Monday, June 27, 2016

Encore Presentation: WRITERLY WISDOM


 


 

 
 
 
***I have a number of writing deadlines coming up over the next couple of months so I have decided instead of stepping away from my blog completely to concentrate solely on my writing, I will bring back an encore performance of my WRITERLY WISDOM series from three years ago. WW is 52 glorious posts by authors, agents, and editors from around the country providing writerly wisdom in categories from why even become a writer all the way to how to publish and market your books.





There will be two posts loaded per week...Mondays & Wednesdays...so be sure to stop by and check out all the encouraging information given by my lovely writerly friends! I hope you enjoy the encore presentation of my WRITERLY WISDOM series and I will return with shiny, new posts in the fall!***
 
 
 
 
WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE?

by Donna L Martin





If I were to take a poll of the people reading this WRITERLY WISDOM series I would imagine most of them would be either children's book writers or novelists.  Some may write picture books, others write middle grade or young adult but I believe the vast majority sees their path to publication through books as the preferred medium.  But if you are a beginner writer just starting to dip your toes in this professional writing pool, seeking to have a book published might be an extremely challenging goal.  It also might make you wonder...



WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE?



When I started writing professional six years ago I knew in my heart I wanted to write books...picture books...middle grade...and young adult.  I wasn't really sure how to go about it and I took the next two years learning as much as I could about the industry.  I quickly found out winning a book contract is almost like winning the lottery...almost impossible to do and subject to a whole lot of luck!



So while I continued to write stories, I looked around to see what other avenues might be available to help me establish some publishing credits.  I started to research anthologies and magazines as other possible paths.  Not exactly a way to see my name on the cover of a book, but still a viable way to add to my writing resume.



It helped that I liked writing poetry, short stories and essays because that's what editors creating anthologies look for...writers whose portfolio includes those types of copy.  And when my essay "Shortcut To Peace" was picked up by Chicken Soup For The Soul: Angels Among Us edition (published January 2013) I realized there was a whole other market I should consider.  If my goal was to become published then hard bound books wasn't the only way.



AN ALTERNATIVE TO BOOKS



New writers may want to consider the possibility of focusing on stories and articles for magazines...at least in the beginning of their career.  Magazines offer a number of advantages for the newbie writer:



1.  The stories and articles are usually shorter in the word count department than say, a novel, so new writers could quickly feel a sense of accomplishment by completing an assignment.



2.  Magazine publication cycles are much shorter than books so new writers must learn to work with tight deadlines.  This challenges them to work consistently and streamline their entire writing process for optimum efficiency.



3.  Even a small story in a small magazine with limited circulation  looks good on an otherwise empty resume.  I might only have one publishing credit to my name at this point, but you can bet I include it in my query letters.  It tells the world that SOMEONE took a chance on me and my writing is worth considering.



4.  Both fiction and non-fiction stories can be found in magazine which gives the new writer a chance to perfect their research skills.



EENY, MEENY



So which magazine should you choose?  Just like Agents or Publishers, you have to do your research.  Resources like SCBWI (http://www.scbwi.org) or the latest Writer's Market book (http://www.writersmarket.com) provide a list of kid's magazines being published today and there is always a Google search.



HOMEWORK, HOMEWORK, HOMEWORK



Just like you would do for your book manuscript, you have to do your research when it comes to magazines.  Visit their website, check out their submission guidelines, even buy a copy or two and READ what types of articles they are accepting.  Determine which of your work would do well in a magazine format, sharpen your query letter and send it off with fingers crossed!



To get you started, here is a short list of children's magazines along with the link to their websites.  Some of these names like Cricket Family of Magazines actually has a number of different maagazines to review on their website.  Take your time, be thorough in your research and good luck!



And in the meantime?  
KEEP WRITING!!









Sports Illustrated Kids (http://www.sikids.com)





National Geographic Kids (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids)















Boys' Life (http://boyslife.org)





YUM Food & Fun For Kids (http://www.yumfoodandfun.com)










Discovery Girls (http://discoverygirls.com)















Cricket Family of Magazines (http://www.cricketmag.com)





U S Kids Family of Magazines (http://www.uskidsmags.com)







Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Encore Presentation: WRITERLY WISDOM






***I have a number of writing deadlines coming up over the next couple of months so I have decided instead of stepping away from my blog completely to concentrate solely on my writing, I will bring back an encore performance of my WRITERLY WISDOM series from three years ago. WW is 52 glorious posts by authors, agents, and editors from around the country providing writerly wisdom in categories from why even become a writer all the way to how to publish and market your books.



There will be two posts loaded per week...Mondays & Wednesdays...so be sure to stop by and check out all the encouraging information given by my lovely writerly friends! I hope you enjoy the encore presentation of my WRITERLY WISDOM series and I will return with shiny, new posts in the fall!***
 
 
 
What Exactly Is YA?
by Craig Lew

YA is not shorthand for “Yes” or an abbreviation for “Yet Another.”  YA is not “Yahoo Answers” or the Japanese word for “Arrow.”  Well, it is but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

Some say, YA or Young Adult Literature is a story of teen angst, coming of age and first love generally written in first person, but to be honest, I was not sure.  So I asked a bunch of much smarter than me authors, “What is YA?”

Gloria Skurzynski (Virtual War, Devastation, Afterwar, The Clones)
 
“...young adult fiction is for 12 to 18-year-olds. Supposedly. But YA fiction has grown increasingly popular with (mainly women) readers from the late teens to mid-30s. Examples: the Twilight Saga, and my daughter Alane Ferguson’s forensic mystery series, perhaps because in both these series the female protagonists have matured from high-school girls into actual adults.”
 
Amy Allgeyer Cook (Smelvin and Goulash Boy, Iron Bodkin):
 
I define YA as a book that is too mature in theme, language or content for the average twelve year-old to process. Disclaimer: kids vary.”

Sarah McGuire (Turbo Monkeys):
 
“YA is about thresholds- and those events that define the adult a child is going to become.”

Kristin Elizabeth Clark (Freak Boy):
 
“I would define YA as a genre of fiction intended for an audience between the ages of twelve and eighteen or so (though I think twelve is actually kind of on the young side). It’s marked by protagonists who tend to be between those ages – and regardless of the outward trappings of the story, whether it’s fantasy, paranormal, or contemporary, there tends to be a thread of growth for the main character in terms of human development. I’d say most leave off with the sense of life yet to be lived – and if there’s no clear, happy ending we usually see the protagonist “on the road to O.K.,” as my editor, Joy Peskin, says.”

Suzanne Morgan Williams (Bull Rider)
 
"YA needs to be honest and irreverant - to challenge the reader to see the world in new ways while reflecting a teen reader's emotional experience.”

Terri Farley (Baby Teeth, Seven Tears into the Sea, Phantom Stallion)
 
“I think the strongest YA novels focus on that time when kids are separating from parents and peers to learn how they can live within & without the dominant society.”

I think YA is the lumpy stuff in the lava lamp...sort of warm, glowy and ever changing.   It mesmerizes you to no end and yet is impossible to define because it seems to never stop changing.  
 
Have I totally confused you?  Yes? Then my work is done.  




Biography: Craig Lew's storytelling career began even before he had learned to write. As a child, he would steal his father's tape recorder and make different voices for each character recording tales about strange planets or scary creatures. His favorite story openings at that time were, "Once upon a junk yard heap..." or "It was a dark and story night."

An entertainment industry consultant, Craig has worked with Dreamworks, SKG, PBS, KCET, Deluxe Labs, ITC, Nortel Networks and The New Getty Center.

Craig recently produced the Sci Fi comedy movie, "Rock Jocks" about a group of dysfunctional government employees responsible for shooting down asteroids that would destroy Earth.

Official Trailer:


 
Personal Anecdote: I strive to spread good karma. Artisticallly I enjoy pushing the envelope because I believe it makes more room in the middle. I believe the keys to success are dreaming big, working hard, and being kind.
 
Founder of Bright Penny Zapp LLC, a transmedia company, Criag wrote and illustrated the graphic novel, "The Goths" which is enhanced with Augmented Reality...available at www.amazon.com.
 
His latest acquistion is a young Middle Grade book "Smelvin and Goulash Boy." Written by Amy Allgeyer Cook, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell, edited by Lorin Oberrweger with augmented reality animations directed and produced by Craig Lew.
 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Encore Presentation: WRITERLY WISDOM series





***I have a number of writing deadlines coming up over the next couple of months so I have decided instead of stepping away from my blog completely to concentrate solely on my writing, I will bring back an encore performance of my WRITERLY WISDOM series from three years ago. WW is 52 glorious posts by authors, agents, and editors from around the country providing writerly wisdom in categories from why even become a writer all the way to how to publish and market your books.




There will be two posts loaded per week...Mondays & Wednesdays...so be sure to stop by and check out all the encouraging information given by my lovely writerly friends! I hope you enjoy the encore presentation of my WRITERLY WISDOM series and I will return with shiny, new posts in the fall!***

Writing the Middle-Grade Novel
By Kristi Holl



Middle graders (ages 8 to 12) belong to the “Golden Age of Reading.” They devour books on a wide variety of subjects. For writers, middle-grade readers represent a large market eager for our work.

Know Your Audience

You can’t hit a bull’s-eye with your target audience until you study that audience well, so take time to know this age group before writing for them. This knowledge can come from a variety of places. When I sold my first middle-grade novel, my children were babies so I relied heavily on my own childhood memories and issues. When my children were in grades 3-6, I observed them (and their middle-grade friends) in a variety of settings. Now, with my children grown and married, I observe kids in malls, libraries and movie theaters. If I rely solely on my memory now, my heroes and heroines sound dated.

In addition to direct observation, research web sites like Girls’ Life at www.girlslife.com, where you can check out fashion and music trends for middle-grade girls. The Nickelodeon site at www.nick.com also shows current middle-grade music, games, sports and slang.

Middle-grade girls may be as much as two years ahead of the boys in physical maturity. Both boys and girls are bigger and stronger, growing rapidly at the end of this age period. They like to join clubs and are more interested in competitive sports. They may develop an interest in special collections or hobbies. They like rituals, rules, secret codes, and made-up languages. They may play musical instruments. Activities such as camping, biking, building models, skating, and playing board games are popular.

Middle-graders are beginning to realize that parents and authority figures can make mistakes; some kids will defy parents at this age. They are often “black and white” thinkers, seeing things as right or wrong, with no room for differences of opinion. Upper middle-graders prefer spending time with friends rather than parents, and they show interest in the opposite sex by teasing, joking, and showing off. They may sometimes be verbally cruel to classmates, with name-calling and nasty put-downs.

Inside a Middle-Grader

During the middle grades, friends and school become more important than home and family as kids try to figure out their place in the social structure. Parents disappear from many middle-grade novels, or (as in the Nancy Drew books) they play a minor role and are barely needed. Children of this age feel more capable and like to see self-sufficient heroes venture out and conquer new territory. While I don’t get rid of parents altogether, I have novels (e.g. No Strings Attached, Mystery by Mail) where the parents work long hours, are gone due to a divorce, or in jail, letting the kids operate independently. Upper middle-grade readers (grades 5 and 6) especially like books where the protagonists manage just as well as adults.

Readers this age daydream about their future and enjoy planning and organizing tasks and events. Middle-graders have great imaginations and creative ideas, but can have difficulty following through. They like games with more complex rules. Their language abilities have grown to the point where they appreciate jokes, riddles and tongue twisters.

Common childhood fears for this age include being late for school, finding out you’re adopted, someone in the family becoming ill or dying, the house burning down, someone close having an accident, being followed by a stranger, and being kidnapped.

The Middle-Grade Novel

What actually goes into a middle-grade novel? First of all, a riveting main character. Kids read books because they identify closely with a character that they care about and want to know better. They root for the character to succeed and overcome whatever problem you’ve created. Middle-grade protagonists are doers, not passive watchers. They don’t wait for some adult to rescue them and resolve the conflict. They get involved and have believable motives for why they take action. They care deeply for things and people, and they’re not afraid to take a risk. (That doesn’t necessarily mean jumping off a cliff or confronting a burglar. A risk might be standing up to a bully, defending an unpopular friend, or daring to trust a new step-parent.)

Middle-grade heroes and heroines are also thinkers; they have strong opinions and beliefs about themselves and the world around them. They also speak, and they sound like real kids. One of the best books on developing captivating characters is Elaine Marie Alphin’s Creating Characters Kids Will Love, published by Writer’s Digest Books.


Dialogue is another essential ingredient in a middle-grade novel.  What story people say (and how they say it) reveals a lot about their character.  To be believable to your reader, characters must speak in ways real children speak.  Depending on your protagonist's age and education, he or she needs to use the kind of vocabulary and have the kind of knowledge appropriate for that age.  If you don't have kids on hand to listen to, then eavesdrop shamelessly in stores, schools and fast food restaurants.  Listen carefully for cadence, pacing, and subject matter. Since slang expressions come and go with each passing season, use them sparingly. Otherwise your story will be outdated before it's even published.

Conflict is also critical in a middle-grade novel. If a character has no problem to solve, there is no point to the story. The story plot consists of an urgent problem confronting your main character and how he or she goes about solving it, against tremendous opposition. Early in your story planning, decide what one thing your main character wants more than anything. (It must be something that cannot be easily obtained.) There must be something vital at stake, too. What terrible thing will happen if your main character doesn’t get what he or she wants? The consequences of failure need to be serious. For possible conflicts, brainstorm ideas based on the common fears of middle-graders listed above.

Setting might not seem terribly important compared to character and conflict, but every good novel has a setting that contributes to the plot.  For example, mysteries have frightening settings, but they aren't scary unless you, the author, convey through sensory details the eeire sights and sounds and smells in each scene.  To make the reader believe in your story, you must create a setting so vivid the reader feels as if he can step into the pages of your book. Children react strongly to the color, size, shape, sound, smell, and feel of things.  Learn to see the world through a child's eyes.  Be sure to include in your setting details about the changing weather, seasons, general background (city, farm, forest), plus specific details.  Just keep it under control.  The book will be 90% action and dialogue, with maybe 10% (or less) description. Work description into the action when possible.  Young middle-graders (grades 3-4) are more willing to read books where home is the setting.  Older middle-graders are drawn to books revolving around school or trips away from the home.


Learning the Market



When it’s time to market your novel, first decide which type it is. Did you write a chapter book for grades 3 and 4, or a book for a reader in grades 5 or 6? A chapter book for lower middle-graders has a format that looks adult, with a longer text, often a lot of illustrations, and with medium-large print. The plots of these books are often in episodes, where each chapter can almost stand on its own. Chapter books usually have chapters of five to seven manuscript pages, and the overall manuscript may run from thirty to a hundred pages. The cast of characters is generally small and covers a short time span. There isn’t time or room for complicated plots and subplots.

Middle-grade novels for grades 5 and 6 are standard adult dimensions, although usually shorter word counts than adult titles. They may have a few pictures. The plots are more complicated and include subplots, and there are more complex themes and figurative language for these older readers. Fiction for upper middle-grade students can be school stories, mysteries, fantasy, sports, humor, and historical novels. Most chapters for this age group run ten to twelve manuscript pages, and the overall manuscript runs from about a hundred to a hundred fifty pages.


Nuts and Bolts



When you’re finished with your novel—after it’s been critiqued and revised many times—it’s time to market it. Study publishers’ catalogues; write for them, study them online, or ask to study your children’s librarian’s copies. When you have chosen the publishers you want to submit to, find the names of their editors in a market book. Many guides are available: Writer’s Market published by Writer’s Digest Books, the publications by The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org), Literary Market Place (usually available at your library’s reference desk,) or The Writer’s Handbook. Some writers prefer to study the market books first, then study the catalogues. There are also several good market guides just for juvenile writing.

Check market listings for the format in which to submit your novel. Some publishers still ask for the whole manuscript, some want three chapters and an outline, some just a query. A few will take only agented submissions now. Be careful to submit exactly what they ask for, and include an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope). If you want to send multiple submissions, and the listing says the publisher accepts them, note it in your cover letter.

Then be patient while you wait for a response. That can be hard if you don’t have another project in the works. A quote I found recently said, “The real secret of patience is to find something to do in the meantime.” What you, the writer, need to do in the meantime is to focus on your next middle-grade idea—and keep writing.





Kristi Holl is an award-winning author of 42 books for children, two nonfiction books for writers (Writer's First Aid and More Writer's First Aid), and over 150 stories and articles for children and adults, as well as conference speaker and web editor. Her stories and articles have appeared in Jack and Jill, Child Life, Hi-Call, Your Life & Health, Touch, The Writer, Children's Writer, and the SCBWI Bulletin, among others. She also wrote a mystery column and self-coaching column for the magazine Once Upon a Time.

Kristi Holl was born in Iowa, graduated from Marshalltown High School and has lived in Mason City, Cedar Falls, Red Oak, Knoxville, Conrad, and Story City (all in Iowa). In July 2003, she moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she and her husband live near their grandchildren.

Kristi started as an elementary teacher after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in l974, and began writing as a hobby when staying home with her children. She has taught writing for children for the Institute of Children's Literature since l983. In l998 she created and became Web Editor for the Institute's web site at www.institutechildrenslit.com where she monitored Open Forums, wrote articles for the Writer's Support Rooms and Writing Tips, and moderated online interviews with editors and writers. In 2000 she added web editing for the Long Ridge Writers Group web site at www.longridgewritersgroup.com. She retired as web editor in 2002. From 2008 to 2012 she blogged for the Institute. She now spends the majority of her time writing books, doing manuscript critiques and speaking at writers' conferences.

Her books are on many recommended reading lists and have been nominated for numerous Children's Choice Awards. Kristi's latest publication is Finding God in Tough Times, due out in 2014 from Zonderkidz.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Encore Presentation: WRITERLY WISDOM series





***I have a number of writing deadlines coming up over the next couple of months so I have decided instead of stepping away from my blog completely to concentrate solely on my writing, I will bring back an encore performance of my WRITERLY WISDOM series from three years ago. WW is 52 glorious posts by authors, agents, and editors from around the country providing writerly wisdom in categories from why even become a writer all the way to how to publish and market your books.



There will be two posts loaded per week...Mondays & Wednesdays...so be sure to stop by and check out all the encouraging information given by my lovely writerly friends! I hope you enjoy the encore presentation of my WRITERLY WISDOM series and I will return with shiny, new posts in the fall!***


Picture Books:  Too Sweet Or Magically Delicious?
By Diane Kress Hower


     Writing picture books is great fun and a good deal of hard work.  I often suggest to my readers and TV audience to visit my Book Wisdom by Diane blog to think of choosing books like picking a cereal for your child.  What do you want for your child?  What’s in their best long-term interest?  Thank you, Donna for giving me the opportunity to share this analogy with your readers. 

     Where on the cereal isle do you see your most recent picture book manuscript?  How does your story stack up?  What makes a picture book desirable food for the young child?  I am sure you have ideas about this.  We know what sells.  However, what does the child need?

     When was the last time you walked down a cereal isle and looked at all the options?  It’s mind-boggling.   There are the classics.  Oatmeal, Original Shredded Wheat, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, and Corn Flakes have stood the test of time.  Will your writing do the same? 

    There are the sweet treats.  Life, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Honey Nut Cheerios have some sweetness but still provide basic nutrition.  What level of sweetness does your story bring to a child?

   The poppin’ group flashes eat me from the shelf.  Honey Smacks, Frosted Flakes, Captain Crunch, Froot Loops, and Lucky Charms are packaged with inviting labels and colors.  They also make the top 10 list of the worst cereals for kids.  Is your story all flash and color?  Is it lacking something?

    At the end of the isle, the small granola group is shelved, a more recent arrival providing alternatives to classics and the poppin’ varieties.  Granola, Kashi Strawberry Fields, Barbara’s Blueberry Mini Wheats aim to provide the sustenance and kid appeal for discerning consumers.  How does your story sustain?  

    Options and variety abound on the cereal isle and in the genre of picture books.  Do you place limits on your writing based on fitting-in and selling?  Do you write with the child in mind? 







Diane Kress Hower is an author/illustrator who loves picture books.  Her professional background of nearly 25 years is in education, counseling, and art.  Currently, she is teaching part-time remedial reading at the middle school level in the area of special education while immersed in writing/illustrating/and photography.  
 
In her spare time, Diane reviews children’s literature on her blog www.bookwisdombydiane.blogspot.com, serves as local area coordinator for the West Slope of Colorado RMC, SCBWI, and is a commissioner for the City of Grand Junction, on the Arts and Culture Commission.  Diane recently received a merit grant from Colorado Creative Industries and the National Endowment for the Arts to support her creative endeavors.   
 
You can connect with Diane Kress Hower on her website (www.bookwisdombydiane.blogspot.com), on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/diane.kresshower?ref=ts&fref=ts) or through her Twitter account. 
 
 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Encore Presentation: WRITERLY WISDOM series


 
 

 
 
 
***I have a number of writing deadlines coming up over the next couple of months so I have decided instead of stepping away from my blog completely to concentrate solely on my writing, I will bring back an encore performance of my WRITERLY WISDOM series from three years ago. WW is 52 glorious posts by authors, agents, and editors from around the country providing writerly wisdom in categories from why even become a writer all the way to how to publish and market your books.



There will be two posts loaded per week...Mondays & Wednesdays...so be sure to stop by and check out all the encouraging information given by my lovely writerly friends! I hope you enjoy the encore presentation of my WRITERLY WISDOM series and I will return with shiny, new posts in the fall!***
 
 
Weathering the Brainstorm: Tips for Creating a List of Picture Book Concepts
By: Alison Hertz
 
First of all, Donna, thank you for having me on your blog.

For those who don’t know me, I write and illustrate books for children. While I dabble in chapter books and mid grade novels, I write mostly picture books – a lot of them. I am often asked by writer friends and non writer friends how I come up with soo many different ideas for picture books and my answer is simple. Brainstorm.
 
Okay, I know that brainstorming can even be intimidating for some. You may be thinking, brainstorm what? People tell me that they enjoy writing for kids but they simply don’t know what to write about when starting to work on a new manuscript. Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to sit down and come up with a list of 25 picture book story concepts off the top of your head. Here are my tips:
 
1.  Go to a playground or Chuck E Cheese or the play area at McDonalds and other places that children like to hang out. Go sit in the waiting area of a children’s dentist or pediatrician. Go to a children’s museum, an aquarium, or a planetarium. Watch how children behave, listen to what they are interested in or worried about. Just don’t take pictures of anyone or they might think you are some kind of creep. Take your own kids with you or your nieces or nephews or grandchildren – watch and listen.
2.  Now that you are thinking about those places that children go (they don’t have to like all of these places), make a list of as many as you can think of. Here, I’ll start it for you:
  • Playground
  • Restaurant
  • Doctor
  • A friend’s house
  • Grandma’s house
  • Their own backyard
  • (Now you add at least ten more places.)
3.  Now make a separate list of events in a child’s life. Think about the age you want to write for 0-3, 3-5, 5-8 and what events are specific to that age. Write down as many events as you can. I’ll start it for you:
  • Losing a tooth
  • Getting a pet
  • First sleep over
  • Birthday parties
  • Taking the bus to school for the first time
  • Making his or her own breakfast or lunch
  • (Now you add at least ten more events.)
4.  Here comes the fun part, combine your lists. Take an event from list 2 and have it occur at a place on list 1. There are no wrong answers here. Kids can have nearly anything happen anywhere. Make a list of combinations. For this step, I’m going to add “What If” to the beginning. Here are a few to start you off:
  • What if a child lost his/her tooth at a museum?
  • What if a child has his/her birthday party at Grandma’s house?
  • What if a child has a play date at the beach?
5.  You might think that you have a list of picture book concepts and we are done. You have weathered the brainstorm. Sorry but, right now, your list of story ideas are not yet picture book worthy. To turn this list into fun, page turners, we need to throw a wrench in the machine (so to speak). Next to your list of ideas, write something devastating or amazing that could happen during that event. Remember to think of what would be great or horrible for a child (not an adult). For example:
  • What if a child lost his/her a tooth at a museum – and the tooth dropped into an exhibit?
  • What if a child had his/her birthday party at Grandma’s house and Grandma drops the cake?
  • What if a child has a play date at the beach and they find a hermit crab together – who will get to bring it home?
These additions to your events and locations turn your idea into a story. Now, go weather the brainstorm and have fun coming up with ideas.
(Weaving Dreams Publishing 2012)
When Max and Katie decide to teach their little sister to fly, they quickly learn that telling her to flap, just isn't enough.
Page by page, the siblings get more and more inventive in an effort to help their little sister soar through the air.
 
Alison Hertz is a writer, illustrator, teacher, toy designer, juggler, and former summer camp director. Her picture book, FLAP, released in November of 2012 and is available in stores and online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, and her website. 
 
To learn more about Alison Hertz:
Twitter: @AlisonHertz
 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Encore Presentation: WRITERLY WISDOM series



 



***I have a number of writing deadlines coming up over the next couple of months so I have decided instead of stepping away from my blog completely to concentrate solely on my writing, I will bring back an encore performance of my WRITERLY WISDOM series from three years ago. WW is 52 glorious posts by authors, agents, and editors from around the country providing writerly wisdom in categories from why even become a writer all the way to how to publish and market your books.



There will be two posts loaded per week...Mondays & Wednesdays...so be sure to stop by and check out all the encouraging information given by my lovely writerly friends! I hope you enjoy the encore presentation of my WRITERLY WISDOM series and I will return with shiny, new posts in the fall!***
 
 
 
Reinventing Your Imagination
By Wendy Whittingham
 
Suppose people were born without an imagination? (I can’t even imagine it!) 
 
Don’t let my normal appearance fool you. You’ve no idea what flies into my head at a moment’s notice. (Mind readers, back off!) As an artist and writer and all-round creative soul, most days I find my brain racing with ideas. I don’t understand people who hit a brick wall and seem to be always seeking lightbulb moments. I have enough ideas to light up the Taj Mahal. (Holy Moley, it sure is bright in here!)

Sadly, as the general population matures, they begin to think about life with a more realistic perspective. The brain develops as we become adults and our thought processes and behaviours change. The truth is, our creative side is put on hold and we stop imagining. In short, we learn to be boring. (Not me though!)

Is there any way of reversing this cruel reality? And what sort of person would pursue the task of reinventing their imagination? It’s not something that can be acquired at the local shopping mall, place of worship and you can’t sign up anywhere to apply for a new imagination. (Right about now I bet you’re wishing you hadn’t lost it in the first place!)

Perhaps you’re toying with the idea of reinventing your imagination. What I mean is, you’ve made the decision to take it to another level.  Suppose you could close your eyes and imagine a whole new angle on the things around you? Would you dive right in, or would there be some hesitation on your part? Come on, what would you have to lose - or gain? (I knew you’d see it my way!)

There is plenty to gain, and nothing to lose. Now here’s the hard part. You need to find a way to actually go about doing it. I bet you can think of a zilllion of excuses not to try, but come on! Living a colorful enriched life means being a risk taker, and if we need to go out on a limb, let’s find the longest and most precarious limb. Seriously, if you want to make a change, you have to feel uncomfortable. This goal is no walk in the park. So, relax and try some of the suggestions below. (Easy peasy lemon squeasy!)

Plan A:

Find a place where you can be alone, close your eyes and imagine you’re no longer an adult. This spot is where your childhood self exists and in this place there is no stress, no inhibitions and no disappointments.  No one telling you that isn't true, or that isn't doable or you’re wasting your precious time on something that will prove to be worthless. The new voices you will hear inside your head are your own creation and they’re okay! Have fun in your childhood place - play, dream and create like you used to. Who cares what other people think? And hey, if you can find a like-minded friend to do this with, it will be twice as fun! (Two kids’ heads are better than one!)

If finding or moving into this  zone, is uncomfortable or difficult for you, give plan B a try.

Plan B:

Head outdoors.  Depending on where you live, enjoy the world around you. Whether you simply sit on the front porch step, walk or jog along a sidewalk or hike up a rocky trail, take time to smell the air, listen to the sounds, gaze in all directions. Do you see birds, clouds, mountains, skyscrapers? Being outside, wherever that may be, erases all the short term stuff in your head and allows you to keep only the important thoughts. Oh, did I mention inviting a friend, (imaginary or real) along? Sometimes it’s good to have someone else there so you can bounce ideas. (imaginary friends have awesome imaginations!)

If neither of these are working, go directly to Plan C:

Plan C:

Be irresponsible. Yes, I’m not kidding. Go do something completely crazy right this minute! (Not anything illegal of course!) The last thing you want to do is land up in prison. Just forget what other people think, as the only fear you have is how you will be perceived by others, and does it really matter anyway?
Now go and do it!
PS~ I’m off to take my pet ladybug for a walk.
(See you on the flip side!)

As Alice in Wonderland said: “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” ~ Lewis Carroll






My full name is Wendy Jane Whittingham.  I am a professional artist and have been selling my work for quite some time.

I currently reside in a quiet, but artsy south-western town located on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Not only did I excel in the visual arts as a child, but I loved to play with words.  I wrote hundreds of stories and poems as I grew up, and imagined many more inside my head, some of which are still floating around in there and dying to get out!

Most days I feel like one of the luckiest people around.  I love the creative process and the flexibility it offers me on a day-to-day basis.  Mucking about and getting my hands dirty is just half the fun!