Tag Archives: Sara Zarr

State of the Reader

Today I’m feeling blown away by children’s literature.  There is just so much great stuff out there and I’m honored to have the opportunity to read it.  Obviously, I hope someday to be more part of it than I am now.  But for now, while I toil away in solitude, I surround myself with wonderful books, of all genres, for all ages.

Since beginning to write MG and YA, I’ve read so much of it, and as a result, my favorite genres have changed.  I didn’t think I was a fantasy (especially dystopian) reader, but Suzanne Collins, Sarah Rees Brennan, Lesley Livingston, Scott Westerfeld and Kristin Cashore have changed my mind.  I didn’t think I was a chick-lit/romance (as a sub-genre) reader, but I have enjoyed Maureen Johnson’s Scarlett and 13 Little Blue Envelopes books.  I didn’t think literary fiction was my thing, but Sara Zarr is just plain awesome.  There are plenty of other authors who have inspired my reading and writing (Libba Bray, Gennifer Choldenko and Rebecca Stead jump to mind).  I just can’t fit them all in here right now.  And new authors debut all the time.

I am so glad that I will never have to be without a good book!

This is also a good opportunity to offer public thanks to all the librarians in my life.  Ms. Leslie keeps my littlest guy entertained.  Sarah S. keeps my older son in good books, and gives me great opportunities to help out at the school library.  Elizabeth P. and Jennifer D. support my research, reading and writing in multiple ways.  And the reference librarian at my local public library kept bringing me books even while I sat among the stacks, pulling things off shelves.  And it was in one of those books that I found the exact photo I was looking for of the Paris Opera in 1895.

Not only do kids and teens need authors like those mentioned above.  They also need the dedicated librarians who keep abreast of the latest books and make sure those books are available to their youngest readers/patrons.

So what are some of your favorite books, Dear Readers?  And who would you like to thank for making you the reader and/or writer you are today?


Filed under Reading, writing

Revision Resources

As I prepare to revise “Sophie and the Medallion of Time”, I have gathered the following online resources to help me in the process. This variety of methods really runs the gamut. You may find one tedious that another writer swears by. But I have enjoyed seeing all the different revision methods, from published authors, agents, other aspiring writers, and how-to sites.

*The QueryTracker blog’s 11-part roadmap to jumpstart your editing, including setting goals, line-editing, beta-readers and more.

*More from the QueryTracker blog:  9 Steps to Plot (or Revise) Your Novel. This helped me make sure I had started my WIP in the right place.

*Suite101’s questions to help you see if your plot has enough conflict and tension before finer-tuning.

*eHow’s How to edit a novel manuscript in 7 steps.

*Author Alex Sokoloff, guest blogging on the Blood Red Pencil, gives her top ten things she knows about editing, including joining a critique group, reading the entire manuscript out loud, and borrowing the dramatic structure from films.

*Editorial consultant Holt gives her list of the mistakes writers don’t see, including using crutch words or phrases, and phony dialogue.

*Author Laurie Halse Anderson maps out each chapter and every scene to track the arc of all the major characters.

*Agent Sara Crowe discusses character development by making a character’s first impression work for you.

*Agent Nathan Bransford offers a long checklist to make sure your manuscript hits all the important points, such as “Is your voice consistent?” and “Is the pacing correct for your genre?”

*Shari Green’s Fix-it Fridays offered revision tips from authors such as Sara Zarr, D.L. Garfinkle, Kelly Parra and Maggie Stiefvater.

*Mystery writer Elizabeth S. Craig tells us things to look for after finishing a draft, like a consistent voice, pacing and linear plot.

*More help from Elizabeth S. Craig. This time Signs Something isn’t Working in your first draft, like too much or too little conflict, or an unlikable protagonist.

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Filed under Getting Published, writing