Wednesday, August 20, 2008


People often ask if my kids care that I write about them. Let's ask them, shall we? KIDS! IF YOU READ THIS, PLEASE POST A RESPONSE!

I can promise you that they won't be posting a response any time soon. Which is why I've felt free to write about them all these years. They don't read what I write.

Actually, people never recognize themselves when you turn them into characters. Why? We see ourselves differently than others do, I think.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I shoulda taken my own advice . . .

Finished a column and sent it off posthaste to the Des News. Didn't let it cool off. Didn't read it aloud. Thought it was fine.
I just now read it to my husband AND IT WAS FULL OF MISTAKES. Okay. I'm embarrassed. And now I have to send the paper a revised revision . . .

On a much happier note, The King's English (fabulous bookstore) is hosting a super event this weekend at the Anderson Branch Library here in Salt Lake. Many muy of our local authors will be there signing their new releases. How's this for a line-up?Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Nathan Hale, James Dashner, Jessica Day George, Mette Ivie Harrison, Kimberly Heuston, Sara Zarr, and moi.

Join us!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Kind of Journal

My friend Stephanie Rosenfeld (also a writer--her short story collection WHAT ABOUT THE LOVE PART is one of my favorites) inspired me to keep a Writer's Journal. Here's the idea. After you finish writing, take ten minutes to note in your journal what kind of experience you had that day. How much did you write? What problems did you solve? What problems do you have to solve still? And most important, how do you feel about your work?

Later, when you've finished (and even published!) your manuscript, you can look back at the journal and realize that you were able to power through the tough times. You'll have that most useful of tools--perspective.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Revising . . .

A YA writer I admire a lot, Meg Cabot, made the comment she doesn't like to revise. Or at least I think I remember reading that somewhere (my apologies if I've misrepresented Ms. Cabot). Anyhoo. It occurred to me today that, actually, I DO like to revise. Why? Because I already have a manuscript (mine) in front of me, thus eliminating the sheer terror I experience in front of a blank screen.

Revising. It's a good thing.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Arty Awards!

So, this is kind of cool. THE LOSER'S GUIDE was nominated by our local indy newspaper (CITY WEEKLY) for an Arty Award (see explanation, as well as voting procedure at SWEETHEARTS (another YA novel!) by the terrific and talented Sara Zarr was also nominated.

I have to say that I'm really honored. There's something very, very nice about the recognition you receive from the people who work in your field in your town.

Okay. Bragging time over.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Writer's Block Revisited

Must. Write. Today.

But I don't feel like it because I'm pretty sure I'll write crap. Still. I better get busy. I can write for fifteen minutes. Just fifteen minutes. That's all. Anyone can write for FIFTEEN MINUTES.

At the end of fifteen minutes I'll see how I feel.

And that's Tip #2 for dealing with Writer's Block.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Publish or Perish

That's what it says on the cover of a notebook given to me by my friend Lisa Adams. And it's true that sometimes we writers think we absolutely WILL perish if we. don't. get. something. published. I'll be honest. I LOVE to see myself in print.

But here's the deal. After doing this for years (and having some success on the publishing front), I've learned that there are things that are way, way, way more important than publication. When I'm really feeling the love, I'll even say stuff like "I have five kids and twelve books to my credit, but I'd rather have twelve kids and five books."

Which isn't true. Twelve kids would kill me. Especially the laundry and feeding part. But still. I mean it while I'm in the moment.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cooling Off

Yeah. It's summer. AND IT'S HOT. But that's not what this post is about. I'm talking about letting your manuscript cool down before you send it out into the world. Finish a draft. Put it away. Come back to it later. (Um. I returned to THE LOSER'S GUIDE three or four years after I'd written it, for example.)

No doubt you've received this advice before--but that's because it's truly excellent advice. I'm always way happier with the columns I set aside for a day than the ones I send off to the paper (THE DESERET NEWS) as soon as I'm finished.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Books In Reserve

My friend and most excellent middle school librarian Jeannie Keddington introduced me to the concept of "a reserve pile"--a pile of books you KNOW you're going to love that you've put aside for a rainy day. Or a day when you've overdrawn at the bank or totaled your car or discovered that your identity has been stolen. The reserve pile is for the kind of day when you really, really, REALLY absolutely must escape into a fabulous novel.

Books currently in my reserve pile: SORCERY & CECELIA OR THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, GREEN GROWS THE CITY by Beverly Nichols, and PRINCE OF CLOUDS by Gianni Riotta.