Educators from Actively Learn discovered Believing In Horses after the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test featured an excerpt of the book in its 2015 annual test in. Following discussions, Actively Learn decided to feature two excerpts from Believing In Horses, Too in their creative curriculum. Actively Lean uses a new approach to learning by providing free English Language Arts (ELA) and other content embedded with standards-aligned assignments to help students learn.
Tessa Polizzi, Actively Learn’s Senior Manager of Product & Content, identified the following assignment from Believing In Horses, Too, which thrilled me because it was one of my favorite chapters. She said:
“I started reading Believing in Horses, Too thinking that I’d look for an excerpt connected to Sadie and her dad, but then I came across the chapter “New Kid on the Block.” I love this one. It stands alone as a story pretty well on its own, connects to an experience that kids are familiar with (making a new friend), and touches on some of the hard situations that kids face in their lives.”
Tessa also asked if she could develop a curriculum based on an excerpt for the “Bullies Don’t Rule” chapter, another one of my favorites. I think they did a great job on this lesson, too!
I hope these might be additional help to those homeschooling or to introduce young readers to a new and fun way of learning. And thank you to Actively Learning and Tessa for bringing these stories to more readers.
Hi SEers! Denise here to discuss what happens when people talk to each other and how to apply that to writing.
Have you ever watched people talk? Do they sit and speak without moving or any expression? In my family, I’m surrounded by Italians. Hands are always flying around during conversations. I know who not to sit next to during a meal if knives are being used. It’s dangerous!
Besides hands, heads are moving, faces change expression, bodies are constantly in motion, and tone shifts can take the spoken level from high to low. The speaker’s mood comes out in not only their words but their body language.
Yet, when I first write a dialog for a story, I only put the conversation. I barely tag who’s talking. Later, when I’ve completed the story, I go back and add all the movement that accompanies the words.
One of my closest friends is embarking on writing her first book and she asked if I could help her estimate costs for her publishing journey.
It occurred to me that we should have a costs calculator for publishing expenses, which I have compiled for you below.
While there are exceptions to every rule, included here are typical price ranges for various book publishing services.
Keep in mind that there are inexpensive freelance directories like Fiverr which can be useful for simple projects like having social media headers designed.
Just be careful when hiring freelancers for professional-level work like book covers and publishing services. You have little control over the unauthorized sharing of your work in other countries, potential copyright infringement, and other headaches that come from hiring inexpensive overseas labor.
It is recommended to invest in experienced designers and publishing industry professionals when possible.
I learned about the web-based editing application AutoCrit through writers’ circles last year. It looked interesting, and I signed up for the free program thinking I would get to it when I had time. Well, you know how that goes….
So when AutoCrit announced the AutoCrit Line Editing Lab in February, the lab became the catalyst I needed to focus on editing my work in progress (WIP), Believing In Horses Out West. The course description read, “10 days of group activity, live workshops with the AutoCrit team, and of course, edting!” It was that, and more. The AutoCrit team made it easy to attend sessions by hosting two live sessions daily at 11:00 am and 8:00 pm EST; attendees could attend either or both. The team also supplied a video recording and a copy of the day’s slides delivered to your inbox.
The lab kickstarted my lackluster editing effort and introduced me to the tremendous features of the program. The effervescent Beth hosted the courses and did a phenomenal job of teaching, answering chat questions, and keeping the course interactive. She engaged attendees in ways that made the lab more fun than a one-way conversation.
I discovered the power of AutoCrit and its wealth of editing features broken down by categories including Summary, Pacing & Momentum, Dialogue, Strong Writing, Word Choice, Repetition, Combination, Readability, and Grammar. For an example of the subcategories, see Strong Writing shown below.
I learned invaluable lessons about strengths and weaknesses in my writing through the specific categories and subcategories. As a result, I purchased a Professional AutoCrit membership. I saw how using the program improved my WIP, and I plan to apply the lessons learned to future work. I’ve appreciated being a member of the AutoCrit Member Community with features such as:
An actual community where authors interact without selling to each other
Instantaneous tech support
Live webinars, for instance, “How To Work With Your Cover Artist To Get The Cover You Deserve” featuring artist Lynne Hansen of Lynne Hansen Art. Lynne’s discussion was enlightening, informative, and free to members.
I highly recommend AutoCrit if you would like to gain new perspectives on your writing and connect with a friendly and helpful writing community.
In a short story, our words are limited, so we must craft our prose to convey a sense of naturalness. Scenes have an arc of rising and ebbing action, so let’s consider how conversation fits into the arc of the scene.
J.R.R. Tolkien said that dialogue must have a premise or premises and move toward a conclusion of some sort. If nothing comes of it, the conversation is a waste of the reader’s time.
What do we want to accomplish in this scene? Ask yourself three questions.
Who needs to know what?
Why must they know it?
How many words do you intend to devote to it?
My rule of thumb is, keep the conversations short and intersperse them with scenes of actions that advance the plot.
Fear is probably the #1 factor preventing writers from seeing success in their careers. I’ve had many writers tell me they’re afraid of failing, afraid of rejection, afraid of bad reviews, afraid people will laugh at them, afraid readers will hate their book, afraid people will judge them or tell them they are selfishly wasting their time writing when they could be doing something more productive or meaningful.
There are probably more reasons to be afraid than there are to keep writing.
Let’s face it. Every single writer has and will have negative responses from their writing. There will always be people that dislike, maybe even hate, your work. That’s life. The sooner you can accept and expect it, the easier it will be to knock over your fear.