Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Book!

I just finished reading The Christmas Village, by Melissa Ann Goodwin. And I really loved it! The story is about a 12-year-old boy, who winds up back in time (and miniaturized) in a pretend Christmas village that comes to life. Sounds kind of wild, right? I have to be honest; I went into the reading with a good dose of skepticism. I thought it might be one of those too sugary stories that tries too hard to be a classic holiday tale. You know the type. I also knew the time travel could be difficult to pull off.

But here are a few reasons why the story works: It's fast-paced. The unbelievable events are presented in a way that makes them believable to the reader nonetheless. The characters have, well, not a lot of depth, but enough to make you care about them. And perhaps most importantly, the story doesn't sell out in the end. I'm going to give something away here, so stop reading if you don't want to know...

I loved that it didn't turn out to be a dream in the end! I also loved the way the whole thing wrapped up. Because the book could have ended without the denouement, but I would have missed it if it did.

So thank you, Ms. Goodwin, for a heart-warming Christmas tale - and I mean that in the best possible, not too sugary way!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Young Writers Magazines

Every time I see my 13-year-old nephew, he's working on a new book. He's actually written novel-length manuscripts at his age - something it's taken me years to do. He's dedicated and motivated and plans to be a writer after college. (As if he's not one already.)

So this got me thinking: Kids that age could use some of the same advice we adults get from books and magazines about the craft and business of writing and publishing. Right? I realize kids aren't banned from reading the material meant for grown-ups. But I doubt the language, style and formats used in such publications really appeal to the middle school crowd.

When I search online, I can find plenty of publications that publish young writers. As an example, this site lists some of the better known publications. But I haven't found anything that answers young writers' questions about improving their craft and the business side of publishing.

Do you know of any publications like that aimed specifically at young writers? If so, please clue me in!