Saturday, July 6, 2013

19 Pick and Mix for Readers and Writers - July 6, 2013



Don't forget! Our July First Five Pages Workshop opens for submissions at noon Eastern. Our guest mentor this month is Susan Dennard, the popular author of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY. Read the rules here, and get your manuscripts ready. You don't want to miss this opportunity!

Thought for the Week

This week, Megan Shepherd wrote a fantastic post on the five traits published writers have in common. Kristin Lamb questioned whether success is due to luck or hard work. My personal take? I think luck definitely plays into the equation, but we have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself. And one more thing. We have to define success in achievable increments.  Focus on writing the best sentence, the best paragraph, the best page, the best scene we can. Those add up.

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Writing Inspiration

More Inspiration

What Happy People Do Differently via Psychology Today

And still more:

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Book of the Week

I reread The Book Thief, because it is one of those books that deserves to be soaked in through the pores until it becomes part of the fabric of your heart. If you haven't read it yet, go. Right now. Get it. Read it. Love it.

Marcus Zusak, The Book Thief 
I also loved:

The Program by Suzanne Young

This is a dystopian with a contemporary feel--emphasis on feel, because you FEEL the emotion in this book. The romance in this book is beautifully done!

Buy on Amazon | Buy on IndieBound | View on Goodreads

Need Some Free Books? 

We've got FIVE great YA giveaways from among the books that are coming out next week. Not to mention covers, blurbs, and author interviews.

More giveaways:

This Saturday Situation linky from Candace's Book Blog and Lori at Pure Imagination has links galore!

Beautiful Writing

Pablo Neruda
Speaking of Beautiful Writing

Here is a great post from Joe Bunting at The Write Practice with Seven Writing Lessons from Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Are you sensing a theme here this week?

Reader of the Week: The Magic Violinist

This is a young woman after my own heart. She's 13, home schooled, and a self-confessed TOTAL nerd. She likes to write, read, cook, play with her brother, play with her friends, snuggle with her dog Scout, blog, and many, many, more things. She want to be an author when she grows up.

My prediction? She will be!

* Want to be the reader of the week next week? Leave a comment on our Thursday or Friday posts! 

Blogger of the Week: Margo Berendsen

Margo is a rabid reader of young adult and middle grade books, all genres. She loves to analyze books from a writing perspective. Being somewhat deluded that writing at high altitude (Laramie, Wyoming, 7200 ft) gives her an edge, but she also suffers from the delusion that mythical creatures are real. (Don't we all?) She's convinced a pendragon isn't just a medieval surname but a tiny dragon that sparks flames when you write with it.

Stop by and visit her blog to find articles like these:

* Want to be the blogger of the week next week? Leave a comment. I'll pick from among the bloggers who leave comments here on the blog today through Wednesday.

Tip of the Week

Writing Links

Have you heard about the structural approach to story creation called The Hero's Journey? Here It Is Explained by Puppets.

Don't like following an elaborate structure? Andrew Stanton claims that storytelling is joke telling; it's knowing your punchline and directing everything in your story toward that ending. All you have to do is make the listener or reader care. Check out his fantastic Ted Talk video.

Okay, okay. You want serious writing links? Meaty, juicy make-all-the-difference stuff? Here's what I thought was GREAT this week:

Smiles and Inspiration

News and Trends

Need a few more things to think or talk about? How about a few more of my favorites.

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What About You?

What are you reading? Writing? Have any quotes or thoughts you'd like to share? Did you find or write any book reviews or blog posts you want to let people know about? 


  1. Love these! My classroom is covered in inspirational posters and quotes! We do daily quotes too :)

    One of my fave quotes is Henry Ford's 'whether you think you can or you can't, you're right'. :)

    1. I love that Henry Ford quote. The power of the human mind is amazing, isn't it? But I love how we can fool ourselves, too. We can start off on incredibly hard tasks,like writing a book, without thinking about how daunting it really is. Then by the time we know enough to know how hard it really is, we are almost done. :)

  2. Great stuff here - especially enjoyed Mooderino's post over at Wordplay :)

    1. Both mooderino and wordplay have reliably excellent posts. I was really surprised to find them combined via a guest post, but it made me smile because it actually made tons of sense. And the post was wonderful, wasn't it?

  3. I loved Megan Shepherd article about the traits published writers have in common. Stuff like really helps light a fire under me. Thanks for the great post :).

    1. Megan's post is a great kick in the pants, isn't it? One of the hardest lessons for me was learning that you can't progress by doing the same thing over and over. We have to be determined, informed about the industry, constantly writing and reading and critiquing, but we also need to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, and our comfortable critiquing partners to make the big leaps forward. I loved Megan's post for breaking success down into common denominators, And she was right on the money, I think!

  4. My favorite was the Brazilian students leaning English by correcting celebrity tweets. :D

    1. That totally cracked me up. But kudos for creativity, right? Finding new ways to teach and engage students definitely seemed to be a theme this week. On one hand, it's great that teachers are finding ways to think outside the box, but on the other hand, I am increasingly concerned that we seem to feel like we have to be entertained all the time. There are a whole lot of jobs that just plain aren't fun, and the statistics from Europe and the U.S. all show that there is high unemployment at the same time that there are a lot of jobs going unfilled. It makes me even more grateful to have the chance to get paid for what I LOVE to do.

  5. What a fabulous comprehensive blog! I'm so full I can't take another bite!
    ~Just Jill

    1. I guess it's good that I'm not doing the long list of a hundred links or more that I used to do. Seriously, there are so many writers putting together wonderful resources for writers every day, it's impossible to keep up!

  6. I'm with Jill, I'm so full of all the deliciousness that I can't take another bite." Thanks so much for sharing all this. I'd love one of your give aways to blog about. :)

    1. Hmmh, that's an intriguing thought! I wonder if I can somehow implement an additional giveaway on the condition that the winner blogs about the book. It would be really hard to enforce though, and next to impossible for me to pick which book to select for that each week!

  7. I should unplug for a long weekend more often! - so much happy to stuff to discover when I come back. Thank you so much for highlighting me and several of my posts!

    Loved the "between the shadow and the soul" quote and the funny cat pictures!

    1. I loved your posts, Margo, so Thank YOU! And yay for unplugging. Something I suspect we all need to do more often than we do. I hope you either had a fabulous time,with family or got in a lot of great writing?

      I have to admit that Pablo Neruda is my favorite poet, hands down. There is something so sensuous about the way he uses words and the freshness of his images that speaks to me. :) I'm glad you liked that quote!

  8. Thank you for the "4 Ways to Limit Your Character's Options" link -- very timely advice! And I love that quote from THE BOOK THIEF. Such a gorgeously written story!

    1. I'm glad the link hit at the right time, Katy. And it's great to find you are another Marcus Zusak fan. His gorgeous writing is an inspiration for me, not just for it's brilliance, but also because it took him seven years to get his first novel published!

  9. Wow, I was NOT expecting that! :D Thanks so much! Your blog is outstanding. Keep at it!

    1. It is a pleasure to spotlight you! your blog is wonderful, and your posts are astute, informed, and fun to read, You're the kind of reader every writer dreams of having! :)

    2. Aww, thank you! :) Every blogger loves to hear those things. ;)


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