Tag Archives: Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, 2017, and a Chance to Win a Googillion Dollars!

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers is just around the corner. I can’t believe it. And we already have dates, and faculty, for next year. What? I know!

So

What would YOU do with a googillion dollars?

I would get allergy medicine that didn’t cause Alzheimer’s or dementia and the pills would really work.

#44

What is your main character’s secret desire? How does this work with the story and the major dramatic question?

Look closer. What is the real secret desire? Does everything in the novel point to this want? Will your character be better or worse if he achieves his goal?

How will you change after writing this book?

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, giveaways, Plot, writing process

A Crime of Passion?

How are you coming with the writing prompts? Are you giving yourself thirty minutes a day to work on these different ideas? I’ve decided, when Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com) is over this year, I’m gonna go back through all these and do each one.

One per day.

Perhaps I will post some of my results. There seems to be serious interest in this blog and I want to keep this going. (Imagine a gif with people laughing their heads off, literally.)

I keep bugging my friend, Trent Reedy, to write a book with me.

He is a boy.

I am girl.

We would have different points of views. This is good in writing.

But I can tell my friend isn’t interested in the ideas I come up with.

He’s very kind about it but he has no passion for my ideas.

Not too long ago Ann Dee and I brainstormed the next book we want to write together. We have this terrific start that’s a little scary because we’re only sorta sure where it will go. SO we wanted to think of something else.

 

As we went back and forth, the ideas I felt excited about, she was sorta like, “Uuuuummmmm.”

And then when she came up with a new idea, I was like, “Eeeeerrrrr.”

We didn’t share a passion. And without that–Trent Reedy and I or Ann Dee and I–can’t get a good book on the page.

You must care about your work.

# 38

Do you care about your novel?

Why?

Why not?

Is it worth the hours, the sweat, the worry, the writing and rewriting you must do?

Why?

Why not?

Is this book worth sticking though the tough parts?

Why?

Why not?

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Life, Plot, writing process

Three Thing Thursday

 

1. It’s our second annual WIFYR Kick-off! Our speaker this year? None other than the amazing J. Scott Savage. Scott is the award-winning author of more than 14 books and he’s gonna get us pumped up to face this new year writing.
Listening to Scott, doing writing exercises, a few drawings, and mingling with other writers. What’s better than that?
Who? You and your writing buddies are invited but space is limited, so make sure you register to get your ticket. Ages 16 and up.
When? January 20, 7:00 – 8:30 pm.
Where? The Provo City Library at Academy Square (550 N University Avenue, Provo, UT).
Cost? A potluck item and, if you’d like, a new or gently-used book for a needy library. How? To reserve your spot, click   http://www.wifyr.com/events/
2.WIFYR is pleased to host its second event of day-long writing workshops, this time with literary agent, Erin Harris, from Folio Jr, Feb 22-25. More info to come.
3. School starts again next week. Your main character is scared to go back. Why? Who or what is waiting for him? What will happen? How will your character get out of this mess?

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A Gift to You

Every semester at the beginning of my creative writing classes, or every June for Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, I meet people who don’t have time to write.

I get it.

There are lots of things I don’t have time for–cleaning out the fridge, going grocery shopping, arguing with people I don’t like.

But the stuff I really care about–my religion, my kids, my friends and my writing? I make time for that.

For some reason we writers feel like our writing just isn’t as important as someone else’s full time job. Perhaps this is, in part, the  way our society views what we do.

“Oh, you’re a writer? That means you’re home all day? Can you help me with ABC.” And they AREN’T asking about the alphabet.

(Stay at home Moms–you’ve probably been asked to do tons for others because you are at home and that means, you know, that you have more time because you aren’t as busy.)

“Will you read my novel?”

“Will you edit my novel?”

“Will you watch my kids as I go tan?”

Over the years I’ve met lots of people who want to publish.

Some never will  because they are waiting for Time to fall in their laps instead of taking Time.

Some always allow what they consider more important to get in way of their writing.

Some are afraid.

If you have learned anything from this blog where we all complain, it’s that writing is HARD.

But, it’s also worth it.

At the end of each semester I say to my students, “You have permission to give yourself the gift of writing. An hour each day. Thirty minutes. Whatever you chose. Writing to you is as important as the car mechanic going to the shop to work or the doctor to the her office. Allow yourself to think your writing time is sacred. Is your own. Is a gift to you, from you.”

So what will YOU do to make time to reach your writing goals?

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One Week to WIFYR!

It’s so weird how time flies. Just two days ago I had six months till the conference started.

And now this!

With these last minutes for preparation, I find myself running around like a crazy person.

Okay, a crazier person.

Still, I need to do one thing for me: my writing.

My goal this week is write an hour each day. I have two books to work on–the one with Ann Dee and a mid-grade that my agent thinks needs to be older. Both need rewriting.

I’m  going to get up earlier each day, go to bed earlier each night and practice the last day of the conference song. Yup! I’ve chosen one.

And it’s an octave too high for me.

This is gonna be good!

 

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Three Things Thursday

Cheryl:

It’s been a long time since I have  attempted any writing exercises, so this past week I tried writing a “six word story.” Here are a few of my attempts:
“Sorry, no discount on child-sized coffins.”
Home from fighting, not from war.
Like a turtle, she sheltered herself.
They’re harder than you might imagine. I’ve found that the most difficult thing is that each can be interpreted in so many different ways. I feel I’m not effectively translating the story in my head to that of you, the reader. And after all, that transfer is what good writing is all about, right?
Try it! Post your results in the comments, I’d love to see what others came up with.

 

 

 

Brenda:

Trying to think of an idea for today’s blog, I looked at the oldest item in my “To Read” file — mostly old copies of Writers Digest Online saved for later inspiration. My oldest (which SHOULD have been a journal entry) included a note from Staci, real estate agent and friend, trying to sell my condo so I could move back to SLC. The memories it brought back made me laugh — besides, now it’s June!
Dec 12, 2009
Staci: I would like to show your home please at 10 am Tuesday . . . Let me know if this is ok. . . . Thanks!
Brenda: Tuesday would be fine EXCEPT. . . (then I listed details like):
. . . in my 4th day of frozen pipes — absolutely NO water
. . . unable to do laundry
. . . dishes (hidden in dishwasher — mostly eating out)
. . . run to the club house to use the bathroom
. . . signed up for a seven-day trial at a fitness place so I can take a shower
. . . cleaning lady scheduled Monday
. . . if water’s still frozen, I’ll tell her to wait
. . . guy from (condo) Management came tonight (thanks to neighbor)
. . . put a space heater up in garage ceiling where pipes are
. . . last time, I think it took a couple days to thaw out after space heater installed
. . . later, they added more insulation
. . . extreme cold this week: it evidently isn’t enough
. . . call me late tomorrow — I’ll possibly know more
. . . this would NOT be a good “selling point”
You MUST have similar “nightmare” memories? What are they? How could you put them into your novel? How would your characters react? Will it be an angst-ridden scene in your book, or will it be comic? Any one? AnnDee?

 

Me:

Change is afoot at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com). An announcement about Things To Come will occur on the last day of the conference. I’m overwhelmed. No, wait! I’m excited about what we’ll soon be offering with this conference to help people be better writers. And get published!

Shhh! Don’t say you heard it here! I’m letting the cat out of the bag a little early.

🙂

 

PS Yahoo for cliches!

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Dean Hughes Teaching at WIFYR

and here’s an interview with him! BTW, I think he’s written a million books. AND had them published. Woot woot Dean!

 

How did you begin writing?

I’ve always written. At four I started scribbling on paper and telling my mom to read my “story.” (Too bad that I didn’t know all my letters.) She would pretend to be read what I it back to me, and I would say, “That’s not what I wrote.” (In case you’re wondering about POV on that story, I must admit, I don’t remember the whole thing. Mom told me about it later.)

I wrote a play in fourth grade, became a devoted reader, and by junior high was telling people I was going to be a writer when I grew up. In high school I had an amazing creative writing teacher who taught me the basics of fiction writing, and I got serious about trying to publish. I wrote a novel the year I graduated from high school (rejected), another in college (rejected), another when I first began my career as a professor (rejected), and then a fourth, which was intended for young readers. That one sold. By then I was thirty-five.

 

The Earth’s under attack, you go to the bookstore for one book to take with you during escape. Go!

I’m afraid I would stand in that bookstore, catatonic. The attackers would find me and shoot me down. I could never choose one book. I guess I’d take my Kindle, with a small library of recent reads, but that would be very satisfying. I’ve been reading books all my life and I’d miss hundreds of them. For one thing, I love many genres—fiction, history, non-fiction on all sorts of subjects, etc.—and I don’t even know which category is my favorite.

So who started this “favorite” thing anyway? When I used to visit schools, kids would ask me what my favorite color was, and I would say, “Blue,” because I’d been saying that for a long time. But then I realized, I had only chosen blue under duress. I was supposed to like one color more than all others. Does that actually make sense? I want the whole rainbow and chartreuse, mauve and ordinary old tan besides. I like colors; that’s what I like. I can’t choose one color, and I can’t choose one book.

 

When you’re not laboring over the keyboard, what would we find you doing?

I read a lot, of course. I love movies and my wife and I go off to afternoon films, when the prices are lower and the theaters are empty. (There are some good things about getting old.) I keep trying to learn to fly fish. I’m getting a little better at it. I live ten minutes from the Provo River, so I keep telling myself that this year I’ll fish a lot more. I just had back surgery, so this year I can’t ski, but I still plan to return to hills next season (I live about fifteen minutes from Deer Valley ski resort). I play golf (have a course in my back yard); I watch BBC series on Netflix; I teach an adult class at my church. I also clean house. Kathy and I have always divided that sort of work, and sometimes scrubbing a toilet actually seems more appealing to me than looking at more words on my computer screen. For Kathy and me, our big thing is travel. Lately we’ve made trips to Italy, England, and we took a cruise to South America and the Antarctic. We have some other trips in mind. We also do lots of family stuff. We try to attend events our grandchildren get involved in, and we gather once a month if we can to celebrate the birthdays in the family.

 

What’s the last book that made you do a spit take? Or at least laugh out loud?

Does it tell you anything that I had to Google “spit-take” to find out what it is? (Actually, I’m impressed that I found my answer that way.) Now I’m trying to think what has made me laugh lately. I obviously read too much serious stuff. I don’t remember spitting all over the place, but I did reread Catch 22 lately. The book makes me laugh and cringe and worry. It seems more real than the first time I read it.

 

Can you give us a typical day in the life of?

I’m known for being “prolific.” That’s really a back-handed way of saying that I’m a drudge who really “cranks them out.” I hate that image, but I will say, I have worked hard all my life. I’ve published 102 books in about thirty-five years. For most of my career I tried to be at my computer by 8:00 a.m., and I stayed there most of the day. But I have a good process, and I think I write efficiently, so I do find time for other things. And lately, I’ve begun to change. I’m afraid my new image may be that of the self-indulging artiste. I get up later than I used to, exercise before I write, and usually get to my computer about nine-ish, or some days, not at all. I’ve been writing a history lately—not just historical fiction, but actual history—and that gives me the excuse to read all day, sometimes for weeks. And since my wife and I are traveling more these days, we escape work altogether and run off to see the world, or we drive to California to see grandchildren. The fact is, I have no real schedule anymore, and I rather like that.

 

You’re at Carol’s dance party. Are you dancing in the middle? Head bobbing? Fly on the wall? Or do you apologize later because you got a sudden case of food poisoning?

All of these questions call attention to my age. I went from the foxtrot and jitterbug to the twist, the pony, the mashed potatoes—all that stuff. And then it all got away from me. I tried to jump around for a few years, but I was always amazed at what people called fast dancing, which was a little too “free-style” to get my head around. Somewhere in time I gave up most dancing, but when Kathy and are at a party or dinner dance, we usually revert to our old high school foxtrot, and we throw in a jitterbug a couple of times. But no head bobbing—absolutely no head bobbing.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve been given concerning writing?

Spend 20 percent of your time composing and 80 percent revising. And when you publish, enjoy the moment, but don’t conclude that you’re now a big deal.

 

What’s the number one writing tip you can give aspiring authors?

Don’t ask too much of writing. Getting published rarely brings you fame and fortune, and you won’t walk around in a state of euphoric bliss from that day on. Write because you like to write. If benefits follow, enjoy them, but don’t focus on the benefits and forget the hard work of working until you “get it right.”

 

And last but not least: you’re a teenager again, what song is playing in the background, or in your head, during your first kiss?

“You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound dog”?  Well, no, but my first kiss was in the Elvis era.

When I met Kathy, she had a cute little red dress that just knocked my eyes out.  When I would see her in it, I would sing “Hey There, Little Red Riding Hood (by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs).  That became “our song.”  But let’s see; for a romantic song I’ll take “The Nearness of You,” or maybe, “Moonlight Becomes You.”  I know.  I know.  Those are really old songs.  But hey, I keep telling you, I’m an old guy.

 
And last but not least: you’re a teenager again, what song is playing in the background, or in your head, during your first kiss?
“You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound dog”? Well, no, but my first kiss was in the Elvis era. When I met Kathy, she had a cute little red dress that just knocked my eyes out. When I would see her in it, I would sing “Hey There, Little Red Riding Hood (by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs). That became “our song.” But let’s see; for a romantic song I’ll take “The Nearness of You,” or maybe, “Moonlight Becomes You.” I know. I know. Those are really old songs. But hey, I keep telling you, I’m an old guy.

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