Monday, November 4, 2019

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand

Find the tour schedule here.


 The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 5th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary


A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies...

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.

But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.

Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.

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  Lists to Make In Order To Become a Better Writer

When I teach creative writing, I always start each semester by having my students make a series of lists to help them see themselves more clearly. So I’m passing that on to you, dear book addicts! Let’s jump right in.

1. Make a list of books in the particular genre you’re interested in writing in. You should read the heck out of that genre. When I first realized that the novel I was writing (my first novel, Unearthly) was YA, I read 72 young adult titles that year, just to get a feel for what YA was like. The more knowledgeable you are of your genre, the more easily you’ll be able to find your place in and understand how you can contribute. Also make a list of books that are outside of your chosen genre/genres, but might be inspirational, too.

2. Make a list of your talents and skills as a writer. Are you good at dialogue? Do you create detailed settings? Are you good with plot? List everything—both things that sort of come naturally to you, and techniques you’ve picked up. Now take a good look at your list. Ask yourself: how can I write to my strengths? What kind of projects would best showcase my talents? Think of writing like auditioning for American Idol: you want to pick a song (*cough, STORY) that shows that you’re relevant to today’s market AND demonstrates your talent in the best way possible.

3. Make a list of your flaws as a writer. What do you struggle with? Do you do too much showing instead of telling, or is your problem the opposite: you have trouble getting the character to reflect and tell us what’s meaningful in a scene? Do you find it hard to describe characters? Do you have a tendency to drift into cliché? Be honest with yourself. Nobody has to see the list but you. You don’t have to be ashamed—all writers, even the best ones, have flaws. Just ask Stephen King about endings. :) Once you have a list, try to look at it as a to-do list for how you might improve. Find writers that are great at what you suck at and try to study how they make it work. Read craft books. Work on writing smaller pieces, like short stories or even simply scenes, where you exercise at those skills. Soon you’ll find that you’re writing better.

4. Make a list of things you are passionate about or things you are an expert on-- subjects that compel you to write. The poet Richard Hugo calls these “triggers.” I know that the word trigger has a different meaning these days, but the idea is the same: things that bring up emotions in you. Once you have a list, ask yourself, am I writing about the things I’m excited about? Sometimes we write what we think other people want to read, instead of following are our obsessions. But the truth is, if you don’t love the things you’re writing about, nobody else will, either.

Okay, so you’ve got your lists. Now to make plans on how to use them! Good luck and happy writing!


About the Author


 Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, and the upcoming novels THE HOW AND THE WHY and MY CALAMITY JANE (also with Ashton and Meadows). Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two cats, one crazy dog, two kids, and mountain of books.

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