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Archive for the ‘picture book writing’ Category

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”

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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.

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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!

Five Word Friday

If you know me, you know I’m afraid of lots of things – golf carts, ladders, airplanes, soccer players, election signs, solar panels, and balloons to name a few…. Today’s 5 words are about FEAR.

1. Vocabulary – You should never be afraid of words. Mom is using a ton of new vocabulary in her Lyrical Language Lab. Words like: iamb, meter, dactyl, trochee, and anapest (anaPEST! That’s my name sometimes.)…

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The words scared Mom at first, but when she learned about them, they helped her. I know a lot of words, too. Mostly: treat, dinner, park, out, ice cream, and naughty.

squiggle

2. Fixing up – Mom fixes me up with the Fur-min-a-tor brush. When I’m afraid of the brush, I run around in circles until Mom is too dizzy to un-fur me. Mom works a lot on fixing up her stories after she writes them. She says, “Too long.” and “Too boring.” and “OMG! Where does all this hair come from??”

Blah. Blah. Blah. Where's my treat?

Blah. Blah. Blah. Where’s my treat?

3. Ticking – Mom uses a timer to help me wait for my dinner. She soaks my food in water for a half hour because I don’t like to chew. The clock ticks the whole time, and when it rings, my kibbles are soft enough to eat. The timer is TERRIFYING!

clock

I won’t stay in the room alone with it, so as soon as it’s set, I get next to Mom and follow her like a shadow. The clock is also ticking for Mom to finish her August 12×12 manuscript. She is studying so much at her 2 summer schools that the story is slowing down. Tick. Tick. Tick. *shiver*

hiding3

4. Characters – I am always trying to be a character in one of Mom’s stories. A few times I made it, but nobody bought the stories, so I’m afraid you’ll never read about me.

bunny

I’m changing my look so Mom will write about me again, after she finishes studying characters at Kidlit Summer School.

badge

5. HidingHiding is a good strategy for when you’re afraid. Always get where nobody will see you and stay still.

hiding1

I’ll be fine here. I’m pretty sure I’m invisible….

 

Mom can’t hide her summer school work. Both of her teachers say, “Now put your homework on the Facebook page.” Mom says, “I hope this is right.” and “I can’t wait to see what my classmates did.” and “Where are you?”

sheet hiding

Invisible.

Unthinkable!

This is incredible! Unbelievable! Mind-boggling! Unthinkable! Inconceivable! It’s… it’s…. it’s… Summer School times TWO!

visualizewriting2

 

Mom is smack in the middle of Kidlit Summer School

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and all of a sudden on August 1st Lyrical Language Lab started up.

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Do you see what’s happening here? She’s studying TWO summer schools at once! Reading stories, writing stories, reading poems, writing poems. It’s out of control!

bookpile

You’re probably wondering what I’m doing while all this reading and writing and writing and reading is going on. Nuthin’ that’s what.

sleeping5

I just wait…

sleeping4

and wait…

sleeping2

and wait.

sleeping

For a whole HOUR – which feels like 2 hours or 8 hours or 67 hours. Ugh! Thank goodness Mom still sets the clock for her writing time, so when her iPad chimes, she can play with me again.

Anybody want to throw the squeaky corn on the cob toy? Anybody...?

Anybody want to throw the squeaky corn on the cob toy? Anybody…?

After what seems like 975 hours, we finally get to walk around outside, go to the park…

happyparkdog

and on Saturday (AFTER summer school), we even went to work at the Veteran’s Home so I could see all my old soldier friends and make them smile.

va camo

 

Mom says, “I’m learning a lot.” and “School is fun.” and I say, “When the heck is summer VACATION!!??”

bathing suit 2

 

 

 

Weekend Trouble

Weekends are for resting and chilling. Also riding in the car and playing with friends and walking at the park and going on the swings.

Weekends make me happy.

smiley

This is my happy face.

There is no “writing time” on the weekends. No work allowed.

swing

This is also my happy face.

But all of a sudden, Mom is on the computer – burning daylight – reading and writing and printing and talking out loud to herself. badge Apparently there’s Summer School on Saturday and Sunday! Including homework and Facebook work! And I have to “stay quiet” and “be a good girl.” Wait. What? Huh??

huh

This is all wrong in at least 9 ways. Mom said, “It’ll only take a few minutes.” and “I will bang this out in no time.” and “Yes, that’s the doorknob. And no, I’m not ready to go.”

doorknob

How the heck does this thing work?

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist.

~Jane Smiley~

Mom said the word, “Thank God!” about this quote. In her 12×12 in 2014 challenge, Mom writes a new first draft every month. So far she is keeping up, staying ahead, and getting it done.

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She says, “This is cute.” and “Almost finished.” and “It needs some work, but that’s for another time.”

Recently, Mom took me to the bagel cafe to have breakfast at the outdoor patio.

bagel4

Last summer, we tried this, but I went berserk. I kept trying to pull Mom’s arm out of the socket and kiss the waitress, I was afraid of a motorcycle zooming past and people window shopping across the street, and instead of drinking from the water dish they gave me, I sat in it.

This time, I was better.

bagel5

I sat on my Park It Mat, watched people and cars go by, and didn’t beg….

bagel3

…. too much.

Mom said, “You did it.” and “Good job.” and “This still needs some work, but that’s for another time.”

Are you going to finish that....?

Are you going to finish that….?

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