Congratulations, Class of 2012

It’s that time of the year. You know the one…fresh-faced eighteen-year-olds throw off the shackles of their high school prisons and greet the “real world” — or most of them greet the crazy-college-world-that-is-nothing-like-real-world — with excitement. Their heads are filled with cliches and platitudes about taking risks, finding themselves, and how their purpose is their rudder in life. Their hands clutch their yearbooks and their hearts cling to high school friends and relationships. They are sure of themselves or completely confused, or more likely a combination of both.

Yes, it’s high school graduation time. Read the rest of this entry

Milestones That Aren’t

Last Friday was my birthday. It was a moderately significantly numbered birthday, and by that I mean it wasn’t a major milestone (like, say, 21 or 30 or 50) but it wasn’t a filler birthday, either. Even so, while there was a bit of fanfare (I have great friends), it didn’t feel as significant to me as I thought it should.

This all got me thinking about milestones that my characters face, or could face, during the course of their journey, and how they experience them. Since I write young adult, there are some significant birthday possibilities, of course, but so much more than just that: getting a driver’s license; senior prom; getting into college; graduation; moving out. Then, of course, there are all the “firsts”: the first time you drive a car, the first time you call someone your boyfriend, the first time you stand up to an adult, the first time you sneak out of the house, the first time you realize you have something unique to say and there might just be some people in the world who want to hear you say it. Read the rest of this entry

Supernatural: Asylum/Scarecrow

Shudder. Supernatural is certainly hitting all of my “creep” spots, and we’re only halfway through the first season. It makes me wonder what other nightmares are in store for me in the future…

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All Together Now…

Last week, I posted about what I learned at the New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (NESCBWI) spring conference. As I reflected further, and continued to talk with my spectacular critique group (which has a new member: welcome Annie!) I realized that one of the highlights of the conference was the absoutely giddy celebration of the successes of our members. Read the rest of this entry

Keeping It Real: What I Learned At NESCBWI 2012

This past weekend, I attended the spring conference of the NESCBWI in Springfield, MA. For those of you not in the know, NESCBWI stands for the New England chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Unwieldy acronym? Most definitely. Important organization? Most definitely.

Since the theme of this year’s conference was “Keeping It Real,” I thought I would do just that. Here is what I learned from this year’s conference: Read the rest of this entry

Supernatural: Bugs/Home

This week I watched “Bugs” and “Home,” two episodes about houses and family. Is it true that you can never go home again? Read the rest of this entry

Belly Up to the Bar, Boys (and Girls)

Last week, in honor of the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, we talked about setting a story in Ireland. On the heels of the holiday that drives people into drinking establishments better than any other, it seems only natural to segway into a discussion of a locale that also pops up with regularity in storytelling: the bar. Read the rest of this entry

Let’s Make it a Little Irish

In 1996, having just completed my freshman year at Brown University, I packed up a backpack and joined three friends on a three-week trip backpacking in Ireland. This was a huge step for me: it was the first trip I planned on my own and took on my own, without any parental involvement or supervision. It was my first trip overseas. Besides all that, it was to Ireland, a place I had been dreaming about visiting for many years.

Ireland, I am happy to say, did not disappoint. Read the rest of this entry

Place Matters

Would The Hound of the Baskervilles be the same chilling tale without the moors? Would True Blood still be True Blood if it were set in San Francisco instead of Bon Temps, Louisiana?  Would we be so captivated by Jay and Daisy if The Great Gatsby didn’t have the post-WWI Long Island 1920s as a backdrop? Read the rest of this entry

Supernatural: Skin/Hook Man

Here we have a pair of episodes that, together, demonstrate what in this show works and what doesn’t. Let’s begin with a look at Episode 6 (where a LOT works): Read the rest of this entry