Monday, December 16, 2013

Writing Biographies

Do you like to write biographies? In one of my critique groups, one of our writers writes biographies. The rest of us in the group are amazed at the amount of research she does for each book. Of course she doesn’t use the entire volume of research notes, but what she does use makes for a fascinating story.  
Here is a very brief discussion on writing biographies by Dr. Alma Bond, author and guest blogger on the Writer’s Digest blog. On her article, “How to Write a Biography: Writing from the Heart,” she writes: “As you do your research, select details to write about that you find particularly interesting. It is far more important to write in an engaging manner than to dwell upon historical dates and facts. Your readers will remember the former, and not the latter. That is not to say that research is not important.” 
And here’s another interesting post on the Concord Monitor blog. The article, “Like Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola’s stories endure,” children’s author and illustrator Tomie dePaola is interviewed in his studio amid the tools of his trade. You'll enjoy the photos.
I’m taking a short break from my blog during the upcoming holidays. But here’s wishing you blessings during this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

“Nothing one ever experiences or feels is wasted.”Lynne Reid Banks 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Cookie Exchange

Today I baked twelve (yes – 12!) dozen cookies for our annual  Christmas Cookie Exchange Party. It’s a time when we gather together as family and enjoy conversation, music, and goodies. It’s a nice time to just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Here are pictures of the “before” and “after” of my cooking-baking day. My cookies are now ready to go in pretty Christmas bags. Yum. Yum. 
And here are some treats for you: A list of the “The 13 Best Children’s, Illustrated, and Picture Books of 2013” on the online Publishers Weekly from the source
Here’ an online guest blog interview with Nikki Grimes on the Teaching Books website.
For both writers and illustrators, here’s a video on the School Library Journal blog by Caldecott Honor author and illustrator Peter Brown on his creative process.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Multicultural Books

Latin@s in Kid Lit is a website listing multicultural books and much more. Their Mission/Vision:

·       engage with works about, for, and/or by Latin@s;

·       offer a broad forum on Latin@ children’s, MG, and YA books;

·       promote literacy and the love of books within the Latin@ community;

·       examine the historical and contemporary state of Latin@ characters;

·       encourage interest in Latin@ children’s, MG, and YA literature among non-Latin@ readers;

·       share perspectives and resources that can be of use to writers, authors, illustrators, librarians, parents, teachers, scholars, and other stakeholders in literacy and publishing.

Here’s an interesting interview by NPR on “How Cynthia Rylant Discovered The Poetry Of Storytelling. The award-winning author talks about her life growing up in a West Virginia coal mining town and then she addresses the topic of writing and the creative process. 
Yesterday the Southwest SCBWI chapter held its annual Holiday Schmooze. We all had a fun time, snacking and talking about books, what else? One of our members was kind enough to host the party at her lovely home. If you are a writer or an illustrator and haven’t yet joined the SCBWI in your area, you should. There are so many benefits to being part of this great organization. Find out what SCBWI can do for you.
Reprint rights: Permission to print an already published work whose first rights have been sold to another magazine or book publisher. -- Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Conflict in Your Story

Does your story have enough conflict to keep the tension up and the reader interested?
“Try stuff. See what happens. Let the justification come later. Just continue to think trouble, trouble, trouble. Make it worse. Turn up the heat. That’s conflict, your best friend as a writer.” That is what Brian Klems’ post on the Writer’s Digest blog, “5 Tools for Building Conflict in Your Novel,” addresses.
He assigns five tools to help the writer who is struggling with conflict in the story. They are: “The
New Mexico
Novel Journal, Questions to be Answered, Dreams, Ongoing Mystery, and Guy with a Gun.” You might want to read this article if your story is lacking conflict.
And here’s some awesome stuff. Reading nooks. Do you have a favorite reading nook? I do. A very comfortable armchair by the fireplace. What’s yours? Take a look at these creative reading nooks on the Book Riot blog. Like I said – awesome!

“Good writing is clear thinking made visible.” – Bill Wheeler