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Fan Mail

Cheryl's Musings: Fan Mail

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Fan Mail

Some of my fellow writers--writers in my critique group--receive fan mail. And I'm a wee bit jealous.

It's not that I want to be famous and have crowds of adoring fans. In fact, I was confused by my yearning for a "fan letter" because I'm not really the type to want fans. I mean, I go to an abbey for fun, one devoted to the practice of silence--and I'm not even Catholic! I'm recharged by silence and solitude and wide open skies and a lack of traffic noise. So what's up with me?

I think I've figured it out. It has to do with why I write for kids. It's certainly not for the money, although money's nice. It's not for wild fame, because, frankly, I'll probably be unhappy if I ever am wildly famous. It's because I want to share something with the kids of the world. I want the lonely ones to hear that loneliness has an end; I want the happy ones to have their joy redoubled; I want the ones who don't really like to read to get bowled over by an exciting story. I want to kindle a child's enthusiasm somewhere, so they'll start asking questions about their world. I want to touch people, make a difference. It's a weird compulsion, I guess, but it makes me happy.

So why the fan letter desire? I guess because I like hearing that people actually do read the stories and articles I write, and that they enjoyed them.

Luckily, I know enough kids who read Highlights and Cricket and Spider that I can fish for feedback :). And I'll let my critique group members deal with their crowds of adoring fans!


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At October 16, 2007 at 9:55 PM , Blogger The Once said...

Ok, I have yet to read anything of yours, but I persume after reading your eldest son's work, you are very proficent, and amusing as a writer...Soooo I shall give you um...friend-of-your-son-mail?

(How do you begin a friend-of-your-son-mail?)

Dear Mrs. Reifsnyder,
I think your writing tips are very good, and very interesting...I especially like the one that describes the writers waiting stage and how to avoid checking the mailbox often. The book reviews are fairly good, have you read any of William Sleator(sp?)? Very short books, but he has some very interesting ideas...Your lists (and other blerbs)are funny and have good wit.
-A crazed friend-of-your-son, lood luck with The Last Violin!

At October 16, 2007 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Hi crazy onion gud grammer and speeling girl :) -- I'm glad you like the writing tips. I'll definitely check out William Sleator. Wow, he's written a ton of books! How could I have missed him? Maybe I can bribe that eldest son to check one out from the school library for me, because I can't get to the main branch library tomorrow....

At October 17, 2007 at 10:22 PM , Blogger The Once said...

M-kay! Now, that I have an example of your work, I can write fan-mail!
(May I also critque?)

Onwards with oreo style! Having fun at your banquet, or the thing you are at tonight? Of course you are, why else would you be there, unless it is a mandatory meeting that is extremley boring...
First of all, I like the talking bear, Bartholomew is awesome. I like the way you get the reader to trust Doc, and then hate him I really want to read more now..(At least you didn't leave me hanging at the end of chapter 14...) Um...The combining of you scared the socks off of me and if I had a dime every time you did that on page 54, is kinda of awkward to read...I like the little bit of romance with Gwen and Alex, sort of Ok done critquing!
Have you read Andrew Clements Things not Seen? Its somewhat simalar to The Last Violin, but I think your story is much more intruging, you actually keep my attention unlike Clements, though some of his books are very good...Please tell me how you like The Last Universe, or send your eldest son to rally the messge if you dont feel like cloging up your blog. (oooh, rhyming!)Though it didn't change my life, I still think it is professional(of course, you want to get published, right?)..
-Still crazy friend-if-your-son, and I would also like to read the second part of TLV...

At October 17, 2007 at 10:54 PM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Hiya, onion girl :). Now I want to know--what books changed your life?

I haven't read that Andrew Clements book, tho I've read several of his others. Really love his stuff. Thanks for the comments...have to go look and see what happened on p. 54! I also haven't read any of The Last Universe tonight, because I've been cheering for my friend at the CO Book Awards Banquet. She didn't win (sigh.) She should have, IMO, although I hear the other book that did win was also amazing. It was more literary; Hilari Bell (my writing friend) writes SF and fantasy. Her book, Forging the Sword, was the last in the Farsala trilogy, which is amazing. Talk to you later--CR

At October 18, 2007 at 5:26 PM , Blogger The Once said...

Hola Mrs. Reifnysder!
Como estas? Estoy bien, y tu?
Oooooh, you know Hilari Bell (envy), lucky! I totaly envy you! I read only one book of hers...Wizards Test? I must read the Farsala(sp?) Trilogy now, as soon as I find that overdue book...Oh well, its too bad that she didn't win it must've been entertaining though. Um...Suppose A Week in the Woods(Andrew Clements, ironic, seeing how we were talking about him) changed my life because it got me thinking about writing a story, very life-changing because I used to hate writing...Um...One of the toddler Clifford book that are made out of cardboard, I remember liking Clifford quite dearly as a child...Um...I also think Artemis Fowl, I stayed up all night for the first time when reading that one...That's about it...I think they're might be more. Oh well! Oh and are you getting annoyed with the continuous calling on Skype I'll stop, just say the word. (I still want the second half of TLV, but there's no rush, just constant nagging reminders, :P) -Who else, but the crazed friend-of-your-son toodles!

At October 19, 2007 at 8:59 AM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Hola! (But I'm afraid that's about the extent of my Spanish...) I'm doing very well. Thanks for giving me more books to read. I read _The Last Universe Yesterday_, by William Sleator; very interesting. I love how he weaves science into the story. I didn't expect the ending at all. It was a fun read--I'll check out more of his books! I've also got those Andrew Clements titles on my wish list....About Skype--np. I actually sent the rest of TLV with R yesterday, but he didn't have a chance to give it to you. Hopefully he'll find you today! About Hilari Bell--isn't she awesome? I enjoyed Wizard Test, but I liked the Farsala books even more. My favorite is a series with only one book out, Shield of Stars. The other two are on their way. I got to critique earlier drafts of them and they're WONDERFUL. Goblin Wood and Matter of Profit are good too; haven't yet read Flame. Hmmm....I should add another blog element: book recommendations from fellow book fanatics. I could put all your recommends on it :) Later--Cheryl

At October 20, 2007 at 4:51 PM , Blogger The Once said...

Only hola? You must learn some Spanish Mrs. R.! Thank you, for taaking my reccomendation :) You really should add a Fellow Book Fanatic's Reccomendations, I would like to know what some of your writing group thinks...Oh, I really do need to find that school libary book, *needs to checkout Farsala Trilogy* Hm...I really do have a reading agenda to do this week...R really should give me TLV, but apparently he left it in his locker; wow, it sounds like a spy movie with all the screative laungage(sp?). -Who else but the wonderful, mystirical, awesome, grand, all-powerful, supreme, crazed, spanish-obsessed, hyper, OCD, werido friend-of-your-son, Adios!

At October 20, 2007 at 8:30 PM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

The book list is such a great idea, I had to add it immediately. Of course, it will get too long to include everything...I'll update it to include the latest favorites. Thnx! Cheryl


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