Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Mac Barnett and Why a Good Book is a Secret Door

I dare you to watch Mac Barnett's TED Talk and not 1. Laugh and 2. Be Inspired. :)

I double-dog-dare you, in fact.

I love Mac's reverse take on the through the wardrobe--how he wants to bring fiction alive, into real life. And I LOVE how he (and Dave Eggers with 826 Valencia) achieve this.

Wait until you meet Riley and her magic melon. And the pirate supply store. And Nico with his pet whale Randolph.

Can't see the @TEDtalks? Click here.
I'm going to call it wonder. It's what Coleridge called the willing suspension of disbelief or poetic faith, for those moments where a story, no matter how strange, has some semblance of the truth, and then you're able to believe it. It's not just kids who can get there. Adults can too, and we get there when we read.--Mac Barnett
Wonder. Yup, that's it.

So, this is a TED Talk for anyone who has found the TARDIS in real life (do make sure to go inside), or felt like they were inside the Harry Potter world when traveling to London.

Adults CAN get there. And we can take people there through our writing.

Our house loves BATTLE BUNNY and all the awesome Meta-ness that @MacBarnett creates. I hope you check out some of his books for even further inspiration!

Oh, and there is an 826 Boston, so if you are local, consider tutoring.

So, what inspires you? What books lead you through the wardrobe door and come to life for you? What characters live on in your mind long after you close the book?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Amanda Palmer and The Art of Asking

A friend of mine who needs a couple of beta readers started talking to me about where she's planning on finding them--online communities of writers who are strangers. She hasn't interacted with them yet.

She's a supportive member of a vibrant local writing community, so I asked her why she wasn't looking for a critique within that community--she's already built respectful and true connections there.

She said that people are busy, and she didn't want to ask because she didn't want to bother anyone.

I told her that people would say no if they couldn't, and that I hoped that she would seek a reader within our community.

But it's so much more than that. Asking for something is often times a value exchange. For both parties. One person (hopefully) gets a thoughtful critique. The other gets to see their own mistakes in someone else's. Or see the things they do well. My writing grows so much when I critique others. Or the critiquer might get a future favor. Or karma for paying it forward. Because someone sometime gave them a critique. Whatever is exchanged, there is value on both sides of the equation.

And that is what Amanda Palmer says in her TED Talk: The Art of Asking. Value on both sides of the equation. I love the way she thinks about and interacts with her fans, her art.

And she makes a poetic case for self-publishing, I think. :) She's using a new model to get her art to her fans. Speaking of self-publishers, here's a few you will meet at the #nescbwi15 conference: our chair, Natasha Sass (writing under a pen name Ansha Kotyk) and Laura Pauling, who is presenting several workshops! (If you are planning on coming to #nescbwi15 and haven't registered, there are only a few spots until we sell out, so register soon!)

@AmandaPalmer writes more about this in her book by the same title, check it out here: http://amandapalmer.net/

What do you think? Has she taken the shame piece out of asking? Do you draw parallels between what she is doing with music and what you are doing with writing?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Raghava KK: Shake up your story

There's only 25 spots left for the #NESCBWI15 conference! Don't delay if you want to come--we'll sell out soon. :)

This year, we're proud to bring in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks founders for a panel, as well as workshops dedicated toward writing diversely. I'm especially interested in the workshop Developing a Gay or Questioning Character in the Middle Grade Context.

In that spirit, I'm so pleased to present artist Raghava KK and his expressive children's book. He talks about how to create empathy and says, "I promise to bias my child with multiple perspectives." :) Check out what happens when he shakes his book!

What do you think? Do you shake things up in your story? Will we hang together at #nescbwi15?