Friday, January 29, 2010

TIP from a 5-year-old

I've been kind of quiet lately in the blogosphere. Why is that?

Is it because (A) I have realized that I blog to the detriment of my writing and have decided to focus my efforts on manuscripts this month instead?

Is it because (B) my Scramble habit has returned (but I've been too embarrassed to admit it?)

Is it because (C) I have a secret and I'm scared if I blog, it will slip out, the same way I accidentally told my college roommate who her Secret Santa was?

If you guess D, all of the above, you'd be correct.

There are some things going on that I can't talk about, but there are plenty of things I can talk about. So, I will choose a safe topic. Writing tips. When my five year old blogs, she dictates and I type. Every few words, she says, "Read me what I have so far." This cracks me up. She's only in kindergarten, but she already knows that her words have to "sound good."

ME: You have "I asked my mommy to sign me up for gymnastics because I thought it would be really fun. But then I discovered that some moves hurt me and I didn't like class. One day I came and I started to cry. I wanted to go home. A nice assistant named Alex helped me out, and then I discovered something new. Class could be really fun if I just give it a chance!"

JORDAN: I said discovered too many times. Change the second one to noticed.

What's interesting is that Jordan can read perfectly well by herself. But she doesn't feel she can adequately "listen" while she is reading. She needs me to read it so she can focus completely on how her words sound.

So, here is my tip. Ask someone else to read your work aloud.

Do they stumble or trip anywhere. Are there words you repeated by accident. Is your dialogue natural? Do your transitions flow?

You may discover something you hadn't noticed before! :)

34 comments:

Tamika: said...

Your five year old blogs! I'm so impressed!

I was reading my work aloud last night with my hubby perched beside me. Every few scenes I would ask, "how's that?"

B.J. Anderson said...

Awesome advice! And some I use very often. It works!!

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent advice from a kindergartener. Priceless.

And I can't wait to hear your secret! I like sekrits.

Tere Kirkland said...

From the mouths of babes...

That's too cute. Sounds like the apple didn't fall far from the tree there.

Thanks for the tip!

Heidi Willis said...

well... can I say this? Jordan is brilliant. And way precocious. And pretty darn smart.

Kristi Faith said...

Oh boy, Corey! You have a handful! :0) A sweet and wonderful handful, but she'll be outsmarting you before you know it. LOL

I love her blog and she is a natural born writer. Just like her momma. One day I'll see her name on the cover of a book and say, "Hey! I knew her when..."

Little Ms J said...

Jordan makes me nervous. I hope she doesn't read my blog. I am sure she'll find errors.

Very cute!

Lisa and Laura said...

She is one smart cookie. I mean, recognizing that she repeats words, determining a synonym, writing blogs? I'm impressed!

She sounds so stinking cute.

Melissa said...

Fantastic advice! What a smartie pants!

Shelli said...

you can say you have a secret you big tease :)

Hardygirl said...

Okay, I"m DISCOVERING that you have a secret. Has anyone else NOTICED??

Jordan is dreamy--sooooo smart!!!

sf

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Could you send Jordan over to listen to my manuscript, please?
And no fair leaking that there's a secret you can't tell!

Sharon Mayhew said...

I love secrets...you can email me yours. I promise not to tell anyone. :)

My first critique is done by my 13 year old. I thought that was impressive, but wow Jordan is awesome! Future agent or editor in training....

Karen said...

Keep that critique partner!

I'm so curious about C...the suspense is killing me. :)

Linda said...

Great advice. Thanks, Jordan.

J.A. Palermo said...

From the mouths of babes...great tip!

Rebecca said...

Great tip, Corey! And Jordan is such a doll! :-)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Great tip!

But I'm looking forward to hearing the secret soon :D

beth said...

ACK!

I wanna know your secret!!! :)

Jacqui said...

Genius.

And I wanna know too.

Christina Farley said...

Awesome advice! Oh, and now I'm DYING to know your secret. You're killing me.

Jennifer Major said...

Corey - Jordan sounds like a writer in training! She is certainly getting a head start and isn't that wonderful. Plus, your advice is fantastic. It does sound different spoken. Hope everything else turns out well!

Diana Paz said...

I answered "D"!! Your little one sounds so cute.

I'm also feeling absent from blogs, but with lots of good reasons (I think!) too :)

Kim said...

Are you sure she's FIVE?!?!? I think you're lying! What a smartie pants.

And, uh, yeah. No fair about dropping the secret bomb and leaving.

Corey Schwartz said...

Well, to be honest, she is almost six! Her birthday is in March. But she is only in kindergarten. (and I felt silly saying she is 5 and 5/6 :)

MG Higgins said...

Your daughter is a budding author! Wow, I'm so impressed. Can't wait to hear your good news!

storyqueen said...

Spill it! Spill it! Spill it!

Seriously, you've had lots of secrets these past few months....

Spill!

Abby Annis said...

It's amazing what kids can come up with on their own. What a smart girl! Great tip! Thanks for sharing!

jdcoughlin said...

Yes. My book club read one of my short stories and because someone forgot their glasses it was read out loud. Sounds totally different when it's not in my head. It's something I try to do all the time now. Especially with dialog.

But I was over 40 when I had this stroke of genius. That brilliant, brilliant kid!

Natalie said...

What a smart little 5-year-old!

I love the read aloud trick. I make my husband read my manuscript back to me when I really get stuck.

Stephanie Faris said...

I try reading my work aloud too. It's not easy because I'm rarely in a place where people won't think I'm crazy if I do so!

1 husband, 2 kids (and lots of books) said...

I love the bit about listening to someone read your work out loud, and as for the 5yr old blogging... there's an idea!

Amy Tate said...

So true! Except I find it hard to listen outside of editor mode. I hear all the mistakes and want to fix them...immediately.

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