Posted tagged ‘Writing Tips’

Catching the Eye of an Editor

May 23, 2019

I’m sure many of us wish we could write the perfect picture book that would immediately catch the eye of an editor.

 

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It’s not an easy task, but here are some tips to keep in mind while you’re writing your masterpiece.

First of all, your book should be marketable. Research your competition. Has your book done before? How is your book different from the others? Do you have a unique angle?

More tips to consider as you’re writing and revising. Does your manuscript have:

A strong voice

A compelling plot

Conflict

A unique theme

An interesting structure

Sentences that flow seamlessly

Visual potential

 

Other writing elements to consider:

Pacing

Page turns

Rhythm

Repetition

Rule of Three

Wordplay

 

Of course, there’s much more to consider when attempting to write the perfect picture book. Keep on your toes.

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Read, read, read everything in your genre. Hone your craft. Join critique groups. Revise, revise, revise and keep on writing. Never give up. When you least expect it, one of those picture books you’ve been working on, for what might seem forever, may catch the eye of an editor. And that just might happen because you finally discovered how to create magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Bit About Voice

May 9, 2019

I was lucky enough to attend three wonderful days at an annual SCBWI conference. I saw old friends, met new friends, and attended some excellent workshops. Now my brain is bursting with information I’d love to share.

Let’s talk a bit about voice. What exactly is it?

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No, this isn’t it!

In many ways, voice is hard to define, but when you read it or hear it, you recognize it immediately.

Voice encompasses many things.

It’s the author’s style of writing.

It’s the sentence structure and the right choice of words.

It’s rhythm and timing.

Voice is the element that makes the author’s writing stand out from others.

It sets the mood and personality of your story.

It’s what pulls the reader into the story creating an emotional connection.

It’s the unique way a character expresses feelings.

Voice is what puts magic into a story.

 

Here are some exceptional mentor texts that ooze voice.

Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

This is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith

The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Diary of a Worm written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Bliss

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Let your voice be heard!

 

 

 

Good Things Happen When You Read Blogs

July 16, 2015

I read blogs – blogs about children’s books and the writing life. I find them interesting and informative. Blogs stimulate ideas and motivate me. They’re filled with writing tips, book recommendations, book reviews, illustrator studio tours, and plain good advice.

Contests and giveaways are an added treat offered by many of the blogs. I’m a sucker for these. Each time I’m a winner, I’m like a kid at Christmas, waiting to tear open my gift when it arrives. Here are a few of the things I’ve won recently.

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Once I read the books, I pay it forward – libraries, schools, friends … Although, there a few special books I’ve kept for my home library.

Besides the blogs listed on my blog page, here are a few more of my favorites. If you have more suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Picture Book Builders

A Year of Reading

Teaching Authors

Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

Design of the Picture Book

Watch. Connect. Read. Mr. Shu Reads Blogspot

This Picture Book Life 

The Nonfiction Detectives

Dan Gutman’s WEIRD WRITING TIPS

November 13, 2014

There are some students who have a natural talent for writing, and there are others who struggle.

As teachers, we try to inspire and encourage our students to become good writers by modeling and exposing them to a variety of literature. Teaching writing to students can be very daunting. Fear not! I have discovered a book that will make teaching the writing process easier and fun for all involved.

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Dan Gutman, author of My Weird School Series, has written My Weird Writing Tips. It’s illustrated by Jim Paillotand this book is the perfect tool to get your middle-grade students engaged in writing.  Gutman offers students basic tips on the right way to write and talks about the importance of written communication He gets students off on the “write foot” by discussing how to come up with ideas, starting with the ordinary and moving along to the extraordinary. He offers positive reinforcement and inspirational quotes from famous writers. Simple explanations and tricks to help choose the correct part of speech, the right punctuation, and how to differentiate between confusing words (it/it’s) are also included. Did I mention that besides being an excellent writing tool, this book is in-your-face funny!

Every middle-grade classroom should have a copy. Teachers can use it as a read aloud and then follow up with mini writing lessons. Students can use it as a reference or just read it for enjoyment. Imagine a student delving into a writing book just for the fun of it. Get your copy today!


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