Sorry for not posting in so long. I've been working hard on finishing the sequel to "The Monster Realm." My editor had a lot of edits!
In the meantime, here are a few of the new chapter illustrations from the new book. As always, Elisabeth Alba did an amazing job.
We looked at the map (two weeks ago) and the cover (last week). But what about the fonts?
I never thought about fonts before. Then I had to pick one for the cover! My dad's a designer, so he showed me a bunch of different fonts. Here are a few I liked. We finally settled one called Galahad. It just felt right.
I love This Is Colossal, a website of wonder from all around the world! I don't know how Christopher Jobson finds so much amazing stuff. Take a look at this Short Story Vending Machine. I wish there was one of these at our train station!
I just started Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. It has such a great first line, I went back and checked the first lines of some other books I love. If these first lines make you want to read more, get the book!
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.
Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
On a cool Monday morning in early April 1925, Ida Bidson, aged fourteen, carefully guided her family’s battered Model T Ford along a narrow, twisting dirt road in Elk Valley, Colorado.
The Secret School, by Avi
In 1864 Caddy Woodlawn was eleven, and as wild a little tomboy as ever ran the woods of western Wisconsin.
Caddy Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling.
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.
Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne
Fifty years before the war to end all wars, a boy played hide-and-seek with his friends in a pear orchard bordered by a dark forest.
Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
There was once a little princess who — “But, Mr. Author, why do you always write about princesses?"
The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald
Out there in the cold water, far from land, we waited every night for the coming of the fog, and it came, and we oiled the brass machinery and lit the fog light up in the stone tower.
The Fog Horn, by Ray Bradbury
“Eh, Tree-ear!” Have you hungered well today?” Crane-man called out as Tree-ear drew near the bridge.
A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park
In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.
The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkein
In 1899, we had learned to tame the darkness but not the Texas heat.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly
Oh, didn’t I feel sorry for myself when the Wabash Railroad’s Blue Bird train steamed into Grandma’s town.
A Year Down Under, by Richard Peck
It was always August when we spent a week with our grandma.
A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck
Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house.
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
In the Tickman kitchen, late on a summer afternoon...
Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo
The tropical rain fell in drenching sheets, hammering the corrugated roof of the clinic building, roaring down the metal gutters, splashing on the ground in a torrent.
Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
So Mom got the postcard today.
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby.
Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool
In was Old Bess, the Wise Woman of the village, who first suspected that the baby at her daughter’s house was a changeling.
Moor Child, by Eloise McGraw
I just found out that The Monster Realm received a Moonbeam Bronze Medal for Pre-Teen Fantasy!
There are a LOT of great books on the awards page, including non-fiction and beautiful picture books. Check it out. Maybe you'll find your next great read.
Thanks to everyone at Moonbeam!
I’m an unpracticed speller. Why? Because of spell check! I have spell check turned on by default. Writing my first book, I let spell check fix everything. This time, I’m making a list. I'm going to learn to spell these words!
Here are some recent additions to the list:
If you want to see a great “spelling” movie, check out Akeelah and the Bee. Maybe I should get a jump rope!
I was struggling with rewriting my second novel. Sometimes it helps to get some inspiration from another writer. Jason Segel just published his second novel (with Kirsten Miller), Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic. I’m reading the first book in the series, Nightmares! I’m really enjoying his writing—creepy and fun at the same time.
Jason was in town to talk about his new book. That sounded like just the thing I needed! So we headed out to the New Roads School in Santa Monica. Jason was interviewed by Rico Gagliano. Jason was funny, honest and inspiring. He wrote these books to help kids face their fears, and shared stories from his own life when he was scared.
During the Q&A, I said, “I’m a writer too.”
“That’s great,” he said.
“Do you have any tips,” I asked, “for what to do when the last thing you want to do is write?”
Here’s what Jason said:
I was unemployed from twenty-one to twenty-five… And I decided the only way I was going to make it was to write. And it was really hard for me sometimes because it wasn’t something I was totally interested in. But I made a deal with myself that I was going to sit in front of the computer three hours a day. No matter what. And if nothing happened, then that’s fine. My job was to sit there. And even if I wrote nothing good in a day, I still felt I had done my job. It made me feel like what I was doing was real, you know? And that made me feel good, that I was really trying something. Just sit in front of that computer. Make a time for yourself. Maybe it’s an hour a day. Maybe you write and maybe you don’t. But eventually you’re going to get bored and start writing.
What great advice! It’s natural that some days we won’t want to write. As long as we keep our commitment to ourselves and write for a certain amount of time each day, maybe an hour, maybe six hours (if you’re behind like I usually am), or maybe even fifteen minutes. If nothing good comes out, it’s OK. We all have bad days. Just sit there, even if you don’t feel like it, because “eventually you’re going to get bored and start writing.”
I’m grateful that he took me seriously, because sometimes grown-ups treat kids like “kids.” What great advice! Thank you, Jason!
Here’s a link to Jason’s and Kristen’s new book. I got a signed copy that I can’t wait to read!
When I'm having a hard time writing, Snoopy cheers me up. Maybe these can cheer you up too when you're having a bad writing day!
(I think Snoopy needs a thesaurus!)
I just started Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny. It's great! Creepy fun and really well written. I love the scene where Charlie moves the boxes each night to block his bedroom doors.
Go out and get it now!
Rewriting is always hard.
I thought my first four chapters were done! Arrrg! When I got to chapter five, I realized the first four chapters weren’t working. Not enough was happening and I was jumping between plot lines way to much! In one chapter!
So now I’m back on chapter one. “Sigh,” as Snoopy said.
Rewriting is hard.
Teen fantasy novelist and TEDx speaker. I love nature, books, movies, origami, singing, cooking, knitting, roller coasters, dogs, and a lot of other things.
|Nara Duffie: The Monster Realm