Monthly Archives: October 2012

Nanowrimo Kickoff and Writing Workshop Report Card

So, we’re in the blocks ready-set for the start of National Novel Writing Month tomorrow. With my first installment of The Mis(s)fits at the querying stage I’m excited to jump into a new project – Succotashtrophe, a middle-grade sci-fi adventure. I look forward to Nanowrimo as a way to bring more to the forefront (as I still have that necessary day job), and reaffirm my commitment to the craft. What you may not realize is that it is also a great way to get any young people in your household writing too! In my experience natural talents and affinities start to show up early, and the ability to write well is a necessary skill in any profession.

Did you know that Nanowrimo has some seriously great tools for young writers? They have a wonderful set of worksheets on plot, character development, setting – everything.  If you’ve already planned to participate, think about daring a young writer to join you with their own project!

Speaking of learning, as you might recall I signed up for three different workshop experiences a few months ago. Now that I’ve completed them I wanted to pass my take on to you.

Skillshare: Humor Writing ($12)

Skillshare is a website offering a range of online classes on a wide variety of topics. Since it was reasonably priced, I signed up for a five-week class as an experiment. Each week we received reading assignments (generally three). The second week we had to submit a 500-word piece as a first draft, which we would polish over the rest of the time. The teacher offered several short sets of online office hours, where you could ask any questions but they never worked for my schedule. For the first two weeks I diligently completed the reading assignments and turned in my first draft by the deadline. I received one comment and three likes from fellow online classmates. In the larger metro areas groups formed and met in person for critiques, but that’s not an option for me here a good two hours from the nearest reasonably urban area. The online reading assignments continued to arrive, but with so little feedback from the class and none from the teacher (I had expected that she would read our first drafts) I quickly lost interest. I would fail this alternative but the experience of the 500-word piece was somewhat valuable. If you don’t belong to a critique already and you live in a metropolitan area you might find it more valuable.

Skillshare Online Humor Writing Class: D


SCBWI Fall Conference (Greektown) $300+ when you include travel expenses

As a relatively new member, this was my first SCBWI experience. I arrived early to take a writing workshop with Libba Bray. The following day we had the full SCBWI program with Libba Bray, her husband/agent Barry Goldblatt and her editor Alvina Ling. I made an effort to meet as many new members as possible during the breaks, but it would have been nice to get a sticker on my badge or something so other attendees could recognize me as a new member. Libba’s sessions were wonderful, she gave us a series of writing prompts with time to just write with no inhibitions. I have never used writing prompts in the past but after seeing the results I’m going to make an effort to make them a more steady habit. Alvina Ling typically does not accept unagented work, but she gave attendees a submission window, which was a nice little perk.

SCBWI Fall Conference: B+


Writers Digest Crafting MG/YA for Today’s Market with Mary Kole ($75)

This was a 90-minute online webinar. While it was closed to interactive questions, you could submit a question. All Q&A, plus an archived copy of the presentation, is to arrive via email within a week. This was a good session, I did learn a few things and it neatly summarized many of the conclusions I’ve pieced together from other editing reviews and workshops. The class includes a personalized two-page critique from Mary Kole with the end product to arrive by late January.

Writers Digest Mary Kole Webinar: Incomplete (I will grade this session once I receive my critique.)

Contest Treats!

Halloween came early to this doorstep with not one, but two contest treats! Not only did I make the agent round at the fab, Miss Snark punched my golden ticket for the October Secret Agent contest! Amazing.

I wrote an entry for the Trick or Treat with Agents contest, but since I’ve been so lucky lately I thought I’d just post it here instead for fun.

Celia Narro’s Costume:   So last year my friends and I all went as a flash mob of Bollywood dancers. It. killed. Since there’s no way anyone here is that fun I’m going to dress up as Karina Smirnoff from Dancing with the Stars and hand out candy under a disco ball with the music blasting. It’s my favorite show and she’s my favorite dancer because she’s exotic and fabulous – even when she’s stuck with dorks for partners. Plus, it’s an excuse to wear heels.

Thank you for the support everyone!

Hook, Line & Sinker Round Two!

I am humbled and honored to move on to round two in Dee Romito’s Hook, Line and Sinker contest at There were so many great entries – I know I saw a lot of hooks that I would like to read some day!

So thank you to everyone who voted my entry on and then decided to swing by the ‘ol blog here.  I’m sure you are all following the internet avidly for Malala news, as I am.  If you haven’t stopped by the online petition to support the education of young women worldwide (, I hope you’ll take a minute to do so. We can’t do a lot for her at the moment, but we should seize the moment to do what we can.

Girl Power: International Day of the Girl October 11

The Day of the Girl Virtual Summit is open to everyone, everywhere, beginning at 7 p.m. ET on 10.11.12!

10×10 events for Girl Rising, a forthcoming feature film on 10 girls in 10 countries, are happening in more than 100 schools and community-based organizations in the U.S.

Girl Power: Malala Yousafzai

Image from News Tribe

Our strength to you Malala.

Excerpts from NBC News:

Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year old Pakistani activist who won international acclaim for her work promoting peace, and two other young girls were shot and seriously injured Tuesday, police and hospital officials said.

Malala was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011 for a blog she wrote under a pseudonym for the BBC. She also won the National Peace Prize in Pakistan, was honored with a school named after her, and quickly became an outspoken critic of the Taliban in Pakistan and public advocate for peace.

Read the whole story here.


Time to Read a Banned Book!

If you’re here for the video pitch I’m sorry I just didn’t have time to do one. Frankly, finding a way to look reasonably presentable on video was a bigger challenge then I had anticipated. It’s tough when you’re a black and white dame in a technicolor world. Anyhoo, it’s also Banned Books Week, so we all need to take a moment here to read a banned book and think about censorship.

If censorship is a problem in your community, here is a handy toolkit to help avoid being burnt at the stake should you opt to exercise your right to protest.