Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Writing Stories and Getting Ideas

I love writing stories and getting ideas.

Usually writing picture books requires a lot of writing and editing as other stories do, but this week an idea came to me and I wrote.

I read picture books a lot and it seems that the simplest ideas and short texts are very popular. I sometimes tend to get wordy and go into too much detail. This story, however, has only two main characters and it is rhyming. I know, I know they say don't submit rhyming books! Editors don't want to see them! Well, I did it anyway. Unfortunately, writers can be stubborn.

Children love rhyming books and you see them on the shelves all the time. I tried to write this story so the publishers would not cringe, wad it up and throw it at the trash can! The rhymes were right on, there were no "almost rhymes" (which editors don't like to see), but I had to work on the rhythm a lot. That's where I have most of my trouble, getting the rhythm just right.

I used to think if I got the syllables the same, it was right. Wrong! I'm learning that syllables and rhythm are two different things entirely.

I almost gave up on it and quit. But, I didn't! I put it aside a few nights ago, went to bed and started fresh the next day. I didn't think I could do it, but I finally got the rhythm right (at least I think I did). I also emailed it to a poet friend of mine and asked about the rhythm. She offered a couple of very good suggestions and brought a smile to my face. After reading it aloud again and again (thanks, hubby, for being my sounding board), I also changed a few boring verbs to better verbs and I am happy with the end result.

It is short and sweet (only 221 words), but I have faith in it.

Did a story or idea ever come to you and you just loved the result.? Thought it was meant to be?

This is one of those stories. I really like it, now let's hope the judges do, too.

I also rewrote one of my older picture books and entered it into the WVWriters Competition, too. One of the things I did was take out characters that didn't need to be there (Even though I loved those characters). This is another one of my manuscripts that I think is meant to be. I also added a concept to the story, I added the days of the week.

In all, I sent out five entries to the WVWriters Competition. Wish me luck that at least one places. We'll find out in June.

I think, in the meantime, I will send out my new picture book to a publisher, also. I haven't sent to publishers lately and I have to remedy that situation.

Anyone been sending out stories lately? Anyone been cutting and slicing and getting rid of clutter? Anyone been inspired with an idea? If so, go for it. It may be your next accepted piece.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reception and Reading of Poetry

Last night my husband and I drove down the WV Turnpike to Concord University. We drive the turnpike all the time in the summer when we go on vacation, but yesterday was absolutely the worse trip on the turnpike I had ever been on.

It is one of those highways where the speed limit keeps changing, the lanes keep changing from two to three and back to three again, curves and steep hills abound and crazy drivers are all around.

We survived the turnpike and arrived about one half hour before the reception and reading of the poems began.

My poem got accepted in the winter edition of Holler. Mr. McKenna was in charge of the reception and he was so nice. The reception was in the State Room at Concord.

I stepped forward and volunteered to read my poem first. I must be getting better, I wasn't nervous at all. I told a little about myself and my writing and read I Am From Appalachia.

Afterward Mr. McKenna posed for a picture with me.

Eric Fritzius was a familiar and friendly face in the audience. He is a member of West Virginia Writers. Here we are in front of the refreshment table.

Concord University has a beautiful campus. When we walked out to the parking lot last night we took a picture of the 48 bell carillon. Isn't it pretty lit up at night?

We had a good time. Wish you could have been there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

I heard the peepers! Oh, what a sweet sound.

The crocus have sprung from the earth!

They were a sight for sore eyes!

The robins flew overhead!

What more could you ask for on a beautiful day in March?

It was even pretty enough to sit outside on the porch and watch for the mailman.

I am going to enjoy this while it lasts, because I am sure the cold and snow will return and cover the crocus and chill the red breasted robins.

Have you seen the first flowers or robins of spring?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Writing, Writing, Writing

I have been writing a lot lately. Mostly editing and adding words to my manuscript Lucy of Tupper's Hollow.

I love this story, but it needs to be made longer and that's what I've been doing for the past week, going through it chapter by chapter and adding more content.

I want to get it good enough so I can start submitting it to publishers.

If you noticed on my sidebar, the poem I submitted to Holler got accepted and it is in the Winter 2010 edition of that publication! Since I don't really consider myself a poet, that email was a surprise and made me very happy. I've been invited by them to a reception and reading of poems on March 18th. I figured, why not, and emailed them that my husband and I would attend.

The deadline for the WVWriters Spring Writing Competition is drawing near, I have to decide which stories I will submit to the contest.

The convention is going to be great this year, they are having a lot for children's writers.

There will be pitch sessions with Peter Lynch of Sourcebooks, Inc. and one on one children's book critique sessions with Kaylan Adair of Candlewick Press.

You can go here for more information on the WVWriter's Annual Conference at Cedar Lakes.

I'm looking forward to the conference this year.

Soon, I hope to announce about something else I've written being accepted. So stay tuned, I'll hopefully let you know about it in a few days.

Keep writing and sending in, that's the only way to succeed at being published.