Posts contained in the “Writing Issues” category:

I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets

Literary legend has it that someone once challenged Ernest Hemingway to write a novel in six words. His response was “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I’m not sure if this is true or not: the whole thing sounds a little too neat for me. I’m not a huge fan of Hemingway, so I’m not …read more…

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)

Update as of 26 October 2011: This book continues to be controversial. Only this past spring, I was asked to help fight a push to not just remove this book from the twelfth grade curriculum of a public high school, but to remove the book from the school library, as well. The irony is that …read more…

April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. I know I’m getting this out a bit late, but better late than never (a cliché that I’m sure all aspiring poets will be careful to avoid in their work). If you don’t know what National Poetry Month is, it was inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets …read more…

The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)

If you are lucky, a book will come into your life at precisely the moment that you need it. I had been missing the Harry Potter books for some time, and while I didn’t want to read a clone, ripoff, or wannabe of that series (of which there are many), I did want to read …read more…

Angry Management (Chris Crutcher)

In this engaging trilogy of novellas, Chris Crutcher has taken a handful of characters from his earlier works—Sarah Byrnes, Angus Bethune, John Simet, Matt Miller, and Montana West—and imagined them “living outside of their original times and in some cases outside of their original settings” as he describes in his introduction (n. pag.). If you’ve …read more…

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway (Robert Cormier)

Sixteen-year-old Barney Snow is the only patient in his hospital ward who isn’t dying. Unlike the other kids however, most of his memory is gone; he has only vague recollections of a car accident, and the knowledge that he is at the hospital as a service to others. At the heart of this story is …read more…

Some Notes on my Writing Process

For some time now, I have wanted to do a blog post about my writing process for the reviews I do here, in an attempt to demystify my writing process for my students. I want to be very clear about one important thing up front: writing for this blog is very different that some of …read more…

Xtranormal – another digital storytelling tool

I found out about this one from Dr. Gwen Tarbox, who used it to make some videos for the ENGL 2000 course offered at Western Michigan University. Unfortunately, you can only use the most basic settings for free—the others cost what they call Xtranormal Points, but once you’ve purchased an asset you can use it …read more…

Google Search Stories

I just found out about another interesting digital story-telling tool: Google Search Stories. This tool allows you to make 30-second movies, like the one Google used during the 2010 Super Bowl. Now, you can’t do all the neat things that they did in the commercial, but you can still come up with some creative stuff. …read more…

10+ Rules

10+ Rules for Writing Books for Kids and Teens I read a lot. Non-fiction, fiction for adults, fiction for kids. But the way I really think about books is a simple dichotomy: either the book works or it doesn’t. Notice that the dichotomy is “works/doesn’t work” not “like it/don’t like it.” Sometimes a book works, …read more…