Monday, July 26, 2010

Inspired by my Past

I'm writing a kissing scene in my young adult novel, and being as old as I am, needed some reminders of how it felt to be a teen kissing. And what a better resource than myself. Confused yet?

I have been a prolific journaler since I was twelve and I've saved them all. Interestingly, I didn't write much about my family life, but I did write about the boys I had crushes on.

I spent over an hour reading some of my high school journals last night and learned a lot about myself back then. I was horribly insecure. The only way I felt good about myself was through a boy. Maybe this is why I can't stand Bella's character in Twilight-- it rings home. I did read some good kissing stuff though to help me with my character.

A surprise for me as I read, was how much poetry I wrote. I knew that was a part of how I expressed my emotions, but forgot how many I wrote and how intense they were. I thought I would post one of the poems I wrote when I was 17. Me and my best friend in the world stopped being friends.

Lost Treasure

I wish to write something of gold.
A treasure found warm and bright.
A treasure, something like a friendship.
You see gold in the sky, in the sun, in the stars.
It is of the rarest kind, so when you lose it,
it will be forever difficult to find.
It is valuable, so nothing will ever be good enough
to replace it.
You are gold Lisa, of the rarest beauty,
and quality there is.
You are valuable to the heart,
a lost treasure.

Impressive for a kid, I must say.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I just returned from my first writer's workshop. It was held by SCBWI, a great organization, on the beautiful campus of Dominican University, San Rafael, CA.

The four faculty members were, Jill Corcoran from the Herman Agency; Andrea Welch, editor for Beach Lane Books; Kathleen Duey, author of Skin Hunger; and a wonderful woman, Martha Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots. After we were barraged with information to help us improve our craft, the faculty hung out at night and simply talked with those of us that stayed for the weekend.

No matter where we were on the totem pole: writer wishing to be author, author wanting to publish next book, agent wanting to find talent and help their clients reach the esteemed editor, or editor wanting to find a fresh voice, we all had one thing in common - to add something to a child's life by providing them with good literature.

I noticed things around me I sometimes miss because I'm distracted. Thus the photo I have included above was one of those giggly moments when we walked by this tree at night and it looked like a bunny had hid easter eggs on it's limbs.

I also heard the most wonderful children's book, written by my friend Pat, that was so good we had to hear it twice in a row and then we talked about it the morning after. I can't wait for the published piece. I also hope my friend Pat, will write a book that made us laugh about her Border collie with Attendion Deficit - squirrel? - Disorder.

It was hard to be ripped apart by critique, but I believe I'll be a better writer for it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tracking Chapter Details

I have been working diligently on the re-write of my YA novel and have found that I need to go back and organize my details. I have heard some writers keep bios of their characters, dates and events. Up until now I didn't feel the needed to do that thoroughly -- alas my details are increasing.

I am reading Martha Alderson's, Blockbuster Plots for the upcoming conference I'm attending where she is a facilitator. She has a wonderful chart on organizing scenes, summaries and plots. It is perfect timing to use this tool, although like any tool, I will modify it a little to fit my needs.

I am going to start off by tracking things by chapter: timeline, characters involved in the chapter, goal, conflict, emotional change of characters, and what I want the reader to take from it. The biggest thing for me is to track time and details about my characters. If they mention where they are from, what painting my protagonist is working on, cell phone ring for a character, these are the details I'll need to refer back to to keep things consistent.

I am raising the character's stakes and building tension on every page. The re-write is also making my character's voices more clear and focused.

The best indicator on the success of my re-write is that my 14 year old niece, that is being a test reader, can't wait for me to give her my next chapter.