Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
In Shanghai, GM, in partnership with the makers of Segway, unveiled a concept for future cars. These cars are for city-use, seat two people, run on electricity from a regular home electric outlet, they communicate with other cars on the road to reach destinations faster and avoid traffic or accidents, and they go up to 25mph.
Reading the comments section of the full article, here shows that there are a lot of mixed reviews. Most people think the future car is too small to be safe, makes for lazier people (why not just walk) and don't like that there is no storage space, or they think it's just another harebrained idea from GM. Others think it's high time we put our environment first, some think this car is the perfect solution for the overcrowded polluted streets of China, where the future car concept is aimed - "GM says an EN-V is about one-third the length of a traditional car. A parking lot could hold 10 times the number of EN-Vs as regular cars."
What do you think?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
That's right, the word "it" is not my friend. For that matter "but" likes to bully my writing, too (I'll get to that word another time, though...)
For now I'd like to focus on how using too much of it can be a bad thing - a detriment to your writing. It is a lazy filler for better, more descriptive words, words that can help move your story forward and draw your readers in.
It was pointed out to me a few weeks ago while my manuscript, Trevelyn's Shimmer, was being critiqued. Apparently I'm partial to the word and I didn't even know I was using it so much. Using the word it instead of describing what it is, is lazy writing. Of course, sometimes you can't avoid using it. When you're using it to represent an inanimate object, a person, animal, or a thing with no distinguishable gender previously mentioned in a sentence, there's really no better choice? Or is there...?
adjectives - easy! not too many!
Here's an example of a passage from my manuscript where I clearly used the word it one too many times: "The balloon had grown – again. It pinched against the corners of the closet as though it were a giant ducking its head and hunching its shoulders. It squeaked and rubbed against the walls attempting to wiggle loose, but I threw the weight of my body against it and closed it back in, hoping that it wouldn’t pop."
Now here's the sentence revised with adjectives and gender assigned to replace it: "The balloon had grown – again. The swollen, red rubber pinched against the corners of the closet like a giant ducking his bulbous head and hunching his aching shoulders. The balloon squeaked and rubbed against the walls attempting to wiggle loose, so I threw the weight of my body into the spongy material and closed it back in."
It count = 1. Better, right? At least I hope so! In assigning a gender to the balloon and describing the balloon as "swollen, red rubber", or having a "bulbous head", I've turned the balloon from an inanimate object to an actual character in the book - which was something that I had been trying to do!
Let's face it - the word can be like cancer eating away at your prose. If you are like me and let it rob your story, go through your manuscript and highlight the word so you can see where it is unnecessary. Then think outside of the box and stop being a lazy writer! :)
If you're partial to it, what are some of the tricks you use to bag this naughty two-letter word?
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
"A curious little girl."
"A playful wave."
Suzy Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea and now lives in Singapore. She has also produced several other beautiful wordless picture books like La Revanche des Lapins (Revenge of the Rabbits) and ALICE in Wonderland, both of which I'm itching to buy.
(Lee, Suzy. Wave. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2008).
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Blind Beach along the Sonoma Coast.
Monday, March 15, 2010
My own critique group experience has been varied. The first group I joined was an extension of a 6-week course on writing for children, taught by an editor from a major publishing house. The three other students and I sent a chapter to each other every week which we’d read and review then discuss at the following class. This was great because most people stuck with the deadlines, but looking back, my only criticism would be that everyone was too nice. Yes, too nice. Not to say I wanted anyone to be mean – nobody wants an evil CG partner beating up their prose – we were just too nice in the sense that our feedback was too timid. If critiques are passive then nothing substantial gets done. After that CG ended, I started a group of my own with one of the girls from the class. We met every Sunday and once a week to critique, bounce ideas off of each other, challenge ourselves with on-the-spot writing exercises, and ended the day with a glass of wine or two... sometimes three - Thursday nights weren’t always so productive, but they sure were fun! And finally, my latest CG is one I joined through the list of interested critiquers provided by SCBWI. My writing buddy and I have been posing the tough questions to one another about our novels. Rewrites are constant. Thinking so hard about plot changes that my brain actually hurts, has become normal. But learning more about myself as a writer has been the reward. When you’re pushed to work harder than you ever have before on your book, the image of it bound together by a hardcover with the name of a respected publisher on the spine becomes that much more realistic. Like boot camp for your novel - how can it not get stronger?
At the seminar, Levine said there are two fears that keep people from joining critique groups: 1) the writer is afraid their writing will be trashed, and 2) the writer fears they aren't skilled enough to make solid critiques. She also said that the number one most important factor to have is trust, because with trust, respect is born. This is so true. Sharing your novel, your baby, essentially, can be nerve-wracking for many writers.
In the end, to decide if joining a CG is right for you, why not just try and find out? Levine gave good advice saying you don't have to commit right away. Ease your way in to see if it's a fit. There are a lot of factors involved with finding the right group. And when you do find a good fit, Levine recommends adding one person at a time. Go slow.
My own personal experience has been pretty positive...maybe that’s just luck, or maybe it’s part of the theory that you get what you give. If you’re willing to put the time in to give wholehearted critiques, others will likely do the same.