Archive for April, 2014

April 24, 2014

A social story for writers

He's just so much fun. :)

He’s just so much fun. 🙂

Nearly six months ago I contacted an early intervention team, concerned that my toddler son showed too many signs of Asperger’s Syndrome. Turns out he’s fine, but the experience held great value for me. As I visited with professionals about how to help him better understand social situations,  I learned a little bit about social stories.

According to The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding:

A Social Story™ describes a situation, skill, or concept in terms of relevant social cues, perspectives, and common responses in a specifically defined style and format…

…Although the goal of a Story™ should never be to change the individual’s behavior, that individual’s improved understanding of events and expectations may lead to more effective responses.

I was  already a believer in brain retraining. I’ve enjoyed learning about and using several different techniques to retrain my own brain in the quest to create a better Gwen. The idea of using social stories to help my son understand social situations better made sense to me.

Social stories work best with my little guy when we read them aloud together at least three times each week. Reading them together every day is even better, and it dovetails nicely with ordinary story time. He’s always enjoyed being read to.

Although I’m still learning about social stories and the proper way to write and use them, I thought they slightly resembled the techniques described by Ford Robbins Blair in his Instant Self Hypnosis (which I already use and have a lot of fun with).

I wondered: could writers benefit from writing and reading their own social stories?

I haven’t had a chance to experiment with this myself yet, but just for the fun of it, here’s a very short social story for writers trying to develop the habit of writing every day, written with my limited understanding and ability. Enjoy!

I love to write, and I’m good at writing. I smile when I write. I feel happy and proud of myself when I write something every day.

Because I love writing so much, I try to write something every day. It is important for me to write every day if I want to be a good writer.

Writing something every day is a great habit to develop. I am very happy when I write something every day, and being happy is good.  

 

 

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April 18, 2014

Intimidation is nine-tenths of the writer’s law

So very true.

readful things blog

What do I mean by this? I don’t mean that writers are the intimidating type–actually just the opposite. What I mean to say, is that writers tend to be their own worst enemies.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while. It used to be that when I started a writing project, the first thoughts in my head were always about the project itself: title, chapter length, beginning, middle and end. In recent years my initial thoughts (after the story idea itself) become more about audience, marketing, price, platform, etc. So what happened?

I became obsessed with the ideas of successes and failures. I had an epiphany yesterday, whilst buried up to my elbows in topsoil:

If you write–you are a writer.

Well, duh.

When we become authors we spend a lot of time worrying over how our work will be received. Will people like it? Will…

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April 14, 2014

An interview with author Krista Wayment

 

I met author Krista Wayment just about a year ago, but until recently I never had a chance to read any of her work. I finally read her first book, Trusted, this past weekend and loved it. (Who doesn’t love dragons? And adventure?) She hopes to release the second book next fall.

When Krista threw a virtual launch party, I knew I wanted to interview her for this blog. It’s been a while since I’ve done any guest author interviews or book reviews. I forgot how enjoyable this can be.

Here are the fun things I learned about this great new author:

When did you first learn that you loved dragons?

I can’t remember clearly. I think from a very young age I loved dragons. I remember watching this movie about a man who was transported to a fantasy world and changed into a dragon. He used science to defeat an evil wizard. Perhaps that planted the seed in me. I’ve always loved stories about princess, and knights, and magic. I watch The Last Unicorn movie probably a hundred times as a kid. The Never Ending Story as well.
What inspires you to write?
I get inspiration from pretty much everywhere. But the main thing that drives me to write is that telling stories is part of who I am. I feel incomplete and empty when I am not writing. Reading is probably the biggest source of inspiration for me. I read great stories and then must go out and craft my own.
How do you balance family and friends with writing? Other hobbies? Other jobs? etc.
I’m not sure yet. I’m still working on that. The biggest thing is that I have to make writing a priority. I also work part time and am a stay at home mom. With all my responsibilities I often have to sacrifice one or another in order that the others get done. I just try and make sure that my writing does not get sacrificed too often.
I also try to find ways that I can multitask. If I’m up late with a toddler that is having trouble sleeping I open my laptop and start writing. It’s not always my best work and often needs a lot of revision–but getting something on the page is the place to start.
Best coping mechanism for writer’s block?
Reading. Since reading opens up my imagination and inspires me it is really good at banishing writers block. Reworking my outline helps too. Usually when I am stuck it is because I’m not sure where I am going. So I make a more detailed outline or rework the one I have.
Taking showers, doing the dishes and going for a walk or drive helps too. Doing something that allows my subconscious mind wander and work through the issues I’m facing is a really good thing. Often the inspiration will strike while I am doing something ordinary and then I am off writing again.
Are you a planner? Or a discovery writer? Or a little bit of both? How does writing work for you?
As far as plot goes–I’m a planner. I do a chapter by chapter outline before I write a single word. This helps me keep focused on where I am going. Also, if I know what is coming next I can be thinking and planning the scene while attending to my other responsibilities.
I do discover little details about my characters and my world along the way. But on the whole I plan things out.
If you were a flower…what would you be, and why?
I actually took a quiz once and it told me I am a Snapdragon. I thought it was a very appropriate choice 🙂
Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what kind?
I don’t. Music distracts me. I usually have silence or disorganized noise, like people talking or a toddler playing. 
However, sometimes when I free write I do listen to music, it’s always instrumental and often movie soundtracks. John Williams is one of my favorite composers.
What do you see for yourself when you look ten years down the road? 
I hope to have ten more books written and published 🙂 I know I’ll still be writing and still be enjoying my family. Beyond that I have learned that you can plan and hope all you want–but life has a way of throwing you curve balls so you have to learn to roll with it.
Who do you write for?
I write for myself because it is part of who I am. It is my release, my creative outlet. I hope too, that one day my books will inspire someone to love reading or writing.
I hated reading as a child. My mother, bless her heart, stuck with it and taught me how. It wasn’t until I picked up The Boxcar Children that I fell in love with reading. I have devoured books ever since. There are several books and authors that have inspired me and I hope one day to inspire others.
What has been the most rewarding part of writing so far? Why?
Finishing. Finishing a book, not just a draft but being really done. Self publishing was a lot of work, and will continue to be work. But being able to say that I wrote a book and that it is out there feels very rewarding to me.
April 14, 2014

Thoughts on ‘Trusted,’ by author Krista Wayment

Trusted, by author Krista Wayment, is lots of fun!

Trusted, by author Krista Wayment, is lots of fun!

On March 27, I attended the virtual launch for the book Trusted, by local fellow author Krista Wayment.  I have to say this immediately: the launch party was a lot of fun. I’ll be attending more of those.

The book was even better. My busy life put my reading time on hold, but one of my daughters started reading it that very weekend.  She even opted out of a family trip in order to keep reading, then called before we reached our destination to ask whether Krista Wayment had any more books out.

If only I could have captured the sound in her voice.

This weekend, I finally sat down and read the book myself. It was a quick and enchanting read. Without giving too much away, here are some of my favorite parts:

  • I really loved how humans normally travel in this world. You get a peek at this just a few pages into the book. Extraordinary! I wish I could try it sometime.
  • I loved Krista Wayment’s descriptions of the dragons in Trusted. It was easy to get a feel for both their personalities and their beauty.
  • The main human characters were intriguing, too. I expect the next books will reveal more about them. For now, I kind of wish I could meet the character Renick and study how he communicates. Krista Wayment did a terrific job with him.
  • The dragon names…oh, I loved how the humans got their dragon names! That was one of my favorite chapters in the entire book.
  • My very, very favorite part of this book was one sentence given during dialogue between a dragon and a human. And here it is: “Sometimes our success is not measured by the outcome, but by our efforts.”

I’ve already recommended this book to family and friends, and I’ll keep recommending it whenever the opportunity arises. Trusted is just that delightful.

 

 

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