Please welcome award-winning author Fiona Ingram

Our Choices guest today is Fiona Ingram while on her WOW! Women on Writing tour of The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper - the third in the series of award-winning books for middle grade students. Please help me welcome Fiona. I also welcome her thoughts about writing for kids - something I've never attempted. Here are her wise words about how to create characters kids will relate to. Writing and Creating Characters by Fiona Ingram Creative writing for kids is one of the most challenging and fulfilling aspects of the classroom. Many teachers who are not writers may struggle to explain the nuts and bolts of writing in relation to the imaginative and creative process involved in making a story. Children may also not grasp the solid hard work involved in creating the structure and plot of a good story. Here are some easy tips to make the creative writing process both successful and fun. Writing can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life. There are … [Read more...]

How does an author change voices?

I'm delighted to have Wendy Lozano here at Choices. She and I have known each other since we worked on our high school newspaper together – and that's a long time. After an absence of many years, we reconnected while she carried out a successful career in academia and I worked for the aerospace industry. Coincidentally we are both novel writers now.  Her novel, The Fifth Sun, will be out next week. Here Wendy shares how she had found her author's voice after writing in her academic voice during her academic career – similar to my transition from technical writing to creative writing. I find the transition fascinating. I hope you will too.   Changing Voices by Wendy Lozano When I wrote my first historical novels in the ‘70s, my name was Wendy Lozano. Writing  seemed really easy to me then. I just fantasized about being in a particular time and place, did some research, and then wrote down my fantasy. I didn’t worry about voice or point of view. They were mine. The only … [Read more...]

The Yiddish language is making a come back

An October 2013 article in the Huffington Post discusses the revival of training in Yiddish that is helping to keep the language alive for the next generation. This is of great interest to me since I chose to use Yiddish words in my novel, Papa’s Shoes. My resources were online Yiddish to English dictionaries and a wonderful old book called  The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten. My mother gave my husband a copy back in 1970 when we got married. I think she was trying to entice him to convert. One of my novel’s beta readers, who is also not Jewish, did a study of the words I used in the book, dividing them into three categories: Words he uses in his own vocabulary, for example: Goy – a person who is not Jewish Kibitz – to offer unsolicited advice as a spectator Mazel tov – good luck Mensch – a special man or person, someone respected Nebbish – a nobody, simpleton, weakling Schmooze – talk, conversation, chat Shtup – push, vulgarism for sexual inter … [Read more...]

Introducing Shirley Loeb and her debut novel

I'm so happy to welcome Shirley Loeb today as she tells us how she created her debut coming-of-age novel, The Y Sapphires. First a brief synopsis of The Y Sapphires: It is a coming-of-age story that will satisfy adolescents and adults. The 12-year-old protagonist, too tall and too fat, is lost in the new world of high school. She's funny, lovable, and reads people accurately. She joins the Y Sapphires, a club of the "not-so-popular" and begins a friendship with a sophisticated but troubled classmate. Can she remain true to herself and still fit in the club she loves? Here's Shirley: "The process was lengthy. I started writing this book about 25 years ago. I always loved the protagonist but somehow could not sit down long enough to complete it. It was left languishing for years at a time. Funny as it might sound, I felt I had abandoned Sylvie, the 12-year-old protagonist, and that I owed her the debt of completing her story. I was in a writing class where the members e … [Read more...]

Overcome by writing

I’ve really been working away at my novel – at least the first three chapters. I'm getting them ready for a First Three Chapter Strongest Start competition that I plan to enter by June 22. I actually printed out a copy of the first 35 pages in no time at all with our brand new Epsom Artisan printer and did a line-by-line edit on the hard copy. Like back in the good old days. But even after reading it through, I still wasn’t satisfied with the opening – which I think is the most important part of the book. Well, I had an epiphany while I was on the elliptical this morning – even through the Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee on the TV, the article I was reading in The New Yorker about the artist Christian Marclay who created a digital piece of art called The Clock, which I’m dying to see, and the mix of music on my iPhone – I was able to think about writing. That’s how it has totally taken over my life. It’s on my mind constantly. I’m never bored with it. There†… [Read more...]

Outline a novel first or just go for it?

A recent discussion on LinkedIn in my Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors and Writing Professional group was about the question: Do you write with an outline or without one and just from your mind? The answers are all over the place, some for an outline, some against an outline and for the free-writing approach, and some for a little of both. I am of the outline-before-writing school of thought in most cases. When I worked on proposals in the aerospace business, the maxim was plan the writing before you write – that was to have a top level outline, annotate it with details and a graphics plan, get it approved, and then begin the writing. For my novel I did it a little less formally. In the first novel workshop I ever took, I learned these steps: write the first scene, write the last scene, and write a middle scene. Then write a list of scenes that go in between and start filling in the details of those scenes. Once all that is done, go back and fill more details: results of rese … [Read more...]