Living with a children's author isn't as easy as it looks!

Archive for the ‘picture book writing’ Category

Two Sides

face2

My face is two different colors. Three actually, but down by my nose there’s a brown side and a white side.

face

They’re as different as different can be, right down to the whiskers. White on the white side…

white

…and black on the brown side.

black2

 

Mom’s writing has two different sides lately, too. Poetry and prose. She worked and worked on a story and kept getting stuck. She worked on other things, came back to the story, and got stuck again. And again.

debris-clipart-science_mudslides

Today, she decided to take that stuck story idea and make it into a poem. As different as can be, but she’s not stuck anymore.

hike6

Let’s go!

Sometimes in hiking, there’s a special mark saying that the path splits.

turn

We’re careful to choose the right path. Usually it’s pretty easy to tell.

No...

No…

Yes...

Clear sailing…

For Mom, the correct path seems to be the poem for now. Clear sailing.

sailing

 

 

Starting Out

Spring is finally starting out around here. And by finally, I mean FINALLY!!

petals

Grass seeds are planted.

seeds

Flowerpots are hung.

sunny susy

Blossoms are popping out.

bud

And it suddenly got so warm out that I had to take a street nap under a truck.

underthetruck

Every couple of weeks, Mom starts out writing a new story. The start is important. It has to grab, grip, introduce a character, present a problem…

problems-3…state a situation, prepare, pop, draw in, jump out, and kick off – all in a few sentences.

once upon

Without a solid start, the story would be like a room without a floor. And what good is a room without a floor?

floor nap

Where would I nap? Where would my squirrels land? Where would my bed rest? Where would the peanut butter-bacon cookie crumbs wait for me to find them?

bed6

Back off the treats, squirrel!

Back off the treats, squirrel!

Mom says, “A good opening makes the rest of the story easier to write.” and “I have to start strong.” and “Don’t lick the floor!”

floor licker

 

 

Going and Staying

Mom has been going out a lot lately. And I have been staying home a lot.

....bye...

….bye…

Last week, she visited her old school for Career Day.

career-day-welcome-page

nurse

She talked to thirty 2nd graders about being an author. They liked when she said she went to work in her pajamas.

Author in PJs

They laughed when she said she wishes she could tear up each rejection letter, jump up and down on it, run to her room, and slam the door. They said, “Eeeewwww” when she told them ideas are everywhere, and if they see a dead squirrel squished in the street, they can write a story about it.

squirrel

Wait. What?

A bunch of the kids said they like to write stories and may want to be authors when they grow up.

writing

This week, Mom visited a 5th grade class in a different school to talk about being an author.

...bye... SERIOUSLY??

Again? SERIOUSLY??

She told them about the pajamas and the rejections and the squished-squirrel stories.

 

hawthorne3

Mom also told them how their teacher used to be her student and how she brought a praying mantis egg case to class and how it HATCHED in their classroom and how hundreds of mantis babies overran the library corner and how Mom had nightmares for weeks.

mantis

Mom wrote a story about the classroom egg case and it was published in Humpty Dumpty Magazine. I guess that’s worth a few nightmares.

photo

I did not go to either one of the school visits, but I did have a few nightmares of my own.

sleeping2

They are named the LawnGuys, the Mailman, the FedExDude, and OutsideCats. I had some good dreams, too…

101 treats

Five Word Friday

5

Today’s five words are about reading. Writers do reading all the time – out loud, in their heads, on the Kindle, at the library, on the iPad…. ALL the time.

IMG_6397

Dogs do not.

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Push me!

 1. Picture Books – Mom reads 200 picture books a year. There’s usually a pile of library picture books on the piano bench at home and a pile of bookstore picture books on Mom’s table at Barnes and Noble.

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2. Goodreads – Mom keeps track of the books she reads on her Goodreads Challenge.

2015 goodreads3. Drooling – Drooling on the books is “not cool.” But how can I help it? They smell delicious! …Like kids’ hands. And dirt. And gum.

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4. Writer’s Eye – When Mom reads, she tries to do it with a writer’s eye. She pays attention to what works, how it works, and why it works. She also notices what stinks, what’s boring, what’s dumb, what’s a waste of time, and what makes no sense. She hopes it’ll help her be a better writer.

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5. Studying – Yesterday, I studied some reading, which said the word, “No Barking.”

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I was exhausted from reading so hard, so I parked myself on the street for a quick nap. Mom said, “I guess you just can’t read. Can you?”

Well, I'm not barking. Am I?

Of course I can read – I’m not barking. Am I?

 

 

Countdown Wednesday

calendar

Today, we are counting down about Unexpected Surprises

Unexpected Surprises for Mom

3. Rejection – Two of Mom’s stories were rejected last week. They have been rejected before, so why is it unexpected? For some reason, Mom is ALWAYS surprised when she gets a rejection. That’s because she only sends out things she really likes and has really worked on for a long time – by herself and with other people. And she only sends them to places and people who seem to like work like hers. Oh well.

Surprise!

Surprise!

2. Snow – The first day of spring brought snow. Twelve hours of it. It was gloppy and wet, but snow nevertheless.

snowytree

1. What if…? – Stories need unexpected surprises to keep the reader off balance. One good way to decide on a twist is to ask the question, “What if…?” and make up crazy scenarios to throw a monkey wrench into the story. Monkey wrenches are good. Monkey toys are good, too.

monkey toy

Unexpected Surprises for Me

3. Snow – I wore my paw boots in the surprise snow. Mom said, “Hold still.” and, “Put your foot in.”

boots on

and “This is the LAST TIME we’re putting these on till next winter! …I hope.”

bootsplaid

2. Gifts from the plow guys – When the snow started to melt, surprises came out of the snow plow mountains – candy wrappers, tissues, cigarette butts, dirt clods, and water bottles… all kinds of goodies! Thanks snow plow guys!

snow surprises

72. Street Nap – I was halfway to my first street nap of the season, but Mom stopped me. She said the word, “Don’t you dare.” and “It’s 25 degrees! The ground is freezing!” and “The wind is blowing your ear upside down.”

flyingear

1. New clothes – Mom surprised me with a new spring dress from Fetch Dog Fashions. I think orange is my color.

flintstone sitting

I think Pebbles Flintstone is my look. And tutu skirts are my style.

flintstone standing

No surprise there….

 

 

 

Leaving

Last week, Mom left me. She was gone for hours and hours. She gave me my special see-you-later-be-a-good-girl-no-cuckoo-behavior-cookie, and disappeared in her car.

special cookie

She said the word, “School visit.” and “This will be fun.” and “No barking while I’m gone.”

Usually, Mom visits schools to talk about being an author…. and where to find ideas and how an idea becomes a story and how a story becomes a real, live book. But this one was different.

Book #1

Since Mom’s book is about a blind boy in a sighted classroom, she was invited to speak about Disability Awareness and how important it is to accept differently-abled people in all situations. I stayed home and had some situations of my own…

Mom drove miles and miles. I cruised around the house checking the floor for crumbs.

crumbscrumbs2

Mom met some new people. I hung out with some new toys.

new toys

Mom talked to 400 kids and sold a bunch of books. I yelled at the mailman…

mailman mess

…and took a bunch of naps.

pillow nap

I never want to be left alone again.

inside window

Mom is going to another school visit next month. Gah!

Mom said, “I love school visits.”

I hate school visits.

I hate school visits.

 

Old and New

Mom bought me something new.

IMG_6109

It’s an IQ toy that helps me be smart. I learned all my old IQ toys…

…so now I am studying my new one. It has blocks, a spinning layer, and TREATS hidden inside. Sometimes new things are better than old things.

Sometimes they’re not! My old snowman used to look like this.

Awesome snowman!

Awesome snowman!

Then he looked like this.

Less awesome snowman.

Less awesome snowman.

And now he looks like this.

Wait. What?

Worst. Snowman. Ever.

The new snowman has no rock buttons (that looked like cookies), no stick arms with twig hands, and no carrot nose. He’s barely a snowman at all.

These days, Mom is working on some old stories…

Old.

Old.

.. and some new stories.

New!

New!

She writes her new story for a while, then she yanks out an old story and punches it. I mean punches it up. She adds in some new things, takes out some old things, and moves some things around.

Tornado_2

That’s called punching. ….Up. It makes old things new and new things old – till they get punched up too.

Mom says, “What was I thinking?” and “This sounds SO much better.” and “GAH! Toy squirrels are everywhere!”

IMG_6170

 

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