Friday, March 7, 2014

Oodles of Fun

© Grace Pyles

You could sketch a poodle

a strudel

a noodle

something feudal

Or just toss in the whole kit and caboodle…

Courtesy of the Queen of Prussia, 1795

Obviously, today is National Doodle Day!

PROMPT: You've got this. You know what to doodly doodly doo.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mushing Magic

Apparently 43 million folks tuned into last Sunday night’s Academy Awards.

But I know 69 men and women who were a little too busy to care about who won the award for best original screenplay…

They were driving all night through moose alley, after all.

Yep, I’m talking about those wild and crazy mushers who are still out there hightailing it on the Iditarod trail as you read this.

Did you know that racing in the Iditarod could help your book win a Newbery Honor?

Here are the facts:

In 1983, writer Gary Paulsen completed the 1,150-mile sled dog race. Sure, he placed 41st out of 54 finishers, but heck, he finished! His official time was 17 days, 12 hours, 38 minutes, and 38 seconds.

Then in 1985, he wrote Dogsong.

Yes, I am talking about the Newbery Honor book Dogsong.

Two years later his book Hatchet was published.

Ahem, that’s the Newbery Honor book Hatchet.

And two years after that, Paulsen released The Winter Room.

Do I even have to spell it out?

Okay, okay, it was a Newbery Honor book, too.


I think not.

Meanwhile, I have never raced the Iditarod…

Nor have I received a Newbery Honor Award.

I’m just a writer/psychologist — you do the math.

But I think it’s a pretty good bet that there are just 1,150 snowy miles between me and that silver medal.

PROMPT: Even if you’re not ready to hit the trail, you can have an Iditarod adventure today! Check out the current standings, then poke around the blogs and trail stories here — you’re sure to find a tale (or tail) worth writing about. Mush on! Newbery, here we come!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Got LENTils?

Today just so happens to mark the start of Lent for many folks of the Christian persuasion.

It’s a time when the faithful pray and fast…

But hey — no matter what team you play or pray for, you can always participate in the fast.

Fast writing, that is.

I've been doing this sort of thing ever since I read Natalie Goldberg’s classic Writing Down the Bones.

It’s easy, fun, and you don’t even have to give up chocolate.

All you have to do is sit down with your current manuscript, set a timer, and…

Write FAST!

Don’t stop.

Don’t think.

Don’t even breathe.

Well, okay, I guess you can breathe.

Then see what a little fast (writing) can do for you.

Just look what it did for these guys —

Ernest Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises in just six weeks.

And six weeks is all William Faulkner needed to write As I Lay Dying.

Then Jack Kerouac came along and wrote On the Road in only three weeks.

But he was totally, like, on drugs.

However, Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in nine measly days

and he was most definitely NOT on drugs…

He was just a highly motivated new dad who was seriously strapped for cash. So, he went to the local library with a sack full of dimes and rented a typewriter for 20 cents an hour. His “dime novel” cost him $9.80.

I’m thinking it was worth it.

So, fast writing might just put you on the fast track to publication, too.

After all, it's one of the BEST ways to override the naggy editor that camps out between your ears. You know, the one that looks a lot like Gollum from The Hobbit, but has much better grammar.

Yeah, I've got one too.

And I think we should put off that editor until next week.

Sure, Precious is going to get all cranky about it…

Tough lentils.

And, seriously — take me up on this one.

It may be the ONLY time you ever see me suggest procrastination.

PROMPT: Write FAST right NOW! Try this method on your current project for the next seven days. And hey, you might want to strap on that seat belt. You’re going places… and it just might be a wild ride!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March Forth!

Trust me; they’re out there, and they’re armed to the teeth.

Smith & Wessons, Strunk & Whites, red Sharpies 

you name it, they've got it.

They’re grammar police…

and today is their special day.

Yes, on the one and only date of the entire year that forms its own imperative, it is also National Grammar Day.

That’s gramMAR, for those of you who were about to run out and buy a card for your Nana.

So slow down, keep an eye out for the coppers, and write well NOT good.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town…

 Yep, he dangled a participle.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

PROMPT: National Grammar Day was started by grammar guru Martha Brockenbrough back in 2008. Celebrate it by breaking out The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White and going to editing town on one of your manuscripts.

Then, for an enchanting (and grammatically correct) break, pick up a copy of Martha Brockenbrough’s YA novel, Devine Intervention  it is positively DElightful!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Seuss on the Loose!

Horton: The Early Years

All I ever need to know, I learned from Dr. Seuss –

1. Fun is good.

2. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

3. A person's a person, no matter how small.

4. Don't grumble! Don't stew! Some critters are much-much, oh, ever so much-much so muchly much-much more unlucky than you!

5. Step with care and great tact. Remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

6. Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

7. From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!

8. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

9. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

10. Will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

PROMPT: Yesterday was Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 110th birthday — but it’s never too late to celebrate! So…
Plan a party – bring the cats,
without or with their stripy hats.
Then make and serve some tasty schlopp.
But be a love – don’t hop on pop.