Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Breaking A Writing Block

Sometimes you're stuck and have no idea what to write next. Or maybe you feel like writing, but your brain isn't cooperating. Whether you call it writer's block or just a bad day at the keyboard, it's hard to be creative when the words won't flow. Here are a few ways that some of the MiG Writers cope:

Kate Fall: Sometimes writing longhand with pen and a notebook gets me out of
writer's block. Sometimes I get writer's block because I'm not sure about the plot, so I try to identify exactly what's bothering me and if I need to do some research. Talking things out with my writer friends can help too.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi:  I find deadlines really help. If I don't have a formal deadline (like a book contract), then I set regular deadlines with myself or with an accountability partner. I find that setting deadlines with myself doesn't always work because it's too easy to change them. At least if you set them with someone else, there's a pride factor involved.

Carmella Van Vleet: When I'm stuck, often times I take a break and head to taekwondo class. When I'm there, my mind has to be fully focused. (It's why I loved doing yoga a few years back, too.) When my brain is forced to be elsewhere for an hour or two, I find that I'm oddly ready to go back to work and full of ideas. Another trick that I heard about recently and have had success with is simply saying "Hmmmm" out loud. I know it sounds corny but it helps!

Andrea Mack: What usually helps me is to think more deeply about where I’m trying to go with my story. I’ll revisit my story plan and maybe even do some editing on an earlier part of the story. If that doesn’t get me back into the story world and writing again, then I brainstorm. I ask myself, “What could happen next?” and write down all the possibilities. That usually sparks something that gets me going.

What's your secret for getting past a writing block?
P.S. We're still waiting for Wysefyre to e-mail us to claim the prize, Pie by Sarah Weeks, from our "Growth Spurt" contest. Wysefyre, if you're out there, you have until Friday Oct. 28th to claim your prize. Otherwise, we'll draw another winner.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why Do You Write YA or MG?

The Writer
 Writing MG or YA is the reason we got together. But what drew us to write for kids in these age levels?

  Carmella Van Vleet: I write in these genres because these are the kind of books I love to read. I don't frequently connect with books written for adults. I fell in love with reading with YA and MG books and so it's easy for me to channel my younger self.

It helps that I have teenagers and a front row seat to how today's kids talk and think and what they're going through. But I think I'd write YA and MG anyway. There's just something universal and cool about our formative years. Besides, kids are the toughest and smartest audience around and I like that challenge.

  Debbie Ridpath Ohi: I write MG and YA because, as Carmella says, these are kinds of books that I enjoy reading the most. When I buy these books at bookstores or borrow a pile of these at the library, sometimes I'll get comments from people assuming the books are for my kids, or for market research.

 I write MG and YA because I remember how much some of these books affected me as a young person, in so many different and positive ways. I do read "grown-up" books as well nowadays, but I always end up being drawn back to MG/YA because for me, the latter tend to have stronger stories, more likeable characters and more hope.

  Andrea Mack: I started writing for my own children and my nieces when they were toddlers. Beginning with picture books was challenging, to say the least. As my girls got older (and after many rejections for picture book manuscripts), I decided to try writing a MG novel. Since then, I’ve written four of them.

 Even though my girls are now moving on to reading YA, I think I’ll stick with MG. I like the chance to think like a kid. Plus, I haven’t grown tired of learning about how to write MG, even though my rejection responses are starting to pile up. I just wish I could learn and write faster!

  Christina Farley: I write MG and YA because those are my favorite genres to read. I love how these books strip away all the fat and get right into the story. These books seek adventure, romance, and mystery while at the same time explore life and deal with difficult issues.

  What age level do you write for? What draws you to it?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

And now for the winners...

Thank you so much for the great response to our Growth Spurt campaign!! 
I was so excited to see 29 comments and that my post educated or moved people to follow up with their children’s pediatricians about concerns. Many people - unless they know someone with a growth disorder - aren’t aware that being on the small side can be a warning sign. We tend to think, “Well, I’m short” or “I was a late bloomer.” But it’s worth checking out. If I hadn’t listened to my instincts (and had an on-the-ball pediatrician) I might have missed the opportunity to help my daughter reach her full height and best health. 
I’ll give “one to grow on” (get it?! :-) ) so my total donation will be $30 to MAGIC for all our your comments. This amount will help cover a year membership to the organization for some family in need. So look what you did by just taking a moment to respond!
And now for the prizes. I asked my son to call out six random numbers to determine the winners of the books. Here they are:
Anne M. Leone - The Literary Ladies by Nava Atlas
Ani Louise - Today I Will by Eileen and Jerry Spinelli
Viox - Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Wysefyre - Pie by Sarah Weeks
Rose Green  - Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going 
Susanna Leonard Hill - Nothing But the Truth and a Few White Lies by Justina Chen Headley
If you are a winner, we will be contacting you soon. If you don’t hear from us, please feel free to follow up at migwriters(AT)gmail(DOT)com. 

[Edited to add: I was able to send emails to everyone except Rose and Wysefyre. Please contact us so we can get your addresses. Thanks.] 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life - by Nava Atlas




The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life

Author: Nava Atlas

Hardcover, 192 pages

Published April 12th 2011 by Sellers Publishing Inc


I recently finished reading (& thoroughly enjoying) The Literary Ladies' Guide to the Writing Life by Nava Atlas.  Beautifully designed, with glossy pages are packed with illustrations, vintage photos, quotes, insights and advice from twelve celebrated women writers like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Madeleine L'Engle, Anais Nin, George Sand, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf.

It's not a book you need to read from cover to cover. It's the type of book you can dip into anywhere and read a few pages at a time.

This would a fantastic gift for a writer friend.

I'm donating my review copy (which I kept in pristine condition!) to Carmella's book prize draw. To enter, just post a comment at the end of Carmella's "Growth Spurt" post. Not only will you be entered in the draw, but Carmella will donate $1 to the MAGIC Foundation. But hurry! This offer & draw ends tomorrow (Oct 7th).

-- Debbie