Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Author Radio Interview

Join me on Wednesday, September 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 (PCT) on the Donna Seebo Warriors for Peace Radio Talk Show. I will be interviewed about Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention. The show will be archived and I will post the link if you miss it.

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New School Workshops

It’s Back To School time and I’m happy to announce three new workshops available for school groups! I am also available for Skype Author visits which are great ways to get students excited about writing and reading.

You can see all my school workshops here.

My former Seattle Pacific University Educator Classes are now available as Professional Development workshops. Please contact me to discuss your needs. The list can be seen here.

Restorative and Social Justice Writing Workshop            

This writing workshop is tailored around Mindy’s memoir, Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention. It can be tailored to fit middle or high school curriculum dealing with social justice or restorative justice practices. The workshop can be integrated as a Skype Author visit as well as an in-person author visit. Please contact Mindy to discuss your needs.

Writing the Villains and Other Unsavory Characters Characters       

Villains. The characters we love to hate. How do we create these dangerous and unlikeable characters? How far can we push before bad is too bad? Students will learn how motive and backstory can create sympathy for our unsavory character and craft a short story from the villain’s point of view. This is a fun workshop for all ages–kids to adults. Young adult and middle grade literature can be integrated into the workshop.

Writing the Five-Minute Food Memoir

Memories of food capture the times we celebrate, life milestones and moments of grief.  How can food inspire us to dig deeper into the craft of short memoir and explore voice, style and telling our truth? This class will look at writing short memoir vignettes based around our memories with food. We’ll look at the elements of memoir such as: scene, summary, musing and discover how to revise for brevity. This workshop can be adjusted for all ages.

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Writing the Villain Online Class

Registration is open for my fall online class, “Writing the Villain and Other Unsavory Characters” with the Loft Literary Center. The class runs for six weeks from September 25 to November 6. Students work at their own pace in an online forum and receive personalized feedback from the instructor on assignments.

Villains. The characters we love to hate. How do we create these dangerous and unlikable characters? How far can we push before bad is too bad? We will begin by identifying types of villains and choose one type for our story. Next, we’ll look at how backstory drives character motive through a series of questions designed to dig into the psychology of our character and how this might inform our plot as well as create sympathy for our character. We’ll continue our journey into the dark by drafting a short character story in any genre, including picture book, through the point of view of the villain.

Students will share their work and offer feedback focusing on our villain character. Readings for the class will include selections from a young adult short story collection: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Ameriie, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jonathan Scieszka and Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction by Jessica Page Morrell.

Register here.

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Summer Art Festivals

In July, I had the opportunity to be one of the authors in the Literary Corner at the Gig Harbor Art Festival. It was a fun day–selling books, talking to people and meeting other authors!

However, one of the unique aspects of this festival’s book event was my Mom and I got to be in the booth together! She has a new memoir, Parsing the Dragon. Together, we were quite a team and sold quite a few books! I’m looking forward to participating in a few more of these art festivals. It’s a great way to meet readers and other artists!

Mindy Hardwick, Author
Susan Lampe, Author
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The 57 Bus: Teaching for Social Justice

One of the most powerful books I read this summer was The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater. The narrative non-fiction is told in alternating view points between Sasha, a transgender teen who is set on fire by Richard on an Oakland bus on the way home from school.

You can read a detailed account of the event here.

There are many reasons why this book should be included in a high social justice unit as it covers gender and sexual identity, the issue of hate crimes, and juvenile justice. There is a great article in the School and Library Journal here about why this book should be included in school reading lists.

Lesson Idea: I would also suggest reading The Bus 57 alongside Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention and partnering the opening essay of Kids in Orange with the reading in The Bus 57 entitled BookedIn on pages 151-154. Discuss with students why both pieces are written in second person point of view and the rest of both books are not, how the selection of point of view impacts story, and have students choose an event-either personal or historical- to write in second person point of view.

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Writing the Picture Book Workshop

Picture books are the most beloved story form of children’s writing. But how easy is it to write one?

In this workshop, we’ll look at how to create a memorable character, how to plot and structure a picture book, as well as markets available to picture book writers. This is an interactive workshop with writing exercises and discussion. The class is appropriate for both writers and illustrators with the focus on the writing of the story.

Writing the Picture Book Workshop at the Lynnwood Library on July 13 from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m. This is a free workshop but registration is requested here.

The workshop is a part of the Writing for Young People Write Now Summer Series at Sno-Isle Libraries.

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A Reading List for a Marine Biology Character

I’ve been working on a new middle grade novel where my main character wants to be a marine biologist. I spent last spring and summer volunteering as a volunteer environmental interpreter in the Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach and the idea sprung from my volunteer work. You can learn read more about the Haystack Rock Awareness Program-– at their brochure here.

You can learn a little bit about Haystack Rock and the sea animals who call it home with this brochure at the Friends of Haystack Rock.

As a part of building my story, I usually have to immerse myself in the world of my character. In this case, I’ve had to do a lot of reading about sea life in order to really feel like I know my eleven-year old main character.

The following are some of the books I’ve been reading.

Rachel Carsen’s trilogy about the sea including: The Edge of the Sea, The Sea Around Us and The Sea Wind.

I love her question: One Way To Open Your Eyes Is To Ask Yourself, What if I Had Never Seen This Before? What if I Knew I Would Never See It Again?

Jonathan White, The Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean. I heard him speak this past summer as a talk sponsored by the Haystack Rock Awareness Program and was fascinated by his understanding of the sea both as a surfer and sailor.

The Soul of an Octopus: The Surprising Exploration into the World of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. This is an interesting book about octopus. One of the things I didn’t know was the Seattle Aquarium is one of the best known for their octopus exhibits and because when the octopus die, they can be released back into the waters of Puget Sound easily because of their location. If you didn’t know, Octopus have a very short life span!

The Wave by Susan Casey. This is a fascinating book about rogue waves in our oceans and how mariners and surfers navigate them and seek them out. If you surf, or know of a surfer, this is a great one to hand them as it profiles some of the world’s best known rogue wave surfers.

Between Pacific Tides by Ed Rickets and Jack Calvin is the go-to book for information on the intertidal zone in the Pacific Ocean.

The BeachComber’s Guide To Seashore Life by J. Duane Sept. This is one that is out of print and snagging a reasonably priced used copy on Amazon takes a little bit of persistence, but it’s highly worth it–especially for children who are interested in sea life as it provides a resource guide for all creatures in the Pacific NW waters!

Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal. This is a great book about citizen science where average citizens including educators, children, teens and retired folks get involved in collecting data. Find out more here.

There are a few more in my to-read pile, but this has given me enough material to feel as if I know my character and can tell her story!


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Local Spotlight at Umpqua Bank Sellwood Branch

I am happy to announce I am the local Spotlight at the Sellwood Umpqua Bank.

All my books are signed and available for sale. Information about my workshops and manuscript critiques is also available in the display. The books will be there until November 30. If you are in the Portland area, I hope you will stop by to pick up one or two. It’s a special chance to get copies of my first short story, “Hurricanes” published in Summer Shorts which is now out of print but I had some copies still available in my stash!

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Children’s Summer On-Line Writing Class

If you have ever thought one of your childhood memories would make a great children’s story, join me this summer and learn how to turn that tale into a story for children.

How can we use our stories of growing up and turn them into stories for children? In this class, we’ll explore how to craft compelling plots that stretch beyond the truth, how to show not tell our daring adventures and how to create strong characters who leap off the page and demonstrate bravery and strength. There will be opportunity for constructive and supportive feedback.

The class runs from June 6 to July 18 and is on-line with The Loft Literary Center. Register here.

 

Also, if you are an educator and want to add to your summer reading list, there are two great blogs I follow which give me a depth of great new titles to explore.

Nerdy Book Club Blog

And there was a great post a few weeks ago which showcased picture books to use with older students here.

 

A Kids Book A Day Blog

 

Also, if you are an educator looking for continuing education credits, I teach some children’s writing classes and children’s literature classes with Seattle Pacific University. All are distance learning and you have a year to complete.

Some of my classes include:

Writing the Children’s Picture Book

Writing the Children’s Short Story

Writing with Boys

Excellence in Children’s Literature (Which is a study of some of the lesser known book awards for kids)

You can find out more about my educator classes with Seattle Pacific SPIRAL here. 

(Once you click on the link above and it takes you to Seattle Pacific University’s website, look under Curriculum and Instruction to find my classes)

 

 

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Writing and Resistance: Overcoming Your Blocks to Success

I am teaching Writing and Resistance: Overcoming Your Blocks to Success as an online class at the Loft Literary Center. It starts on March 7 and runs until April 4. This is a low stakes class meaning there is not a lot of outside class time work and it’s priced accordingly.  Registration is open here.

You’ve got a great idea for a story. You are working full speed ahead. Suddenly, everything grinds to a screeching halt. Commitments are screaming at you from all sides, you’ve got the flu and you just can’t get to your writing commitments. Stop. Don’t let fearful resistance block your success.

In this class, we’ll look at the ways resistance shows up in our writing life, the causes of resistance and how it blocks us. But more importantly, we’ll explore ways to fight the fear. Participants will create a plan of action for the next time that sneaky pest resistance shows up.

Hope to see some of you in class!

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