Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Cynthia Lord Day!

{one day belated}

Yesterday and the day before we were blessed with a visit by the real-life Cynthia Lord (author of Rules, Touch Blue, Hot Rod Hamster, and Happy Birthday Hamster) to our very own school!  It was such a lovely day, thanks to the many great teachers and administrators who helped along the way.

Me and my new Newbery buddy
She shared lots of funny stories, insight on the novel, and my favorite, lots of tips for writers (young and old!).  Here are some of my favorite quotes:
The four ways to become an author:  read, write, learn, dream.
You don't have to be perfect when you're an author.
I start to think about all the possibilities, and that is how I decide what to write about.
I was trying to write the book [I] couldn't find.
The story in my head is always so much better than those first draft pages.
From Jame Smiley "Every first draft is perfect, because all the first draft has to do is exist."
Dare not to be perfect.  Dare to keep working on your story despite that little voice in your head that says, 'This is not very good.'
Every story follows a formula: Want, Obstacles, and Win?  What does your character want?  What is in your character's way?   What does he or she do to try to get it?  Does your character get what they want?
Until you tell the reader the "want" and the "obstacle," they don't know what the story is about.
There is no substitute for experience. (in writing sensory details)
Your imagination is actually too perfect.  If you just imagine your entire book totally out of your head, all the people and places in it, you'll often imagine something you've seen on tv.
I pay special attention to anything that surprises me.  The surprises that you couldn't have imagined often become the gold in the description.
I live for that smiley face. (in reference to her editor's marks during revision)
The kids (and teachers) loved it! Thanks, Cynthia!  We can't wait for Loonsong to come out!

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