Thought for the Day:
“A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns.”
~ P.L. Travers ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
We all try not to write boring characters. Martin Cavannaugh has a good guest post HERE on Literary Rambles that will help you keep your characters just bad enough to be interesting. Literary Rambles is a blog we should all be reading regularly. Lots of good stuff for writers there.
We are always being told to avoid clichés, but what do people consider to be cliché? HERE Be a Better Writer has a list of 681 clichés writers should avoid.
Can’t get enough of help with the dreaded synopsis? HERE at Hacks for Hacks is a really excellent post on that topic.
Last week I offered a gently-read ARC of On Snowden Mountain by Jeri Watts to one of you. This week’s winner is Stephanie @Fairday’s Blog. Congratulations, Stephanie! Stephanie is one of two writers who run The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow. They have lots of fun things to see. You can check out the blog HERE. Stephanie, I will get your book out soon. For the rest of you, I have another terrific book to giveaway this week, so please keep reading.
This week I have a really special, really fun book to talk about. I have to tell you, when I hear Kelly Milner Halls has a new book coming out, I am always excited. (Do click on her name and check out her site. It is chock full of intersting stuff.) I’ve only met Kelly one time at a local SCBWI conference a couple years ago, but I feel like I have known her a lot longer. Her dedication to her writing and the fine research she does has always been inspirational to me. As you can guess, I am a big fan. Kelly was kind enough to have her publicist send me a copy of Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide for review.
Cryptozoology, as defined in the book, is the study of mysterious creatures that fall between the realm of real and imaginary on the scientific spectrum. Who among us hasn’t wondered if there must not be a basis in fact for Bigfoot or the Chupacabra or the Yeti? The reports of sightings over many years of some of the creatures listed in this book can be pretty convincing or, at least, leave us scratching our collective heads. Each of the fifty creatures covered in this book has a section that lists when and where it was first reported, what kind of cryptid type it is, and its reality rating from one star (confirmed as a hoax) to six stars (has been proven real). This is followed by an excellent write-up
about the creature with an interesting factoid and eye-witness accounts. Each section also has several drawings by illustrator Rick Spears that show what the creature would look like as an adult, sometimes as a juvenile, or what its skull might look like, or other things. In addition, there is back-matter that includes an extensive list of cryptid creatures around the world, a list of further readings, a good glossary, and an excellent index. What really shines through in this book is the extensive research that has been done and the journalistic style of reporting information without the authorial intrusion of the writer’s opinion, and yet the writing is lively and fun. This is the kind of book middle-graders, perhaps boys more than girls, will gobble up, and it is likely to turn reluctant readers into voracious readers. Kelly’s books often have that effect on kids.
I have a copy to give away for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. If you click on the title above highlighted in brown, you can order a copy. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.