Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Barn Prompt

I love old barns!

I take pictures of them all the time.

Many of my followers have works in progress. But for those of you who do not have anything you are currently working on, I thought I would post this picture of an old barn to give you inspiration.

Use your imagination, which is one of the best tools a writer has.

I can see the makings of a poem.
I can see the start of a mystery.
I can see a short story set in the past.

It can provide a descriptive setting for a historical fiction MG novel.
It can inspire a barnyard picture book.

Have fun, and if you have the time. . . write about the barn, or include it in your work in progress.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Writing Picture Books

We took a trip to Parkersburg last week and I went in Borders. I checked out with this book.

I love it! Here are pictures of the table of contents. Click on the pictures and you will be able to read it.

There are quotes throughout the book, the one in the prologue reads:

I love revisions. Where else in life can spilled milk be transformed into ice cream?
---Katherine Patterson

My son wonders why I keep revising my stories. He thinks the first draft should be the final draft. But completing the draft is only the beginning of the writing process.

I am still reading this book and I have learned a lot from it. I am using her advice and going over my picture books I have already written and revising them yet again.

She mentions the 6 Ws:
Who is your main character? The main character must come on the scene first.
What does your character want? What is the main character's problem, goal or conflict?
When is your story taking place? Give hints indicative of the time period.
Where is your story taking place? City, country, suburbs, farm, etc.
What is the tone of your story? By careful selection of words, you let them know if it is going to be sad, happy, serious, etc
WOW! Whether it be with a word or a phrase, early in the book you must hook the reader

As you can see by the table of contents above, the book covers a lot of territory. Some people think writing a picture book is easy, but it is far from it. You have to pick the right story and the right words.

Every word only has to be perfect ---- Ursula Nordstrom

The book has a section on Rhyming Books. Children love poetry, but publishers want the rhythm and rhyme to be perfect. Every word must move your story forward and the rhyme pattern must be consistent. Unless you are very good, this is hard to do and the editors will be sending your manuscript into the slush pile never to be seen again.

The first line of a poem is a hawk which won't let go of its prey. ---Gabriel Preil

If you love writing picture books, create a fabulous first line and start writing.

If you are serious about writing picture books, I recommend this Hands-On-Guide.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Writing Goals

Have you been keeping your writing goals this year?

If you noticed, I've put on the side bar of my blog what I've done so far in January and February of this year.

I have kept my first goal of sending out at least one story a month to publishers.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I got an email today asking for the full manuscript of my story The Family Secret. The editor was very interested.

This is a first for me and I am very excited.

So, it's like I've always said, and told myself many times, our stories aren't going to get considered by publishers if they remain on our hard drive and we don't send them out.

So get out your manuscripts from the deep recesses of your computer and submit. What have you got to lose?

This weekend will be a good time to stay in out of the cold and write, another snow storm is on the way.