Sunday, January 29, 2012


Can't never could do anything. I've used that word a lot, but we need to erase it from our vocabulary.

I've said before that I couldn't write long books. I just can't write that many words. That is why I am best at writing picture books.

Today I was going through one of my piles of books in the doorway between our family and  living room. I pulled out one on writing and decided to glance through it once again. I came upon this chapter titled, Details Are What Make a Book Memorable.

It states that the filling in of details can be the difference in selling a book and one that won't catch the editor's eyes. You can overdo it, but more folks leave out the details than overwrite them.

I fit into that category. But, I admit I have read a few books where they go overboard on the descriptions, especially when they start describing the features of people, it just makes me roll my eyes and grin.

They gave examples in the book of good descriptive paragraphs. I decided to take can't out of my vocabulary and pull out my manuscript that I am editing for the umpteenth time and see what I could do with it. This manuscript is one that I am currently calling a novella, it is just shy of 30,000 words, which is a huge accomplishment for me. I am the one that loves to write picture books with less than 500 words.

It's working. After going through two of the chapters, I have added almost 500 words (that is the size of an entire picture book)! I know that is a drop in the bucket, but at least I am adding and I am making it more descriptive.

Give it a try. Check your manuscript for generic words and bland scenery and ordinary people. Use words to paint a picture in the minds of your readers and use as many senses as possible in your writing.

And most of all, start your manuscript with a hook! They have to be pulled into your story in order to read those wonderful descriptive paragraphs you have created. Make your first sentences unique. More on that in another post.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


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.

January 25th, 2012

Today when I went to the Thrift Store I found a copy of The Dot! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tweeting and Writing

The Erma Bombeck Writing Contest is open until Feb 14th. You can go here to read all about it and decide if you want to enter or not. Unfortunately, there is an entry fee this year. There are two categories - Human Interest and Humor. The winner in each category will receive a cash prize of $500.

I have entered this contest before and last year I was excited to receive an email after the contest was over. I didn't win, but competition coordinator emailed me to inform me about a comment one of the judges made about my story. She said she hoped the info would be helpful and constructive as I developed other stories. I thought this was very nice of her. I guess you could compare it to getting a nice rejection letter instead of a form rejection letter. 
I have not decided  if I will  enter this year or not since they added the entry fee. With only one cash winner in each category, I am not sure if I would have much of a chance.

I am still making changes to my new picture book manuscript. We had a writer's meeting and they liked the story and offered a few helpful suggestions. 

I have read a middle grade book titled, Turtle in Paradise, since I last blogged. It was recommended on another writer's blog site. It is a Newbery Honor Book and takes place in Key West, Florida in 1935. I love Jennifer Holm's style of writing. I love the characters in the book, especially the main character, Turtle. Here is a small snippet

     Folks have always told me that I look like Mama. My hair's brown, same as hers, but it's cut short in a bob with bangs, like a soup bowl turned upside down. Mama keeps hers long as a good dream,  because that's the way Archie likes it.
     Our eyes are different, though. I think the color of a person's eyes says a lot about them. Mama has soft blue eyes, and all she sees is kittens and roses. My eyes are gray as soot, and I see things for what they are. The mean boy on the porch has green eyes. Probably from all the snot in his nose.


In other news, I have joined Twitter. I am now able to Tweet!  
Click on the Twitter button on my side bar and follow me on Twitter.

As of yet, I have not Tweeted. 
Any of you out there have any suggestions on using Twitter?