A Word I Like


1. Having or exhibiting ill will; wishing harm to others; malicious.

2. Having an evil or harmful influence


I like the way the word malevolent feels in my mouth and on my tongue. It rolls more than you’d think, and I want to repeat it over and over.

I also like what it means: not just bad or mean but wishing harm, and evil. Nothing wishy-washy about this word. No gray; black and white.

I never noticed that the word looks like it contains “male” and “violent” (although “volent” comes from the Latin meaning wishing). Although I associate malevolent with both genders, I can’t help thinking of Maleficent, the villain in Sleeping Beauty, since her name is so similar sounding, and she’s, well, malevolent.


A malevolent poem:

I do not like being alone on these nights,
I cannot sleep,
and I cannot fight
the constant battles
that dance with a malevolent
waltz around my mind.

Mmm. There’s that delicious sound again.

New England SCBWI Conference 2013, Part Two


There was so much I wanted to say in my last post that I had to break it in two! Here were some of the other highlights of the conference for me:

-Our other keynote speaker was the amazing Sharon Creech. She spoke about  the power of words, how to find them, cherish them, and set them out into the world.

Sharon Creech

-Volunteering: I volunteered at the conference for the first time this year. I was way too shy the first two years I went, so this was progress for me! I worked at the registration table, not that I knew the answers to many of the questions! It was nice to introduce myself to so many new people. And c’mon, I got to wear the yellow volunteer name tag. The YELLOW one.

-Book signing: I love this every year. I choose a book for me, a book for each of my children, a book for my classroom, and a book for both of my children’s teachers. Gets pricy! The autograph is great, but the greeting and personalization are even more important to everyone… a real live connection to the author. I may have had just a few books signed by Kate Messner…

Kate Messner

-Restaurant dinners with friends old and new: Catching up with people I’ve met before was great. But some of the best conversations were with people around the table that I didn’t know. You start with, “What do you write?” and before long you’re explaining premises and plot twists and your inspiration, and the other person truly CARES. There’s no glazed-over look like you get in the real world. Writers eat this stuff up.

-Find-a-Fit: Researching Agents panel with Lynda Mullaly Hunt: This talk was the perfect level for me. I’ve been doing my own research for querying agents, but Lynda had great strategies that I hadn’t used before, and also pointed us to some websites I hadn’t seen. And she was funny enough to keep us alert and jazzed up even though it was the last session.

Can’t wait until next year!

New England SCBWI Conference 2013, Part One


Yesterday was the last day of the NESCBWI conference. It was a great weekend as always. This was my third time going, and each year my knowledge and connection to other writers has deepened.

Here were some of the highlights for me:

-A panel on Edgy YA: Right up my alley. The panelists focused on questions like what is Edgy YA, the importance of voice, and if kids should be able to self-curate their books their own reading. The panelists were Scott Blagden, Adah Nuchi, Carter Hasegawa, and Rubin Pfeffer.

-A meditation/writing workshop, run by Laurie Calkhoven. We meditated for five minutes, visualized an aspect of our story, and then wrote for five minutes, pen moving across paper the whole time. I discovered a quick back story scene I hadn’t thought of before. At another point, one woman in the audience discovered that her main character had a twin! Unfortunately, some people (including me) had to leave for their agent critiques, which kinda interrupted the flow of the meditation…

-A Save the Cat! workshop, with Dawn Metcalf, based on the book by Blake Snyder. I’m a total pantser and I end up outlining after the fact, if at all, and then only if something isn’t working.  But it was helpful to see how very structured screenwriting is, and to see how that structure can apply to novel writing. I may not be a convert to this system, but it’s good to know about at least!

-Grace Lin. ‘Nuff said.

Grace Lin

photo by Alexandre Ferron

Oh, and so much more…

I just edited my title to say Part One. More later!