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Monday, April 27, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - On The Trail

Read everything.

When I am researching a book I try to read everything on the subject and then some. Sometimes that reading takes me back...way back...to things I've written earlier. It could be a magazine article on the topic of my book or even a report I wrote back in college.

In this case, I dug out an old report I wrote in elementary school on dolphins. It's a topic I've returned to before when I wrote OCEANS. I remember writing this report. I was totally into it. I read Nat Geo and every book I could find on the topic -- which wasn't difficult because my mom had an extensive library right at home.

Looking at this report I can see the nonfiction author I was going to be. Not only was it complete, it had 9 chapters, was illustrated, and included a bibliography.

I laughed as I read the comments inside.  My teacher circled the word BOVINE and wrote beside it  - What does this mean?  Could she have not known that, or was she suggesting I should have defined the word in text?

The report earned me a grade of O+  which is short for Outstanding +  and this note:

Nancy,
It is my pleasure to read such a report. A tremendous amount of work on your part. I'm sure if I had to ever write a report about dolphins I would turn yours in instead of mine.

BAM! the 5th or 6th grader in me is still beaming and thankful my teacher was so encouraging.

Reading this will help me get back into that middle grade head as I write my WIP. What excited me then will probably still excite my MG readers now.

So for today, I'm reading everything and taking some time to connect with my inner middle grader.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Research Brings the World Closer

I am in that in-between stage with my writing. I'm researching and writing one book as I finish up the close examination of pages for the last book that will be on shelves soon. It means I have a foot in each book. My thoughts move from one subject to the other.

Each time I work on a book I discover new worlds, meet new people, and travel to new places. Research is a gift to myself. It widens my world. Just like when you travel on vacation and become intimate with a new place, research accomplishes the same thing. For the last book I travelled a lot -- as far away as Russia. But I also spoke to scientists as far away as Iraq.

I watch the news differently now. I think of the people I have met and worked with. I wonder about their safety. I wonder if they are able to continue working.

I watch, frustrated, knowing that I can't help, but hope that when their stories come out into the world, other people with watch a little differently too.