Thursday, September 1, 2011

I've Moved!

Thanks for visiting - but I've moved!
My new blog is:
Please visit - you'll love my new look.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rory's Story Cubes - Roll Your Imagination

I got a fun gift in my stocking last Christmas.  Well, I thought it was fun but then again, I am a dorky writer.  The gift was, "Rory's Story Cubes" with the tag line of, "Let Your Imagination Roll Wild".  I was so excited, I wanted to use them RIGHT away, but my husband pushed me back into my chair and said, "Not now honey, no one else wants to play."

I poured over the short list of directions:
1) Roll cubes
2) Pick an image that will be your starting point
3) Begin with "Once upon a time..." make up a story that somehow links all 9 cubes.

You can also use a theme first (my summer vacation, worst trip ever) roll the dice and then make up your story.  You can play in a group, the possibilities are endless!

I like using them for my 15 minute-a-day writing prompt.  Roll 'em and write for 15 minutes, linking the 9 items together. 

The pictures are fairly generic.  As you can see - there are things like a bridge over water, a key, an apple, and I am not really sure what that is behind the little kid (bottom left).  You could the sleeping face as just that, asleep.  Or, it could be snoring or napping etc.  The apple could be fruit, or a poison apple, see what I mean.

Have you used these cubes?  Or do you have another writing prompt tool?  I would love to hear about it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chancie Loves to Read

Chancie made it to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt blog.  Find out Chancie's favorite books and what he thinks about classic english literature.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Russell the Sheep

Russell the SheepI have a new FAVORITE children's picture book, "Russel the Sheep" by Rob Scotton.  One look at the cover and I was hooked.  Russell, is a sheep who can't fall asleep.  He thinks he's too hot, then he thinks he's too cold.  He tries to curl up with a comfy "pillow",  he counts the stars.  On and on Russell goes.  I don't want to give away the ending!

Rob Scotton also illustrated this lovely book with humorous pictures.  One of my favorite illustrations is the sheep getting ready for bed.  One sheep has a teddy bear, one has a cup of warm milk (or maybe cocoa), one is brushing his teeth and the last one is asleep with his teeth in a glass.  The sheep with the teeth in the glass keeps showing up - it's quite funny.  Rob is also the writer/illustrator of the Splat the Cat series.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Critique Group

I attended my first "live" critique group a few weeks ago. I use the word “live” since in the past I have only used on-line critique groups or swapped via e-mail.

I have to say I found the in person, real live group much more helpful. We all gave honest critiques and helpful feedback of each other’s manuscripts (at least I hope we all did). I joined the critique group not only to see how my writing compared to others, if my plot flowed, etc. However, I joined so I wouldn’t be living in my little writers shell, hunched over my laptop keeping more stories to myself. After all, sharing my writing will prove that I am a terrible writer and that everything I write is pure crap…right. Isn’t that what all writers think?

I was horrified when I received my first professional critique. It came back with red writing all over it, which reminded me of seventh grade essays; I shoved the manuscript back into its folder and shut it up in a drawer. I said to myself, never again…I will never again share. I realize that the only way I am going to grow and become a better writer is by sharing. I have to share with professional writers, not my family who will say they love my work (even if it stinks). I am chalking that first manuscript up to the “shitty first draft” as Anne LaMott calls it. That “shitty first draft” is now out of the drawer, I am rewriting it, keeping true to my character, and myself – I am just writing her story.

As for the critique group? They gave me some simple ideas (things I should have known) to tighten up my story. I have to bring it back next time – and it HAS to be better!

By the way if you are looking for some help on your young adult or middle grade novel you need to check out "Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies" by Deborah Halverson.   If you haven't already read "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott - add it to your reading list.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chronicle Books :: Press Here

As a children's picture book writer I just couldn't resist this book!  A simple concept but so much fun for the kids - Press Here by Herve Tullet published by Chronicle Books.  This is a hands on book that will get children interested in reading and parents wanting to read to their kids. 

I am a little embarrassed to add this to my account.  But, there it will sit next to Sheep in a Jeep,If You Give a Moose a Muffin and my all time favorite, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish!

Thank you Chronicle for another great children's book!