Wednesday, November 28, 2007

If You Want to Write...

The latest in our weekly blog series about... hmm.... writing, maybe?

Therapeutic Writing

Write it out.

The sort-of sad part about developing yourself as a writer, is that nothing is sacred in your personal life. Or rather: nothing should be sacred. Are you dealing with depression? are your parents divorced? is your little sister demon-possessed? do you have a wonderful home life? is school your passion?

You need to write about it.

I'm not a great short story writer. Novels work better for me. But still I write short stories because the medium allows me to express something within five pages. My diary is another place to do this. Giving therapy-- or merely creative outlet-- on paper (or virtual, Microsoft Word paper) is so much easier than talking to people, and it can help you realize what you love or hate about a given situation.

This also makes for much better writing.

Jennifer Weiner is the highly successful women's fiction writer who writes constantly about divorce. She pokes fun at herself, knowing that this is a common theme because of her own parents' divorce. Her books, on the surface, seem like chicklit, but you can still cry whenever you read her because the pain that comes with a dysfunctional family relationship is still there, and you feel it as much as her protagonists do.

Keep it real, man. And I know the posts have been on vaguely depressing topics. We'll cheer up next week, or Sunday because... Robin Wasserman is interviewed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Contest-- Another Form of Earning Points

If you write about Innovative on your blog, that's +3 points. Make sure to tell me that you do!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ahoy, Guy WriTeens!

So, I was gathering research (i.e., idling time) by looking for debut YA authors that would be good potential people to interview for bookshelf. I'm booked through January at this point, but I love interviewing authors and I think others enjoy them as well. I was browsing through the website. It's brilliant, because it's made up of thirty or forty debut young adult and children's authors, and I've gotten a lot of names to look up.

However, it made me realize... I don't like reading stereotypical "boy" books. I'm sorry. I'm much more chick flick or girl drama. But boy WriTeens make up a sizable minority of our subscription, and it's no fair that you have to suffer through thousands of books and interviews with chicky authors.

So: a brainstorm.

Would you, Guy WriTeens, be interested in becoming a reviewer/interviewer for Innovative? This is just an idea. I would make all initial contact with the authors, but you would get to interview the said "guy" authors and chat with them about their books. I would also love to receive book reviews of said "guy" books.

I'd be looking for someone 15 or older, who likes (and has time) to read and is inquisitive enough to ask different kinds of questions. You'd have to get back to me fairly quickly (no month-long wait) but you'd be published, you'd get to "meet" cool authors, you can say you are a book reviewer and interviewer for Innovative: A Word for the WriTeen.

What do you think? Girls, feel free to put in your two cents or nominate someone, too. This wouldn't get going until January, but a thought to mull over.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

If You Want to Write...

The latest in our weekly blog series about little things you can do to build a writing life...

I want to thank all the people who have entered the Spread the WORD! contest so far. You guys have been amazing. It's still anyone's win at this point, but everyone else: catch up so at least you can get your Post-Its! And the prizes can be interchangeable. If, for example, you already have a copy of Lady of Sherwood, you can have the Surprise Gift instead.

Now, back to "If You Want to Write...."

Burnout happens.

Burnout is kind of happening right now. Susan Johnston ( posted about it a week or so ago, and got me thinking. Burnout is when you feel like a car running on no gas, when inspiration is visiting a different address, when you're tired and you hate your characters and feel like quitting.

That's burnout.

Burnout is different from inspiration-loss. Look, if you wait to write until you're inspired, you'll be waiting a long time. You won't write, actually. The discipline of writing is writing anyway, always, whenever, however. Burnout is when you are really empty, not just tired.

But fear not! Burnout is neither forever, nor untreatable. The best cures, I've found, are below.

- Take a short break or
- THROW yourself into your book or short-term project.
- Listen to lots of music.
- Take long nature walks.
- Read an article you really disagree with
- Eat really good food.
- Watch a lot of cheesy, feel-good movies
- Or watch one gripping drama
And the best way:
- Read a really, really, really badly written book. I have lots of recommendations but am not going to post them here.

The basic idea is that you want to stimulate and rejuvenate yourself. Remember why you love to write. Remember what excites you. Remember to relax and let your creative pores soak. Remember that burnout's not forever, and soon you'll be flaming to go.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Interview with Mark Peter Hughes


Interview with Mark Peter Hughes, author of Lemonade Mouth and I am the Wallpaper

A former member of an alternative rock band, Mark Peter Hughes was once kicked out of eighth grade music class for throwing a spitball. His novel Lemonade Mouth is a Top 10 BookSense Pick and is nominated as a 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. His first novel, I am the Wallpaper , was selected as one of the New York Public Library's Best Books for the Teen Age 2006, a BookSense Summer Pick and a finalist in the Delacorte Press Young Adult Novel Competition. Mark lives in Massachusetts with his wife, three young children, and a wild mountain cockapoo.

INN: Where did you get the idea for Lemonade Mouth?

MPH: The idea for Lemonade Mouth came from being in a band. I'm a musician and I've been in a few bands so I know what being in a band feels like. It seems to meet that a band takes on a personality of its own, apart from that of the individual members. It also has its own story arch, with a beginning, middle and ending.

INN: Do you love frozen lemonade, or is there another frozen beverage that's a hidden fave?

MPH: I grew up in Rhode Island, so Del's frozen lemonade has been a summer staple all my life. I love, love, love it. :-)

INN: What was the hardest part about writing this book?

MPH: The hardest part about writing this book was making one story out of five stories. Keeping each of the band-members stories alive and vibrant throughout, while never losing focus on the band itself. This was the challenge I set out for myself when I began.

INN: How did you first break into publishing?

MPH: My first novel, I am the Wallpaper, ended up getting published through the Delacorte Press Young Adult Novel competition.

INN: Any advice for teens who write?

MPH: The best writing tip, I think, is the most obvious—and, unfortunately, likely the dullest. If you want to become a better writer, you have to sit down in a chair and write, write, write. That's the only true way to get better – and it is guaranteed to work.

Thanks, Mark!

You can buy Lemonade Mouth on Amazon by clicking

To learn more about Mark and his books, check out .

Stories for Children update

Virginia S. Grenier, editor of Stories for Children (, just sent an email saying that Stories for Children now has two submission editors. If you have a piece to submit, make sure to check the guidelines so you submit it to the correct editor.

Bookshelf Squeals of Excitement

So, tomorrow we're publishing our first author interview, with Mark Peter Hughes ( and I'm very, very excited. We'll have two more before the holidays (December 2nd and December 16th) and again, I'm very, very excited.

It's been fabulous to talk to authors about their work; authors of books I enjoy and want to pass around to all of you. I hope all of you enjoy this as much as I have.

If there's an author that you would love to see interviewed, drop a comment or an email to .

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Innovative Spread the WORD! Buzz Contest

Sneak Peek

I hope Innovative has helped you in your creative life, whether it's supporting WriTeens or being one yourself. So help us out in spreading the WORD! and


You must spread the WORD throughout your community about Innovative, through email, discussion boards, fliers, announcements or personal contact. The person who contacts the most and earns the most points will win first prize.
Email addresses will be added to the Innovative e-list. Make sure people know that.
Current subscribers don't count (sorry.) Also: made-up or defunct email addresses. Play fair.
If X emails me person Y's address, and then Z emails me person Y's address later, only person X gets the point.
However, if person Y joins in the fun halfway through and sends me the emails of A, B, C and D, they can and will be eligible for prizes.
The contest begins this Sunday, November 18th, and finishes at midnight EST December 5th. No points may be earned before or after the contest.

Points System

For every 1 email address you send me, you receive +1 point.
For every 1 post on a discussion board (like: Hey friends, check out this zine...), you receive +2 points.
For every 1 flier you post in a public place (school, library, church), you receive +3 points.
For every 1 lecture/stand-up-and-shout about Innovative, you receive +4 points.
[If there's a way of communication that I'm not aware of, email me about it and I'll figure out a point value and then post it for all to see.]
If you cheat, that's -5 points.


You can send me emails and notifications one at a time, or all together. It really doesn't matter, as long as your name is clearly labelled.
As far as email addresses go... I will be sending a confirmation email to each one, so make sure that the people you send know that they're getting it and want to get it. Or it won't count.


First Prize: Whoever Has the Most Points (20 point minimum)
1 Publishing Mentorship with Gabrielle Linnell
1 Barnes & Nobles (or Borders) Gift Card for $10.00 (or international equivalent)
1 interview in Innovative
1 autographed copy of Gabrielle's first self-published book, Lady of Sherwood

Second Prize: Person with 2nd Highest Total (18 point minimum)
1 Barnes & Nobles (or Borders) Gift Card for $5.00 (or international equivalent)
1 old copy of The Writer magazine
1 profile in Innovative
1 Crazy Surprise Gift

Over Five Points Prize: For Everyone Who Scores +5 Points
1 pack of Post-Its
An Official Innovative Thank-You note

Let the games begin on Sunday, November 18th.

If You Want to Write...


Sometimes we don't want to share good writing things. Like places to submit to, or idea-makers, or . This is mostly because we're insecure, because we think that someone else's success will take away from our own.

But it won't. The three reasons why are:

1. You are unique. Nobody else can write like you can. Someone can't really copy your style.

2. Editors look for different things from different people. If you and your cousin write for the same zine, you could both get published.

3. Competition makes you write better. 'Nuff said.

So share the love today by, I don't know, telling a friend about Innovative?

But you may want to wait because you're about to get a sneak peak of the Innovative Spread the WORD! Buzz Contest.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Boring Parts [November 11]

As Hana said in our WORD this week, there are parts of writing that are boring but necessary, like writing mechanics: grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Speaking as an editor, I'm always impressed when WriTeens email me with perfect grammar. Does this mean they're brilliant writers? Not necessarily. But it gives a great first impression.

What part of writing is the most annoying to you?



Teen Ink (

This is probably the biggest publisher of teen writing around. Available at most libraries, Teen Ink is a huge collection of everything from fiction to political opinion, book review to angst poetry. If you write it, they will probably have a spot for it. They don't have a great response system to your submission ( i.e., if you are rejected, you never find out) but if you are published, there are some nice, non-monetary perks. Check them out.

Absolute Write (

WHO THEY ARE: A free semi-monthly writing e-zine
WHAT THEY WANT: Articles on writing, from experience to how-to, in a conversational tone.
WHAT THEY PAY: $.02/word ($10.00 minimum) or subscription to their services.MORE INFO? .

There's been a call for submissions (see their site) so don't miss this opportunity!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Buzz in the Creative World

Hello, everyone!

There's a lot happening, both in Innovative and the world-at-large.

Innovative will be kicking off author interviews in bookshelf on November 18th with Mark Peter Hughes (, author of Lemonade Mouth and I Am the Wallpaper. If you want us to interview a particular author (who is NOT J.K. Rowling) let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Hana Calvez, WriTeen, is the author of this week's WORD.

Harry Potter Mania is everywhere, because of this secret website It's rumored that it's the eighth book; or the eighth movie; or a total hoax. Nobody knows! And appears to be completely silent, or I'm not looking at their archives hard enough.

The Writer's Guild Strike. Both Hollywood and New York City are seeing the effects of a strike by the Writer's Guild. All screenwriters are picketing, with big names like Gary Marshall and actors giving support from The Office, Grey's Anatomy and other huge shows. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, check out and with Nikki Finke.

Innovative will be hosting a Buzz Contest in the near future. Loads of cool prizes in store, so start getting excited!

And the Spotlighted! archives ARE coming... I apologize for the long wait.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

If You Want to Write...

The latest from our weekly blog series on the little steps that lead to a big path to publication.

You Need to Know About NaNoWriMo

It's Day Seven in the National Novel Writing Month, and I sadly haven't been able to participate this year. J.A. Konrath ( is blogging his journey, as are many others. NaNoWriMo has helped me write the first drafts of my two books; in addition to being the most fun, most high-intensity burst of creativity months ever. It's late for this year, but look at what they're doing at .

I also recommend the book by the founder, Chris Baty, No Plot? No Problem!. This is a creative endeavour that's taking over the world, and producing a lot of fun books.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Winning Logo & Masthead!

Our two Honorable Mentions went to Ellen Vannin R. (entry above)and Madeline S. (entry below). Their profiles, as published last week in Innovative, will be online soon.

This is our new masthead, which will soon feature on our emails!

And this is our fine new logo, designed by Katie Beth Groover!
Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to our winner and honorable mentions. You guys rock.

Thursday, November 1, 2007 Call for Submissions


Being the first of the month, e-zines like and WOW! Women on Writing have new issues, and they're worth checking out. Especially the former, as there's been a call for submissions. If you have something to say about the writing life-- especially writing for children & teen's magazines-- write it up and send it to the editor. Details on the site.

And warning: I'm going out of town this weekend, so Innovative may be a day late. Not sure.