why i (sometimes) need to read the memo

over at the write at your own risk blog, my post “read the memo” is up!  

here’s an excerpt:  

Every now and then, whenever I think the scenes I’m writing are kind of flat, kind of useless, I turn to my personal writing mentor, David Mamet!  Yes, David Mamet, the playwright who won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for Glengarry Glen Ross, as well as a bunch of other awards for his plays and movies!

Well, evidently, he created and was the executive producer of the TV show The Unit, and while he was there he wrote a memo to his writing staff that has become known as a Master Class on Writing.

This memo is great!

check out the whole post  — and read the memo!  

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on being labeled

i wrote a guest blog for the cbc diversity blog called “separate, not equal” on the subject of book covers and some of the issues that come with having a black kid on a book cover.  i really hope that by writing about this, librarians and booksellers will rethink the ways in which they choose to shelve books.  

because, while i think having “special” shelves for so-called “urban” novels might help fans find particular books, they also ghettoize books and remove them from the mainstream shelves.  

and, as a writer, i have to say, being labeled this way is so frustrating!  

here’s an excerpt:

I can’t tell you how many libraries I’ve been to where my books are not even shelved in the mainstream YA section. They are relegated to the shelf labeled “Street Lit” where the books about black people live. The same is true in some bookstores where a black person on a book cover means it’s no longer YA; it’s “Urban Fiction”.

I’m here to tell you, when it comes to books, segregation is alive and well in America.

you can read the whole thing here.  and please, get in the conversation! 

more of the same

i tweeted about this quite a bit this week, but after reading npr’s list of the best ever young adult novels, i have to say i was quite stunned by its lack of diversity.  of the 100 books listed, only two books (by sherman alexis and sandra cisneros) were written by people of color.  there wasn’t one book written by an african american.  not one.  

i understand this list was generated by a poll; people voted for what they like.  however, while a lot of the books listed are wonderful, i wish it wasn’t just a popularity contest.  i wish more care and concern had been given to what is genuinely the best.  

a list like this could have been a great way to introduce people to the world of young adult fiction, especially adults who haven’t read a teen novel since they were teens themselves.  it could have shown the entire spectrum of young adult books — books that represent all people.  

instead, what we have is more of the same.  

sigh.

what to pin?

i’ve been slooowly trying to get into pinterest.  i love following other people and seeing what interests them, but i’m still trying to figure out what kind of boards i want to “pin.”  

so far, i’ve pinned my all-time favorite books!  please check them out here on pinterest, and follow me while you’re there!  🙂