Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Finishing

     I am a Master of Unfinished Projects.
     That was my daughter's conclusion yesterday after she helped me clean out plastic tubs and an antique trunk filled with craft supplies.
     The room looked like the aftermath of an explosion in Hobby Lobby.
     There were dozens of bottles of acrylic paint, embroidery floss, spools of ribbon, and buttons.
     Clothespins, craft sticks and tubes of glitter glue from scout projects.
     Paper mache hearts, sequins and feathers from Sunday school class.
     Beads, a pendant, and the crimper for the necklace I never made.
     Mosaic tiles, marbles, and broken pottery for the birdbath I'll finish 'next summer'.
     A bag of yarn and crochet needles (no, I don't crochet but it's on my bucket list).
     Yards of wool that I bought at a New Hampshire woolen mill 20 years ago for the braided rug I never made. But there's hope — I still have the directions.
     Watercolor paper.
     Brushes.
     Pom poms.
     Felt.
     When I need a break from writing, I buy craft supplies. I like to make stuff. Or rather I like to think about making stuff.
     Thankfully when it comes to writing, I'm more disciplined.
     I can finish manuscripts.

   

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Contests To Keep Kids Writing



     Late last spring, I posted links to contests for young writers and I've recently found more with deadlines coming up in the next few months . If you know any kids who love to write or teachers who like to encourage fledgling writers in their classes, pass along these links. There's some cool prizes up for grabs!

Sponsors of The Betty Award give out cash prizes in a Spring and Fall contest. Open world-wide, the contest judges original, unpublished fiction from children ages 8-12. There is a $15 reading fee per story. Deadline for the Spring contest is May 3. Details are on the website.

PBS offers a yearly contest for students in K-3rd grade. Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney and author R.L. Stine are two of the honorary judges. Prizes include tablet computers, e-readers, and MP3 players. If you're local TV station isn't participating in the contest, you can click on another station close by instead. Deadline is April 1st. Visit the PBS site for more information.

Story prompts help young writers get their creative juices flowing for the monthly contests sponsored by KidPub. You'll have to sign up as a member to participate in the contests but they're FREE!  Lucky winners will score Amazon gift cards.

Creative Communication, a site run by teachers and educators, offers a poetry and essay contest several times throughout the year. The next submission deadline is Feb. 19th. There's no entry fee. Prizes include a cash award and publication in an anthology.

Scholastic sponsors the annual Kids Are Authors contest for students in kindergarten thru 8th grade. One grand prize entry in each of the fiction and non-fiction categories will be published. Entries must be postmarked by March 2013.

Good luck to the young writers out there!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Writing on the Wall

Faulkner's Greek Revival 1840s home
     Over Christmas break, my family and I traveled the South - Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana - for a whirlwind 1,300-mile, five-day trip. 
His quaint writing room
     Our main objective on this trip, besides finding the best local places to eat, was to take in as much regional history as we could. We LOVE the national parks; we've been to at least 150, coast-to-coast. One place we stopped isn't a national park, but it should be! Instead, Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's home in Oxford, Mississippi, is owned by the University of Mississippi. The house and property are lovely and peaceful, and I can see why Faulkner was so inspired by the place. 
     I've done posts on story-mapping, the brainstorming stage, and the revision process. I've read much on other writers' strategies. But I've never seen it in action like I did inside Faulkner's writing room. He outlined one of his books (The Fable, I think?) on two of the walls. It's still there, written in graphite and red grease pencils.
Part of his plot outline for The Fable
     I wonder if outlining plots on his walls was a one-time effort? Are there other plots hidden under the layers of whitewash in that room? And how many writers who've visited Rowan Oak over the years have been struck by the notion of going home and writing on their own walls? I know I was.

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