Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

'Lil Bit 'O News

Guess what?

I survived the Yalitchat Pitch Slam. In fact, I actually am one of the finalists for my pitch of OVER THE DEEP FRIED RAINBOW. It took me about twenty-four hours to lift my jawbone off the pavement. I would like to officially apologize to my friend, Diane for whacking her in the arm a little too hard when I saw my name listed.

Congratulations to all my fellow finalists. Here’s a “Whoo – hoo” for all of you.

For anyone reading this, I’m not opposed to you dancing naked in the forest or partaking in any other Pagan ritual of good luck, good vibes, or good juju to support my chances in the final leg of my pitch slam journey.

And now for something completely different… (Yes, besides being a Star Wars and Lord of the Ring geek, I’m also a ridiculously devoted Monty Python fan.)

Thank you to C. Lee McKenzie over at the The Write Game for the Versatile Blogger award.

There’s a lot of responsibility with this award and I have a frightening amount of papers to grade so instead of naming specific blogs to pass the award to, I’d like to change up the equation.

Check out blogs I follow in my profile and find some new friends to visit.

Here are my 7 random facts:
  1. My Christmas tree is still up. It's a perpetual pine, but the cat still eats the needles and vomits.
  2. I’m trying to put my cat on a diet.
  3. Bugs don’t freak me out.
  4. My first car was that version of a Pinto that would explode if it was rear ended, yet my parents claim they weren't trying to off me.
  5. I’m tone deaf, so of course I love to sing at the top of my lungs.
  6. I believe David Tennant was the best Dr. Who ever.
  7. My southern roots cause me to use done as a helping verb on some occasions. Example: “I done finished the magazine in the outhouse.” 

Have a kickin’ week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Windup and The Pitch

Welcome to you wonderful new followers.
 Thank you for coming aboard.

This week I left my comfort zone. 
I entered my first pitch slam at
and boy am I glad I did.

Don't get me wrong, my fingers quivered over the keys and I got "that" feeling in my stomach. I knew I was stepping up to the mound and tossing one out IN PUBLIC. Yikes.

I crossed everything that wasn't painful or unnatural, hoping the judges wouldn't throw me out of the game.

Why did I do it? Well, my mama didn't raise no fools except for my brothers. Here was a chance to get not one, not two, but three critiques on my pitch. Yes, the dreaded pitch, the all important grabber that must enchant an agent or editor if my work is ever going to leave the batter's box. 

I want to learn how to throw a pitch that will allow my MS a chance to be hit out of the park.

Not one like this.

The Yalitchat pitch slam has done just that. I am rounding the bases of inspired pitches and home run comments by the judges.

Treat yourself and head over to the Pitch Slam for a fantastic education and grand slam examples in the art of the pitch.

I kneel before Yalitchat in gratitude for the opportunity to learn how to launch a perfect pitch. Thank you.

And next time you have a chance to leave your writing comfort zone - DO IT

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

View From the 5th Grade Trenches - January 2012 - READ-WRITE-THINK

One of the many benefits of being a teacher and a writer is information crossover. Often resources intended for my students pop out as ongoing writing education for myself. One of my favorite places for learning is: 

 READ-WRITE-THINK brought to you by International Reading Association, NCTE, and Thinkfinity by Verizon, is treasure trove of writing lessons for students. To me it’s a magical index, worthy of being a volume in Hogwart’s library, where I can explore very specific aspects of writing that I may need to focus on at any given time. Often these lessons give an explicit explanation of what we know inherently, and by doing that sharpen that specific skill in our arsenal of writing talents.

Here’s a snipet from a lesson on DEFINING CHARACTERIZATION that focused on the difference between DIRECT and INDIRECT characterization. This information is also a good snapshot of telling vs. showing.

DIRECT - Defines character though TELLING.
The patient boy and quiet girl were both well mannered and did not disobey their mother."

INDIRECT - Shows things that reveal the personality of the character using the five methods of: Speech/Thought/Effect on others/Actions/Looks
***Acronym Alert*** - STEAL

The lessons may seem simplistic to we wise literary tribal elders, but sometimes a simple quick check up is all we need to smooth over a writing snag or answer a puzzling technical question.

Here are a few lessons you can peek at to get a feel for the site and its value.

This site is definitely worth a bookmark in your craft folder.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How Do You Spell Rejection?

Let's face it. No matter how thick-skinned or glass half full we have become in the face of rejection as writers, a "no" still tugs at our heart and casts a shadow over our optimism. Querying, whether it be to agents or editors, renders the creative persona fragile.

So how do we persevere and keep on the query road when a mist of negativity nips at our heels?

Here's one exercise that has worked for me. I remember it through the acronym FREE, because it frees me from the elephant of rejection that likes to perch on my chest.

F - FILE those rejections that have either constructive or complementary points in a folder.

R - REMEMBER a "no" is one step closer to a "yes."

E - EXTRACT the specific positive statements from your saved "no thank you" responses

E - EXPRESS those statements visually by:

1. Creating a document that mimics the reviews that flash on TV for a movie.

"A well-crafted love story. Confident writing."
Agent/Editor Name Here

2. Go play on Wordle and create a graphic of your kudos.

Never give up. You deserve the dream.

What do you do to hang in there?

photo credit