Blog Archives

meet anola pickett and primmy, from whisper island, the outer banks, nc

It’s always a thrill when someone you know publishes a book–a double thrill when it’s someone in your critique group. I give you Anola Pickett, author of the new middle grade novel, Whisper Island.

Interesting where ideas come from, isn’t it?

Here, Anola tells us a bit about the Lifesaving Service:

So it’s quite a predicament for Primmy, the 12-year-old main character:

They say a writer tells the same story over and over in each novel, just with different characters. Anola’s characters are always plucky kids overcoming great obstacles. Makes for exciting reading!

Here, Anola talks about the conflict between Primmy and her mother, reflecting on a bigger picture, in my opinion:

One of Anola’s strengths as a writer is her attention to detail of setting. Here, she talks about research, and why Whisper Island is an important book for kids:


Here are a few of the fascinating details Anola found out about living on the Outer Banks in 1913:

What a pleasure to read an historical fiction written by someone so dedicated to authenticity! Like in Anola’s first book, Wasatch Summer:

And as one of her critique partners, I can tell you she’s researching diligently for the novel she’s writing on now:

When she’s done with that…will Primmy appear in a sequel?

But if you’re going to read the sequel, you’ve gotta read the first book. Here’s someone who might inspire you to do just that:

Where did her name come from?


Poor kid. I agree.

I’m so excited for Anola’s book, I’m giving away an autographed copy, with some Island gee-gaws, donated by Anola herself.

And lastly, I just have to squeeze this clip in. All published authors who have done the rounds will appreciate this audience question:

whisper

BUY ANOLA’S BOOK, WHISPER ISLAND TODAY.

But first…

Enter my blog contest for a free, signed and personalized copy. All you have to do is Tweet, Tumbl or Pin about Anola’s book, and leave a comment with the link to your handiwork. DEADLINE: MIDNIGHT CST, SUNDAY, AUGUST 4TH. The winner will be drawn from the proverbial hat and announced on Monday. Prize may or may not include the mermaid bookmark. OH JUST KIDDING.

summer reading–let kids invent themselves

We interrupt our revision programming for this important blog entry.

I hate to give this article any more exposure, but I suppose you have to read the buttal before you read the rebuttal.

Claire Needell Hollander, a self-described “middle school reading enrichment teacher” has written an article for the New York Times saying that kids in middle school and high school should not be reading frivolous fiction during the summer.  Like The Hunger Games.

She urges children to be unfettered with the specter of essays and tests for their summer reading, that they be free to explore works which may be out of their comprehension comfort zone. On that point I agree whole-heartedly. When a grade is attached, students tend to play it safe.

But Ms. Hollander maintains “Reading literature should be intentional.” Her suggestions for summer reading include a first hand account of the aftermath of Hiroshima and books about kids who have been real child soldiers and a child sex worker. She feels these book choices  “increase world and verbal knowledge”.

Oh, baloney.

There is a reason we tell stories, and it is this: to make sense out of a senseless world.

Kids and teens especially must have the luxury to explore in a fictional setting the topics that frighten, anger and titillate them. They should be given the space to figure out how life works, how it should work.

Reading fiction with compelling characters gives kids and teens the chance to feel those characters’ dilemmas, to make moral choices along with them. They’re building their understanding of the world and their place in it, one book at a time.

master writer # 5-david almond, the savage

The Savage is a YA novel by David Almond, author of Skellig. It’s the fifth, and latest in my series of kidlit books in which the author demonstrates an incredible mastery of one aspect of the writer’s craft.

Blue Baker’s father has died. To cope with his grief, he writes a story about a savage who lives in the woods. But fiction and fact somehow overlap, and the savage becomes much more than words and pictures on a page.

DAVID ALMOND’S SUPERPOWER

To make the subconscious, physical.

1. Kids can understand the most complex concepts, if you MAKE YOUR IDEAS VISUAL. David Almond has Blue express his subconscious feelings about his father’s death through a story he writes. The unnamed, wild savage in his notebook tells us everything we need to know about Blue’s journey of pain, about his love for his mother and little sister, about who he is as a person.

Here, Blue’s character, the savage, writes about a bully who’s been bothering Blue:

“Why was the kid puffin smoke like he was burnin inside? What was the point of that? So the savage new the kid was stupid. He wanted the kid to come closer, so he cud kill him and chuck him down the pit shaft.”

Later, the savage describes Blue, himself:

“…and the savage seen the boy’s eyes and he seen he wasn’t a evil kid like the last one that had been up here.”

Here, the savage talks about Blue’s little sister:

“He opend Jesses door in silens. He stud over her, then he reached down and rested his hand on Jess’s brow, and there was tears in his eyes.”

2. It’s not enough to have this phantasm come to life just for your main character.* THE EXPERIENCE MUST BE VERIFIED BY OUTSIDE CHARACTERS. This way, the story grows from a personal dream or fantasy into a universal myth.

“Jess was crying. Mam brought Jess into my room. ..We cuddled her and tried to soother her, but she was sobbing hard. ‘Daddy,’ she gulped. ‘Want Daddy.’….So I showed Jess the pictures of the savage and I made a funny savage face and I did a funny savage grunt and Jess giggled through her tears…We all sat close together again, and Jess slowly went to sleep….’You’re a brave and clever boy,’ she {Mam} said. She winked. ‘And you’re a savage, too.’ “

3. As much fun as the savage is, the moment has to come when Blue owns his savage side, and THE SUBCONSCIOUS AND THE CONSCIOUS PARTS OF THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST REUNITE. If they don’t we have a permanently wounded character.

“We stood there, two lads together, and we peered one more time into each other’s eyes, then suddenly I was on the outside, at the ruined chapel, and I couldn’t see the way back in again. But the chicken feathers were in my hair and the savage was in my heart and my dad was in my soul.”

Please read The Savage by David Almond. You can do it in less than an hour. It is fabulously illustrated by Dave McKean. It is visceral, gut-wrenchingly true, and dense with love–all leaking from Blue’s subconscious. For that reason, I present DAVID ALMOND, Master of Making the Subconscious Physical.



*Mr. Snuffleuppagus, in his initial incarnation on Sesame Street, was only visible to Big Bird. Everytime Big Bird would try to prove his existence to someone else on Sesame Street, Mr. Snuffleuppagus would disappear. It was pretty funny. But this running joke ended up driving little kids insane with frustration. Moral of the story? KIDS DON’T WANT THEIR HEADS MESSED WITH. They’re still learning the rules of reality.

master writer #4–jay asher, 13 reasons why

13 Reasons Why, the debut YA novel by Jay Asher is the fourth in our series of kidlit books in which the author demonstrates an incredible mastery of a specific aspect of the writer’s craft.

Clay Jensen finds a strange package on his porch. Inside, there are cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his dead classmate. He will spend an evening crisscrossing town, listening to the tapes to find out the 13 reasons why Hannah committed suicide. Clay is one of those reasons.

JAY ASHER’S SUPERPOWER

Each character is completely differentiated, a difficult task with so many teen characters.

1. Throughout 13 Reasons Why, Hannah tells her story to Clay through the tapes–intimately, in his ear. Jay Asher has found a seamless way to mesh their two points of view. This way, A TENSION DEVELOPS BETWEEN THE REVELATION AND RECEPTION OF THE CHARACTERS’ SECRETS.

For instance, we find out about a girl “…known for being a good listener, and sympathetic…” who agrees to come over and help Hannah when she’s being terrorized by a Peeping Tom.

“She smiled and raised an eyebrow. ‘Do you think he’ll come back?’…This girl’s got a twisted side that very few of you know about.”

“To catch our Peeping Tom, we knew we needed to keep the talking quiet. We needed to hear that first…Click… Her mouth dropped open. Her eyes, I’ve never seen them that happy….”

” ‘You know what I could use?’ she asked. ‘A nice, deep, back massage.’ “

“She pulled open the drawer, looked inside, and covered her mouth. What? There was nothing in my drawer worthy of a reaction like that. There was nothing in my whole room worthy of that. ‘I didn’t know you were into this.’ she said, nice and loud. ‘We should use it…together.’ “

“So who was this mystery girl? Should I tell?”

Well, you and Clay are going to have to flip the cassette over to find out if Hannah does tell. Oh, and in the scene, Jay also gives us a mountain of information about the Peeping Tom. And Hannah. And Clay, of course.

2. Jay reveals his characters almost entirely through VIGNETTES. We get to see the characters in action and draw our own conclusions. Sometimes our conclusions agree with Hannah’s and/or Clay’s, but sometimes, they don’t.

“I just sat there, in the booth where Marcus left me, staring into an empty milkshake glass…”

“When up walked Zach. I pretended not to notice him. NOT because I had anything against him, but because my heart and my trust were in the process of collapsing…”

“He offered to buy me another milkshake, but I gave no response…”

“…Zach left a few bucks on the table and returned to his friends.”

“…and before I left, I listened in on you and your friends. They were teasing you for not getting that date you assured them was in the bag.”

“…you took the teasing.”

” {but}…you chose to get back at me in the most childish of ways.”

3. Jay Asher’s characters are fully rounded because they aren’t stale stereotypes gleaned from previous fiction. They seem to have been kidnapped straight from his neighborhood high school, because they BEHAVE LIKE REAL PEOPLE, NOT IN WAYS CONVENIENT FOR A PLOT OR LESSON TO BE LEARNED.

Up until this point in my Master Writers Series, I have chosen examples that weren’t exactly spoilers for the novels being discussed. But in this instance, I feel the best example has to be this spoiler. If you haven’t read 13 Reasons Why, I beg you to read it before you go on to my third point. Fair warning. Here we go. No turning back.

Throughout the novel, Hannah fights her undeserved slutty reputation. Things come to a breaking point after a terrible night:

“…someone called my name…a head poked up. And whose head would that be? Bryce Walker’s.”

{Clay} “God, no. This can only end one way. If anyone can shovel more shit onto Hannah’s life, it’s Bryce.”

“{and}…Miss Courtney Crimsen…She’s the one who left me stranded with no one to talk to. And there I was, at her house, where she had nowhere to hide.”

{Clay} “That’s not why you did it Hannah…You knew it was the worst choice possible…You wanted your world to collapse…”

“…I was right not to trust them…but I was done. I was through fighting…”

“Bryce, you had to see my jaw clench. You had to see my tears…then, just like that, I let go…My legs fell apart. I knew exactly what I was doing. Not once had I given into the reputation you’d all set for me. Not once…Until Bryce…I let my reputation catch up with me–I let my reputation become me–with you.”

Boy. The easy author choice would have been an out-an-out violent rape. Good-girl Hannah kills herself because nobody would have believed her. Bad boy Bryce. Eh. We knew he was no good. Tragedy. *Yawn*.

Honest to Murgatroyd, I think this is the most heartbreaking, dead-on, brilliant scene in the whole book. If you think Hannah was asking for it, or could have gotten away, I submit that you’re missing the point.

She has been trying to get away from the reputation the student body has pegged her with for the entire book.

She can’t.

Hannah has been disappointed, degraded, embarrassed, debased, time and again. She was through fighting–she had fought it so long and so hard, obsessed over her reputation, she became what she feared most.

She made a choice. Or did she? Bryce certainly didn’t overpower her. But did the actions of the other students over the school year  “brainwash” her?

Layer upon layer. Each character sharp, distinctly individual.

13 Reasons Why is an important contribution to teen literature. There’s very little action, mostly character study, but oh! how fascinating! For that reason I give you Jay Asher, the Teen Character Master.

master writer #3–nancy werlin, the rules of survival

Today we look at the YA novel,  The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin, continuing my series about kidlit books in which the author has achieved amazing heights in some facet of their writing.

[unofficial trailer]

Brutally honest, The Rules of Survival depicts big-brother Matt’s day-to-day struggle to make sure he and his sisters make it through life with their vicious, unpredictable mother. Things look up when Murdoch starts dating their mom and she tries to appear normal, but when he leaves, things are worse than ever. Matt is going to have to take action if they’re all going to stay alive.

NANCY WERLIN’S SUPERPOWER

She has written the perfect first chapter.

Bold statement, I know. But in seven little pages, Nancy Werlin gives us the setting, the five major characters, (two of whom aren’t even in the scene) and the dilemma.

The book is written as a memoir to Matt’s youngest sister, telling her what happened one fateful year when she was too young to remember.

1. The only reason a reader sticks with a book is the author MAKES US CURIOUS TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MAIN CHARACTER, usually because we like him. Nancy establishes immediately how seriously Matt takes his responsibility for his little sisters:

“It was hard to figure out what would be the safest thing to do, for all three of us, all the time. But it was my job.”

“I was thinking that in a year–a year and a half–I could maybe go out by myself at night and trust Callie with you…I’d still be careful that you weren’t alone with her {their mother} when she came home after her Saturday night outings.”

2. Nancy cleverly and without telling, lays out the atmosphere, characters and problem. This adds up to ESTABLISHING A READER’S CONTRACT that you can count on to let you know what you’re in for. Look at these select lines from the first chapter of The Rules of Survival:

“…it was a date night for our mother–Saturday–so we’d been locked in.”

“Once Callie and I heard you snoring…we slipped out a window onto the back deck…”

“…My dad was afraid of our mother. He kept out of her way…I understood. She was unpredictable.”

“The big man…shook him hard, and kept doing it…And then the other man, the one I later knew was called Murdoch, was between the father and son. Murdoch snatched the little kid away from his father…”

“But Murdock talked directly to the kid. ‘It’s wrong for anybody ever to hurt you. No matter who does it, it’s wrong. Can you remember that?'”

From these snippets you can see that Nancy lets her readers know that this book is going to be about hard-core child abuse. Not only is the mother described leaving her children unattended, but her former lover, a grown man, is afraid of her. But there is hope! Her children are resourceful–they know how to slip out of the locked apartment.

But then, interestingly, Matt witnesses a father abusing his son in public, and a stranger steps in to put a stop to it. He says the amazing words: “It’s wrong for anybody ever to hurt you.” This isn’t a random event. This is a signal of the code Matt and the girls are going to learn to live by.

3. Of course there’s no point in reading a book if you know everything that’s going to happen, so Nancy gives us THE MYSTERIOUS TWIST. In this case, It’s a character, Murdoch. He’s introduced in the very first line:

“For me, the story begins with Murdoch McIlvane.”

He isn’t mentioned again until page four, after you understand the dire straits Matt and his sisters are in. Murdoch turns out to be sort of a hero, and just when you think he’ll swoop in to fix their lives, he walks out the door. On page seven.

How in the heck is this all going to work out?

Well, honey, turn to the second chapter and READ!

Get a copy of  The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin–study that first chapter. You will be amazed by everything you know about the characters, the situation, the story by the end of the first chapter–and everything you want to know. For that reason, I dub Nancy Werlin the Perfect First Chapter Master.

belated escaping the tiger launch party post

So when I edited the footage of Laura’s interview last week, I realized I never posted the stuff I took at her launch party.

Ye Gods.

It was pandemonium.

Held at the fantasmagoric Reading Reptile, we stuffed the joint. Laura had a spread of Laotian food: BBQ’d chicken legs, sticky rice, some kind of coconut rice pudding stuff, and frankly, I don’t know what all she had because the place was PACKED TO THE RAFTERS WITH PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. I had to wait in line to get in. Where I ran into the fair Carrie Dienhart: (Warning: Her blog is for grown-ups, only.)

Well, I couldn’t wait outside forever. I WAS MISSING IT.

So I *ahem* made my way to the front to catch these snippets of Laura’s reading and Q and A for you:

Then ran into a few more writers, like Kim Peek, RA of Kansas SCBWI, Jenn Bailey, Editor of In the Wind and Social Media Maven, Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List, Bridget Heos author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larva, (due 2011) Colleen Ryckert Cook, author of three non-fiction books for Rosen on cancer, social networking and Kentucky, Lisa Wade McCormick, author of numerous books for Capstone Press in the Mysteries of Science series among a ton of other things, and Vickie Dixon, who recently won first place in the Sandy Writing contest!

As you might guess, they ran out of books. Since I am lucky enough to only live a few blocks from Reading Reptile, I ordered mine and waited for the next batch. Here is the lovely Debbie:

And now to get back to my own WIP. Because I’d like to have one of these little get-togethers, myself, one of these days.

master writer #2–laura manivong, escaping the tiger

Last Friday I started a blog-series in which I look at kidlit books whose authors have mastered some aspect of their writing in a particularly stupendous way.

This week it’s Laura Manivong’s Escaping the Tiger:

Straddling the Middle-Grade /Young Adult market, Escaping the Tiger tells the story of one family’s escape from communist Laos. 12-year-old Vonlai, his sister Dalah and his parents risk their lives to cross the Mekong River into Thailand. There, they discover life in a refugee camp is anything but pleasant. They will have to conquer hunger, violence, boredom and despair in their quest to build a future where they can be free.

LAURA MANIVONG’S SUPERPOWER

She makes you feel as if you are physically present in her setting.

Maybe you’ve been in a refugee camp in southeast Asia, but I haven’t. After reading Escaping the Tiger, however, I feel like I visited there for a very long time.

1.  A great way to establish setting, especially in an exotic locale, is to USE DESCRIPTIONS THAT ARE ROOTED IN THE CULTURE WHICH YOU ARE DESCRIBING. Laura does this here, where Pah tells Vonlai on the night of their escape how quietly he must walk on the way from their house to the Mekong River.

“Walk like a tiger hunting a meal. Understand?”

Notice that Laura isn’t even describing “the setting”, per se, but this one line lets you visualize an entire jungle, and  Vonlai walking silently through it. As a bonus, the ferocious image of a tiger lets you feel the anxiety of carrying this order out successfully. It means life or death.

2.  Laura has the distinct advantage of being married to Troy Manivong, who escaped from Laos and lived in a refugee camp in Thailand as a young man. She had access to USE DETAILS  SO SPECIFIC ONLY SOMEONE WHO HAD BEEN THERE WOULD KNOW THEM.


“His bike that had a rolled towel wired and taped on for a seat.”

Even novels that are pure fiction contain details so well thought-out they appear to be true.

3.  An effective way to draw in your readers is to SHOW HOW THE SETTING AFFECTS YOUR CHARACTERS. Laura doesn’t describe the weather or living conditions anywhere in this passage:

“Inside the building, Vonlai tried to sit upright on the bench that lined the wall. Pah and Meh filled out paper-work. Dalah slouched over her own lap, her face buried behind a wall of hair that should have been washed a week ago. An oscillating fan pushed a blanket of air toward them every few seconds….

Vonlai swept palmfuls of sweat from behind his knees…

Vonlai rubbed a hand across his leg. A streak of clean skin appeared and a muddy drip of sweat fell from his hand.”

I would like a bubble bath and loofah sponge immediately, please. Ick.

Of course Laura Manivong has a lot of tricks in her bag. Pick up Escaping the Tiger to learn from her, my candidate to you as Setting-the-Reader-In-The-Book Master.

Did you know Escaping the Tiger started out as a Picture Book? What does Laura’s Manivong-family think of the book? Watch a mini-interview:



alice in wonderland: where childhood is real

Tim Burton? I just don’t know what I’m going to do with you. You are a master of visual splendor. The Wonderland you created for Alice is incredible.

I saw your film with my pal Jenn Bailey and two of her three BaileyBoys–The Bandman and Lord Bluntly.  We enjoyed it, yes, but…

Tim, you don’t really get it.

Alice in Wonderland and the sequel, Through the Looking Glass are quite the subversive pieces of literature.

On the surface Wonderland is fantabulous creatures,

splendiferous beauty,

outrageous creativity,

bounteous color,

precious sentiment.

But Alice learns very quickly that she cannot let her guard down. Eat an irresistibly tempting cake and grow too large to fit through the door.

The gorgeous flowers can talk–

but they only have nasty things to say.

And if you meet a grinning, good-natured looking Cheshire cat, beware. Even he will admit, “…we are all mad here.”

I read this book approximately six million times when I was a kid. My own kids hated it. Now that I’ve seen your film, Tim, I finally understand why. It’s because the book has what you’ve left out of the movie:

Veiled menace.

I’m not talking about obvious dangers like the bandicoot or the jabberwocky.  Enemies who declare themselves are easily dealt with.  I’m talking about the darkness that comes clothed in the guise of angels, like the walrus and the carpenter:

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

We all know how THAT turned out.


“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.                                                                                                                                                                         

.

The Mad Hatter, who poses a riddle without an answer. The Red Queen who will chop off the gardener’s head for planting the wrong color of flower. The baby who turns into a pig.

Even though Alice is only a quarrelsome little girl, she sees these petty creatures for what they are. Chess pieces. A pack of cards. Nursery rhymes. They are grand-standers and charlatans, and she can protect herself from them.

Not your usual children’s literature from the Victorian Era, when childhood was deemed an idyllic time tended to by all-knowing adults. As kidlit writers, we know the notion of a carefree youth is a myth.

So now I get why I loved these books as a child, and why my kids didn’t like or understand them.

And Tim? Afraid you really missed the boat. There’s a rumor you’re looking at the Wizard of Oz next. If you are, think LONG AND HARD about the STORY before you start. And let me tell you a secret:

The shoes are silver.


flippin’ out at the “little piano girl” book launch

My delicious friend Ann Ingalls launched her book, Little Piano Girl last Saturday at our local indie children’s bookstore, The Reading Reptile.

Co-written with her sister, Maryann Macdonald, Little Piano Girl (Houghton Mifflin) tells the story of Mary Lou Williams, a jazz piano genius who arranged music for Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker.

I shot a little video that has AMATEUR written all over it.  Next time I’ll know to narrate more.  It’s fairly self-explanatory, but besides meeting Ann and Maryann, keep an eye out for:

Barbara Stuber, whose debut middle-grade novel, Crossing the Tracks will hit the stores this July.

Colleen Ryckert Cook, whose first non-fiction book in a three-book deal for Rosen Publishing comes out in August.

Katie Speck, author of the Maybelle early chapter books.  You know, the roach? *shiver*  Maybelle will visit someplace tremendously fun in a third book to be released next January. (Ooo!  Kidlit scoop!)

Elizabeth C. Bunce, author of  A Curse Dark As Gold and the first recipient of the William C. Morris Award from the ALA.  Yes, indeedy do.  Don’t worry gang, she has another book turned in which is in production, and she’s writing a third.

Pete Cowden, owner with his wife Deb of THE most incredible children’s bookstore in the nation–The Reading Reptile.

And now, without further ado, my very first vlog:

what’s so dang funny? the plot

You might be Robin Williams in everyday life, but that won’t do you much good in your WIP.  When a writer uses humor, it has to serve the story.  Otherwise, you get a bunch of random one-liners that jump out at the reader like an Attack of the Living Dead.

Buff up your plot with situational humor.

juniorhighhilarity Everything that’s achingly funny starts with real life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exaggerate. Like in Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney–the stuff about “the cheese touch”.   Didn’t everybody have some stupid superstition like that in school? Jeff Kinney starts with a perfectly mundane, childish scenario and blows it up until it’s a side-splitting recurring  joke.

Or look at  An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.  It’s about Colin 19?really?Singleton, a boy who’s dated and been dumped by 19 girls, all named Katherine.  Sure it’s possible, though not probable.  But a reader might have dated all blonds, or all baton-twirlers, and would identify with Colin’s inability to branch out.

Take a look at something interesting and swerve in a different direction.  Ask yourself, and then what?

Say, for instance, Main Character throws a water balloon at Nemesis.  And then what?  Nemesis retaliates with a water balloon barrage launched by sling shot.  Then what?  Main Character gets his buds together, puts together a plan of attack and rains water balloon hell upon Nemesis’ territory.  Then what?  Nemesis calls upon the entire fifth grade.  Then what?  They buy out the entire supply of water balloons at Nugent’s Drugstore. Then what?   Main Character’s Army frets and worries, shores up the battlements.  Patrols the perimeter.  Then what?  Finally, Nemesis’  Minions attack—with shaving cream!  Ah, the unexpected twist. Gotta love it.

Even serious stories need humor.  A tense plot must allow the reader an occasional breather.  Novels are not verbatim transcripts of life, but they are reflections.  And no matter how dire the straits, there is always room for humor.

“I would never have made it if I could not have laughed. Laughing lifted me momentarily . . . out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable . . . survivable.” (Victor Frankl)

A little humor gives your reader the confidence to believe he, too, could survive the ordeal your Main Character endures.  Another way to draw your audience in.

Lucky for the rest of us, you don’t have to be Bill Cosby, (the early years),  Douglas Adams, (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), or Tim Conway (with Carol Burnett).  Be observant.  Life is funny enough if you squint just right.

hic

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