Sunday, June 26, 2011

Audience Matters

RS Mellette, another FTWAer, had a post that really got me thinking. You can find it here.

There's apparently a wide range of opinions about how much attention an artist (of any kind) should pay to the audience. Strangely, I hadn't thought much about this before.

I teach middle grade aged kids. I have them think about their audience all the time when they're doing their work. Writing a letter to a company to discuss their product requires a very different tone than texting a friend. Drawing a picture for yourself is different from producing a piece of art to display in the hallway. Preparing a slideshow to share with your class is different from picking photos to display as your wallpaper.

Audience is important.

Audience affects how you create whatever it is you're creating. When the kids are trying to decide on the form their creation is going to take, I tell them if they think about the purpose and the audience it should tell them what form to use. You don't write a letter to the queen starting with " 'sup? "

So, should the audience affect the writer? I'd say yes - especially if a writer wants to be published.

Even if a writer writes for herself/himself, the writer is writing to please the audience.

I don't mean you ONLY write to the audience - that wouldn't be any fun at all. You need to write your story with your flair - but I think you have to at least keep your audience in mind.

What do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Favourite Book Challenge Blogfest

The lovely Teralyn Rose Pilgrim over at A Writer's Journey is hosting the Favourite Book Challenge Blogfest from June 20 - 22.

In her words:

1. Pick your top five favorite books

2. Between Jun 20 and 22, write one line of what each book is about and then write one line of why you liked it. Think of it like a twitter pitch for other people’s work. Semi-colons are cheating, but you can use them anyway.

3. Go to other blogs and discuss the books.
Not as easy as it sounds!

I went with 5 of my classic favourites -- books I have read multiple times and still love. In no particular order ...

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
A mischevious orphan worms her way into the hearts of elderly siblings - & a boy who entices & irritates her

Why I love it: It's full of joy, sweetness & fun, plus it brings back so many memories of childhood!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
10 not-so-nice folks invited to an island then killed 1 by 1 following instructions of a child's poem

Why I love it: It's a great mystery & I've read it to all my grade 8 classes - who loved it!

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
A hobbit needs to return the One Ring of Power to its fiery origins in order to destroy it & save all of Middle Earth

Why I love it: Tolkein was my first introduction to fantasy - love the scope of his imagination (to paraphrase Anne of GG)

The Giver by Lois Lowry
A boy & an old man decide to help their community by saving them from sameness & giving them pain

Why I love it: Incredibly well written and imagined - a terrifying world of what we could easily become.

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
A man is hired by government to prove wolves are dangerous & killing all the caribou -- not exactly what he finds out.

Why I love it: My favourite Mowat book - honest, perceptive, adventurous and full of wry humour.

Whew! (It might take me a few days to get around to all the other blogs - We're in the last 2 weeks of school & life is CRAZY!!)
What book can you read over and over and still love?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh no - I'm It!

I've been tagged by two lovely ladies: Janet Summer Johnson and Shannon O'Donnell. If you haven't met them yet, you've really got to visit - they're terrific! :)

Okay, here we go...

Are you hot?

Nope. Not a chance. I have a thyroid disorder & I'm always cold. :)
Upload a picture or wall paper you are using at the moment.

 Nope - he's not mine, he's the son of a family member. And he's the cutest cutie-patootie going! :)

When was the last time you ate chicken meat?
Last night. Delicious! Marinated & bbq-ed. With new potatoes, mushrooms & zucchini - awesome!

The Song(s) you listened to recently?
Beautiful by the Barenaked Ladies
California Dreamin' by Queen Latifah
Take it Easy by The Eagles
LOVE my iTunes - it's always on shuffle and you never really know what's coming up next!

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
Help! I'm terrible at these things!

Do you have nicknames?
Not really. Finnegan for some strange reason when I was a kid, but that's it.

Tag eight Blogger friends.

1. Riley Redgate
2. Laura Pauling
3. Lisa Gail Green
4. Laura Marcella
5. Julie Musil
6. Susan Fields
7. Rosalind Adams
8. Beth

Who's listed as number one?
Riley. I met Riley over at Agent Query Connect. She's an amazing teen writer who's got a great eye for detail and a very generous heart!

Say something about number 5.
Julie is one of the sweethearts of the bloggy-verse. She always makes me think and her approach to life is full of optimism.

How did you get to know number 3?
It's been such a long time, I'm not really sure. Lisa is always so much fun on Twitter! Love Lisa's twisty takes on all things paranormal over at her blog!

How about number 4?
Laura's zebra always makes me smile! I think I met Laura through her Monday quote posts - love them!

Leave a message for number 6.
Susan - I love your "about me" description on your blog. I used to think I was the only one with eclectic ideas all over the spectrum. So glad to know I'm not alone!! :)

Leave a lovey-dovey message for number 2.
Laura - you're a total sweetie! I love the way you break down plots - your analysis style totally rocks!

Do number 7 and number 8 have any similarities?
Aside from being 2 of the sweetest people in the bloggy-verse? They both have open, generous hearts and are kind and wondeful ladies!

(Please feel no pressure to complete the tag - it's all about fun, not to cause stress!)

Phew! I made it. I have the HARDEST time with these things. Hope you enjoy meeting 10 of the nicest people in the bloggy-verse (don't forget Janet & Shannon up top!).

So, what's on your computer's background right now??

Monday, June 13, 2011

Who Reads YA?

I'm over at From the Write Angle today discussing the YA market.

Around the bloggy-verse lately I've heard some people say they worry about writing YA because they think the market is too narrow.

Pop on over & let me know what you think. I'll give my opinion too!

I've turned off comments here in the hopes you'll visit me there! Hope to see you :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It's provincial testing week in our province, so my students are working hard to show off what they've learned so far. They're not too happy though!

I don't know too many people who love tests, do you?

In our stories, our characters are facing tests of some kind all the time. Sometimes it's a physical test they have to complete. Other times, it's a test of trust. Still others it might be a mystery or puzzle to be solved.

I'm working on that rewrite (yes, still!) and I'm finding although I do test my characters a lot, I let them find the answers too easily. That's why the rewrite is taking so long. I'm having to rip apart and build up my story on every single page. Make it tougher on them, make them really have to work for those answers.

What's your favourite kind of test to throw at your characters: physical, mystery or a matter of trust? Or maybe something completely different?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fun & Games - Jemi Style

Ninja Blogfest Master Alex J Cavanaugh is at it again!! This time it's all about fun & games! We're to talk about our 3 favourite games of all time. Easy-peasy!

#3 - Trivial Pursuit

I love this game! I'm usually pretty good at general knowledge stuff. I have one of those memories that does NOT work like a filing cabinet. No organized retrieval system here. I prefer to think of my memory as one of those interconnected knots - like Cobble's Knot in Maniac Magee or the one you create when you put a bunch of people in a circle and have them toss around a really big ball of yarn. I do this when I'm teaching food webs to show kids how life is interconnected.

My memory works like this - makes those quick connections with teeny bits of memory - zipping along connections that don't look connected. About 3/4 of the time, my answers are guesses - things that sound right. Lucky for me, they quite often are. Can I explain it? Absolutely not. I just know my family won't play with me any more...

#2 - Scrabble

As a writer, I obviously love words. Scrabble is a lot of fun for us! I ADORE the iPod version. I usually have 15 or 20 games going at all times. I like the teacher function - I love finding out all these new words that don't look like words at all!

#1 - Jeopardy
(C'mon - sing the Think Music - you know you want to!) I've always loved Jeopardy! Probably for the same reasons I love Trivial Pursuit. Before I had kids, I watched it every night. When my daughter was born, she was an extremely colicky baby. She cried for hours and hours and hours. One of the few things that would settle her was when Jeopardy came on. She'd stop instantly and listen.

And, yes, you better believe we taped it and wore out the tape!!

And, nope, my family won't play this one with me either! I'm not allowed to say the answer until the contestants have buzzed in or someone else has answered it. :)

Check out Alex's site for the list of the other players.

So, what is your favourite all-time game?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

If You Need a Boost...

... you only need to go as far as blog buddy Lenny Lee's place -- Lenny's World. He is full of joy and sunshine.

I do believe his avatar is the most appropriate in the entire bloggy-verse! :)

June is crazy busy for me - in our district we have school right until the end of June, & there's provincial testing, track & field, report cards, the usual wrap up stuff, and it's HOT, so it's nuts! When I feel overwhelmed, I head over to Lenny's site for a boost. His posts are not just inspirational, but they're wise too. Always makes me feel better. Scroll through his posts & you'll see what I mean.

Did I mention he's only 11?

So, need a boost? Head on over for some Lenny love - you'll feel better instantly. Thanks for being you, Lenny! You make this world a better place! :)

Have you met Lenny yet? Who do you turn to for that boost?