One of the workshops I'm attending in this weekend's SCBWI Florida summer conference in Orlando is on Digital Media. Emma Dryden, Rubin Pfeffer, Curtis Sponsler among others are presenting. In the past year, I have attempted to up-date myself by joining Facebook, reading more blogs, starting a blog of my own, and researching how and under what circumstances I might choose to digitally published some of my work.
Several months ago a non-author friend recommended Nicholas Carr's book What the Internet is doing to our Brains: The Shallows published in 2010. Her point in our conversation was that reading and readers are changing, mainly by the influence of the short bits of information that sideline just about anything we might look at on the many Internet sites most of us access daily. The many attractive features of the Net (interactivity, hyperlinking, searchability, multimedia) capture our attention easily. Many are reading more and more quickly but, the author contends, seldom enjoying the total immersion into reading that deep readers previously experienced. We might follow an interest by jumping to a related link but seldom read beyond the first few sentences. Carr states a paradox: the Net seizes our attention only to scatter it. Instead of a continuous, coherent stream of information causing us to reflect and think deeply, we are exposed to a "jumble of drops." We have switched from reading to "power browsing."
How does this affect what I write for today's youth? I'm not sure, but I do know as I revise my stories, I keep in mind a comment from a trusted writer in my writing group. She said something to the fact that "long sentences and paragraphs lose her attention." She wants the story to move more quickly, wants the dialogue to be short and sweet. Good advice for any writer. But I still want to create moments when a reader can savor a scene, empathize with a character, think more deeply.
Despite this, the interactivity idea excites me. I have some stories where I can see the possibility of hyperlinks to enhance, create more fun for a middle grade or younger reader. Maybe my workshop will guide me to learn how to do this. If I can see this now for stories I have already written, I know I can create new stories in a format that will fit into this new age.
Author of Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing December 2014:
Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel
Jeremiah needs a little help and he gets it with the sudden appearance of his guardian angel. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jeremiah dodges a kiss from a princess and falls head over heels for a lost puppy. Chapter book for ages 7-10.
Watch for these titles coming soon:
The Whispering Chimney
Eleven-year old Bethany finds a stone chimney and discovers a beautiful but terrifying past. (upper middle grade)
(Beyond the) Stone Eagle Gate
David, age fifteen, flees a false accusation and takes refuge in a haunted, abandoned mansion. (YA, historical fiction ghost story)
The Interplanetary Adventures of Yan Sunnara: Book I Rescue on Lato
Cultural scientist Yan Sunnara rescues an unusual child on the planet of Lato with the help of an exotic and beautiful Uvian archaeologist. (Adult, soft Science Fiction, Rescue on Lato is the first of a series of four novellas.)
Three teens are connected by a mysterious and sometimes frightening ability to cross over from one dimension here on earth to another. This YA novel placed in the top three in Florida Writers 2013 RPLA competition. Speculative Fiction.
Some Great MG and YA books
- Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
- These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
- Red Blood Road by Moira Young
- On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
- Nation by Terry Pratchett
- Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Printz 2012)
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- Fire by Kristin Cashore