Ever wondered how you get from killer idea to finished book? YA author Taylor Brooke leads this months League meeting where we’ll take a look at crafting a sturdy premise and finding just the right voice for your novel. The League of Exceptional Writers is a free mentoring program sponsored by the Oregon Society of Children’s book Writers and Illustrators and hosted by the Cedar Hills Powell’s Bookstore. We meet every second Saturday at 2pm from October to May. Avid readers and writers ages 8 to 18 are welcome. Please share the poster below with your friends, your school and your library.
I’m so thrilled to announce that my next book, A Wolf Called Wander, will be published by Anderson Press of the UK. It will be a fully illustrated middle grade novel inspired by the life of Oregon Wolf 7. The official announcement will be made when the publisher has selected and illustrator, and the book will be out sometime in 2019, but I couldn’t wait to share the news and thank the many people who helped me get here. My wonderful agent Fiona Kenshole of the Transatlantic Agency arranged the deal. My brilliant friends, Cheryl Coupe, Michael Gettle-Gilmartin, Barb Liles, and Cliff Lehman, have been with me every step of the way.
I’m particularly grateful for an opportunity at the Fishtrap Summer workshops to take a totally unique outdoor writer’s workshop on the absolutely gorgeous and extremely challenging Zumwalt Prairie. I learned and listened and walked and smelled and tasted and imagined my way into a wolf’s point of view in some of Oregon’s most spectacular wolf habitat. Nature writer Gary Ferguson (Land on Fire) was my mentor in that transformative week. Many thanks to him and to the Fishtrap organization who have been nurturing strong western writing for many years. The pictures are Oregon Wolf 7 and his newest group of pups in their new home ground in the Rogue River watershed.
I’m so happy to kick of the writing year with Nevin Mays who has been an editor at Listening Library and worked on the audio version of my very first novel The Heart of a Shepherd. If you are an avid reader or writer ages 8 to 18, come on down to the Cedar Hills Powells at 2pm on Saturday October 14th and we’ll talk about Books Out Loud. It’s fun and it’s free! Please share this poster with your friends, your school or your library.
Grab your ball point pens! The author of the Lowriders in Space graphic novels is here to talk about how to write and draw comics in the distinctive ball point pen style. Lost of fun for writers, comics fans, and artists.
The League of Exceptional Writers is a free mentoring program sponsored by the Oregon Society of Children’s book Writers and Illustrators and hosted by the Cedar Hills Powell’s Bookstore. We meet every second Saturday at 2pm from October to May. Avid readers and writers ages 8 to 18 are welcome. Please share the poster below with your friends, your school and your library.
Poetry has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mother and father both read poetry, and I had a big picture book of poetry I read and reread so often that many of those poems linger in my mind though I never consciously memorized them. “A violet by a mossy stone half hidden from the eye. Fair as a star when only one is shining in the sky” is a line that reliably comes to mind every time I go hiking and find wildflowers clinging to unlikely spots along the trail.
My fourth grade teacher, an exceedingly no-nonsense woman named Ms. Jacques, seemed to have two great loves to communicate to my nine year old self: long division and poetry. She taught me dozens of poetic forms from Haiku to the ballad and (what seems more impressive to me now) showed me how to scan a line to fit the meter of the line before it. I loved the structure of writing to a particular format. Hunting for just the right word to fill out the rhythm or rhyme of a line was so much more game-like than ordinary writing which I detested at the time for its irritating reliance on standard spelling and punctuation. With a poem I could invent words to my heart’s debliss and dispense with punctuation entirely.
Ms. Jacques introduced me to my first literary crush, the deliciously uncapitalized e e cummings. Since cummings had neither a first name nor a gender, my nine year old self imagined a pleasant, furry alien who might, should I come across him in my ramblings in the woods, translate for me the poetry of slugs and squirrels and sword ferns.
Eventually college broadened considerably my repertoire of poetry while siphoning off much of the pleasure I found in reading it and all of the joy I took in creating it. I stopped writing poems for years and didn’t miss it until I started reading poetry to my own children and writing my own stories.
Novels are so long, I’ve returned to poetry to give me the satisfaction of writing something I can finish a draft of in a single day. By contrast it takes 3 to 9 months to complete a single draft of even a short novel.
When I get stuck or discouraged, poetry gives me a reliable lift and often a fresh perspective on a character if I opt to write a poem in the voice of one of my characters from a work in progress.
It’s a huge relief to write something that I will not only never sell, but never show anyone. I think having work that lives in my own mind and heart but not in the world is extraordinarily valuable.
How about you? Do you have things you write just for your own pleasure? Let me know in the comments!