Archive for December, 2015

Wounded Knee Massacre

The 125th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre is today, December 29. On December 29, 1890, the U.S. Army’s Seventh Cavalry surrounded a band of Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, seized their weapons and slaughtered at least 150—many of them women and children—some say as many as 297.

No photos–they are too graphic and heartbreaking.

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Eights Mask2I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Joyous Yule, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa!

Merry Christmas: Ulihelisdi danistayohihv (they are happy/thankful they go shooting—as in  firecrackers)

Santa claus: Distayohi (he shoots- as in firecrackers, sometimes translated as firecracker man)

He gives good children gifts: aneha didanedi nigada diniyotli osda (he-gives  gifts all children good)

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7 W’s of Writing

Seven W’s


Notes Taken from Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul

Adapted for YA/MG

Seven W’s for beginning a YA/ MG book:

Who is the main character: Bring the main character out first. Starting with a secondary character confuses readers.


What does the character want: Problem, goal, or conflict (oneself, outside world, nature).


When is your story taking place: Time is not always necessary, especially if it’s in the present. Hints are usually enough.


Where is your story taking place: The reader needs to know the where, but hints are sometimes enough. “Farmer Jones” tells the reader it’s on a farm.


What is the story’s tone & what obstacles does the character face: Funny, serious, sad, etc. Word selection and rhythm are important. Make the main character miserable until the climax.


Why: The MC in a MG/YA reacts for certain reasons, possible back story the reader never sees.


WOW!: Hook the reader!

Eights Mask2

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Archetypes in Children’s Stories

If anyone has read Halloween Kentucky Style, I would be interested in your opinion of how my characters fit in.

Heroes and Heroines

Osiris: Male messiah

The protagonist is the sacrificial person. E.g. Luke Skywalker or Robin Hood

The antagonist is the punisher. E.g.?

Isis: Female messiah

The protagonist has a connection to the divine even if she doesn’t want it. E.g. Catniss (Hunger Games) or Joan of Arc.

The antagonist is the destroyer. E.g. Miranda (The Devil Wears Prada).

Artemis: Female avenger

The protagonist likes traveling, is intuitive and instinctual. E.g. Medusa.

The antagonist is?

Athena: Farmer’s daughter

The protagonist is tomboy, smart, unemotional. E.g. Hermione, Nancy Drew, Annabel from Percy Jackson.

The antagonist is?

Ares: Male protector

The protagonist is physical, the alpha male, doesn’t think, lives on edge. E.g. Zorro or Han Solo.

The antagonist is a gladiator. E.g.?

Hades: The male recluse

The protagonist is lonely, introverted. E.g., Edward Cullen in Twilight (or other vampire novel).

The antagonist is a warlock who is antisocial and bitter. E.g. Darth Vader and Voldemore.


The Magi: Source of wisdom. E.g. Yoda or Dumbledore.

The Mentor: Like an advanced helper. E.g. Obi Wan or Morpheus.

The Best Friend: Can be helpful but not always helpful. E.g. C3PO, Hagrid, Ron (Harry Potter?).

The Loner: Tends to be the confidant. E.g. R2D2 or Toto (Wizard of Oz).


Not an antagonist, because they have the same goals as the protagonist.

Trailblazer: Go ahead of protagonist. E.g. Puck.

Jester: Tries to help but gets in way. E.g. Scarecrow for Wizard of Oz.

Investigator: Gets in the way with the investigation.

Pessimist: “You’ll never get it done.”

Psychic: Thinks he/she knows it all.


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22 Rules adapted from Pixar


Rule 1: How hard a character tries counts more than his/her success.

I.e. it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all (Bill Shakespeare maybe?).


Rule 2: Make it fun for the reader, not fun for the writer. I.e. keep the reader in mind. I am sometimes guilty of that.


Rule 3: Themes are important, but they often aren’t apparent until the end of the story. Worry about theme on your rewrite.


Rule 4: Once upon a time…Daily…One day…Because of that and that…Finally. A story progression more for cartoons or picture books.


Rule 5: Keep it simple. Maybe even combine characters. If you stumble on something in your story, go around it, come back later(maybe). I heard it as KISS-Keep It Simple, Stupid.


Rule 6: What are your main character’s strengths? Throw the worst at them. Can they handle it? (I always heard it as ruin your POV character’s day)


Rule 7: Figure out the ending then worry about the middle. I’ve been told that at workshops.


Rule 8: Even if it’s not perfect, finish your story. Learn from it. What’s the prefect story look like?


Rule 9: When you get stuck, make a list of what won’t happen next. Hopefully the next step will appear.


Rule 10: Dissect the stories you like. Your story will be a part of you, but you have to understand it before you can write it.


Rule 11: Don’t leave a story in your head, get it on paper even if it’s flawed.


Rule 12: Plot twists—don’t use your first idea or the second and so on. Surprise yourself.


Rule 13: Make your character strong, even opinioned, but never wishy-washy. (Charlie Brown had opinionated secondary characters)


Rule 14: Why do you have to tell this particular tale? If you don’t have a reason, maybe you shouldn’t.


Rule 15: You have to experience your POV character’s emotions, feelings etc. as if it’s really you.


Rule 16: Raise the stakes. If the character fails in the middle of the story, raise the stakes anyway.


Rule 17: Don’t throw away manuscripts that don’t work. Someday you find a need for them.


Rule 18: Do your best and don’t worry about failure.


Rule 19: You can use a coincidence to get a character in trouble, but not to solve their problems.


Rule 20: Exercise: Take a story you don’t like. What would you do to make it a good story?


Rule 21: You have to identify with your POV character. You have to understand why they act and say the way they do.


Rule 22: Do you understand the heart of your story? Is your story buried in your manuscript? I.e. have you overwritten?

YA thriller, publication TBA

YA thriller, publication TBA

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December Louisville SCBWI Chit Chatters Social (Schmooze)

Anyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana is welcome.

Monday, December 7, 6 to 8 pm. No RSVP required.
The first hour will be for socializing, the second hour for optional critiques. Writers can read for three minutes. Illustrators are always welcome.

Barnes & Noble’s Café, 801 South Hurstbourne Parkway, one mile north of I-64, on the right. This is NOT the Summit Shopping Center B&N.
You do not need to be an SCBWI member to attend. For more information, contact Charles Suddeth csuddeth@iglou.com 502-339-9349, c 502-649-9944.


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