Sunday, January 20, 2008


Okay, I've been memed by PJ Hoover (aka Tricia).

Here's the deal:

The rules are:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I'm set up on the desk in my daughter's room (parents reclaim space when kids are off at college). You don't mind do you Kelly???? See. I even asked her. Anyhow, I looked across at the bookshelf her and the first book I saw was: Calculus. I looked at the next shelf. Ahhh, Wicked sounds better.

So the boys took to swimming and rowing on the lake with the girls. Boq tried to fan in himself an interest in Shenshen or Pfannee, who certainly were coquettish enough. But they both seemed besotted with Avaric.

Well, don't remember that being in the stage production and its not that interesting. (just Boq). Let's try Calculus.

p123 Calculus

I can't type exponents -- oh well.

I'm going to refrain from tagging 5 more people. Sorry.

Jim D

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Writing Exercise - Tested

I'm happy to report the writing exercise went well on multiple levels:
  • Everyone participated and shared what they wrote.
  • The rest of us were able to guess the living thing and room in the majority of cases or at least come close.
  • One writer took the exercise to the next level and decided a ladybug wouldn't really know the names of furnature and took it upon herself to describe a four post bed --Bravo!
  • One writer commented that having a time limit showed the value of time limits to get that initial set of words down on paper.
  • Everyone had fun.
  • Everyone wants another writing exercise next month. (any good ideas???)

Two other notes:

Congrats to Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu whose novel The Shadow Speaker is a finalist for the NAACP Image Awards (to be presented Feb 14). Nnedi is an Illinois-SCBWI member. I might add she has a book signing this Sunday.

I also heard Jenny Meyerhoff's workshop on voice at the North Suburb meeting last night was fantastic. (I unfortunately wan't there.) Jenny is a member of the Class of 2k8.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Writing Exercise -- Untested

Well, since I promised a writing exercise for my SCBWI Network group, I came up with one in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. Or possibly I was awake for two minutes and then literally dreamed it up. Regardless, I had it when I woke up this morning.

Here's the exercise:

Have everyone draw slips of paper from two "hats". One slip will be a room in a house (kitchen, living room, garage, basement, etc.) and the other slip the name of a living thing other than a person that might be in the house (dog, cat, house mouse, plant, ant, etc.).

Have everyone write a paragraph in first person as that living thing describing the room. The idea is to show who and where you are (not to tell).

I'll let you know after Thursday how it goes.

On another note, Barrie from the class of 2k8 has a great blog breaking down the genre of all 28 books and when they come out. The only disappointment I saw was that we have to wait until December to read Barrie's book which happens to be a MG mystery complete with a ghost. I'm actually this week getting feedback from my most fantastic online critique group of the final section of -- you guessed the genre -- a MG ghost mystery.

Come to think of it, I have to wait until September and October respectively for Jenny Meyerhoff's and PJ Hoover's books which is also quite a while.

Check out the list at

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Two Great Sources of Writing Information

As we begin the new year, we have probably all made resolutions to improve our writing, health and happiness. I offer two places to gather writing info and potentially help out with the writing improvement category.

The first is the Class of 2k8 site. The class of 2k8 is a group of authors who are having their first book's published during 2008. I spent time last weekend looking at book descriptions/publisher with the thought in mind "What books are being accepted from new authors and by what publishers?" Also, I might add, two authors with books coming out January 8 are:
Liz Gallagher (The Opposite of Invisible)
Lisa Schroeder (I Heart You You Haunt Me)).
The second is Illinois-SCBWI's online newsletter. It contains a lot of good articles -- and there's also the one I wrote for the edition just posted (my first article contributed). You can find it in the "Fly on the Wall" section.
Happy Writing in 2008!