• These Words Matter: E. Lockhart

    At age nine I was a member of a community that operated through the reading nook of my Montessori classroom. My three best friends and I would press worn Yearling editions into one another’s hands: “This one is so good!” If a book was beloved by one of us, it would be beloved by all. We would all four read it, one after the other. If it were especially adored, we would “play” the book during recess, acting out important scenes and making up new stories for the characters. One of my friends, a kindred spirit, had a lending library that operated out of her bedroom. She had index cards…

  • NaNoWriMo 2017

    NaNoWriMo as a Student

    Welcome to Day 13, WriMos! This week, I thought I’d tackle an issue near and dear to my heart: NaNoWriMo as a student. Whether you’re in elementary, high school, college or university, the pressures and demands of school are always an obstacle for writing, particularly during NaNoWriMo. You’ve got school work to do; how can you expect to write 1,667 words on top of the writing you already have to do for school? I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo as a student in the past. In fact, I was working towards a Bachelor of Arts when I had my most successful NaNoWriMo. I wrote 75,000 words in 30 days, and that is still…

  • NaNoWriMo 2017

    NaNoWriMo: Developing an Idea

    Developing an idea. It sounds easy, but it’s one of the biggest decisions a writer can make. Especially when tackling longer projects (50,000 – 120,000 words), you’re committing a huge chunk of time to that project. So, developing that first idea is crucial. You’re going to be spending hundreds of hours with it, after all. So, where the heck do you start? Everyone has a different answer for this, and none of them are wrong. You start wherever that first idea sparks. Whether that’s a character, a plot, a twist, or a scene, write it down. You can always figure out the rest–that initial idea is the gold mine. For…

  • NaNoWriMo 2017

    NaNoWriMo: Plantsing

    NaNoWriMo is almost here! Are you planning or pantsing? Can’t decide? Maybe you should consider plantsing, because that’s totally a thing. Last year we discussed the difference between plotting and pantsing, so if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, that’s a good place to start. Now that we know what plotting and pantsing are, let’s dive into the hybrid: plantsing. Plantsing is a combination of plotting and pantsing, in which a writer can plot some of their novel, and pants the rest. If you’re undecided about whether to plot or pants this year, plantsing might be the perfect compromise. There are advantages and disadvantages to both plotting and pantsing.…

  • These Words Matter: Michelle Hodkin

    Ask a writer to name the book that shaped her and you’re likely to get a list instead of a single recommendation. It’s hard to resist the temptation. There was The Joss Bird, which my mother lovingly read and reread on demand when I was two. Then The Velveteen Rabbit, at four. “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness, Amos & Boris by William Steig followed. Given my obsession with animals, it was no surprise that I graduated to the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell, The Wild Mustang and The Black Stallion books. I wanted a horse almost as much as I wanted a dog. (I…

  • The Journey: Progress and the Perception of Progress

    Progress is such a tricky thing. How do you mark it? How do others perceive it? In my experience, the perception of progress is far from the reality. When I’m working on a writing project, as I’m sure many other writers can relate, I keep things fairly private. My family and friends know I’m writing, because that’s what I do, but they don’t know much else. My CPs are in the loop, but other than that the progress of my current WIP is pretty elusive. Progress, for a writer, can mean any number of things. To one writer, progress might mean getting 1,500 words written. Progress to another writer might mean…

  • Book Review: “Identical” by Ellen Hopkins

    I first read Identical by Ellen Hopkins when I was in high school. I’d started with Crank (if you haven’t yet read an Ellen Hopkins book, I highly suggest you start there), and was so eager to get my hands on more. The first time I read Identical was an experience I have only encountered once since. I didn’t see the ending of Identical coming, just as I didn’t see the ending of The Fault in Our Stars coming. These are the only two times that an ending has surprised me so much that I still, to this day, wonder how their authors so masterfully left me dumbfounded. I think this is the most disturbing Ellen Hopkins book I’ve read…

  • These Words Matter: Calla Devlin

    Writing didn’t come easily. School didn’t either. Reading, however, was my greatest challenge. Letters took on their own shape, and I didn’t see them as my classmates did. For them, jumbled lines named “C” and “A” and “T” somehow flowed together. Other students read aloud, at first sounding things out, but eventually the words rolled off their tongues. I marvelled as they moved from beginner books, slim paperbacks with simple sentences, to chapter books. For me, letters were backwards, flipped around, mirror images. They didn’t assemble into words or stories. My classmates moved on while I was called into an office, then another classroom where they tried to turn the…

  • support authors

    How To Support Authors You Love

    The reasons to support authors are endless, not least of which is that authors need financial support in order to justify writing. Authors are up against a myriad of tirades, a lot of which they’re expected to handle alone. In these areas, only readers can help support authors. Buy Books by Your Favourite Authors I realize this is not plausible for all readers, but if it is, do consider buying books. If it isn’t financially feasible for you to buy books, visit your local library. If the title you want isn’t at your local library, request that they get it in. It is never okay to download a pirated copy…

  • These Words Matter: Danielle Paige

    These Words Matter: Danielle Paige

    It was three o’clock in the morning when my mother caught me. My lights were on–I knew I was well past my usual bedtime, but I couldn’t go to sleep. The arch sisters–Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth–would not let me. Little Women was the first book that I stayed up after bedtime to finish. My mother stood in the doorway and caught me. “Oh, Little Women,” she said with a sigh of great affection and, more importantly, permission. She kissed me on the forehead with a look that said she knew exactly what I was feeling. One night a long time ago she had had to stay up to find out…

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