Friday, September 10, 2010

Remembering September 11th

"The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom." ~Rudolph W. Giuliani

Tomorrow it will be 9 years since that terrible day of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In honor of those who lost their lives that day, a moment of silence and respect...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Writers' Wednesday: Revise, Revise and Repeat

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Ben Franklin

As a new school year begins, I inevitably start my list-of-things-to-mention to my new students about their English essays. I always have a standard list of words to avoid in their writing, which includes "thing" "got" "stuff" and "etc" though I do sometimes add others.

But in prepping for my classes, I do think about my own writing too (one of the definite perks of teaching writing: it makes you self-reflect). And I think of my own words/actions/cliches to avoid. It's funny, but I find myself falling into using the same word/action/phrase/sentence structure often in a work. I'm getting better, but it still happens. In my early writing, it was the word "sigh." All my characters were sighing around: as they spoke, as they fell in love, as they pined over their lost love...well, you get the picture.

In my YA, it seems to be either shrugging or cocking/tilting the head. I don't know why, but as I'm revising, I find that my major characters have this mannerism at one point or another. Odd, right?

Of course, the easiest way to solve this is to use your Find/Replace option in your word processing program. I find it incredibly helpful, and I'm always amazed that even when I think I've found them all and changed enough of them, others pop up that I missed.

Writers, what about you? Do you fall into the trap of using and re-using a certain term or phrase or character trait?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Monday Mentionables

Mentionable #1: Spent the weekend in Washington, D.C. with our Norwegian exchange student (pics to follow!). We were blessed with wonderful weather both days and had a chance to see the major memorials and a couple of the museums. Worth mentioning: the newly established WWII Memorial. It is just gorgeous: a circular memorial with a pool & fountains in the center and quotes engraved around the entire monument.

Mentionable #2: Am currently reading We Need to Talk About Kevin, an award-winning novel about a 15-year old school shooter - told through letters written from his mother to his (estranged) father. Really, it's a study in motherhood, and what happens when a child isn't the burbling, happy, normally-developing child you thought you'd have, and when motherhood isn't the traditionally fulfilling experience you expected. It's very, very good so far. Anyone else read it?

Mentionable #3: It's so hard to find time to write once school starts! I have about 75 pages of my YA to finish revising, and I can see the end in sight, but between grading papers and planning lessons and keeping up with the basics of the household, somehow all my time in every day is just gone! Must figure out a way to work in a little writing before months pass by...