Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

View From the 5th Grade Trenches - October 2011 - I'd Like to Read About...

The kids in my class are reading maniacs. They have accepted our principal's challenge to read 30 books each between August and June. 

When I asked what kind of books they'd like to see, here's what they told me:

I'd like to read a book about...
...a homeless boy who builds something that will be passed on for generations
...a soldier who finds an abandoned bunker filled with robots
...a frog named Andy who goes on a space adventure to Venus and meets an alien named Moe
...a modern kid lost in prehistoric times
...a talent show
...a fifth grader who solves the mystery of bank robbery in his town
...a girl who explores the Costa Rican forest
...Santa Claus and a leprechaun who are stuck in Halloween 
...a funny story about the gold rush
...a fifth grader who falls off a cruise ship and gets stranded on an island
...a fifth grade boy who loses his sports ability when he makes fun of a witch in Las Vegas

Okay all you MG authors. Get writing. Can you say, "NaNo?"

If you write it, they will come.

photo credit

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And the Beauty Queen is...

...Vicki Tremper

Congratulations to a gal who swears in French while she's doing the Argentine tango. Does it get better than that? I don't think so.

Vicki - Prepare to laugh until your stomach cramps.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Celebrating BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray

Here goes my very first blog contest, and I’m totally nervous. Does my hair look OK? Is there anything in my teeth? Does my butt look big in this post? I need to be pretty.


I am an audiobook nut, especially when the author is the one reading the story. BEAUTY QUEENS is hands down my best ride through an audiobook EVER! I was laughing so hard at Libba Bray’s narration that I got lost in Fresno for over an hour on my way back from Yosemite. This hilarious story is well worth the mileage and confusion.

Libba’s performance is one of a kind and takes this brilliant comedic romp to a whole new level. At the SCBWI-LA conference I had the privilege of meeting Libba, and she graciously 
re-enacted a few lines from my favorite character in the book, Tiara. That memory is now my happy place.

BEAUTY QUEENS is more than a snort-laugh inducing treat. It also shares the journey of the girls as they discover who they truly are. Great message for our teens. Thank you Libba for this story that is sparkly gold with a chocolate center.

Laugh with me if you will by watching this BEAUTY QUEENS VIDEO starring Libba Bray herself.


 Pretty Prize – A copy of BEAUTY QUEENS autographed by Libba Bray.

*Throws Confetti, blows a bugle, and marches around the room with a baton*

Many of the contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant share a Fun Fact page with us in the book. Here’s mine:

Name: Leslie S. Rose
State: The voices tell me I’m normal.
Age: Old enough to be stalked by AARP.
Height: 2 inches shorter than my dream of 5’6”
Weight: In pounds or stones?
Hair: What day is it? Okay, blonde.
Eyes: The paint chip from Home Depot says cinder block blue - so pretty
Best Feature: My Star Wars memorabilia collection

Fun Facts About Me
  • ·      I have a titanium hip, but magnets don’t stick to me so what's the point in having it?
  • ·      I used to be able to do a back bend, grab my ankles and walk. If only the Corporation had invented Cirque du Soleil back then.
  • ·      Once a Shetland pony bit me.

Leave a comment below telling all of us a Fun Fact about you. Comments must be in by midnight EST on Monday, October 24th. The winner will be drawn at random and announced starting October 25th on each of the celebrating blogs. Don't forget to leave your email. My apology to the international blogging community, but this is a US only contest.

Go to the BEAUTY QUEENS posts on the blog links of my awesome (and pretty) writing buds below to share more fun facts and earn two more chances to win our fabulous prize. You can earn an entry for your comment on each of the three celebrating blogs.

Stay pretty.

Audible. com on BEAUTY QUEENS:
The 50 contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Designing a Character: Using Texture

Texture connects us directly with our senses of sight and touch.  Discovering the feel of hard vs. soft, smooth vs. rough, or shiny vs. dull, gives us information about the world, through our fingers and eyes.  As a general perception, we are drawn to soft, smooth, and shiny, while hard, dull, and rough aren’t always as desirable. 

How does imposing texture add dimension to your character?  Do you want them to be appealing, or dangerous?  Is their texture deceptive to their true nature, or an affirmation of who they really are?  Every character has an exterior and interior landscape.  Are these layers of their texture contrasting or complementary?  Do your character’s textures come out in touchable form, such as clothing, or are they reflected in speech, action, and expression?                          

Back to Harry Potter for a peek at texture.  I see Voldemort as a black charred core, surrounded by a slick metallic coating, covered in gashes with knife-sharp edges.  

Be a texture seeker.  Mentally sculpt your character with materials that reveal them.  See what nuances you may discover.   

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Designing a Character: Using Color Schemes

Individual colors each have their own subjective emotional impact, but start putting them together and you can create dramatic, sympathetic, or powerful structures.  Assign your characters colors and then play with combining them into scenes to create discord, harmony, mystery, or chaos.   

Monochromatic – This is when you take a single color and add either black or white to it.  Think of it as the shadings of your character.  Your protagonist might start out their journey as a primary blue until the obstacles they face darken them into a more mysterious midnight shade.  On the other hand, a character may lose burdens and lighten into a powder or sky blue, moving closer to the white end of the spectrum.

Triads – Play colors like chords on the piano, three notes of different hues.  The color triad of red, yellow, and orange stimulates appetite.  Think about the color scheme of many fast food restaurants.  These three colors are also high value, suggesting energy and vitality.  I imagine three teen friends on an adventure when I think of this triad. (Probably all boys, stopping to eat often at fast food restaurants)

The triad black, white, and red radiates power, and may suggest villainy.  Picture the flag of Hitler’s Third Reich.  

Complimentary – Colors in opposite positions on the color wheel work against each other in dynamic harmony, red/green, orange/ blue, yellow/purple.  Complimentary schemes may signal conflict between characters.  Picture a romantic entanglement where opposites attract and join for an exciting relationship.

Analogous – Any neighboring colors on the color wheel – ex: purple/magenta/red or blue/turquoise/green.  You feel them fading in to one another and getting along.  An analogous scheme may signify the calm family life of a character before their quest/problem throws their life into turmoil.  At journey’s end analogous colors reflect the happy well-balanced land to which a hero returns in triumph after slaying literal or figurative dragons. 

Go check out Color Scheme Designer and play with color combos of your own.