Dec 15, 2011
I have a blog post up today on the ENGAGE blog, titled "Let the Dominoes Fall: Following Research Where It Takes You."
I hope you'll stop by!
(Thanks to the people at the IRA for posting it.)
Oct 26, 2011
Coming in June 2012 from Margaret K. McElderry Books, it's a re-imagining of the Pied Piper tale...and yet, that only begins to describe the story.
There is so much I love about this cover, and I find something new to love every time I look at it. The boy (our hero, Rudi) looks exactly like I've always imagined him -- right down to the lederhosen! He's innocent, but brave; a reluctant hero who rises to every challenge (and there are many).
And the Fiddler: yikes, how menacing! Even more menacing than the rats. And if you look closely, you can see rats at his feet, too. Gives me shivers.
What I love most about this cover, though, is how very many details and elements of the story are included in this picture; and yet, it's not a mish-mosh; it's a cohesive picture, which itself tells a story (without giving away too many secrets).
I can't wait to hear reactions from readers: What do you expect the story to be like, now that you've seen this picture?
Aug 8, 2011
Mar 21, 2011
Mar 3, 2011
WHAT: How does our choice of POV affect the stories we write? How does altering the POV change the story? In this workshop, we’ll first read excerpts from published novels to hear different examples of POV. Then we’ll individually try our hand at writing one passage from three different points of view: in first person; in third person “close” viewpoint, and in third person omniscient viewpoint. We’ll learn how POV affects narrative style, focus, and emotion when we write fiction. Attendees are invited to write something new, or to bring a work in progress.
WHEN: Saturday, March 12, 9am - noon.
WHERE: University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
WHAT ELSE: Registration is $40 (such a deal!). Registration and program info is here. (Look for the "registration" download link.)
Any questions, please e-mail me:
Hope to see you there, with sleeves rolled up!
Feb 21, 2011
Well, it’s official. My local Borders is closing. Lots of people are blaming e-books. And everyone seems to be taking sides.
People are either for the e-revolution or they’re against it. If you own an iPad, you’re a paper-book-hater who is taking the tater tots out of the mouths of indie bookseller’s kids. If you own a physical bookstore, Amazon is (still) your worst enemy, especially now that it threw a Kindle at you.
But do we have to choose sides? Why can’t I own an e-book reader AND continue to buy “real” books in bricks-and-mortar bookstores? It’s true that e-books can’t provide everything a physical book can. But a physical book doesn’t provide everything a Kindle can, either. It’s like being expected to own only one pair of shoes. I wouldn’t wear sneakers to a wedding, but that doesn’t mean I don’t OWN sneakers, and won’t wear them when it’s a sneaker kind of day. Why can’t it be the same way for books? There will always be a time and a place for paper books, but there is also a time and place for e-books. I can live with that.
Feb 15, 2011
Feb 14, 2011
Feb 1, 2011
One of the best things about having a book published is hearing from readers. The question I’m asked most often about Jump the Cracks is: “What happens after the book ends?”
At first this question surprised me, and I wasn’t sure how to answer it, because (of course) I think the ending is perfect the way it is. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that it’s a great question, because it means you got so wrapped up in the story that you kept thinking about it after you finished reading. I like that.
But I suppose, since so many of you have asked, you deserve an answer. What DOES happen after the pages of the book close? Does Wills grow up happy? Who raises him? Will Victoria ever see him again?
I have a confession to make: Originally, I wrote a different ending. An ending that answers all of those questions, without any doubt. I tied the story up in a neat little bow.
And then I changed it.
Because the thing is, when you’re writing a story for readers who are smart enough to think about what they’re reading, it’s not fair to do the thinking for them. So I changed the ending for a couple of reasons:
1. A “neat” ending wouldn’t have fit the story. After all, Jump the Cracks is about a bunch of imperfect people trying hard to do their best (well, most of them, anyway). It wouldn’t have made sense to end the story with everyone suddenly perfect and doing all the right things.
2. The open ending allows each reader to imagine his or her own perfect ending—whatever that might be.
Think of it as one of those “You decide” stories.
Are you a sucker for a happy ending? The possibilities are there, at the end of Jump the Cracks, for a perfect, storybook ending. All you have to do is fill in the blanks.
Or maybe you like your stories gritty and more true-to-life. The possibilities for that type of ending are also there, in the story. Just fill in the blanks.