Friday, April 23, 2010

Best Websites for Writers: Part One

How many of you get the Writers Digest?  I just started getting it, and was amazed at so many of the articles that pertain to writing for children/young adults.  I took the magazine years ago, and seldom saw anything I could use.  This last issue had 101 best websites for writers, so I thought I would pass some of them along ( not all 101, however.)

The first ones are on "Writing Advice."  A couple I already have listed but I'll share them again, anyway.

Editorial Anonymous:
An unnamed children's book editor gives practical advice about everything from rejections to book promotions, and does so with a bit of wit.

Evil Editor:
A straight-talking editor dispenses tough-love advice on queries, snyopses, and the first pages of books, and does so humorously.

Long Story Short: An E-zine for Writers:
This e-zine gives excellent writing tips and also offers a personal touch that most others don't. The editors of Long Story Short reply personally to every author who queries for advice on how to improve their work.

Novel Journey:
There is great advice here from the sites 12 contributors, who offer a collection of interviews with authors, editors and freelancers.

Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers:
The always inspiring Martha Alderson helps you work out your plot problems.

That's all for now. I know, I know, 5 out of 101 isn't very much, but if you want to get them all, you'll just have to subscribe to Writers Digest !

I'll be back later with a few more.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thoughts on Wintergirls

When I first began reading Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson, I almost returned the book to the library.  It is morose, it is chilling, it is frightening because it strikes so close to home in its truth.

Lia and Cassie have been friends forever.  In high school, they enter into a pact to see who can lose the most weight the quickest.  However, by the time both are totally caught up in the throes of anorexia, they have a falling out, and refuse to speak to each other.  Before long, Cassie is found dead, alone, in a motel room...where she had called and texted Lia 33 times, but Lia refused to listen or read the calls until after she found out that her best friend was dead.

Cassie's death sends an already fragile Lia into a morass of painful self-destruction.  Cassie ( who died as a result of a ruptured esophagus, in turn a result of violent bulima) becomes a ghost who haunts Lia and tries to draw her even further down into self-destruction.  Lia's parents and step-mother are too busy and self-involved to really see what is going on with her, especially since she convinces them she is gaining weight...merely by adding clothing before she weighs.  Finally, it is her art teacher who begins to slowly nudge her back from the edge of death.

This is not a story for the faint-hearted, nor should it be read in the midst of feeling "blue."  But it is a marvelous book, written with understanding, sensitivity and passion from a first-person present-tense point of view.  It is a book to be read by any parent who knows or believes that her/his daughter in involved in anorexia or bulimia.  It is a book to be read by any teen who is considering trying to be "the skinniest person in school" or who, perhaps, is already experiencing the mentality of anorexia...where every bite of food is not to be thought of in terms of name, type or nutrition, but merely as a caloric number...the lower the better.  It is a book to be read by every teen who believes that self-perception is tied to being thin, the thinner the better, and who is already exploring the caverns of self-starvation and the painful disconnection between perception and reality.

A hard-to-read book, but one which is even harder to stop reading.