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So you want to be a Writer: NaNo for Kids

Click to Join!

So many writers I know said they have always loved writing. They knew from elementary school on that they wanted to be an author.

True story, I wasn’t one of them.

But once I decided to be a writer, I had a lot to learn. For instance, there are two kinds of editing: copy editing and content editing. They are very different, and every story or novel requires a bit–or tons of–both. Yet before a writer can even think about editing, s/he needs to get a rough draft onto paper.

November is a great month to get this done thanks to a group of silly people called NaNoers. You see, National Novel Writing Month occurs in November. It is also known as NaNoWriMo. Big people write 50,000 word stories in 30 days. It’s totally crazy, I know.

True story, I’m one of the crazy big people.

Another true story? Kids can NaNo, too.

Thanks to the Young Writers Program, you pick your word count. So, if you want to be a writer, check it out. Talk to your teacher, your librarian, or gather a group of writerly friends. Click here to join NaNoWriMo and get your first draft on paper. After that, we’ll talk editing.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in News

 

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What is a Copyright?

We’ve all seen the symbol of the letter “c” inside a circle on the first page or two of books, but what does it mean?

A copyright is like a bank vault or locker for writers, musicians and artists. It protects songs, poems, novels and paintings from being stolen. As soon as something is created, it belongs to the person who created it. Nobody can use it without permission.

If someone shares, borrows or steals any part of a book, song or illustration, they are no different than a bank robber who has broken into the vault and stolen money.

You see, authors, musicians and artists get paid when they sell their work. If someone takes any part of that work without paying (or asking permission), money does not exchange hands. The work has been stolen.

Most people don’t realize that recording a song from the radio onto their ipod or their phone is breaking copyright. They don’t think anything of reposting a picture on the internet that someone else made. They have no idea that copying someone’s writing makes them a thief. But doing all those things can get people into big trouble. If they try to pass off someone else’s work as their own, they can get fined, kicked out of school or fired from work.

So, how do we copy the right way? Get permission. Pay for your own copy of a book, a picture, a movie or a song. And always give the creator credit. For instance, the image used above came from Classroom Clipart, a source of cool pictures that are available to members. I can use the pictures from their website for some things, but I can’t sell the pictures or anything with their pictures on it. 

Authors, musicians and artists don’t like to work for free. Would you?

Curious minds want to know.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Cat's Lexicon, Daily Log

 

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Bike Meet Forehead: writing the half truth

Back in the day, when I still wore pigtails and forgot to brush my teeth every morning, my sister and I were playing in the alley behind our house. I’m not quite sure exactly what happened, but all of a sudden, I was on the ground. Flat on my back. I looked up just in time to see my sister’s bike barreling toward me.

Forehead, meet tire.

My sister ran over my head, not once, but twice. Both her bike tires thunked over my forehead. Thunk. Thunk. I had tire tracks on my head for a week.

Okay, maybe not a week. In fact, I’m not even sure you could see the tire marks of her blue banana seat bike at all. However, the story sounds way cooler if my battle wounds remained visible for a whole week…or was it a month?

You see, that’s the amazing thing about being an author. It’s my job to make stuff up. I can pull ideas right out of thin air like a magician, I can embellish (which means to exaggerate the details), or I can tell half truths. As long as it makes sense and adds to my story, I can write just about anything.

Fast forward a few light years to my middle grade novel, Abigail Bindle and the Slam Book Scam. My main character Abi gets plowed over by the bullies–an event that inadvertently (which means in a round about way) helps her solve the mystery and clear her name.

When my sister ran over my head, I never solved a mystery, but I did call her a name or two. One for each tire track!

What unbelievable things have happened to you? As a writer, how can you make boring things sound better? When do things sound too crazy to be true?

Curious minds want to know.

p.s. In just a few short months, you’ll be able to read how I snuck my bike accident into a novel about boys, bullies and dirty tricks.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Abigail Bindle, Daily Log

 

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