Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back in class

We have reassembled ourselves to where there is less coffee and more instruction! Carmela welcomed the Write 6 (yes - all 6 of us!) back to her next critiquing series at the Peabody Estate in Oakbrook. How nice to be back in the rambling - if spooky - house! We added some interesting new faces around the table, too: Glenn, Jen, Julie and Sarah.

Of course our critique is more structured again - we had gotten a little lax about interruptions. I threw in a February marathon piece called Fluffy Fortune for the first go round. Lots of good help and encouragement. I did the written critique on it as everyone else did and, by the time we talked about it, I had changed the title character's name. Picture books are always a balance of too much descriptions vs too little action vs too many talking heads. They gave me some good ways to tie up the story and I am anxious to rewrite.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It is sort of a post-natal crash - just gave birth to 26 new stories in 28 days. My laptop is cooling off, but I still wake up wondering "what next?" What next is tweaking and editing. They may all be really garbage, but they are written! So I'll start re-working 4 for Peabody Critique:
Goodnight, Pink
Where is the Green Moose?
My Mama is a Lawyer
First Steps

Inspiration for Goodnight, Pink

Inspiration for First Steps

Monday, February 28, 2011


I finished What Makes a Giraffe Laugh! What makes an author laugh is 26 books in 28 days! Is it too early in the day for champaign? Yee ha! Yippee! Now to write Sunday's sermon....

last day and last story

After a wild weekend with grandchildren at the dog show and a 500 word essay on Anglican Spirtuality I have only 1 story left and all day to write it! And, of course, a head full of snot from a February cold...there's a story in there somewhere!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

huff pant whew

I got a starter from my Episcopal office mate on Robins in the Snow!

Then a concept book on transportation in Chicago. And why you never see a green moose! (Hey Peabodies - bet you can't wait to critique that one!)

I am at 22 picture books finished now. Grandchildren coming - inspiration or distraction? Or exhaustion?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

weak stories but holding on

DONE is better than PERFECT. I can tweak all of March. I have 21 now with Beginning, Middle and End. And 3 or maybe 4 ideas. And I'm too boggled to do the math but I think I need a teeny bit more inspiration! Latest are on restocking a grocery store and a cat day. Plus My Mama is a Lawyer which I really do like!

So here's a picture of the aformentioned lawyer preparing a Princess Party for her 4 year old.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Out of Ideas!

I had a plan for 28 days, today is number 18, and I have 14 stories done. Now the remaining ideas seem flat and boring. Time to write something besides grocery lists!

The Fairy Story Excel Spreadsheet haunts me! And it stinks.

On the upside my laptop is fixed and I am back at Panera. That should help.

Ooooo if a little kid made a grocery list what would be on it? Counting or alphabet book?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

warmth and paper

Back from Florida where I was working with pen and paper and had to take my 2 days off - we only have to complete 26 for the month! Now a mountain of transcribing to do - I finished 2 last night after getting home. Mine? is a story of sorting socks. And one about a baby bird who does not want to leave the nest. Plus I think I have the rhyme scheme for Bush Dance at last. They guy next to on the flight home scooted over when I tried to rhyme Wanoree tree with Billbe 60 different ways.

Ah and a picture of warmth.....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Universe Conspires!

But I am not defeated! The laptop - my writing connection at Panera - decided to give up the ghost. Aaaaaaa! Paper and pen and then input at home. Now I am off to Florida (Yeah - well save the pity!) where that was the plan anyway, but it is not my preferred method! However it will force me to WRITE rather that RESEARCH. The Fairies are still in limbo, but I finished "Three Goats Out on a Limerick".

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dragging but keeping up

The first round of energy flagged a little - all my "easy" ideas are used! And I am struggling with a story about fairies that keeps turning into an Excel spreadsheet!? So I did a pop up called Bigger. 9 for 9! I am drawn to a story all in limericks. Should I do Three Goats or the Sacrifice of Isaac?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More more

I rewrote Tuktuk as a graphic "novel" - in graphic format. It was fun and it might work. Now if I could just draw lemmings. But I am caught up.

Monday, February 7, 2011

To Iowa for inspiration

Nothing like a Grandbabe whose favorite color is pink-pink-pink and favorite number is 4-4-4! So she inspired today's story called Goodnight, Pink. I am a day behind but it is not midnight yet!

Here's picture of Adorable Birthday Party #4.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feb marathon - still running

The snow day was a bonus - got some thinking done and research. I can get distracted looking stuff up and never get around to the story!

But today is done and I like it. It will require some fancy pitching to sell it - the text and illustrations are very tightly interwoven and I am no artist!

I'm set to meet this week's quota. It feels very good to have the creative juices flowing again.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February Marathon!

I took the challenge to write 26 books in the month of February. The last 1/2 of January was preparation - research and outlining and idea generation. I am trying some new styles and topics.

Day 1 was easy - an early morning session at Panera and it was more fun than I have had writing in a long time. Today is a blizzard in Chicago so I am socked in with the computer and the cat. #2 done by 10 and - maybe I'll get ahead.

Here's an inspirational photo of the next generation of writers in the family. James as a second child, discovers he has to keep his own baby book. When did he cut tooth number 5?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Digital Book Expo

Wednesday Jan 26 will be sessions on the future of children's publishing in the digital world! Can't wait to see what they say.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year - same old slog

I have been in a slump since November! The lack of light is never fun but my writing seems flat and un-fun. Pointless since The Evil Market of Doom has steadfastly rejected all my attempts to Scale its Golden Walls since 2000! So I am lacing up the Jogging Shoes of Tenacity and signed up for the SCBWI February picture Book Marathon. At least I'll have some new stuff to reject...and my critique group will be fully employed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Writing in The New Year

The New Year is here, and I feel refreshed. I don't make resolutions though, because they never seem to come to fruition, I'll just try to keep writing.

I recently attended the first Pitchalooza at Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville, and the event was great for pushing me forward to keep going. There was a huge crowd, and three publishers as well as the author's of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. About 25 of the 160 or so people in attendence had their number called and stood up in front of the publishers to pitch their ideas. One of my fellow bloggers and I were lucky enough to have our numbers called. I don't think I've ever been that nervous before, but I spoke and survived.

I learned a lot about pitching your ideas:

1. Listeners will pick up on one or two words to get the feel of your whole book, so choose your words carefully.

2. The words you choose should be exciting, and grab their attention right away.

3. Compare your idea to a book or author that's popular.

4. Don't say how engaging or intriguing the story is, show them through your writing (which is very difficult in one minute.)

5. Practice being engaging to the audience.

6. My pitch needs a lot of work.

The authors of the guide seem genuinely helpful, as so many writers do, and I'm grateful for that. Here's to a great year in writing! Thank you Write 6 for all of your inspiration.