Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow Day: Reading, Writing, and Making Ice Cream

     It's no easy task tuning out the howling wind as I write this. The temperature outside right now is at -10 degrees, or -25 counting the wind chill. And the worst is still on its way!
     I'm reading two books on craft right now: Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole and The Indie Author's Survival Guide by Susan Kaye Quinn, both fantastic reads. Kole's book is particularly helpful for middle grade or YA writers, and I'm regrettably nearing the end. I am loving her excerpt choices in the From The Shelves sections when she illustrates everything from POV and imagery to backstory and climaxes with a paragraph or two from notable books for each topic.
     Last night I started the chapter on word choice and voice, and was happy to read she used an excerpt from The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, the book chosen by my book group to read this month. Kole offers an exercise called a Voice Mad Lib by taking a sentence from Diaz's book and challenging the reader to rewrite it three different ways. You'll have to read the book to get the details of her approach to working on voice and you won't be sorry! Her fresh takes on how to improve writing skills make this a must-have reference.
   And speaking of fresh (but completely unrelated to writing), we took advantage of being snowed in tonight and made snow ice cream! Not exactly Ben & Jerry's, but scooping snow in blizzard conditions gave us a little respite from the all-day television marathon of  Glee episodes mixed with football playoffs.
                                   Happy Writing!


  1. I just started Mary Kole's Kidlit book. So far, loving it!!

  2. Would you believe I've never tried snow ice cream? Since the fourteen inches we got on Friday is already nearly melted, I guess I'll have to wait for the next storm.
    Thanks so much for the book recommendations. I'm adding Mary Kole's book to my list now.

  3. Traci: It's probably the best craft book on children's writing I've read. Enjoy!
    Ruth: Last night was the first time I'd tried it! The taste was very similar to some store-bought brands, but the texture was a little soupy. I'm not sure we'd make it again, but it was a fun distraction from the horrible weather.

  4. Oh goodness - that sounds sooo cold, but perfect reading and writing weather! I'm living in that strange bubble of SoCal where the nights have a little chill, but the days are still hitting the 70s and 80s. I can hardly imagine what the rest of the country is feeling right now! While I can't say I miss the winter, that cozy time inside with a blanket and a book and a steaming hot drink does sound nice. :)

    Thanks for sharing those two books on your blog!

  5. Thanks for the tip on two good writing books. Stay warm...:)

  6. Snow and freezing temperatures aren't so bad if you can stay inside your warm house for the duration!

  7. Alana: Seventy degrees sounds pretty good right now. My feet are propped up on the radiator as I type this! The temps are back to normal here (mid-20s), but I'm still thawing from the sub-zero weather the last three days.
    Sharon: You're welcome and I'm trying!
    Stephanie: That is true, but I have a dog to walk. I don't mind going outside for a few minutes; the hardest part is getting him to do his business before his paws freeze.

  8. Brrr! You are experiencing some chilly temps! It has been cold here- but luckily today is was 11. :) The homemade ice cream sounds good.

    The writing books sound awesome. I will have to check them out. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Wow, I've seen a LOT about snow ice cream this week!

    Really, Mary Kole's book is the best you've read? I'll have to look for it.

  10. Jess: Chilly temps are gone now; rain all day today! I'd rather have snow (the grass is always greener, right?)
    Marcia: I loved it because so many craft books are geared toward beginners, especially those on writing for children. While she still addresses some questions for those in the early stages, she talks about advanced techniques, too. And most of the examples she uses are current books.


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