Middle Grade Book Review – Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

Posted On Jun 21 2014 by

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt My rating: 5 of 5 stars Gary Schmidt has been one my more pleasant discoveries this year. When I first started listening to the audio version of Wednesday Wars, I though it was going to be a silly “adventures of a 7th grader” type of story with no real underlying meaning. But as the story went on, it got deeper, and we’re introduced to the wonderful, and often terrifying, world of a 7th grade boy in 1968. 1968, as you may know, was a year that nearly tore this country apart. Dr. Martin …


The Fault In Our Stars – a Book vs. Movie Review

Posted On Jun 9 2014 by

As promised last week, I’m going to do a comparison between the book version of The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Let me start off by saying both versions are excellent. But you know how it goes, right? The book is always better.  But is it really better? Or just different? The problem with movies based on novels is that movies are limited to two hours or less in most cases. Long movies mean bigger budgets and fewer showing times in the theatres, so producers shoot for that magic 90 to 120 minute length. In screenwriting world, that …


Writing the YA Novel

Posted On Jun 2 2014 by

  A funny thing happened while in the midst of my current work-in-first-draft, Camp Dogs, I wrote in a 16 year-old girl. I named her Juli. I gave Juli just about the worst life I could imagine. But Juli is strong. She’s a leader, she just doesn’t know it yet. And despite having her childhood torn from her by a poor excuse for a mother and a long line of even poorer excuses for men, she’s gonna do okay. Juli (which is German for July, by the way), is not the protagonist for Camp Dogs. Though, after finishing the first …


The Fault In Our Stars – the story structure

Posted On May 14 2014 by

I’m going to try something different today. I’m a big proponent of plot structure. In fact, anyone who reads or watches a movie is also a proponent. Most just don’t realize it. If you want more info on structure, I recommend KM Weiland’s blog and book on the subject. As a bit of instruction for me and you, though, I’m going to examine a popular YA title–The Fault in Our Stars by John Green–and see what makes the book so wildly successful. Does Mr. Green follow standard structure protocol? Let’s find out. Opening: It’s a pretty good grabber. We find …


What I’m Reading and Writing

Posted On Apr 14 2014 by

I’ve always been a fan of YA. I think it’s because, when you write from the point of view of a teenager, you’re not so limited in perspective. We allowed our minds to run wild when we were young. Often with disastrous results, to be sure, but what made for traumatic childhood experiences makes for great fiction. This week I’m listening to The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl by Barry Lyga. So far I’m into the story. I love the hero. As the kid who worked very hard at avoiding all the other kids who wanted to torture me in …