Guess who got to geek out on Scrivener? I don't know what it says about my week that leading a workshop in the basement of my local library was the highlight. But it so was. It helps that I love love love Scrivener. I know I left my beloved for a while, but ultimately I couldn't do without. So when the call went out on the SCBWI listserve for help with Scrivener, I was quick to say, "Me me me! I can help!" Very soon the regional organizer emailed me to see if I'd lead a workshop. Sure! A few weeks later I had my trusty MacBook Pro and a projector all hooked up in the basement of the KDL Plainfield Branch library.
I should say, I had it hooked up thanks to my new SCBWI bff, Dave Stricklen who was beyond amazing. He did all the organization, setting up, PR. Seriously, they should pay this guy.
Anyway, after a tense few moments fearing no one would show (or too many would), and some awkward jokes about mullets, I hit my groove. The cozy audience was engaging and engaged, had great questions, politely laughed at my lame jokes, and (I hope anyway) learned a little something about my perfect wonderful awesome writing love, Scrivener.
Which has kinda inspired me to write a series of Scrivener tutorials. I really hope I do. Though my kids have to quit vomiting first. Because after the release of Monday's event, we were greeted by puke and power outage on Tuesday, and yet more puke on Wednesday, and a great chunky pink puddle of puke today.
The writing life, the mama's life. It's awesome!
And then there were three ... books by me! It is with supreme delight that I announce Eerdmans Books for Young Readers will be publishing my picture book, Mama Earth's New Year. Yay!
The very first copies of Halloween Good Night!!
I've been doing this writing thing for more than fifteen years. You'd think I would have an airtight process by now. You'd think I could write a book like “how to write a book.” Right? You'd think I wouldn't flounder with each new project as if I were the first one to wonder if a round stone could roll. Because really, this isn’t my first rodeo.
I started the first semester of graduate school knowing just a little more about picture books than I do about worms. Children love them, they come out on rainy days, and if you cut them in half, they really do die.
13 Must-Have Mobile Apps for Writers. Writing has changed since the days of typewriter and correction fluid (remember the little bottle of white-out with the brush, remember how strong it smelled, how fast it dried, how fun it was?). Pen and paper have been replaced in many fields by smartphones, mobile devices and laptops. But until recently it never occurred to me that more than just writing could be aided by technology.
The 3 Act structure provides a perfect framework for any genre of picture book, about any subject. Plus thinking of it in terms of the grid we drew together, it can help immeasurable with pacing and troubleshooting a story that just isn’t working.
I first started thinking about tension when I heard Donald Maass speak at a conference some years ago. He described how the simple scene of a man looking at his watch while waiting for a bus can go from bland to Bang in a matter of words. Since then I have often noticed the varying levels of tension, both in books I have enjoyed and in those I haven’t. Here I'll discuss the ten levels of tension, and what they mean to the writer.
I can't believe how long it's taken me to post these photos. Actually, yes I can. I'm horribly lazy when it comes to keeping up with my online presence. What's worse is I actually like to blog and Facebook and whatnot, but these children! The chickens! The garden! My editor and agent who actually - gasp - expect me to write now and then!
I know, excuses excuses.
I am so full of exclamation points! See, just this morning I was showing Maggie the cover art pdf. She, always attentive, noticed the little square on the back cover where the bar code will go. "What's that?"
I believe four key elements unite the best of the best rhyming picture book texts: Structure, Speech, Surprise, and Story. Books that fail will be lacking in one (or more) of these key areas; those that succeed will demonstrate at least passing-grade competence in all four. Now to examine these elements more closely.