Archive for the ‘Writing Projects’ Category

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Many of the people I follow are participating in the A to Z challenge this month, so I expect they are plenty busy with this insanity right about now. (I say this with the utmost respect of one who could never in a million years be organized enough to post daily for an entire month, let alone have a theme involved tying all said fictional posts together – I am not that person.) I think they are all rock stars or mentally imbalanced, like people who purposely run marathons. Seriously, how do you do it?

Goals for this month:

1. Work on suggested revisions for Museum Crashers. I am deep into this goal at the moment and really enjoying it. The suggestions made during my conference critique have me on the right track. YAY!! I also meet with my critique group this week and they will add to the helpfulness, as they always do.

I may have neglected to mention this before, but two other members of my critique group, Barbara Lowell (who has her first book coming out this June!) and Sharon Martin (writer of the most kick-ass novel in verse I’ve read since Ellen Hopkins), both were chosen as top picks by the speakers. Man, do I have a fantastic critique group or what!

2. Work on suggested revisions for Institutionalized. This will be next after I’m done with Museum Crashers.

3. Read 6 books. I’ve just finished one book of poetry that I’m going to write a review on later this week and I’m in the middle of another, a sequel I’ve been really looking forward to reading – THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m going a little slow on this one right now. It’s not clipping along with the same fantastic pace as the first one. Part of it may be that it’s been so long since I read the first book that I have trouble remembering everything that happened in the last book and I get a little lost.

4. If complete both 1 and 2, work on first draft of Pretty Vacant. Not ready for this, yet.

5. Yes, you still have to exercise. 4 times a week. Goal accomplished and my body hates it. Every day I wake up wondering why there is pain already. “Oh yeah. The exercise.” We’re not even up to pre-deathly ill month of February levels of exercise yet and my body is already whining. Too bad, chica, cause we’re not stopping. Slap on the icy hot and walk (limp) on.

 

Besides this, I’ve also been busy preparing for a talk I’m doing next month for our local SCBWI schmooze entitled “Intro to Twitter”. As part of this prep, I’ve been creating some lists on my Twitter account to share. Wow, was that time-consuming! I’m glad I’ve finally finished! One is called “Writers of fabulous blogs” and includes all the people I follow who also write really good blogs. Feel free hop on over and subscribe to it.

And how are you all doing with your goals?

I hope to get around to reading at least a sampling of the thousands of A to Z challenge posts out there; they are daunting in their numbers. I am interested in reading through all of Rebekah’s world-building series for sure. Talk about detail. Get on with your bad self!  Are there any A to Z challenges you’ve found fascinating?

2013-Participant-Facebook-ProfileI did something crazy this year for NaNo and started with a completely blank page. I had the barest inklings of a premise to start with and that was it. Usually when I start a project I have a little more to go on. Some basic research, maybe a character sketch, even a vague outline. Not this time. I started with a word count of zero.

Frightening.

I did find my mind working on the premise a few days before the start of NaNo. Anytime I was driving or showering or doing some mundane chore, my brain was coming up with ideas. Yet, I didn’t write anything down.

I waited.

I let everything percolate. Simmer on the back burner.

When midnight struck on November 1st at the kick-off party, I let my fingers take off and words actually filled up the blank pages, much to my relief. It really helped to be surrounded by other writers just as eager and excited to get started on their new projects. I’d never been to a kick-off party before. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed meeting some new writer friends and hearing about their projects and how anxious they were to get started. Many of them were first-timers. The energy was contagious. After an hour, I had my first thousand words.

And I got to take home my very own box of doom. So cool.

At the second write-in on Saturday, I took part in a couple of timed word count challenges. And one dare. Oh, yeah. It was on. What surprised me most was how much I could write in those thirty minute spurts – unedited spurts at that.

This has really helped me overcome my biggest problem as a writer – too much editing during the first draft. I think a few more days of this and I’ll stop flinching when the strong impulse to edit rears its ugly head.

writemotivation_header1Here are my #writemotivation /NaNo goals for this month:

1. Survive, nay, WIN NaNoWriMo. (I will finish a first draft this year. I WILL!) I’m right on track so far. As of today, I’ve written over 6,000 words out of the 50,000 needed to win NaNo.
2. Attend at least three NaNo Write-Ins and take some dares. I should have made this goal harder. I’ve already attended two write-ins and taken one dare – which I accomplished, with bonus points, no less.
3. Before Nano starts and maybe even into the first week, prep some posts for the month. Although I did prep some posts, I didn’t flesh out as many as I’d hoped. Still time to make this goal before next week! I do have a couple finished, so how about partial credit?
4. Try to look up every once in awhile and acknowledge family’s presence. I have a family? Just kidding. My husband has made me promise that I will take the day off from writing every day that he takes off from work. A healthy compromise. That just means I have to do more writing on the other days. So far it’s working okay. Although we’ll see how well this goes near the end of the month if I’m behind on my word count.

So how is your NaNo going? Surviving the first week okay?

Not doing the NaNo? What other writing goals are you working towards?

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. httpwww.flickr.comphotossahlgoodeWhat a week! I thought last week was a whirlwind, this one almost got away from me.  I have returned to civilization and (almost) miss those psychotic chickens. I don’t miss the bugs. I finally stopped itching, yesterday, even with the toothpaste. I must admit that I have dipped into the sacred pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk. After the week in the country, though. I don’t even feel guilty about it.

Here’s a look at this month’s #writemotivation goals:

1. Submit Institutionalized (YA contemporary) to five more literary agents. I’ve done more eliminating of possibilities this past week than submitting, but that is part of the process. Some on my short list, when I looked closer didn’t really fit as well as I had hoped. This was pretty time-consuming. The good news is, my list is shorter. I also haven’t received any rejections, so I still have five submissions out.2013-Participant-Campfire-Circle-Badge

2. While participating in Camp NanoWriMo, write at least 50K towards first draft of Pretty Vacant (YA contemporary). (Yay, camp!) I spent more time on my other camp this past week than this one since it ends first, but I still made a little progress. Yay, for camps with NO BUGS!

howtosave-150x2273. Read at least five more books – review one on the blog. I’m currently reading Sara Zarr’s How to Save a Life and digging it. Slowly chipping away at that gargantuan TBR pile. I may even snag Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series away from my daughter soon.

4. Finish critique of friend’s manuscript. (Hopefully by her birthday midway through the month!) Extreme sad face. Not. Even. Started. Utter Failure.

5. Exercise 4 times each week. More than four times, baby! Got the cramps and muscle strains to prove it!

6. Participate in all Crit Camp activities, which include critiquing 10K samples from manuscripts from the other participants and preparing crit letters. I’ve had so much fun doing the work for Natalie C Parker’s Crit Camp! I’ve received my initial crit letters back and Natalie’s feedback on my critiquing was so great. I’m ready to write up my final crit letters with much more depth and clarity. I hope my own critique partners notice the difference in my critiquing when we meet up next week. I can’t wait to try out my new skills.

On last minute announcement…Xmas in July post headerdrum roll please!!!

I entered my Middle Grade manuscript, Night of the Museum Crashers, into the Christmas in July Pitch Contest and out of 206 entries, mine was one of 30 chosen!

Yeah, baby! I’m so excited!

So what happens next? On July 18th and 19th, all the winning entries (Yes, that includes mine!) will be posted on the two hosting blogs. The lovely Michelle Krys and her equally lovely companion across the pond, Ruth Lauren Stevens have assembled these fantastic group of agents to view and make comments on the entries or possibly even make requests for submissions:

Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services

Tracey and Josh Adams of Adams Literary

Becky Vinter of Fine Print Literary Management

Diana Fox of Fox Literary

Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management

Lucy Carson of Friedrich Literary Agency

Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. 

Logan Garrison of The Gernert Company

Sarah LaPolla of Bradford Literary Agency

Tamar Rydzinski of Laura Dail Literary Agency

Monika Verma of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, Inc.

Brianne Johnson of Writers House

Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency

Stefanie Lieberman of Janklow & Nesbit

Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Katie Shea of Donald Maass Literary Agency 

Amazing, right? Check out Ruth or Michelle’s site for more details. And make sure to stop by to check out all of the amazingly talented entries on the 18th (including mine!OMG! So excited!) You can also follow the action on Twitter at #XmasinJuly and I’m on #TeamRuth. (Never been on a team before…very cool!)

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. httpwww.flickr.comphotossahlgoodeIt’s only day two of July and already this month is kicking my butt. Not only am I participating in Camp Nano to complete a first draft of my latest YA project, but I won a spot in Natalie Parker’s Crit Camp this month (along with some fabulous books and other swag) and that will keep me plenty busy with my other #writemotivation goals I have set for this month. I asked for it, though. I wanted to really challenge myself this go round. God, I hope I survive. You may want to check on me from time to time to make sure I haven’t crawled under my desk to eat a pint of the tasty, tasty New York Super Fudge

better stock up, it's gonna be a long month.

Just a little taste?

Chunk…Mmm! Doesn’t that sound good right about now? No! We will find some semblance of willpower. WE WILL!

Here are my lofty goals for this month that may or may not render me insane:

1. Submit Institutionalized (YA contemporary) to five more literary agents.
2. While participating in Camp NanoWriMo, write at least 50K towards first draft of Pretty Vacant (YA contemporary). (Yay, camp!)
3. Read at least five more books – review one on the blog.
4. Finish critique of friend’s manuscript. (Hopefully by her birthday midway through the month!)
5. Exercise 4 times each week.

Need to add #6, participate in all Crit Camp activities, which include critiquing 10K samples from manuscripts from the other participants and preparing crit letters.

This month should be a hoot. I also get to house-sit for my folks this week while they attend my brother’s wedding out on the West Coast. So sad I can’t go, myself. My hubs couldn’t get out of work. Now I get to babysit chickens and dogs alone with the kids on the 4th. Should be a gas. Ah, well. Next month I get to travel to LA once again to attend the most fabulous of SCBWI conferences with some of my close friends. That will be a real vacation uh, fantastic working experience. (Maybe a little bit of both, to be honest.)

Here’s to a kickass month with serious goals; may we all survive them!

Just for your information, here’s some opportunities you don’t want to miss:

Late last week, there was a flurry of activity on Twitter when agent Jessica Sinsheimer created a hashtag for all agents (and even some editors) to let writers know what was on their manuscript wishlist #MSWL and YA writer KK Hendin created a Tumblr page to capture the hundreds of responses all in one place here. It was a fascinating conversation that kept many of us enraptured for hours. Some agents even reopened to submissions if writers used the hashtag #MSWL in their query line. If you are ready for query submissions, you must check this out.

On another note of upcoming opportunity, Ruth Lauren Stevens and Michelle Krys will host the second Christmas in July Pitch contest where chosen entries will be allowed to show off their queries and the first 500 words of their COMPLETED manuscripts to 16 participating agents who then may make comments or even requests. It’s a fantastic opportunity so stay tuned for the details.

Good luck, everyone!

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. httpwww.flickr.comphotossahlgoodeI had so much fun mentoring my fellow writers and seeing the immediate progress my little group made after just one day of revisions. I also thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with my writers friends and staying up way too late to get to know some of them better.

I ended the weekend by attending a party for my lovely writing friend, Gwendolyn Hooks who just received a fantastic book deal on a much-anticipated project. We’re all so excited about this book that we felt like it was our success as well as Gwen’s. I couldn’t be happier for her. I didn’t even mind being “volunteered to participate in an original skit written and narrated by Anna Myers (who somehow got out of wearing any kind of ridiculous and embarrassing costume – the rest of us weren’t so lucky!)

 

 

Karen Grencik played by Jerry Pati played by Helen

 

The not-so-lucky ones – some of my fellow cast members

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt so inspired after such a beautiful weekend that I’ve worked my ass off this week. I’m so excited about the trajectory I’m on right now. Friends and unconditional support can sometimes make all the difference. Thank you to everyone who has inspired me this month! You all rock.

book pornI also returned home to find this lovely literary pile of gifts waiting for me, including two books signed by Maureen McGowan. I’m looking forward to reading the first two books of her Dust Chronicles series. All of this swag, including the Dan Krall book I received earlier in the month, was the result of entering contests on fellow writer blogs. It does pay to engage! This collection is an awesome way to add to my TBR pile! I don’t know which one I want to read first…decisions, decisions, decisions!

Here are my #writemotivation goals for June:

1. Submit Museum Crashers (MG mystery) to editor who requested the full. Tons of progress made. Should be sending out by the end of the month. Tentatively marking as DONE because of all the progress made.

2. Submit Institutionalized (YA contemporary) to five more literary agents. DONE! I actually submitted to six agents. Two were rejected. Four are still out. (Five counting the full requested and submitted to an agent four months ago.) Waiting, waiting, waiting. Blech! Not my favorite.

3. Work on first draft of Pretty Vacant (YA contemporary). No progress on this one. I’m going to use this as my Camp Nano project for July. I will get a rough draft of this completed by the end of the summer! I will. I WILL!!!

4. Read at least five books – review one on the blog. I will finish Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk before the end invisible-monsters-us-trade-3of the month and I discussed Tara Hudson’s Hereafter in my last blog post, so I’m marking this one as DONE! 

5. Work on outlining new blog project idea. DONE! More exciting ideas are coming next month.

6. Exercise 3 times each week. DONE! I’ll be increasing this for next month. :/

7. Finish critique of friend’s manuscript. Finally started this! Will have to move over to July’s goals to complete – hopefully by my friend’s birthday.

I hope you all took a velociraptor-sized bite out of your writing projects this month. Don’t forget to sign up for next month! Visit KT Hanna’s site here to join us for #writemotivation in July.

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. httpwww.flickr.comphotossahlgoodeI had a slow week last week, but here in the home stretch I’m making up for it. I had to prepare a submission for the SCBWI LA conference at the last minute since their deadline moved up this year to the end of May and I just paid for the conference about a week ago. Nothing like an impending deadline to get all fired up and work like mad. My submission made it just in time. Woohoo!

The recovery effort in Oklahoma is still ongoing. For those of you who are interested, you can still participate in Kate Messner’s  KidLitCares for Oklahoma giveaway. It’s open until June 7th. Great cause, great giveaway, so check it out. There’s also a way you can help replenish the classroom libraries of the two schools that were destroyed in the tornado by visiting the Moore Books for Moore Kids Facebook page and making a donation.

On to my goal progress:

1. Complete latest draft of Museum Crashers (MG mystery) and prepare for submission. More progress made, but still short of the finish. I’ll have to really push hard to reach the end soon. I’m still happy with the progress I’ve made. I will definitely be sending this out next month.
2. Research more literary agents for submission of Institutionalized (YA contemporary) and send out to five of them. I have the short list. I will work on the personalized queries over the next few days and start sending them out.
3. Make some progress on first draft of Pretty Vacant (YA contemporary). Develop main character fully and decide which way story arc will go. More research and more reading done. I really have a good feel for the main character now. I’m excited about starting this project.
4. Exercise 3 times each week. Exercise has been going well. Still on the lighter side. My daughter and I are going to ramp it up next month by joining a gym and being each others work out buddies.

I hope you’re all doing well with your goals. Let’s meet up again in June for the next #writemotivation month! Sign up now!

Motivational quote for the day:

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.”

- Frank Capra

The back and forth weather this time of year leaves me feeling a bit discombobulated. One day I’m busting out the shorts and blinding people with the neon glow of my wintered legs, and the next I’m back in many-layered winter gear, building a fire to take off the chill. It’s like spring needs to throw us a few misfires, teasers of the warmer days ahead, before she can come on full-strength. I feel my writing progress this week had behaved in a similar manner. I’ve had bursts of manic activity followed by sludgy moments where I’ve had to wade through mental muck to get anything accomplished. My brain needs a thorough spring cleaning – or a nice vacation. That would do in a pinch. I know warmer days are ahead, even if I have to survive a few more frosty ones to reach them. Some days, that’s the only thing that gets me out of my PJs.

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This week’s #writemotivation goal progress:

1. Complete revision of Middle Grade manuscript (Museum Crashers) and prepare for final critiques. I revised three more chapters, so I’m almost halfway done. I may need more days with bursts of creative energy to get me through the month and reach this goal. (I want those #writemotivation cookies!)

2. Continue making progress on first draft of new Young Adult manuscript (Pretty Vacant). Not much progress made on this one. I had my critique group meeting this week, so any time not spent on my first goal was spent on critiquing. Never wasted time.

3. Follow up on submissions outstanding for Young Adult manuscript (Institutionalized) and pursue any additional avenues that arise. I did start working on my new short list of potential submission candidates. Yay! Progress made.
4. Exercise at least three times a week. Only exercised two times. Not terrible, but not stupendous either.

Don’t forget to check out KT Hanna’s #writemotivation page to sign up for April. It should be available soon. That way you can join us next month and share your goals. The more, the merrier!

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. httpwww.flickr.comphotossahlgoodeI’ve had a pretty productive week on the writing front and not all of that frenetic activity was related to my goals. I worked on a submission for a scholarship entry that was based on a writing prompt. I used to hate writing from prompts, maybe because I’m not great at taking direction. Or maybe because I don’t like limits and restrictions on what I can write. Most of my writing ideas have come to me out of the blue and I have to write them down before they evaporate into the creative ether from whence they came. But then this past summer I heard Kate Messner talk at the SCBWI LA Conference about how she gets her ideas for picture books. She said that sure, some of her ideas come to her out of the blue, but why wait for those rare moments? Why not work at generating them? She gave everyone present her secret matrix for brainstorming ideas and then made us try it out. Within five minutes, I actually had some possible picture book ideas – not that I’m ready to write picture books just yet, but that is a goal I have in the future.

Kate said: “Many picture book authors write lots of crappy picture book manuscripts because it stirs the pot of creativity!” Sometimes while you’re working like this, it can facilitate an actual “fall from the sky idea”. Either way, it’s a great thing to do while you’re waiting for inspiration to strike. Kate does this about twice a week to stir up new ideas.

Ever since that talk, I’ve looked at writing prompts in a different light. Speaking of prompts generating ideas, the one I used for the scholarship entry definitely sparked an idea for a new novel. I got so excited about it that I may sketch it out a little more before pursuing my other first draft novel I’ve already started. Which idea will win out? We shall see.

I know I can’t share Kate’s matrix, but I won’t leave you empty-handed. Here are two sites to get you started if you want to give writing prompts a try.

  • The first is from the Poet’s & Writer’s website. They post a prompt each week, one for poetry and one for fiction.
  • The second is from a teacher’s tumblr page simply called Writing Prompts, where he posts his daily writing prompts that he uses in class. He describes his teaching style as “Nerdfighteria takes over The Colbert Report with Ira Glass as a guest.” Wicked awesome. You can even donate books to his classroom library to help support his cause. I’d say it’s a right worthy one.

So what about you? Do you use writing prompts to kick-start ideas? Do you despise them? Share your thoughts.

On to this week’s goal progress:

1. Complete revision of Middle Grade manuscript (Museum Crashers) and prepare for final critiques. I revised four chapters out of eighteen which is right on track with my goal to finish a complete revision by the end of the month.
2. Continue making progress on first draft of new Young Adult manuscript (Pretty Vacant). I didn’t work on this at all last week. Okay, I did make some mental progress, which does count in my book, but next week I want some physical progress down on paper.
3. Follow up on submissions outstanding for Young Adult manuscript (Institutionalized) and pursue any additional avenues that arise. The time limit for an exclusive submission hadn’t quite run out, so I did nothing but wait this past week. Waiting is the worst, isn’t it? Next week is a different story. Action will be required.
4. Exercise at least three times a week. Woohoo! I did make this goal. That explains why I’m so sore. Everywhere.

Hope you’re all making headway on your goals as well. Looks like spring’s making an appearance this week. As the kids have some time off from school, I’m sure I’ll be making at least one trip out to our local zoo in between making time for the writing. Have a great week!

photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. httpwww.flickr.comphotossahlgoodeSorry if you were looking for something sports related, but this is my kind of March madness – authors going crazy with writing goals. Woohoo! Besides, I’ve always enjoyed being a participator more than a spectator when it comes to sports. I did manage to pay attention to my kids’ games much easier than any football/basketball game I was forced er…encouraged to watch – this IS Oklahoma, after all. Football is the American pastime here. (I would say it approaches the reverence of a religious fervor if it wouldn’t cause a holy ruckus. Halleluiah, Amen!) And now that we have a fantastic national basketball team, we’ve embraced that sport with the same frenzy. But I digress…

K.T. Hanna started this wonderful writer’s support group called #writemotivation which is all about sharing your writing goals and cheering on your fellow writers as they pursue their goals. You can learn more about it here. This year, she’s expanding #writemotivation to every month instead of every other month because she knows we falter when she’s not around – as the first few months of this year can testify. (She’s been busy with the task of tending to her very first youngling. What a lucky little girl! And such cute chubby cheeks! You just want to pinch them or gobble her right up.) Ugh! I digress, yet again…

I know I speak for many in the group when I say I am grateful for K.T. and her #writemotivation cookies for helping me stay accountable and keeping my butt in the chair to do what I should be doing…WRITING! Feel free to join in for April – heck, if you’re on Twitter and you need a little encouragement to get through your writing day, pop on over to our hashtag, #writemotivation, and say hi. We’re a friendly group that rarely bites.

On to my goals!

(See? No more digression. It’s working already)

1. Complete revision of Middle Grade manuscript (Museum Crashers) and prepare for final critiques.
2. Continue making progress on first draft of new Young Adult manuscript (Pretty Vacant).
3. Follow up on submissions outstanding for Young Adult manuscript (Institutionalized) and pursue any additional avenues that arise.
4. Exercise at least three times a week.

Okay, who snuck that last one on there? Blech! The rest my goals aren’t that mad and should be attainable as long as I keep my butt in the chair and get the work done. See you at the hashtag for motivational tweets, my fellow writers!

Stay tuned next week for an update on how well I’m keeping up with these goals. And let me know what your goals are this month. Or tell me why I should care more about sports. It will have to be a good argument, but let it rip…

Perks of a WallflowerMy most recent WIP deals with some pretty heavy topics – sexual abuse, drug use, sociopaths up to no good, pre-marital what? – and it all takes place in a treatment center for teens. Needless to say, I’ve received some unusual must-read book recommendations from other writers when they’ve learned about the subject matter. I do love reading books that are similar to what I’m writing – it’s actually important to do this for many reasons, but I won’t go into that now; I’ve already talked about why as a writer you should read here and here.

Some of the suggested reads were fantastic, some were okay, and some were totally awful and unrealistic – having worked in a psychiatric facility with teens, it really makes me crazy (no pun intended) when someone who hasn’t done their homework spouts off a bunch of bullshit that a reader might actually take seriously. Sorry, major pet peeve.

I’ve also read so many depressing books over the past few years, that I think I need to write a romantic comedy for my next book. I’m in need of a little lightness of being, if you know what I’m saying. (Hint, hint: Give me some funny book suggestions – please!)

One recent book recommendation that came from several sources was a delightful surprise: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

standing on the fringes of life . . .

offers a unique perspective. but there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

the perks of being a wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school. the world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. of sex, drugs, and the rocky horror picture show.

of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

The voice of this story was so spot on.

We fumble right along with Charlie (whose name isn’t really Charlie, but it’s the only name we’re ever given) as he navigates his first year of high school, hoping to find a friend after his only friend committed suicide. We feel the awkwardness of his first relationship and the heartache of love unrequited. Charlie is such an unusual and memorable character. We can tell from early on that his brain doesn’t work quite like everyone else’s just by the way he describes the scenes of his life events; we as the readers get some of the social cues that he totally misses. We also are left to piece some things together that are too painful for Charlie to talk about. Once we do, his eccentricities and aggressive outbursts make a lot more sense. The music references added such a nice layer of detail and brought back so many memories. I love that the story is set in the 90s – well, it was written in the late 90s, so of course it felt authentic to the time – but whatever, the story still feels relevant for today.

What made this story so intriguing, so intimate, was the letter-writing format. Charlie can’t confide in anyone he knows, but he needs to get some things off his chest, so he writes about his life through a series of letters to an anonymous stranger that he heard others talk of fondly in passing. Somehow he thinks this means the person he’s writing to will understand him. This person is never named, only called, “Dear Friend”. Although some stories written in letter or diary format can lose a sense of closeness when we only “see” events after they’ve happened or learn about them through hearsay, this one does not let us down. I really enjoyed watching how Charlie’s letter-writing evolved throughout the story, once his English teacher tutors him, takes him under his wing, to expand on the innate ability he recognizes in Charlie.

An overall bittersweet, lovely story. Three thumbs up.

I know this was made into a film, recently, and now I can’t wait to see it. If for no other reason, to see how in the hell they translated this into a movie. That couldn’t have been easy.

Learn more about Stephen Chbosky here.

Shortly after starting this book, I came across this blog post at The Indextrious Reader’s blog.

She started a fairly painless, yet creative challenge for the new year postalreadingchallenge buttoncalled The Postal Reading Challenge which involves agreeing to read and review books about letters and letter writing; anything with a postal theme will do. You can find links from her blog with beaucoups de postal reading suggestions. You can also find the links list of all the other people participating in this challenge so you can check out their reviews.

There are many levels of participation. I signed up and aimed low so as not to overly stress myself. I hope to read and review at least four books with a postal theme before the end of December.  Why don’t you join us? Sounds like fun.