Monday, July 28, 2014

The Writer Blog Hop


Hey there writing Peeps. The writing community is playing a game of tag known as the Writer Blog Hop. Jenni (see her post here) has tagged me.  So I’m ‘it’ and here is my post answering their questions.


What am I working on/writing?

My focus is Picture Books.  At any given time I have about three stories that are at the forefront of my mind.  The Primary is a non-fiction about working animals.  The story balances the goal of the animal, from their point of view, along with the facts about the animal’s job and training. My goal is to keep it under 800 words

My fiction works are funny, silly, and sparse. My secondary focus is a story of a child who refuses to have a pet, even though his parents want one. Keeping it under 300 words. I love Picture Books for their ability to weave an amazing story without any wasted words.


How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

I am an eclectic person and my writing style is the same.  I like to look at things from other angles.  I want to know both sides of the story. I like to try different techniques. I am comfortable looking into darker issues, like loss, and equally comfortable acting like a clown. My characters are willing to do the same.


Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been a dreamer.  Long car rides could give me the time to build entire worlds in my head. As a child, books were my safe haven, they were constant.  No matter where you moved, there is a library. No matter what you are curious about, there is a book written on the subject.  Books can help you escape. Books can help you find yourself.

I write for children because I want to inspire a child to love books.  I want to create stories that are fun, entertaining, engaging, and if the child learns something, they don’t even notice that they were learning. Non-fiction can be entertaining too!

I write to, hopefully, make children happy.


How does my writing process work?


My process is simple. I dream. My best ideas come on quiet Saturday mornings. I listen to birds, watch my dogs play, and just let my mind wander before my family is up and about.  Then an idea starts to form… sometimes.

Other times ideas just pop up like stray animals. You weren’t expecting to find them, but now that it followed you home, you have to keep it, clean it up, and show it off.

After the idea hits, I like to hand write rough drafts.  My mind works a little slower when writing on paper and this helps a scatterbrain like me focus.

Sometimes there are web diagrams or lists to help get my ideas in order. Other times the words flow like candy from a piƱata.

Next, I enter it onto my computer and edit/change/add/whatever as I go. 

Then rewrite…cut… revise… wait….wait some more… look at it again, while trying to be objective… hit head against desk a few times…love it/hate it… edit again.

Read to my family, for only the most obvious corrections and the needed pats on the back that family gives you even when you suck aren’t quite there yet.

Finally, to the critique groups! This step is so important.  They will find the missing commas, the ‘there’ that was supposed to be ‘their’ and the apple pie desert that spell check didn’t tell you was there (Unless you wanted a barren apple pie). But more importantly they will help you with pacing, character development, letting you know if the words you paint with created the picture you were going for. Critique partners are vital to getting your work agent/editor ready.


Want to know more?

Odd Facts:

I don’t do everything in the same order.  Sometimes, I like to revise backwards so that I truly look at each paragraph separate from the story (I doubt I could do this for a novel, but for Picture Books it works).

I am involved in more than one critique group and not afraid to hand my work to anyone willing to read and literally say, “Tell me what you hate about this, so I know what to fix.”

I get so lost in books that I walk into things while reading.  If you aren't reading, then you probably aren’t really writing either. They go hand in hand.
I frequently write in a Snuggy.  Yes- a Snuggy.  It is warm and I'm always cold. Don't Judge. :-)

My debut Picture Book DONNA IS EVIL will be out next month with MeeGenius. Check it out.

That's it for my fun game.  Now I tag Eugenia Sozzi. You're it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's in a name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right? Well, that depends.  Would you even smell it if the name was Manure Flower?

What about Death Star? Works for a ship, but not a flower. 

So what do the names you choose tell me about your characters?

Blake Irwin could be the next Indiana Jones.  Hubert Copperbottom IV? Not so much, but he could be the great and wise wizard. 

If you name your heroine Sandy Shorts, you better be writing a comedy.  It would be hard for her to get a job as a lawyer in your book. 

I want to be able to pronounce the names I read, as well.  They can still be alien names, or names from other countries. Just be conscious of being able to say it out loud.  The blue alien Cronkle Borg can be spoken about out loud.  The pink alien WHLYQUAZYVLOBLE? Well, I doubt I'll be telling any of my friends about her story. 

Think about your names.  These books are like your children and they will live with them their whole lives.

So your writing prompt of the week is to tell me about one of the following characters.  Who are they? What kind of job do they have? What was their mother like? What are their hobbies, hopes, dreams?

Blake Irwin
Hubert Copperbottom
Chrysalis Meadows
Andrew Hawks
Aszure Jacobs
Griffin Arnold

Make up your own if you don't like mine.  But think of the last time there was a president named Bob (Hint: Never) or James (Hint: Six).  Names can be ironic but they still need to be believable.