Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How do you like to edit?

I like to edit.

My favorite way to edit is to print a chapter off at a time (or entire manuscript if it is a picture book), and read over it. I find so many more errors on the printed page than on the computer screen.

When we're going places, my husband usually drives, so I will take my printed pages with me and edit while in the car.

Or, like this morning, I will take it with me when I go for a walk and read and edit while I walk. It is especially nice early in the morning before the sun gets too hot. Just remember to watch your step! It makes the walk go a lot quicker, too. Getting out in the sunshine is much better than sitting and staring at the computer.

My pages I took with me this morning are filled with lots of chicken scratches. I am now ready to retype it on the computer.

How do you edit?

On another topic. I recently celebrated a birthday.

My son presented me with this. . .

It is for $50 and I am now doing a happy dance. So many books. . . any suggestions?

Monday, June 21, 2010

West Virginia Folk Festival

I went to the West Virginia Folk Festival in Glenville, on Saturday. I was invited by Granny Sue to read in the Story Telling Tent.

I'm glad I accepted her invitation. My husband and I had a wonderful time.

I read excerpts from some of my stories I had written.

My favorite part was when some of the children present helped act out my story, Maizy and the Shiny Black Crows.

These children had a great time portraying Maizy and the farmer.

Even the adults got in on the act. I didn't know my husband was such a good actor. I think he missed his calling. Not only did he do a good Maizy, I also learned he can sound just like a crow. The other man, Hugh, did a great job as the farmer.

We also talked about superstitions and folklore. I read a piece I had written called, I Admit It, I Am Superstitious and read a small excerpt from Lucy, which deals with superstitions.

People in attendance added to the conversation, telling about their own superstitions and folklore.

It was hot! But a rain cooled the air just before we left to go back home.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Writing Workshop Info

I attended a picture book workshop conducted by children's author, Cheryl Ware. But if you are not a picture book writer, please read on, I think the information will help you with any genre of writing you choose to write.

Here is a group picture of the attendees of her workshop. Cheryl is the tall lady in the middle, I am in the pink shirt beside of her.

I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop. She came with a pile of picture books to share with us. She read a few of her favorites.

She told us something that I think is very hard to do. She said to find the holes in the market - find what hasn't been written. I think this applies to all genres of writing, don't you?

She showed us some books that she stated when she first saw them, she didn't think they were the greatest. But when she read them to small children, they loved them!

They shouted out answers when she read the text to them!
They became involved in the reading!
They wanted it read over and over again!

I think that is what we want to accomplish with any of our books. We want our reader to become involved with the story and for them to want to read it over and over again.

One of her favorite books : THE DOT
If you write picture books, but haven't read this one, go to the library and check it out.
It is so simple, yet so good!

Some very good advice from her:

Start your story on a day that something is different in their life.
Ending should be expected, but a surprise.

As you can see, I think you can take this information and apply it to whatever type of writing you do, whether it be for adults or children.

Some of Cheryl's published books are:

Flea Circus Summer,
Venola in Love, and
Venola the Vegetarian

Her stories introduce you to Venola May Cutright, a spunky 11 year old girl.

I hope you read something from this post that will help you with your writing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Behind The Scenes of a Publishing Company

There's a big red wall at Candlewick Publishing Company.

They have an office dog.

There is a tray on Kaylan Adair's desk. . . the top tray has very urgent papers, the middle tray has urgent papers and the bottom tray has somewhat urgent papers.

And then there is the SLUSH Pile. . . Ms. Adair's definition of a SLUSH Pile is - Things That Are Not Solicited. Sorry, they do not currently accept unsolicited manuscripts.

On Tuesdays they have Production Meetings.

On Thursdays they have Picture Book Meetings.

On Thursday mornings they have a Cover's Meeting.

When searching for an illustrator for a picture book, they narrow it down to three choices, then they show their choices to the author.

Sketches arrive.

Final Art arrives and they spread them out on a table. Everyone gathers to look at them. They are scanned and put into layouts.

Kaylan has worked on more than 100 titles.
She looks for well written stories with interesting characters, strong unique voice and lots of heart.

She says for a Picture Book it takes 2-3 yrs from signing the contract with the author until the book hits the shelf.
For a Novel it takes 18months to 2 years. It all depends on how smoothly everything goes.

I attended her workshops at our writer's conference over the weekend. Those attending have until Sept. 13, 2010 to send a manuscript to her.

Now, all I have to do is decide what to send her, write it really, really good and then keep my finger's crossed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Writer's Conference Almost Here!

The West Virginia Writer's Conference is this weekend!

I must be thinking about it a lot, because I dreamed about it last night.
It wasn't a dream I would repeat before eating breakfast, though. I'm a little superstitious and I didn't want it to come true.

Did you ever have one of those dreams where everything went wrong and you couldn't wait to wake up?

I was a mess in my dream. I arrived there late, didn't remember to register, forgot my manuscript I was going to bring and phoned home and asked my son to find it on my computer and bring it to me (that's a laugh, I would probably still be waiting on it after the conference was over).

Was I glad when I woke up. And I've already had breakfast, so I don't have to worry about it coming true. I'm really not that superstitious, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

I still haven't memorized my pitch and probably won't. I'll have it all typed out and with me (unless I forget it) so I can glance at it when I'm having one of those senior moments.

I hope the ringing in my ear is gone by the weekend. I've had it for almost a month now and finally went to the doctor on Monday. He said I have alergies, lots of fluid in my ear (which he thinks is what is causing the ringing) and has me on three different medications. It sounds like I have a swarm of insects singing in my ears!

I think the way I am right now, I would make a good character to write about in a story. The funny lady with the ringing ears that is driving her and everyone else around her crazy.

On another note, I am very lucky! I only live a few miles down the road from our annual West Virginia Writer's Conference. It takes place in beautiful Cedar Lakes.

I will be attending several workshops given by Kaylan Adair of Candlewick and Cheryl Ware a children's writer from West Virginia.

Wish me luck, silent ears and calm nerves when I make my pitch.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I've Been Busy

I've been busy lately and haven't had the chance to post as much as I would like.

I have been writing and rewriting on a manuscript I'm pitching at the West Virginia Writer's Conference next weekend. I am beginning to get a little burned out.

So, I've had to stop and relax every now and then.

We've been to see the Moth Man!

We're in the process of watching 3 families of robins hatch, grow up . . .

and venture out into the big world on their own.

We've survived a ferocious hail storm . . .

and a graduation.

We've been walking up country roads to hidden cemeteries. . .

and took time to enjoy a visit from the Ice Cream Truck!

All I want to do now is just sit and relax for a while under the apple trees. . .

because on Friday I have to cook for a church dinner and on Saturday we have our Family Reunion! And next weekend is the West Virginia Writer's Conference!

So, what have you been doing lately?