Category Archives: Uncategorized

Duck Soup is going virtual!

Duck Soup will be moving to an entirely online format in the near future! This will allow us to invite more people from all over the US and those who may not be available at our usual meeting times.

At first, Crystalee was worried about the change, but now she’s excited for the new format. Although face-t0-face critique groups have their place, the online format opens many new exciting doors for us.

Stay tuned for more details!


5 Reasons Why Angeline Jellybean is the Perfect Easter Gift

5 Reasons Why Angeline Jellybean is the Perfect Easter Gift (Cross Posted on Crystalee’s Blog

Don’t forget that April 12th is Easter! In honor of Easter, I bring to you the 5 Reasons Why Angeline Jellybean is the Perfect Easter Gift:

1. Books last longer than candy.
2. Slipping Angeline Jellybean into your child’s Easter basket might act as a gentle warning before they tear open and devour all of their jellybeans and chocolate.
3. The vivid illustrations by Stephen Macquignon conjur up thoughts of spring.
4. Easter morning can become a time for learning about all holidays throughout the year as your kids read about Angeline.
5. At $9, it’s more for your buck than fake Easter grass and dyed wicker baskets.

You can find Angeline Jellybean on and at the 4RV Store.

Happy Easter, everyone!


(This post has been cross-posted at Laurie’s blog.)

I’ve been wrestling the POV monster.

I haven’t given up yet.

And I am going to beat it in the end.

Here are a few of the problems.

1.) POV fashion (illustrated with seventies denim)
There are at least nine different POV positions a writer can choose to employ (see blockquote below). These fall in and out of fashion. If you use a POV from a distant time and place you will stand out just as glaringly as if you wore purple, bell bottomed, hip huggers in 2009 (that’s my today).

You will stand out glaringly in both cases even if you are “correct.” Out of style, clean, $400., snazzy jeans are still out. Out of style, perfectly written, mistake-less POV is still out. It will not allow the reader to submerge him or herself into the story (unless the reader is a rare bird who reads Dickens for pleasure – me).

Worse, out of style dirty, cheap, ugly jeans will get you avoided. Out of style POV riddled with mistakes will get you avoided. That is, your story won’t get read.

2.) POV troubles (illustrated with English grammar)
Just as William Safire opened my eyes to the gray of English Grammar, my POV research has opened my eyes to the gray of POV. In English grammar “gray” means that grammarians do not always agree with one another. For example, even though it is logically obvious to person A (me) that it is rare to shut a door “tightly” — and you’d look pretty darn funny doing it, person B can not imagine a door that is shut “tight” — or closed firmly against the frame. Because when comparing the sentences “Shut the door tight” and “Shut the door tightly,” the second sentence sounds more grammatically correct. As in “Walk slow” and “Walk slowly.”

All people who speak play with grammar every day, and as a speaker of English I have my own set of personal preferences. I’d like to choose “Shut the door tight” AND “Walk slowly.” In fact, were I talking only for my own pleasure, those would be MY sentences. However, since I usually talk to communicate with others, I find that it is important to adjust my sentences for optimal communication.

In the same way it is important to adjust POV for optimal reader immersion. (Even if you’d like to write in second person and direct the whole world as though ’twere a stage, you’d better stick with current POV fashion. [2nd person ha ha intended])

3.) POV difficulties
It’s darn hard to write without making POV mistakes. In the same way as it’s darn hard to dress without making a fashion faux pas, and it’s darn hard to speak without making grammatical mistakes.

So – I wish us all good luck and great proof readers.

Below is a blockquote of several POV choices, the most fashionable of which nowadays appears to be a variation on 3rd person limited.

Links appear below the POV list.


This chart is taken from the Writing Gym

First Person Subjective
Narrator inside, other characters outside

First Person Objective
Narrator outside, other characters outside

First Person Collective
Group inside, other characters outside

Second Person
Focus character inside, other characters outside

Third Person Omniscient
All characters inside and outside

Third Person Limited Omniscient
Focus character inside and outside, other characters outside

Third Person Limited Subjective
Focus character inside, other characters outside

Third Person Limited Objective
Focus character outside, other characters outside

Third Person Objective
All characters outside

Here are some informative links:

Odyssey POV podcast

POV fashions

Switching POV scene to scene

Choosing a POV checklist

Good 1st and 2nd persons POV Overview

Good 3rd person POV Overview

Anne Mini on POV

Difference between omniscient POV and “head jumping”

Deep POV

More Deep POV

The Debate over One Space or Two?

We at Duck Soup want to know, how do you do it? After a period between your sentences, do you use one space or two?


“Use one space after all punctuation, including periods, question marks, exclamation points, and colons. Putting two spaces after these marks of punctuation is a convention that evolved because typewriters were equipped only with monospaced fonts, which made it difficult to see where sentences ended. Professional typographers have always used only one space because they use proportionally spaced fonts, which do not require the extra spaces in order for a series of sentences to be readable. Because most of the fonts in today’s word processing software programs are proportional, in other words, we do not need to put an additional space after end punctuation or colons when we use our computers to compose. ”

Some people still prefer the old school way. We want to know what you think. 🙂

Dr. Seuss day at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum!

If you’re in the Pittsburgh area and have kids, you may want to drop by this fun annual event at the Children’s Museum, 10 Childrens Way,  this Saturday!

The schedule of events:

12:00-3:00 (Lobby)
RIF Pittsburgh Welcome Table

Sign up for RIF Pittsburgh’s Mailing List and enter into a chance to
win one of 3 great Dr. Seuss Themed Gift Baskets. Each Basket has an
estimated value of $60.00. One “Riffle” ticket per family please.
“Riffles” will be drawn at 2:30, WINNER MUST BE PRESENT.  Please
listen for your name over the Museum pager system and come to the RIF
welcome table to redeem your prize.

12:00-3:00 (Theatre)
RIF Pittsburgh Book Give Away

Join Reading Is FUNdamental Pittsburgh in the theatre where each child
who is present
can choose a free, age appropriate, new book while supplies last.

Once Upon A Toon with Joe Wos (Theatre)
Join resident museum cartoonist, Joe Wos for special interactive show!

12:00-3:00 (Grand Hall)
RIF Pittsburgh Craft Tables

Join volunteers from Pittsburgh Literacy Americorps  in the Grand
Hall, where each child will have the opportunity to make fun Cat in
the Hat themed crafts including: Daisy Head Mayzie “hats”, Cat
“masks”, Cat “puppets”, and plant your own Daisy!

STORY TIMES 12:00-3:00 (Theatre)
Join special guest readers in the Theatre for special “Cat in the Hat”
stories with special appearances by the Cat in the Hat himself!
12:00 Story Time
2:00 Story Time
3:00 Story time

(Crystalee will be reading during one of the storytimes!)

2:30 (Lobby)
RIF Pittsburgh will draw names for the 3 RIFFLE baskets
, listen for
your name and claim prize from the RIF Pittsburgh information table.

Hope to see you there!

Something we can do . . .

Most people who are concerned with children’s books and publishing have been following the recent developments with the child safety act.

Libby Koponen author of Blow Out the Moon (LOVE this book!) has drafted a letter we can print and send to our congresspeople.

Please take advantage of her letter. We all know how to copy/paste, click print, sign our names, stamp and address an envelope, and drop a letter in the mail box.

Maybe if we send out some actual tactile missives we can catch the attention of our representatives.

Here is the link:
Libby’s Letter

Excited about our first meeting! Plus, update!

Just an update:

The very first meeting of Duck Soup will take place next Tuesday, March 10th at 5:00 PM. We have changed venues. We will be meeting at Bruegger’s Bagels at 411 7th Ave., Downtown Pittsburgh. It just seemed more convenient for the downtown-working gang.

If anyone is interested in participating, please drop us a line at 🙂