Sunday, July 27, 2014

Writer's Block?

Do you sometimes suffer from what we call “writer’s block?” According to Andrew Lewis Conn’s post, “7 Ways to Beat Writer's Block,” on the Publishers Weekly blog, “… writer's block, similar (to) those other figments, does not exist. There’s writing and there’s not writing (and, within those two large camps, factions of good writing, poor writing, and mediocre writing). Like anything else, there are going to be good days and bad days. But let’s not get all exalted about it!”
A gem! Antique camera!
Wow! So what to do about it if you think you do have it? Well, he posts 7 steps, one of which is (4) place your trust in craft, not inspiration and (5) get your hands dirty. Then there’s (7), write out of love—“double-down on your commitment to doing the work—good work that takes the form of an expression of love—in the hopes that you might carry that torch a few inches forward.”
Let’s get to work everyone! But before you do that, you might want to take a look at this very long list or sneak preview of the upcoming 2015 children’s book titles listed by publisher on the Publishers Weekly blog. 

Happy Writing!

"There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away" — Emily Dickinson

Monday, July 21, 2014

Illustrators are Visual Storytellers

I was just browsing through some of the notes I took while attending a writer’s workshop last year in Austin. One of the faculty was E. B. Lewis, illustrator and Caldecott Honor winner for Coming Home Soon. He was talking about picture books, but this could apply to any genre. 
“Illustrators are visual storytellers,” he said. “Illustration is a visual interpretation of the written word.” Then he gave some pointers on character development. “Learn about your subject—your protagonist,” he told us. “Know his thoughts, sensations, and settings around him. Take your character out to lunch. What would he eat? Go to his house and open the doors. Look inside. You need to know your character that well. This is called research. Discover what your character is about.”
Someone else mentioned something about character as well.
What is in your character’s pocket? Does he carry around something that is meaningful and symbolic to him? Is it for strength or to sustain him?
Painted Cow
Lots of good advice here. And here’s an older post by Deborah Underwood about the same topic – picture book illustrations and what writers should know about it.

"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tips on Writing

I just got back from California. Had a wonderful time. I saw the San Francisco Symphony perform on the Fourth of July. There were magnificent fireworks afterwards. Great visit. 
Napa Valley
The Ingrid’s Notes blog offers four writing tips on creating great scenes. I really like the following tip that Ingrid recommends a writer should do when editing a scene. It is under the headline, “Is There a Significant Emotional Change in the Scene?” …  You can track the emotion of your scene by drawing emotion faces (happy faces, frowning faces) at the opening and closing of your scenes. The emotion should reflect the emotion your character carries into the scene, and the emotion the character carries out of it in when it’s over. If the emotion-face is the same, for example both are grumpy faces, then you don’t have any dramatic action in the scene. This indicates that the scene may need to be cut or revised.”
Napa Valley

She further writes about dramatic action in scenes, reader expectations, and how to stop protecting your characters. Excellent tips!

And here’s a terrific post by Zachary Petit on the Writer’s Digest blog, titled: 15 Things a Writer Should Never Do. 

"Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks." — Dr. Seuss