As high as you can.
Zenith is the opposite of Nadir.
Figuratively, the zenith is how about 1500 bloggers are feeling right now. They've posted their final Z post and won the challenge for 2015.
In books, the zenith is the highest emotional point of the story. It's the point where everything is going right. If that point is in the beginning of the book, then be ready for a crash, or at least a collision. Something is bound to go wrong soon.
If the zenith is in the middle of the book, it's usually in conjunction with an anti-climax.
Let me detour a little : A climax or turning point normally has a crisis attached. Something is going wrong and the main character needs to take action to solve, fix, escape, or otherwise deal with the crisis. But if the main character is at an emotional zenith, then there isn't any visible crisis. Therefore the turning point is generally an anti-climax. After all, from a zenith, the only way is to go down.
OK, we're back. Did you enjoy that detour? Good. Moving on.
Often a main character at the zenith in the middle is feeling overconfident. "What could go wrong? My plan is perfect." That's when something is about to go wrong.
When the character is at a zenith at the end of a story, it usually means that a nadir was in the middle, or at the beginning of the story. I wrote about the Nadir, or "darkest moment" in my N post.
I guess what we see here is the need for balance. Also change. Think about it: if the character is at a Zenith all the way through the story, then you really have no story. Or if you do, then it's awfully flat.
What's your zenith?
Today, I have Maria Bostian doing my Y post. She's the author of What Should Daisy Do? and she wrote a poem about safety for my post today, PLUS some activities and safety questions.
I'm so thrilled to have her visiting on my blog. Like Maria, I think fire safety is sooo important, and we need books like this to help open the conversation about being more safety aware.
OK, enough babbling on my part. Read on for all the Goodies Maria has for us today.
Y is for: Say, “YES” to Fire Safety –
If this post is too opinionated for you, check out my Revealing ReFoReMo guest post.
When I was in college, I took a class required for a degree in Elementary Education. Even though I wasn't going into that field, I took it to fulfill a general education requirement.
After expounding on the woes of society and how children today (back then) sometimes don't have parents in the home, the teacher asked rhetorically, "So why is it so important for teachers to help children learn morality?"
To the delight of the teacher, one student (not me) answered, "Well, if we don't, who will?"
At the time I lacked the maturity to debate the class, so I stayed silent. But it just felt wrong.
The fact is, the wrong questions were being asked. It's not a matter of who will, but a matter of who SHOULD teach the child morality and ethics. Lessons on morality and ethics should be taught in the home where family values cannot only be taught, but practiced.
The farther society drifts from upholding traditional family values, the more it will cripple itself. It's like breaking the foundation of your house and then trying to patch it up with duct tape.
It's not going to work.
That's my opinion, anyway. What's yours?
Can I Hook an Agent with a Question? (A rhetorical blog of questions)
Is it possible to make a point by not only answering every question with a question, but also taking this argument to the point to absurdity in this very blog post?
Do you want to see if I can do it?
For example, isn't the top complaint of most agents that there are too many questions in pitches and queries? If not the top, isn't it at least in their Top Ten list of pet peeves?
Would you start your novel with a rhetorical question? Why then would you start your query with one? Did I just give some of you a writers a challenge? Do you think it was unintentional? Why do you think I'm writing this blog in all questions?
Wouldn’t you like to hear about some of the kinds of questions agents especially hate? Aren’t you going to keep reading to find out? Don’t you hate it when people insert the opinion they think you should have into a question? Wouldn’t you like to yell at the author and say, “That’s not how I feel at all”? Didn’t you probably yell out the computer just now? Wouldn’t you rather I had just showed you an example and let you decide how to feel about it? Shouldn’t you do the same thing in your query?
Who likes to be told what to do? Do you? Do you think that any reader, agent, or editor likes to be told what to do? Isn’t even worse when you tell them how to feel? Isn’t it even more worse when you tell them how to feel and hide it in a question? Wouldn’t it be better if you just told them about your book and let them decide whether to be interested in it?
When are questions weak hooks? When do questions distract from the story? When do they become about the reader instead about the story? Does it unnecessarily repeat information you’ve already given? Is it an unanswerable question? Is the answer too obvious?
What if your question doesn’t have anything to do with your book? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to delete it? And what about jokes? Is it a good idea to break the ice in your query with a joke? If you were trying to get someone to go to a thriller, why would you waste your time telling them a silly joke? Even if you were trying to convince them to go to a comedy, wouldn’t you want them to know what was in the movie instead of what was in your head at the time?
What if you’ve written a satire? Would sarcastic questions be a classy way to introduce it? Can pigs watch an airplane fly over their heads? How many sarcastic remarks have you seen translate well into print? Can you write sarcastically without cuing the reader that you’re doing it? In any case, wouldn’t that be a pretty big risk?
Don’t you know you only have the reader's attention for 3 seconds? Do you really want to send them on a mind-wandering tangent during those precious seconds?
So, should you delete all your questions and never include them in my query? Doesn’t the presence of the word “never” answer this question? Is anything really “never” done well? Can’t you put a question in that is a strong hook, helps clarify the story, and keeps the reader wanting more? Wouldn’t that then be question you’d want to include in your query? If you do put in a question, though, shouldn’t you ask a critique partner (or several) before submitting?
What are strong questions in queries? Aren’t queries supposed to be about your manuscript for the reader? Can you craft a good rhetorical question that fits the bill? Can a pelican hold more in its beak than its belly can?
Should I tie this all together? Do you want me to stop with all these questions? How about a question that is disguised as a statement. That would be refreshing, right?
I used to tie those sweet little ropes into two - almost three - knots, but now it seems you can hardly get one knot in!
The other day I picked up a package of gummy worm minis. I know they said, "mini" but they could hardly be called worms. They were more like gummy maggots.
I mean at least when York mini-fied their peppermint patties, they call them "drops." And while we're on the subject, I am really glad I've never seen chocolate flavored Tic Tacs because they are the same size and shape as deer scat. My two-year-old would seriously get confused.
What candy is smaller than you remember?
I think it's absurd.
First, building my child's self-esteem is MY JOB as a mother. A teacher's job, in my opinion, is to instruct my child in academics (i.e. math, reading, writing, physical education, and science) and expose my child to subjects she may elect to specialize in (e. g. art, music, sports, etc.). Report cards are one way teachers can communicate with me how well my child is demonstrating a knowledge of the concepts being taught.
If my child is attaching self-esteem to his grades, regardless of whether he's getting As or Fs, then I have failed, not the teacher.
But if the report card is full of the equivalents of Es (as in my child is demonstrating effort), that tells me NOTHING about what she has actually learned! How can I help my child work on her timetables, for example, if the note on the report card says: "Demonstrates a lot of effort and is approaching grade level." This sends the message that my child's doing fine, when really what should probably happen is some extra math practice at home.
When my child enters the workforce, he will find that the most skilled applicants get the jobs. And if they are not competent enough to do the job, then they are let go. This should not be a blow to his self-esteem, but an encouragement to find the job best suited to his skills. Or at least gain the skills necessary to get and keep the job.
That's why I think we should throw out the Es and go back to a more traditional grading system. Those who can demonstrate that they know all the concepts get the A, and those who can't demonstrate at least a 50% understanding get the F.
I know one of the arguments against this post is that for many children, the teacher is the only trusted parent figure in their lives. Well, that's for tomorrow's post.
OK, so that's not exactly what Yoda said, but I like Donuts, so why not?
Now, spelling purists will choose a more proper doughnut over a casual donut, but I'm lazy today, OK?
As a American as the Hot Dog, Donuts has a fun past full of stories. I did a little research for this post and found some facts and myths on the Smithsonian Website that are begging to be in picture books.
So you never know where inspiration will strike. Have you ever found inspiration in an unexpected place? and more importantly
would you like a donut?
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)