Friday, February 3, 2017

2017 Reading Project: Expanding My Worldview

For the past few years, I've focused about half the books I read into what I call Reading Projects. Sometimes I read to prepare for a trip - so that I understand the history and culture of the place I'm visiting. I have a lifelong project to read a biography about each American president. Right now I'm finishing up a series of books about the 1920s. Just for fun - and to catch a few classics I had missed along the way. I'm old enough to appreciate them more now :)

A few months ago my 17-year-old daughter came home from school, insisting that I watch the TED talk her English teacher had shown in class: The Danger of A Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Not only did the talk inspire me as a writer, it inspired me as a reader.





My 2017 reading project will be to read at least 12 books from non-European cultures. I also plan to include some history for context. I write a brief note about all the books I read on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/SydneySalter), but I plan to blog about my 2017 Reading Project.




I am so excited to learn more about people all around the world!






Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blogging Elsewhere

I've over at YA Outside The Lines today, blogging about my writing heroes!

You can read the post here: http://yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com/2016/11/writing-heroes-by-sydney-salter.html


Monday, October 10, 2016

Blogging Elsewhere!

Hello! Today I'm over at YA Outside The Lines blogging about fear--and how each novel I've published comes with its own unique fears.

See the full post here: http://yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com/2016/10/each-story-inspires-its-own-fears.html


Friday, October 7, 2016

Flooded With Shiny New Ideas!

It's happening again...

I have spent the last several months working on preparation for my WIP, researching, taking notes, filling notebook pages with character development exercises, possible scenes, a loose plot plan.  

Ready and excited to write, I began drafting the actual novel, one page at a time. Slow but sure, I'm adding to my word count and page count. But it's happening again...

Shiny new ideas are flooding my mind!

Every time I start a new novel this seems to happen to me, and I'm not sure why.

Am I living in a really creative mode? Maybe. I haven't quite reached the total immersion stage of writing (I still have to keep a cheat sheet of my characters' names and relationships in front of me), so I'm still in the world-building stage of writing. I'm setting up the action for the middle of the novel, discarding some ideas, embracing others. So maybe I am simply in a mode of creating ideas?

Or

Am I hedging my bets? Probably. Novels in the early stages do not look anything like the fantastic imagined stories we've prepared to write. Most of writing occurs in revision. I know that I'll need to go back and add layers of depth later. In spite of pages and pages of character prep, I still don't really know my characters yet. That comes with more scenes, more paragraphs, more pages, more plot. Revision. Revision. Revision.

I'm in the ignore the problems and push forward stage of writing. That's why all these shiny new ideas seem so great. I haven't discovered their flaws yet! I'm noting all the ideas in the back of a notebook, but I'm pushing forward so I can finish my first draft.

Then I can polish this novel--during revision!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Must Reads For YA Writers

A few years ago whenever people asked me how someone my well-past-teen age could write YA, I'd explain how the emotions have remained consistent since I was a teenager.

I'm not sure that's entirely true anymore. Oh, sure we all still experience a range of emotions, but the prevalence of social media has shifted the landscape in a profound way. Even while parenting teens, I've noticed dramatic changes in the four years separating my daughters. As a parent, I know I'm always a step behind. So what does that mean for my drawer novels? More concerning: what does it mean for my WIP?

Thankfully, two great new books will help both writers and parents bridge the gap.




I purposely sat next to different moms during every soccer game, flashing American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales. The book inevitably provoked an interesting conversation with my fellow soccer moms. I wish every mom, teen and writer would read this one. It's a bit harrowing at times. One night my 16-year-old daughter snuggled next to me in bed and read a few chapters along with me. She plans to finish it on her own this summer. We've already had so many great discussions about social media, the pressure on girls, and how we use technology.





The bright pink title of Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein
made me wonder what rumors might ensue if I read this one at halftime. Ironically, the social media book is more graphic. I loved Orenstein's thoughtful interviews on wide-ranging topics. She truly respects her teenage subjects while remaining an adult. YA writers could benefit from her writing voice, in addition to the subject matter. This one is now waiting on my college-aged daughter's bed for when she arrives home next week. Her sister will read it next.

As a parent, I often wish the world were different for my daughters--and I know many parents who pretend things haven't changed all that much.

The problem comes when we don't acknowledge the way things have changed, as writers. Readers depend upon us not to talk down to them. To portray the truth. Provide a realistic slice of life.

That means keeping up with changing times. We owe it to our readers!



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