Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Forward: Books in the Wild!

It's Friday!

TGIF, guys. This has been a really heavy week - both for me personally, because TREE PLANTING/rewriting/landscaping/kids/GAAAH, and for humans in North America. I'm compiling my thoughts on the heinous acts of a white supremacist who opened fire on nine people in Charleston, and those thoughts will follow at some point (probably on my tumblr), but for now, I think my blog post on how racism is woven throughout America's narrative will suffice.

And now for some fun!

I took The Kidlets to the bookstore on Monday, and I found some awesome books that I've been wanting to sink my claws into. So, of course, I did what anyone would do.

Where are my books? IN THE BOOKSTORE!
I took a selfie! Because, CRAZYWRITERLADY.

I was really excited to see my friend Debbie Ohi's book on the top shelf at the bookstore. This is her first solo picture book, and I am SO excited for her! (And, it's an awesome book. It's about a boy who loves books, and one day he notices that… DUN DUN DUNNNNNN… is books are disappearing! The culprit and the solution have to be some of the cutest plot twists ever. You guys need to go out and buy it, because, seriously. It's adorable.)

And look, look what else I found?

See that book on the far right? The whimsical-looking one? I have been waiting for Maggie Stiefvater's latest addition to her MG titles for aaaaaaaages. I love it when my favorite YA authors write books that I can share with The Kidlets.

And then I got to the bus stop and pulled out the IndigoKids Summer Reading Guide that one of the store people put in my bag, and look what I saw on the cover?

See that book there? The one on the bottom right-hand corner? The one that is awesome? I bought Kevin Sylvester's book, Neil Flambe and the Bard's Banquet, as soon as it came out, and Kidlet Number Two (who will henceforth be referred to as "Love Nugget") read it in an afternoon and then asked me if he could try the recipes.

THAT'S RIGHT. RECIPES. I might be even more in love with this series than I was already, and I'm thrilled that Kevin's book is on the cover of the reading guide. It totally deserves to be there, because it is amazing. Go buy it.

So, that's what I'm reading this week. How about you? What are you reading?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wednesday Writing Wisdom: Plotting Multiple Character Arcs

So, I think Wednesdays will be a good day for writing posts. Alliteration and all that, amirite? Plus, writing is the reason I have this blog, so I should probably talk about it once in a while.

These days, I’m revising my novel, which is told from the point of view of three characters. I don’t want to get into how to do all the POV switching successfully, partly because I’m still figuring that out (although I can talk about the figuring-out process), and partly because that’s a much longer blog post than I have time for right now. Maybe we can get into it after I finish this draft and pass it on to my Beta readers.

I want to talk abut plotting all those character arcs, because if plotting one is hard, plotting three is HOLY MELTING BRAIN, WHAT HAVE I DONE?! It’s a lot. Like, A LOT, a lot. It’s a lot to juggle around inside one brain.

So I take it out of my brain, and I put it down on paper. I like to do this after I’ve finished one draft, because then I have something I can really work with. (And my rough drafts are rough and messy and all-over-the-place awful, and they have my permission to be this way. So I expect to need to do this at this stage.)

So, I have my first (ROUGH) draft in front of me. I've printed it out, because that's how my brain works, but that isn't necessarily a must. I get a stack of index cards, and I go through the draft and make one index card for each scene - whose POV it’s from, the central conflict of that scene, and the progression that character makes in that scene - then I lay them all out in order. (The floor is a good place for this.) Then I pull out three highlighters - one for each of my three main characters - and I put a stripe across each card in the color of the person whose POV that scene is told from. If the main part of the action centers around a character other than the narrator for that scene, I put an additional stripe in that character’s color, but that doesn’t happen that often in this book (so far; this may change. Actually, I think I want to play with that idea... *makes note to self and files it away for later*).

ANYWAY, now I’ve got the whole novel spread out in front of me, and I’ve got nice bright highlighted sections to let me know when stuff is happening for each character. It’s really obvious if I’m ignoring a character for too long, or if one character’s climax comes at the wrong time within the novel’s progression. It’s a good way to pull back and get a big-picture look at what’s going on for each character as the novel progresses.

So, that’s one of my strategies. I hope some of you find it useful.

How about you? How do you plot multiple character arcs? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cover Reveal! Goodies! HUZZAH!

I’m just back from a whirlwind weekend at the SCBWI Canada East conference The Art of Story in Montreal - and what a conference! I saw so many people, and learned SO MUCH, and have so much to share...

But not yet, because I need to decompress and gather photos together and collect my thoughts a bit first. My post-conference post (har har, SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) will come later this week.

In the meantime, guess whose book has a final cover!

It's coming...

This girl's book!

I don't know how covers have gone for you guys, but this cover went through a LOT of changes. A LOT. But boy, do I love this version. Just look at that proboscis! Just look at the hairs on that mosquito! Just look at that blood-filled abdomen!


But I love it. I am giddy with cover love.

And look what the UPS man brought me? GOODIES!

Witness my two-tone gorgeousness!

I ordered this awesome tote bag and hat to promote my book! In case you don't know yet, BITE INTO BLOODSUCKERS is the non-fiction book for 7-11 year-olds that I wrote with Kari-Lynn Winters. I got the bag and hat from Vistaprint, and I just LOVE them! Aren’t they gorgeous? (Well, okay - the mosquito isn’t gorgeous. But the MATERIAL is gorgeous! I love the two-tone look.) The tote bag is made of sturdy canvas, and it’s big enough to hold ALL THE THINGS. It’s going to be perfect to bring to school visits! And the hat is just perfect for summer weather!

I am going to be carrying this bag and wearing this hat EVERYWHERE!

To find out more about BITE INTO BLOODSUCKERS (my first book!), which is coming SOON, and to pre-order a copy, check it out online at Amazon, Chapters, and Books-A-Million. (You guys! BOOKS-A-MILLION!!!)

Thanks for your support, and thanks for stopping by!