We don't do stars...
We don't do thumbs...
We read children's books and grade them in 10 categories:
literary quality
descriptive ability
humor (if attempted)
illustrations (if present)
believability of characters
believability of situations
overall reading enjoyment

There is no grading curve. There are no points for classroom participation. There is no extra credit.
If you disagree, come speak to us after class.

The Grading System

A+.....this means (guess what) we think it's great. So great it surprised even us.
A.....this means it's pretty darn good. A book we'd recommend to just about everyone we know.
B.....better than most. Not exactly Shakespeare for kids, though, if you get our drift.
C.....mediocre. Like the color beige, it didn't stand out.
D.....we didn't like it. There were more bad aspects than good ones.
F.....it reeked of badness. We read it over and over when we are in dire need of hysterical laughter.
F-.....We're pretty sure Dante had a circle of hell for the people who wrote these...and a lower circle for those who published them.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mothers' Day Writer Mama Guest Post: Rosanne Parry

You're in for a special Mothers' Day Weekend treat (not of the chocolate variety, though I hope you mothers will get plenty of that at home)... For each day this weekend, I will be posting a guest post by a writer/mother who has inspired me; I am sure their posts will give you much inspiration as well!
Today we have Rosanne Parry, author of Heart of a Shepherd, discuss her own mother's influence on her writing...and I know it has already had influence on mine as well. Thanks, Rosanne!

I could say any number of things about my mother and my writing. I could tell you how she taught me to read when I was four, had the chicken pox, and was bored out of my mind. I could tell about her love of poetry, how she always had a table just my size with paper, pens, paint, scissors, and glue. How she almost never interrupted me when I was working. But when I think about what she did that made the most difference in my life as a writer, it’s this: my mother never said a negative thing about herself in my hearing.

She had plenty of negative things to say to me which is why I had oatmeal for breakfast instead of brownies, and I wrote a thank you note this morning, and I am not picking my nose as I write this. But she never had a critical word for herself. I’m sure it’s not that she’s never had regrets or felt dissatisfied. But in a world that expects a woman to be self-effacing, she chose to remain uncritical of her appearance, her work, her relationships and her life choices. It is, in its silence, as bold a feminist statement as any I’ve heard.

And it has had an important impact on my own writing process. We all have our inner critic. The difference is that mine has never been one that says: “You have no talent. You are never going to finish this. You will never be good enough.”

I get my share of doubts and self-criticism, but they sound more like this: “This character is too much like this other one and needs his own voice. This scene needs more specific and detailed action. This work needs more time to develop.”

It’s a subtle difference but an important one. One that helps me stick with a story until it’s done, look at the story dispassionately when I revise, and receive the critique of my writers group and editor in the spirit it is intended.

I’d like to say that I’ve done the same for my own daughters. I’ve certainly tried but it takes a measure of self-discipline to swim against a cultural expectation so ingrained most of us never think about it. So my Mother’s Day wish, beyond a lifetime of thanks to my mom, is that my own girls will learn to speak of their bodies, their choices and their work with respect and without excuses.

So how about you moms out there? Chime in on the comments with one thing about your work that makes you proud. Or maybe lay to rest for good a self-defeating phrase you hear yourself using. It’s the Mother’s Day gift that only you can give yourself—a gift that endures in the lives of your daughters. Happy Mother’s Day!

You can visit Rosanne at her website: http://www.rosanneparry.com/

1 comment:

Faith E. Hough said...

Rosanne, this post is amazing; thank you so much!
Ok, ok, I promise to never again say the words, "I'm a pathetic writer," with a mopey, pathetic look on my face or otherwise. My husband and children thank you.