Monday, March 31, 2008

Write Night

The best thing about my writing life is my critique group. That’s not to say I don’t have a wonderful, supportive family and interested friends. I do. But this group of fellow writers and writer/illustrators do exactly the right things. They offer honesty, intelligence, creative sparks and friendship.

One creative spark is Write Night. We meet once a month, in addition to regular critique meetings, just to do writing exercises. One participant brings enough exercises to keep us off the streets for about two hours. The exercises are difficult. That is essential because it forces us to solve a problem – major or minor – in a work in progress or a work in imagination. Sometimes the problem I solve is one I didn’t realize the manuscript had.

We spend about 20-30 minutes on each exercise. Then we read aloud what we’ve written and comment on the things worth saving.
On some Write Nights, I’m tired or uninspired, and I don’t come away with much other than options that didn’t work. Other nights, I’ll get a line. Sometimes I create a scene. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a voice.

I’m embarrassed to say I don’t have a picture of my critique group that shows all of us in the same place, at the same time. You can find snapshots of various collections of us here and here.

Welcome to Misplaced Electrons

I’ll start with some questions that might be frequently asked if anyone knew about this blog.

Who are you?
I’m a writer, a mom, a wife and a daughter. I used to be a scientist. My one and lonely book, Science is Golden (Michigan State University Press), helps parents and teachers do science with kids. I've also published nonfiction articles on math and science in Cricket, Spider and Highlights magazines. These days, most of my writing efforts are directed toward novels for teenagers.

Why would anyone who was trained as a scientist start writing books for children?
I became a scientist to try to figure out how life works. I write novels for teenagers for the same reason.

Why is this blog called Misplaced Electrons?
Electrons zip around atomic nuclei in an immeasurable yet predictable fashion. Some electrons stick close to their nuclei. Others have a wayward way about them. Wayward electrons allow us to send an electrical signal through a wire to run computers and create blogs. If you don’t believe me, click here. Also, when electrons socialize, chemical bonds form. Chemical bonds make life and pretty much everything else in the universe possible. Lastly, I think static electricity and lightning are cool.