Wednesday, February 26, 2014


IMAGINATION: The ability to imagine things that are not real. The ability to think of new things. Something that only exists or happens in your mind.

EXAMPLE: Use your imagination and let your writing soar to places it has never been before.

QUOTE: Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try. Dr. Seuss

Imagination is something a writer uses daily, even in writing non-fiction.
Readers also use their imagination.

The writer creates characters, settings and new worlds when they write their manuscripts. The readers then get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Your writing takes them into another time and world. They get to visit other places, magical or real, without ever leaving their home.

Writing is a labor. It takes hard work, along with our imagination. But, I consider writing a labor of love!

I use my imagination and stories about my ancestors 
to create works of fiction - and non-fiction.

How do you use your imagination?

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

Friday, February 21, 2014


I was sailing the internet visiting blogs, when I came upon this list.
Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results.
Go to the above link and click on each title and read about them.

These are books suitable for a wide range of ages.

I have read many on the list, including:

Charlotte's Web
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Because of Winn-Dixie (my favorite!)
Bridge of Terabithia
Little House on the Prairie
Ramona the Pest
Sarah, Plain and Tall (another one of my favorites!)
The Boxcar Children
A Long Way From Chicago (I must confess, another favorite!)
Out of the Dust
The Indian in the Cupboard

We could make a list of our own.
What are some of your favorite chapter books for children?

Why do I like to read - and write?
It takes me on adventures to other places and times.

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


SPECIFIC: Clearly defined or identified

EXAMPLE: In order to be specific you need to come to the point, go into detail, put a finger on, pin down and be precise.  :o)


I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific. Lily Tomlin

To make your writing shine, use specific words when you write.

Did she walk or did she tiptoe, prod or prance?
Were her eyes just blue or were they sapphire or steel gray?
Did he drive a vehicle or a Ford F-150 or a scarlet mustang?

Use specific color, shape, taste, smell, touch, walk, etc. words in your writing.

They say we should write using all of our senses, but writers often don't use taste and smell words enough in their writing.

Here are a few taste and smell words for you to consider:

alkaline, bland, crisp, dank, earthy, fresh, gaseous, hot, musty, overripe, piney, raw, sour, stinky, tempting, vinegary

Can you add more to the list?

Mama Bird told Papa Bird to build her a nest in a hidden area. 
She should have been more specific!

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


WORD: (n) a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed


Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools. Napoleon Bonaparte

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action. William Shakespeare 

What is a writer without words? Stitch together wonderful words and you create a story.

I just found a really neat site that I am going to bookmark and I am sure I will go back to often: 

I looked up my name (Smart) on the site.  Wow! I never knew that humble little word could be used in so many ways. Go over and put a word in the search window at the top of the page and see what comes up. It can be a little overwhelming and very helpful.

Do you know what the 100 most used words are? Click here to find out.

Have you ever heard of six-word stories? There is actually a site for them. Find it here. Go check out the ones submitted and get inspired. Your six-word story can be a prompt that leads to writing an entire novel.

Here are a a couple of my bad six-word stories:

Bird drops seed. A tree grows.
A tree falls, creating housing crisis.

Do you have a six-word story you would like to add?


let your words soar like a seed in the wind and see what develops 

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

ible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.


Monday, February 10, 2014

MMGM - sleuth or dare Partners in Crime

sleuth or dare Partners in Crime 
by Kim Harrington
Scholastic 2012

. . . is the latest book I've read.
I obtained this book from the Kellogg's Family Rewards Program.

Both girls are smart, but Darcy and Norah are different as salt and pepper. Darcy dresses in black and purple, lives and breathes the internet and computers and gets in trouble on a regular basis. Norah is a goody-goody and loves to help people. They have to create a fake business for a school project, but they don't want to do the ordinary like dog walking or pet sitting.  They decide to set up a website for their fake business - a detective agency called Partners in Crime.

To their surprise, their fake agency gets an email about a real case. Someone wants them to find their twin sister. They jump on the chance to solve a real mystery. Along the way, they get threats from someone who doesn't want them to solve the case. But, that only makes them more determined.

If you like mysteries, this is a fun read of only 29,944 words that I think kids will enjoy reading.

Want to read reviews on other middle grade books?
Follow the links on Shannon Messenger's Blog.

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

Read What You Write

You have heard it before. Read what you write.

Where do you get all these books you are supposed to read?

Of course, you can buy them at the book store or at Amazon, but that can get expensive.

You can check them out at the library.

You can buy them at thrift stores and yard sales.

You can trade books with your friends.

You can receive children's books by saving codes from Kellogg's and Keebler products.

I have did all of the above.

I have received the following books by saving the codes 
and submitting them online at Kellogg's Family Rewards. 
So don't throw those boxes away before entering the codes.

The books are identified by the small Family Rewards logo on boxes.
You do not have to buy the products that say free books, because in the
regular rewards program, books are also on the list of items you can get.

I suggest you give it a try. What have you got to lose? And, you can gain a book - or two!

Do you read what you write? Where do you get your reading material?

Happy Writing!

Posted byJanet Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


LAZY: not inclined to work or exertion.

EXAMPLE: Lazy writers take the easy way out.


"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning."
Mark Twain

 "It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way." Ernest Hemingway

"Hard writing makes easy reading."
Wallace Stegner

We need to strive to not be lazy in our writing. Being lazy can mean many things.

Words matter. Don't use lazy words in our writing. Words such as: was/is/are/am, got, went, often, almost, felt, things, few, some, that, really, seemed

One way to get around using these words, is by using descriptive and specific words. 

She felt cold = she shivered in the harsh wind
She felt sick = the contents in her stomach churned and her head ached

We went to the store = he jumped onto his bike and sped to the store
She packed her things in the suitcase = she packed her pajamas and teddy bear into her small suitcase and walked next door to spend a sleepover at her best friend's house.
I got up = I stood up - I woke up   

Avoid passive writing. Describe the action, not the result. 

I try not to use ly words. How do you do that? By using powerful verbs.

A lazy writer could mean a writer who doesn't write. In order to succeed in your writing, you have to write. 

Don't think about it. Don't dream about it. Don't procrastinate. Don't wish.

Writing doesn't just happen. Writing comes from reading, practice, studying, editing and determination.

I might be classified as a determined writer. I am not the best writer, but I am determined to make my writing the best I can make it. If this means working on a story until I get it right, then I will continue to rewrite it until the story is the best I can make it.  I will not give up on it until I am satisfied.

 Don't by lazy. . .

Writing can be like this lump of coal. 
Add the right ingredients and watch it grow into something beautiful!

Do you have any suggestions to share?

Happy Writing.

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