by Mary Amato
I love my fan mail. One of the recurring themes is the request for advice about writer’s block. I think writer’s block comes in two basic forms. If you’re working on a piece (a novel, a story, a song, a play, whatever) and you get stuck after having written part of it, that’s a work-in-progress block. You have the beginning and ending of your story, but you can’t get the climax right. You have three verses to a great song, but you can’t think of a chorus. For that kind of block, I recommend getting away from the page. Take a walk. Take a nap. Take a shower. But take your writer’s notebook with you. It is usually when I’m away from my desk that the answer comes.
There is, however, another kind of block. It’s bigger. It’s scarier. It often comes in the form of a question: why can’t I seem to come up with anything to work on at all? In a TED talk, the musician Sting addressed this kind of writer’s block. He said that after many years of writing hit songs, he found himself at a loss. He couldn’t seem to write at all. I loved his answer. He said that he stopped thinking about trying to express himself in his songs and started to think about writing songs in the point of view of others. Getting away from himself liberated him. As both a fiction writer and songwriter, I write from the point of view of the other all the time. It is liberating. And when I find myself in that bigger, scarier place of wondering why I’m not working on my next big project, I try to find quiet space and time to simply let the voices of others float up and around. Then I listen to see whose story interests me the most.
In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.Goodreads | Amazon
Minerva has been raised by her single mother after her father left them both. On her 17th birthday, she is shocked to discover that he has been trying to keep in touch, but her mother has been sabotaging his attempts. Furious at her mom, she begins to investigate her dad, a famous marine biologist, only to discover that he has a new family, including a beloved, and perfect, stepdaughter--a girl Minerva already knows and despises.
As she makes her way, trying to build her performing and songwriting career, her jealousy takes over and threatens to derail her life completely. It is only through the efforts of her best friend, Fin, and the introduction of Hayes, a new young man in her life, that she is able to see clearly who she is and who makes up her family.
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