MGM: When a Middle Grade Series Becomes a Young Adult Series (plus writing exercise)

(For those who want to skip straight to the writing exercise, it’s at the bottom of the post) We saw it happen with the Harry Potter series. In book one, Harry is 11 years old. That’s 6th grade. I remember the first book carried a lot of humour. It was  whimsical. Little Harry is more interested in magical candy than snogging a girl. But by the time we get to the end, it’s a dark bloodfest with some serious snogging. This makes complete sense to me. What matters to a 6th grader is much different than what matters to a 12th grader. If you recall what it’s like going through high school, there were probably some dark and scary times. I know I experienced a lot of emotional turmoil. For those kids who read along as the series was published,...

Weekend Workout: Make Your Characters Messy

One of my pet peeves as a reader (and movie goer) is characters that are too perfect. Who can relate to that? Humans are not perfect. We are messy. We carry a lot of baggage, have fears and secrets, do the right things for the wrong reason, the wrong things for the right reason. We sabotage ourselves, hurt the ones we love, and agonize over decisions. It doesn’t matter whether our characters are 16 year old vampires, robots, or train conductors (or all three). Whether you’re writing steampunk, a contemporary romance, or a future fantasy it’s your characters who bring the work to life. When we care about the characters, when we sympathize with their bad decisions, we care about the story. Good people can do “bad” things. And...

Mid-Week Mourning Poem (for Victor Gato)

If you are new here, hi, hello. I generally leave a weekend writing exercise at the end of the week and post a new piece of writing at the beginning of the week, but today I’m bringing you a mid-week exercise and a poem. I haven’t blogged in a while because my cat was very sick and it became clear several days ago that he wasn’t going to make it. It was that delicate time when one has to decide in the cat’s best interests rather than one’s own. It was time to let him go. I find the periods of my life when I am in mourning to be inspiring creatively. In particular for poetry and song. Emotional pain might not feel “good” – but it’s powerful stuff. I’ve learned to just be in it. This week the workout is to write a “3-Stage Mourning Poem.” By “stage” I...

Weekend Workout: Got my 50 First Lines – Time for Paragraphs!

Last Weekend I gave you the workout of coming up with 50 first lines. That was it, just the first lines. As fast as you can, without thinking about them too much. If your intention was to write poetry, they could have emerged as first lines to poem. If your intention was a short story, they would have leaned in that direction. That’s the beauty of it! When I wrote mine, I was thinking of prose. I wanted to write short stories as an exercise, because I’m still tentative in that department. Since college I think I’ve written less than a dozen short stories. Next thing to do is to pick 10 or more first lines and write the first PARAGRAPH of each. If you’re writing flash fiction, you might just go ahead and write the whole thing. 500 words or...

I’m Baaaaaaaack! Highlights from Book Tour

Wow, it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged! I shall do the blogger walk of shame (it’s a kind of meandering skulk)… My intention was to “live blog” my book tour as it went along. Guess what? I discovered that I suck at live-blogging. Plus, who knew that a book tour could be so crazy-hectic? (Okay, the last week of the tour wasn’t crazy or hectic, but that California sunshine was awfully distracting) For those of you not following along on Brigitta’s FaceBook page (because really, what else do you have to do?), I’ve included a few highlights below. I participated in 26 events over the course of 27 days. The book tour was really about the release of the accidental novel (Brigitta of the White Forest) but I...

Weekend Workout: Making the Daily Matter

This isn’t my regular kind of weekend workout. This one is about getting refocused for the New Year. (now that you’ve let go of all the junk that was holding you back) I’ve been thinking about why I have been “dragging myself” into this new year. Part of it seems to be a feeling of having lost my way. I find myself asking questions like, “Am I on purpose? Am I following my bliss? Where did all the passion go?” Eleven years ago I moved to Eastern Europe and traveled around for the better part of a year. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I was full of every kind of emotion, vulnerable and open, writing massive amounts of poetry and doing a lot of, dare I say it, “soul-searching.” Everything...