Dear Miss Swoon

Dear Miss Swoon:

My friend and I both like the same guy (he’s like the only guy worth liking in my entire school, BTW). The problem: last week after choir practice, he confessed that he has feelings for ME. Should I tell my friend? I don’t want to ruin my friendship or make her feel bad. But I do like this guy. –Singing The Blues

Dear Singing:

There are some things best told only to your diary. This sounds like one of them. Not hurting your best girlfriend’s feelings is very kind and smart at the same time. There’s lots of wisdom out there about cherishing your girlfriends because they can last through the ups and downs as boyfriends come and go.

Take a wait-and-see attitude about this delicious news of being liked by who you like. For one thing, it won’t become gossip (a no-gossip policy will endear you to all your boyfriends) and for another, it’s the MOST fun not to rush these things! Yay for flirting!

Now I have a question for you, Singing. Do you attend an old fashioned one-room school? I’m guessing you do! That would be the only way the cutie-in-question could possibly be the ONLY cutie in school! Oh, you don’t? Then…

Are you up for some scientific research? How about this: you and your best friend figure out what you really, really like about the cutie-in-question and see just how many other boys have those qualities too. Cultivating the scientific method and critical thinking in yourself is an excellent thing. You might be quite surprised at all the cute guys that actually attend your school. And this is a project you and your friend can BOTH rock out on! –Miss Swoon

Miss Swoon is a licensed psychologist who has a special affinity for her adolescent clients.

Do you have your own question for Miss Swoon? Leave a comment or send an email here.

Research: A Taping of ABCs The View

Since the main character in my work-in-progress ends up on a couple of TV shows, I couldn’t resist a fellow SCBWI Regional Advisor’s invitation to join her for a taping of The View. Research, right? Okay, so I do watch Hot Topics during my lunch break–how else would I keep up on celebrity divorces?

We had to arrive two hours before the taping where we waited in line with about two hundred others. I’ve never seen so many people with great hair and makeup crammed into one place. Plus, we were all wearing our bright colors and uncomfortable shoes (no one ever saw my feet, but oh, well…)

See how shiny and clean everyone looks? I was a little surprised that ABC couldn’t spring for a bigger TV in their waiting area.
Around 10:30 a.m. the perky staff began taking us in small groups to the elevator. When we arrived in the studio they handed us each a package of cookies and a cold bottle of apple juice as if we were about to have preschool circle time or something. But then I realized that they wanted to give us a quick sugar rush. And then we met this guy:

His job was to whip us into a happy, clappy frenzy. He relied heavily on butt jokes. I half expected him to start in on some my mom’s Uranus jokes, but we were spared stooping quite that low. And then there was dancing! Bring on the Beyonce!

The striking woman in green is a stage actress (we struck up a conversation in line and later sat near each other). And could she dance! Her friend did a totally Glee-worthy Single Ladies routine. Very fun to watch. Barbara Walters also came out to tell us how special we were as an audience. Aw! (I’m sure she says that to all the audiences, but it was still kinda cool).

Here I am just before the show started. My pink sweater made me easy to spot when I later watched the show. My daughters enjoyed pausing me with funny expressions–and then laughing hysterically.
And here are the Hot Topics–a whole day of ’em! I have to admit I was a little surprised at how shabby the set looked in person. But I guess since ABC hasn’t bought a new waiting area TV since the early 90s…
I loved watching what happened during the commercial breaks. Hair people came out to fluff Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Whoopie joked about her butt, Joy joked about her butt, Sherri joked about her butt… Elisabeth talked about her butt. The jokey-clapping guy joked about his butt. Again.

We all agreed that we received The Worst Giveaway Ever! (A book no one in the audience particularly wanted). But I did get some nice tidbits for my work-in-progress–and a package of cookies from Barbara Walters to take home to my daughters (they’re not fans–they think she wears too much leather. I brought the cookies as a peace offering of sorts).

Now I’m home and back to real life–revising that novel!

Exercising, but not that kind

This time of year everyone is talking about exercise, you know, getting your body “bikini ready” whatever that means. Skimpy swimwear aside, exercise is important to keep your body healthy. But what about creative exercises? (And I’m not talking about weird yoga poses.)

I like to exercise my writing. It’s a good way to stretch my skills, warm-up before attacking a blank page, come up with new ideas, and keep perfectionism at bay. No one ever sees my writing exercises, but I have turned some of them into sold magazine stories, novel scenes, or used them to develop characters.

Right now these are my favorite exercise books.

I have had so much fun with my Wreck This Journal. The tasks are sometimes crazy! But it’s been a sanity saver as I wait to hear from my editor or agent or just plain worry about stuff over which I have no control. Last night I listed all kinds of “sticky” situations before dripping honey all over the page as requested. So liberating! Even my non-artsy daughter has begged for her own copy–not wanting to miss out on the fun. Here are a couple of other pages:

The other book I’ve really enjoyed is called The Write-Brain Workbook.


The exercises are short, but unique, plus there’s a bonus refection exercise that asks you to think about your writing life in a unique way. Here’s a sample:

Even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer,” try doing some creative exercises–in a no pressure, just for fun kind of way. We all need to exercise our creativity in some way, right?

How do you show your creative side?