Based on a true story…

I’ve read so many stories lately that are a true story. While I do like true stories the best true stories tend to be embellished… Like Grandpa’s whopper fish story. It’s way better when he adds ten inches and whole lot more hassle to reel it in. My point is true stories are exciting but…

Don’t ask me who has influenced me. A lion is made up of all the lambs he has digested, and I’ve been reading all my life. -George Seferis

Groceries & Characters

My grocery list is typically all groceries with a few extra items here and there. But those extra items and the groceries themselves tell a story. The whole list tells about my life. It tells my tastes, my eating habits, my faults, my milestones and my successes. I tend to write characters that don’t feel…

“Read, read, read. Read everything-trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.” -William Faulkner

What NOT to ask at a Writing Conference

I’ve been to a fair number of writing conferences over the years. There is nearly always open question time for a presenter or two. There is also always those one or two people that take over the time. They ask things like, “How do I get an agent?” or “How do I write a query…

The Math of Writing

Let me say that math was never my forte. I barely skimmed by in Algebra and for some reason I did great at geometry (still don’t know why). When I set out to write this post it occurred to me that writing can be shown as a form of math or presented within the parameters…

Page One… How to Start Your Story

I’ve seen the advice repeated over and over and over again: START WITH ACTION! Like books are: Lights! Camera! Action! Gimme a break. Books are not movies and that’s why we have both. They do different things. After listening to a dialogue from Agent Hannah Fergesen on Manuscript Academy, you don’t start with action… you…

Open to Suggestions… Right?

I’m not going to lie, anything about performing arts scares me. Ask me to talk to a room full of people about a topic I’m knowledgeable about sure thing- I got it. But ask me to act like something I’m not and bad things happen, and by bad I mean embarrassing. Flashing back to jr….

Not What I Meant To Write…

Well I touched on this in my last post but I signed my agent not for a fiction picture book but for a non-fiction kid’s cookbook. Huh? Yep… Now before you say, “Wait! You can’t write non-fiction!” Let me break it down for you. I’ve spent years honing my writing skills for brevity, clarity, and…

The Well of Creativity

I’ve been working on being creative for pretty much my whole life. In grade school I was “crafty.” In high school I was “weird.” Today I’m actually viewed as somewhat “cool.” Not sure how that happened… Mostly I’m thankful that I didn’t listen to those voices earlier in my life. My parents kept buying me…

Teamwork

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler After a whirlwind of excitement last week, which you can read about HERE, I’ve come to the full realization that I now have an even bigger team on my…

The Call!

I know I’m deviating from my regularly scheduled day but I can’t contain my excitement! I HAVE AN AGENT! I saw a #MSWL post asking for a kids cookbook proposal and freaked out. I’ve watched the #MSWL feed for three years and no one has ever asked for a kids cookbook. So I jumped on…

Query Letter Upgrade

I stumbled upon the best query letter advice in awhile through the Manuscript Academy. It’s called key selling points. Sounds super business fancy I know. But don’t let that freak you out. I’ll break it down for you super easy. If you want to watch the original clip or to see the whole video you…

Bullies vs. Cheerleaders

I’ve been blessed to join a new critique group of amazing ladies. If you are in a critique group you know it can be invaluable in so many ways. I try to have a writing group for each age category I write in if possible. This means I have my picture book pals, my middle…

3 books every writer needs

There are many reading lists out there for writers of all genres, shapes, and sizes. But I’m not here to reinvent the wheel. I’m here to simplify. Instead of giving you a long list of must-reads that will be overwhelmingly long on top of your already long to-read pile, let’s focus on just three books….

Bravery is Not a Feeling

Bravery is an action. You heard me. It’s what you do that gets you labeled brave. Your feelings are secret and no one knows you are quaking inside. To the world, you are doing something incredible. Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.      -Paulo Coelho Every time you write your story, your…

The Art of the [Art Note: …]

I’m a fairly traditional writer. So making the transition into picture books has been difficult. Not because my writing is bad but because picture books are more than just the words. In picture books I have to leave room for art. You can check out another post on book structure HERE. When I say I’m leaving…

Where is home for your characters?

Do you ever just want to go home? Maybe you’ve had a long day at work or are stuck in traffic. Whatever happened or is bustling around you, you’re just ready to be home. You’re ready to be in your comfort zone with the people and pets you love the most. Do your characters want…

A New Editing Resource

For those of us that write kid lit, especially at the chapter level and below, it’s essential to understand reading levels. Unfortunately, there are nearly a dozen different scales you can use to “grade”  your story. Additionally, how do you know what makes a story a higher or lower level, are your edits even working?…

How quotation marks and other punctuation marks meet

Do you consider yourself American or British? This isn’t a trick question. I’m not trying to dig into your lineage. American English differs quite differently from British English in many ways. What’s the craic? AKA What’s up? Waffle AKA ramble Pissed AKA drunk It’s pissing down AKA It’s raining In addition to many fun words…