All tagged Guest Post
(My apologies for the delay in posting this--it's been a tough couple of weeks around these parts and I haven't been on top of anything.)
I'm happy to host Cordelia Jensen as part of YA Readers' Debut Author Bash event. I read and loved Cordelia's debut, Skyscraping, and am thrilled to introduce her to more readers.
It is hard for me to describe my debut YA verse novel SKYSCRAPING (out this June from Philomel/Penguin) without telling my life story. This is what happens:
“You have a book coming out! How cool, what’s it about?” asks Random Stranger.
I think it’s important to know that I’m sort of a people pleaser. So I hesitate, partly because I think they might want me to tell them a high-concept story summary and partly because what I am about to share feels too personal for this level of exchange.
Reading about people getting hooked on drugs and terrible things happening seemed about as interesting as listening to a friend tell you about that totally awesome trip they had once. But I saw her speak at the Montgomery County Book Festival, and she spoke very passionately and personally about the books she writes. I chose to read her 2009 release, Tricks, because the sequel, Traffick, is coming out this November.
When Sarah asked if I’d like to write a post for her fourth VERSE NOVEL celebration, I started reflecting on how the genre has fared between the publication of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO this past February and 2011, when I launched my YA debut, AUDITION. Here are a few of my personal thoughts and observations:
Young readers are still open minded. They haven’t been around long enough to decide they don’t like a certain writing style before trying it. While I’ve heard adults talk about how strange a verse novel looks on the page and feels as reading material, I’ve never heard a kid say this.
Here's the summary:
The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history.
A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000.
Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.
I'm happy to welcome Melanie to the blog--she's going to share a bit about the unique opportunity to translate history through verse novels.
(As a side-note, take a moment to enjoy these gorgeous covers. There are illustrations at the start and end of each chapter as well as quotes from other writers/books at the start of each chapter.)
For an avid reader, it is sort of perfect when someone finds words to replicate their exact feelings about the joys of reading and books. How many times have we spent late nights caught up in a book that refuses to let us go until we reach the end? How many days have we spent happily in the company of worlds, characters and stories about people and places we have never met, never been to and possibly never will? (Especially in the cases of fantasy literature) And how many times have we wished that those worlds could be real so we too could be a part of them?
Note: This is a guest post from author & college student Pema Donyo. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to learn more about her. Also, there are spoilers for the happy endings of several books in this post--you've been warned. Another CEFS post dealing with similar concepts was written by Laura a couple years ago--check it out over here.
Are you interested in writing a guest post for CEFS? Send us your idea via our contact page.
These (Young Adult novel) endings are emblematic of the fact that the emotional and moral ambiguity of adult fiction—of the real world—is nowhere in evidence in YA fiction. These endings are for readers who prefer things to be wrapped up neatly, our heroes married or dead or happily grasping hands, looking to the future.
This kind of fun will never fail to delight.
— Philip Pullman
Orphans form a large part of Ibbotson’s stories, which are usually set in the turn of the century England or Vienna. Journey to the River-Sea however is set in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazonian forest in Brazil. It is a different time and a different world. Electricity and the telegraph have already been discovered, but there are still many discoveries to be made and expeditions to be conducted in far-flung, exotic places, where the locals are still referred to as savages.
You ever laughed so hard
nobody in the world could hurt you for a minute,
no matter what they tried to do to you?
Viginia Euwer Wolff's groundbreaking novel, written in free verse, tells the story of fourteen-year-old LaVaughn, who is determined to go to college--she just needs the money to get there.
When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom.
Viola leaves war-torn Sudan for a new life in the United States. Such a great story of strength and loss of innocence. Beautiful cover! Beautiful writing!
WHAT is a verse novel?
HOW can you tell a story in poems?
WHY don’t you just write “normally”?
Imagine someone wanting Eminem to define “rap.” Demanding of Joss Whedon, “How come you don’t write stage plays instead of screenplays” or of dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, “How can you express narrative through movement without words”? What might the late Andy Warhol have said to somehow who asked why he didn’t just paint “realistically”?
Note from Sarah: You may remember Hannah's wonderful guest post last year in which she asked, "Has fiction ruined my life?" Well our favorite London teen is back, lamenting that while she loves writing, it's often a frustrating, solitary, crazy-making experience.
In some far off ideal world, I would get an idea, I would write down said idea, it would make sense and there would be rainbows, and music would fill the land, and people would dance, and all would be well with the universe. But actually, when I sit down to write, I repeatedly succumb to inept feelings of inadequacy, which rather alarmingly seem to be increasingly growing in abruptness, preventing me from feeling like I am progressing.
I think the problem is that I set my goals too high. It’s just that I feel like I would be able to write the best books in the world if I could just expand t some of the half formulated ideas that dwell within the confinements of this 18 year old cranium to their full potential. To me, it seems as though there is a vast ocean of unwritten novels that sloshes inside my thoughts, and in theory, I should be able to salvage handfuls of them whenever I feel like it.
Note from Sarah: This is a guest post from my wonderful husband, Josh. This week, his childhood favorite comedian, Jonathan Winters, passed away, and Josh asked me if he could write something in memoriam, saying that Jonathan Winters was his Judy Blume. If you're so inclined, you can follow Josh on frequently-updated Tumblr or stalk him on his rarely-used Twitter account.
This guy was from Dayton. Someone from where I was from was amazing and funny. This was my new hero, someone who made me laugh and who had the same points of reference I did.
At some point I realized "What? he was actually from Springfield!" Even closer, where the mall was! He could have gone to the same theatre as me to see ET (this was in point of fact impossible since the mall was a long way off when he was there, but it didn't matter to my six-year-old).
I bugged my dad about more stories, learned how he studied art at the Museum, where I thought for the longest time he must have just walked around and looked at the pictures and drew them (funny I now ply my trade at is essentially one of these Museum schools). At the time is sounded like the education of a genius, and it still kind of does. I learned about his time on WHIO Radio, how he acted like a goofball on the air.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of the WordCount Blogathon, a challenge in which over 250 bloggers from all niches attempt to blog every single day in May. Today, bloggers are swapping posts. My post today is over on Michelle’s blog, where I’m talking about mobile devices and blogging. I was thrilled when Michelle offered to guest blog on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, as she is a very accomplished writer and journalist who always has wonderful insights that she’s extremely generous about sharing. I know a lot of voracious readers are also aspiring writers, so Michelle’s thoughts on the lessons she’s learned from writers at the top of their game should be wonderfully useful to many of you.
When it comes to the process of writing, though, they’re just like us. They get caught up doing research. They get writer’s block. They’re not always sure of themselves, or organized. They write about what they know.
I learned those lessons and more from writers such as Annie Proulx and Stebastian Junger who I heard speak this year as part of an author lecture series sponsored by Portland Literary Arts, a local organization that promotes literature and literary. I won season tickets to the series in a Multnomah County Public Library summer reading program contest.