Monday, October 29, 2012

Treasure in Books

I like quotes!

This is a good one!

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island....Walt Disney

What book are you currently reading . . . or writing?

I just finished Shades of Truth, a MG by Naomi Kinsman.

Now, I have until Wednesday to finish my column for Two-Lane Livin'.
I have titled it, Celebrate an Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

PiBoIdMo 2012!

Okay, who wants to join in on the fun?

Go to Tara Lazar's site and sign in before November 4th! and take the pledge.
See the cute little link on the top right side of my blog?
Don't you think Ward Jenkins did a great job on their logo?

I did this last year and was able to come up with 30 ideas in 30 days.

Those who register and take the pledge will be eligible for great prizes, such as:

Feedback from literary agents
Original sketches by picture book illustrators
Picture Book critiques from published authors
Signed picture books
Other cool stuff

Over at Tara's site there will be blog posts EVERY DAY  by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals to help inspire us to success at completing the challenge.

So join in on the fun!
If you are a writer, I hope you get inspired and join one of the special events taking place in November.

Novelists have NaNoWriMo
Picture Book Writers have PiBoIdMo!

Want to give it a try? Click on the logo and sign up. Who knows you might come up with a winning idea that turns into a spectacular picture book!

Leave a comment and wish me luck and I'll send good luck wishes right back at you.

Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we?  ~Terri Guillemets

How about you? Do you have any words of wisdom to share with my blogging friends?

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I've been nominated by Deb over at the Bumpy Road to Writing to participate in this WIP Blog Hop.

Rule number one: Answer all ten questions about you work - in - progress. Rule number two: Nominate five other writer friends who you know that have blogs or websites so they can join in the fun!

Okay, I am not known for following rules. I hate telling people what to do :o)

But, if you read this post and would like to do this little self-interview on your blog, then, I invite you, I would love for you to do this. 
Let me know, and I will link to your site

What is the title of your work - in - progress?
Presently, it is called Duck and Cover, but that may change.

Where did the idea for your book come from?  
I have no idea, it just came to me one day out of the blue. But it does take place in a time period when I was very young. I have this habit of writing stories that take place during the early or mid sixties.

What genre does your book fall under?
Middle Grade

What actors would you choose to play the characters in the movie rendition?
Oh my, I have no idea. I don't know that many child actors. I think a 12 year old Ronnie Howard would have been a good choice for one of the boy characters. But, (sigh), like us he is no longer 12 years old.

What is the synopsis of your book in one sentence?
A young boy, who has always been a loner, finds friends during the scarey fall of 1962.

What other book would you compare this work - in - progress to in your genre?
Sorry, I don't have an answer to this question.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I believe I finished it in a couple of months.

  Will this book be self - published or represented by an agency?
I hope to have it published the regular way.

  What inspired you to write this book?
All of my stories just come to me. Out of the sky, inspiration hits.

  What else about your book might pique your readers interest?
If you like historical fiction, grew up in the 1960s or like MG, I think you will like it. My main characters are three boys and a girl, so I think boys will be interested in the story.
Do you have a WIP? What genre does it fit in?  I'd love to hear about it in your comments.

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Finds

I have come across some neat books lately at the local thrift store and yard sales. . . and my mailbox!

My house is beginning to look  like a  library, without the shelves. I need shelves! Lots of them. The floor is getting a  little  crowded.

I got a package in the mail a few days ago. Wow! Four MG books written by Naomi Kinsman.
I think I am going to be reading for a while.

I like a quote of hers I found on her blog:
Dip your hands into life, scoop up memories, dreams, questions and ideas and weave them into stories - Naomi Kinsman

That is what I try to do with my writing.

 I found these poetry books at our local thrift store. 25 cents each. You can't hardly beat that price

 Here is a neat Curious George Book. This counting book doesn't just go up to 10, but to 100!

And last, but not least, a book by West Virginian, Gretchen Moran Laskas. 
I had been wanting to read this book.

I am anxious to get started! 
Decisions, decisions.
Which one do you think you would read first?

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Writing Picture Books

First off, a Big Happy Birthday to Rate Your Story! They are a great site for writers. They give out free critiques and this month they are celebrating and giving away weekly prizes. If you write for children, check them out. You won't be sorry.

Now, on to my post.
This is a test!

Writing a picture book is easy.   True or False
Writing a picture book can be done in a day. True or False
Anyone can write a picture book.  True or False

Okay, how did you answer?
Here are my answers:
I answer a definite False on the first question.
Writing a good picture book is just as hard as writing a good novel.

On the second question, I say True . . . but only the first draft.
But, your first draft is a long ways from being a finished manuscript.

On the third question, I say True. . . but not everyone can write a good picture book.

I have quite a few picture book manuscripts that I have written over the past few years.
I recently started working on one of them again. I thought this is a 'nice' bedtime story with counting thrown in to make it more interesting. But, it needed something else, I wasn't satisfied with it.

It needs to be a lot more than 'nice' to have a chance at getting published. There are, I am sure, lots of nice picture book manuscripts out there.

Yours has to shine, it has to be different, it has to pop!

I got feedback from critique partners and from a published children's writer.
The published children's writer kept pushing me to make it better and to make it more unique.
She mentioned other published picture books for me to look at and get ideas from.

I did and I changed it a little and I thought to myself, this is better.

She pushed me again and again, she said the ending is not right. I thought to myself, I like the ending, I don't know what else to do.
I thought about it some more, brought a newer version of it to my writing group, got more ideas, made more changes and thought, this is better, I really like this!

But, something was still missing. I still had to do something with the ending.
It came to me. . . the ending now has a twist! A small twist, but a twist.

Since I first wrote this manuscript over two years ago, it has went through three different titles and has been drastically changed. . . and it is much better!

I really, really like it now!

In order to write a good picture book, unless your first draft is fantastic, you can't be satisfied with a nice manuscript. You can't be satisfied with your first edit. You have to edit until it shines.

Keep pushing yourself until it is a great manuscript.

Now who wants to write a picture book?

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.