Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Revisions in writing

A writer friend of mine is moving out of state and decided to give away some of her books on writing before she moves. She has hundreds of them. I was giddy with excitement as she handed me several boxes filled with books. The first one I read was Gates of Excellence: On Reading and Writing Books for Children by the awesome author Katherine Paterson of Bridge to Terabithia and many other books. Although Gates was published in 1981, everything she wrote still applies. Not only was the book inspirational, but she had so many quotes in there. One of my favorites on the topic of revisions: “I love revisions. Where else in life can spilled milk be transformed into ice cream?”
And speaking of revisions, here is an excellent interview on the Cynsations blog with author Caroline Carlson, The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot. She details her pre-and-pro contract revision process. 
Here’s an interesting bit of information. Author Alice Munro, who just won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, got her share of rejection letters. Talk about perseverance! Gives the rest of us hope.
Take a peek. This is simply unbelievable! A gown made out of Golden Books. 

Contract: A written agreement stating the rights to be purchased by an editor, art director or producer and the amount of payment the writer, illustrator or photographer will receive for that sale. – Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Festivals

I’ve attended many book festivals since becoming an author. Book festivals are not only fun but a great way to promote your books. When I first started I didn’t know what to expect. But the more an author participates in such events, the smoother the ride. Author Chuck Sambuchino’s post on the Writer’s Digest blog, “How to Maximize a Book Festival Appearance: 9 Tips,” offers excellent advice if you’re ready to participate in one. 
Here’s a wonderful piece about a librarian who opened a rural-one-room library in the Ozarks. Heartwarming story. Bless librarians who are book lovers and our friends!
And if you like biographies, you must read Daughters of Two Nations, which just came out. Published by Mountain Press and written by Peggy Caravantes and illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores (my daughter), it is a must read.
 SCBWI: The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (

Monday, October 14, 2013

First Drafts

Are you a writer who outlines before starting? Do you write an entire draft and then go back and make revisions or do you write, revise, and edit, chapter by chapter? I don’t think there’s any right or wrong way. I believe whatever works for you—go with it. Here’s an interesting post on the Writer’s Digest blog on the benefits of writing a draft first in case that’s what you want to do. It is titled, “7 Reasons to Write an Entire 1st Draft Before Going Back to the Beginning.” Benefit Number 7 is: “One of the greatest benefits of writing a truly awful, lousy, no good first draft is that it can only get better from there.” What do you think?

And if you’re in the middle of writing a short story, you might want to enter the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. The early-bird deadline is November 15, 2013. 

Final draft: -- The last version of a polished manuscript ready for submission to an editor. – Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Avoid the Slush Pile

Are your stories going into the slush pile? Do you keep getting rejection letters? Do you want to change that? You might want to read this feature article and get some tips on, “Getting Out of the Slush Pile,” by Harold Underdown. He writes about the different types of manuscripts, cover letters, agents, and even the acquisition process. A must read.
Here’s a “Favorite Picture Books of the Fall list on the Publishers Weekly blog ShelfTalker. I love the design and art on the book covers. They draw you in and make you want to buy that book. I have a great respect for illustrators and their awesome talent. 
Here’s a neat post of quotes from famous writers about writing for children. Follow this link. 

Dummy: A loose mock-up of a book showing placement of text and artwork. – Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Handling bad book reviews

Now that you’ve written and published a book, here come the book reviews. Good and bad. So how do you handle the bad ones? Even famous authors get bad reviews once in a while. Do not despair, though. According to Beth Bacon’s post on the dbw (Digital Book World) blog, “…any review is publicity.” Her article, “5 Ways for Authors to Handle Bad Book Reviews,” addresses this topic in some detail. You might just want to read the entire article.
And if you are in the middle of writing the Great American Novel, take a peek at a post on the Writer's Digest blog titled, “5 Things Novelists Can Learn From Screenwriters.”  Screenwriter David Magee offers excellent tips on structuring your story, i.e., scenes, tension, plot, character, and dialogue. I guess these two posts have the number "5" in common, huh?

Backlist: A publisher’s list of books not published during the current season but still in print. – Children’s Writers & Illustrator’s Market