The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Tough Room and Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday #54

       It was a tough room yesterday. Eighty or so middle-school students packed into one room, they hadn't had their snack yet (and it was almost 11:00)
and they were itching to shoot something down.

       Yesterday our students participated in a mock assembly of the United Nations. They represented countries that included Australia, Niger, Japan, Burma, Fiji, France and Ghana. Two of the countries from our school presented their resolutions---the way they wanted to solve a UN-worthy problem. (A middle school from Ladue and one from Webster Groves were also there.)

      The first one from our school, representing Australia, got shot down. It was a resolution concerning Aboriginal rights. The resolution was proposed, discussed, questions and concerns were addressed, and then was voted on. I felt bad for the sponsor from Australia. This was my first year doing this program, and I saw the things I should have coached her with. She'd worked hard, and had done tons of research.

      Later in the morning, the two sponsors from Ghana presented their resolution about electricity. Before they even got up, students from other schools said to Ghana, "Oh, we have a lot of questions for you guys" (because they all had hard copies of the resolutions).

      The sharks were circling.

      At one point, a sponsor from another country brought up the point, "You're proposing to pay the Ghana workers only $__, a wage that is far below the minimum wage," and inside, I cheered... 'cause I knew Ghana had done their research and their numbers were spot-on.

     When it came time to address the questions, one of the Ghana sponsors said, "Workers in Ghana only make $___ "(I think it's the equivalent of 75 cents an hour). "If we paid them more, it would inflate their economy." She had done her homework, and had even converted it into US dollars.

     Their resolution passed.

      On the bus ride back to school, I said to the student representing Australia, "I hope you don't feel bad, since your resolution didn't pass."

       Her huge grin said it all. "Not at all," she said. She'd spoken to a big group of people. She had a teacher who was videotaping her (me). She was surrounded by a blood-thirsty group of starving (they thought literally) middle-schoolers... and she'd survived.

My students at the Civitas General Assembly--a mock UN program

And now, onto book blurb stuff.

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book. You choose the genre. An informational book on car mini Mariachi bands? A crime story about little boys who form a gang of robbers? 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. However, she's been busy for the last few years. Eating lunch with Cathy Hall. Up to her armpits with work from her editing business. Working on her own writing...

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:

photo by pixabay

An Orange Stranger From a Strange Land

America is angry. Paris is pissed. Even the gods are sending down lightning bolts of rage.

The country that was once gifted a beautiful iron woman, cloaked in copper, might now close her borders. The country that once welcomed the “wretched refuse” from all over the world might snatch up her welcome mat.

And it’s all because of their leader.

Thrown into a crisis that rocks the entire world, this orange alien who now controls the country spends his days golfing and his nights tweeting and spewing, oblivious to the damage that’s being done to the nation.

Will the country survive? Will the leader’s duties interfere with his golf, causing him to resign? Will the people demand that the orange man goes back to where he came from--back to his gold-coated planet. Or will his thumbs become paralyzed from too much tweeting, and then the paralysis spreads to his brain? (150 words)

And for those bloggers who want a sneak-peek at next week's photo, here it is:

photo by pixabay

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Be Careful What You Wish For...

In my previous post, I wrote about the wonderful rejection I received. I had submitted to an educational journal (not something I read these days, and definitely not something I've ever written for). I was disappointed, but got paragraphs-worth of specific suggestions on how to improve my piece.

What I didn't tell you was a fellow teacher named Katie was the one who told me about the journal's call for submissions. She submitted a piece she wrote with another educator and--unbeknownst to me until a couple of days ago--is on her fourth revision.

Great news, right? They want it, and Katie and her colleague are fine-tuning it.

Well, it doesn't sound so great.

Reviewer # 1 loved their article. Reviewer # 2 hated it (they of course did not use such blunt words), so the two of them worked on completely revamping the piece. (With this publication, the reviewers/editors always work in pairs.)

They sent it back.

photo by pixabay

With reviewer # 3 and #4, more revisions were asked for. They worked on it and it's been looked at by a third wave of editors. Again, more revisions are being asked for.

Currently, if she is honest, my friend said, "We're on our 20th draft." She admitted that if the piece is not accepted this time, they're through. 

One of the reviewers requested more of a "how to" article. How can we teach writing? Add water and stir? Do #1, #2 and #3 and your students will be writers? Absolutely not.  

They're battling with how-can-we-voice-what's-really-in-our-hearts-while-at-the-same-time-appeasing-our-editors? In their latest draft, their piece talks about the paradigm shift teachers must make (they must think of themselves as writers and see writing as a process and not a product), that there is no laundry list of steps a teacher can take.

Will the 20th time be the one that gets a yes? We'll see...