Christina Farley
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Tips for Fast Drafting

Are you looking to fast draft your manuscript? Or perhaps you’re participating in NaNoWriMonth? I am! Or at least a version of NaNo as I’m in the middle of revisions too. If you are drafting, buddy up with me here and we can fast draft together! I’ve created a video for you with tips and thoughts on my fast drafting techniques. Hopefully it will help you along the way. Also, if you’re looking for the plotting template I mention in the video, you can find it on my Writer’s Resource page under Book Plot Outline.

Happy Fast Drafting!

Find Your Next Read

I’m thrilled to share with you a collaboration video I created with twenty-seven of my middle grade author friends. If you are looking for a fun laugh and a new book to read then check out our First Lines video. We had a blast creating this video and sharing the first lines of our books. We hope this will help you discover your next reading adventure and enter a whole new world one page at a time! Happy reading!

Reading of 1st Chapter of THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE

A HUGE thank you to Scholastic for allowing me to read the 1st chapter of THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE during school closures! Many of you have asked me to read the first chapter while you are doing your part in social distancing. I’m so proud of all of you for staying home even though I know it’s tough. Remember you can visit my YouTube channel for videos or go to The Gilded Series website for games! I created this video for you to watch during this time of school closures. In the comments, I’d love to find out what you would write if you had a magical pen that made stories come true. Or draw a picture of it and share it with me on social media. I hope you enjoy the video!

TRADE REVIEWS

“A smart, peppery, action-packed plot teams up with playful, astute characters.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“The pace is effective for building a deep sense of mystery. Slowing down works for the overall mystery… particularly since, in Keira’s first-person narrative, readers will discover clues right along with her.” (Booklist)

“The shimmering jacket illustration by Petur Antonsson will surely catch the eyes of young readers and lure budding princesses to read about the sapphire blue pen’s magic powers.” (Recommended read by School Library Connection)

START READING

Scholastic

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BAM!

Writers Block Bookstore

IndieBound

Powell’ss

Virtual Classroom Help

Teachers and parents! These are tough times right now for all of us. As a former teacher in the traditional and homeschool classroom as well as now writing virtual school curriculum, I understand what you are going through and I want to help! Below, I’ve complied resources I’ve created for the classroom. I love my readers so much! I hope through this time they can find hope and light in the stories they read and write.

VIRTUAL AUTHOR VISITS

I love doing virtual author visits! I offer free 20-30 min visits for classrooms. During this time, I go through my writing process and offer time for students to ask me questions. Formats I can do virtual visits with you:

  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Teams
  • Slack
  • Blackboard
  • Hangouts Meet (Google Hangouts)
  • Flipgrid

If you are interested, please contact me on my contact page or at Christina at ChristinaFarley dot com.

RESOURCES FOR MY BOOKS

The Princess and the Page Resources

Book trailer

Teacher guide

Reading the 1st Chapter of The Princess and the Page

Video: Behind the Scenes of The Princess and the Page

Video: The World of The Princess and the Page

Gilded Series Resources

Book trailer

Teacher unit guide for GILDED

Small group study guide for GILDED

Video: Inspiration for GILDED

Book Club Questions for GILDED

Study Guide for SILVERN

READING RESOURCES

Sequencing a Story

Drawing Conclusions

Author’s Purpose

Drop Everything and Read with Me! (DEAR)

WRITING RESOURCES

Plot like a Master

Tips for Writing Fantasy

Quick and Easy Writing Tips

Revision Tips for Writers

Book Tour

Revision! Take Your Story to the Next Level

The First Line of Your Book

Creating a Plot Grid

Creating Three Dimensional Characters

Preparing to Write Your Novel

Deconstructing the Query Letter

Plot Lines

Various Handouts and Articles

AUTHOR LIFE

Where I Write

Author Copies Arrived

In Search for Inspiration

Book Signing

Korea Book Tour

I hope these resources are of help to you! Also, if you have a topic that you’d like me to talk about on my YouTube channel, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know!

Revolutionize Your Reading Celebration

I’m thrilled to have Jennifer Drone here today to share how she revolutionized the mindset of her school from the idea that reading is a requirement to reading is a celebration. Jennifer has the stats to prove it. The first year she began the Sunshine State Celebration where she required students to read the Sunshine State books, she had 6 students participating. Last year over 400 students completed all 15 Sunshine State books and over 650 participated and read at least 5 books! Those are staggering and inspiring numbers.

First group of many getting into the limo with the teachers and authors.

I was thrilled to be one of the authors chosen to celebrate with the students at Jennifer’s school, Keene’s Crossing Elementary/.  These students blew me away at how excited they were about reading and being a part of this reading party. One of my favorite parts was when the whole school came out and cheered for the students who read all 15 books as they paraded to the limos.

If you are a teacher, media specialist, or librarian struggling to get your students to tackle required reading or a state reading list, check out Jennifer’s fantastic tips on how to revolutionize your reading celebrations.

What inspired you to create a Sunshine State Celebration at your school?

Jennifer Drone starting off a fun day celebrating literacy!

My inspiration for starting the Sunshine State challenge and celebration was to spark an interest in reading books that my students might not normally pick up on their own. My program is based around the yearly SSYRA titles selected by the state. It contains 15 titles of various fiction genres. To participate in the celebrations, students must read all 15 books. I needed a way to get the students to read books that might be outside of their comfort zone and introduces them to genres such as historical fiction or mystery that they would not have read by first choice. I also needed to show the students that they could read books that were longer and more difficult than they thought they could. Offering the celebration, gives the students the extra motivation to complete the SSYRA challenge and challenge themselves. 

Share with us what your Sunshine State Celebration looks like.

Limo ride to the restaurant!

My Sunshine State celebration is a full school day that includes visits with local children’s authors and lunch at a local restaurant with transportation via limousine. We typically have 3 authors. The students are divided into groups and rotate through the author presentations. Author presentations are about 40 minutes in length. We also have a local book store set up books written by those authors.  The students are allowed to choose one book as a gift from the school as well as preorder other ones. Following lunch, the students have the opportunity to have their books signed by the authors.   To honor the students who meet the challenge, families, teachers, staff, and remaining students come outside to cheer and take pictures as the students get into the limos. It is a community celebration.

What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to face? How did you overcome those?

Every student came away with an autographed copy of an author’s book of their choice.

The biggest obstacles are funding and organization. It takes a lot of fundraising through book fairs to raise enough money to pay for such a grand event. However, after the first couple of years, the school and community got behind the program and have been generous in donating to make sure it is able to continue.  The second obstacle is organization. Leading up to the event, you must have a plan in place for tracking student progress and be diligent about the accuracy of your records. You also have to plan for a restaurant location and a limousine service that can accommodate your group. You have to consider the dietary needs of your students and restaurants that have adequate seating. The day of the event has to be planned to the minute. There are so many moving parts. Students have to be divided into groups and move from location to location to hear the various authors. One group has to board the limos and be dropped off for lunch. While they are eating the limo has to return to pick up another group. 

What piece of advice would you give a media specialist, librarian, or teacher who wishes to follow the model that you run at Keene’s Crossing Elementary?

Each author shared reading and writing tips.

My advice is to start early and get a plan in place. Make sure you are very clear on the criteria for participation. And ask for help. Get volunteers to assist where you can. 

Jennifer and I all fancy for our limo ride!

Jennifer Drone is the media specialist for Keene’s Crossing Elementary. She is a master teacher, having been awarded teacher of the year for her school and one of five finalists for teacher of the year in the entire Orange Country Public Schools.

My Year In Review

What an amazing year! Each December, I take time to reflect over my year and the goals I set for myself the previous December. I always find that taking time to reflect helps me determine if my goals were on target, and it helps me figure out my steps for the next year. The biggest part of this though is a celebration. A celebration of what I did, learned, and accomplished.

So here’s my year in review:

Writer

  • Finished writing my young adult historical fantasy. This is in the final revision stages with my agent. (This book required a massive amount of research and is going on its 3rd year of work.)
  • Finished writing and revising my middle grade mystery/adventure. This book took me way longer to write (2 years!) than I expected, but I’m so pleased with the result.
  • Drafted over half of a new young adult contemporary. This has been a fun book to write.

Author/Speaker

I was thrilled to speak and teach at:

  • OCLS Writers Conference
  • SCBWI Workshop
  • Trinity Prep Author Festival
  • Winter Park Book Festival
  • Cape Coral Literacy Festival
  • OCPS Battle of the Books-Judge/Speaker
  • Lit Mag Judging
  • Keene’s Crossing’s Sunshine State party
  • Oasis 30 Con
  • Page 15 Young Writer’s Camp
  • Florida Writers Conference

Reader

I’ve lost track of how many books I read, but it was a LOT. I decided for next year, I really need to add the books I read to my Goodreads page so I can keep better track. I did expand my reading list to include adult books and graphic novels in addition to my young adult and middle grade stacks.

Traveler

As a family we headed out to:

  • The Florida Keys—I’m obsessed with lighthouses so we stopped at a number of these along the way. I definitely want to use some things here for a book. I took plenty of video and pictures.
  • Iceland—I fell in love with Iceland! The untouched beauty amazed me. It reminded me so much of New Zealand, and I’d really like to use a lot of its setting elements in the contemporary fantasy that I’d like to tackle someday.

Blogger

I started a new series on my blog called Teach and Write. It has been far more successful than I’d been expecting, drawing a huge readership. I’m thrilled to be able to help so many teachers and media specialists with tips and ideas for their classrooms and media centers. Also thank you to all of the authors, teachers, and media specialists who contributed. I’d love to continue this series into next year!

Check out these popular posts:

Bookflix. It’s better than Netflix

How to Run a Literacy Scavenger Hunt

Using FlipGrid to Connect with Authors

Tying Emotions to the Senses with Elle Cosimano

Hot to Put on a Killer Book Festival

The What If & Revision with Amy Christine Parker

Found Poems with Rebecca Behrens

Professional Writer

I work as an Engagement Writer for FLVS so I’m constantly being pushed to try out new mediums of writing that I’ve never done before.

Projects I worked on:

  • Video scripts
  • Graphic novel style storybooks
  • Picture books
  • Non-fiction stories
  • Fiction pieces

Learner

I’m a believer that one never stops learning. So this year, I took 7 Masterclasses, which were full of all sorts of nuggets of wisdom and inspiration for my career as a writer.

I can’t wait to see what next year will bring!

“Imagination sees the things that are invisible,” Olafur Eliassan

Insider Peek on Literacy YouTuber MrsReadForFun

When I came across MrsReadForFun’s YouTube channel, I fell in love with her videos highlighting various books for kids. I chatted with her about her channel. I thought you’d love to hear her insider peek on how she runs her channel.

What inspired you to create your MrsReadForFun YouTube channel?

My son, a screenwriter, who knew about my passion for children’s books, came up with the idea.  His exact words were “Mom, one minute cliffhanger video reviews of your favorite books that are posted on your own YouTube channel.”

How do you create content? 

I look for books that I know will develop a passion for reading in each child. These will be books by Newbery winners, New York Times best selling authors, and new authors.  After reading each book, I write my review. I am blessed with a creative videographer who films me and inserts outstanding graphics and music.

What are some ways students, parents, and educators can use your videos?

My videos are a terrific resource to learn about outstanding books. Check out the video Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas!

 

About MrsReadForFun: 

Shendel Haimes was a reading specialist for Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland for 30 years and a reading specialist for a private school in Irvine, CA for 5 years. She has a M.A. in Education with specialization in reading from NYU.

Website: https://www.mrsreadforfun.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mrsreadforfun/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mrsreadforfun

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrsreadforfun/

What’s On Your Playlist? With Rebecca Petruck

I’m a sucker for playlists. I have one for brainstorming, one for revising, and another for drafting. It’s fun and it helps motivate me as I write my books. That’s why I’m excited to have Rebecca Petruck, author of Steering Toward Normal and Boy Bites Bug along with Debra Rook and Molli Rose, the creators of the guide, share how to get into a character’s head by creating a playlist for them.

Character Playlist Activity

Create a character playlist for music or videos for five different characters from a novel of your choice.

  1. Each character’s play list must consist of five songs by title and artist or videos by title and main characters.
  2. Select three songs or videos from one character’s playlist. Use the guide to explain the reasons why you connect that character to the songs or videos you chose. If completing a song playlist, supply a description of the song and a section of the lyrics along with a justification for each song.
  3. Use textual evidence to support your assigning the song to the character. For example, if you choose a song for Diggy from Steering Toward Normal, you must explain why Diggy would connect to that song. You must use an example or quotation from the novel to support your answer.
  4. If completing a video playlist, supply descriptions of the main characters and basic video premises along with justification and textual evidence to support your assigning the video to the character. For example, if you choose a television show for Wayne
    from Steering Toward Normal, you must explain why Wayne would watch the show or connect to a certain character.
  5. Don’t forget to use an example or quotation from the novel to support your answer.

Check out the Steering Toward Normal teacher guide here for a complete resource.

Authors: Showcase a reading skill through your novel or a tip that develops writing skills. Click here to fill out the form.

Teachers/Media Specialists: Do you have an inspirational story, survival tip, organizational tip, engaging material, or a way to connect with students? If so click here to sign up.

Book Scavenger Book Swap with Jennifer Bertman

As a book fanatic, I fell in love with Jennifer Bertman’s Book Scavenger series. Reading, hunting and discovering clues in books? Sign me up! That’s why I love Jennifer’s creation of the Book Scavenger Book Swap. This hunt can be done in a classroom or even as a schoolwide project. It’s an incredible way to get kids excited about reading and books.

Book Scavenger Book Swap

How to Hunt:

After reading the novel as a class or as a read-aloud, prepare for a scavenger hunt book swap with these easy steps:

1. Have students bring in a paperback book they’d like to trade. (If the scavenging is to include the outdoors, consider using zipped plastic bags to keep out moisture.) Students should write the title on a sticky note.

2. Hide books around the classroom (students can do so one at a time as they come in from lunch or recess while the other students read silently in the hallway with independent books and wait their turn).

3. Create codes and ciphers using examples from Book Scavenger and The Unbreakable Code for ideas/as mentor texts, and add to the sticky note with the book title.

4. Put all the codes on a bulletin board for kids to choose.

5. Have fun deciphering the codes and finding fresh reading material!

6. Watch out! Kids will likely want to play again and again.

Check out her full teacher guide here and check out http://bookscavenger.com/ for more book fun. Follow Jennifer on Twitter here.

Authors: Showcase a reading skill through your novel or a tip that develops writing skills. Click here to fill out the form.

Teachers/Media Specialists: Do you have an inspirational story, survival tip, organizational tip, engaging material, or a way to connect with students? If so click here to sign up.

CREDIBLE OR SKETCHY? with Dianne Salerni

Sometimes it’s hard to know if your online sources are the real deal or made up nonsense. Today, Dianne Salerni, author of numerous books, including The Eighth Day series, is here sharing with us a fantastic checklist to use when researching. This can help us determine if the information is credible or sketchy.

Checklist: Credible or Sketchy?

For more great ideas, check out her teaching guide for The Eighth Day. Follow her on Twitter here.

Authors: Showcase a reading skill through your novel or a tip that develops writing skills. Click here to fill out the form.

Teachers/Media Specialists: Do you have an inspirational story, survival tip, organizational tip, engaging material, or a way to connect with students? If so click here to sign up.

 

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