Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 31, 2014

Free Fall Friday – October Results

 illustrationppinsk

This illustration was sent in by Patricia Pinsk. She works primarily with water colour, ink, digital photography, coloured pencil and collage. Patricia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now called Emily Carr University of Art and Design), as well as a Certificate in New Media from Vancouver Film School. Web: www.patriciapinsk.com/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/patriciapinskillustration?ref=hl Twitter: @patriciapinsk

Here are the first page critiques brought to you this month by Liza Fleissig from the Liza Royce Agency.

The Tattletail’s Claw: A CreatureNet Chronicle by Jody Staton – Middle Grade Novel

“Be Careful What You Wish For”

“. . .and that, Clawdia,” says Hershey’s voice in my head, “is why you must never let two-leggers know what we are.”

I lick a paw, and swipe it across my whiskers. Curled up on his wide brown rump, warmed by his body heat, I’m lulled half to sleep.

Zzzzt! A huge horsefly dive-bombs us. Wide awake now, I swat with a paw, and miss. Hershey flicks his long black tail. Whipping horsehairs send the fly tumbling. It buzzes around his legs, he stomps a hoof. His rump becomes an earthquake. I leap to my feet, teetering because I dare not dig into his hide the few claws I have left. We are next to a water trough, and I jump over it to a split-rail fence.

“Sorry about that,” he says. He ducks his head—in apology, I think. No, he’s just rubbing his head against the edge of the trough, scratching the lump that mars his forehead. Then, stern, like the police horse he used to be, Hershey demands that I repeat what he just told me.

I blink. “About the interstellar ark?”

“Wrong. About how two-leggers wouldn’t understand. How can you teach these stories to other Listeners if you don’t know them well yourself?”

I twitch my question-mark tail. “Why? Yesterday you said how few of us—”

“Lunchtime, Clawdia.” A human voice cuts me off. From the back porch of the Schwartz Veterinary Clinic, across a gravel drive from Hershey’s farm, it’s a young voice. And familiar!

“Dookie! I knew she’d come again this summer.” Forget Hershey’s lectures—my favorite person is here! I leap from the fence, streak across the drive. Dookie jumps from the porch, falls over a small bush, picks herself up, and races toward me. We meet in a mess of legs and arms, fur and tight curls, purrings and kisses.

Here is what Liza had to say: 

Staton, The Tattletail’s Claw

The writing itself is nice, with many nice details (like “I lick a paw and swipe it over my whiskers” and “his rump becomes an earthquake”). But my first impression is one of confusion—there are a lot of elements that are unexplained, and it’s rather difficult to paint a picture or figure out what’s going on.

The very first sentence is a difficult and awkward way to begin a story—with dialogue in the midst of being spoken. Perhaps the writer is trying to created intrigue, but younger readers will be confused. For one, we do not yet know they are animals and two, “two-leggers” will be an unfamiliar term.

It takes quite a while to figure out what kind of animals these are, which also causes confusion—you don’t want readers to be wondering about this so much that it detracts from what’s happening in the story.

Other questions: The cat says, “I dare not dig into his hide the few claws I have left”—why is this? Is this a detail we need to know right now, on the first page? Then, the horse says, “How can you teach these stories to other Listeners if you don’t know them well yourself?” First of all, what stories? Secondly, who are the Listeners? Third, why does the cat not seem to care about the stories (and why does the horse)? Again, you want to create intrigue, but you don’t want to leave the reader with so little to work with, and here there are just too many unanswered questions.

If this is a story about talking animals, then it’s a story for young readers. The sentence structure is a bit too complex, and combined with the above questions, I think younger readers are going to feel lost (what is an “interstellar” ark, for example?) We need to have a simpler, cleaner and more appealing introduction to the story. The set-up needs to be such that young readers want to keep on reading. The detail with Dookie is very sweet—perhaps concentrate on this as an introduction—and maybe the fact that these animals can talk is enough of a mystery that the reader will be excited to find out more.

___________________________________________________________

Daddy, What’s a Redneck? by Erika Wassall Picture Book

Little Lainey squatted, tugged on the pant legs sticking out between the two tires and asked, “Daddy, what’s a Redneck?” (illus: Daddy is underneath a vehicle working on it.)

Daddy laughed. He opened his mouth to answer, but stopped short.

“Hand me that yellow screwdriver and I’ll tell you,” he said. “Your great-granddaddy was a Redneck. He worked out in the cotton fields all day, with the sun beating on the back of his NECK.” Daddy slid out from underneath the engine and smiled. “What happens to your nose and shoulders when you’re out in the sun all day?”

Little Lainey’s eyes lit up, “They get all RED!” she cried.

Daddy nodded. “Exactly! Back then, working in the fields meant you couldn’t go to school. Calling someone a Redneck could have been hurtful, meaning they weren’t very smart. People started to think that folks who worked with their hands all day were fools.”

Little Lainey stared at Daddy’s grease covered hands and sternly shook her head. “But Daddy! Your hands can fix everything! They’re the smartest hands I know.”

“Darn right!” said Daddy. “Folks often try to find ways to put others down. That doesn’t make them right. People all across the country are proud to be Rednecks.” (illus: Daddy’s leaning over so we can see his red neck)

“Why?” asked Little Lainey, as she watched the rainbows dance on the top of the oil pan.

Here is what Liza had to say:

Wassall, Daddy, What’s a Redneck?

Opening paragraph is sweet. I just don’t know how much this topic is going to interest readers. Does this make a story? What is the story here? Dad is answering a question, but what is the story? Why does the little girl ask this question in the first place?

My concern is that the title feels like a joke and it’s hard to take the story seriously upon first hearing what the title is. In fact, there may be a lot of people who take offense before they even have a chance to read the story.

Dad’s answers to the little girl’s question are nice, but there’s a lot that feels a bit too adult here and which young readers might have a hard time understanding: “Folks often try to find ways to put others down” etc.

General kid appeal: a little low. It’s hard to imagine a kid wanting to read this based on the first page (and keep going back to it). Feels a bit too earnest and “issue” driven. Combined with the title, I don’t think this would be something an editor would request over other things currently being shopped.

___________________________________________________________

JEREMY’S SLED By Sue Heavenrich – Picture Book

Jeremy pulled his new sled out of the car. He squeaked his boots on the fresh snow. “Sugarhouse Hill, here I come!”

“We still need noisemakers for our New Year’s party,” said Dad. “Stick to the small hill until I get back from the store.”

“Okay,” said Jeremy. He waved to Dad and then plodded up the hard-packed path. But instead of stopping where he should have, his feet took him up, up, up to the top of the highest hill in the whole park.

“Just one run,” Jeremy whispered. He climbed into his sled. It teetered, it tottered, it wibbled and wobbled, then –

WHOOSH! Off he flew down, down, down to the line of straw bales that stopped runaway sleds. Jeremy slipped through a gap…

…. and tangled the leash between a woman and her dog.

“Sorry!” Jeremy yelled as the dog flew into the air and landed in the sled. The sled sped across the slick road, down a slope and onto the pond.

“Sliding through!” Jeremy shouted. The sled knocked a puck into the net and flipped a hockey player into the sled.

“Hang on!” The sled slid through a flock of ducks, hit a bump and flew

through the air…

… scared a squirrel out of a tree, knocked a hat off a snowman,

and barely cleared the back fence of the zoo.

Here is what Liza had to say:

Heavenrich, Jeremy’s Sled

I like the fun of the sled ride gone out of control—readers will think this is super fun and entertaining. The beginning is slow, though. Why do we need the earnest, adult details of dad telling Jeremy that he’s going to the store and stick to the small hill? Why not just have Jeremy at the big hill pondering it “mom and dad always tell me to stick to the small hills, but just once I’d like to try the big one” or something like this.

The wild sled ride itself seems to need to be slowed down a bit, too much happens too quickly. The writer could have a lot of fun here by making each thing that winds up in the sled a more fun acquisition.

The title needs to be more interesting and compelling, something that reflects the fun that both Jeremy and the reader are in for. The language as well, while nice, is not really reflective in rhythm and language of a wild sled ride. Writer should look at some comparable picture books for examples.

___________________________________________________________

Rule Breaker by Angela Larson & Zander Mowat, Middle Grade Novel

Detective Derk’s Spy Manual for the Disgruntled made surveillance sound a lot easier than it was. Knelling on a bent knee, peering around a corner with a mirror, Aaron Adams switched the mirror from one hand to the other. This was just long enough for him to shake out his arm, which had started to go numb. He resumed his position, but his back and knee still ached. For the whole lunch period he’d been looking down the long hall that leads to the school’s cafeteria. He’d been on surveillance since Monday and now that it was Friday, he was losing hope that this would work. An internal debate started to brew in his mind, was it worth skipping lunch again, after the lack of success all week. Then, his target, his jerk older brother Roger Adams, turned the corner.

Roger strolled down the hall in his ‘I’m too important to walk any faster’ mode and pulled what appeared to be a coin from his pocket. Roger never has change, this doesn’t make sense, thought Aaron. Roger walked toward a row of old-fashioned vending machines. These ancient relics had been in the school forever, since a time when their Principle attended here as a kid. They were always full of candy bars, but no one carries change anymore except old people, like Aaron’s rusty teachers.

Aaron’s arm was starting to shake by the time Roger stopped in front of the vending machines. He took slow steady breaths; this was described in Detective Derk’s manual as something you should do if you ever need to steady yourself. He kept the mirror focused on his target.

Roger slid a quarter into a slot, pressed a button and the sound of the candy hitting the tray echoed down the hall. I KNOW he doesn’t carry money.

Aaron leaned so far forward the mirror started to fog from his breath. Before the image…

Here is what Liza had to say:

Larson & Mowat, Rule Breaker

Writing is a bit awkward and clunky—the very first paragraph is actually quite a mouthful to read aloud, and I worry that readers’ introduction to this story will not be as compelling as it needs to be in order to hook readers and get them interesting in reading further. Words like “disgruntled” and “knelling” (is this an error?? didn’t make sense) further confusing the narration.

Kids will find spying fun, but why is one brother spying on another? I think we need a better sense of this. And why is one brother spying on another brother at school (when he can spy on him at home)? In other words, I worry that this may come across as a plot that’s not so exciting (as opposed to having Aaron spy on someone more interesting, like a school enemy, for example).

Words are misspelled throughout (knelling rather than kneeling, Principle rather than Principal) and grammar is shaky. As an agent, this isn’t something I request to see further.

____________________________________________________________

Thank you Liza for sharing your time and expertise with all of us. It is much appreciated.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween – Illustration and Poems

dia de muertos2014-KathyT

Illustration by Ana Ochoa: Featured on Illustrator Saturday 1/11/14

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

by Eileen Spinelli

No howling cats.
No “Boos!” No bats.
No creaking chairs.
No cobwebbed stairs.
No goblin stew.
No ghostly brew
this year for you.

My Hallowish is new:

a day of fun,
a pumpkin pie,
a bed of leaves
on which to lie,
a moon that’s spooning
orange light…
sweet autumn dreams
to last the night.

eileenwhitehouse5cropped

Eileen Spinelli is a well-published author. She has written seventy-two books that are still in print.

When she is not writing poems, stories and books for children you might find her . . .pouring tea. . . trying on hats. . . picking herbs. ‘. . painting in her dream journal. . . browsing in thrift shops. . . dancing barefoot. . . waiting for the mailman. . . star-watching with my husband . . . curled up with a novel. . . taking a nap on the back porch. Zzzzzzzz…..

The Witches of Fairy Top Hill

by Vivian Kirkfield

On Halloween eve up on Fairy Top Hill,

a trio of witches, Pam, Tamsin and Lil,

were practicing magic and chanting out loud,

“Bat-candy, bat-candy…rain down from that cloud!”

“Kaput and Kabob!” Pam invoked with a shout,

The sky quickly filled with a hover of trout.

“Kibosh! and Pish-posh!” Tamsin yelled with finesse.

A chorus of frogs joined the fish-slippy mess.

Then bold Lil spoke up, “This is Trick-or-Treat night,

and children get candy and Turkish delight.”

Costumed as young children…with treat bags to fill,

the trio went guising, Pam, Tamsin and Lil.

vivian kirklandPicture240Writer for children – reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Former kindergarten teacher turned parent-teacher workshop leader turned author, Vivian believes that communication, consistency and compassion are key ingredients in any successful relationship. Plus a sense of adventure – she’s already ticked off skydiving, banana-boat riding and parasailing from her bucket list…what will be next?

To find out more about her mission to help young children become lovers of books and reading, please visit her website, Picture Books Help Kids Soar.

OCTOBER

by Carol H. Jones

That crazy October!

It’s really not sober.

It’s so dizzy with yellow and orange and red.

Like a quilt full of color pulled over your head.

And the store that was featuring back to school gear

Is where witches and goblins and ghosts first appear.

They give you the willies!

They scare you half silly!

But of course, we all know that there’s nothing to fear.

That’s what really is fun about this time of year.

caroljones260cropprfCarol is a former elementary school teacher, a grandmother, and an SCBWI member. She’s been writing picture books (none published yet) in both prose and poetry for over five years. Some of my titles are The Three Little Pigs Sing Again, Olaf The Troll And The Billygoat Ambush, My Fly Is In A Jar And The Jar Is In The Car, The Brainkeeper Team, Benny Can Do Anything, Edgar and Gretta: Big City Here We Come, Quit Your Bickering, The Scary Veggie Lady, Octopus Wishes, Princess Pippa, Fox Guards The Henhouse, and Oh, No! Peas!

WITCH

by Jane Resides

I made a tall black witch’s hat

Then snuck the kitchen broom

My wand was brother’s hockey stick

I pilfered from his room

I leaped onto the jaggy broom

And sailed right off my bed

This witching isn’t going well.

Just see my bandaged head!

WHICH WITCH?

Which witch should I become this year,

the good one or the bad?

Good witches wear gold crowns and gowns,

But bad ones I must add,

Although they’re wart-nosed, dressed in black,

They have a lot more fun.

They cackle, snarl, and frighten kids

Kids shriek! They scream. They run.

A crystal ball is what I need

I think that would be dandy.

I’d gaze into that ball to see

Which witch would get more candy.

janeresidescropped
Jane Resides, a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, writes poetry, picture books, and historical fiction.

She has published stories, articles, and poetry in Highlights, Once Upon a Time, Penn & Ink, and When I can’t Get to Sleep, a West Chester Library poetry book.

Her husband and grandson are beekeepers, and her article “Emme Loves Bees” was published in Highlights.

 

That Magical October Sky

by Wendy Greenley

Momma Mouse saw harvest moon.

Little Mouse saw pie.

Momma Mouse said, “Come in soon!”

Little Mouse said, “Why?”

“It’s time for bed,” Momma warned.

“Back soon!” said Little Mouse,

Running toward the broomstick

He’d left beside the house.

The broomstick creaked and sputtered.

Little Mouse took flight,

Headed for a pumpkin treat

Before he said goodnight.

Past the trees,

Through the stars,

Little Mouse rose high,

Aiming for the scrumptious shining pumpkin in the sky.

The voyage was untested.

The landing pad untried.

Dropping to the orange orb,

Little Mouse was pie-d.

wendygreenleybio photocropped

 

 

 

A childhood prankster who finds it hard to change her ways, Wendy Greenley is an aspiring children’s book author, writing for picture book and middle grade audiences.

 

 

41514

Illustrated by Laura-Susan Thomas

Scary Things Come Out at Night

by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

Scary things come out at night

Ghosts that boo! and bats that bite;

Warlocks cloaked in purple capes;

Satyrs wearing wreaths of grapes.

Sometimes you might spy a witch

Or a hunchback with a twitch

Don’t be frightened by this scene –

After all, it’s Halloween!

kellyfinemanFall 2014Kelly Ramsdell Fineman is a children’s author and award-winning poet. Her picture book, At the Boardwalk, came out from tiger tales books in 2012. Her children’s poems appear in National Geographic’s Book of Nature Poetry, ed. by J. Patrick Lewis (coming in 2015), Dare to Dream . . . Change the World, ed. by Jill Corcoran (2012), National Geographic’s Book of Animal Poetry, ed. by J. Patrick Lewis (2012), Write Your Own Poetry by Laura Purdie Salas (2008), and in Highlights for Children magazine, as well as other places.

You can visit her at her eponymous website, www.kellyfineman.com, or her blog, Writing & Ruminating, at http://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com

 

Halloween

by Carol Murray

Jack-o-Lantern’s laughing,

up and down the hall.

Jack-o-Lantern’s leering,

hanging on the wall.

Spooks and spiders lurking,

Black cats can be seen.

Ghosts are flying through the sky.

Eeeeeeeeek!

It’s Halloween.

 

Boo!

Boo! On the wicked witch.

Her hat and cape are black as pitch.

It seems like she mad a little glitch.

And dropped her broomstick in a ditch.

So now I know what I will do.

I’m doing more than saying, “Boo!”

I’ll grab that broom this very day

and sweep the monsters all away.

carolreadingCarol is a published poet and author of several books for children. She has been a teacher for over thirty years with students, aged three years (Wee Wigglers) to ninety-three (Elderhostel). She taught English and Speech at Hutchinson Community College for twenty-five years and has also taught Creative Writing, Poetry, Interpersonal Communications, and Children’s Literature.

Her picture book titled, The Cricket in the Thicket being Illustrated by Melissa Sweet and published by Holt will hit bookshelves in Spring of 2016.

A Demon’s Treat

by Carol MacAllister

Fresh newt’s eyes and frog legs flinch

while boiling in the brew,

Spells are cast on howling winds,

There darts a trick or two.

 

Trouble lurks at every turn,

unknowing victims race

from moaning dead, banshee cries,

monster’s snarling chase.

 

Autumn’s rustling branches drone

at demons overhead

on ancient brooms, phantom steeds,

Rousing up the dead.

 

Strange, how innocence is lured

to wander through dark streets,

Each year, a few just disappear,

Snatched! – a demon’s treat.

carolmCarol MacAllister holds an MFA in creative writing with a concentration in poetry and fiction. She has been widely published in poetry for years on both a children  and an adult level. Her poems have won many awards and have been presented in public venues. Her book RIPASSO is a privately published collection of poetry by others and includes Robert Pinsky, and other poet laureates, as well as her own work. She judges the annual Federation of State Poetry Societies competition, as well as others.

The Green Witch’s Brew

by Pia Garneau

Organic, non-toxic

Biodynamic

All natural, sustainable

Biodegradable

 
The Green Witch is brewing a nourishing stew

with wholesome ingredients for her little Sue.

 
Six silver eyes of humanely-farmed newts

Fangs from a bat ground with seasonal roots

Fine golden locks from a gluten-free child

A pesticide-free rodent grown in the wild

A bunch of greens (fresh triple-washed frogs)

Two coiled tails from hormone-free hogs

The old door creaks.  L’il Sue walks in.

“Come mix with the broomstick,” Witch said with a grin.

 
“Mom, what’s that smell?” Sue said with dread,

wishing she smelled pumpkin pie instead.

Pia Garneau Photo

 

When she’s not brewing a green stew, you can find Pia Garneau brewing picture book stories instead.  She seasons her stories and cooks them just right in hopes that a publisher or agent will gobble it up and ask for more. 

You can also find her chauffeuring her two gluten-filled boys around, who are good sources of inspiration…and protein.

For kidlit tweets, follow her on Twitter:@piagarneau.

 

A HALLOWEEN TREAT

by Donna Weidner

‘Tis All Hallows’ Eve and in true scary fashion,
The wind is a’ howlin’ with fury and passion.
The moon’s begun waning, but still lights the way,
For our loved ones who’re now on the ‘other side’ of the bay.

Up from the floorboards, through ceilings and walls,
They knock on the windows and shriek down the halls.
There’s laughing, and singing, and regular howls.
If we didn’t know better, it might clench our bowels.

‘Tis their annual visit. They come once a year—
The thirty-first of October, when it’s easiest to appear.
Two Anns and one Otto, three Roses and Abe,
Aunt Zelda and Tina and Vito, a.k.a. Dave.
The Willys and Johnnys, the Franzes, Gwinnells,
With Weidners and Omi, they assure us all’s well.

More souls arrive. We party into the night
With swooping and swaying, a paranormal sight.
Till just before dawn, when the ruckus calms down,
Not only at home, but all over town.

The candles, still burning, flicker twice then stretch high,
When Mom clears her throat, then begins with a sigh,
“For all gathered here, this eve’s been a treat—
“Though for you, our dear loved ones, perhaps ’tis bitter-sweet.
“So let me assure you, we are always nearby,
“Just put out your hand and close your eyes.
“Feel our breath in the wind, hear our words in a song,
“The trick is to know us—have faith — you are strong.
“We whisper in dreams, in a butterfly’s flutter,
“In brooks we may babble, or sigh — sometimes, mutter.
“We send you our love through the smile of another—
“Friends, neighbors, strangers—even someone else’s mother.”

Then as fast as they came, they disappear in a second,
Leaving us alone—or not—what do you reckon?

donnaweidner

 

Donna is a Writer, Reiki Master, Wisdom Keeper, all around adventuress and everyone’s cheerleader. I also love anything that deals with archery, armor, and swashbuckling. I can especially appreciate a good sword.

 

 

 

 

 

The Unusual Stew

by Robert Zammarchi

witch with pot_robert zammarchi_

Illustrated by Robert Zammarchi

Oh no, its that witchy poo
spotted with gooey goo
and her unusual cat

On Halloween fright night
she turns on her night light
and bakes an unusual batch

Her evil, disgusting,
highly mistrusting
usual potful of stench

She feeds it to children
who travel so pilgrimed
to see this unusual wench

She sprinkles in hob-nobs
and boils it with gob-gobs
and all her unusual rinds

And all of the children
will come by the millions
to sample her usual grinds

She tosses in bones
of goblins and moans
“I love my unusual stew!”

“But this year needs something
to make it more frightening
beyond all the usual goo.

“She looks all about,
but there’s none to find out
that is past all her usual stuff

“Something unusual,
highly excusable,
natty and dratty and rough.”

“Something so rotten,
it won’t be forgotten
beyond just the usual mourn.”

“Something so ugly,
unusually fugly,
it shouldn’t have even been born.”

She looked all around
and what this witch found
was unusual even for her

She flinched for a bit
with her wickedly wit,
then she heard that unusual purr

Goodbye my dear kitty
You never were pretty!
I’ll miss your unusual eyes

rob zammarchi_halloween costume 2014She picked up her cat
and went, “plop in the vat”
Her unusual stew did a rise

But when word got out
that the cat was in doubt,
unusual things did occur

The children no longer
came far by to wander
inside her unusual door

It wasn’t the witch
after all, that the kids
came to see with unusual fervor

It was the old cat
on his natty, old mat
they found to their usual favor

Now witchy-poo groaned,
she mourned and bemoaned
this unusual turn of events.

Then she walked in her dread
to her usual bed
and never was heard from again.

Robert Zammarchi is an award-winning freelance illustrator who has worked for a wide range of clients over the past 20 years in various mediums. At this point in my career, however I am most interested in pursueing the whimsical world of the children’s illustration field, where my heart truly lies.

Robert Zammarchi’s Childrens’ Illustration Website http://www.robzammarchi.com 

Thank you to everyone for your poems and illustrations. It really is a great gift to help us celebrate HALLOWEEN!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 29, 2014

Never Say He Thought/She Thought

rivet your readersEarlier this month I added Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View to my writing library. Did anyone check it out when I talked about it a few weeks ago. If you are looking to help you rivet your readers, then I highly recommend that you take a look at Jill’s book. I don’t even know Jill, I just feel that it is helping me with my novel revisions.

The information is good and the price is right – $3.99 on Kindle and $5.39 in paperback. 

Here is a sample about getting away from presenting a shallow POV:

In deep point of view, you do not need to write he thought/she thought. The same goes for he felt/she felt…he knew/she knew…wondered…realized…speculated…decided…wished…etc. These phrases are death to Deep POV, because they create narrative distance. Readers are not at arm’s length from the character, not in the POVC’s head where they belong.

A narrator is required in order to say that a character “knew” something or “felt” something or “wondered” something. Inside ourselves, we rarely preface or follow our thoughts with those kinds of words. We simply think what we think without saying to ourselves that we “thought” it or “wondered” it or “knew” it> If we are inside a certain character’s psyche, why would we need to say he thought/knew/realized/felt something, etc., when we can proceed directly to whatever it was that the character thought?

Here are some examples:

Shallow POV: He thought a good bath wouldn’t hurt the dog.

Deep POV: Whew! A good bath would do this dog a world of good.

Shallow POV: She feels a sinking sensation in her middle.

Deep POV: Her stomach drops to her toes. (Notice this example is in present tense for the sake of variety.)

Shallow POV: He knew that if she did that, she’d fail.

Deep POV: If she did that, she’d fail.

Shallow POV: She wondered how she would get through the next day.

Deep POV: How could she possibly survive the next day?

Shallow POV: I wish I hadn’t said that.

Deep POV: If only I hadn’t said that. (See how Deep POV applies to First Person too?

In Deep POV, we get straight to the point, exactly  people would think in their heads, without the narrator commentary. As with most rules, an exception exists. It’s okay to write he thought/she thought, etc., in dialogue.

Example:

“He thinks the dog smells,” Betty said with a laugh. Or even better, “He thinks the dog smells.” Betty laughed.

Here are a couple of hints for transforming those “telling” sentences into “showing” Deep POV:

1. Never underestimate the power of “if” and “if only.”

2. When a statement won’t do, pose a question.

Example:

Shallow: A pair of strangers approached the house, and I wondered who they could be. I felt fear grip me. It couldn’t be the IRS again. I thought we’d gotten that misunderstanding straightened out.

Deep: A pair of strangers in suits and ties goose=stepped up the walk toward the front door. Not the IRA again. My stomach clenched. Hadn’t we gotten that little misunderstanding straightened out?

Jill, so glad you wrote this book.

Jill has written many romantic suspense novels. Click this link to view her books and website. http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 28, 2014

You and Your 100-Year-Old Self

The Fountain 100th Issue Essay Contest

fountainlogo7No Fee

DEADLINE: November 30th.

      The Fountain invites you to join us in celebrating our 100th issue. Write an essay to yourself on your 100th birthday. What would you say to yourself at that age? What would your 100-year-old self tell you back? Would it be a conversation of praise and/or regret? Perhaps praise for the achievements in your career, but regrets about a lost family? Or warnings about the mistakes you made in your projected future or in your past; pitfalls you happened to be dragged into, temptations you could not resist; or celebrations for the good character you were able to display and sustain over a life; a precious life wasted or a life lived as it was meant to be.

Contest open to all writers worldwide

Essay word count must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words

Essays must be submitted through the essay contest page at http://www.fountainmagazine.com/essaycontest

Cash prizes:

1st Place – $1,500
2nd Place – $750
3rd Place – $300
Two Honorable Mentions – $200 each

Here is the link to submit: http://fountainmagazine.com/essaycontest/sendarticle

Details About Contest:

THEME

What qualifies a good essay?
An essay that you feel your heart rests more comfortably on. The more concise an essay, the more acceptable it is. Its authenticity and uniqueness, and how elaborately you put your theme into words so that others are inspired from it.

REFERENCES

Do we have to include references, bibliography, notes, etc. as in an academic journal?
The Fountain is not a journal. Thus, we do not expect a full scale reference list for all the information you provide. But, we encourage contributors to provide at least a reasonable number of references (not more than four or five) especially for the arguments borrowed from other sources, as it would make your work more reliable. If the kind of information you provide needs citation, please provide it; but essays with lengthy references are not preferred. Some reference and recommendations for further reading may help readers who are interested in the essay. “Accuracy of data” is expected in essays in which information provided needs sourcing. An essay based on personal experience does not require citation, and it is equally acceptable.

WORD COUNT

Does the word count limit include the bibliography or just the essay itself?
The Fountain is not a full-scale academic journal, so we expect authors to keep references to a maximum of four or five. Notes can be more. References and notes do not make a big change in word count which is advised to be between 1,500 and 2,500. A range is always necessary to be able to have an objective measure in terms of size.

STYLE

What kind of writing style do you expect? Can we use informal phrases? Is this essay supposed to be a personal opinion piece, or more of a scholarly supported article?
In writing style, we mainly seek consistency. We prefer the Chicago Manual of Style, but if you are more familiar with another style, that is also acceptable. Some informal usage can be OK in a certain essay, but not in another. It is basically the author’s call.

Would an essay in the short story genre qualify for the contest?
As long as your theme is skillfully woven through its structure, and if it upholds The Fountain’s values and principles, yes.

PUBLISHING

Are you going to publish submitted essays anywhere?
We might publish submissions in The Fountain, both the print and web editions, even if the essays did not win any prize. By submitting your essay to this contest, you agree that you give permission to The Fountain to publish it in any medium.

NUMBER OF ENTRY

Can I submit more than one essay?
No. One entry per person.

DISQUALIFICATION

What makes an essay disqualified?
Offensive and devotional essays—particularly essays that emphasize superiority of a specific worldview or derogating a specific worldview—will not be considered for the Grand Prize. We define as “devotional” those essays that “propagate” a certain spiritual order, a religious denomination, a spiritual leader, or a political activist, etc. in a way that subordinates all other faiths and traditions. Such submissions will be disqualified.

EVALUATION

Who will determine the winners? Can you explain more specifically what you are looking for in a winner?
The winners will be determined by our board who will decide according to the literary effectiveness of the essay in reflecting the philosophy behind the motto, richness in content, and authenticity.

All submitted essays will be evaluated using the following criteria.

          1. Relevance to the contest theme (40 points)
          2. Innovation & creativity (30 points)
          3. Writing style and structure (30 points)

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 27, 2014

Guest Post: I killed My Mother by Terry Jennings

terryjenningscropped

Terry Jennings

I killed my mother, I must confess. And while I’m at it, I should admit I killed my baby brother too.  In the interest of full disclosure I should also own up to doing away with an uncle and a few cousins as well.

I know full well that matricide, fratricide—familycide in general—are frowned upon in polite society.  But I’m not the least bit sorry. In fact, under the right circumstances, I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat the act. I had to do it. My story, a fictional novel very loosely based on my life, was drowning with the weight of its characters.

To assuage any sensibilities that may be aroused by my dastardly acts, I will let you know that the murders were done off stage, very discretely. I could have lined them all up against a wall and shot them, right in front of God and everybody, and been totally within my rights. My story, after all, is set during the Cuban revolution in 1958—executions were common place. But I disposed of my family gently, elegantly. My mother, bless her soul, died giving birth to me. With one stroke of the pen I not only got rid of one very significant adult, but I also gave my protagonist a reason to have guilt—because she lived, her brother didn’t have a mother. I transformed the baby brother into a 17 year old and morphed the essence of the combined souls of the rest of my relatives into his character.

Having to kill and change people is a peril you run into when you write a novel loosely based on fact. Not just historical novels, like mine. When we know the story so well—when it’s our story, or the story of someone we know or have come to know—it is difficult to sacrifice the truth in order to let that fictional story shine through.

I think it was Stephen King that said you have to kill your darlings. I’m not sure he meant fratricide and matricide, but in essence, he said get rid of anything that doesn’t move your story forward. That is particularly hard when it comes to characters. Each one of those people had a story, an experience, which was significant to the historical context. Their experiences weren’t darlings to be cast aside. They were representative and exciting. And my real life was so lame, I had to draw on their experiences for my plot. I needed their experiences. Every one of them. But even I realized that the reader would need a cheat sheet with the names and life stories of each relative in order to keep up with the plot.

It was my friend Ivy Ruckman (Night of the Twister), who suggested an older brother replace the uncle. Why hadn’t I thought of that? That simple change made everything simple. In the brother I could develop the mindset of the young revolutionary, in love with Fidel Castro who could be the foil against the pro-establishment and anti-Fidel father. The brief discussions about the revolution which happen as a result of the action, are now organic. A perfect case of the new pared down cast showing rather than telling what it was like living in those first two and a half years of Castro’s revolution.

Another result of my murderous binge was that now my protagonist participated fully in all of the experiences without having to take a taxi. In the previous version, an older cousin (it happened, I promise) was writing pamphlets against the revolution to hand out at school.

Eventually, someone finds out, calls her and tells her she’d better stop of else. My cousin ended up in an embassy not long after that phone call. But in order to get my protagonist to see that, I had to invite her to a meeting at her older cousins’ house, find a way to get her money for a taxi and a way to sneak off to her cousins’ house, hear what the older kids are saying and later find out about the phone call and her cousin’s exile from her father. With the brother embodying some of the experiences of other characters, my protagonist is right there, in the same room. She chooses to write pamphlets of her own to distribute at church, and she is the one who picks up the phone when the ultimatum is received—who’s the ultimatum for, her or her brother? Now the book is full of energy and the narrative moves quickly from one exciting scene to another. No more taking a figurative taxi or a bus to get the protagonist to the action.

It was a significant change in the book, I must admit. More of a re-imagining of the whole story than a revision. But I believe it has been well worth it. Now we’ll see if a power that be agrees with me and buys my story. I really hope someone does. My cousins are really not happy that I killed them, whether on or off the stage. They were all hoping for a cameo. The only way I’ll keep them quiet is to prove them wrong and have a best seller.

http://literarymidwives.com/

Terry Jennings began writing in 1999. Her first piece “Moving Over to the Passenger’s Side,” about teaching her fifteen-year-old to drive was published by The Washington Post. She has written a few other articles for them and Long Island News Day.  Since then she has written for Ranger Rick and had a family humor column in her local newspaper, The Reston Connection. Primarily she writes educational text for the Smithsonian Science Education Center and other educational outlets. Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story (Sylvan Dell, 2012) was named Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers’ Association and the Children’s Book Council.  Her other book, The Women’s Liberation Movement: 1960-1990 (Mason Crest, 2013) was named to the Amelia Bloomer Project’s recommended feminist literature for women birth to 18. Sounds of the Savanna, a book about sound as told through predator/prey interactions in the African savanna  is on its way with Arbordale Publishers. It’s due out fall of 2015.  Currently she is working on a historical novel about the Cuban Revolution (1959-1961) loosely based on her childhood along with a couple of other picture books–one on Magnetism and one on Erosion.

Thanks Terry for sharing your article with us. I will be doing a lot of killing this week.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 26, 2014

Call For Illustrations – Halloween Poems – Kudos

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Please email to me any illustrations (at least 500 pixels wide) you think I could use with November and December posts. It is a nice way to keep your name out in the public. Please make sure you include a short blurb about yourself with your website link.

DO YOU HAVE A HALLOWEEN POEM? I will be posting an Halloween poem from Eileen Spinelli on Thursday this week and will post a few other Halloween poems that same day, if I receive any. I need them by 5 pm on Wednesday in order to post for Thursday.

HalleeandGayle

Hallee Adelman and Gayle Aanensen

Hallee Adelman is represented by Jill Corcorcan.

Gayle Aanensen has a new book titled, Greater than Gold. It is coming out next month for the holidays.

proofofforever415

Lexa Hillyer reveals the cover of PROOF ABOUT FOREVER that is coming out June 2, 2015.

At Harper Children’s, Karen Chaplin has been promoted to senior editor, In addition, Alex Arnold has been promoted to assistant editor, Katherine Tegen Books.

At Carina Press, Kerri Buckley has been promoted to senior editor.

At HarperCollins Children’s, Christopher Hernandez and Stephanie Stein have been promoted to associate editor, while Alice Jerman moves up to assistant editor.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 25, 2014

Illustrator Saturday – Anne Wertheim

annepic

Anne attended College of Art in Hamburg, Germany (Fachhochschule fuer Gestaltung), from which she graduated in 1995 with a degree in illustration. Right after earning her degree she moved to Maui/Hawaii. She has been working as a freelance illustrator, painter and designer, working for advertising agencies, design studios and publishers for nearly 20 years in Maui.

She has worked on a variety of projects including product packaging, advertising, publishing, point of purchase displays and animation backgrounds.

Here is Anne explaining her process:

My work process creating one out of 44 cards for the “Oracle Deck of Flowers”.

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Author: Tess Whitehurst

For this oracle card, I am asked to show a heroic woman blowing a horn standing amidst a field of blossoming foxgloves. The title of the card is “Summon your Courage – Foxglove”

porcess1

I start out with a black and white line sketch. To get the pose right, I often use the help of another application: Poser

process2

I work on two monitors. Monitor One is the smallest of the Cintique tablets, monitor two is a 30 “ Dell. On the Dell I have several documents open showing reference images as well as an additional window of the current illustration I am working on. The Cintique will have only my illustration window open as well as show a window with my brush presets and another one for layers.

process2a

While I work I constantly go back and forth between painting on the Cintique and evaluating my illustration on the Dell. The Dell I have color calibrated. I always work in a CMYK color space when working on print projects.

process3a

I do a very quick color sketch. On this card, I feel confident about how I want the colors to be, so I decide not spend too much time on the color sketch.

process4

I desaturate the color sketch to have it in black and white.

process5

I add a muliply layer over my black and white sketch and use a soft brush to paint over it in orange.

process6

I usually start with the background, in this case the sky. I always use textures in my Photoshop brushes. My main brush has a texture, I made myself by applying acrylic gel to a board, painting it black and and dry brushing white over it.

I have a texture library of splatters, ice , fabric, rocks, marble etc. anything that will make a nice texture. While I work I often choose different textures.

For the sky I chose a splatter texture. I put the sky on one layer and the clouds on another. On layer three I have my Poser

figure on layer 4 my sketch. I want to create a dramatic sky, somehow evoking a feeling of fire or a battle far away.

process7

As soon as I have roughed in the sky, I start working on the figure. At this stage I work fairly rough, as I want to paint in all the elements of the illustration before I get into more detail. It is always so tempting to get detailed too soon, only to realize later, that some of the detail does not work with other parts of the illustration.

process8

Next I rough in the foxgloves and start working on her face. Now that all the elements of the illustration are in place it is time to fine tune. I put several layers of paint over the sky. Sometimes lightening the sky up with heavily textured brushes and then toning everything back down by adding a multiply layer and glazing a shade of blue or magenta over the sky.

process9

I am working similarly when working on her clothes and face. Here I just stick to my main texture brush. I lift her left arm a bit, to make the pose a little bit more dynamic and add all the highlights for her clothing and on the flowers.

Almost all elements of the illustration are on different layers. Flowers on one, leaves on another, her legs, her skirt, belts, west etc. Having everything on different layers makes it easier to work and rework each part.

process10

And that is pretty much it!

How long have you lived in Maui?

I moved here in 1995, right after I finished art school in Germany.

Anne_Wertheim__Garter_Snake

snakein the grassAnne-Wertheim

How long have you been illustrating?

I have been illustrating as a professional and full time since 1995, after I got my degree in illustration from the college of art in Hamburg/Germany. But I have been pretty much done some form of art my whole life.

Dutchmedeadly

Did you study art in college? If so, where?

Yes! I went to the “Fachhochschule for Gestaltung” in Hamburg (college of design).

SVJ080

What were you favorite classes in college?

My favorite class in college was “Educational Illustration,” as well as life drawing and painting.

bocat

Did the School help you get work?

They didn’t really help us get work, but found publishers that wanted to work with us, while we were still students.
Our illustration class did several projects for different publishers.
Together with 5 students I illustrated one of my first books for a German publisher (Frankh Kosmos) with the title “Animals at the Coast and the Beach” (�Tiere an Strand und K�ste).
On another assignment we designed and illustrated an exhibition for a marine biology institute.

Gilt-by-Association_Cover

What was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

Right after High School, I interned  for two years in an illustration and design studio. During my internship I was fortunate enough to illustrate some book covers that my boss otherwise would have done himself.

eskimo

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

While still in college, I worked for a big German publisher, doing layout for several magazines as well as teaching computer graphics on the Mac. After I graduated I started my career as a freelance illustrator.

huladancer

Do you think the classes you took in college or living in paradise influenced your style?

Neither one and both to a certain extent. It has helped me to have an education in the arts. No doubt, all my art classes in college have given me a strong foundation to work as an illustrator. Nevertheless, I feel life has influenced me the most. Right after college, I felt I needed to learn soooo much more than what they had taught me in college and even now, almost 20 years after I graduated I am still learning with every single project that I take on. I think Maui’s abundance of natural beauty, lushness and bright colors, are in sync with my need for nature, beauty and color in my life and work.

he-hula-alii-anne-wertheim

Do you do a lot of art shows and exhibits? Is that how you got noticed?

No, I don’t do any art shows and exhibits at the moment. After I had my two children in 2001 and 2003, I wanted more freedom in my creative process. So I did a lot of plein air painting. For about three years, I painted mostly on sight in oil all over Maui. I really enjoyed this time. It taught me so much about painting, landscapes, color, light etc. I exhibited and sold my paintings in my husbands gallery close to where we live.

1095967_1099_b5bea6

When did you do your the first illustration for children?

For my thesis in college we had to pick a larger project to illustrate. I decided to write and illustrate a picture book about a family of barn owls. To complete my thesis, I only needed to create the concept and 5 illustrations. I had a lot of fun writing the story and illustrating it. Instead of just the required 5 illustrations, I did all the illustrations for the book. It turned out so well, that the same publisher I worked for before, picked it up and published it the next year.

1096115_1099_52fe5f

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate books?

I never was set on just illustrating books. Right now, I actually prefer shorter projects.

lwsm_cat_stocking_5769

How did get the contract for the “Food Chain” book series?

I got the contract for the “Food Chain” series, by doing a lot of cold calls and got lucky to give Capstone/Picture Books at the right time when they were looking for somebody to illustrate “Food Chains”.

Anne+2books

 

70874

Have you worked with educational publishers?

All my children’s books have been geared towards the educational market. I just recently worked for University Press and did some illustrations for a few school books.

christmas-cottage-anne-wertheim

How many children’s books have you illustrated?

If I counted right a total of 10.

christmas-cottage-heaven-and-earth-designs

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own book?

Not at the moment.

bodie-lighthouse

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

I did some illustrations for Highlights and Cricket Magazine.

64320

racecarcow

Do you have an artist rep.? If so, who? And how did you connect with them?

I am repped by Steve Munro of Munro Campagna in Chicago. When I felt In needed a rep, I looked up all the reps, who represented illustrators that I either admired or where similar in style to me. I then sent out e-mails with samples of my work and Steve took me on.

lwsm_cats_jewlerybox_5870

What types of things did you do to market your work?

I always think I should be doing more and I definitely could improve a lot in terms of marketing myself. I market myself by showcasing my work in the Workbook, the ISpot, as well as CreativeSource in Canada. I occasionally send out postcards. I used to do email blasts, but have not found that sending mass e-mails produces great results. I am just in the process of redoing my own webpage and am determined, once done to blog about my process on a more regular basis.

dream-gardening-anne-wertheim

What is your favorite medium to use?

These days it is digital.

fairyland

Has that changed over time?

At the beginning of my career I did all my work in acrylics and used a mix of airbrush and acrylic painting. I switched to digital in 2010 and have not regretted it, even though I miss not having originals anymore

stock-of-gold-anne-wertheim

Do you have a studio in your house?

Yes, my studio is in our house.

still life

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

My Cintique tablet.

6_wertheim_apr

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I usually start my workday  between 6 and 7 am. I am an early morning person, which makes communicating with the East Coast a lot easier. I take in between 30 minutes and an hour each day to do things that are not related to doing my craft. Usually these are my least favorite subjects and the ones I procrastinate the most about: marketing, office tasks, writing bills (which actually should be considered fun), blogging and currently it is working on my new webpage (which I actually really do enjoy)
The rest of the day is devoted to working on my illustrations..

64569

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

Yes! Depending on the project, I might take photos, ask a friend, my children or even a stranger to model for me and /or do a lot  of research on the internet.

angelcow

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

I couldn’t live without it. For my most recent project of illustrating 44 Tarot cards, I must have collected thousands of reference images.

map

What do you tell was your biggest success?

My first Celestial Seasonings illustration is just now gracing one of their new tea boxes: Apple Caramel Dreams.

carmelapple

dog-heaven-with-wings-anne-wertheim

Do you use Photoshop with your illustrations?

Yes. Photoshop is my main application I use when illustrating.

80886

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

I started out on an Intuous and upgraded to a Cintique last year.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 7_42_18 AM
Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Next year I want to learn Maya and start getting into 3D.

wine

What are you working on now?

I currently am working on a deck of 44 Tarot or oracle cards. The deck will be called “The Oracle Deck of Flowers”

butterflies

Eclipse1

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

My favorite tool is my Cintique. Before I got it, I never thought it would make such a difference in my work. I was using the Intuous graphic tablet before,which seemed fine to me at that time. But actually drawing on a monitor is such a big improvement. I love it.

lwsm_swamp_5163

Monte's_Garden

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

A good mix of talent coupled with perseverance, stubbornness, and a burning desire to create will help a lot in becoming a successful writer or illustrator.

lwsm_vegetable_3185_basket_3185

Thank you Anne for sharing your journey and process with us. Please let us know all your future successes. We’d love to hear about them and cheer you on. You can visit Anne at: http://www.annewertheim.com

If you have a moment I am sure Anne would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if I don’t always have time to reply. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 24, 2014

Free Fall Friday – Book-Give-a-Way: Karen Romagna

Here is your chance to win a copy of Karen Romagna’s new book, VOYAGE. All you have to do is leave a comment and be willing to write a short review of the book if you win. The review can be on your blog, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Facebook, or Goodreads. (See more at bottom of this post.)

Voyage Covercropped

Karen Romagna has just finished illustrating her first picture book. Voyage launched at The National Book Festival in Washington, DC on August 30, 2014 and is available in bookstores October 1, 2014. Written by former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, Voyage is the tale of a young boy setting off for an adventure on the open sea. Karen used the softness of watercolor in illustrating this wonderful dreamlike tale.

Romagna, Karen Headshot cropped

Karen is a traditional painter. Her illustrations are primarily done in watercolor However, she also loves painting in oil.

Karen grew up surrounded by art, music, brothers, sisters and parents that always supplied paint, paper, and the freedom to try new things. She lives in rural New Jersey where she and her husband, John, raised two sons, Matt and Tim, in a house filled with music and art… and hopefully a spirit that has allowed her sons to try new things too.

For those of you who are not a member of the New Jersey SCBWI, Karen is the Illustrator Coordinator for the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Romagna_Boy reading book

I asked Karen if she would share the story behind Voyage and it’s beginning. Here is what she told me:

“Voyage” had an interesting beginning. Billy Collins wrote the poem back in 2003 in celebration of John Cole’s 25 years as Director of the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress. As John Cole wrote at the beginning of Voyage, “The creation and presentation of “Voyage” was wholly in the spirit of the Center of the Book, which was created to stimulate pubilc interest in books, reading and literacy.”

In 2013 Bunker Hill Publishing approached me wondering if I might be interested in “a collaboration with the poet Billy Collins!”  Well…, of course!  The publisher had seen a copy of the poem hanging on the wall in John Cole’s office and approached Billy with the idea of making it a picture book.

Billy Collins likes to pick the illustrators for his books and went surfing the net. He came across a painting of mine that made him think I should illustrate this poem. He asked the publisher to get in touch to see if I might be interested in this project. Well… “Of course!” Bunker Hill had an illustrator in mind for the book as well and asked me to submit a sample illustration along with a thumbnail dummy. Wanting to make sure I was giving myself the best shot, I asked the publisher if he wouldn’t mind telling me exactly which illustration Billy Collins had seen that made him feel I was the right artist for his book. “Of course!” he said “It’s the one of the boy in a boat.”

Well, my heart melted… that was not one of my illustrations… it was a portrait of my younger son, Tim. There was always something magical about my second child. He would find himself in a great adventure with a piece of rope that he’d found.

In the end I was chosen to illustrate “Voyage”. …so Tim will carry on this great adventure for a long time.

You might be interested in watching this video of Billy Collins and Karen Romagna talking about the book at the National Book Festival where she launched her book in Washington, DC. I laughed when Karen said she almost threw out the email from the publisher she received asking if she had any interest in illustrating the book thinking it was junky mail. Thank goodness she didn’t. Congratulations, Karen!

 

If you would like more changes to win you will get additional entries when you Tweet, reblog, or talk about Voyager on Facebook (Must check back and let me know what you did, so I can enter the right amount of tickets with you name on it.

DEADLINE: November 3rd. Winner announce November 4th.

Check back next Friday to read the four first page critiques.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 23, 2014

Agent Kaylee Davis Looking for New Writers

kaylee-davis-literary-agentKaylee Davis, Dee Mura Literary

Kaylee is actively seeking to build her client list in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, and young adult; bonus points if there are elements of steampunk, coming-of-age, urban fantasy, espionage, social commentary, or counter culture. Kaylee is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She is happy to work with new and emerging writers.”

She received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. Recognized for her obsessive-compulsive attention to detail and crazy-fast reading ability, Kaylee joined the Dee Mura Literary team as a professional copyeditor/proofreader, talent scout, and administrative assistant.

MG: I really gravitate to the more mature middle grade that is voice-driven and deals with bigger issues. I also like diverse, unique protagonists who take charge and push the story forward.

YA: Especially in contemporary and scifi, I love anything where unlikely allies join forces or where reluctant heroes come into their own. I’m a sucker for the moment when the protagonist discovers their personal story bleeds into a larger narrative, and they choose to do something about it. I adore when opposites attract, and when the unexpected happens.

NA: Anything that is more than just “steamier YA.”

Adult: I’d love to see an epic scifi that has wonderfully flawed characters, especially if there are multiple POVs and it’s not clear who to trust. Actually, that would appeal to me in any genre! I like ambiguous morals and characters who have their own codes. A contemporary with a strong romance thread that is commercial but still feels fresh and new. Anything that explores the nuances and complexities of a society or lifestyle.

How to submit: Please send your query with the author’s name and project title in the subject heading. Address Kaylee in your letter’s salutation so they query reaches her. Include the following embedded in the body of the email:

  • Short description of the project
  • Brief author biography, even if you have no previous publications
  • Synopsis
  • Sample writing: for fiction, the first 25 pages; for nonfiction, an excerpt of the proposal

Twitter! Follow @Kaylee_Davis_

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 22, 2014

Mastering Kid-Speak – Erika Wassall

erikaphoto-45Jersey Farm Scribe here on…

A Dialogue Tune-up: Mastering Kid-Speak

Dialogue is one of the most important pieces of any manuscript, and this often goes double for children’s works. Dialogue moves the story along, develops the connection between your readers and the characters and keeps things tangible and realistic.

That means that mastering Kid-Speak is unequivocally important.

There is a rhyme and rhythm to the way that kids communicate, where they pause to think, how they choose their words, the direction their stream of conscious takes them in. I’ve often wondered if there are linguists who study children specifically.  I bet we could learn a lot about the development of the brain and human instincts by looking at how and why kids pick their words.

As writers, if our characters don’t sound realistic, we’ve already lost the battle.  It’s something a child will instantly and instinctively pick up on.  The character will seem fake and they won’t bond with them.  Even in a plot-driven story, if the readers don’t connect with the characters, the story won’t resonate.

Here are a few things you can do to work on the dialogue in your stories: 

Eavesdrop!

Listening to children talk is one of my favorite things to do. This can be a bit trickier to do with older kids.  Teenagers aren’t big on you overhearing their devastatingly important and secret information.  But there’s a great trick to overcome that.  Stick two or more kids in the back of a car and drive around a while.  Even teenagers will fairly quickly forget that you can probably hear them and get swept up in the excitement of their chatter.  When hushed whispers are completely ignored, they often become full-volume conversations within a few minutes.

It’ll be a hit with the other adults in your life too! The fact that I’m quick to volunteer for anything kid and car-pool related is a much-appreciated running joke among my friends and family.

Listen to yourself:

Most writers understand the value of reading the dialogue sections of a manuscript out-loud. But you can take this even further.  Record yourself reading it.  Play it back.  Have someone else read it to you.  Have multiple someones read it to you.

Better yet, have an age-appropriate child read it to you. See how it sounds coming from them.  Does it sound natural?  Stale?  Funny?  Bland?  Vocabulary that encourages learning and reaching is excellent when carefully placed in children’s books.  But (unless it’s your character’s quirk) you want to keep the dialogue age-appropriate.

Hearing how the lines sound with the natural intonation of a child’s voice can be a simple and surprisingly effective way of polishing up the dialogue.

Give Everyone Their Own Unique Voice

If you ask five kids the same question, you will get five different responses, even if they all have the same general answer. You have a voice as a writer.  Be sure each of your characters has a voice of their own as well.

We all have our little verbal tics, especially kids. Some are simple speakers, short, two to three word sentences.  Some seem to look for any opportunity to use flowery, descriptive words.  They know different words based on who and what occupies the majority of their time.

A friend’s five year old used the word “bonemeal” when he was commenting on my conversation with his mother about my garden next year. Turns out, it’s basically a type of fertilizer in Minecraft.  I was amazed that he made the connection to a real-life garden, but it was just his natural Kid-Speak.

A great test for this is to pull out all the dialogue in your manuscript and see if you can tell who said what without even looking at the character name. 

It’s not an easy test. But for me, it’s given me great perspective on places I need to have the opportunity to personalize and develop that critical bond between my readers, and the characters they’re going to take the journey with.

Dialogue does so much in our manuscripts. It allows us to remove unnecessary words, breaks up long, difficult to read paragraphs, advances the story, gives us relatable realism and lets us see how a character thinks.  Take these opportunities to really let the uniqueness of your characters shine, and capture your readers.

Kid-Speak varies for different ages, backgrounds and situations, making it a versatile and powerful tool to make your story, and your character jump off the page and into the reader’s heart.

Your character’s personalities, and your manuscripts, are worth it.

Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for another great post. I always enjoy them.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,297 other followers

%d bloggers like this: