Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Young Person's Review of Address Unknown

Following is a very thoughtful review sent by a young reader. Thanks, Ellie. You seem to be a very compassionate and caring individual. Stay just the way you are.

My Review of Address Unknown, by Charles Warren

        Mr. Warren's book Address Unknown was great! I read it in about 1 to 1 1/2 days, it was that interesting!

        I like to read books that you could say are 'real world' type themes, like things that happen in the world today, which is why I loved Address Unknown! I think it was a great theme to write about.

        I am going to be completely honest, I loved the book, but the beginning wasn't boring, not at all, it wasn't like nothing happened, but not much did. I understand that you needed to portray Marshall, Mindy, and their Mother homeless, and that they will only be homeless for five weeks, and that they needed to keep it a secret.

        The part of the book when things were happening, like when Crystal stayed on Marshall, repeatedly asking things like when she could see his new house, got me thinking, and got me excited for the rest of the book. But during the beginning, in my point of view, anyway, is that what happened mainly in the beginning was a sort of routine, maybe? That is my only negative comment, the rest of which I loved!

        Being 12 years of age, I have begun to understand many forms of crisis' in our world, such as homelessness, and things like that. I think it is important for people to be aware of homelessness, whether it be just knowing about it, or deciding to start food drives, donate money, or even if you are homeless for a temporary period of time, to stay calm, not panic, and to realize hundreds of thousands of people deal with this sort of thing every day!

        Like I said, I like to read about things that can happen in our world, so this book I particularly enjoyed.

        All over all, I think you did an excellent job creating this book! I love it, and I am sure other kids like me will enjoy this book also.



(P.S. Thanks for signing my and my sisters copy of your great book!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Address Unknown Now Available on Kindle

My novel Address Unknown is now available through as an eBook for Kindle and other eReaders.

Praise for Address Unknown:

“Right on target with what homeless students and families go through.”
       Dee Dee Wright, Homeless Liaison for Students in Polk County, Florida

 "A compassionate and engrossing story about homelessness in America. Its vivid descriptions bring each character and scene to life, helping the reader to experience some of the pain and anxiety the homeless endure. I highly recommend 'this read'!!
    Ms. Joyce K. Viscusi, MA, 28 years in education.

 This novel will help promote awareness and empathy for an ever growing problem that families often keep secret due to shame and fear.  It is a great story and a timeless social commentary for students, teachers, and community members.
Bernice S. Warren, Elementary School Counselor for 30 years, National Board Certified

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Great Websites for Dealing with Bullying

Here are some great websites for learning how to deal with bullying.

Do you know of some other websites you would like to share?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Homeless Statistics Aren't Just Numbers, They Have Faces

        The numbers of homeless people continues to increase every year. In the 2008-2009 school year the Hearth Project identified 2,038 homeless students in Polk County, FL. In the 2009-2010 school year the number increased to 2,289. For the 2010-2011 school year it continued to increase to 2,453.

         We must never forget that these are not just numbers. Each of the 2,453 has a face. Most of the homeless are single moms with small children.

         My soon-to-be-published novel, Address Unknown, speaks to this issue and encourages discussion. Perhaps it will lead to more being done to assist those in this very difficult situation. That is my hope.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tips for Young People Who Want to Write: Building Strong Characters

     To write strong characters requires that you know them well. One way to do this is to write out a description of your characters before you begin writing your story. This means your description will include how they look and act as well as details of their background. 

        Much of your description may not be used in your story, but it will help you to know them. By doing this, you will know how they will react to the various situations they face in the story. 

        Make sure each character has their own personality and they are "real" people. By this I mean that they have some good traits and some not so good traits. For example, none of us are perfect. Most readers want to read about someone who struggles through difficulties, not someone who is perfect and solves every dilemma easily. 

        Likewise, every villain should have some good qualities also. Most of us aren't all good or bad.

        Here is a list of some things to consider when  developing your characters. The list is far from complete. See what you can add to it. 

Birth place
Educational background
Physical description
Left or right-handed 
Siblings and your character's relationship to them
The culture in which they grew up
What their parents were like and your character's relationship with them.  

What else can you think of?

Knowing these details of your characters will help you to know how they will handle the challenges your story throws their way. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Plot Development

        The question I am asked most frequently is: Where do you get your ideas for stories? This question is not easy to answer because there is no one answer.

        My ideas come from everywhere. From reading the newspaper, to observing what's going on around me, to my imagination, to dreams, to conversations, to movies, to...well, you name it. Once I get an idea, I write it down before I forget. 

        But an idea for a story is not a story; it is the seed from which a story might grow. 
How does one go about developing an idea into a story? Again, there is no one way to do this and everyone has a different technique that works best for them.

        Following are some ideas you might want to try:

Work Backwards--If you know how you want the story to end, try working backwords, developing the events that would lead up to the ending. 

Conflict--For a story to be interesting, the main character must have some conflict or trouble to resolve. His/her problem could be internal like shyness, or external, like getting lost in a scary forest.What problems can you create for your characters?

Link the Events--The events and characters you write about must be linked in some way. In other words, everything in the story must have a reason for being there that ties it to the story.

Suspense--Your writing should suspenseful, making the reader want to know what is going to happen next.

Make a List--Another way to come up with a story is to make a list of five events and/or people that are not connected. Now think of interesting ways to connect these events and people. 



        Suppose you list an old woman selling vegetables by the side of the road, a beautiful mansion with a gate around it, a fancy red sports car, a rich young girl, and a squirrel. 
   How can you combine these five things and people to make a story?

        Suppose the young girl is riding her bike when a fast moving red sports car swerves to miss a squirrel in the road, knocking the girl off her bike. The car doesn't stop, but the old woman comes to her aid. 

        The old woman manages to get her to the front door of the mansion. The door opens mysteriously and once they enter, strange things begin to happen. Or, perhaps, the driver of the car lives in the mansion. 

        You can take this anywhere you want--it's your story. 

        I hope this has been helpful. Have fun and write often.    

        What ideas do you have for developing stories?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Putting Emotion in Your Writing

         We want our readers to relate to the characters in the stories we write. One way they do this is by feeling the same emotions as the characters in your story. 

        To help your reader feel that emotion, try this: the next time you read a passage that evokes an emotion within you, study that passage.
  • What words did the author use?
  • What sentence structure?
  • What kind of detail was included?
  • How was body language described?
Then try to write a passage of your own to evoke that same emotion.

        Also, you can learn by observing others around you. The next time you see someone become emotional, study the body language of that person and others around her.

         How would you write about that incident so that the emotion was conveyed to your readers?

        Remember--the more you write and the more you re-write (edit), the better writer you will become.

        Have you written a paragraph that contained emotion? Send it to me--I would love to read it.