From Missy Cheryl

I read an article this week that discussed how voracious readers develop what is called “theory of mind.” This is a condition in which a person can entertain opinions very different than their own without allowing it to change or affect their personal feelings on a subject.
This concept, along with the corresponding scientific studies that support it, is one of the strongest arguments I’ve found against banning books. After all, books are generally banned in fear that they will change the opinions of their readers to something undesirable. But these studies show that allowing children to read widely from a young age is the best defense against that outcome.
No matter what your personal beliefs are, you cannot shield yourself and your family from all opposing ideas forever. We live in the age of information. Therefore, it is absolutely vital to help your children develop this state of mind.
The best defense is a good offense, after all. Banning books is a defense.  Allowing them to develop theory of mind is going on the offense.
From Miss Brenda
Pantser or Plotter ? ? ?
I’ve always considered myself a Pantser.  In fact, I’ve been fairly devoted to it.  But right now, with a book of 211 pages that isn’t quite finished, I’m reconsidering.  Having been lost in the Muddled Middles, as I am wont to be, I’m taking a look at the 211 pages and analyzing what on them.  And, more importantly, what’s not.  It’s actually pretty fascinating: I’ve found too much inaction, thinking, considering, dreaming, and not enough gripping moments.  I’ve found too much in one or another character’s head, and not enough interaction with other characters.  I’ve found some characters who came in too late, others who were too “present” at the wrong moments.
So, Pantsers, just because we don’t write an outline, draw a map, use 5,000 Post-Its to show all our carefully chosen stepping stones, doesn’t mean we can’t go back and analyze what we do have at (or toward) the end.  We know some of the elements needed for a rip-snortin’ story.  Take a careful, a thorough look at what we have.  Mine for gold.  Find the buried treasure, and be sure it’s there, even though it may need a little polishing up!
from me
Hope those of you in Utah have a Happy Pioneer Day (the rest of you, too).

Hope you get to read and write and hug those you love.
Hope you have peace and  get to watch one great show. Or two.

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

So we found a place up north. I’m so happy to be getting out of the county. Although I will miss being only a few minutes away from mom. Her and I need to do another brainstorming sesh. My ideas are falling flat and I’m not sure what to write about. I have some ideas…. But like I said, not great.

How do you guys get all your amazing writing ideas? What inspires your writing?

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The Ocean

Last week I went to the raging ocean.
The sand blew at my legs and my skirt flew up and I felt like I was in a novel.
Do you ever describe yourself in your head. As if someone were writing a novel about you right now?
Third person.
I think about it all the time. Grand sweeping descriptions we sometimes write, sometimes read, about a person. “She was overcome by children and middle age,” or “her once SOMETHING body, was now sagging and tired, her energy swept up with the legos and the ants that crawled across the kitchen floor.”
I always feel bad for myself that this is how I’m being described. Is this what people see? Is this their sentence when they interact with me, or observe me wrestling my kids? How dare they! They don’t know me. They don’t know what’s really happening, the hope and the joy and sadness and the fears. They are putting me in a sentence. A generalization.
I get all kinds of upset.
And then I realize no one has written this down about me except myself in my fake novel in my head.
And then I really feel sorry for myself.

Also, I read The Ocean at the End of Lane by Neil Gaiman. I’ve been wanting to read this for a long long time. It took me a day. Less than a day. And I keep thinking about it.

Listen to this podcast and see if you want to read it too.


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Monday What I Wants

* to get caught up

So I started this long list of what I wants and the truth is it all has to do with Getting Caught Up. Last May, some of you may remember, the girls and I moved three times in one month. I was so thrown, so overworked and so sad, I fell far behind in everything. That’s why the the rest of this summer is mine to do what I want. Like rest. And do what I need to feel like I have a chance to get my feet under me. (Will I ever be stable again?)

What are your wants?

Can you control them?

How’s the writing?

Let’s go to dinner at the beginning of August. Reading: 200 words. Of anything–what you are writing or what you have read that you love. Or hate.

Let’s have a theme.

I’m thinking right now.

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Three Thing Thursday

From Kyra
The week is flying by.Yesterday I looked at some possible rentals in salt lake. Cross your fingers. I’ve been reading some fantastic books this summer. {reviews coming soon! } I sent my novel off to the amazing Stephen Fraser. Send me and the novel some good book vibes. I think it’s gonna be an amazing rest of the summer!!
from Cheryl Can Eck
I am fascinated by natural disasters. Whenever there is a natural disaster of any kind, anywhere in the world, you can bet I’ll be tuning in for hours and hours of coverage.
Of course, I never rejoice in fatalities or casualties….I always hope and pray that each and every person got out safely. But I love seeing the raw power of nature, and how it brings out the true character of all those caught in her path. Bodybuilders become cowards. Introverts become heroes. First responders become saints.
What could a natural disaster add to your story? Especially to the murky middle.  Whose character most needs to be revealed? Would your protagonist run and hide at the sight of a tornado? Would they freeze like a deer in headlights at the first tremble of an earthquake? Would they race into a wildfire to try and find a loved one, or give them up for dead? The answer may surprise you.
From Brenda Bensch
How hot was the weather where you were today?  It was 102 at my place, and I was completely enervated by all that heat — didn’t even make it out of the house and away from my constantly-running air conditioning.
Weather always affects us one way or another.  How have you used weather in your writing?  The weather has been all the news this last year or so.  WHETHER we believe in “climate change” or not, there have been some truly unusual weather events over the last many, many months.
If weather is brought into your story — and it should be — how will it affect your plot?  Your characters?  Their actions?  Their emotions?  Their responses to other characters?  The way they deal with whatever other crises may be going on in their lives?
If the weather is extremely unusual, or even just “extreme,” how might that change your story?


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People We Plan to Interview

Chris Crowe

Cynthia Leitich SMith

Ilima Todd

Jennifer White

Julie Berry

John Cusick

Brooks Sherman

Cheri Pray Earl

Ann Dee Ellis

Jandy Nelson

Julie Olson

Courtney Alameda

Greg Leitich Smith

Anyone you want to hear from? Let us know.



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And So My Vacation Begins

I have been so tired, I’ve been unable to  to do much of anything. I HAVE taken naps, though. Sometimes two a day. I rarely, rarely nap.

Who would think a month and a half of traveling and conferencing and visiting and writing could be so tiring?

Last week I mentioned my goal making in my little writing world. I begin today. Will you play with me?

What is your big writing goal for July?

We have just over two weeks left.

I have another goal. It’s a secret that only my daughters know–and one friend.

I’m not sure how to make this happen, but I’m going to put my mind to making it happen.

Do you have a secret goal?

How will you accomplish it?

Finally, here is a yummy salad:

cold watermelon, cut in thick slabs

topped with arugala

balsamic vinegar to taste (you can reduce this and make a stronger dressing)

blue cheese crumbles or feta crumbles.

DANGED good!


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