And no, it’s not a silly question!
In the Teenage Novelist: Publishing class, I always start by saying, “Read and read and read; write and write and write.” It’s pretty hard to write publishable material if you’re not reading. That sounds like a no-brainer, but I know plenty of people who want to write books, but get all their stories from movies and television. I love movies and television (and we watch a lot of them in Geek Fiction Writing for Teens),
» Read more about: Teens Ask “How Do I Get Published?” »
“Katherine brings life and excitement to what she teaches and interacts with me and the other students in a truly honest, personable way.”
–Samantha Meuller, BCCE blog.
Another reason I love my life: Every summer, I spend a month with several dozen glorious teens who write for the joy of it. Different classes every week. Many take several; some take every one. We laugh,
» Read more about: Summer Writing Classes for Teens! »
Make sure your scene answers these questions before your reader asks them, unless you are deliberately withholding that information to build tension. (For more keys, join us in the Scene-Weaving class! Or, if you’re a teen, try Teenage Novelist: Scenes and Dreams!)
1. Where am I?
- Orient your reader throughout the scene so that your characters are not just “talking heads”
- Sensory detail
- References to small,
» Read more about: Three Keys to Scene-Weaving »
This poem, by Jim Hall, is one of my favorite mashups, and I often read it in Talking to Your Characters and in Teen Poets at Bellevue College.
To see Jim Hall’s take on his poem, as well as the entire poem printed out, go here.
Another game to try! Do one OR MORE of the following:
» Read more about: Character Mashup–“Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem, Too” »
Twelve and a half weeks ago I loaned my best friend a set of “Cooking with Salt” DVDs, which were a gift from my former best friend. I have asked her every week if she is done with them. Seven weeks ago, my boyfriend began cooking everything with salt. He said he was experimenting. Five weeks ago, while searching my best friend’s apartment for my DVD set,
» Read more about: Talking to Your Characters–Give Them a “Dear Character” Column »
Dancing on the Razor’s Edge
You speak in riddles because
You ache to speak.
You ache for space
To expand and contract.
You cast your words into the chasm,
To be caught by one
Whose breathing holds your breath.
When your foot finds the brink
You ask the air
» Read more about: Game of Poems »
You’ll have Doctor Who for homework!!!
Here’s what I’m offering at Bellevue College in the Spring (Registration probably begins in March):
Geek Fiction Writing
This course analyzes popular sci-fi, fantasy, superhero and dystopian screen favorites to discover what makes them tick. Then we use these tools of excellent storytelling in our own original fiction. This is a step beyond fanfic, as you’ll create characters and worlds that are wholly your own.
» Read more about: “Geek Fiction” and Other Writing Classes this Spring at Bellevue College »
This is a course description for a poetry class I hope to offer this summer at Bellevue College.
Teen Poet: Dancing on the Razor’s Edge
Poetry is dangerous. The instructor urges extreme caution. Bring paper, pens and words (caged if necessary). Hear the work of young poets, published and unpublished and then let your own words out. Cut through the steel bars and let loose what you really want to say.
» Read more about: Dancing on the Razor’s Edge »
Marvin Whickpucket refuses to behave. When you want him to defeat the evil Onchnu, he won’t. Instead, he sits on the couch, surfs cable and eats potato skins.
“This is boring!” you tell him. “Why are you acting this way?”
“I miss Ilandra,” he says. “We had a fight. She said we were through.”
“Why didn’t you TELL me?” you say, incredulous.
» Read more about: 3 Ways to Coax Secrets out of Your Characters »
I don’t know about you, but after years of writing, I notice that I get into a stylistic rut. As I have mentioned before on this blog, the solution is theft. Today I’m going to steal from author Janet Lee Carey, creator of Dragon’s Keep, The Beast of Noor, Dragonswood and many other books. This particular bit of larceny is from The Beast of Noor.
» Read more about: In a Writing Rut? Steal from Another Author (but not really.) »