Sometimes, Silence Is Required

I’m in the midst of a difficult revision. Difficult, because like many of you, I’m very distracted by the world’s goings-on. And difficult also because I’ve been challenged to amp up the work with this next draft. To go deeper, exploring characters and theme more fully, and adding tension to that dreaded middle.

I’m not complaining about the challenges, mind you. I want to write the best possible novel, one that expresses my most profound feelings – and those of my characters – while saying things that need to be said, all without didacticism or obviousness or shouting from the platform.

As agent/author Donald Maass has written so eloquently, authors are responsible for crafting books that uphold basic principles of honesty, compassion, and hope. This is especially true, I think, for those of us who write for children. So my so-called message cannot feel like a message, yet must convey those principles through subtext and character behavior all while my story grabs the reader and yanks her along with energy, mystery, and surprise.

I’m one of those writers who has to write every day. If I don’t put words on paper I feel like I’ve dropped the ball. But sometimes, in trying to write the best words, silence is required.

Sometimes it’s necessary to step back and not write. To just let the thinking happen without the effort. To ask my subconscious to work while I dream, or to doodle and noodle until the ideas pop.

Walking is very good for this. So is gardening, I find, and in the winter, knitting or making music or sketching. Sometimes travel helps. And sometimes, just sitting and staring into the distance – that thing I find hard to do. I’ve been doing all of these, trying to get everything to gel, knowing from past experience that once it does, the writing will come fast and furious.

It’s very difficult, this stepping into silence, especially right now. So forgive me if I do go silent for a bit while I noodle and doodle. I hope that the rewards of this silence will be great.

A Teacher/Librarian Lesson Plan Tool Kit

As a former middle school and high school teacher, I know how valuable simple tool kits are – especially tool kits that provide a lesson plan that’s fun, engaging, and informative. That’s one huge reason why I partnered with Curious City to create a website for THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE that includes an event kit for librarians to help teach library search skills.lesson

Curious City has gone one step further in helping teachers and librarians by creating a month-by-month programming guide to all the specialized holidays and events you can imagine.

For example, if you are looking for something new to celebrate Black History Month, you can check out 28 Days: Audio Performances Promote African American History and Words as Freedom: Poetry Workshop Based on Don Tate’s Poet

There’s something for everyone in this wonderful new aid to teaching.

Now…I’m off to the Olympic National Park to research my latest project!

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New Craft Books For Writers

Lately I've discovered some new writing craft books that have become staples of my reference shelf. I wanted to share my impressions of these recent releases, so I hope you enjoy. THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION: HOW TO WRITE THE STORY BENEATH THE … [Continue reading]