Novel Writing

Logistics, logistics: Naming and dating characters

English: An Entennmann's cake donut, bought fr...
Oh, maybe I could name one of my characters “Donut!” (Just kidding!) | English: An Entennmann’s cake donut, bought from a grocery store four-variety pack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today it’s all about logistics. The time period of my current WIP has evolved since I started the first draft. Because of this evolution, I realized that many of my character names were no longer appropriate to the times when they were born. So today, my writing activities are focused on charting out a timeline and coming up with new names for several of my characters.

In the beginning, I thought most of my characters were born after the apocalyptic event that changed their world. I was thinking they were born in a time when food would be scarce, and that parents in that time might be tempted to name their children after various food items they missed from the old days. My characters thus ended up with names like Cauli (short for cauliflower,) and Radi (short for radish.) I also had a couple of characters named Apple and Peach (which are maybe a bit too cutesy, but this didn’t start out as the serious project it has become. I was just experimenting and having fun!) Continue reading “Logistics, logistics: Naming and dating characters”

Education

Down with homework!

English: Homework
In my opinion, homework = housework. Schoolwork should be completed at school. | English: Homework (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My 7-year-old started second grade this year. Recently, he brought home his very first list of vocabulary words. The assignment – which is to be repeated every week with a new set of words for the remainder of the school year – was to write down each word with its definition. Which therefore meant looking up definitions for him to write down.

At first, I was tempted to use the Dictionary.com app on my phone to look up each definition and have my son copy the words from there. Then it occurred to me that no child of mine will ever get away with not learning how to use a real-life, hard-copy dictionary. So, I pulled out my mammoth Webster’s New World College Dictionary, and we set to work.

Teaching a 7-year-old how to use a Dictionary is maybe not the easiest task in the world. In fact, like much of my son’s homework that ends up being my homework as well, it’s a little annoying. How can a teacher tell a second grader to write down definitions without first teaching him how to find those definitions? Continue reading “Down with homework!”

Character Building, Memoir

Character building: I just got a BRILLIANT idea (I think)

mother memory book
This is one of two memory books I am filling out for my sons. Each books asks tons of questions about the mother’s life.

I’ve always been obsessed with these memory books that are designed for parents and grandparents to fill out and leave for their progeny to remember them by. When I was a teen, I bought grandmother versions for each of my grandmas. Both of my grandmas totally filled their books out and left me all sorts of memories of them that I will treasure forever. I am lucky enough to still have my maternal grandmother, but my paternal grandmother has been gone for seven years now. I feel so close to her when I can open her book and read her handwriting.

I bought the parent versions for each of my parents a long time ago, but I don’t know if they’ve ever started to answer the questions inside. Maybe they’re still too young to worry much about whether or not they’ll be remembered when they’re gone. Continue reading “Character building: I just got a BRILLIANT idea (I think)”

Parenting

The nerve of some people’s kids

Einkaufswagen
Einkaufswagen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s funny how a random comment from a complete stranger can ruin a fun family outing.

Yesterday, I was pushing my 5-year-old around in a shopping cart in the garden section at Wal-mart looking for flowers to plant in our garden. It was a beautiful sunny day, around 70 degrees, and we had decided it was time to get a couple of plants in the ground. My younger son loves to help me out in the garden, so this was a perfect opportunity for the 2 of us to spend some one-on-one time together while his older brother was at a friend’s house. Continue reading “The nerve of some people’s kids”

Poetry by Mandy Webster

My kids provide me with some excellent material

Kids!
Image by Gary Simmons via Flickr

Here’s a little ditty inspired by my 5-year old:

My mom says
she’s sick
of all the toys
on the floor
all the time.

I say, “So what?
You can’t get rid of us.
We’ll just walk back.”

~By Amanda L. Webster

Gotta love that kid!

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