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My husband got me some books for my birthday back in December, one of which was Ann Whitford Paul's well-known and recommended Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication. Since I'm using this as a major tool on developing my writing 'career',  I've decided to journal about my progress through this book.

Product Details

Ann Whitford Paul is a picture book author. She has authored several well-known titles -  Hello Toes, Hello Feet; Eight Hands Round - A Patchwork Alphabet, and Fiesta Fiasco to name a few.  She realizes, as do other picture book authors, that writing picture books does take a unique set of skills and a working knowledge of children and their parents!

Chapter One of Ann's book is titled 'Becoming a Picture Book Scholar'.  Besides setting down the basics of picture books such as manuscript length and age ranges, Ms. Paul covers some important concepts of the average picture book audience.  I enjoyed her advice to remember that children live in the present.  I know myself all too well of her example  of the child continuously asking, "Are we there yet?" on a long trip. This concept and knowledge of children's  strong emotions, short attention spans, rich imaginations and others are important to have a grasp on when writing for children.

In addition to becoming very aware of these concepts, a picture book writer MUST be familiar with ......

PICTURE BOOKS!

Ms. Paul ends each chapter with hands-on assignments and of course the most important one for this chapter and the others is to keep reading picture books.  Being a mother of a 3 1/2 year old makes this one really easy for me.  Our trips to the library are frequent and well spent.  We load up with 12-15 books per trip!

I've made a list of some I'd like to look for next time including an abundant amount of titles suggested by Ann Whitford Paul throughout chapter one and chapter two(I glanced ahead!).  Some of those titles include:  If Animals Kissed Goodnight by David Walker, Old Turtles by Douglas Wood, and Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban.

I enjoy going to the library with my little guy although sometimes it's nice to go without him so I can browse more without worrying about his whereabouts. Like I said, we usually end up with about 12-15 books but the last time we went I had a big list for us and he decided to add quite a few to the pile!  I sometimes experience frustration because I usually can't find all that's on my list in one visit.  I guess that's good though; it means other kids are reading!

In addition to reading about writing picture books, I've been working on several manuscripts.  I actually have started three new fiction manuscripts since doing PiBoIdMo back in November and one non-fiction manuscript (that one is on an Orthodox Saint).  I'm also still revising an older manuscript that I started several years ago.

I've also joined in the Start Write Challenge  (which is over tomorrow) and  a picture book writer's group called 12 x 12.  It's on a blog by Julie Hedlund and it's focused on getting 12 PB manuscripts started in 12 months.... NOT manuscripts that are ready for submission..... 12 drafts and I think this is something I need to help me stay focused on writing.  I'm sure to  write more about that as time goes on.  I love the forum and am hoping to form a nice strong critique group!  I need critique friends!!

So I'm definitely staying busy!      What are you working on??

2

Well it's near the end of the year, so I thought I'd just write today about.... My Writing... and where I'm at with it.  Hopefully a year from now I can look back at this post and say, WOW!  Look at you!!!

Actually, I say that to myself today because 2 months ago I wasn't anywhere close to where I'm at today with my writing!  And I wouldn't have believed anyone that would have told me that I would accomplish this:

 

 

  • Become a member of SCBWI!!!
  • Participate in PiBoIdMo and end with 38 ideas!!!
  • Establish a three hour block of writing time that's JUST for me to spend on creative writing (picture books, etc.) each week!!! ( Thank you to our beloved neighbor for her time with my little guy)
  • Write three brand new manuscripts!!!
  • Get 5 people to give me critiques on the first manuscript!!!
  • Drag out all of my old writing materials and dust them off (cough, cough)!!!
  • Re-read and revise one of those old manuscripts!!!
  • Be given (by my supportive husband) and start reading the 2014  Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market!!!
  • Be given (again by my supportive husband) and start reading  Writing Picture Books: A Hands On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul!!!
  • Be writing post #117 on this blog!!!
  • Have 67 followers!!!  A BIG thank you to all of you....especially those that give me feedback!  I love your comments!
  • Feel Accomplished and Motivated!!!  🙂

To my fellow writer's out there.... I hope you are feeling just as accomplished yourselves... if not, DON"T GIVE UP HOPE!!!  It's amazing what can happen in just a short amount of time!  Keep your head up and your pencils (fingers) to the paper (keyboard)!!!

My favorite quote that I read this week was by Katherine Patterson.

" I love revision.  Where else can spilled milk be turned into ice cream?" 

This needs to be my motto!  I love Katherine Patterson.  I was fortunate enough to see and hear her speak at a SCBWI conference quite a few years ago (and grab an autograph!).  At the time she was anticipating the release of the movie, Bridge to Terabithea.  Her son was actually part of the filmmaking process, though I don't recall the details but it was absolutely wonderful since he was part of the inspiration for the book!  She was highly inspiring.  Perhaps I need to dig out my notebook from that conference and reread my notes!  Perhaps I'll get lucky enough to find time to do that today!

I've felt accomplished this week.  I have blogged each day about the things I am most passionate about.  I have also found some more blogs to follow.... blogs by other authors and other topics of interest to me.  I have read a little about blogging, learned how to put an image in a widget on my sidebar (It shows that I signed up to participate in PiBoIdMo) and I dug out a book I've had on the shelves on writing for children.  I've read this book before but feel I need lots of refresher courses so to speak. I picked one, for now, that I recall being very simplistic in reading and understanding.  One I can read just before bed and not be overwhelmed.

 Random Thoughts for Saturday:

  • It is incredibly cute and precious to watch a little toddler say Morning Prayers with the family while wearing his pirate hat.
  • A mug of hot Sweet Italian Sausage Soup on a chilly October afternoon is very comforting.
  • Crock pots are a wonderful form of technology and convenience 🙂
  • Men and women have very different views on priorities and what they should be.  (Bet you already knew that one!)
  • We shouldn't make assumptions....  Our family has problems with this one. I will admit that I do.  I'm sure everyone does (or is that an assumption?).  But  the thing I'm thinking about in particular is from the article I read this morning on the lady that sued McDonald's about 20 years ago.  The public generally only got part of that story and really ridiculed the event.  There are lots of facts about that story I was completely unaware of until this morning.  Here's a link:

    Did You Ever Hear About The Lady That Sued McDonald's?

Well, that is all for today!  I have several things to do this morning (like fill that crock pot I mentioned with a venison mushroom stew), putting in some new contact paper in some kitchen shelves, washing a beloved 'blankie', and drinking my tea before it gets cold...and then hopefully I will tackle that cupboard containing all those old dusty manuscripts and notebooks!  I hope you all have a wonderfully blessed day!