Monday, October 28, 2013

Added Atrractions Necessary? Part II


 Received a contract last week for "Two Young Frogs: An Old Japanese Tale." (Post of 10/17) Those frogs will appear in Highlights someday. Perhaps mentioning map skills did help.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Liebster Award!

Thank you so much to Brianna Caplan Sayres of Brianna’s Book Stop for nominating The Paper Wait for a Liebster Award!  The Liebster Award is fun honor given to blogs that deserve more followers – thanks Brianna!  On behalf of the Paper Wait group, I accept. 

Now to answer all those questions Brianna asked…

1.     If you could be an animal what would it be?    An elephant – they have a great memory, have unique talents (their trunk can push over a tree, or pick up a single piece of straw - how cool is that?), they love their babies, and, the best thing, they never worry about their weight – they’re supposed to be that size. I‘d love that.

2.     What is your favorite part about blogging?
It forces me to think critically and more broadly about children’s writing; and it keeps me connected to a larger community in what can be a solitary task.

3.     What is your biggest writing challenge?
Keeping my bottom in the chair.  I am prone to distraction.

4.     What writing book/conference/website would you tell other children’s writers to read/attend/visit?
Book – Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Conference – our local NJ SCBWI conference does a great job of getting editors, agents and writers together
Website – Verla Kay’s Blue Board

5.     What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you started writing?
Write badly, write worse, and keep going.  Don't stop in the middle because you're worried about every word choice and sentence structure -- finish it.  You can fix it later. (that's what revision is for).  Great writers write awful stuff too.    

6.     What book (or books) do you wish you would have written?
Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough (picture book); and probably Charlotte’s Web, for middle grade

7.     What are you most proud of
Besides my kids, hmmmm, ask me again after I publish my first book. 

8.     If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?  So many places… SouthAfrica (wildlife and wine); Petra, Jordan (city of stone); Israel (Holy Land)

9.     Book you most love to re-read?
Maybe not ‘read’ but I love delving into the Children’s Writers & Illustrator’s Market – despite many rejections, that list of publishers always fills me with optimism.  There's got to be somebody out there  who will love my manuscript.

10.  What question do you wish I would have asked you? Please answer it.
Something really easy, like... yes, I'd love another cup of tea! 

Thanks again, Brianna. 

Here are my nominations for the Liebster Award:

Nominees, if you choose to accept, link back to the blogger who tagged you.  Nominate 5 to 10 other blogs with less than 200 members and answer the questions of the one who tagged you.  Then ask 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate; and let your nominee know of their award.

Here are my questions for those of you who choose to accept the award:

1. Where is your favorite place to write?
2. What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?
3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
4. What’s your favorite book(s)?
5. What’s in your TBR pile?
6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
7. What distracts you most from writing?
8. What is your biggest source of inspiration?
9.  Why do you blog?  
10. Share one of your quirky writing habits…

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Companions Along the Journey

Let me introduce you to my writing partner: 

Max has been a part of our family for close to fourteen years now.  He was a gift for my son on his fifth birthday, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. 

That was just a ruse. 

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Added Attractions Necessary?


I recently finished retelling an old Japanese folktale. It was critiqued (thanks!) and then submitted to a magazine. It's the story of two frogs, one from the west (Osaka), and one from the east (Kyoto), whose curiosity about new places inspires them to travel. One spring day, they meet on a mountain - one traveling east and one traveling west. Tired and hungry, they devise a plan to view their destinations from the mountain top; to anticipate the new sights at journey's end. But their plan goes wrong - each frog looks in the direction of home! So discovering no new sights, they abort all travel plans. Their curiosity gone, they hop home, never to travel again.

To me, the story is humorous and passes the "so what?" test, but in my submission letter I mentioned an added curriculum-related attraction.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Defining YA

A few weeks ago, PW Shelftalker asked a simple question with a not-so-simple answer -- how do you define YA? They asked their readers to contribute their thoughts to craft the ultimate definition of YA. I did, and guess what? They liked me, they really liked me!

I am one of three contributors whose responses were merged into one ultimate YA definition:

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Saturday, October 5, 2013


Tension produces anxiety, excitement and fear. It's in the book a kid reads with a flashlight after Mom has closed the door. It's in the book a kid hides in his lap and reads while the teacher drones on about long division and percentages. It's in the book that makes the reader care deeply about the protagonist, and what is going to happen to that person.

I think creating tension in my writing is the hardest thing to accomplish. It means I must eliminate sections of description, dialogue and juicy observation, all excellent examples, of course, of my really great writing. At first it is hard to see why my story is better without all these paragraphs, why sixty pages can be cut without anyone (but me) noticing. But it's true.

As I revise, I ask myself exactly what happens on each page. How does the chapter support the plot? Would anyone notice if it were...gone?

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