Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Weekend Writer: More On Dialogue And Tagging

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about dialogue tags, the little bits in a piece of writing that indicate someone has spoken. Author Martyn V. Halm discusses some additional ways to deal with said and tagging in WRITING: Dialogue and the 'Said' Rule.

Also, in The Seven Deadly Sins of Dialogue, pay particular attention to Item 2, Impossible Verbing.

I caught both these articles at a Writer Unboxed Facebook discussion, by the way.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What Did You Do This Week, Gail? February 27 Edition

Goal 1. Mummy Book. Still working on revising early chapters. I am satisfied with what I'm doing, though. Cutting a lot. Cutting is always good, in my experience.

Goal 4. Submissions. I spent time researching agents and have a journal lined up for a submission. I wanted to make it tonight because I have an objective to submit a short piece every month, and I've already missed January and now I'm pretty close to missing February. But this particular journal closes for part of each month, and doesn't open again until the first. So I have to wait until Sunday or Monday.

Goal 5. Community Building. I completed and posted the CCLC and launched the CCLC newsletter. I've been involved with the 10-Minute Novelists this month as well as another Facebook group, and I did some Twitter maintenance. I'm going to look into another Facebook group I heard about this past week. Because you can't be a member of too many, right?

Not a great week, but I'm in a good position for next week. Not so much because of what I did this week, but because we don't have so many nonwriting things going on next week.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Environmental Book Club

 In What is Cli-fi? And Why I Write It in The Guardian author Sarah Golding describes climate fiction as "fiction that foregrounds climate change." Her interest in writing it appears to go beyond using it as a setting, world, or spring board for a plot. She's trying to do something specific with her cli-fi books for young readers. She hopes that her characters' concern for the environment will spread to her readers.

On a related note, you might want to take a look at The Necessary Evolution of Environmental Writing by John Yunker at the Ecolit Books blog. He writes about needing stories "that inspire lasting change and have the power to change our worldview."

So both writers are talking about using environmental fiction in a proactive way, at least, if not one that is actually instructive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Princely Binge Reading Material

My niece and I started a new series, beginning with The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It appears to be a trilogy, not a marathon like the last series we read. I thought it dragged just a liiiittllllle bit, but I definitely like a well done unreliable narrator. The best part? Books 2 and 3 have been published. I can whip through these things the way I like to.

Oh, wait. The best part, really? My niece compared Sage in The False Prince to another character in a book I gave her three years ago. I can't tell you who or what or you will figure out an important, neat thing about The False Prince. I figured it out about two-thirds of the way through the book but it was one of those figure-something-out-in-a-cool way not a oh-my-gawd-why-didn't-she-just-put-up-a-road-sign? way. But my point is, Becki made that connection between those two characters, which I, of course, had already done. She wasn't telling me anything.

But she saw the connection between two characters from two books that I had given her. My work as an aunt is done.

And I will be reading the sequels to The False Prince.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time Management Tuesday: Guess What Privilege Buys

For the last two weeks I've been writing about physical and temporal space, the connection between where we write and when we write. This whole thing was inspired by an LA Times essay called Susan Straight On Learning to Write Without a Room of One's Own. The A Room of One's Own part of that title is a reference to Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, a lengthy essay (I still have two sections to read) about women and fiction. A Room of One's Own has a closer connection to another recent essay, "Sponsored" By My Husband: Why it’s a Problem That Writers Never Talk About Where Their Money Comes From by Ann Bauer in Salon than it does with Straight's.

Why? Woolf may have used "room of one's own" in her title, but what she actually said in her essay was "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." It's quite a terrific essay, if you can get past her streaming away to discuss eating in restaurants. What she writes about is male privilege throughout history and how it kept women from even being able to put pen to paper. (She does a great sort of historical evolution of women's writing.)

Bauer talks about privilege and writing in our own time, meaning writers of both sexes who have financial support, usually through family. They, or I should say, we, don't have to generate income to provide for ourselves or others. We have the money Woolf said we needed.

Now writers have managed to produce good work without the privilege of possessing money and a room. We need a Room of One's Own type of essay about them. But putting them aside, what, exactly, does privilege do for writers who do possess it?

It buys us time.

Woolf recognized lack of privilege as the problem for women writers that it was in the past and often still is in the present. Bauer recognizes that denying that there are privileged writers today does a disservice to all the writers struggling without it.

I have a new obsession, now. This one is with Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.

Monday, February 23, 2015

March Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

To my knowledge, we only had one storm cancellation in February. (Edit: Heard this afternoon, Feb. 24, about a cancellation at the end of January.) Since I'm working on this post during the tail end of another snowstorm (Look at the snow blowing past my window!), I should probably suggest that you check with venues if there is any doubt of a March event being cancelled because of the weather.

CCLC News--Starting this month, the Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar is available in a newsletter form. Connecticut residents interested in being added to the newsletter e-mail list may contact me at 

Sun., March 1, Jane Sutcliffe, UConn Coop, Storrs 3:00 PM

Mon., March 2, Leslie Bulion, Durham Public Library, Durham 7:00 PM. Book launch

Thurs., March 5, 12, 19, and 26 (continuing into April) Pegi Deitz Shea, Mark Twain House, Hartford 6 to 8 PM Class on writing children's books. Fee.

Mar. 10, Cindy L. Rodriguez, Town Hall, Tolland 6:30 PM

Sat. March 14, Victoria Kann, Barnes & Noble, Westport 2:00 PM

Sun., March 15, Victoria Kann, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 3:30 PM

Wed., March 18, Lincoln Peirce, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM

Fri., March 20, Jon Agee, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM

Edit: Wed., March 25, The Great Connecticut Caper New Haven Launch Party, Peabody Museum, New Haven 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Rescheduled from January.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Sentence

A contribution for the “Sunday Sentence” project, a sentence I've read this week, no explanation or commentary.

"Although it is not quite grammatical in English, it can be phrased in three simple words: "How to live." Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer.

Friday, February 20, 2015

What Did You Do This Week, Gail? February 20th Edition

Had a good week until today. So, that's good, right?

Goal 1. Mummy book. Got through a few more chapters of revision. Thinking about doing some planning work next week.

Goal 2. Complete some short work. Worked on an essay, one that I had actually planned on working on. Sometimes I drift onto new things that I don't finish, so staying on task was good, good, good. I also started reading a Virginia Woolf essay as well as How to Live: A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell, hoping it will enhance my essay writing.

Goal 4. Make submissions. I worked on agent search.

Goal 5. Community building. Worked on address list for initial CCLC newsletter. Posted to my Goodreads blog. I'll spend some time on Twitter this evening and weekend.

Goal 6. Marketing STP&S. Last weekend I finished up e-mails to blogs regarding Earth Day promotions. Tried to come up with some more contacts. If this doesn't work out, I'm toying with some special Earth Day posts here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting On Everyday

I've never taken part in one of those Waiting on Wednesday type meme things, though a great many people do. Recently I've actually been taking Wednesdays off from blogging. Time Management Tuesday can be exhausting. But I saw a number of books I found interesting in the most recent Horn Book. Waiting on Wednesday seemed a good opportunity to mention them here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Time Management Tuesday: Obsessing On Physical And Temporal Space

Last week I wrote about the relationship between place and time. "Where we work," I said, "is often related to when we work." Sometimes we don't choose the places we work. Sometimes we work in them because we just happen to be in them when we have time to work.

I have been obsessing about this all week. You're not surprised, you say? Oh. You find me obsessive.

Yeah, well, here's the thing. If we can recognize that we don't have to have a "room of our own" as Susan Straight said in the essay that inspired last week's post, time opens up for us. If you can work on your lunch hour, in waiting rooms, in front of the TV (which I'm doing right now), on vacation, while the baby is sleeping, during your commute, you'll have a lot more time than you will if you can only work in that room of your own.

By the way, the whole "room of your own" thing is a reference to Virginia Woolf's essay, A Room of One's Own, which appears (I've finished reading half of it) to be about feminism and privilege rather than physical space. Next week I'll be writing about privilege and time because the obsession continues.