A Great Resource

Yawn…Just a bit sleepy.  You ask, why so sleepy this early in the day? Well, a new character was mucking about in my head and instead of getting my important shut-eye, I was up at 3:00am trying to listen to the little imp.  About 4:30am, I cracked open my new copy of Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul http://www.annwhitfordpaul.net and found a great section on character development.  Now I just have to stay awake long enough to read the rest of the book…   

A cool new toy

Alice Pope at www.cwim.blogspot.com referenced a word counting tool at Write Words, a Writer’s Community website http://www.writewords.org.uk/ that I tried on my longest manuscript.  It’s easy to do; just paste in your manuscript and in a flash (actually quicker than a flash), it counts the number of incidences of words or phrases.  After I got over the number of incidences of the word “the” (YIKES!), I looked for “was” “were” and other “to be” inactive verbs.  I did a better job on those than I did the dreaded “the” (see, I did it again!)    http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp Try it! 

A little help here?

I’ve been working on a new title for Lizzy and the Twisted Sisters because it is too boring for such a wild ride of a story.  Send me your ideas within 7 days (November 24) and the winner will receive a free manuscript critique by (insert drum roll…..) ME (you thought I was going to say some really famous editor or agent, dincha?).  Really, though, who doesn’t like a fresh set of eyes on a new manuscript?  So, send me your title ideas.  You can read about the story if you click on “Manuscripts” above.  Now get crackin’!

Thank goodness, already

My family, friends, dog, librarian, and writer buddies will be glad to know I now belong to a formal critique group to review drafts 1-15 of my WsIP (works in progress).  This should free up lots of lives around the world.  🙂     

SCBWI-MI fall conference

This is a very late quick recap of the SCBWI-MI fall conference.  Many thanks to the organizers and ADCOM members for a great weekend.  The facility was the best yet (Yarrow Golf and Conference Center in Augusta, MI) and if I can say that after an 8.5 hour drive one way in the pouring rain and mostly in the dark, it must have been good.  Topics were timely, presenters were enlightening, writers and illustrators were friendly and encouraging…So worth the effort… 

writing and nakedness

My perceptive and cool brother-in-law, who is excited for my website “coming out”, just sent me this perfect quote:  “A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public with her pants down’ – Edna St. Vincent Millay  

Marriage of text and illustration

This weekend, I revisited Twelve Terrible Things by Marty Kelley (Tricycle Press) for a classroom talk I’m doing on how text and illustration work together in children’s picture books.  (I often think how cool it would be to illustrate my own story but since I can only draw smiley faces, I’ll have to give that job to someone else.) I wonder if this text would have caught an editor’s eye on it’s own?  “1. Oooopsie!” “2. There’s nothing under the bed…” “3. Say AHHHH…” 
Wonderful book.  Wonderful marriage of word and image.