Sunday, January 30, 2011

The passage of time

What are some creative ways to show the passage of time? I'll start by listing one and include an example. Can't wait to see your suggestions/sentences.

1. Change of seasons: By the time Becca realized what was wrong, the ground was frozen. OR By the time Becca knew what was wrong, the trees were dressed in flaming red, orange and yellow leaves.

Now, you're turn.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering Challenger

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. Where were you when you learned about the event?
I had just signed off on the front page of the Pottsville Republican, where I was assistant news editor. The presses started to roll. I came back to my desk to see an Associated Press bulletin flash across my computer screen. I couldn't believe it. While that version of the front page went to press, I quickly remade the front page with the news as quickly as I could. It was the first catastrophe in my newspaper career that I had to deal with remaking the front page with breaking news. But I just sort of went into automatic pilot and did what I had to do. Later, the enormity of the event hit me.
How about you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A minute list

Use one word to describe the following. Mine is in ()'s. Copy and paste list into comments and add yours. Should only take a minute. Can't wait to read your lists.
Snow (heavy)
Coat (torn)
Gloves (fingerless)
Boots (warm)
Hot chocolate (cold)
Snowman (Calvin-ish)
Fireplace (glowing)
Shovel (broken)
Newspaper (bagged)
School (delayed)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quote of the day

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph." --Mark Twain
Ugh. He said what I was thinkin'. (Smiles)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some Pig and Rat

Are you ever disappointed when you read a book and then watch the movie? Perhaps the character isn’t portrayed exactly how you had imagined. Or the voice is all wrong.

Well, I love the comic strip Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis. I purchased this strip several years ago after the syndicate rep pitched it to me. (For those not-in-the-know, I purchase and negotiate contracts for all of the newspaper’s features, which includes everything from syndicated columns to comic strips to puzzles.) So, you can imagine how psyched I was when I got an e-mail telling me that Pig and Rat and their pals are now animated.

Seconds later, I was on checking out the cartoon.  I wondered what the Crocs' accents would sound like. If Pig's voice would be what I heard in my head. I wasn't disappointed.

The animated strip, which is produced by Ringtales, runs between 20 and 50 seconds, and includes a brief caption on what that day's strip is about.

My son is a huge Pearls fan, too, and reads the strip every day. I think we have every Pearls book ever published. It's hard not to love the slow-witted Pig and the arrogant Rat.

So, have you ever been disappointed by how a character was portrayed on TV or on the silver screen? If so, which character/movie?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quote of the day

"Think of your main characters as dinner guests. Would your friends want to spend ten hours with the characters you’ve created? Your characters can be lovable, or they can be evil, but they’d better be compelling." --PO BRONSON
Speaking of dinner and characters, what character would you most like to dine with? spit food at?  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

If I could I'd...

Your assignment today (smiles) is to answer the question, If I could I'd, with writing related answers. You have to give me at least one answer. Of course, you can always give more. Can't wait to read what you have to say.

Example: If I could I'd travel back in time (or in the future) as part of my writing research.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is your writing real?

I was at the Y the other night and asked someone who works there how her training was coming along. She shook her head and explained that it wasn’t. She hadn’t had time to work out because she’s busy with her two children, especially the youngest one who has gotten into all kinds of trouble. “If only kids came with manuals,” she said, explaining that the youngest is opposite the oldest who is always on the honor roll and never causes her any problems. I smiled. I have two children, and I know how challenging parenthood can be.

Our conversation made me think about my characters. Some of them give me tons of trouble. They have attitude and do stupid things. They make me angry. Others are easier to love. They do what’s expected without whining. They make me laugh and sometimes cry.

If you write MG and YA, how real is your writing? Is it so real that your characters influence how you feel? Why is it that when we kill off a character we feel horrible about it? It’s because we care. Because we’ve created characters that have made us care.

Like real kids, we love them despite their flaws. They aren’t perfect. They shouldn’t be perfect. We’re not perfect. The challenge is to make our readers care as much as we do. If we can do this, then I think we’ve achieved a level of writing worthy of a smile or two. If we’re lucky, maybe more.

Do me a favor and post next to where you write a little note that says: Make me care. I hope that it guides you in your writing. If you can't make me care, I'm going to skip class the first chance I get. Don't let that happen. Make me care so much that I'm early to class and get the best front-row seat because I can't wait to hear what the teacher has to say.

The bell's ringin'. Gotta go!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow forts and imagination

The wintry mix outside reminds me of my childhood and how we’d build snow forts and have snowball battles. I took great pride in building the perfect fort, rolling each boulder until it was just the right size, placing them next to and on top of one another until the fort was tall enough and wide enough to hide and protect me. I’d carve out little cubbies in the walls where I’d store my snowballs. We’d spend hours outside playing and, when we were done and went inside to get warm, Mom always had hot chocolate and dry clothes waiting.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think kids build snow forts and play outside like they used to. In fact, I don’t see as much creative play period, and that bothers me. Do kids pretend and create? Do their imaginations run wild? Does a stack of pillows become a mountain and an empty coffee container a drum?

We’re living in a world of noise where kids expect bells and whistles and flashing lights. Where has the quiet hour of the day gone, the hour of pretend when dragons breathe fire and pirates rule the sea and dolls and bears share cookies and tea?

As a writer, the ability to think creatively is an obvious must. It’s how we create fantasy worlds and unforgettable characters. I hope that as parents and teachers and family members and friends that we encourage imagination and creative play in our children. What a sad, sad world this would be if there were no creative people inventing things that bring beauty and fun to our lives.
What do you think?

Albert Einstein

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Need your help

Hey gang, I'm doing a charity fundraiser for the local food bank. I am looking for auction items. If you'd like to donate an autographed copy of your book, that would be awesome. Or, if you knit and would like to donate a hat or gloves or blanket, that would be way cool. Some of you have already opened your hearts to my request. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The auction is Feb. 12. I can send you a thank-you letter on church letterhead for your records. If you are moved by my request, you can e-mail me at
Again, thank you to those who have already answered my call. I have been doing this auction for more than 10 years and it's always rewarding to help others and know I am making a difference. Peace to you, Buffy 

Quote of the day

Another great revision quote. Hope you have a fabulous Friday.

"If a teacher told me to revise, I thought that meant my writing was a broken-down car that needed to go to the repair shop. I felt insulted. I didn't realize the teacher was saying, "Make it shine. It's worth it." Now I see revision as a beautiful word of hope. It's a new vision of something. It means you don't have to be perfect the first time. What a relief!" --Naomi Shihab Nye

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quote of the day

"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke." --Arthur Polotnik
I'm revising an MG and I'm loving it. There's just something about the revision process that jazzes me. How about you?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I needed this laugh today:)

Quotes of the day

Quotes by Colin Greenland:
Plotting is like sex. Plotting is about desire and satisfaction, anticipation and release. You have to arouse your reader's desire to know what happens, to unravel the mystery, to see good triumph. You have to sustain it, keep it warm, feed it, just a little bit, not too much at a time, as your story goes on. That's called suspense. It can bring desire to a frenzy, in which case you are in a good position to bring off a wonderful climax.
Plotting isn't like sex, because you can go back and adjust it afterwards. Whether you plan your story beforehand or not, if the climax turns out to be the revelation that the mad professor's anti-gravity device actually works, you must go back and silently delete all those flying cars buzzing around the city on page one. If you want to reveal something, you need to hide it properly first.
So, what do you think? (Smiles)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Writing tweets and more

Here are some of my recent writing tweets. If you aren't following me on Twitter (@Buffyandrews) I'd love to see you on that platform as well.
 1. Three words for a writer: Make me care. That pretty much sums it up, I think.
2. Characters are like kids. They want to be played with, taken on adventures. And they won't let you rest until you do.
3. Trying to get an agent is like standing in line to be picked for kickball. Pick me! Pick me! ...Dang, last again. (smiles)
For more of my writing tweets, go here.
You can also find me on Facebook (Smartmama and Letseatpa and my personal account) as well as my other blog, Buffy's World.

Do you have a writing tweet to share? Love to see it in comments.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't stop believin'

I worked out at the Y today. Ugh! It was dang hard. It was one of those days when I knew what I needed to do but my legs wanted no part of it. But I willed myself to work through it. Every step I took, every minute I ran brought me closer to my goal. Two hours later, I was glad I hadn’t given up. Yes, it would have been so much easier to stay home and enjoy the awesome fire Hubs had made on what turned out to be a bitter cold day. It would have been easier, but far less satisfying.

So what does this have to do with writing? Nothing and yet everything. There are days when you might not feel like writing, days when you might question your talent, days when you might just want to throw in the towel. Don’t. Don’t ever throw in that towel. If you have a goal, go for it. If you have a dream, keep it. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not talented enough or good enough or smart enough. Who are they anyway? Yes, some days will be tougher than others. But if you push through the bad days you will get to the good ones. It might not be tomorrow or the next day or next. But it will come. And when the good days come, they will be dripping in so much sweetness that the bad days will melt away.

I hope that you’re always able to push through the tough days. That your struggles make you stronger, your doubts become weaker and you find victory in every step, no matter how small, you take toward whatever goal you have. I am always amazed by the journey and how much it teaches me about myself. Mostly, I’m amazed that God has given me something so precious – the ability to write and touch and help others.

I hope you have an amazing week filled with everything good. Blessings, Buffy

Friday, January 7, 2011

Flashback: 50s and 60s jingles

Have you ever written a jingle? If so, I'd love for you to share in comments. I know very little about how these are done. Do you start with the music or the words?

Watch tribute to cartoons from the 60s.

Watch tribute to TV shows from the 60s.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

R2-D2, C-3PO and my Droid

So I left for lunch the other day. Grab my purse, got in the car, started the car, began to drive when...
Oh, no! It was missing.
Not my wallet or my eye glasses or my umbrella (It was beginning to rain.) but my Droid. I tried to keep going but I couldn't bear not being able to check in on Foursquare at all of the stops I had planned.
Read rest here.

Do you have a writing routine?

“I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning” --Peter De Vries

Do you write at a certain time each day? Perhaps you write as soon as you put the kids on the bus or when the baby is napping. Or, if you work outside the home, you write early in the morning or late at night. And do you have a particular routine? Maybe you always make a cup of green tea or listen to a particular song to get you jazzed. What works best for you? I would love for you to share:)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's your line?

Give me one opening line that will make me want to read more. Here's mine:
The minute I did it, I knew I was dead meat.
Let's see them gang:)

Flashback: Cartoons from 60s

Continuing our flashback week. Enjoy!

Watch tribute to jingles from the 50s and 60s.

Watch tribute to TV shows from the 60s.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Flashback: TV shows of the 1960s

How many of these TV shows did you watch? For some of us, it might have been in syndication. I was familiar with all but a few. How about you?

Watch tribute to cartoons of the 60s.
Watch tribute to jingles of the 50s and 60s.

Monday, January 3, 2011

At a crossroads

Imagine being at a crossroads. You’re in the middle, able to go in any direction you choose.
Which road do you take?
It’s difficult deciding what path to travel when you don’t know where each road leads. And yet there’s something wild and romantic and adventurous about going down a road you know nothing about.
Will there be obstacles?
Most certainly.
Will I fall and get hurt?
Will the end be worth the journey?
It almost always is.
If you are standing at a crossroads and trying to decide which road to take, I hope you choose a path that leads to adventure and discovery and personal and professional growth. I think that we grow from the challenges and difficulties we face. That doesn’t mean I like facing them. It means that I do the best I can with what I have. Sometimes, it’s enough; sometimes, it’s not. But all I can do is try. That’s all you can do, too.
A new year has begun. Who knows what it will bring.
I hope so.
That would be great.
But no matter what lies ahead, I hope that you stay true to yourself, believe in yourself and live.
Really, really live.
Life is far too short to crowd it with regrets. It’s far too short to crowd it with I-wish-I-would-haves. Some of the happiest people in the world are those who take the path they are least sure of and discover that it’s not always the destiny that counts, but the journey there.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Quote of the day

"There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges." --Ernest Hemingway

What is your favorite Hemingway book?