With the humidity, it feels as if it’s over 90ºF here in the DMV. So find yourself some AC, a fan, and a cold glass of lemonade and get busy reading some phenomenal books. (I’m hoping that my students read at least one this summer!)
Here are some middle-grade and YA that I’ve loved over the past few weeks. If there’s a date on it, that means it’s an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy). A few of those won’t be out for purchase until the fall.
Here’s my To Be Read (TBR) pile. It keeps getting bigger, but I’m trying to use the library too. Some came out last year and some are brand new. If you read any, leave me a message and tell me what you thought.
I’m currently in the Research & Development phase of my Work In Progress which reminds me of the character Conrad (Jason Bateman) in the movie The Longest Week:
Narrator: …At present, he was working on his magnum opus – a great New York novel in the tradition of Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton. It was widely speculated as to where he was in the process of writing it. When asked, he would simply reply…
Narrator: Conrad had been in the “gathering stages”for several years now.
This seed has been around for several years as well, but for various reasons the time has come to push it to the front of the idea list. The idea includes a time travel/historical element and since that has been done before it is hard to make it not derivative. These concerns keep putting me off, and yet, I keep coming back to the drawing board.
The actual act of time travel requires many world building solutions to everyday questions: what’s so special about this character that s/t/he/y gets to travel through time, what is the time travelers purpose when s/t/he/y is in another time, why time travel and not just historical fiction, how does the time travel work, does it work only to a single specific time/multiple times/past & future, can the traveler go back & forth or forward & back at will, can the traveler determine the time before s/t/he/y go, how does the main character return? (I’ve been reading and watching a lot of time travel movies/shows.)
Here’s a quick list (to organize my thoughts) of how time travel tends to work in fiction.
Time Machine or device (Back to the Future, Bill & Ted, Annum Guard Series (YA), Into the Dim (YA series). This allows the character to go to different pre-set times/worlds unless something happens to the device. TARDIS.)
Geometric (tesseract ala A Wrinkle in Time)
Rip in universe
Time ray (comics often villain has this)
Weather or Earth event
Interaction with Future Traveler who has superior technology
Endowed Magical Object/Person:
Book (Magic Tree House series: Morgan Le Fay is “Time Librarian.” Inkheart series. Really world traveling but still.)
Since my last post there have been a lot of changes in my personal life. Changes that I’m not going to go into here. Suffice it to say they have taken up a lot of my brain and heart space and so blogging has been low on the priority list.
What came in high on the priority list this week was my workshop preparation for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. That presentation, “Desire in the Middle Grade and Young Adult Novel,” went very well (if I do say so myself). I was honored to spend the day with seven aspiring writers who braved five hours with me at the Patten Free Library in Bath, ME. Together we explored model texts including Julie Berry’s; All The Truth That’s In Me, Linda Urban’s, A Crooked Kind of Perfect; Ingrid Law’s, Savvy; and Alan Cumyn’s, Tilt.
We asked questions, challenged ideas, reviewed manuscripts, wrote, revised, and even meditated. The day was a success!
Now I’m looking forward to my next presentation. May 2nd, I’ll be at the NESCBWI Annual Spring Conference presenting a workshop called, “Active Mind, Active Body.” We’ll be exploring the connection between physical activity and creativity, developing physical and creative goals, and crafting plans to achieve our goals. Finally, we’ll be doing some gentle physical activity (stretching, dance, yoga) to jump start fun writing activities. Register today!
If you were in my workshop today, share your learning, a new epiphany, or something that went well in the comments below.
If you are coming to NESCBWI New England introduce yourself in the comments and get your own badge here.