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Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 25: Mapping Out Writing Time: When the Familiar Becomes Not So

"Mom, are you sure we're going the right way?"

With this one question, a new Write-a-Scene topic was born. Thank you, Wonder Girl.

We were driving on a narrow road, one of the many quiet streets connecting one town to another. I've driven this way countless times, and yet, Wonder Girl's question made me wonder whether I took the wrong road.

I looked at our surroundings and all I could see was snow. A foot of snow covered everything around us. Gone was the golf course, the small pile of rocks, the dirt path. Fences, bushes, and trees all started to look the same with the snow. And the houses, now cloaked in snow, could have been any house, every house, the exact same house. It took a few minutes to know for certain I knew where I was driving.

This situation made me realize how the familiar can become unfamiliar when something new is added to the mix. All it took was Wonder Girl's question and some snow to make me see differently. What if we added more layers--freezing temperatures, 40-mile winds, blinding snow? Now we've got a blizzard and people can get lost in these conditions, even if they're close to home.

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: Rock your MC's world and add layers to the familiar to skew the view. This is a good thing to apply to a good portion of our manuscripts.

Write a scene where your protagonist finds the safety and certainty of the familiar changed--whether for good or bad. Use your imagination. Fiddle around with the setting, change the behavior of the best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend, add conflict to the family or ease up the school routine. Remember, writing is all about adding layers. Have a good writing day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 24: Mapping Out Writing Time: Staying the Course, Even When Others Don't Believe

"Mom, I forgot to mail my letter to Santa!" Spy Girl flew into the kitchen this morning, envelope in hand. "Do you think it's too late?"

For the past few years, I've been waiting to have the talk with Spy Girl about Santa. Her friends have been dropping comments since the second grade, and despite the doubt cast by naysayers, Spy Girl's belief in Santa is much stronger. She'll defend Santa to anyone who tells her otherwise. As far as I know, Spy Girl is the only fifth grader in her school that still believes.

I'm cool with this.

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: There are times your MC is going to face opposition from people who have different convictions. This may be a matter of right vs. wrong or life vs. death, or it can be something where both sides are right, depending on upbringing, maturity, religious beliefs, race, etc.

Write a scene where your protagonist is faced with an opposing view, but has a different belief. Is this an easy situation, where both sides agree to disagree? Or is there something at stake, where winner takes all? Or perhaps the situation is more complicated and there is no clear winner. Emotion and conflict should factor in big time in this scene(s). Good luck!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Project 4 Awesome: You Are Not Alone by Myles Dyer

Check out this important video that Myles Dyer put together on his favorite charity for John and Hank Green's Project for Awesome...Thank you, Myles, for letting us all know we are not alone.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tamora Pierce LIVEchat Over at readergirlz Tonight! 6pm Pacific/ 9pm EST

It's that time -- Tamora Pierce will be at readergirlz tonight to answer questions about her books, writing process and whatever else comes to mind. This is a great opportunity to learn from an incredible writer. Don't miss this!

Stop by tonight, 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern, for a great discussion! See you there!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chance to Win $1,000 Scholarship for Creating a Book Trailer for Susan Taylor Brown's HUGGING THE ROCK

If you're a teen, ages 13 - 18, hurry and submit a book trailer for the wonderful MG verse novel, Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown.

There's a chance you can win a Freshbrain.org $1,000 scholarship!!!

Deadline is this Tuesday, December 15th. Click here for the rules and submission information. Good luck!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 23: Mapping Out Writing Time: The Double-Edged Sword

Life seems to get in the way of my writing. The flu, three children, a husband, managing office work that piles up faster than I can organize, housework, soccer, too much homework to supervise, holiday pressures, and general doldrums have provided more than plenty of opportunity for numerous excuses and bad creative behavior.

When I do write, my husband and children sometimes get resentful of my time away from them, voicing their disappointment when I'm at my laptop. My writing is usually done on the sly, in tidbits, spread thin.

Right now, writing seems to be my double-edged sword. If I write, chaos erupts and my family is unhappy. If I don't write, the household runs more smoothly, but I'm restless. It's a tough balancing act to maintain peace in my writing world, where sacrifices must be made, and sometimes it's difficult to see how, and if, we can all win.

Gah! I don't mean to sound so dire, for my children are the world to me and I will move mountains for them. Deep down, I know they believe in me and my writing, in a shout-it-from-the-rooftop type of way, but they are young and they still need me. As I do them. And that helps me get through the tough days.

I'm writing about this because sometimes it's just nice to know there are people out there who understand how difficult it is to write when others depend on you, but write anyway, and find a way to make their dreams come true.

I want to be that person. I will be that person.

I am that person.

And I know you are, too. That is all.

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: Write a scene (okay, this may take chapters to explore, but start off small) where your protagonist is faced with a double-edged sword--two choices--one favorable, one not so much. What do these choices mean for the protagonist, for the other people in his/her life? Who will suffer the most? Will anyone win? What does your protagonist do? Why? How do others react? Remember to evoke emotion, conflict and consequences.

Now get your butt in the chair and write.

Help Kickstart Tu Publishing and Good Karma Will Follow You

Have you heard of Tu Publishing? This small, independent multicultural press for children and YA is the brainchild of Stacy Whitman.

Stacy is raising capital through Kickstarter to fund this project--she needs $10,000 and as of right now, is 63% there. She has 3 more days to raise the remainder of the money, which she'll use to acquire, produce, market and distribute the first two books. Check out the type of books Stacy will be looking to acquire in January 2010.

If you're able to donate $1 or more, or, if you can help spread the word, it would do much to help bring much needed books out into the world. Go here to find out more about how to pledge money to Tu Publishing and bring good karma into your life. Thank you!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 22: Mapping Out Writing Time: Do the UNEXPECTED

It's been awhile since my last Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt and I thank all of you for your patience. Though, perhaps, you've all been as crazed as I've been these past few weeks and have welcomed the reprieve. Or maybe, like me, you've hit a creative slump and needed the break. And truly, with the holiday rush, who has time to write?

Let's wait for the New Year, the beginning of a new decade, to start writing again. Sound good?

Gah! This is no time to wimp out. I must admit, I've thought of taking a vacation from writing, but I can't stop. I'm a writer and that's what I do. I create characters and stories and most importantly, I write. So, if you're in it for the long run, like I am, let's keep on writing. Right now. We can cheer each other on.

The publishing world has been changing for some time and there is no time to wallow in doubt. Have you heard the latest? Kirkus is closing. Rather than worry about what will happen next in the world of publishing, let's focus on finishing our manuscripts and writing through the end of this year and into 2010. Wouldn't that be a great way to usher in a new decade of hopes and dreams?

And just for you, I've got a new writing prompt, to inspire a new scene or two for your manuscript.

Ready?
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School mornings are hectic in my household. Spy Girl and Wonder Girl are early risers, but Ninja Girl? Let's just say I've tried just about everything to get her to wake up so I can get the girls to school on time. Which is defined quite loosely most mornings.

And since the other two think they have more time, they meander through their morning routine, sometimes taking even longer than Ninja Girl to get ready.

I hate how I have to cajole, yell, scream sing Broadway songs to entice my children to get out the door. It's painful for all of us and really not the best way to start off the day.

Guess what I did today? I remained calm this morning. No arguments with children about their choice of clothing or hairstyle or shoes or warm gloves/hats or breakfast food. Talk about confusing them! But, they all got ready and out the door in record time. What a pleasant and freeing experience! My children made their own decisions and they shouldered the responsibility quite well, for the most part. And I squelched the temptation to interfere and ruin the good cheer.

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: Do the UNEXPECTED. We all know we should do this when we're writing, but sometimes, we need a gentle reminder. Shake things up a bit and let your characters do something unpredictable. Maybe your MC is miserly and shows a bit of holiday spirit. Or has trouble making choices and surprises everyone with a split-second decision. Or falls in love with the right person rather than the wrong one. Or decides to run off with a pack of vampires rather than join the family circus. Or is the shy one and tells off the school bully. See all the possibilities?

Are you ready to write the scene? Have fun with this and don't worry, there are no wrong choices. Just be sure to show the consequences, good or bad, and let your characters react to the unexpected situation. Don't wimp out. It'll be good for your story.

Add an interesting dimension to your story and your readers will love you.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time to Announce the Winner: R.L. LaFever's ARC Giveaway...

Thank you, Everyone, for stopping by, reading R.L. LaFever's interview, and taking the time to comment. Isn't Robin awesome?

We knew it would be hard to choose a winner, but we didn't realize just how hard. You all created such great secret societies, plus, you kept us entertained.

But, there can be only one winner.....

Ello! Send me your snail mail address to hipwritermama @ comcast dot net and Robin will send you an ARC of Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus.

Before you all leave, Robin has a nice surprise. There will be one more winner!

Tricia! Send me your snail mail address to hipwritermama @ comcast dot net and Robin will send you an ARC of Nathaniel Fludd, Book 2.

Be good, All. You never know what else might come up! I'm a little bit in shock--I just got my 100th follower and will need to think of a good way to celebrate!

December readergirlz: Tamora Pierce


December is all about INDEPENDENCE as Tamora Pierce joins the rgz Circle of Stars with her books, Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen. Please join readergirlz as we chat about related topics all month at the rgz blog.

rgz LIVE! with Tamora is scheduled for Wednesday, December 16th at 6 pm PST/9 pm EST.

Gather the postergirlz recommended reads to accompany Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen:

His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
Flora Segunda and Flora's Dare by Ysabeau S. Wilce
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by Meghan Carle and Jill Carle

Happy December!