Friday, August 12, 2011

Stephen King on Writing & Short Stories vs. Novel Writing

Hey Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well!

I recently found this interview on youtube of Stephen King. He talks about short stories vs. novel writing. It's pretty interesting and it's only 5 minutes, perfect length for my attention span.

Check it out!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

<3 Er

erica m. chapman is a YA writer by night, workin' for the cause by day. Fan of football, especially Lions and Michigan. She loves alternative music, Foo Fighters, animals, reading, golf and playing her guitar. She resides in Michigan where she sits quietly typing her next story on her macbook in her Detroit Lions Snuggie. You can also find her at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Learning to Walk

Thinking back on my writing career, thus far, reminds me of watching my kids as babies. First they rolled over, then started to crawl, then pulled up on things, then took their first (wobbly) steps on their own. They were relentless in their desire to learn to walk, taking a few steps before falling on their butts. And then they were back up trying again. Eventually, the steps got steadier. And eventually, they went from walking to running. Did they ever give up? No!

So what does my kids walking have to do with my writing career? Well other than the fact that I've recently realized that I'm getting old because my oldest started school... 

Anyway, I digress. I see my writing career taking a similar path that my kids took when they learned to walk. Before I could run, I had to learn to walk. And before I could walk, I had to take those shaky steps and not be afraid to fall down. And if I did fall down, I had to get right back up and try again.

The writing process can be grueling, and many a writer has given up during this stage, before they even have finished their first book. If you're reading this blog, you've probably already passed this stage. The thing that differentiates (in my opinion) aspiring writers from writers is their never ending perseverance. Writers hone their craft, getting critiques, going to conferences, reading books about writing. So - every last one of you is a WRITER. Not an aspiring writer. YOU ARE A WRITER! That in and of itself is reason to be proud. 

So you may fall down on your journey to becoming a published author. It's part of learning to 'walk'. And in the end your writing will benefit from your minor setbacks, because at each wall, you find a way around it. 

Hopefully this rambling post makes sense. I just want every writer out there to know that you are not alone. We are all on this journey to becoming published authors together. And we'll all reach our goals in our own time. Some may reach it sooner than others. But persevere and you WILL reach your goals. 


Shelley Watters writes romance for young adults and adults. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two kids and two dogs. She loves listening to music, reading good books and letting her imagination go wild as she creates new worlds and torments her characters in delicious ways. She is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

Monday, August 08, 2011

What I learned from my young book club ...

When my niece started fifth grade, I decided to help in her class. It was a way to be there for her. She was always the awkward child, the one the other kids at school would always tease. I found that having Auntie B there gave her an ally. Soon the girls in her class would hang out with her at recess, and sit with her at lunch. As I sat listening to the students read stories they had written out loud to the class, the idea of organizing a book club came to me. The kids were so excited that every kid in the class joined.

Yes, that would be over twenty kids--boys and girls. Saying I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. We used to meet each month. It cost the kids $5 for a book, a project, and food. We'd do book themed projects for each book, afterward we'd eat, and then we'd sit in a circle on the floor to discuss the book. The first year we had simple discussions. Each kid would just talk about what their favorite part of the book was. As the years went by, fewer kids attended (all the boys dropped out), we stopped doing projects, and the discussion became more in depth.

What I've learned from my young readers, was invaluable. I learned that kids love to root for the underdog, especially if the characters are more like them. They hate when an author feels they have to explain too much and think kids won't understand tougher subjects. They don't care if the story is G or R rated as long as they can connect with the characters and get lost in the story. If they love a book and its a series, they will stay up for the midnight release and will make Auntie B do the same. If it comes out as a movie, they'll stay up for the midnight release, and yes that means Auntie B does, as well.

My niece, Kayla (aka Choir Girl) with Richelle Mead

I recently had a contest with the older teens in my book club as judges over on my blog It was a fantabulous opportunity to find out what a teen thought about writers' pitches and first 250 words. I was impressed how well they articulated their thoughts and how honest they were in their critiques. Go over and check it out. It was a lot of work, but we had tons of fun doing it.

I think I got more out of Auntie B's Book Club than the kids did. I was blessed for the opportunity and can't wait for my next venture with kids. This August I will be helping out with a local school's literary group for their tenth graders. I can't wait to see what books we'll read and find out what the kids think about each. If you write for children, and you have the time, you should try running your own book club or helping out at a nearby school. The lessons you'll learn will be invaluable to your writing career.

Have you ever been a part of a kids' book club or worked in the school with kids? What did you learn from the young minds you worked with? Do you have any funny stories to share?

That's it, until next time!

You can find Brenda on her blog: 
or on twitter:!/brendadrake