Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Because Writers Have Notoriously Low Self-Esteem...

We figured it would be more fun if we introduced each other as authors instead of ourselves, so here's a brief introduction to our critique group!

Janine, by Frankie
Meet Janine Leaver, the secret force behind our group. It was actually Janine who had the idea of starting the critique group at the end of the Writing for Children class in which we all met. Janine's words are like poetry in motion, even her emails have a certain poetic charm to them. She is just as fiery and passionate about writing as her red hair. Janine, our token picture book writer, also teaches college level English, having completed her Masters in English at Arcadia University last May. Janine writes stories about small and quiet characters like a mouse named Penelope and a Japanese girl named Jitsuko who have bursts of passion and inspiration in their lives, which is kind what it's like to meet Janine, or read her work- quiet at first followed by an unexpected explosion of passion. To date, Janine's only weakness as a writer is her lack of confidence, which sometimes inhibits her to the point of not writing, but she is overcoming this obstacle.
P.S. Janine is one of two lovely brides-to-be come this June!

Frankie, by Sara
Meeting Frankie is like meeting a character out of one of your favorite novels--she's high-concept through and through! She's a vegan-belly dancer-preschool teacher-children's librarian, not to mention oldest of five. Frankie is also a YA fantasy writer. Her novel-in-progress centers around klutzy Lillianna Brandywine, youngest of seven sisters, whose family is different: on their sixteenth birthday, each girl wakes up with a magical power. Except for Lillianna, of course. Frankie is extremely prolific and willing to give anything a go at least once. Her passion for her work combined with her curiosity makes for writing that is interesting, surprising and powerful. Frankie's strength can also backfire and be her weakness at times, when her curiosity leads her stories down paths that don't end up working out. It's all about the process, though, and we're lucky to have her so we can learn from her occasional failures as well as her many, many successes.

Sara, by Donna
When I first read that Aranelle Serenson’s nose is constantly pink and raw from a habit of rubbing it with her palm, I felt that I'd met her before. But Aranelle was born in the imagination of Sara Thistle Kankowski, someone whose ability to craft detail makes her an extraordinary fantasy writer. She brings readers front and center into any scene. Aranelle is the feisty heroine in Sara's YA novel, and because every protagonist needs her antagonist, there’s also Rankin Fegstill, the creepy, manipulative bastard son of the baroness. Addictive characters like these are only part of Sara’s gift as she writes about independence, family loyalty, and political intrigue. Though Sara knows the overall arc of her novel, she has some difficulty with plotting, and she works on it constantly…despite the fact that she’s a first grade teacher, a swimmer, and will be wed this June. Aranelle’s story has just begun, and we can’t wait to see what happens next!

Donna, by Janine
Our first published member, Donna Gambale, whose Magnetic Kama Sutra hits the shelves December of this year, writes realistic YA fiction. Her current project, a novel entitled Multiple Choice, follows three friends, June, Maddy, and Nina, as they navigate their junior year of high school and hope that their sister-like friendship emerges intact from what turns out to be a tumultuous year. Throughout the novel, as the girls confront challenges ranging from trigonometry class, to divorce, to sex, the depth of their friendship is both demonstrated and tested.  Multiple Choice serves as a great example of Donna’s strengths as a YA writer. Donna’s writing is raw; she neither sugar-coats, nor deals gratuitously with the realities of teen life.  Her dialogue, her greatest strength, is witty and realistic. She captures the essence of her characters and propels their stories forward through dialogue. Conversely, narrative passages are Donna’s weakness, as these sections can be bogged down by minutia. Donna is, however, committed to the process, and she looks for ways to lighten the narration and intermingle it with her compelling dialogue. We’re fortunate to have Donna as a member of our critique group.  We can always count on her for an insightful critique point and for a timely encouraging word. 

Anything we haven't covered that you're dying to know about? Feel free to ask!

1 comment:

  1. What a cast of characters, and what a clever way of introducing yourselves. Very cool.


Thanks so much for reading our blog, and we really appreciate you taking the time to comment! We read every one, and we try to respond to all of them via email/comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...