The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Kids in Crisis... Music for Writers... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #75

        First of all, if you haven't read my most recent post on The Muffin, check it out. (You'll get to see a pig that can fly... You'll also get to see a quilt made by Lynn Obermoeller.)     

        Now away from that little bit of self-promotion... This is my 29th year of teaching. In every one of my classrooms there's been at least one kid in crisis.
  • a 3rd grader who was promised a plastic crown at an amusement park, but her father changed his mind (for no reason) and broke her heart
  • a little boy who was threatened on a regular basis with going to a foster home because of his school misbehavior
  • loads of kids (too many to count) who dealt with their parent's addiction/mental illness
            It saddens me to see adult issues being heaped upon kids. Modifications are made, interventions are held, gatherings take place and phone calls are made. We do what we're able to do... and hope for the best.

            I have a couple of students who are struggling. They each have a mountain of problems and a canyon of sorrow they're dealing with. Please send good thoughts their way...

           I recently read how a writer uses music. Unfortunately, I can't write while listening to music with lyrics. I get sidetracked and end up paying attention to the songs and forget about the writing.

           This particular writer found a song that fit the mood of his manuscript, and he listened to the same song, over and over while he wrote. It became white noise.

            That technique intrigues me. This November we're doing NaNoWriMo. I'll be doing it with 4th-8th graders. My students from last year are excited. The 4th-6th graders--who I didn't have as students last year--are a bit nervous. However, we're going to head off on that adventure together, and it will be a blast. 

            Many students want to write while listening to music, but too often, they spend more time finding songs and less time on writing. If they don't want to listen to Vivaldi or Miles Davis, I'm going to suggest they find one song and listen to it over and over.

            And now onto our book blurb of the week.

            Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a romance about a boy and his rat named "Ben"? Is it a guide for animal lovers? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book. Also, she's currently dealing with an unwanted guest named Irma, so think good thoughts for her as well...

          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb:

Bryce the Unbearable

Bryce was a brat. He was spoiled rotten and everybody knew it except for his parents.
His teacher drank every evening and on the weekends, she OD’ed on chocolate. On the rare days when he was sick and absent from school (most germs were too weak to land on Bryce) his teacher shrieked with excitement.
When they saw Bryce loose and wreaking havoc on the sidewalk, the neighbors ran back into their homes, locked their doors and stayed away from the windows--in case Bryce was tempted to barge in or felt like lobbing around rocks. All the aunts, uncles and even the grandparents avoided Bryce.
But his parents thought he was “destined for greatness” and felt limitations would stifle his creativity.
Will Bryce live to be five? Or will his mom and dad finally find the banks of the River Denial and climb out of the water? 147 words

And if you want to play along next Friday (or Saturday, if I have computer troubles like I had last night), here in the photo for the next book blurb:


  1. I'm intrigued by the idea of listening to the same song over and over. I'll give it a try.

    1. Mama Zen--If it makes you MORE prolific and your lines even MORE gem-like...

      ... I'm a gonna slit my wrists.

  2. I'm afraid listening to one song would make me hate that song.

    Bryce is a ne'er-do-well. I can tell by the way he's trying to crush my head in that picture. A little dose of home-schooling might wake up his parents. Or send them running for chocolate.

    1. Val--From what this writer said, the song becomes white noise...

      Yes, and if you had him as a student, he'd be trying to crush your head in the classroom.

  3. I think I've had Bryce in my classroom! LOL I remember being a student in school and one of my favorite writing assignments each week involved the teacher putting on classical music and asking us to imagine what story would we think is going on that the music represents. She explained that many movies have scores of music throughout the movie that enhances the story. I was able to use my imagination and loved this writing assignment!

  4. Loved your WOW! post and left you a comment. PLEASE go read it, please, please, please!

    Also, I can't listen to music and write for the exact same reason. But I have a friend who uses one song as a sort of theme song. She used Tubular Bells (from The Exorcist) for her last book...gave me the creeps. (But it fit the book's theme really well.)

    And kids. *Sigh* What they carry really will break your heart. So glad they have you for a teacher.

    1. Cathy--I can't imagine listening to that song (Tubular Bells). It would creep me out, too.

      I think I am the lucky one... But thanks.

  5. Your post reminds me of my juvenile officer days. We dealt with so many very troubled kids from tough circumstances. What a challenge.

    Love that your students will be doing NaNoWriMo. Such a great way to open up creativity. Music is a little distracting for me too, although I've been known to put on a CD of Civil War-era songs before I start writing to get me in the mood.


    1. Pat--I cannot imagine doing what you used to do. You probably had your heart broken too many times to count.

      Thanks for doing what you did. Kids in those circumstances need caring, intelligent people in their corner.


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