school level. She also filled her time with coaching both competitive cheerleading, dance, and girls flag-football. After being in the classroom for eight years, and having two children of her own, she decided to speak on a message near and dear to her heart.

How to motivate, support, and explore this world with our children…and having that commitment becoming our own form of parental personal-development.

She is a writer, speaker, and yoga instructor. She brings all that she has learned inside of the classroom to each and every platform she can. Her latest projects include the completion of a book, which deals in creating effective communication within our home, in which she conducted a full year of research to complete—speaking with hundreds of teens and parents. She is also spreading this message through movement, with a workshop series called Yance—a combination of yoga, dance, and personal development and healing.

She has been featured in Healthy Intent Magazine, MINT: Media Impact and Navigation for Teens, The Women’s Empower Expo, Checking-In Conference Series, Top Ten Percent Banquet and Recognition, Pivot and Pitch Event for Youth Entrepreneurs, and more.

And will be hitting the TEDx Stage this fall to speak on finding fulfillment.

For more information on the book and Yance Workshops, you can visit her site at

www.allisonkford.com

And join the movement here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/471529106541688/

You can also follow her on her on:

Facebook page @Allisonford

Instagram @Allisonfordspeaks

Perfectionism – What’s it Done for you Lately?

When we write, of course we want it to be perfect!

But can it ever be?Image result for perfectionism

I know friends who have found mistakes in arcs (advanced reader copies) and thought they got them fixed before the book finally got published only to have those mistakes still in the book at publication time. Author Stuart Woods has a letter to his readers at the ends of his books which essentially says, “Don’t write me and tell me you’ve found a mistake. It wasn’t my fault, and there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

As writers though, it’s not just about getting the grammar right. It’s about crafting each scene so that the emotion and dialogue and every tag culminates into a scene with a change.

Here’s where perfectionism is a problem:  if you have to keep writing and re-writing and you never put your stories “out-there” for agents and editors to see. Spending all your time working to make it perfect but never taking it out for a test drive.

It’s not surprising, really. Perfectionism is everywhere, and we see it rewarded all the time.  Take for example the television show Property Brothers. Now I understand that drama is what is considered to make good television. It’s the same thing that makes people want to buy our books. So when Property Brothers and other shows like them are looking for couples to be on the show, they pick people who will be problems. (Yes, some of that is probably scripted!) However there is a central message from each family: they want their house to be perfect. Part of what’s difficult for me to swallow is that they only have a million-six to spend on a home when a house they would find acceptable would be over two million.

That’s just not how it is for most of America, but we watch a slightly spoiled couple get EVERYTHING they want, it makes us think we should have it, too.

If you’ve ever planned a wedding, all those little details seem so important up to the big day, but after it’s all over, it’s about the people and not what font was used on the place cards.

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have goals and dreams and that we all shouldn’t have our dream home or spectacular wedding. What I am saying is that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Not even our writing.

Sending a query to an agent will give us the feedback we need. If we hear nothing from our query, it might be concept or that our query needs work. If we get requests, we know something is going right.

Yes, do your best to make the grammar correct. Agents like that. Let them judge how great the story is. You just might be surprised.

Writers Aren’t the Only Ones Concerned with Story

For this week’s Wrap Up, I’m going a bit off script. We didn’t meet yesterday – 4th of July and all that. However, on Saturday and Sunday I had two experiences which made me realize that everyone is just trying to tell a good story.

On Saturday, July 1st, I join hundreds of other parents taking our children to see You Tube Star – Dan TDM. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDiamondMinecart Dan is a sweet young man from England who plays video games. I find him to be funny and kind, and I don’t have a problem with my son watching. I feel certain that the content is appropriate.  So how does one translate a guy who plays video games into a live show?

Story. There has to be a story, and it has to be one the audience cares about. Of course Dan asked that we not tell what happens in the show so as to not ruin it for everyone else attending upcoming shows. Understood. What I can tell you is that there was an antagonist that needed to be defeated. As I watched, I was noticing how events fit nicely into the plot clock the Tuesdays follow. (Here’s a post I wrote about the plot clock last summer – http://www.tuesdaywriters.com/?p=964.) We had an inciting incident, a binding point, and right before intermission – low point! The audience had buy-in, and the story had a nice ending – good triumphs over evil and all that.

On Sunday, July 2nd, I was in the car listening to This American Life https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/619/the-magic-show?act=1#play about magic. Host Ira Glass was interviewing Teller of Penn and Teller. Teller was explaining how he was working on creating a new trick. He worked and worked, and wouldn’t show Penn until the trick was perfect. It was a take-off on a 100 year old vanishing ball trick. When Teller felt it was ready, he performed it for Penn, but Penn left the theater without commenting.

It took several days of discussion to figure out what was wrong with the trick because technically, it worked. There was something missing. Here is what is was missing: essential dramatic detail. There needs to be a reason the magic is happening. As is explained in the show, if a magician is making a coin disappear by putting it into his hand, without a catalyst for it to disappear, it seems too random. However if the magician lights a match and waves it over the closed hand and then the coin disappears, we have cause and action.

Isn’t it the same way with our stories? We make things happen to our characters via the external plot, but those events can’t be random. There needs to be a reason. Yes, we need to create problems for our characters, but those events need to be tied logically to the situations in the book.

Penn and Teller were given a suggestion to make the ball in the new trick act more like a trained dog. That’s a great story. If you’d like to see how that played out, here is video of the final trick. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/blog/2017/06/the-floating-ball-routine-david-p-abbott

Other than writing, where else do you see story played out?

 

Tense about Tense

I’ve written several novels in present tense. The only time I’d written in past tense was when I’d have a flashback, letting the change in tense signal to the reader that we were going back in time. It seemed to work pretty well for me. Felt natural to write that way.

Some of you may know of my historical fiction novel about the circus. The novel had several incarnations in present tense. It was making the rounds of agents. I thought, like we can all foolishly believe, it was done. Then I got some feedback from an intern at the literary agency which turned the story on its head in a fantastic way.

I don’t really know why, but when I started the rewrite this time, I changed to past tense.

It’s been a struggle. I’ll write some bits of dialogue and action and realize I’ve just written a page in present tense. I don’t think though, that that’s my main problem.

Past tense feels distant. Like maybe I’m watching what happens from across the street. Let me clarify this statement. When I’M writing in past tense, it feels distant. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, or maybe it’s just not right for me.

According to http://thewritepractice.com/past-tense-vs-present-tense/ most novels are written in past tense. That doesn’t seem right to me, but maybe most adult novels are in past tense because in kids lit, present seems to rule the day.

Thus begins the rewrite of a rewrite of many others. I’ve tried searching for obvious past tense verbs like was, anything ending in ‘ed, and the could/would combo.

It does feel better. Feels more like me. And most importantly, I think the reader will like it better!

What’s your favorite tense?

Using Your Voice – Literally!

Summer is my crunch time.

Some people relax, but summer is when I get the most words down on paper. I LOVE it! However this summer I have five trips planned for a six week period.

That’s a lot.

Of course, I can take my computer with me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll actually get words on paper when I’m not home.

Something you might not know about me is that I can type wicked fast. I often amaze my students at how quickly I can type without looking at the keys.

www.tuesdaywriters.comBut when I really want to get words on paper, it’s voice typing that I use.

Voice typing isn’t perfect. I have to go back in and add quotation marks. In my current re-write I have lots of Italian names which Google docs doesn’t seem to be able to master.

You see, when I’m typing, I have a problem keeping my hands on the keyboard. I don’t know why exactly. I can see the scene in my head. I can hear the characters talking, but I think my internal editor gets in the way. Wants to change the scene.

I actually think I’m more creative, too, when I’m just talking to my computer.

Want to give it a try?