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February 27, 2013


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rita lakin

Always love your post.
Good advice
fun to look at, etc...

Terry Shames

Penny, this is brilliant! I'm going to print it out and keep it by my desk while I'm going through my last edits!

Susan Shea

Penny, Love the visual mnemonics you always include!

Michael A. Black

Good post, Penny. The one about Sight reminded me of my sixth grade teacher who once tore up my assignment in front of the entire class and threw it in the trash can. I still remember that and the shocked awe of the student sitting across from me (William Gurgle) as he watched my face.

Penny Warner

Thanks Rita!
Hope you're doing well.
Looking forward to your next book!

Penny Warner

Thanks, Terry!
Congrats on all your recent successes!

Penny Warner

Hi Susan,
Love the term visual mnemonics! Had to copy the spelling from your post.

Penny Warner

Wow. I'm am so outraged at what that teacher did. NO teacher has the right to do that. Do you know the wonderful children's book illustrator, Stephen Kellogg. He wrote one of my favorite books, Ms. Nelson is Missing. After his second grade teacher looked at his artwork, she told him he would never be an artist. He didn't pick up drawing again until he was in college. Unbelievable. Thanks for sharing your story.

Pat Morin

Great examples. I always forget to add one of the above! Love the "Overall mood". It would be great fun to pop in one of those faces as I'm writing a scene. The scene with Michael Black's teacher would have a mean face next to the description of the teacher's actions. Very Mean.

Camille Thompson

Great tips! Your advice is always useful and easy to understand! Thanks!

Penny Warner

Ha Camille!
Maybe I should write picture books?

Penny Warner

Hi Pat,
I agree. Would love to meet that teacher today...
Hope she's a victim in one of Michael's books...
(Did I just say that out loud?)

Michael A. Black

I appreciate the outpouring of support, but it happened so long ago that it doesn't matter much now. I actually did get a measure of revenge though, by detailing another of her antics in an essay I wrote for the book, How I Got Published. It was called "A Sixth Grade Education."

Penny Warner

Michael, that's great.
Sometimes a bad teacher just motivates you more...

rita lakin

You've opened up another subject --childhood trauma. I had a teacher, also in 6th grade, who hated me. I have no idea why. She used to make fun of my clothes. What the hell can you say about clothes back in the century I went to school (tee hee)Just because I wore a red skirt and red blouse and red coat and red socks and red hat and red gloves. - what's so funny about that?
I think I killed her off in a TV show I wrote years ago. Writers are so lucky. We can kill people and not go to jail.

Penny Warner

Rita, that's the way to do it!

Mysti Berry

I too am going to print this out. I spend so much of my life in my head, I need the reminder to make it physical!!!! THANKS!


Love your list, Penny! And coming last to the "comment train" means I get to read what everyone else says about your post. :-)
Interesting re: the stories from school... and why are they all sixth grade, I wonder? Because I have a 6th grade story too:
I've never been a neatnik (chorus of ironic "Noooo foolin'" from those who know me), and my desk innards at school was no exception to the "messier the better" rule. One day I was sick, and one of my teachers wondered why a note he'd sent home w/me had not been answered. He came to my home room, and he and my homeroom teacher decided to checked out my desk and see if it was inside.... Long story short: When I came back to school, my desk was upside down in its spot, with the pile of ... everything ... EVERYwhere. I had to clean it all up while homeroom class went on around me.
Highly embarrassing for a shy kid.
And it didn't cure my messiness. So there.

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