Home of author A.C.E Bauer on the web

Catching up

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

I have been very quiet here these last few months, not because I haven’t been busy, but precisely because I have been super-busy. Here are some of the things that have been going on:

* Gil Marsh was nominated for the 2013 Teen Choice Book Awards. (Voting is still open until February 13 here)

* In November, I had the great pleasure of participating in the Bring Your Own Book and Blanket evening at the Davis Street Elementary School in New Haven, Connecticut. I met with a great group of inquisitive and engaged students who joined me to think about how you go about writing books that include many different cultures.

* In December, I finished the novel that I had been working on for NaNoWriMo, only to realize that I have to entirely restructure the beginning. I have since been working double-time to complete a serviceable first draft. At some point I’ll share some of the fascinating research I have been doing to help it along.

* In January, I presented at the first Shoreline Arts Alliance Winter Workshops for Writers & Illustrators in Chester Connecticut, and discussed the art of revising novels. The workshops were well attended, and as a bonus, the proceeds went to benefit the Tassy Walden Awards: Fresh Voices in Children’s Literature.

And coming up:

* Gil Marsh will be released in paperback on February 26th. Woot!…

I’m a winner

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Winner-180x180It's official. I have completed over 50,000 towards my novel, and that makes me a NaNoWriMo winner.


And what did I win? A lovely certificate with my name on it (which I've printed out), the authorized use of a NaNoWriMo winner's badge (to your left), and bragging rights.

I've not finished, however. My novel still has another several chapters to go, and so I'll try to keep up my pace for the rest of the month, and as far into December as it takes to get that first rough draft written.…

I’m a NaNoWriMo rebel

Monday, October 29th, 2012

This year I signed up for NaNoWriMo: that's National Novel Writing Month. It's taken place each November for the past 14 years. The challenge: to write 50,000 words (about 175 pages) towards a new novel in 30 days time.

I don't generally need incentives to write novels. I've published three, have four more in my files, and am currently in the middle of writing my eighth.* My problem is that I compose new fiction very slowly.

I've written about this before. I am much happier revising than creating from scratch — that's shaping what's already on the page, work that I enjoy.

Getting ideas in my head onto paper is hard. Until I've written it down, an idea is an unformed possibility. It's a series of images that I see taking shape. The act of writing fixes the image in time and space, like a written snapshot. My job is to not only describe each snapshot of my story, but make the story flow from one to the next in a way that makes sense. I can easily spend half an hour thinking of different ways a story might flow, to get from one snapshot to the next, and not have written a single word.

So, this latest novel I've been working on is about half-written. Maybe more, maybe less. I probably have another 50,000 words or so to go. I figure that if I am forced to get 50,000 words down in 30 days towards this novel, I have a good shot at finishing a rough draft before the year's end.

But, it turns out, that finishing a half-written novel doesn't comply with NaNoWriMo's rules. They state pretty clearly: "Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft."

Fortunately, the good folks at NaNoWriMo have given me a way out. Even if I've already written half my novel, I can still join. I'm just a rebel, in their parlance, and I'm welcome aboard. They even have a section in their Forum just for folks like me.


Check my blog. It'll keep you posted on my progress.

*Little known fact: most writers have written more than they shall ever publish.…

Writer’s block, and how to deal with it

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

I was recently contacted by Shaun Smith, a novelist and journalist in Toronto, who asked me to contribute to a column called “Fiction Craft” on the website Open Book Ontario. His question to me was: “What methods do you use to get the story moving forward again when the writing stalls?”

You can read my answer here, along with Shaun Smith’s and fellow-authors’ Heather Birrell, Julie Cross, Megan Crewe, Ursula Poznanski, Tess Fragoulis, Jill Williamson, Hilary Davidson, R.J. Harlick and C.C. Benison. …

Theft, a time-honored tradition

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Over at Write Up Our Alley I blogged about where I got the ideas for my books. You can read the post here.…

Getting to a first draft—using (or not using) outlines

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Over at Write Up Our Alley I’ve answered another writing process FAQ, whether I use outlines when I write a novel. The answer: not initially. You can read the entire post here.…

Why I write by hand

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

In the last year I have been asked a lot of questions about my writing process. I have decided to start a sometimes-series on my blog to answer the most frequently asked questions.

The first question is: why do I still write with pen and paper and don’t usually compose on my computer? You can read my answer here.

My plan is to eventually create a FAQs page on this website which will gather all my answers in one place.

If you have any questions about my writing process, you can ask me them in the comments section of my blog, on my Facebook page, or by contacting me directly. I will try to answer as many as I can.…

The 13th Annual Shorelawn

Monday, June 6th, 2011

A Tale Dark & Grimm cover Because of Mr. Terupt cover Also Known as Harper cover Prisoners in the Palace cover Birthmarked cover

This last Saturday, June 4th, I spent a glorious day at the Shoreline SCBWI 13th Annual Conference in Doe Boyle’s yard. The weather was perfect, the garden spectacular, the company wonderful, and the presenters inspiring.

The Shorelawn (as the conference is affectionately called) is Boyle’s brainchild. After attending an event where she was a speaker and unable to attend sessions of other speakers whom she wanted to hear (because their sessions conflicted with hers), she decided to take matters into her own hands. She invited folks whom she knew would have interesting things to say about children’s literature to come to her home and talk about topics she chose, and invited other folks to attend (provided they brought a lunch dish to share, and a lawn chair).

The results have been awe-inspiring. The conference quickly outgrew the confines of her house—which meant that for 5 years we met at libraries and schools because of the weather—but when, as on Saturday, weather permits, we still fit on her lawn. We continue to share lunch. And the speakers have never disappointed.

This year’s topic for the day: What Have I Written? An Exploration of Choices in Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels.

Boyle started with a challenge for the speakers: how can you tell if what you have written is middle grade fiction, or young adult, or perhaps even adult fiction? Here are a few nuggets from their responses:

  • Adam Gidwitz suggested that we should know our readers, literally. Also, kids get what they’re ready for. An innuendo that will make 6th graders gasp may go over the head of a 3rd grader.
  • Rob Buyea challenged us to take risks. If our work is distinct it’ll stand out. He also told us to take Richard Peck’s wisdom to heart: you’re only as good as your first sentence.
  • Ann Haywood Leal reminded us that some 12-years old are YA, and some are still solidly middle grade. If you can’t read your book aloud with your parents sitting next to you, then there’s a good chance that it’s YA. A middle grader still has a certain innocence in their longing.
  • Michaela MacColl talked about writing books that she wanted to read as a kid. Whether her historical fictions about famous people become YA or middle grade depend in large part upon the age she chooses for the individual she is writing about.

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