Monday, June 13, 2016

Picture Book Writing

I attended workshops over the weekend about writing picture books for children.

Marc Harshman - He is West Virginia's poet laureate and a picture book writer. And, he is a very nice person! Click here for his amazon page. Though I notice that there are a few books missing that he has written, including two of his latest, Mountain Christmas and One Big Family.

 Marc Harshman

Anna Egan Smucker - She is another West Virginia author who writes picture books. Click here for her Amazon page.

Ashley Teets - An illustrator from West Virginia. Click here for books on Amazon that she has illustrated.

One of Ashley's suggestions was to write with a lot of verbs.
We also did a drawing exercise where we closed our eyes and, with a crayon, made a doodle on a page. Open your eyes. Look at the picture from all angles. Draw a picture from your doodle. It just may be an inspiration for a new manuscript.

I drew a picture of a tortoise in a hurry. His head was stretched way out and he was really getting down the road. I see a picture book here. Harry, the Tortoise in a Hurry.  :o)

Anna, who always writes her first drafts in pencil, says to think in pictures.
Leave a space or draw a line when you think there will be a page turn.
Make sure enough happens in your story.
Try different ways to tell your story.

All of her books, except one, were sent out to publishers without using an agent!

I took the advantage of seeing these authors and got a few of my books autographed by them.

What am I going to do now?

I am going to go over my picture books - again.
I am going to make sure that my words (500 or less) provide enough opportunities for the illustrator to do his or her job.
And I am going to make sure there is enough going on in my story.

Hope you enjoyed my post.
Now get out your pencil and paper and write - or doodle.

Do you have any suggestions on writing picture books?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

It's Time for the West Virginia Writer's Conference

The year has flown by.

It is time for the West Virginia Writer's Conference held at Cedar Lakes, West Virginia.

It will take place June 10, 11, and 12th.

As usual, workshops that I want to attend overlap with each other. If only I could become two and attend two workshops at the same time.

I write mainly picture books and middle grade.
But I also love historical fiction and non fiction.

Hmmm, on Friday I need to choose between a picture book workshop with Anna Smucker and a workshop on historical fiction with Matthew Null.

On Saturday, I need to choose between a workshop on marketing by Michael Knost , Magazine Writing (Goldenseal) or go to a children publishing panel.

And I usually don't attend on Sunday, but there is a workshop that I would really like to attend that morning.  

Visual Story Telling for Children workshop with Ashley Teets.
The description for this workshop is:

 A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: The Art of Book Illustration and Visual Storytelling-- Want to write a children's book with illustrations?  Learn about the process of illustration, working with an illustrator and how a picture becomes a thousand words, literally. Also discover the best ways to pair your text with illustrations so as to present an aesthetically pleasing and successful flow of material for the reader. View children's books in the "raw form" and original artwork that eventually becomes the catalyst for delivering content to audiences. Bring your children's book manuscript for review and feedback!

After reading this, I think I have just made up my mind. I will be attending on Sunday.

Also, Cathy Teets of Headline Books will be offering pitch sessions on each day of the conference for authors with finished manuscripts seeking a publisher.

Time is short. Time to get ready.

I need to run off a poem and prose piece to put on the Writer's Wall.

I need to get my item (set of four scrabble tile coasters) ready for the silent auction table.

I need to run off copies of my picture book manuscripts to take (just in case).

I need to decide what I am going to bring for the snack table.

Are you going to a writer's conference this year?