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Archive for the ‘picture book writing’ Category

Something I’m Not

On Halloween, people and pets pretend to be something they’re not. I’m not a ladybug…

ladybug

or a nurse…

nurse

or a Halloween prisoner…

hallowen prisoner

or a turtle

turtle

For the past couple of months, Mom has been trying to be something she’s not. Since nonfiction picture books seem to be getting more and more popular, she thought she’d dip her toe into the nonfiction water.

biographyhistory

She started out by reading a few nonfiction picture books each week. And she wracked her brain trying to think of a topic that she could actually write about.

facts

She read and read and – UGH. She thought and thought and – NUTHIN’. Some of the nonfiction books were actually pretty good.

Super-cute nonfiction!

Super-cute nonfiction!

But still, the only things she really wanted to read were fiction books, and the only things she really wanted to write were fiction stories.

…maybe a fairy tale about a dog princess!

…maybe a fairy tale about a dog princess!

So this Halloween week, Mom decided to stop trying to be something she’s not. She’ll be what she is – a writer of fiction picture books.

ebookcover with borderBook #1

And I’ll be what I am – the witch in the rearview mirror headed to the library for Read to a Pet Night….

rearview witch

Ugh!

witch face

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Mix a little foolishness with your prudence. It’s good to be silly at the right moment.

~Horace~

Mom likes to laugh. Mostly, she laughs at me. But she also laughs when she reads picture books.

bookpileoct

She says, “GAH! That was hilarious!” and “Some stories are just SO funny.” and “It’s a bike rack. How can you possibly be afraid of a bike rack??”

bikerack

Making humor in her books is part of Mom’s job. It’s important to make her readers laugh, while not looking like she’s trying too hard. …even though she’s really trying very, VERY hard. Mom says, “That’s what I call a smile.”

nail trim

and “I love a dog in a shopping cart.”

cart

and “It’s always a delicate balance.”

Don't I know it!

Don’t I know it!

Some books that made Mom smile lately are: Gaston, Pardon Me, Monster Chefs, Shoe Dog, I Hatched, Zombie in Love, How to Babysit a Grandpa, Little Santa, and about a million others.

She also gets a giggle from me in my Halloween witch costume.

hatwitch headupwitch

And my tutu.

greentutu

Did you laugh today?

Difficult

Going to the vet is difficult. Once we’re in, Mom won’t let me leave, no matter how terrified I look…

vetscared

or how hard I stare out the door.

vetdoor

Hiding under the high metal table doesn’t help.

vethiding

So it’s shots, blood stealing, poking, squeezing, feeling, listening, looking, and checking. Whew! Of course there are some cuddles and kisses and treats along the way, too.

For Mom, finishing a story is difficult. Not the actual finishing – once she imagines and writes herself to that point, the ending just happens. But then it gets tough because it’s time to get a new idea to start a new story.

lightbulb

Mom starts to wonder if she’ll ever get another idea as long as she lives. What if nothing starts cooking in her head? Ever. GAH! Thank goodness she has her idea list in her phone. After she worries for a little while, she does some poking, squeezing, feeling, listening, looking, and checking. Whew! Of course there are some cuddles and kisses and treats along the way, too.

cuddle

Eventually, she picks a few things from the list, mish-moshes them together, mind-writes for a while, and she’s back on her way imagining and writing her way towards the next ending!

writing2

Wait! What? Does this mean I have to go back to the vet AGAIN?

bedhiding

Countdown Wednesday

123

It’s a new season around here. Fall. Also known as Autumn. Also known as Pumpkin-Freaks-Are- Everywhere-Trying-To-Kill-Me.

fallstuff2

They’re watching me…aren’t they? *shiver*

Today, we’re counting down about seasons.

What I Know About Seasons

3. Napping. Something I like about fall is that it’s still warm and sunny enough for street naps and sun-puddle naps. I love a good nap.

sunsquiggle

2. Next. The next season will be winter. That means jackets (Mmmm. Toasty.)

snow1

and boots (*gulp*)

and snow (Yikes! I hope it doesn’t touch my belly!).

snow3pink

1. Halloween. Fall is Halloween time. ‘Nuff said.

turtledogdevildog

What Mom Knows About Seasons

3. 9-Months. Fall means Mom is 9 months into her 12×12 challenge. She could’ve had a baby in all that time. Maybe a book-baby…?

bookbabies

2. Visiting. Back-to-School-Season means Back-to-School-Visits-Season. I’m still not allowed to go along, but I’m getting better at watching and waiting for Mom to come home.

hoping

1. Clothes. Sweaters and sweatshirts are warm and cozy and Mom will wear them a lot this season. Ditto boots and jackets. I sure hope Mom can walk better in her boots than I do in mine.

boots

Help me….

Otherwise, no matter how many book-babies she has, she’ll never even make it to a school visit!

sweatshirt

Rules

Rules are everywhere. At the park, it’s “No dogs on the track.”

track

So I get as close as I can without breaking the rule.

track2

Sometimes, Mom flat-out makes up rules in her head like, “Don’t eat the acorns.”

acorn

and “Keep out of the mud.”

mud

and “GAH! That stick is too big to carry!”

giantstick

And her all-time favorite “No sleeping in the street!”

squiggle

Most days, Mom has rules to follow in her writing. There are word count rules, and the rule of three, the rule of thinking with pictures in your head, and the rule of playing with wonderful words. And then there’s don’t make the book too quiet and don’t hit the kids over the head with a lesson, but do have fabulous characters with their own special voices and do surprise everyone with a twist at the end.

huh

Whew! That’s a LOT of rules…

Mom says, “Rules are important. ” and “The world would be mayhem without rules.” and her other all-time favorite, “Rules are made to be broken!” Wait. What?

Streetnap!

OK, then – it’s time for a streetnap!

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I like lunch. I don’t officially eat lunch, but Mom does. And once in a while she shares it with me. I’m not allowed to beg, but sometimes (every single day), that rule accidentally gets broken and Mom says the word, “No human food” just before she gives me a tiny taste.

beg

I do not believe there is a huge difference between human food and dog food. Yummy and delicious is yummy and delicious, no matter what the container looks like.

purinapasta

Mom likes to use “short, easy words” just like Winnie the Pooh. And most of the time, that’s exactly what she uses when she writes stories AND when she talks to me. She says, “Sit” not “Ensconce yourself”

sit2

and “Down” not “Move towards a lower position”

down

and “Fetch” not “Pick up and deliver.” I understand these small words and they do the job well…. except when they don’t.

Huh??

Fetch? Huh??

In stories, it’s not about the size of the word. It’s more about what the word really says and whether the word needs help from another word to say what it needs to say. This is especially true with verbs, which I think are something like burps. Better to say, “Trudge” than “Walk slowly with head down” and better to say, “Chomp” than “Eat quickly and noisily” and better to say, “Whisper” than “Speak softly in hushed tones.”

So in an effort to keep things short and precise, I would like to say, “Gimme some!”

cupcakes

Taking Your Time

Mom has to take her time when she makes a story. It’s OK to write it quickly, but then comes the hard work, which is revising, and that part is slow. Fixing the word choices in poems or stories makes the right mood and the right voice and the right feel. In her Lyrical Language Lab Class, Mom learned to look again at every word in a story to make it sound better and flow better without slowing the story down or going off on a tangent.

TLLL-logo-with-renee-1024x550

Sometimes I get off on a tangent when I’m checking my pee-mail.

sniffing

When I’m sniffing out a message, I will say, “This is from my friend, Mocha.” and “I wish I could jump on his head right now.” and “His mom always says the furs on my head are soft.” and “My squirrel toy is really soft.”

squirrel

and “I wonder if that laughing monkey toy is out of the toy box waiting for me.”

monkey

and “Squirrels look like monkeys running around in the trees.” and “Trees are…..”

monkey cuddle

And then Mom says, “Let’s go.” and “Let’s GO!” and “LET’S GO!!” Apparently, sniffing the same blade of grass all day is not an option for me.

still sniffing

I am learning to take my time when I eat my dinner. I didn’t learn it in Lyrical Language Lab – it’s because of my new slow-feeder bowl!

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