Tag Archives: picture books

Update and Infographic: 28 boring words and what to use instead

It seems I’ve been absent too much lately from blogging. I’m still around, although not keeping up with everything. On Saturday last week – with hundreds of other writers from all over the world – I participated in an online Picture Book Summit which was amazing. Over 9 hours of amazing, in fact. It’s part of my education in learning about writing for children and I know I’m gradually learning some very good and helpful information.

Thanks to my local library I’ve been doing a lot more reading of picture books again – and other books, too, but mostly picture books. That’s part of the learning process, the really fun part. As a member of 12×12 the goal is to try to write a new story (rough draft) each month, and so far this year I have managed to do that. I’ve even drafted more than one a couple of months! Sometimes the story starts in my brain when I’m relaxed at bedtime and just lingers there long enough for me to scribble it down. One morning I wasn’t awake very long when I started hearing a story beginning, so I had to stay focused on it to capture the story before it went the way of my forgotten dreams. It’s fascinating to me how that happens.

Today I have some information to share with you that could be of help with your writing. It’s an infographic of 28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead, and was created by writer and blogger Jack Milgram. (Thanks, Jack!)

To go to the infographic CLICK HERE , but please come back to leave a comment.

Are there any words that bug you or you think are overused or boring?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Update about writing & books; & remember: set your clocks ahead tonight!

Today I realized that I should say something about the contests I entered recently.

My 50 word story, Magic Rainbows, for Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge, did not place. There were 251 entries; 40 were chosen.

You already know my 214 word story, Valentine’s Day Surprises, for Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest, did not place. There were 117 entries; 10 were chosen as winners and 18 received honourable mention.

I like my stories and felt they had promise, so, I admit, I was quite disappointed they didn’t make the cut when it was hard to put them out there in the first place. Once I got past those gloomy feelings I paid attention to the positive comments and urges to work on my stories to develop them further. I am going to give that a try. There could be picture books hidden in there. 

Right now I am involved in reading others’ stories (although I’m still writing) because Reading For Research Month is underway, and a book study (Writing Picture Books), both of which have required reading. I have been borrowing books from the library and keeping our lovely librarians busy. Look at the pile of books I have home right now, plus I have a smaller pile at Dad’s to bring home Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t that fabulous?  🙂  Including the ones not shown here I have 73 checked out, and 41 currently on hold to come to me when available. My list keeps growing in either direction because I keep asking for more books.

For the books I borrow I try to write a brief review on Goodreads where I again entered a reading challenge. I set my personal challenge at a total of 150 books to read, which I surpassed by one last year, and I know I can do it again this year with probably even more. Of course, most of them are picture books, but that’s my field of study right now. Picture books. And that’s what I most want to write. Picture books. So most of the books I borrow are … picture books.  🙂

On another note …  For those of you who have to change your clocks (early Sunday morning) …

set your clocks ahead one hour tonight!

Do you use the library much? On that other note, do you have trouble adjusting to the time changing by one hour?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Writing, researching, & more waiting

I was talking to a writer friend today. She writes novels and is published. I haven’t completed the one I started six years ago during NaNoWriMo. She doesn’t write picture books. I am waiting/hoping to get mine published. It’s a waiting game no matter what you write.

She reminded me to not compare myself to other writers. I needed that reminder – again – because I have been thinking about my picture book submission earlier this week, and that many other writers submitted their manuscripts around the same time. Mine will get read but I will be astonished if it is accepted. Why? Because, I thought, the others will be better stories or more suited to the publisher’s interest, than mine. Through the process of elimination mine will be rejected. I thought, but I don’t KNOW. I’m waiting. My friend is waiting, too, for the next step in the progress of her latest novel.

She said if she were to compare she could be insecure because of my writing. WHAT! No way! Because, she told me, I write multiple stories in one year while she writes a story in about three years.  hmmm  My reply to that is it takes longer for her novel because of the length of her in-depth story and all the research she does for it. No matter if it’s world-building or just capturing a moment or incident, it all takes time and effort to create worlds or scenarios and scenes. It’s all writing. It’s all creative expression. It’s all work. And it’s an exercise in patience – definitely not one of my strengths.

I think writing a good novel (one that gets publish ) is an amazing and exciting accomplishment. I’d love to do that, but I don’t yet know if that is within my abilities. For now I am concentrating on picture books because that’s more where my passion lies in my writing. I have to stop comparing. I have to be who I am as a writer.

Look at this fabulous image I found on Twitter:

writing-research

 

 

 

 

She’s a history professor from the future. She said to just carry on as if she’s not here.

Researching your topic is a very important part of writing your story. Even for the picture book I recently submitted, I researched what the characters would be interested in eating. I like things to be accurate.

I am usually very visual, so as I write a story I see it unfolding before me like a movie. I’ve been told that is quite common to writers. I hear what the characters are saying and what is happening around them, and often what they are feeling and thinking. In fact, here’s another oddity about me — in real life I often see the words people say to me in conversation. I see the words spelled out before me, in my mind’s eye. I wonder if that is an advantage for me in my writing … or if I am just strange.  🙂  

Questions for you:

  1. Do you visualize when writing stories? Do you when people talk to you, the way I see the words spoken to me?
  2. Do you research for your stories, or do you not bother much with the little details? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

Writing and waiting

It’s been a hard summer for me as far as writing goes. I’ve been in a funk, a writing depression, a walled-in place of little inspiration. I realized I was/am experiencing burn-out from a combination of things, burn-out exhibiting itself as low-grade depression and writer’s block. That’s no fun!writer's block

 

 

 

… until a week ago, on August 23, when inspiration hit!

I was talking with one of my daughters about a frustrating, exasperating, tiring situation that’s ongoing (not as a caregiver) and that affects a few of us in the family. Pausing to consider it a moment, I said … “hmm … that could be a story for a picture book!” Shortly afterward I sat at my desk and wrote a very rough first draft of that story idea. I don’t have a satisfying ending for it yet, mainly because there has not been one found for the real-life situation, so that’s something I’ll have to dream up as is fitting for a picture book. I’m happy, though, because it is my August draft for 12×12.

And writer’s block was moved aside.

That’s always good news. Other good news happened today, too.

I’ve got some manuscripts which I haven’t submitted anywhere yet. It’s hard not ever hearing back, or getting rejection replies, so I think I was just not ready to chance it again. In 12×12, members were offered a special opportunity to submit to a publisher looking for new work, with the promise ALL would be read and our work would not be left in the ‘slush pile’. This evening (Aug 30) I took a chance and submitted the story I wrote in February. I did it! It’s gone, I received email confirmation that it was received, and now my wait has begun. If they are interested in working with me I’ll hear back within five months. If not … *sigh*

waiting quote

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, I have to get out my other work and get more of them submission ready. And continue writing new stories, of course. That will help fill in the time while playing the waiting game. I need positive creative distractions to keep myself writing.

How are you at waiting? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

My personal reading challenges

I have an account on Goodreads. If you love books then Goodreads.com is a great place to be. Each year they set up a challenge for us to challenge ourselves to read more, to set goals to read however many books we think we can or that we want to read. I enjoy challenges like that since I’m just a little competitive. And I love books.

In 2013 my goal was 25 books. I made it to 44%, having read only 11 books. Actually, if you look at my list here on my blog for what books I read that year, my total was 34. The difference is because I apparently didn’t report them all on Goodreads. Oops!

I don’t remember what my goal for 2014 was, but I reported 38 books. In actuality, I read 46.

In 2015 I met my goal of 50 books. Yay! (Plus one I didn’t report.)

This year I set a goal of 25, then decided to up it to 50 again. Once I joined the ReFoReMo challenge in March, I said – what the hey! – and reset my goal to 150 books this year. Yipes!  Not to panic, yet.  I am already 64 ahead of schedule at 71%, having read 107 as of this writing. I still have a few more titles on hold at the library for the lingering on of ReFoReMo in my life, and we have about eight months left in 2016. I can do it! (yes I can)  Gosh, I love books!

It may not seem like such a big accomplishment where most of my reading so far this year is picture books. I could never manage to read that many novels in twelve months. BUT … reading is reading. I’m learning about writing while I’m enjoying all those expertly told stories, too, as they serve as mentor texts.

Someday I’ll try to count how many books I have here in my growing TBR stashes♥  Novels, that is. Novels beckoning to me, novels tempting me, calling me.  *sigh*  I want to read them, get lost in them, devour them all!

pile of books

BOOKS.  

Another feature on Goodreads is that other members I’ve connected with as “friends” can recommend books they’ve read. Oh me. Some have.  🙂 

Oh, and while I’m on the topic — thank you to author Darlene Foster who follows my blog and recommended Pompeii by Robert Harris. I bought it through Audible.com and very much enjoyed it. Of course, I could have borrowed it from the library but I didn’t even think of doing that at the time. I really like Audible, anyway.  🙂  I can multi-task that way — listen to the book being performed for me (not just read), which is so great, and work around doing something else at the same time. But not writing. Not while “reading.”  😉

Have you set a goal this year for how many books you want to read? Or is there some other goal-setting you’ve established?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Another pile of books for ReFoReMo

The challenge has ended, sort of. ReFoReMo may be over in one way, but I have a lot of work to do yet. On our own we were to read through each book and then analyze it – study how each was written, observe the POV and universal theme, choose our favourite line, write a little about the story’s main character, and more. It’s been educational for me to find out what is popular now, the many different types and themes of picture books, and the variety of ways to present stories. I’ve learned what type of book I’m not interested in writing and what style I’d like to try. A few I didn’t enjoy reading, a couple brought tears to my eyes, a few were educational and I learned fascinating things I didn’t know before; some stories were funny, a couple were hilarious (to me), and many were sweet stories in a variety of ways. This has been a great experience. (Thanks Carrie Charley Brown!)

I got more books from the library on Saturday and I’ve also started returning books. That’s the sad part.

Here are some of the latest ones I borrowed, I have a few others to photograph,  and there are more on hold for me.

batch 5 -11 Have you read any of the above?  They are:

  • Gravity by Jason Chin
  • One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • Birthday Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka
  • Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead
  • How Hybrid Cars Work by Jennifer Swanson
  • Sparky! by Jenny Offill
  • A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey
  • Wolfie the Bunny by Amy Dyckman
  • if you want to see a whale by Julia Fogliano
  • When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Locomotive by Brian Floca

I’ve read over eighty picture books through March because of Reading For Research Month, and I’m not done yet. That’s more books than I would normally read in a year! Some people have read many more than the 100 suggested, in only this month.

Now we’re learning from the special posts written for our further insight and inspiration. I’m so glad I did this, although now I’m behind in some other things I was doing – blogging and 12×12, to name only two. What I’ve gleaned through ReFoReMo should help in my writing though, so it’s all good.   🙂

On Sunday eleven of us shared Easter dinner at my dad’s, then I came home for my week off. I have a lot of reading, writing, revising to do and also publishing to finish! I am a writer and lovin’ it! 

When is the last time you read a picture book to a child or for your own enjoyment?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

           

A fourth pile of books for ReFoReMo!

For a week I haven’t posted the newest books I’ve received from the library for Reading for Research Month! The librarian has been faithfully bringing them in for me and the notifications have been popping up in my email. (I currently have 64 out on loan.) Even though today’s mail brought another notice, I am posting a photo of the nineteen books I haven’t shown you yet. The others can wait – I’ll show them to you later since I haven’t been able to get them today anyway.

batch 4 - 19They are:

  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow
  • This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary
  • Fox and Squirrel by Ruth Ohi
  • Cock-a-Doodle Oops! by Lori Degman
  • The Snatchabook by Helen Doherty
  • Max the Brave by Ed Vere
  • Home by Carson Ellis
  • Swan by Laurel Snyder
  • Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley
  • No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Won Ton: a Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes
  • One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck
  • Be a Friend by Salina Yoon
  • I Dare You Not to Yawn by Helen Boudreau  [let me know if you keep from yawning when reading this one]
  • The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman
  • No Nap! Yes Nap! by Margie Palatini
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt  [hilarious!]

Aren’t they beautiful? 🙂  Some I enjoy more than others and for different reasons.  I’m impressed by every one … and for different reasons.

Have you read any of the above books?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂