Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quoteskimming

Tara Lazar is again hosting Picture Book Idea Month this month, for those children's authors who are interested in writing smaller books than what you come up with for NaNoWriMo. I hope those of you interested in writing picture books will check it out, whether you are officially participating in PiBoIdMo or not, since there are some great resources to be found.

Tara is also on Twitter, where she posted a quote from Roald Dahl yesterday. When I get home I'll copy it into my commonplace book, but while I'm still in Brigantine, I thought I'd share it with you:

"...The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."


From my friend Jenn Hubbard, who writes some of the most thoughtful, wonderful posts about writing that I'm aware of:

Choosing the story
In any given event, there are many stories.

How do we choose whether to tell Cinderella's story (as an example) from her point of view, or the prince's, or a stepsister's? As that point of view shifts, how do the beginning and ending points of the story change? How does the theme change?

One of those stories will have an arc and a theme that resonate with us. That is my story, an inner voice says. That is the story I have to tell. This is what I believe to be true.

There's a point where we shift from imitation--from telling our myths and stories the same way we've received them--to creation. A point where we take hold of a story and shape it according to our own beliefs and experiences. Having learned from others what stories are, we begin to tell our own.

I was watching the Daily Show the other night, and the guest was Mick Foley, a professional wrestler who is also the author of nine books and a dedicated humanitarian. (Foley first appeared on the Daily Show as "Senior Ass Kicker" in a clip in which he stood up for a young boy who had been bullied in school (and called a "gaywad") for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. You can see that segment here.)

While on Stewart's show to promote his latest memoir, for which he will see no money as far as I can tell - 50% of his advance is going to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) and the other 50% is going to help stop sexual violence in Sierra Leone - Foley said this about his career as a wrestler, although I like it as a metaphor for life and writing:

"I could not jump high, so I had to jump from high places."


And finally, a quote from J.K. Rowling, and not because the first Deathly Hallows film is coming out this week (SQUEE! I have midnight tickets!! But I digress), but because she said this when she recently accepted the first-ever Hans Christian Andersen Literary Award, designed to honor a living children's author who has created works that, like those of Andersen, hold enduring appeal to children:

Any book that is written down to children, or with one nervous sideways eye on the author's fellow adults, or with the belief that this is the kind of thing they like, cannot work and will not last. Children are not they, they are us. And this is why writing that succeeds with children often succeeds just as well with adults. Not because the latter are infantile or regressive, but because the true dilemmas of childhood are the dilemmas of the whole of life. Those of belonging and betrayal, the power of the group, and the courage it takes to be an individual. Of love, and loss, and learning what is it to be a human being. Let alone a good, brave, or honest one.

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