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Showing posts with label kidlit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kidlit. Show all posts

Thursday, May 30, 2013

#GBE2: No Comfort in My Fictional World

Although impoverished, fifteen-year-old Ben enjoys his loving mother, good friends, and the comfort of his rundown home; however, his world topples when a balding weirdo storms into his apartment, shoots his mom, and kidnaps him. He rides five hours up a rain-slicked highway to a lush mansion with sculptured bushes, the scent of blossoms from the yard, and historic paintings each overhung by a fancy light.

Although his new home says, "Enjoy comfort," Ben carries anger toward a mob father who is as cold as his apartment the day the heater broke. When Ben's temper flares, he strikes the villain and then finds himself pinned to wooden paneling while being whipped. 

From then on, Ben obeys with a passive aggression until he is tricked into performing a horrendous deed. He escapes into adventures that only a few of my friends know about because no agent has been willing to read my manuscript. Comfort is a foreign concept for my book characters.


Monday, October 15, 2012

My Distant Husband Presents A Boy

 Sorry, readers. I like this story so I decided to query it. Hopefully you can read it in a magazine.

Although I'm not blogging every day in October, I've chosen to follow a picture prompt presented by Danneromero over at My Distant Husband. She presented  the picture below and said, "Write about it." Since I write for children, this one seemed to fit me just fine. Here's my take on "A Boy."




Monday, October 1, 2012

#GBE2: Exploring POV

As a writer, I love the challenge of taking a short scene from my WIP and changing the POV, but I wonder if there is any harm in posting this scene. My manuscript has not been sold, or even queried yet, but I will be in the process of sending it out this month. Would a future agent or editor object to my 250 or so words being published on my blog? I hope not.

Charlie Brown and my little Knob have a lot in common.


I'm in the habit of writing everything in first person, so it was a fun challenge to convert a scene to third; however, the first paragraph was not too different, so I didn't even bother to repost it.



Here is a first person scene from MRS. ZIMMERMAN'S DONUTS:


Slater’s mom pulled a chisel-shaped knife out of its top drawer and leaned her head back. With the precision of a surgeon, she gently slid the blade downward until it disappeared into her throat. Next she thrust it out with one gigantic swing. Blood covered the blade while red liquid filled her mouth. Her eyes rounded as her lips curved into a smug smile. She winked at me! Blood gushed out of her mouth, and she winked! While the room spun in oval circles, I couldn’t decide if she was crazy or if I needed the loony bin.
When a thick, red droplet dribbled down her chin, I squeezed the back of a chair and stepped backwards. My pulse pounded in my ears, and I worried that I might hurl at any moment.
“You’re b-bleeding.” I gripped the chair with my other hand too until my knuckles turned as white as Mom’s had when she drove me home after I’d gotten in trouble the other day. “Hospital. We need to t-take you to the h-hospital!”
Slater, Calfie, and Mrs. Slatker laughed so hard tears filled their eyes.
“What are you laughing at? I think she’s really hurt!” I plopped into a chair, put my elbow on the table, and leaned my head into my palm. “I don’t feel so good.”
“It’s fake, Knob,” Slater said in between chuckles. “She squirted fake blood in her mouth!”



How about a brush with third person?
 
Mrs. Slatker winked at Knob, whose face had transformed to a mixture of ashen and green. He squeezed the back of a chair and placed a wobbly foot behind him.  Spastic churning bloated his belly in an achy, sick sensation.
“You’re b-bleeding.” Knob gripped the chair with his other hand until his knuckles turned white. “Hospital,” he said. “We need to t-take you to the h-hospital!”
Slater, Calfie, and Mrs. Slatker laughed so hard tears filled their eyes.
“What are you laughing at? I think she’s really hurt!” Knob plopped into a chair, put his elbow on the table, and leaned his head into his palm. “I don’t feel so good.”
“It’s fake, Knob,” Slater said in between chuckles. “She squirted fake blood in her mouth!”


Sunday, August 12, 2012

#GBE2: Two Perspectives of My Mob Story

This week's challenge is to write two separate, but related pieces. I have chosen a scene from my unpublished young adult manuscript, BEING BOMPSY CARLETTA. For those who don't know, I started this blog because I am an aspiring author. I've written five novels but haven't published any of them. Time to send out some queries.

My first passage is from Fiso Carleffa’s point of view. Fiso is the mob boss father who had recently been united with his fifteen-year-old son after twelve years of believing the kid and his mother had died in a car wreck. The story was originally written in Ben Smith's, aka Bompsy Carleffa’s, first person point of view.
 



          Bompsy's eyes widened then a bewildered expression covered his face. What had his mom been feeding him all these years? Mac and cheese? He didn’t look malnourished, but he certainly wasn’t used to eating gourmet either. “Do you like the gazpacho?” I asked.
            He dropped his spoon and looked at me like I was feeding him poison.
            “Eat it. It’s good for you.” I twirled my spoon in a circular motion until he finally took another sip. That's when I realized my own son was afraid of me. I guess I'd screwed up when I ordered his beating, but what else could I have done after he cursed and punched me? I’m his own father and the kid didn’t even know me, nor at least respect me.
            Gil brought us our pallet cleansers and once again Bompsy scrunched his brows together while staring at the sherbet.
            “You look confused.” I pointed to Bompsy's plate. “That’s a palate cleanser.”
            He clearly didn’t understand.
             “Your mom sure didn’t show you the finer things in life.” How will I ever make this boy feel at home? Maybe I should apologize for the whipping.
             “Can I be excused?” he said.
            “Now? You haven’t had dinner.”
            “I’m not up to eating.” He stared at his hands. Poor kid had chewed his nails off completely. I wanted to spend more time with him, but he obviously couldn’t wait to get away from me.
            “Very well, but learn to call this home. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll even love me like I love you.” If that boy’s mom lives, it won’t be for long.



Brent Turner

This is how I picture my character Ben/Bompsy, so this young actor can play him if he doesn't have gray hair by the time my book gets published and becomes a movie. The next bit of text is the original wording from my novel. Please read the same scene told from Ben/Bompsy's point of view and hopefully you'll see the humor in it that Fiso didn't catch.



           When I sipped the soup, I was shocked. Cold soup? All this money, and these people couldn’t heat the soup.
            “Do you like the gazpacho?” Fiso asked.
            I dropped my spoon on the table. Why would he mention the Gestapo? What was he, a modern day Nazi? Sure, doesn’t everyone like murderers? Sick. This guy’s really sick!
            “Eat it. It’s good for you.” Fiso twirled his spoon in a circular motion.
            Not wanting another beating, I forced the soup down my throat. I was a spineless wimp doing whatever that Nazi demanded. The soup left a spicy, hot taste in my mouth so I drank more water. Gil put a small scoop of sherbet in front of me. I stared at the lime mound. Dinner must’ve been over since he’d already brought dessert.
            “You look confused.” Fiso pointed to my plate. “That’s a palate cleanser.”
            I didn’t get it.

           “Your mom sure didn’t show you the finer things in life.”
            How was this a finer thing? What was I supposed to do with the light green lump? I lifted a small sample to my tongue and choked the sweet, icy food down. My full mind didn’t want to feed my empty stomach. “Can I be excused?”
            “Now? You haven’t had dinner.”
            “I’m not up to eating.” I lowered my head and stared at my fingers. I wasn’t a nail biter, yet somehow had chewed my nails down to the pink on the way to St. Louis.
            “Very well, but learn to call this home. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll even love me like I love you.”
            Love? How could that monster talk about love? He had his brother kidnap me, Mom killed, and my back scarred, but I was supposed to love him?
 
If any agents or editors are visiting my blog, BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA is available for publication, and I will send it to legitimate agencies upon request. I have also written a sequel to this novel and three other original works for children and/or teens, as well as a published story in AppleSeeds magazine. Furthermore, I am an active member of SCBWI and have completed course work at the Institute for Children's Literature.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: King of Ithaca by Tracy Barrett

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett
Ever pick up a book while thinking, I'm not going to like this but I'll give it a girl scout try; then you find yourself totally blown away from its brilliance? I'm talking about a book which might have been a catalog from a tool store as far as my interest in that subject matter was concerned. But OMG, "King of Ithaca" by Tracy Barrett is an absolutely amazing book!

Tracy took a teen, with a name I can't pronounce, and sent him on a perilous journey to find his missing father, none other than Odysseus. She threw in the wit of a stinky, cave-dwelling monster, the camaraderie of good friends, a few mythological twists, multiple near death experiences and voila, a page turner I couldn't put down. Tracy, your book is brilliant! Up there with Percy Jackson's fantastic quests but fresh in that it wasn't overdone in the area of monsters and myth. In fact, the scariest monsters were of the human variety.

I know my students will love "The King of Ithaca"; however, once one kid reads it and starts talking, it's going to become so popular in my classroom that I may have trouble prying it out of their little fingers. I've got to get Tracy to autograph my copy at the Midsouth SCBWI Conference, so do I let the little scholars circulate it or do I hold it at home until after the conference? Oy! Such a wonderful problem.

Don't forget to vote for me on the Picket Fence. Thanks!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Organizing Your Writing

I have a friend who has literally walked around for two years with an idea percolating in her head without writing a single word until the entire novel is structured and ready to go. Then there is moi. The ultimate pantser. I've tried some pre-planning for my novels but find it cumbersome, and I rarely stick to my plans anyway.

Currently, I'm enrolled in my second course at the Institute of Children's Literature with an instructor who pressures me to plan. This has been difficult at best. True, I've mapped out my work in progress (WIP), but I find myself veering away from those plans as my fingers tap the keyboard.

It's interesting to have readers sometimes comment on how they love my characters yet wonder if they are ADD. I hadn't planned them that way. :o



Recently I attended Mark Diamond's workshop on teaching writing to kids and found myself walking away with tips that are even helpful to someone like me. http://www.anyonecanwrite.com

I especially found his WOW line useful. Here's what you do:

(1) Draw a horizontal (hamburger) line across a sheet of paper.
(2) Divide said line into three equal parts. These parts represent the beginning, middle, and ending of your story.
(3) Place a star between the middle and ending of the story. This is your WOW moment. That's right! The one place where the most exciting thing happens.
(4) After jotting down your idea for the WOW moment, return to the beginning. What happened a little before the WOW moment?
(5) Next write an ending that sums up the WOW moment. You could even work out some sort of connection between the beginning and the ending because you now know what you are going to do.
(6) Finally, fill in the missing pieces of your story.

Voila!

Mr. Diamond has several books available on his site, and I was pleased to have had my school purchase all four of them for me. I especially like the one about Narrative Writing.

Being a certified pantser, I had to try this technique on a recent Monster Challenge. The competition called for a five-hundred word story about a human slaying a monster. I don't know if I'll win, but I've gotten a lot of positive reviews on my piece.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Funny Scenes in Every Day Life

After I ventured into the restroom at Cosco, I headed out with a great new idea for a comedy scene that I've since added to my work in progress (WIP). It all began when I stuck my hands into the automatic hand dryer, and I thought what would that goofy kid Slater do with this device? Next I knew, I was laughing out loud at my keyboard.

The $1,000,000 question: Do you think my scene is funny?

“Cool, Knob! Look at this.” He pointed to an automatic hand dryer with two silver slabs that faced each other. The top part had a section that curved outward to allow room for a guy to stick his hands inside. A bright yellow line did a crappy job at trying to make the machine pretty.

Slater lowered his hands into the drying machine and caused a deep swooshing sound to fill the bathroom. The motor yelled so loud, I could barely hear him speak.

“What if a guy’s hands don’t fit in this thing? I mean if he weigh six-hundred pounds or something, his fat hands ain’t fitting in here!”

“Not many people weigh six-hundred pounds.”

“But what if he some sumo wrestler or a super hero? Some guy with big old hands that wrestle alligators; he gots to dry his hands too!”

“Maybe there’s a way to push these panels out.” I patted the bottom of the machine for some sort of lever but didn’t find anything. That wasn’t good enough for Slater. He lifted his hands out, leaped onto the floor, and nosed up under the dryer. I couldn’t help but think of all the dirt on a bathroom floor.

“The floors filthy. Get up.”

Slater ignored me. “Here it is.” He flipped some kind of switch and the panels spread outward.

“I need it to dry my hands. Hope it still works.” I lowered my fingers into the dryer. Even though the panels were further apart, my hands got dry. I just had to move them around more. After I pulled them out, I rubbed the back of my dry hands.

“Hey, Knob. Watch this.” Slater lifted himself to his knees and put his head into the machine. The engine roared and noisy air shot out of the panels. The skin on Slater’s cheeks wiggled back and forth like a bulldog shaking loose jowls. As Slater giggled, he must have hit something because the panels moved inward and snapped. Slater tried to move his head out of the machine.

“It stuck, Knob. I is stuck!” As Slater opened his mouth, the dryer caught his spit and sent droplets catapulting across the bathroom floor. The inside of his cheeks ballooned out wide enough to use his face as a parachute and his eyes squinted to keep the air out. A smoky smell filtered from the machine. “Find a knob, Knob. Get me out of here!”

“Let me get help.”

“No-o-o! Some manager dude come in here and he yell!” Slater must have shouted so he could be heard over the roaring motor. “Look below! There a lever down there. Pop it!”

As much as I hated being on that dirty floor, I got on my knees and looked around for the lever. Finally I found it and freed Slater. When he stood up, his cheeks glowed red and his once centered Mohawk had shifted to the left side so that it shot out of his head like a one horned elk. Singed hair lined the tip of his Mohawk.

I hope someone will find this scene funny; but if not, I had a blast writing it!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Between Shades of Gray

I know I haven't posted in a while, and my last blog discussed the colonoscopy, but something new and wonderful is upon us come March 1. Ruta Sepetys will be releasing her first book, "Between Shades of Gray," and it's already proving to be a winner. Check out Kirkus' review: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/childrens-books/sepetys-ruta/between-shades-gray/

I'm talking about a beautiful and heart-wrenching story about Lina, a Lithuanian teen, thrust into a brutal environment by the henchmen of Joseph Stalin in the 1940s. Between Shades of Gray is a story of survival and love found in overly harsh conditions. This book reminded me of a classic like Anne Frank and is destined to go far!

Stalking the Bookshelves is giving away an ARC of this book at http://stalkingthebookshelves.blogspot.com/2011/01/arc-tour-between-shades-of-gray.html