Friday, March 19, 2010


I have been revising my first draft. In my critique group we have been working through the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass. I have to admit that I'm not very excited about this month's assignment which is chapter 22 from the book.
The chapter says to go through your manuscript and find scenes that happen in the kitchen, car or shower. Then it says to get rid of them. If you can't get rid of them you have to add tension to the scene.
I'm still thinking about this assignment. Mostly I'm thinking about if I want to do the assignment (I don't.) I have to say I felt like this assignment was calling me out in a way. Of course there scenes that take place in kitchens and scenes that take place in cars in my story and part of me doesn't want to let them go. But it is possible that my inexperienced self has gotten it wrong. Maybe I just think the scene where my character confronts her Dad in the car when he comes to pick her up about why her stepbrother called her dad his dad is full of tension and reveals something about the way my character.
In reading this book there are all these examples from other books so as I read these little examples from other books I end up wanting to just read more books. So my stack of books to read is getting bigger.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to make an award winning diorama

This week I have focused most of my energy on sewing costumes for a play and making a Peep diorama the Pioneer Press Peep Diorama contest.
I teamed up with my friend Sara who has a blog and is committed to diorama greatness.

So this week I thought I'd write about how to make an awesome diorama.

Step 1: Pick a dramatic subject. We picked MacBeth since that is what is running on the stage next door and there is fake blood.


Step 2: Gather materials. We used a box, fabric, a small box from the recycling bin, model magic, doll hair and parts, gum wrappers, foil paper, a paper clip container, stage blood, hot glue and of course Peeps.

Step 3: Prepare the diorama. This includes marking where your big set pieces will go as well as any painting you may want to do to the interior or exterior of the diorama.

Step 4: Build set and costumes.

The set

The costumes

Step 5: Add Peeps and Props starting from the back of the diorama and working forward.

The Wyrd Sisters

Lady MacPeep

Bloody Banquo

Step 6: Do not neglect the outside of the diorama. Cause really if you've spent all this time on the inside don't you want the outside to be just as great?

Step 7: Professionally light the finished product and take photos.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Last week I got an email from the instructor from the writing class I took last fall inviting me to a reading. The series is called Second Story Readings and they take place at The Loft. The series pairs two middle grade or YA authors for a reading. They pair authors that might be enjoyed by a similar audience. Today I went to see Lynne Jonell who wrote Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat and The Secret of Zoom and Stephanie Watson who wrote Elvis and Olive.
There was a nice mix of people there including lots of kids. Stephanie Watson read from her first book Elvis and Olive and then she read from her book that will be out this summer Elvis and Olive, Super Detectives
I am super excited cause I won a door prize.
At the end of the reading there were all sort of goodies like posters, postcards and books for available for purchase. There were also donuts. When this was announced one little girl in the front row cheered "donuts". As I made my way past the line of kids buying books I heard girls in line talking about how when their brothers found out there were going to be donuts that they wanted to come to the reading too. (There weren't a lot of brothers there though) It made me think that maybe donuts are the key to getting kids into reading.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Frozen Falls

Last weekend one of my actors asked me if I had ever been to Minnehaha Falls.
Yes I replied I ride my bike there all the time in the summer. So then they asked if I had ever been there in the winter. Which is when I realized that I had never seen The Falls when they are frozen.
My reason for not doing this is that it is cold. So this week I made it my mission to fix this problem and I went to Minnehaha Falls to see what they look like when they are frozen.

I haven't been here in the winter so I missed the buzz of rental bikes, Sea Salt and the sound of the Falls. Everything was still covered in white so I had to be careful where I stepped and not actually walk out onto the ice because even though it is cold it has actually been getting warmer.
Since I was on foot I walked on a little bridge that goes over the falls and walked around the park on the other side of the Falls. I don't normally see some of the site of this park because I am usually on two wheels and therefor don't get to go down all the pedestrian paths.

Whenever I go to the falls in the summer I stop and look at the statue of Hiawatha and Minnehaha and I listen to the creek bubble on one side while hearing the gentle roar of the falls on the other side. In the spring the water can get high and this little pool forms kind of across from the statue but by the end of the summer the pool is usually gone.