Thought for the Day:
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
~ Shannon Hale ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Feeling frustrated about a first draft? Nothing compared to what John Steinbeck went through. HERE is a post from Literary Hub that is fun, even if the writer gets an important fact wrong. (It was Carlson, not Lennie.)
Chapter endings can make or break a book. John Fox has a great post HERE with excellent examples of 12 Ways to End a Chapter.
Elizabeth Sims has a good article HERE from Writer’s Digest that will give you 7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great. These are solid tips.
This has been another week like no other. It has been amazing to watch the millions of people peacefully marching all over the world. It all gives me hope that true reform can take place. But the pandemic also marches on, and life isn’t going to get back to normal anytime soon. Still, we have to keep on keepin’ on. I’m still not venturing out much, but I am starting to feel slightly unstuck about my writing and have dipped my toe in revisions. I even sent a couple things out. Fingers crossed. And back to posting the meme of the week. I hope it brightens your day.
I am still not getting new books from the book review, so another book has come off my staggering TBR pile. This week, I read The Lifters by Dave Eggers. I don’t remember where I heard of the book or why I picked it up. It isn’t the sort of thing I usually read with fantasy and magic and all, but I was quite captured by it. And that cover! How can you pass that by?
Granite Flowerpetal is 12 years old when his family is moving from their home by the ocean to a town called Carousel a thousand miles from the ocean. It is Granite’s chance to shorten his name and stop some of the teasings he has always faced, so he decides to become Gran instead of Granite. There is a house in Carousel that Gran’s grandfather built, and they will live there. Gran’s mother is confined to a wheelchair. His sister, Maisie, is five and spends a lot of time being a cat. Dad is a mechanic, and the work he thought would be available for him isn’t there, so he ends up being gone most of the time. Gran starts at the middle school and feels like he’s almost invisible. No one seems to notice him or even know his name. The teachers don’t take attendance, and things are quite odd at the school. One day, he meets a girl named Catalina Catalan and thinks he might have found a friend, but she completely ignores Gran after the first meeting. But there is something about her, and Gran follows her. She disappears into the side of a hill, where, after a couple tries, Gran discovers a tunnel and a cavern. The tunnel is filled with odd bits — crutches, hockey sticks, and more — acting as posts and holding things up. After a house collapses into a sinkhole in town, Gran gets Catalina to let him help her work on the tunnels, and discovers what is endangering the town and everyone in it. The question is, can they do what needs to be done in time to save the town?
David Eggers has written a real romp of a book with mystery, magic, and a fantastical setting and story problem. The characters are fun, interesting, well-rounded, and believable. The writing is superb with nary a wasted word. The story is engaging and compelling. Fun black-and-white illustrations are sprinkled throughout to keep readers turning pages. This is a terrific book that middle-graders will gobble up.
I will be donating my hardback copy of The Lifters to the school, so no giveaway this week, but maybe next week. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.