The Printz Award first caught my eye on the cover of White Darkness (Geraldine McCaughrean) in the media center at my high school. The more I learn about the literary nature of the books that receive them, the more I think it may be a main marker of this “Literary Little League” the wall street journal mentioned. That article, by the way, is here. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204261704574275941028138178.html
The more I learned about the Printz Award and the kinds of books that receive it, the more I like it. I’m very interested in reading the list of winners, including the 2009 winner, Jellicoe Road (Melina Marchetta). Perhaps this would be a good study for me, and even help me develop yet another dream, another goal.
More about the Michael L. Printz Award here:
I have a very unique way of battling writer’s block. When I can’t seem to make a story fit together, I go back and review the first fundamentals of storytelling I ever learned…by watching Disney movies.
Yes, this works! I’ve told quite a few other writers about it who’ve seen where I’m coming from. Classic stories told in ways that have caused people to love them all their lives. If you’re shooting to be a bestseller (though maybe not a Pulitzer), why not pay a little attention?
I’ve started making a study of storytelling in everything I watch. As an 18-year-old, I believe I am still entitled to my share of anime and That’s 70’s Show, not to mention movies with friends. I always try to pay attention to character development, narration as the way the story unfolds, the effects of setting and time. I suppose I can attribute it to my teacher Mr. Ford, who invented a class called Film & Fiction in the Fort Mill school district and taught students to appreciate film as art. It was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.
Writing isn’t the only form of storytelling out there. It’s not even the most popular anymore. There is lots of room for writers to take advantage.
This is taken from a worksheet I received at the SWA Conference last month, and I just had to share. Cheryl Norman’s Novel Writing Class, as you can imagine, was hilarious.
Punctuation is like Sex:
- Commas are not like kisses. They should not be scattered freely among your beloved words.
- Like spouses, exclamation marks should ideally come one per person, per lifetime. (Except in YA, I personally believe.)
- Parenthetical asides are like secrets between friends–not a good idea.
Again, I made this list with the help of a workshop I received in Cheryl Norman’s Novel Writing Class at the Southeastern Writer’s Workshop.
The Top 7 Downfalls of Writers:
- Lack of self-discipline
- Failing to use biological time positively (Ex. Are you a morning person? A night person?)
- Creating distractions/giving in to them
- Failing to finish individual pieces of work
- Failing to set goals that are high enough
- Not honoring one’s own unique material and VOICE
- Failing to acknowledge the duality within the creative person (Ex. Extend yourself! See what you can do.)
I was packing up to leave a relative’s house today, and I looked under the bed to find an old journal. I cannot believe I’ve seen it again. I thought I never would.
This is a journal that carried me through some of the hardest decisions and transitions I’ve yet faced. Some of the best and worst moments of my life.
I can hardly believe it. Just when I’d been thinking about it again too. Then again, I’m a little disappointed. I thought I’d left it in a hotel in Tennessee or it fell out of the car at some stop between Texas and South Carolina. I hoped I’d lost it so it could fall into the hands of someone who needed it. I was, after all, a detailing of a pretty spiritual journey; it was a prayer journal.
Turns out it just collected dust bunnies. Sigh. But I’m glad to have it back!
I love it. Sym’s voice is one of the best I’ve read. The themes, patterns, and writing are all lovely and fitting for a YA audience. It even received the Printz Award–a high-level YA contest–in 2008.
And get this: When I asked for this book at Barnes & Noble here in Texas, I was told that the store didn’t carry it. Nor did any of the stores close by. Looks like the major bookstores know of it, but no more.
I guess Sym is hard to relate to. The reader finds out that she’s unusual so quickly, it takes us a few chapters for us to relate to her. I think the complete click with her doesn’t come until the end. Perhaps Ms. McCaughrean could have done something about the narration of this book to bring the horrific moments that haunt the end home closer to the beginning.
That, however, is the only criticism I can make. I love the themes that flow so naturally through this book, the patterns. The end is glorious. Just thinking about a certain moment–and if you read it you’ll know which one–still gives me goosebumps.
Love & Peace!