Wednesday, June 11, 2014


If you're not familiar with Pinterest, you need to get familiar! j/k I think Pinterest can be a great tool for writers who are visually inspired and who like to organize their work visually (at least on occasion). Pinterest allows you to share and store images along with text that you can come back to again and again even if those images have been removed from the internet. The site allows you to make several boards for different interests or, for writers, different projects. 

I currently have a board for several of my books. I like being able to explore what the characters, scenery, and specific objects in the book look like. I also like sharing quotes that relate to the content of the book when possible. For my "No Rest" board []I have several images for each character, I have a lot of images for the scenery in the book and I've shared lots of quotes that set the mood of the world these characters live in. 

I'm also able to use Pinterest to drop hints about the story with seemingly random images such as the one below from my "No Rest" board:

Pinterest also gives you the opportunity to save images for books you haven't written yet but are in the back of your mind and you want to remember key things about. Or to potentially even explore the story through images prior to setting a specific plot. I have a few boards for books that I intend to write and I use the boards to keep myself excited about the project.

Pinterest is also a great way to engage with readers. By sharing your Pinterest boards with readers you can help them get excited about your books, the world they are set in and the characters that you've created. Below I've attached an image from my board for my book "Two Heads Are Better Than One" that represents a key object from the story. []

There is an added feature of creating hidden boards. These boards can be used for images you want to be able to see but you don't want others to see on your site. These boards can help you get excited about a project before sharing it with everyone else. They also can be used to only allow a select few people to see the images you've saved there. 

Lastly, Pinterest also allows you to explore your brand online and to share things that associate with your online persona, or at least to share some of your other interests with the public at large. For me, that means lots of cat photos []:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Those Books Are For Kids!

After going through an old box of CDs, I pulled out a few and gave them a listen. Revisiting music I loved when I was between the ages of 10 and 15 brought back a lot of memories. I also came to the realization that, as a kid, I did not have the worldly experience that I would need to be able understand most of the lyrics. Clearly, I understand English and so I know what words mean, but I didn't understand the feelings behind them. I didn't have comparative experiences to what the singers were singing about and with adult ears, these lyrics and this music took on new meaning for me. Revisiting this music gave me a kind of "Ah-ha!" moment.

(Back in the day when I was listening to music it would take me years to truly understand.)
(I'm the one with the aversion to sunlight.)

At work I had to go through some lists of summer reading suggestions from area schools. Reading the titles of many of these books reminded me of ones I had read as a child or ones I never had the chance to read. Just like the music that had new meaning when revisiting it as an adult, I think the same can be said for children's literature. I'm not talking about the Adventures of Captain Underpants series, I mean classics like Tuck Everlasting, and The Diary of Anne Frank. Books that I read as a kid but had no context in which to put them in; books that left my memory almost as soon as I finished reading them because I didn't have personal experiences which allowed me to connect with the events in the stories on a more emotional level; books that were easily wasted on my youthful self.

As a student of literature, I've spent the last several years honing my ability to dig through a book and see the deeper meanings within a text. As a child I never had this ability - another way these books were wasted on me. But now I can fix that. I can go back and read those books again, take an afternoon and see what they were really about, compare them to my life now, make a connection to the deeper intentions of the story, find what makes these books classics and what makes them the kind of literature that schools want kids to read even if kids can't truly comprehend them or even remember them past childhood.

So that's what I'm going to try to do this summer. I'm cultivating a list and I'm planning on sitting down and really giving these books the focus they deserve and that my childhood self couldn't provide. And who knows, maybe by the end of this summer I'll have learned a few new things about writing that I wouldn't have learned otherwise. :)