Monday, June 28, 2010

New Script Contest

I am about to sign up for my second script contest this summer. I have been doing the research, and while many contests promise big rewards, I'm more interested in the ones that seem to care about helping unknown writers make the connections that will help them with their careers.

The Austin Film Festival is the first script contest I've ever entered, and I felt like I really rushed to get the script ready by the deadline. I have made some changes since entering it, but I am about to make more because I am entering The Script-a-thon this month.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Review - The Forest of Hands and Teeth

"I think about how we are so focused on the peril presented by the Forest that we forget that the rest of life can be just as dangerous. I think about how fragile we are here -- like fish in a glass bowl with darkness pressing in on every side."

I must admit that I have always loved a good scary story - the imminent peril, the racing scene descriptions, the certainty of death. But then the one survives, miraculously, and life goes on, a different life than the main character had ever experienced.

I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Robins

Yesterday was a very big day at my house. It was the last day of school for us, but I didn't get my traditional stepping-off-the-bus photos, or my after school hugs, or my rundown of all of the last day festivities. Both of my kids were at friends' houses with ice cream sundaes and lots of sprinkles, and I was home enjoying the last moment of quiet I will have until they go back in September.  Ah, the memories of quiet...

But then something exciting happened when I went to get the mail. The two baby robins in our front yard nest decided that yesterday was the day to try to fly for the first time. We have a number of nests in our yard every year, but I have never been lucky enough to witness this particular rite of passage. I was fascinated by the babies and their efforts to get back in the nest.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Was It Really That Bad?

Was growing up all that bad?

Looking through my journals, I'd have to say yes, it was. Or at least I thought it was based on what I wrote down. I started writing in a diary when I was 8 years old, one of these awesome Nancy Drew diaries with a lock and tiny key (pictured at left), but most of the entries were literally, "Nothing happened today." When I turned 12, I became more serious about my journal, and I spent much more time tracking my days. I kept writing through high school and college, although those later volumes are closer to my 8-year-old entries - "Went to party at Sigma Chi, saw ### and ###." Nothing very deep, other than a few random song lyrics decorated with paisleys.  

But in the middle, I hit my stride. I wrote long detailed paragraphs with dreams and desires. It was 7th through 12th grade, and I wanted to be everything that I wasn't and nothing that I was. But did I only write the bad parts? Did I skip the funny, exciting and awesome stories because I was too busy living them?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thinking About... New Yorker Article

Laura Miller wrote a detailed piece in The New Yorker about current dystopian books for middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) readers, comparing the new releases with the classic adult versions. But the section that caught my eye was not about the stories, but about the writers:

It somehow fits the paranoid spirit of these novels that adults are the ones who write them, publish them, stock them in stores and libraries, assign them in classes, and decide which ones win prizes. (Most of the reader reviews posted online seem to be written by adults as well.) But kids do read the books, and some of them will surely grow up to write dystopian tales of their own, incited by technologies or social trends we have yet to conceive. (Read original article)

So are the adults who are writing these nightmarish tales of futures we must avoid simply remembering their own fears and updating them? Or are they truly tapped into the current teen psyche and able to fulfill a need for their readers?

Here are a few of the titles I plan to add to my reading list this summer:
This list should keep me busy. Oh, and I found the New Yorker article thanks to a recommendation from Nathan Bransford's blog.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Animals at the Zoo

ZOO FIELD TRIP + FIRST GRADERS + BUMPY BUS = LONG DAY

Don't get me wrong - I love spending time with my daughter, and her class is wonderful this year - sweet girls and boys, great moms and dads, fantastic teacher. We certainly will be sad when the year ends next week.  But this was a very long day.

Just when I thought I was too tired to make it all the way to the penguins, we saw a sleeping bear. At least we hoped he was asleep.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Never Satisfied


After my last post, I decided to enter the Austin Film Festival screenplay contest. It's a long shot, to say the least, but I believe in my story and I hope that comes across in the pages I submitted.

Now that there has been some time to slow down and re-read, I am not sure that I did enough to make it great. I keep finding little things, things that bother me, about some word choices. So I'm revising again, trying to make it better before sending it off to Competition #2.