Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Finished EGGS the other night. A great character study. Though I felt that nothing really drove the story hard enough, needed more plot, more happenings, more scenes with drive and purpose. David and Primrose (loved their quirkiness), the main characters, basically argued and acted like brother/sister the entire way through until the end. I get that both of them come from tough situations but the only thing driving the story is their fickle friendship and David not wanting to see a sunset and wanting his Mom to come back....
Sorry, David, it ain’t happening.
I wanted Primrose’s mom to become meaningful in David's life but she was, according to both David and Primrose, nothing but a fortune-telling “crackpot.”
And where is David’s dad throughout the story? Working in Connecticut. So David's grandma, who David hates, watches him throughout the week.
There are fantastic exchanges between David and Primrose and scene descriptions in Spinelli-like fashion. He creates so much with so few words. A master at work.
However, I wanted more from this story. More resolution. I didn't feel fully satisfied after reading the last page. Felt like when the credits rolled to Revolutionary Road, a movie that I really liked. The ending left my insides in turmoil. EGGS didn't quite leave me in turmoil but it didn't leave me with any character change. I envisioned the characters keeping on like they are. They didn't grow enough. I know it's hard to change that much when you're 9 and 13 years-old, but isn't that what characters do? They change on the page right in front of our shifting eyes.
Hate to critique Spinelli, a Newbery winner and writer who has had his finger on the pulse of middle grade readers for years, but everyone needs a good rib shot every once in a while. It's what keeps our fingers tapping and stories flowing in a better, more efficient way.
Jerry, if you're reading (which I'm 100% sure you're not), don't take this random thought compilation to heart, I've had plenty of rib shots. But I've recovered from them all.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Look at the common behavioral characteristics of these birds and I bet you'll find some similarities to many, or all, of your fictional characters. You know the ones, those characters you create that keep you up at night because they're so quirky and likable or evil and detestable that you can't stop thinking about them. You might even find that a bird closely resembles one of your relatives (especially your in-laws) or a dear friend (like the one who laughs annoyingly but you can't bring yourself to say anything about it). Is it really worth saying anything?
5. HOUSE WREN - overconfident; daring; bold; likable
Friday, February 6, 2009
On to writing stuff: I've put my completed middle grade novel CROSSING CHALK aside for a while. Why?
1. Because I'm happy with the state it's in...
2. which means in reality it probably stinks like hot garbage,
3. and I need some major time away from it.
4. I'm waiting on 4 agents' responses, 3 of them have fulls, 1 has 3 chapters.
5. I've started 2 other middle-grade novels (titles are on the right hand column of this blog under Working On) and I can't wait to really get into them or at least one of them.
I think there's no easy way to approach a new story that's been evolving in your mind and needs to be released. Maybe the best thing to do is dive in, head first. So I'm going to do that and hope I don't drown.
Here's a couple other things I want to mention:
1. Ben Esch is cool. Check out his website and forthcoming debut YA novel Sophomore Undercover. Also, play the video game on his website. It's fun and not easy. Still wondering where those three hours went yesterday.
2. Paul Michael Murphy is also cool. He teaches, he writes, he's funny. Reminds me of someone else I know.
Lastly: If you like this blog, you can follow it. Check out the follow option on the right-hand column.