Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thank you, Story Sleuths!

Wow, this is totally awesome. This amazing blog, Story Sleuths, run by Meg Lippert, Allyson Valentine Shrier, and Heather Hedin Singh, has devoted five posts to a study of Blackbringer -- this is the closest I have ever come to having my book taught in school. I mean, they really examine different elements of craft very closely and with examples, and as a writer it is such a thrill to have someone pay such close attention to my work--and to use it as a teaching tool. Wow! I get a glow reading these. Thanks also to their guest poster, amazing Portland fantasy writer Susan Fletcher, for stepping in and adding her own thoughts. This blog is like no other I've discovered, as far as examining the minutiae of craft. Check it out:

Post #1: Point of View in Blackbringer
Post #2: Word Choice & Language
Post #3: Suspense
Post #4: Midpoint
Post #5: Lending Fantasy a Semblance of Truth, an essay by Susan Fletcher

Thank you, ladies! This series is really a GIFT to me.

Speaking of gifts (how's that for a segue???), a certain husband just celebrated a birthday, and we had a delightful family day this'ing and that'ing around town -- do you do that enough? Just go do fun stuff, browse shops and have meals out and stroll? We do not generally do it enough. It's more like while running errands I see other people enthusiastically doing nothing and I get jealous and want to do enthusiastic nothing too. With pancakes, and brand new books, and a general sense of slothful decadence. So the whole day was like that, awesomely. Pancakes were consumed! New books were had! The zoo was strolled!

And man, going to the zoo on a sunny Sunday = MISTAKE!!! SO crowded! This is going to sound small of me, but I get so irked at the zoo when parents keep misidentifying the animals to their kids, particularly when they're standing right next to the sign and just can't be bothered to read it! African wild dogs are not hyenas, and meerkats are most emphatically not "ugly kitties"!!! And yes, dude, there IS a difference between a monkey and an ape! And while I'm on the topic, it is a nerdy ultra-peeve of mine when apes and monkeys are interchanged in picture books!!! Chimpanzees are not wee little swingy monkeys with long tails, yo! Look it up, illustrators!

Okay. Sorry. Done.

So lovely lovely day, and not only that, we had a real live superhero with us. Really. Her name is Awesome Pie!

(This outfit was her birthday gift for her papa. She picked it out herself, really. I didn't even know what was in it :-)
And you know, capes make handy nap blankets, because even super heroes get snoozy.
Man, I am crazy about this kid, and cra-a-a-azy about her papa. Lucky lucky me. Happy birthday, sweetie. Smooch!


lkmadigan said...

*happy sigh*

Suzanne said...

Holy Cuteness, Batman! That's the most adorable superhero ever.


Myrna Foster said...

I second what Suzanne said.

I'll have to check out the Blackbringer posts later. That is exciting!

Candyland said...


persnickety_jen said...

If I were to guess Clementine's superpower, I would go with killing people with adorableness.

Best. Superpower. Ever. :)

Amber Lough said...

What a great cape! And great news about Blackbringer!

I have the same nerdy problems at zoos. Especially when the sign is RIGHT THERE. I also get annoyed when parents let their kids shriek at the animals or bang on the glass of aquariums. Not that my kids don't try it---I just do my best to quiet them down and teach them some respect.

My good news is that I'm finally back to writing again, and have sold FIVE nuno felted scarves! And I have a self-made deadline for this WIP and intend to keep it this time! And I am doing my best to be perky! (Because I'm not, really.) And I'm NOT going to let my personal editor bog me down this time. My new mantra is: Write Fast, Edit Slow.

Laura S. said...

Such sweet pictures! It's supposed to be a beautiful weekend, and you've inspired me to just stroll around town with my hubby. Thanks!

I know exactly what you mean by the zoo thing! Once I heard a parent tell his child the zebras were black & white horses. I gasped so loud! Hubby said lightning bolts were flashing out of my eyes, haha. That especially annoyed me because the zebra is my favorite animal.

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

I feel your pain about the zoo. We went to ours on one of the first beautiful days, and during spring break, and....ugh! I had the hyena/African wild dog issue pop up as well....what is with that? That is why there are signs, people! :) And the monkey/ape distinction......and also the super hero outfit is great! Do you ever get tired of being right?

tone almhjell said...

Oh yes, lucky, lucky you!

Meg Lippert said...

Hi Laini,
Wow thanks for the links to StorySleuths, and thanks especially for writing such awesome stories! I also appreciated your presentations at the Western Washington SCBWI Regional Conference--especially your workshop on plotting, when you said, "Plot = characters living their way through the story." Your focus on "beats" (important events), building up to them, and flowing from one to the other, were particularly helpful to me as I plot my WIP. Thanks so much!
Meg Lippert

Sage Ravenwood said...

Happy Belated Birthday to your husband. I can't think of more fitting or cuter gift than super-hero babe.

It's a pet peeve of mine too when parents don't care to tell their kids the right name. In a way it's as if they don't respect their child's intelligence enough to care. (Hugs)Indigo

jaecy bells said...

"Ugly kitties." Jeez.

Although I won't lie, that kind of made my day with it's pitiful humor.

I guess I'm fortunate in that I don't have parents that misidentify animals, but my dad is kind of the opposite. Both my parents are teachers, and my father finds it necessary to read each and every story and description, exclaiming, "Oh, LISTEN to this guys, it's so INTERESTING!"

Sometimes it is.

Awesome Pie= cutest kid ever!! If we lived in the same, like, country, I would be a willing babysitter. :-)

Liana said...

Yay! Happy Birthday, Jim!!! :)

Also, don't worry, Laini- things like that irk me too.

P.S. That superhero of yours definitely has a very strong Cuteness Ray. :)

Tinker said...

How cool they're dissecting Blackbringer - wait, that doesn't sound right -- um, you know what I mean, right? It's late night at the end of a long day...

That is the cutest superhero, ever!
And Happy Birthday, Jim!

Erin said...

Why does she have to be so cute!?!? :)

Lexi said...

Happy birthday, Jim!

And man, Clementine Pie is going to surpass Batman on the superhero awesomeness scale any day now!

anne said...

Those indepth postings about Blackbringre make AWESOME reading. Takes one back into the book, w/ "I remember that" feelings, and just a very cool glimpse....
of course, we KNEW the writing was incredible, it's what we're telling everyone here at the library!

(superhero stuff was great. how sweet of Pie to get her dad such a great gift, she is a wonderful daughter!)

Responsible Service of Alcohol said...

She is the cutest superhero I've ever seen.