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…

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…

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…

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…

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?…

Comparable Titles Are Like Buried Treasure

Finding a good comparable title is like following a map to buried treasure. Once you’ve got a good one you’re golden but the journey can be grueling. Let’s add some tools to your backpack on this excursion. Beware! None of these ideas will help you if you don’t fully understand your own story first. You…

11 Tips for Building a Writing Team

I talked last week about different types of critique. Check out that post HERE. This week I want to dig in about how to create and maintain a critique group. I saw an interview with a group of writers who’ve been critiquing for over 15 years and I took notes. These folks were making it…

Different Types Of Critique

I’ve been taking a writing course for picture books and something has become abundantly clear, there are different types of critiques. Within a group of writers and authors I’m looking for specific feedback regarding plot, pacing, character, sentence structure etc. All the things that writers have learned to improve craft through the editing process. That’s…

Writing & Facebook: Caution is Key

I enjoy Facebook like most folks and use it regularly. However what I don’t put on Facebook is my writing that I’m seeking publication for. I’ve been told my stance is extreme at times and I’d like to dive into the why behind my stance. This is an excerpt from the Facebook Legal Agreement that…

How to Utilize Book Structure

When you hear the words picture book, what comes to mind? A book with pictures? Me too. But picture books are so much more than the words and pictures, there is also the book itself. When you go to revise your story think about these different elements and see if any of them are a…

Finding the Next Step

“If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room.”― Confucius It was common for my business professors to quote Confucius and I always wondered what they meant by it. Were they jokingly saying they were sick of teaching? Were they challenging us, as students, to learn our way into…

Troubleshooting Stories

We’ve all heard about plotting vs pantsing but what gets overlooked is those of us who either start with a plot/world and those of us who start with character. Several of my writing friends always starts with character. I always start with a question that unravels into a plot and world. There are pros and…

Being a Writer Curator

I’ve been doing some cleaning out of old files, papers, and documents. You know what I found? More boring than I care to admit. I’m not talking about old bills either. I found-gulp-boring stories. Stories that told everything from the day of my character from brushing teeth in the morning to turning off the lamp…

5 Ways Kids Books Are Like Jelly

Have you ever made jelly or another type of preserve? It takes more than a recipe to get the results you want and kids books are very similar. Here’s how: Recipe like Voice- To make jelly you need a recipe and the first few times I’d recommend sticking to it. However, now that I’ve made…

Emotional Plotting

It’s that time of year again! The time to dive deep, start drowning, and scramble back up to breath by December. It’s time for National Novel Writing Month! If you didn’t read Samantha’s post about generational plotting be sure to check it out because I’ll be building off of her thoughts here. Character is sovereign…

Negotiation No Go

A couple months ago I got that magical email that said “we’d like to publish your story.” And before you get too excited, that’s where the magic ended. I received a contract via email and I began the painful process of looking up how to negotiate a book contract solo. Folks this is why agents…

Visual Writing Prompts for NaNoWriMo

I think we’ve all fallen down the jumbo dragon hole of Pinterest at some point or another. Repeat offender over here. As a writer it can suck up all my time quicker than syrup on a pancake. On the other hand it gives me immersive and intense inspiration. Are the jewels hidden within Pinterest worth…

A Chilling Tale

Being so near to Halloween I’ve had scary thoughts floating around in my head. So when Brandon Ide contacted me about doing a photo story together I couldn’t resist. You can check out The Ides Photography Blog and see his amazing photos for yourself. Brandon’s photo of The Auction House Cafe inspired the following tale….