How to Be Manly for a Year: A Great Yes

Yes is my favorite word. This week marks the one year anniversary of one of the greatest yes answers of my career. When Rachel Miller and Anna McCormally of Giant Squid Books told me they wanted to publish my YA novel How to Be Manly, they offered a big, beautiful yes that changed everything. I always believed in How to Be Manly. It was brilliant to find editors who loved my story too. I wrote How to Be Manly in 2009, inspired by my high school students who were showing amazing integrity and generosity through struggle. Many of these students…

I Heart YA

I decided this year to make my students read books for fun. If they aren’t having fun reading their books then I instruct them to pretend they are having fun so effectively that I am unable to tell the difference. In discussion about their books, one student admitted that the YA novel she’d brought was so poorly written it was getting in the way of her fun. She read the first two sentences aloud. Total clunkers. We had to agree that the writing was no fun. We couldn’t even pretend it was fun. Yet some of my favorite writing occurs in the YA novels I…

The Best Writing Advice Ever

Here is my writing advice: Whatever you do, don’t ask me for writing advice. Asking me for writing advice is like asking a thrasher in a mosh pit for ballet lessons. Ask Janet Fitch, writing professor and author of White Oleander and Paint it Black: 10 Writing Tips That Can Help Almost Anyone Listen to Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, The Sandman series, Ocean at the End of the Lane, and so many more wonderful stories: Advice to Authors Be inspired by Joyce Carol Oates: Writing Advice from Joyce Carol Oates Get off your butt according to Cheryl Strayed: Dear Sugar…