The Ol’ PitchWars #BoostMyBio

About ten years ago, I wrote my first YA novel. It was dumb.

The main character was this kid named Miles who wrote a fantasy story about a vampire named Raphael Vedemicci who rode a dragon named Sylph. The kid’s actual life sucked, so he made awesome things happen in his story to compensate for the disappointment.

I called it “The Vampire Diary.” I was inconsolable when “The Vampire Diaries” debuted on TV like a year later, but I don’t know why. My book was a G-darned disaster. I’m embarrassed to have said so much about it here, frankly. Readers deserve better. Continue reading

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Editing Is Hard and It Sucks and I Hate It

I give my high school writers a lot of grief because I know exactly what they’re doing when they submit a “final” draft of an essay for me to assess. Here’s my impression of them writing a paper:

“Type type type type. Don’t read anything. Okay I’m done. Submit.”

I’m very good at impressions, obviously. Continue reading

So, How’s It Going?

A little over a year ago I started telling people that I had decided to try writing a book that would be good enough to land me a literary agent and ultimately be published traditionally, and because I made this desire so public, I’ve fielded all sorts of questions from people curious to know how it’s all going.

So here I am, at the podium, fielding questions.

Let’s start with you, in the back.

Continue reading

How Kids’ Books Can Change Toxic Masculinity

To use the expression “toxic masculinity” unironically is to open yourself up to criticism at the hands of people that don’t seem to think it actually exists. Brown University this year actually developed a course for their students focused on unlearning toxic masculinity, and the way the television news and social media treated that nugget of typical leftist propaganda, you’d think the Ivy League was slowly transforming into a literal circus. A clown college.

But there’s so much more to this conversation than what’s offered in some novelty course in Rhode Island. We’ve seen news stories about colleges teaching classes based on Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, too, but those cycled in and out of the national consciousness as quickly as criticism about this class likely will.

The difference is that I never thought about bringing Dumbledore or Jon Snow into my curriculum as a high school English teacher. The unlearning of toxic masculinity, on the other hand, does deserve a place in the classroom. Continue reading