20 September 2010

NEVЯLAND--Suffer the Children Book Trailer

My first attempt at a book trailer.

A bit longer than most book trailers, but I like it. Rather dramatic.

Thank God for LBJ's 1964 fear-mongering ads against Barry Goldwater. I've used the infamous Daisy Ad and the War on Poverty Ad to highlight the book trailer.

I enjoyed putting it together. It took about four different versions before I settled on this one.

One interesting side effect of making the book trailer is that the process of creating a visual interpretation of my story has inspired me to keep going and even generated new ideas and new enthusiasm for the tale.

I'm sure a professional book trailer maker could do a more precise and shorter version, but I still like this first attempt.

Now, back to writing the tale!

Be well.

See you on the bookshelf.

Larry Mike

17 September 2010

Laynie NEVЯLAND Code Solved: 2 Prizes Left!

NEVЯLANDer Teresa R. has solved the code Laynie uses in the sub-headings to tell her story.

NEVЯLAND SteinShe gets the one-of-a-kind NEVЯLAND Stein.

Several others are close but not quite there yet.

I'm still waiting for the second and third NEVЯLANDers to solve Laynie's code.

The second NEVЯLANDer to solve the code will a receive nifty one-of-a-kind signed NEVЯLAND t-shirt.

The third NEVЯLANDer to solve the code will receive a nifty one-of-a-kind signed NEVЯLAND mouse pad.

I'll post pics of the mouse pad and t-shirt soon.

You can join the NEVЯLAND Facebook Group by ticking HERE

I appreciate those of you who have taken an interest in this.

Remember, TWO MORE PRIZES are offered--so don't give up!

See you on the bookshelf!

Be well,
Larry Mike

12 September 2010

OpenOffice.org Suite: A Convert Explains His Conversion

I'm a recent convert to OpenOffice.org's suite of office programs. I'm slowly weaning myself off any and all Microsoft Office programs, and this includes PowerPoint and Excel.

Read the rest of the blog at


06 September 2010

New Post at LarryMikeGarmon.com; Chap 03 on Scribd.com

Dear Curious Reader,

As I have previously stated, I have simplified my life by combining my website, Talewright blog, and NEVЯLAND blog into one.

Larry Mike Garmon Official Domain
I've turned my website into a WordPress blog.

My life is so much simpler now.

Tick the image or my name to be taken there: LarryMikeGarmon.com

You can subscribe from there.

The new web/WordPress site also contains NEVЯLAND news and excerpts.

New NEVЯLAND Website Look:

I've added a second Theme Song as well: "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep". This is really a creepy song about a boy (Baby Don) who goes to sleep hearing his mother singing a song and then awakens the next day to find both Momma and Poppa are gone "far, far away". The reason it's creepy for me is because it's such an upbeat, happy song for such a terrifying situation, especially for a child!

NEVЯLAND Excerpts:

I'm posting NEVЯLAND excepts on my website and also through Scribd.com.

Just go to LarryMikeGarmon.com and you'll see the excerpt posting in the middle column labeled Recent Musings.

for the Scribd.com version.

Hope you and those for whom you care and love are happy and healthy.

See you the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

22 August 2010

Posting to Website

To simplify my life, I'm posting both the Talewright and NEVЯLAND blogs on my website.

This will also prevent me from duplicating blogs.

Basically, it boils down to this: Do I want to be blogger or a writer?

The answer is simple.

So, if you check here, you won't find blogs newer than this one.

Instead, tick
HERE to go to the Official Domain to read the latest blogs about the writing life (Talewright) and for news about and the progress of my WIP, NEVЯLAND.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

I'd Rather Dig a Grave for a Cat

I'm posting my blog on my web page from now on instead of WordPress, Blogger, and LiveJournal.

Here's an excerpt from the blog on my web page:

We all have a function and a purpose in life . . . and in death.

Each of us serves a different function and a different purpose in life . . . and in death.

The real trick is is to figure out which function and which purpose in life . . . and in death . . . we are serving at any given moment in Time and Space.

Click HERE to read the whole blog.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

15 August 2010

If I Weren't Crazy, I'd Go Insane

This is an experiment: workshopping my latest novel NEVЯLAND Online for readers and fans.

I'm running naked across the soccer field during the World Cup in front of God and everybody.

Am I crazy to do this? Of course I am.

But, I'm having fun, learning much, seeing Story from a different perspective, and enjoying the community of readers and writers in an organic writing and telling of Story!

One reason I'm doing this is because I live in the boonies and don't have a regular writers support group.

Another reason I'm doing this is because I still have yet to find a critique partner or two with whom he/she and I can be consistent and faithful in responding to and evaluating our respective stories. It's as much my fault as anybody else's.

And still another reason is because I value what readers think and how a reader looks at Story.

At the recent SCBWI, I heard one writer described as a writer's writer. That's really quite a mantle to bestow upon a writer.

Then I got to thinking: which would I prefer? Being a writer's writer or a reader's writer. Actually, somewhere in between would be the best place to be on the bookshelves.

The Twilight Saga is an extremely successful series with Readers despite that many Writers find much fault in the technicalities of the stories themselves; whereas, the Harry Potter series is mega-successful because it is able to run the entire spectrum of Reader-and-Writer approval and appeal to all sensibilities.

(To be honest, I really don't care which direction NEVЯLAND takes as long as the books are flying off the shelves and through the checkout line and/or being downloaded to many, many Kindles, iPads, and Sony E-readers!)

I'm inviting you not just to watch Story in the form of NEVЯLAND being created but to be an active participant--and I want to know what you think, generate ideas about the characters, setting, themes, and be an active participant in the evolution of a story--whether you're a Reader only or Writer-Reader.

The 19th Century Writers such as Dickens and Poe did this to a certain extent, often revising their novels, stories, and poems based on initial reader reaction.

The 21st Century Writer has an even better opportunity to workshop his Story to a larger audience and with much more speed and input than Dickens or Poe could ever imagine!

Feedback is welcomed, encouraged, and expected--even about the typos!

NEVЯLAND Excerpts: An Experiment in Craziness

See you on the bookshelves.

Be well!

Larry Mike

09 August 2010

Staying Tuned to That Which is Around Me

Taking off from writing for over month has taken its toll.

I've enjoyed it, but it's time to get back to it. And I'm finding it a bit difficult to just plant butt to chair and pick up where I left off.

Not because I don't want to write, but because I have enjoyed Tuning In to the World around me so much that I don't want to spoil it by trying to capture it with feeble words and doggerel prose.

During my hiatus, I've been on a couple of adventures. I didn't write at all during that time. And I want more adventures without the added pressure of trying to capture it in scenes, conflict, dialogue, theme, and resolution.

I merely observed and absorbed.

I listened, smelled, touched, tasted, and saw.

I was awed by it all.

I got in tune with the World and Life again without the worry of "How would I describe this sound, smell, texture, taste, and sight in a story."

I just enjoyed the Time and the Place.

Grand CanyonWhen we were at the Grand Canyon, Nadya, my wife, commented, "Pictures just cannot capture how beautiful it is."

And I thought, "Neither can words."

However, that's our jobs as writers and artists--capturing the Moment, the Time, the Place, the Essence as best as we can with the limited tools we've been given and trying to explain God, the Universe, and Every Infinite Thing with finite words.

And, yet, this inspires me to try to do just that--to reveal to others what I see, feel, hear, taste, and smell in my soul.

I've decided not to wait so long for my next re-Tuning. I need to be re-Tuned at least every four to six weeks.

To go somewhere and just experience without the thought of expression.

To absorb without worrying about wringing out the access.

To just Be.

See you on the bookshelves,

Larry Mike

22 June 2010

Junk Food Lit Doesn't Lead to Healthy Reading Choices

As many know, I have no problem stepping on the sacred toes of others. I get mine stomped on a few times as well, and I actually enjoy the game. As I teach my students, if a person cannot justify or explain why he/she does something, then perhaps he/she shouldn't be doing whatever it is.

So, I'm about to stomp on someone's sacred toes, and if you feel I'm about to stomp on yours, pull on your steel-toed boots.

I disagree with the following illogical argument:

Well, the Twilight Saga may not be the best written series, it may even have its flaws, but at least it's getting kids to read.

Let's restate this bit of daft logic another way:

Well, Hustler magazine may be pornographic and degrading to women, but it's getting young males interested in photography and female anatomy.
These two statements are prime examples of the "I Give Up Trying and Will Just Let the Kids and Popular Media Decide for Themselves because It's Really too Hard to Be a Parent and an Adult because the Kids May Think I'm not Cool" New Age / Modernistic Philosophy.

Giving in to the false conclusion that popular bad literature is fine as long as it gets kids to read is like saying that Twinkies and Happy Meals are acceptable children's diet because they get kids to eat.

Twinkies and Happy Meals are not gateway foods to Healthy Cuisine any more than the Twilight Saga is a gateway series to Of Human Bondage or Beowulf or The Art of War.

A kid whose diet consists of junk food like Twinkies and Happy Meals will seek out other junk foods.

In the same vein (and, yes, the pun is intended), kids whose reading fare consists of prose doggerel like the Twilight Saga will seek out other junk writing.

Twilight is little more than a 1960s romance comic + Dark Shadows vampire soap opera.

I first broached this idea on my Facebook page, and I got a response that perhaps the Twilight Saga was encouraging kids to write.

Well, yes, that's true, too.

Absolutely nothing wrong with imitation--highest form of flattery--even Shakespeare took ideas and motifs from other writers--even very, very bad writers.

I, too, imitated my favorite writers when I was a child and young teen and began writing stories that imitated their tales--Poe, Hawthorne, Crane, Shakespeare, Maugham, Cooper, et cetera.

And I got the bulk of my ideas from Classics Illustrated comic books--yes, I read the comics' version of the great writers when I was quite young. This series led me directly to reading the complete classic works themselves when I was older.

When a student talks to me about what he/she is reading and it's junk-food lit like the Twilight Saga, I don't chide or discourage him/her from his/her choice.

Rather, I try my best over a period of time and through discussion of literature to guide him/her in a better direction by suggesting writers such as Cynthia Leitich Smith, Laurie Halse Anderson, Neil Gaimon, Robert Newton Peck, et al.

And I've been successful in a few cases. Kids have actually come up to me and said, "You know, Mr. G, I don't know why everybody likes Twilight. I just read Eternal, and it's great!"

God bless Stephanie for her success.

However, don't equate pop culture fandom with the bridge to bigger and better works of literature.

Let's accept the Twilight Saga and other pop culture junk-food lit for what it is and guide kids to the better writers and stories out there.

After all, a Twinkie or a Happy Meal every now and then won't kill anyone, but a steady diet is not good.

And a steady diet of doggerel prose will create a generation of intellectually diabetic, right-brained obese, and spiritually malnourished readers who don't know any better.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

PS: Do you remember when Stephen King called his books the Big Mac and fries of literature? At the time, he thought he was just making a cool statement about his popularity, but he has regretted making the statement as it actually equated his good work to junk food.

12 June 2010

The Conversation of Books over Time

I never heard the expression "the conversation of books over time" until my virtual friend Cynthia Leitich Smith introduced me to the phrase.

I had written to ask her if she would participate in an online conversation/interview with our newly formed Shortgrass Children & Young Adults Writers group and also to tell her about my latest project, NEVЯLAND

She accepted the invitation, but she also noted that my project NEVЯLAND
sounded like a couple of other books.

Normally, this wouldn't have bothered me: I know that the concept of "original" ideas is a faulty concept.

But, still, the idea of NEVЯLAND seemed so fresh and novel to me that I had it in my head that absolutely no one had come up with such a unique idea.

Then Cynthia guides to me to a couple of books written years ago that are similar to mine.

I was quite saddened, indeed, even crestfallen.

I had ensnared myself in my own self-made trap of ego and self-importance and made the blatant assumption that a story about the disappearance of adults as happens in NEVЯLAND was mine and mine alone.

Within minutes, I set my mind on dropping the project entirely and resume my YA dragon fantasy (which I had stopped because NEVЯLAND seemed so innovative and refreshing).

I became angry. I became depressed. I sat down with my wife and had a conversation about continuing or stopping the project all together--voiced in all the seriousness as one would if talking about getting a divorce.

I had known from the beginning that my idea for NEVЯLAND was not entirely original: Lord of the Flies, Home Alone, Peter Pan, and many other works had explored the idea of a world where Children are left on their own without the supervision and restrictions of adults.

However, NEVЯLAND was a fresh, bold look at this idea. The idea had gripped me like a long-lost lover, and the thought of letting go was devastating to me.

All because Cynthia told me about two other books she had read. I looked up the two books Cynthia had referenced. Egad. She was right.

Then as I read the synopses and even the first chapters of the books, I began to realize that NEVЯLAND, while similar, was quite different in conception and execution.

NEVЯLAND still had life.

I feverishly rewrote the first chapter--which had been written in third person from Laynie's point of view--to make it better and more unique than the two examples I had just read.

Now NEVЯLAND would be told in first person by Laynie.

Suddenly, new life was breathed into the story and the original flame and passion I had felt as I outlined the first book of NEVЯLAND engulfed me once again.

Then I got a very kind and needed note from Cynthia:
There's something called "the conversation of books over time." People make this huge deal out of ideas that are "totally original" and there really is no such thing. It's about what you bring to the circle of storytellers, stretching back to the first fires. Hm, that's sounds awfully poetic, but you see my point. If there was a wholly original story, NYC publishing would have no idea what to do with it, there would be no market, and people would probably remark on the author's stability/sanity.
I've never had Cynthia as a writing teacher, but as a virtual friend, she has been inspiring, caring, and motherly.

I met Peter S. Beagle in the fall of 2009, and he related the story how he felt parts of his best-seller and classic The Last Unicorn had plagiarized The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney, which Peter had read as a child.

After The Last Unicorn was published and Peter realized the similarities between parts of his book and Finney's book, he wrote to Finney, telling him he wasn't trying to plagiarize Dr. Lao.

Finney wrote back to tell Peter that he was amused and told Peter not to worry about it, this happens quite a bit to writers.

Even Cynthia said she had a similar experience with her first novel:
The year my first novel, RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME came out (and was in ARC), Carol Lynch Williams released CAROLINA AUTUMN. Both books are about girls who're photographers, healing after the death of a loved one (best friend/sister) and each chapter opens with a journey entry. The novels have a LOT of similar elements. But the executions are different. You know who noticed? Me and Carol.
Just recently, a NEVЯLANDer (those who are members of the NEVЯLAND Facebook Group page) said that NEVЯLAND had the same elements as a book called The Girl Who Owned a City published in the 1970s--another book with a similar story line I had never heard about.

This time, I just laughed.

Creative minds really do think alike, and story-tellers have been telling the same eight or nine stories since that first campfire.

As Cynthia so aptly and soothingly put it, it's what the story-teller brings to the campfire that's sets his/her story apart from the other, not the parts of the story.

After all, how many vampire stories have been told since Dracula or flesh-eating zombie movies been made since Night of the Living Dead or dystopia novels since We, Nineteen-Eighty Four, and Anthem?

From this point on I promise myself not to worry about originality of story but concentrate on originality of voice and bringing a different set of eyes to the campfire to awe those sitting around the embers.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

PS: The very, very first story I ever wrote was a "novel" of ten pages when I was 9. It was about a t-rex that washes up on a beach and it spits radio-active fire and about the scientist named Mike who saves the world by killing this dinosaur. I had just seen Godzilla on the local Chiller horror show the week before. At that time, I didn't care that my story was similar to Godzilla--I just wanted to tell one hell-uv-a good story. And I've come full circle now.

08 June 2010

Getting in Touch with My Inner 13-year-old Feminine Side

As NEVЯLAND began to form in style and structure, I immediately decided to write from the viewpoint of a junior high school girl.

I really didn’t think much about it at the time because the Character came naturally as I thought about the story, but I’ve been asked by several why the protagonist is a 13-year-old girl.

I’ve written from the feminine viewpoint before but not for an entire novel let alone a series. My Universal Monster series has a strong 17-year-old female character and at least 1/3 of the series is told from her point-of-view, but she had to share the stage with two 14-year-old boys, so I didn’t spend the whole time with her.
 Originally, my lead character was 12-years-old and named Rianne Pfaltzgraff. Rianne was a 12-year-old student I knew when I taught middle school in Norman, Oklahoma, and I’ve always thought her name unique and have wanted to use it in a story for quite some time.
After I had outlined the first book, though, I realized that the lead character’s voice came from a 13-year-old named Laynie Price. Laynie is a student who just graduated from Altus High School, and one of my favorite all-time students and people.

As I outlined, I began to realize that the lead character was more like Laynie than like Rianne, and the name was changed.
I also realized the lead character had to be 13-years-old, a teenager, so she could take more of leadership role in the novel, have a stronger voice.

Viewpoint, voice, character—these are all writers’ jargon for WHO TELLS THE STORY.
Since beginning NEVЯLAND, I’ve thought about the possible reasons why the protagonist is female.

Remember, the following reasons are POST selection and didn’t consciously come to to the forefront of my mind until after I had outlined and written the tale.
Perhaps my subconscious selected the feminine voice – it’s deep and dark in there, and I don’t much like exploring my subconscious as I’m not too sure I’ll like what I’ll find once there.

So, here’s why I think the teller of NEVЯLAND is a 13-year-old girl.
  1. As a student and teacher of classical literature, culture, and mythology, I know and teach that Women have played a dynamic role in making the Human Race the dominate species on Earth.
  2. The earliest gods were Female—Women are Creators—Life comes from them. The oldest carving we have of a religious nature is a Female god.
  3. Men are, basically, destroyers. Although Men create, they create to confine, to produce, and to destroy: cities, machines, weapons. Men don’t necessarily create to produce life but to secure, sustain, and secure life.
  4. A female character is more apt not only to find a solution but to want to find the answer as to why all everyone over 18-years-old has disappeared.
  5. Sociologically, philosophically, and genetically, Women are nurturers and healers. Women have a natural disposition towards healing the body, mind, and soul—because Women see the body, mind, and soul as One whereas Men have a tendency to compartmentalize the three as separate but connected entities.
  6. One of the most over-looked and earliest strong female characters is Isis—who ventures throughout the world and even the Underworld to find and resurrect Osiris. If you haven’t read the story of Isis and Osiris, you must, especially if you’re a male writing from a female character’s point-of-view. All throughout the story, Isis only wants to save her beloved Osiris, and along the way, she saves the world and gives it the gifts of life and hope. She doesn’t even want to take revenge on Seth, who is the instigator in destroying Seth. She leaves Seth to wallow in his own misery.
  7. And then as the story progressed, a scene flashed in my mind like a migraine lightening strike:
    • You see, as of now, the series is five books.
    • The first book begins with Laynie at 13-years-old on the day everyone over 18 disappears and what happens during that first year.
    • Each book that follows concerns one year in Laynie’s life, what happens to the remaining children, and the explanation as to why everyone over 18-years-old has disappeared.
    • The last book takes place the day before Laynie turns 18-years-old.
    • Yes, everyone who turns 18 continues to disappear.
    • Laynie knows she will disappear the next day.
    • The remaining children call the disappearance “Rapture”—but no religious connotation is necessarily implied or explains the story.
    • Laynie has grown up in the past five years more so than a “normal” teen would in the “normal” world.
    • She now knows the WHY of the disappearance, understands it, and agrees with it.
    • She is making her final preparations for her Rapture the next day.
    • Here’s the lightening strike: She is writing her memoir for her daughter.
    • Suddenly, Laynie has a daughter—a seven-month-old daughter who will be left to the care of others when Laynie disappears.
Laynie giving birth was nowhere in the original planning of the story—her daughter just appeared as I was thinking about the last book and how to wrap up the story.

The relationship and bonding between a mother and her child is the glue that holds the universe together. A mother has a relationship with her child that a father cannot imagine nor imitate—no matter how much we evolve socially and men take on more of a rearing role of children.

A mother leaving behind her child begs for solution and resolution, and it pulls at the heart of any person.

Such a theme is not possible with a lead male character. A father leaving his child is sad but is does not have the devastating potential of a mother who leaves a child—of a child who is left without a mother.

I don’t know if my subconscious had all this in mind as my conscious mind began working out the plot lines for NEVЯLAND.

I’m sure my training, studies, and teachings of classical literature, culture, and mythology are swirling around in my subconscious like some sort of primordial soup just waiting for a catalyst to let it spew forth a story.

I learned a long time ago not to dwell too much on the whys, wherefores, and what’s-its of putting a novel together as I’m writing, to wait until after the novel is written.

I don’t really like thinking about why and how Story comes through me as I’m writing—I don’t have time—I’m too busy writing.

I’m not writing to be a teacher of writing but to be a teller of tales.

But, now that NEVЯLAND is well underway and is beginning to tell itself, I am beginning to reflect on the whys, wherefores, and what’s-its, and I am amazed at what I’m discovering.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

PS: I know what you're thinking: If everyone continues to disappear, how can Humanity go on, survive?

Well, not "everyone" disappears when turning 18-years-old: Some are "saved" to begin again, and that's part of the secret and solution for NEVЯLAND, and you'll just have to wait to find who are left behind to start the world over again.

It's a sad happiness that Laynie is not one of the Chosen and will disappear on her 18th birthday and leave her daughter behind.

But, she understands and agrees. She is, however, essential to ensuring the Chosen are well prepared for the New Earth.

02 June 2010

God? Virus? Barney? -- Using Real People to Create Fictional Characters

One of my more inspirational--some say insane --ideas in promoting NEVЯLAND is the weekly "publication" of the Junebug Journal.

You can read it HERE
. I started as a photojournalist. I've published and edited two newspapers. The Junebug Journal is one way of reaching inside of me and doing something I enjoy doing very much.

I have to be careful, though, not to make the weekly newspaper look too professional. After all in the apocalyptic, non-adult world of NEVЯLAND, the Junebug Journal is published by Chad Chapman, Jr., the 17-year-old son of the disappeared publisher and editor Chad Chapman, Sr.

The weekly newspaper gives a real-world effect to my tale. It reveals background and sundry information about the characters, Junebug, Oklahoma, and gives a different personal insight into the terror and chaos the children are facing.

The newspaper contains some clues and teasers. This second special edition even has an ad for a tattoo parlor--after all, the paper has to pay for itself.

The newspaper allows an outlet for the minor characters, those who don't have a big role in the novel.

Another thing I did to try to achieve a more realistic effect as well as create a more realistic set of characters in a realistic world is to poll several dozen children from 11 through 14-years-old.

Two Altus Public School teachers graciously volunteered to pass out a survey I had written and have their students complete it.

The survey asked things such as age, size of family, if any new CPR and other first aid.

I also asked them a series of questions:

*What do you think happened to the adults?
*Who would you miss most if your family suddenly disappeared?
*What are the five to six biggest problems in a city where there are only Children and no Adults?
*What do you fear the most in such a situation?
*How would you solve some of the problems you think would arise in such a situation?
*Et cetera

I received some very interesting answers. Some were quite insightful.

I was surprised at a few students whose answers came very, very close to the overall plot of NEVЯLAND.

I was pleased as the answers of the students re-affirmed what I had felt as I outlined and began writing the first draft. In other words, I am on the right track.

So, I have combined the Jungebug Journal with the students' survey answers.

Combining the two has given the story an authentic voice and is helping me to stay focused on the real characters. These are real voices from real children, and now they are a part of my tale.

The latest edition of the Junebug Journal contains direct quotes from the surveys of the students--and, yes, one really did say that Barney had eaten the adults. I laughed when I read his response--that young man isn't going to be phased by anything or take much too seriously.

Further editions of the Junebug Journal will feature more real quotes from real students who have now been incorporated into NEVЯLAND.

When you write, don't isolate yourself.

Talk to people who are representative of your characters--in age, gender, appearance, disposition.

Ask these people how they would react in such-and-such situation. You don't' have to tell them you're writing a story, just bring the conflict randomly in conversation or relate it to something you've read in the news or on the Internet.

When you write, create a real fictional world complete with a newspaper, a radio station, local teen hangout. Invite your readers to participate in this real fictional world.

Creating a real world within your fictional world requires getting butt off chair and meeting face-to-face with real people. These real people are your characters, and they will help you to smoothly move your story along.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

27 May 2010

Junebug Journal, Special Edition #02 (AR), 13 May 2013

Dear NEVЯLANDers and Those Who are NEVЯLAND Curious:

Chad Chapman, Jr., who took over publication of the Junebug Journal when his father (Chad Chapman, Sr.) disappeared along with the other adults, has announced that Special Edition Issue #02 (AR) will be published this Saturday evening, 29 May 2010--which is Monday, 13 May 2013, in the NEVЯLAND time line.

You'll be able to read the Special Edition Issue #02 (AR) at http://nevrland.info/journal.html

This issue, which is labeled Junebug Journal, Special Edition Issue #02 (AR), will feature interviews with several of the remaining Children--what they think happened, where they think their parents and the other adults went, why only Children 17 and under were left behind, and what they think will happen next.

Click on the image to read the first Special Edition.

Make sure to invite your other Facebook Friends who are not citizens of NEVЯLAND yet to read this very Special Edition.

Some questions will be answered. More questions will arise.

See you on the bookshelves,

Larry Mike

24 May 2010

Building My Own Frankenstein

NEVЯLAND has taken on a life of its own. As I progress on this Work-in-Progress, a momentum I hadn't expected has started moving the story forward.

In one week, the
NEVЯLAND Facebook Group grew to 266 members. We're now sitting at 271. The goal is to reach 1,000 by August.

To promote a personal interest in the story, I address members as NEVЯLANDers. If fact, the first fifty to join the NEVЯLAND Facebook Group have been given special privileges and deals. I'll offering similar privileges and deals when I reach the first 500.

I've also started publishing the Junebug Journal. Each edition will have news about the children and how they are handling the story. I'll introduce characters, some major, some minor, and some who will appear only in the Journal's weekly articles.

My intent is allow the first readers to be as much a part of the story and the process of writing the tale as the characters are.

Although I know many writing friends who would think my approach is crazy--to put my first drafts out for the world to see in all their naked primordial glory--would be crazy or suicide or both.

One of my writer's superstitions had been keeping my projects Top Secret.

I've changed that.

I've discovered I like to talk out my ideas, to get feedback and reactions, to measure the quality of the tale.

I don't mean that I'm going to apply all the suggestions the first readers send my way--but, feedback is feedback, and I'll glean the constructive ones out of the silly ones.

I'm building my own Frankenstein Creature.

But, unlike poor, stupid Victor, I'm not going to abandon my Creation--my Creation won't become a Daemon.

Rather, I will be the good father and make sure NEVЯLAND is raised as it should be--with discipline, care, and love.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

NEVЯLAND—The Making of Literary Sausage

Dear Curious Reader:

Imagine watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel, starting with the blank ceiling, adding the outline to the figures of God and Adam at the moment of Human creation, and then as he slowly added hue and texture to each scene until he produced one of the greatest works of art in history—the story of Human creation and even destruction in one tiny space in the Universe.

Imagine listening to the first version of “Please, Please Me”, the Beatles first big hit. I’ve heard it. The original is slow, lumbering through a maudlin strain of boy-loves-girl teenage angst. It wasn’t very good until they sped it up and added tonal color to produce a celebration of boy-girl teenage love.

Or, imagine watching a building go up, from ground breaking through foundation laying to framing, and then finally the building is finished. We’re doing that now at Altus High School as we witness a nearly 80-year-old building being transformed to meet the needs of 21st Century students.

And when the project is done—whether the Sistine Chapel, a great hit song, or a new building—it all looks like magic.

That’s what writing is—hard work that looks like magic in the end. Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

And how many of us have read a good book and said, “That’s easy. I can do that.”

Lebron James makes “easy” clutch shots, eh?

Most readers don’t get the inside look at the making of a novel.

Maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe making a novel, like making sausage, isn’t something people should witness. I love sausage, but I really don’t want to see the butchering, the skinning, the gutting, hack-hack-hacking, and then the squeezing into the casings.

It’s not a pretty sight.

That’s what this is: NEVЯLAND—The Making of Literary Sausage.

I know what you're thinking: Wow! This guy is something else. He's comparing himself to Michelangelo, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

No. I'm just using those greats as examples to get your attention, to help those of you who are not writers better understand that no finished work of art or craft comes easily or appears as if by magic, that even the great artists and artisans start from a spark of an idea and go through the phases of butchering, skinning, hack-hack-hacking, and then squeezing into the casing to produce their best work..

Yes, I'm confident in my story—my characters, my plot, my conflicts, my over all scheme—enough so to share it with anyone who wishes to witness the making of NEVЯLAND from the beginning.

And I realize that others look at this confidence as arrogance or even conceit. So be it.

This is new to me, too. I'll stumble in the process. Unlike others, I'm stubborn enough to get up and keep troupering on until I reach the end, one way or another.

Will you like the story? Reading is subjective. Either you will like it or you won't. Or, you'll be stuck between liking and disliking. Maybe you won't like the way it is told. Maybe I use too many adjectives. Maybe I don't use enough adjectives. Maybe I don't show enough or I tell too much. We'll see.

Let me know what you think. You won't hurt my feelings. Well, maybe just a little, but I opened myself up to the slings and arrows.

Even cooks at five-star restaurants have their critics and detractors. I'm no different.

In my previous publications, I've received raves, and I've received rants. It happens. I live with the fact that not everybody will like me, like what I do, like what I create. And this gives me the freedom to go ahead and create freely without the fetters or manacles of popular opinion.

I do welcome feedback—both praise and problems. Something you may not know is that writers don't write in a vacuum. They workshop their tales, letting others read bits and pieces and wholes, receiving feedback, changing and shaping their tales until it's «readable».

While a writer writes first to please himself, he writes secondly (more importantly) to please the reader. A writer without a reader is like an ocean without a shore upon which to crash it's mighty waves majestically.

Here's the link: NEVЯLAND (RAW) Chapter 01

Read well. Read faithfully. Just Read.

Thank you for allowing me into your crowded space of time. I am most grateful and humbled indeed.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

23 May 2010

Extra! Extra! Read All about It!

The new version of the Junebug Journal is now out--the one announcing the disappearance of all adults over 18 years.

Click on the image to go the Junebug Journal web page.

A new edition will be published each Sunday evening.

Each edition will have news about the Event itself, characters, how the children are handling the situation, and what they think has caused the disappearance.

Each edition will contain clues to the story and provide insights only subscribers to this blog and Facebook Group NEVЯLANDers.

Pictures will also be featured!

Enjoy the newspaper.

Don't forget to join the NEVЯLAND Facebook Group!

Take care,

Larry Mike

22 May 2010

Busy, Happy Week & New Website

Busy week.

Semester Exams.

Final Grades.


Work in Progress.


New Website for NEVЯLAND. Not much, but a beginning.



And, I’ve had a hacking cough for three weeks that sounds like I’m a thirty-year smoker and is keeping me up late at night.

So, today, I’ve worked for several hours, and it’s time to quit.

Wife’s been working on the fixings for the BBQ. She’s got the meat ready.

And now it’s time for me to do some cooking.


But relaxed.

And happy with the week’s accomplishments.

My Facebook Group page for NEVЯLAND went from 0 to 266 members in six days.

I'm happy about that.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

16 May 2010

NEVЯLAND Soundtrack: AC/DC - Thunderstruck

I'm in one of those moods.

The words are pounding out like thunder and flashing across the page like lightening.

Nothing more thrilling than directed and intense creativity!

AC/DC Joins the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack

Another theme song for the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack: AC/DC's "Highway to Hell".

This version features the original AC/DC singer and was one of my favorite headbanging songs way back in 1979--when I was but a lad of 24!

I'm still that lad, and I'm still headbanging--it's cool feeling my brain sloshing against the sides of my skull!

Do you have a suggestion for the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack?

Send it to me.

I've already got "The End" by The Doors along with "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC.

The song doesn't have to be a death song, a metal song, or a headbanger.

Just a song you think would be a part of the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack.

See on the bookshelves--and in the music stores!

Larry Mike

To Hell with Suspense

The genius of Story is not in how much a writer does, but in how little.

The job of a confident writer is not to include a single word to simply keep the reader’s attention.

He reduces each scene to its essence, and keeps the reader there just long enough for the reader to contemplate it, to inhabit it in Imagination.

suspenseTo hell with suspense.

The reader wants understanding.

Story is not concerned with thrilling the reader, but with inspiring the reader with awe and wonder.

See you on the book shelves.

Larry Mike

15 May 2010

NEVЯLAND--The Contest

Everyone loves a winner, and everyone loves to win!
To promote NEVЯLAND--The Novel WIP, I'm having a series of contests.
Here's the first contest I'm having:
The first person to refer ten of his/her Facebook friends to NEVЯLAND--The (WordPress) Blog or NEVЯLAND--The (Facebook) Group will get a signed hardcopy of the first draft of NEVЯLAND--The Novel WIP!
You May already Be a Winner!You'll have to keep track of which of your FB Friends join The Group or The Blog and send me their names when you reach ten.

When you notice that ten of your Facebook Friends have joined The Blog or The Group, email me with their names, and I'll confirm you as a winner.

Check back often for updates for other NEVЯLAND--The Novel WIP Contests!

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

13 May 2010

And All the Children Are Insane

I'm at a point in the opening of NEVЯLAND where hysteria and chaos have consumed the children like a fire gorging on dry grass.

To help with the mood, I'm listening to songs with themes of destruction, apocalypse, death, and end-of-the-world themes.

And the best of these death/apocalyptic songs is "The End" by The Doors--

"And all the children are insane
All the children are insane."

Enjoy the video and the song.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

12 May 2010

How Do You Make that Backwards Я?

One of the questions I am asked about NEVЯLAND is–How the hell do you make that backwards “R”?

yaFirst, it’s not actually an “R”. It’s the Russian letter Я–pronounced YA. It’s also the first person singular pronoun “I” in Russian.

And I make Я with a simple mouse click that switches my English keyboard setting to a Russian keyboard setting on my Mac (PC can do it, too).

Mac has an upper task window, and my window shows an American flag to tell me I’m using the English keyboard setting.

When I want to type Russian letters, I click on the American flag, a drop menu appears with a Russian flag in it. I then click on the Russian flag, and VOILA! My keyboard is transformed into a Russian keyboard.

(Not the actual letters printed on the keys, of course–I have a picture of a Russian keyboard taped to my wall to show me where the Russian letters are located as if I were using a real Russian keyboard.)

Once I type Я, I click on the Russian flag in my Mac’s upper task window, click on the American flag in the drop down menu, and I’m back to using the English keyboard setting.
On the Russian keyboard, the Я letter is where the English letter Z is located.

As I typed the outline for the first book, I had to come up with a NAME for the book and the series.

I must have a NAME when I write a book as the NAME suggests a theme for me and helps keep me focus.

The title NEVERLAND came quite easily, but I didn’t like the way it looked.

I played around the the spelling:




And none of them felt right. I continued outlining.

So, I’m plotting Chapter Three: Laynie, who has witnessed the hysterical chaos that has taken over Junebug and is horrified by the death of a couple of children, is determined to ride her bike out of Junebug to her grandmother’s farm about three miles outside of town.

However, in her panic, she forgets about the invisible wall surrounding the city and imprisoning the children.

She peddles up to the city limits at full speed and crashes into the invisible barrier. She’s thrown forward. Her head slams into the invisible wall, and she’s knocked out.

As she regains consciousness, she hears a hissing sound and a terrible metallic sharp odor assails her nostrils.

When she’s fully awake, she sees Cassie, a classmate from Junebug Junior High spray painting in the air–and the letters are hanging in the air on the invisible wall.

Cassie is a mainstreamed special education student classified as an Idiot-Savant who is a genius at math but has little to no social or verbal skills.

She likes to listen to audio stories, though, and her favorite story is Peter Pan.

She tells Laynie that a Blue Fairy has visited Junebug during the night and has taken all the adults away, including her parents.

Laynie realizes that Cassie is confusing two stories: Peter Pan and Pinocchio.

Pinocchio features the Blue Fairy, a motherly figure who helps Pinocchio become a real boy.

As Laynie walks away from Cassie and her “painting on the air”, Cassie calls out, “Good-bye. Don’t let the Blue Fairy get ‘cha!”

Laynie turns around and sees what Cassie has written “on the air”, which is

And that’s how the title with it’s Я came about.

The title also reveals a major theme about growing up in a world without adult supervision, much as the children in Peter Pan’s NEVERLAND:

  • What kind of “world” would several thousand Children build if they were left to fend and defend for themselves?
Do you have a question about NEVЯLAND or writing in general? Send me your question, and I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for your support and encouragement. Although writing is a solitary event, putting a novel together is a collaborative effort–and I’m getting all sorts of great advice and encouragement from friends, new and old, as well as fellow writers.

See you on the bookshelves,

Larry Mike Garmon

10 May 2010

The Birth of NEVЯLAND

NEVЯLAND was born on 23 April 2010.

I was meditating about a story idea. A story that involved a 12-year-old  protagonist in a post-apocalyptic setting.

I wanted to write a Middle Grade transitional to Young Adult  end-of-the-world thriller that didn't involve genetic mutation and  zombies.

I asked myself two questions:

1. What do teens, especially young teens, want more than anything else?

2. What do teens, especially young teens, fear more than anything else?

The answers to those two questions is exactly the same answer:

The disappearance of Parents and Adults.

I read once that when God wants to punish us, He answers our prayers.

What would the world be like if all the adults disappeared?

Lord of the Flies meets Home Alone jumped to mind as the  comparable story lines, motifs, and themes.

First, I had to decide on the age of those who would disappear.

Of course, legal Adulthood--18-years-old.

That means the world is full of newborns through 17-years-old.

But, wait. The world is too big.

Let's make it one small town.

A small town in Southwest Oklahoma.

Junebug, Oklahoma.

Junebug, Oklahoma is my fictional town for nearly all my stories loosely based  on Altus, Oklahoma.

Like William Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County is based on his  beloved Oxford, Mississippi.

And the kids left in Junebug really are the last people left on of  Earth.

Only those between newborn and 17 living in Junebug have survived what  the kids label the Rapture.

Laynie in shock
What would happen?

How would the kids react?

How would the various age levels react?

Who would go crazy--insane?

Who would commit suicide?

Who would be in charge, try to take over, try to be a dictator?

Would the racial and ethnic make-up of the remaining kids be a factor?  Of course, they would! People naturally seek safety not only in numbers  but in numbers of their own kind--especially children.

Fear is a great motivator for story.

And what about the newborns? What would happen to them? Who would take  care of them?

This applies to the infants and toddlers as well.

Not only that, the Rapture has not stopped. Any 17-year-old who turns 18  also disappears.

By Sunday, 25 April 2010, I had a 20,000 word single spaced outline of the  first book.

There will be five books.

Because the protagonist is 13-years-old, each book covers a year in her  life from the morning of the Rapture in the First Book to the day before  her own 18th birthday in the Fifth Book--the next day she turns 18 and  disappears.

I don't know why, but from the beginning my protagonist was female. At  first she was 12, and then she aged one year by the time the First Book  outline was complete.

This is how the idea moved from Mediation to What If Question to Outline  to Story and is now proceeding full steam into Novel.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

PS: Make sure to check out the other entries under the NEVЯLAND category for other insights to the development of this novel.

08 May 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name Still Gets the Blame for the Thorns

"The Naming of Cats" is an excellent poem by T.S. Eliot. If you haven't read it, you must be culturally depraved indeed.

Names are more important to an author than a parent. I know that sounds odd, but it's true.

As an author, I fret over a name for a character.

My own children's names came quite easily.

As a story begins to tell itself to me, a character often tells me his/her name right away.

Sometimes, though, I've got to use a descriptive name as the fabulists of old did because the character is either too shy to tell me his/her name or is being a bit of a prankster and making me guess his/her name or wait until I'm well into the story to tell me his/her name.

As a teacher, I have nearly 3,000 names of former students from which to choose. Because my YA characters are amalgams of my students, a character name pops to mind as I remember a former student who is much like the character in the story, and so the name sticks.

In NEVЯLAND, the protagonist's name has changed twice.

First, I thought she said her name was Rianne Pfaltzgraft. I had a seventh grade student many, many years ago named Rianne Pfaltzgraft, and I've always wanted to use that name in a tale.

As I began to outline and then write, the girl aged from 12 to 13 and she told me "Rianne Pfalzgraft" wasn't her name at all. She was just using that until I begin to listen.

To tell you the truth, I still wasn't listening well enough, and I didn't catch the second incarnation of the character's name and I don't remember it now.

Finally, she shouted the name out to me: Laynie.

I have a student graduating this year named Laynie, and as the character developed, I realized how much much the protagonist of NEVЯLAND and Laynie were twins--not so much in appearance but in attitude and temperment.

Interesting, Laynie (the character, not the real student) still looks an awful lot like Rianne, which is probably why I was confused as to her name in the beginning.

Once I had Laynie's name, her friends' names came next and came quickly: Lauryn, Ravyn, Cynthea, and Kymber. These are actual names of students I know.

There's a clique nickname in that group of "Y" girls.

Until Lauryn told me her name, I had to call her Snobby in the outline. At 13, she already is a multi-beauty pageant winner and is quite vain and, well, snobby. Her brother is referred to as Snobby's Brother, or SB for short.

The eighth grade boy Laynie is interested in is just called Jock (he plays football and runs track) while the geek who is interested in Laynie is called Nerd Boy because he is, well, a geek and a nerd.

I know both of these boys will eventually reveal to me their names, hopefully by the time I submit the manuscript in August!

For name inspiration, I also like to scan baby name lists on the Internet.

However, the best is the SSN most popular names over the past one hundred years. Here's the LINK.

Character names are important. It's hard to image the protagonist of Catcher in the Rye being named Mike Smith instead of Holden Caufield.

And imagine the lost symbolism in Death of a Salesman if Willie Loman's name was Sam Steward.

See you the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

07 May 2010

My writing friend Julia Mozingo posed a question about story beginnings at the SCYAW Yahoo group page.

Just last Tuesday, I changed the beginning of NEVЯLAND.

Originally, the protagonist was pounding on a locked bathroom door.

Now, she's standing on the curb waiting for a red light to change--a red light that is taking forever, and she's debating whether to cross the street against the red light because no cars are in sight.

She's 13-years-old, right at the age when children begin to transcend from fearing God and Parents into having little to no fear at all.

What would you do in such a situation? Wait, or cross against the red light?

Have you changed a beginning because your original start just didn't feel right?

Tell me what you would do at such a red light and why you changed your beginning, and I'll tell you what my character does and why I changed the beginning of NEVЯLAND.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

03 May 2010

The Downside of the OWFI Conference (or Any Writing Conference)

Okay, so here's the downside of the recently concluded Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. Conference:

You returned home Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

You're stoked. The fires were lit, fanned, and constantly refueled with words of wisdom and encouragement from editors, agents, speakers, and experienced writers.

An inferno of creativeness, determination, and confidence is blasting from you like the Krakatoa volcano

This incendiary feeling will last from two days to two weeks.

But, it will burn itself out. Before you know it, one or two embers remain, and soon they have barely a faint orange glow and not putting off much inspirational heat.

Then the last flicker goes out, and you think, "Shit, what just happened?"

Welcome to the junkie writer's world of conference adrenaline rush addiction.

It happens to all of us, especially the newbies and those most hungry.

What happens when you discover that last dying ember is about to extinguish itself?

You keep writing. 

You fan and refuel the fire yourself. You push yourself to do what you know you must do, what you dream about doing--you write no matter what.

The muses of writing won't do for you what you won't do for yourself--write!

In fact, you inspired yourself to attend the convention in the first place, so you already have it within you to push yourself to be a successful writer.

Now comes the hard part--doing this every day with every breath you take.

Copy the following and tape to the wall just by your monitor or make it your screensaver:

1. Taking a writing class . . . is not writing.
2. Therapy . . . is not writing.
3. Reading books about writing . . . is not writing.
4. Completing "writing" exercises . . . is not writing.
5. Feeling guilty all week for not writing . . . is not writing.
6. Attending a weekly, bi-monthly, monthly writing/critique group . . . is not writing.
7. Attending an interesting, dynamic, and inspirational writer's conference . . . is not writing.
8. Writing . . . is writing.

And that's it in a nutshell.

The Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference is one of the best in the nation and each year provides an excellent agenda for newbies, oldies, unpublished, multipublished, and the curious.

Yes, it can be inspirational. Yes, it can rekindle a dying flame. Yes, it can even bring about an agent or editor contract.

But, neither the OWFI conference or any writing conference can do the one thing you are solely responsible for doing:

Inspiring yourself each day to do the hard task of putting butt to chair, finger tips to keys, and mind to the writing task at hand.

I liken this to BBQing. The best white-crested orange coals for BBQing are those which, when lit, are slow to burn, spread evenly, and then the flame disappears as it moves slowly into the briquette itself.

Once that flame moves within the briquette, you never see the flame itself, but you do feel the heat, and you see, hear, and smell the sizzle as it does what it's suppose to do--produce a succulent and satisfying meal you can taste and savor.

Of course, there's always that yahoo BBQer who buys self-lighting charcoal and then soaks the briquettes with lighter fluid. There's a very nice explosion of flame and surge of heat, but it dies quickly, and the charcoal never really gets the chance to suck in the flame so it can burn slowly from the inside out.

So, what about you and the OWFI conference or any writer's conference you may have recently attended?

charcoalAre you the self-lighting charcoal that burns slowly on the outside and then ignites on the inside--a steady, determined white-crested orange glow?

Or, are you the charcoal that allowed your writer's conference to soak you with fuel and then engulf you in a flame that will die out quickly and produce nothing?

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

23 April 2010


  1. Write bravely.
  2. Write to get it written.
  3. Write to polish your talent.
  4. Write about nothing—it’s the only thing you’re truly expert at.
  5. Write until someone pays you to write, and then write some more.
  6. Write to make sense of nonsense and nonsense of sense.
  7. My secret of writing? Butt to chair; finger tips to keys; mind to the matter at hand.
  8. My story must have ideas bigger than a few hundred 6x9 pages sandwiched between a glossy cover.
  9. I never find answers in my stories—when I write, I continually find more questions.
  10. I’m elated when a reader is angry with what I’ve written—at the very  least I’ve elicited an emotional response. My worse nightmare is a reader who shrugs his shoulders and declares, “Eh.”
  11. I’m like a duck on the water when I write: You see me cool and calm on the surface, but what you don’t see is me paddling like hell underneath to keep afloat and to keep going in a certain direction.
  12. Most writers have a moral compass. The problem is  they are turning in every direction trying to find a directional point that helps them feel comfortable rather than simply following true North.
  13. I breathe; therefore, I write.

See you on the bookshelves.
Larry Mike Garmon

20 April 2010

Old Adventures Lead to New Insights

My creative writing students have been working in the school's library the past few weeks.  As I was working on my grading and such, I noticed a small plastic container with several scraps of paper next to my computer. Always curious, I pulled out the scraps. Most of the scraps were old cards from the library card catalog.

Intrigued, I flipped through the cards. Most were duplicates.

Card CatalogOur high school library still has a card catalog, but it's in a dark corner where few students dare to venture. Most people just use an electronic database to find the books for which they are looking.

For many of us, the card catalog was where we began our adventures in literature and research, spending hours flipping through the cards looking for a subject or a particular author, writing down the book number, and then searching through the stacks to hunt down the books we were seeking.

And we would be quite disappointed once we found the spot at which the book was supposed to be and discovered it was missing.

Now, we just sit at a computer, type in an author and/or subject name, and the computer gives us instant feedback with suggestions, even telling us if the book is checked in or out and what other libraries in the area has a copy of the book we seek.

Well, as I read the discarded cards, I noticed something interesting about the section our high school librarian calls the "annotation".

Card with annotation
The "annotation" is the "pitch"--that buzz word du jour for the editor/agent meetings at conference and the opening line of that ever-important query letter.

The "pitch" is also referred to as the "log line" and the "elevator pitch".
Here are three annotations. See if they don't fit the "pitch", "long line", "elevator pitch" formula.

The Rookie Arrives by Thomas J. Byard, Puffin Books, 1989:

Cocky Ted Bell moves from being star of his high school baseball team directly into playing in the major leagues and finds that he was a lot to learn before becoming the world's greatest third baseman.

Kisses by Judith Caseley, Knopf, 1992:

Eleventh-grader Hannah, talented in music but lacking in self-confidence, comes to realize, after several unsuccessful encounters with boys, the importance of being true to oneself and of looking beyond outward appearance.

Handsome as Anything by Merrill Joan Gerber, Scholastic, 1990:

Pulled in different directions by her sisters and the three men in whom she is interested, fifteen-year-old Rachel struggles to find her own identity.

They all fit Donald Maas's requirement (and all the other editors' and agents' requirements) for the pitch line he likes to read at the beginning of query.
I've told the high school librarian to save me a few discarded card catalog cards so I can study them.

Card CatalogCollecting the discarded cards and studying them is a lot cheaper than buying a book about how to write a pitch line.

Plus, I've got a souvenir of a bygone era when the card catalog was the beginning of a library adventure and not just some dusty forgotten relic sitting in a dark and lonely forgotten corner of library.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

17 April 2010

My 10 Writing Virtures

The following sounds rather pompous and bombastic, but a writer's words should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for (to paraphrase Browning). 

This actually came about from a list I made when thinking about what traits a character should possess--then I thought, "If Character should have virtue, so should Writer."

1. Morality—My personal code of conduct by which I choose to create Story and by which I live the Writing Life in the face of others’ laughter, mocking, derision, and jealousies. To build the Ark with the sound of derisive laughter in a cloudless sky.

2. Courage—My ability to confront pain, fear, and intimidation of rejection; facing and then charging into barriers of fire set by others to intimidate me; I insist to continue to create Story even in the face of certain defeat and with no guarantee of reward.

Helping Hand3. Benevolence—Giving of my talents, time, and knowledge to those who ask or need help as well as receiving the gifts of others who possess talents and knowledge I need to be successful.

4. Respect—Far exceeds my mere tolerance for another Writer’s work, genre, conduct, and success. My moral appreciation of and acknowledgment of the contribution and value of another Writer. By accepting the work of another Writer without prejudice, I place intrinsic value on my work, genre, conduct, and success.

5. Honesty—Truth not as a weapon but as a door through which Reader chooses to enter because of, rather than in spite of, my words. Truth is the foundation of Virtue and from which all other Virtues stem; for, even a truthful statement can have dishonest intentions.

Honor6. Honor—A harmonic imbuement of Words and Actions, of Discourse and Deeds; a condition of Love that establishes and grounds my personal dignity and character.

7. Loyalty—Devotion to the craft and art of Writing more than the merits and rewards of Writing itself; Faithfulness not only to Story-Making but to my own skills, craftsmanship, talents, and desires.


8. Patience—A serenity I achieve in the face of the most strenuous circumstances in which I endure and overcome self-defeating doubt, long-term difficulties (both within and with out), and ignore the provocation of others without anger or annoyance.

9. Forgiveness—Giving up all claim to the offenses and shortcomings of others and, more importantly, my own offenses and shortcomings.

Hard Work
10. Knowledge in Action—Relying on the day-to-day, hard-working experience of application rather than vicarious experience of others to acquire expertise and skills as a Writer to better achieve practical understanding of Story-Making. Persistence, determined, and dedicated hard work is knowledge in action.

See you on the bookshelves.
Larry Mike Garmon